As I watched the episodes, I frequently felt, “Okay, last season”. Quite a few EPs seem like repeats of story ideas they’ve used before or promising ones that go nowhere. I was initially skeptical of the “Castle as P.I.” plot device, but it isn’t completely batty in its execution, and it does work for the most part. Washington? Not so much.
Episodes That I Liked
The best episode of the season is near the end, with Alexis and Castle on a plane to London (E21) and trying to solve an Air Marshal’s murder. And there are some other good ones — Castle becomes a private investigator to let him keep working on cases (E11); an astronaut gets killed in a habitat simulator (E16); and some movement on 3XK (E14, E15). Ryan and Esposito get to lead on an episode each, with Ryan working as a night security guard leading to work with the Secret Service (E18) and Esposito dealing with a bomb on a subway car (E08).
But the other three are about Castle’s disappearance — his return with no answers (E01), the reason for his loss is revealed (E20), and the pseudo-series finale where we find out why Castle is into mysteries and thrillers with his origin story (E23).
Episodes That Were Watchable
There are eight more EPs that are blah again, and it drags the series down. Hence why I think it runs out of gas. E02 sends him on a bread-crumb to Montreal while the team looks at a dead toy CEO; someone killing internet celebrities (E05); a visit to a Western town (E07); another Romeo and Juliet episode, again with the mob (E10); murder of a telenovela star (E12) with a weak plot; Rear Window, again (E13); a Chinese super cop (E17); and a personal injury lawyer with a conscience (E19). Several of those are just retreads of earlier episodes, and the originals were better.
Episodes That I Didn’t Like
It is rare that I give an EP of a series I watch anything less than three stars. It’s an inherent bias to my reviews — if I like the show well enough to keep watching it every week, chances are that I’m going to at least rate the EPs as watchable, right? But this season I went so far as to give E03 a zero — dealing with a supposed invisible man. Um, okay. Heck even E06 dealing with an alternate universe was more believable. And those two are really in a class of crap all by themselves.
But even beyond those two REALLY bad ones, there are still three others that just aren’t worth watching — E04 which is kind of like Kindergarten Cop; E09 which rips off the Expendables movie series; and E22 looks at a SNL-like show, with skits and scenes that need a rewrite, apparently.