“Castle” returned to its eighth season with an action packed two-part season premiere. The episode titled “XY” is told from Castle’s point of view and next week’s conclusion is titled “XX” from Beckett’s point of view. This season has a new character Hailey Shipton, a more grown up Alexis working with her father at his PI firm and Beckett as Captain of the Homicide crew.
The episode was largely without series co-star Stana Katic who was filming a movie at the time the premiere was taped. Normally not having Katic would be considered a negative but it worked in the essence of the premiere.
The premiere brought back the Senator Bracken/Joanna Beckett murder storyline with Beckett disappearing after a murder. Castle, Esposito and Ryan investigate trying to find Beckett. Alexis gets involved as well as new character Hailey Shipton who is introduced fairly early on in the episode. Castle confronts Bracken who tells him that Beckett has been lying to him and involved in activities that he knows nothing about. Castle is then kidnapped but rescued at the last minute by Beckett who disappears when the cops show up. A shoot out ensues at the precinct when one of the kidnappers is brought in. She is killed by Esposito leaving the group with no clues to Beckett’s whereabouts or her plan.
Overall, the episode was great and left the audience on the edge of their seat awaiting the second part. It was a creative idea on the part of the new showrunners to take advantage of Katic’s absence by having such an action filled episode told from two different points of view. The show is at its best when the ensemble cast all works together to solve a crime and it was even nice to see Alexis getting involved.
The jury is still out on the character of Hailey. She definitely is a firecracker and will remind the audience of Beckett in a lot of ways but it remains to be seen how she will fit in with the rest of the cast. She will reportedly be a mentor to Alexis so it should be interesting to see how that plays out.
There was one downside to the episode. I’m not sure about the fans but I’m tired of the Senator Bracken storyline. I thought he was finally put to rest last season but like the 3XK arc it seems to be the plotline that won’t go away. It will be exciting to see how the writers will give the presence of Bracken a new spin considering he’s already in jail for Joanna Beckett’s murder. I hope it’s something believable and something that finally puts an end to this saga perhaps so Beckett and Castle can start a family of their own.
The season is off to a good start after a less than stellar last season where the only substantial plot point was Beckett and Castle finally tying the knot.
The second part of the season premiere titled “XY” will air on Monday. “Castle” airs on ABC, Cox Cable channel 5.