RogerBW's Blog

Castle season 7 23 October 2015

2014-2015, 23 episodes. Famous writer Richard Castle continues to work with NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett, though by this point it's fairly clear that he didn't come here for the hunting.

Season 6 ended on a cliffhanger: Castle was on the way to his wedding with Beckett, when he was run off the road and disappeared. That had to be resolved first, and it was turned into an intermittent subplot for much of the rest of the season. Why did he vanish, why did he reappear with his memory wiped, and why does everyone he finds say that he told them not to help him find out the truth?

This is basically a procedural show, solving the crime of the week, and by the time procedural shows have got into their seventh season they're usually pretty well-worn, dropping in the ratings, and looking for gimmicks. And there are certainly some of those here: Castle goes undercover in a class of seven-year-olds; Castle finds himself in a parallel universe; Castle is pushed out of the precinct and works as a private investigator; there's a murder in a Mars surface simulator, or on a dude ranch, or on an airliner in flight. What the show manages to do well, though, is to keep a sense of humour about the tricks it's playing: Castle has grown up a bit since the early episodes, but he still has a sense of "what fun" about having to wear a space suit or dress up as a cowboy, of having enough of the child still in him to appreciate the opportunities that the adult now has.

Apart from the trappings, the crimes are pretty routine, though with this many episodes it's hard not to repeat one's tricks at least a little. The cast continues to be solid: Nathan Fillion, the reason I started watching in the first place, has made the role thoroughly his own, and while Stana Katic has a somewhat limited range of emotive expressions she does a reasonable job too. Really, if those two weren't working for me, I wouldn't be watching any more.

Obviously this show matches the template for The Adventures Of Mr. Superabilities And Detective Ladyskeptic, where Castle's superabilities are money, contacts, and the ability to see things from an unusual perspective. That's not a bad thing, but a bit more variation in show design would be better.

This season doesn't end with a cliffhanger, but with a proper endpoint: one that allows the story to go on, certainly, but the sort of thing one would expect from a show where renewal was in some doubt and the writers didn't want to leave the fans hanging in case of cancellation. But in fact ratings were solid all through the season, and by the time this episode was being made the eighth season was pretty much in the bag; it was confirmed shortly before broadcast.

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