Castle: Target – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

Castle: Target


As always around this time of the season, Castle writers go for an over the top action and suspense-filled episode. In the past, we’ve seen bombs, Beckett shot by a sniper, Captain Montgomery killed, a big bank robbery scene, and even a very large tiger with its taste buds set on an Espo-Beckett buffet.

Personally, I think the show works best when the cast is in full blown humor mode. It just never seems to work when they go for mega serious/save the world in an hour. However, last night’s episode was better than the usual “world’s coming to an end” format. Sure, coming from a cop’s perspective there were plenty of holes in the story. Overall, though, it was an okay episode. And it featured Alexis, which was sort of nice for a change. And, I’m sure Melanie was absolutely giddy with all the Castle-Beckett hold-me-touch-me-love-me-make-it-better moments. So let’s see what she has to say. Melanie…

Melanie Atkins

Target blew me away. In this super-dramatic episode, Alexis, Rick’s daughter, and her friend, Sara, were kidnapped. The tension and emotions in this one had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I’m used to Nathan Fillion joking around on Castle, making me laugh, but tonight he made cry in his portrayal of Rick in terrified parent mode. He was simply phenomenal. His range of emotions crossed the human spectrum and zeroed in on my heart. I ached for Rick.

Any parent would be devastated in that situation and would do whatever it takes to get their child back. I don’t know what Rick did to the driver of the van to get info out of him, but I don’t care. I would’ve done the same thing.

Not only did Nathan do a great job portraying Rick’s anguish, but Susan Sullivan (Martha) was also superb as Alexis’ overwrought grandmother. Overwrought, but also strong. She held down the fort at home so Rick could help the team search for Alexis.

I loved the hug Kate gave Rick when they first learned Alexis had been kidnapped, even though she knew Gates was probably looking on. Shows how much she loves him. And later on, as they waited to hear from the FBI team going after the missing girls, Kate holds Rick’s hands in plain sight while he tells us the emotional story about Alexis’ birth, and Gates turns away. She definitely knows about them now if she didn’t before, and like Kate, I don’t care. I don’t believe their relationship will be a problem in the long run, because Rick isn’t employed by the NYPD.

Right now, of course, Rick and Kate are too focused on getting Alexis and Sara back to worry about that. I found it hard to believe Kate and the boys found that driver so fast, but maybe it’s possible. I’ll let Lee worry about that one. The rest of the episode I found believable. At the end, the scene when Alexis broke free long enough to learn she’s in Paris seemed more like a scene from a movie rather than network TV to me. Very well done, Mr. Marlowe!

Amazing episode. I can’t wait for next week.

Lee Lofland

Well, I can’t say that Melanie and I share the same enthusiasm over this episode. For me, it was just okay. Sure, Fillion was at the top of his game, showing a vast range of emotions. I’ve said it before, though—the guy could do an entire episode without speaking a single line. His facial expressions tell a story as well as many actors do with page after page of dialog. My problem with this episode was not really a problem, as far as entertainment TV goes. Remember, I watch Castle at the request of mystery and suspense writers. Therefore, I’m looking for problems with the police procedure. The “is that realistic” scenes.

First of all, I’m still liking Lanie’s remarkable transformation. Sure, she still says things that can’t and wouldn’t be realistic in the real world, but she’s now making those “information dump” comments sound, for the most part, believable.

Next up…Gates. As you know, I totally dislike this character, especially so when the crew addresses her as “sir.” However, last night, she was in captain mode—in charge, firm, and absolutely believable, which was a fantastic switch from the goofy, keystone cop they’ve had her portraying in the past few episodes. I still don’t like the character, though.

Of course, the FBI guy swoops in and takes charge of the case. Although, this time he was invited and the writers seemed to get this one right…until the raid on the farmhouse. That, my friends was everything wrong that could possibly be wrong. From the FBI suit-wearing, helmetless agent leading the raid/entry team’s forward charge (they wear that protective gear for a reason, you know) to the team storming the place without conducting any pre-raid surveillance, etc. When you’re standing at the suspect’s front door is not the time to discover cameras and motion detectors. And, an entire team, all running single file up a driveway like baby ducklings following mama to Playtime Lake is, well, not good for one’s future, if “one” plans on hanging around this life to see tomorrow. This entire scenario was just plain dumb.

There was a scene where the bad guys’ getaway van was discovered with a fair amount of blood on the rear floor of the vehicle. Lanie tells Castle to hang on a moment while she types the blood to see if it was Alexis’. Yes, that is possible with the right kit containing the proper reagents. And, that’s exactly what Lanie used to conduct the test (well, it’s what they wanted us to think she was using). So good for the director, and Lanie.

Okay, the scene where Beckett leaves Castle to “question” the uncooperative, bleeding van driver. The thug tells Castle he can’t question him. Castle politely says, “I’m not a cop,” and does whatever he did to make the guy scream like a little girl at a ghost-story-telling slumber party. Well, as far as Castle not being a cop so he doesn’t have to play by the rules…well, that’s not exactly true. It’s been firmly established that Castle acts as an agent of the police, which does place him under the umbrella of having to play by the rules and follow the same laws and rules that apply to cops. So whatever Castle did to the bad guy was totally illegal. BUT, would I have done the same thing? Sure, in fact, I might’ve done a lot worse to the guy who was responsible for my daughter’s disappearance.

Also, I have to disagree with Melanie on one point. It would make a difference if a supervisor knew that Beckett and Castle were romantically involved. The department should never allow a “volunteer civilian boyfriend and cop girlfriend” to work together all day and night. Too much at stake, including allowing personal feelings getting in the way of solid police judgement. And a great example of that is the situation with Castle and the screaming thug (sounds like the title of an old Perry Mason episode – The Case of the Screaming Thug), a situation Beckett allowed to happen due to her personal feelings about the people involved in the case. A lawsuit waiting to happen. Or worse.

Finally, I’m not even going to mention how totally dumb and predictable it was for Alexis to pick the lock and make her escape. Dumb, dumb, and dumb.

Now, I have a question for all of you. When I use my cell phone to take photos, I’m looking at the screen (which is where the images are displayed) which means the lens is pointing away from me. So how was it that Alexis and Castle were able to Skype and see each other at the same time? Do some phones have a lens and screen on the same side? Or, do you have to constantly flip the phone around between comments and viewing? I’m confused…as usual.

Anyway, overall, this was a good episode. Just very predictable. By the way, I actually guessed Alexis’ location. I told my wife that she’d see the Eiffel Tower when she went outside. There were no clues, just a really lucky hunch, I guess.

So, until next week…au revoir, mes amis.


28 replies
  1. Zippo
    Zippo says:

    Phones have front and back camera, that’s how they see each other. I was wondering though why it said “unidentified caller”, don’t he have her as contact

  2. Anne Terry
    Anne Terry says:

    I didn’t think the phone Alexis used in Paris was hers. Just someone else’s unlocked iphone with Skype loaded. (Which is almost as implausible) And she said it was running out of power.

    But clicking on the Map app to see my location would have been my first thought. Prior to a 911 call. (I learned this the hard way)

    Unfortunately the European reveal was spoiled when she was in the hall and the camera picked up the green, not red, Exit signs.

    But I don’t watch Castle an expect a significant attention to these kind of details. I watch for Nathan and Molly, so I’m happy with the episode.

  3. a
    a says:

    ….But unless Alexis had international phone service, I don’t think she’d have cell service in france….These movie folks (shaking my head). Their phones can’t dial 911 without service, but they CAN make internationa calls without international service…I guess Alexis could be on wifi?

  4. a
    a says:

    I didn’t want to read anything spoilerish so I don’t know if this question has been answered. (I won’t watch this ep until the conclusion airs). But yes, most new android phones (and tablets) have front facing cameras allowing you to record your face while viewing the other party’s face.

  5. Raphael Salgado
    Raphael Salgado says:

    If you watch the episode again, notice when Castle calls Alexis’ iPhone and it’s discovered in the lost & found bin. The iPhone was in Airplane Mode (cell radio off) but the call was coming in.

    Alexis should not have dropped the smartphone when she heard people coming. Having a line of communication and also showing her location by streaming a live feed of her position (France) would have confirmed the tech’s trace. After all, with the IP address of the perp looking in on her video blog was bounced all over the place, the Skype call could’ve also been bounced around servers and Castle could’ve ended up looking for her in Thailand.

  6. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    There are locks out there with keyholes on both sides. They’re even available for private homes. I don’t recommend them for residences, though, because without a key in-hand you can’t get out in the event of an emergency. The locks in my house were like that, and changing them was one of the first things I did after closing.

  7. secondflore
    secondflore says:

    Really liked this episode – maybe the first since ep. 3 where noone is acting out of character…

    I may just add one (vey) small inconsistency which made me smile from my French couch :
    “No traffic noise (…) so we’re not in New York”, says Alexis… and here they are, a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower – I don’t have all the tools they have at the precinct to tell you in 3 clicks and 20 seconds where exactly that roof is, but it sure is in an place where Parisian traffic noise is awful any time of the day !
    (but yes, I admit that line fitted perfectly into the plot, right before they discover the farm)

    This said, a wink from Paris – Salut à tous, et à la semaine prochaine

  8. Frank & Val
    Frank & Val says:

    Terrific episode with good writing, direction and above all acting. The first twenty minutes dragged but then heated up with lots of emotion. Any viewer who is a parent had to be moved by the predicament that the two girls were in. We got to see Rick being supported by two important women in his life, Kate and Martha. They were his rocks. They gave him their help, love, support and most of all emotional space to cope. The dark side of Rick has to exist. He is after all a murder mystery writer.

  9. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Okay, I’m going back to watch this episode again. I missed about Castle’s father, I was shocked the girls were in Paris, and I laughed about the single line of FBI ducks. Whatever Castle did to that guy the thug deserved.

    Loved reading all the comments.

  10. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Gee, Gloria, I thought Castle had probably made the bad guy watch repeats of Lanie’s old voodoo forensics predictions. They made me scream waaayyyy louder than the guy last night.

  11. Louisa Bacio
    Louisa Bacio says:

    Enjoyed reading your points of view again. This episode was fabulous, and filled with tension. I watch with my 10-year-old daughter, and she only knows what a “cliffhanger” is because of Castle.

    Lee’s comment made me laugh: “And, an entire team, all running single file up a driveway like baby ducklings following mama to Playtime Lake.”


  12. Gloria Clover
    Gloria Clover says:

    Here’s my guess. The van driver is on the bed, shirt open, revealing a bandage on chest with some bleed-through. Rick stuck his finger into that wound and twisted.

    Just my guess.

  13. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    A question, Lee. In a kidnapping, do the police put out an APB for the victims as well as the bad guys? A cop might have seen the girls as they were being transported. I know the police didn’t expect the girls to leave the country but in a kidnapping, are the airports, bus terminals and other points of transit alerted in case the kidnapper tries to leave the area with the victim?

  14. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    Best cliffhanger ever! I enjoyed this episode, especially Nathan’s acting. Loved how Beckett was trying to keep Rick calm while she’s torn up inside too. I too found the lock picking hard to believe. If you want to keep someone a prisoner, why use a cheap lock? Also, wouldn’t the captors have a guard posted outside the girls’ cell/room? Would professionals leave the girls’ jackets (clues) behind in the farmhouse? I felt Alexis should, at least when she work up, have shown a little more fear. She seemed too calm for such a desperate situation. But nice show all around. Next week I wonder if Rick is going to tell Alexis that her video blog tipped off the bad guys.

  15. Jenna Harte
    Jenna Harte says:

    I agree with Melanie, that Fillion is able to deliver the weepy as well as the humor. In the last ep of season four, he’s nearly weepy when he tells Beckett to stop investigating her mother’s murder. I thought he was tremendous in that scene. To me, this show is less about detail (when are these shows ever about detail?) and more about the emotion. The blood typing seen broke my heart…”did she die in there?” I’m not convinced that Beckett hugging or holding Castle’s hand in this ep would give them away. He’s hurting, they’re good friends…it would be appropriate for a friend to offer comfort. As far as Castle not being a cop, the guy did say he’d press charges if Castle hurt him and Castle told him he didn’t care. And I’d love to know what he did to make him scream. I’m looking forward to learning about Castle’s dad. I read somewhere that James Brolin was playing the part. Should be interesting.

  16. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    Lee, I should’ve mentioned the farmhouse scene. It was so cheesy and poorly done, it made me squirm in my chair. I’m not a cop, but I could tell that. Seems like the writers would’ve done at least a little research about how a raid like that actually works. They need to come to the WPA!

  17. Corrina
    Corrina says:

    Yes, when you sign into Skype, you instantly have access to all your contacts (Skype phone numbers), so long as you’re online. So Alexis could Skype with anyone in the world, so long as they also had a Skype program on their phone and were online.

    And I’m glad they tackled the Taken comparison head-on in the preview, as that was my first thought. “They need Liam Neesom now!”

  18. Liberty Speidel
    Liberty Speidel says:

    @Sheila, Alexis was trying to call 911. I presume they don’t have 911 precisely in France, which would be why the call didn’t go through. Skype, however, doesn’t require that. When my sister was in Turkey last year, I was able to Skype with her–she could even use Skype to call me on my phone (for a fee.)

    I felt both of Melanie’s and Lee’s comments were fair. I did enjoy the episode, but several things bugged me (maybe even more than Lee mentioned!) The blood-typing really bugged me until you said it was plausible, Lee.

    Biggest thrill of the night for me was the preview for next week. Do you think we may finally get an answer on who is Castle’s dad? That’s what it seemed like to me…

  19. Sheila Connolly
    Sheila Connolly says:

    I agree that the humorous episodes are more unique to the show, but I kind of enjoyed a serious turn (and I assumed Alexis would be smart enough to at least make an effort to get out).

    But I have a technical question. Alexis finds a cell phone and calls home (I’d have to go back and count how many digits she punched it, but I’d assume it was ten, since she had no reason to assume she was outside the US). Would that call go through, without the prefix numbers to get out of the country? (I recently traveled to Ireland, and it took more than ten digits to reach the US.) Or am I behind the curve and there is a satellite phone that doesn’t need pesky things like that?

  20. Claudia McRay
    Claudia McRay says:

    I’ve been waiting to see what you and Melanie had to say. I was okay with most of the show. The scene with the FBI and at the farmhouse was so stupid. I sat in my chair and yelled at the television. How lame can you get!

    I know it’s television and all is not what it seems; however, the scene where Alexis and her friend ‘come around’ still looking like they just stepped out of a fashion magazine didn’t compute. The lip gloss was perfect, the eye make-up, etc. Nah. Not happening.

    I thought everyone in the department had figured out the relationship between Castle and Beckett. I kind like it but I can also see where restrictions and rules would definitely apply to them.

    Susan Sullivan has been a favorite of mine since her early Soap Opera days. She played the frantic grandmother well in my opinion.

    Overall, the show was good. Previews were a little interesting.

    Yeah. I’d love to know what Castle did to the guy. Whatever it was probably was less than he deserved.

  21. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    Finally! I really loved this episode! First, they tapped into an archetypal plot–the stolen child–that any parent fears to the bone. With my own daughter turning 13, I was squirming in my seat with empathy and flashes of “Oh my god, what would I do?”

    Second, I really appreciated how well these characters have been developed and lovingly drawn over the years. Totally by coincidence, I happened to catch the hilarious old episode with Slaughter, the uber-testosterone cop, played by Fillon’s pal from Firefly, Adam Baldwin, earlier in the day. Castle and Beckett acted totally within their characters even though the plot was so different.

    Even Alexis and her friend were remarkably believable. I know you didn’t like the lock thing, Lee, but it truly did seem like something Castle and Alexis would’ve played with together. I also appreciated that Sara actually acted like a girl with whom Alexis would be friends. For the “teen friend in danger,” most shows have a squeaky bubble-head. But Alexis wouldn’t be friends with someone like that. These are two smart girls, still girls, but not bimbos in the face of danger.

    As for the off-screen hurting of the driver, again in character. Castle usually amuses with his “civilian” fears, but time and time again he has risen to the occasion to save Beckett. Here, he is willing to do anything to save Alexis. In terms of rules, it seems a bit naive to me to think that many law enforcement people wouldn’t do the same when faced with finding two innocent young women versus inflicting some pain on a low-life.

    I hope they keep it up next week.

  22. Pat
    Pat says:

    In the military you would have two lines of troops going up the road at intervals between each man to avoid getting taken out at once. I’ve done this a few times. On a narrow trail, you’d maintain an interval with a single column. Then the team would stack up and enter the building and separate to the right and left to cover all corners as you search the room before going on to the next. Yes, you would have someone do recon on the structure before ever approaching close to enter. The entry team should have had binoculars to look at the entrance to spot the camera (and other critical areas) since they had no idea what might actually be inside.

  23. Michael A. Burstein
    Michael A. Burstein says:

    Of course, the problem is that if you look at the screen, you’re not looking into the camera, which is just above the screen. So everybody looks as if they’re looking down and not directly at you.

  24. Laura Hayden
    Laura Hayden says:

    Lee, yep. The iPhone 4S and 5 have front facing cameras as well as back ones. So the tech there was correct.

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