[This is a review of Castle Season 6, Episode 6. There will be SPOILERS.]
It's a fine balance to walk between allowing your child the freedom to make their own choices and recognizing that some things they will have to learn on their own. In the same way, it's difficult to portray tension between a parent and grown child onscreen without one or the other looking foolish.
If last week's Castle was a clumsy attempt at the first principle, "Like Father, Like Daughter" is an attempt at the second. But does it do a better job?
One tool the writers pull out of their box of tricks is the ever helpful time jump. Where for the viewer the fight between Alexis (Molly Quinn) and Castle (Nathan Fillion) was only last week, for the characters a bit more time has passed and a thin layer of ice has built between father and daughter. Though it's probably to the episode's advantage that Pi (Myko Olivier) is more heard of than seen this time around.
The next tactic employed is to create a scenario that forces the two opposing forces to work together toward a common goal. In this instance, Alexis has only a short window of opportunity to clear Frank Henson (James Carpinello) of murder before his execution on death row and Castle is the only one who can help.
Some unique camera and editing techniques are used to show the murder, first of what may have happened, then what Frank tells everyone happens, and finally what he saw happen. The twist is that none of those stories reveals Kim's killer.
As an added bonus, fans also get a quality scene between Lanie (Tamala Jones) and Beckett (Stana Katic). It helps cement their friendship while giving Beckett some clear direction as she and Castle move closer and closer to the altar. All along, she's been supportive of Castle, but here we get a glimpse of how truly invested in the relationship she is as she forges her own bonds with the feisty young ginger.
On top of solid character development, the case is also quite compelling. It's got a time component to keep the stakes high, and a series of tight twists and turns before the end. The killer himself is somewhat two-dimensional, but that's all right because the audience has the Henson brothers to invest in and the emotional payoff there is a strong one.
One of the coolest case-related details is the binary clock the victim had on her wall that proved to be an important key in absolving Frank.
Even though they are apart this episode, the ensemble cast works well as a whole to deliver the results. Obviously, Castle and Alexis are given time to work through their issues, but Beckett and Lanie also do some of the heavy-lifting, giving the episode a well-rounded shape. The closing scene between Alexis and Beckett is touching, especially as viewed through Castle's eyes.
Castle returns next Monday with, "Murder is Forever" @10pm on ABC.