Castle: Valkyrie – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

Castle: Valkyrie


Well, they’re back, and they’re engaged. Yes, the game is over. The mind-numbing “I love you, do you love me” plot line has ended. Finally.

Beckett accepted Castle’s proposal and then she was off to a new job in the nation’s capital, where she’d step into the role of secret agent. Now, however, while Beckett’s doing her thing in the world of spies, espionage, and treason, Castle’s forced back into the solitary role of mystery writer. And it’s not working for him. Let’s face it, what’s more exciting, chasing bad guys and solving murders, or sitting in an office, alone, banging out plots that you once participated in as part of your daily routine? The mere thought of giving up the action-filled and adrenaline-inducing job is just, well… Hey, wait a minute. That’s what I did. I made the switch from carrying a gun and wearing a badge to sitting in my office, alone, writing about my former career.

Hmm. Now that I think about it, I haven’t been shot at, cut, stabbed, punched, or spit on since I started writing. No wrestling with drunks or getting hit with sticks and stones. No one has urinated in the back seat of my car since I left the business. Or on me, for that matter. No dead bodies in the street. No one has come running toward me with a knife firmly embedded in their neck. And not once, not once, mind you, have I had to kick in someone’s front door to search for an armed-to-the-teeth slime ball who just butchered his wife of 16 years.

But, you know what, I really miss it. So, here, Melanie. Take over while I reminisce for a minute or two.

Melanie Atkins

 Finally, after a long summer of waiting, it’s Castle night! I almost keeled over from suspense before the hiatus ended. What about you? I must have watched the end of last season’s finale at least a thousand times, at regular speed and in slow motion, as I attempted to find anything to give me a clue as to how Kate might respond to Rick’s proposal. My question was the same as tonight’s Twitter hashtag for Castle that trended worldwide: #willshesayyes.

Now, of course, we know she did. And yes, I’m thrilled. Beyond thrilled. Ecstatic. I loved the episode, even though the federal agent-toxic nerve agent thing at the end seemed a bit far-fetched. Who knows if it really is, however, with all the crazy stuff going on in the world today? This is Castle, for crying out loud. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief enough to buy any plot as long as Kate and Rick are together.

Of course, after not seeing each other for six weeks after Kate takes the new job in DC and starts training, they are both climbing the walls until Rick surprises her with a spontaneous visit. Their reunion made me squee, but the scene wasn’t long enough. I wanted more!

Kate is buried in an important classified case, and she can’t tell Rick about it — only, this is Castle, so what’s he going to do? Stick his nose into it anyway, with the help of Ryan and Esposito via phone, and get both himself and Kate into big trouble. He’s such a lovable doofus.

He promises to stay out of the case after Kate reads him the riot act, and all is well until he is abducted at gunpoint by a guy who dies behind the wheel of a car — and they crash. Yikes!

Federal agents arrest Rick, but soon learn he was indeed abducted and had nothing to do with the guy or the case. He heard the man refer to “Valkyrie”, however, and that might possibly pertain to the case. Even so, Kate is afraid she might lose her job if Rick stays in town and keeps popping up, so he volunteers to head home. He doesn’t want to get her into trouble.

Turns out he has his own trouble brewing at home, anyway, in the form of Pi, the new boyfriend Alexis brought home from Costa Rica. Pi is a fruitarian from Amsterdam who rubs Rick the wrong way, and I love it. He’s cute, too. I can’t wait for Kate to meet him.

Linda Edelstein plays Rachel McCord, Kate’s new partner on the federal task force, and she seems a bit put off by Rick. I don’t believe she likes Kate having a fiancé who distracts her from her duties. She certainly doesn’t like Rick sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. I have a feeling her attitude is going to come back to bite Kate at some point.

Rick keeps investigating once he gets home, of course, even though he promised Kate he wouldn’t — heck, I don’t think he could stop if he tried. He’s too curious. When federal agents turn up at the loft and take him into custody, Rick at first believes they’ve been tracking his Google searches. Or maybe that’s just my wild imagination.

Turns out the real reason they’re bringing him in is much more serious: The man who abducted Rick and forced him into the car in DC, then crashed, died from an aerated toxin filtered through the vehicle’s air vents. So Rick was exposed to the same toxin. He has one day left to live.

Ack! What a cliffhanger! And in the first episode of the season, right after Kate accepts his proposal. Well, so much for relaxing now that the season has begun. I’ll be a nervous wreck until next week. Rick will survive, of course, since he’s the title character, but not without a lot more angst, frustration, and gnashing of teeth.

What did you think of this week’s episode? I loved it. Can’t wait for more engaged Castle!

Lee Lofland

My role in these reviews is to pick apart the police procedure and forensics and then report the good and the bad. Well, there was very little of either in this episode, which made my job easy. Therefore, I was able to enjoy watching and listening to Castle’s one-liners. Of course, Fillion delivered the quick funnies flawlessly, as usual.

After watching Beckett make her transition from street cop to Special Agent Secret Squirrel in what appears to be mere weeks, I’m really hoping that writers out there don’t misunderstand and start penning federal law enforcement training as something that only lasts for a few days, because it’s far more detailed and intense. For example, newly hired Border Patrol agents must attend an 89-day basic training course that includes 105 hours of practical exercise training. The practicals are extremely realistic role-playing exercises where agents are exposed to at least 200 scenarios. Remember the building searches at the Writers’ Police Academy? Well, amplify that intensity by 100 and then do it in a couple hundred different situations, with real people as the bad guys. It is intense.

Anyway, I mentioned the training period because the show seemed to have Beckett in training, yet she was called away to work an extremely high-profile case (sort of like Clarice in the Silence of the Lambs). For starters, there are no lateral transfers from local homicide detective to superstar secret agent. It’s a different business, and everyone, even Beckett, must complete the required training course(s).

And that brings me to Beckett giving up her gun and sliding it to the man who was holding a woman hostage at gunpoint. So, they’ve started the season with Beckett already surrendering her weapon to a bad guy. Sure, the distraction device went “poof” and she was able to get her gun back, but she was lucky. Well, that and the writers made it work out for her. In real life, though, cops never give up their weapons. Suppose the distraction device malfunctioned? There’d she’d be, as she often is, without a gun while the thug then has two.

It would be nice for law enforcement if they had cameras on every single corner in our cities so they could have 24/7 video access to every move a crook makes, but they don’t. There are already more cameras out there than I feel comfortable with, but most of those are owned by private businesses or individuals. The cops do not have immediate access to them, especially in the sense that they can track someone block after block after block as they walk the streets. But, on this show, Secret Squirrel and her new partner have the entire city and everything about it at the touch of an interactive computer screen.

Secret Squirrel Becket and her new partner searching for clues

Beckett, the newest member of the secret agent squad, leads the team on a raid, where she kicks in the door, which, by the way, broke pieces of the door, the door jamb, and the surrounding door casing. First of all, most of the dangerous federal “raids” are conducted by specially-trained teams. Certainly, the newest member of the Secret Squirrel Squad, who is still in training, would not be the lead person through the door. Oh, and the part about the door crashing in with bits of woods flying everywhere. Nah. I’ve seen big, burly 225lb kickboxing cops who kicked and kicked and kicked and the doors never budged an inch. Besides, kicking in doors is pretty much a thing of the past, unless there’s no time to gather the troops and the officers need to gain immediate entry. Nowadays most officers use breaching tools or rams.

Sometimes, though, it pays to check the doorknob. You’d be surprised how many are actually unlocked, and it’s pretty doggone embarrassing to learn this after totally destroying a front door and it’s lock.

Finally, some of you may be wondering about the chemical weapon used to kill the guy in car with Castle. Sure, it’s possible for chemicals to be aerosolized (Syria). Remember, though, that the aerosol cannot be transmitted from one person to another, like a virus. Each person must inhale the aerosol to be affected.

So you tell me. Was the show believable? Or, were the law enforcement aspects just pure silliness. Remember, fiction is just that, something that’s made up to entertain. But believable make-believe is the secret to good fiction. It doesn’t have to be real, just make us believe that it is.

Jack Reacher is the perfect example of believable make-believe, and he’s so good at being a believable character that a few years ago I arrested him (played by Lee Child) for murder. He even confessed to the crime on the witness stand before a judge and jury. I had his signed statement and I had solid physical evidence that he’d committed the crime, including DNA.

Subsequent to Reacher’s public confession, the prosecutor asked the defendant why he killed the man, and Reacher’s reply was short and simple. “Because he needed killing.”

Lee Child as Jack Reacher, “Because he needed killing.”

And, even while knowing that Jack Reacher openly confessed to murdering a man, the jury found him not guilty. The jury foreman was asked why they let Reacher off the hook for murder, and without hesitation she replied, “Because he’s hot!”

The trial was all in fun, but it was a great learning tool, because Lee Child’s believable make-believe works really well, and so should yours.

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26 replies
  1. Raphael Salgado
    Raphael Salgado says:

    You’re right, Brook. The scriptwriters totally trivialized the fact that she served dutifully in that precinct for years and there was no send-off or emotional goodbyes, especially for her closest partners. Of course, it’s possible to assume it’s no big deal because she’ll probably land back in the NYPD by episode 3. And, of course, they could always correct it with flashbacks.

  2. brook
    brook says:

    so did she take the job before the swings or after? what happened to the scene telling the boys she’s leaving? think this is only episode she treats castle nicely the whole episode

  3. Gwise
    Gwise says:

    Lee, Melanie, Larkin: Cruise wasn’t bad in the role (although like you, I didn’t see it on release because of him, caught it on bluray later); very different from Child’s portrayal, yes, but he managed to pull it off without ruining the character IMO. I can’t speak concretely as to the believability of the make-believe (like Castle, it had both moments) which is why I asked.

    I think it’d be worth a watch; plus I’d love to hear Lee’s take on it.

  4. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I loved everyone’s comments. Thanks for reading the blog! I agree about Jack Reacher. Tom Cruise is why I didn’t go see the movie. I’m not a fan, plus the fact that IMHO, he doesn’t fit the role. Such a strange choice for that part.

  5. Larkin
    Larkin says:

    Clearly, I’ll have to look for this on Netflix.

    My husband and I have been married for about a zillion years (he’s a high-tech guy, not an LEO), and when he’s doing something secret (“black”), he doesn’t share that with me. Ever. Even if I wanted to put it into a novel, it would still be a no-go.

    And yet, every time there’s a TV show with a government type and a “civilian,” secrets fly around the room like monkeys on broomsticks. No wonder people are watching zombies on TV now. They’re more believable.

    Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher? I wanted to send Lee Child a condolence card when I heard that.

    You know, no matter what topic you’re addressing, you always make it interesting and engaging. Good job.

  6. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Nancy, you’re right. I didn’t catch that about Pi’s passport. How did he get in the US or did he loose it later? But if that’s true where was he staying because he went right to Casa de Castle. Interesting.

    Ah, personal. Love it, Melanie.

  7. Nancy J. Cohen
    Nancy J. Cohen says:

    I loved the show regardless of its lack of realism. It was plain fun. My husband, who watched it with me, got a kick out of Castle meeting his daughter’s boyfriend. Next week no doubt they’ll find an antidote to the toxin at the last minute. I’m hoping, with less than 24 hours to live, that Castle will want to marry Becket right away.

  8. t
    t says:

    About kicking the door in, Lee, you’re forgetting that the 6’2″ 250 pounders wouldn’t be wearing spiked heels (I assume ;-))…so I’m going with the notion it’s perfectly realistic that Beckett could kick in a door since she would lead with her high heel. Also, hey, if I were a super secret squirrel and wanted to keep my life intact, I’d send in the rookie first!…it’s a little like the rule when you hike that you don’t need to outrun the bear, just the slowest runner (just kidding, but not something we’ll ever test).

    TV has better shows, but I like reading your take. Happy Fall 2013.

  9. Maryann Mercer
    Maryann Mercer says:

    I somehow found myself wondering last night just how long it will be until a “bad guy” realizes Kate’s connection to the Castle family (after all, it’s no secret) and decides to threaten her with killing Castle or Alexis or Martha or her own dad.Especially since Castle isn’t exactly one to keep a low profile. I think I expected more…but what ‘more’ I don’t know. The “You only have a day to live” thing reminded me too much of DOA, except that we know Castle, unlike Edmund O’Brien, will get that antidote and Kate will catch the bad guys. And Lee, I’m with you on the Reacher movie. I’d rather keep my 6’3″ Reacher than a tiny Tom.

  10. Louisa Bacio
    Louisa Bacio says:

    We enjoyed the season opener very much in our house. But, there truly was a “really?” “Oh come on!” about a “To be continued” on the first episode. We’re just coming off the break. We don’t want a cliffhanger, where really is something going to happen to Castle? Will he die?

    I have to agree with the training issue, too. When the “Two months later” opened screen, the first thing I said to my daughter is, “No way. She’s going to have to train.”

  11. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Nancy – I’d already made up my mind that she was going to lose the gun somewhere, somehow, and she didn’t disappoint.

    I imagine, Nancy, it would depend on the type of delivery system that was installed inside the dashboard/ventilation ductwork. Perhaps it was on a timer, much like those you see in restaurants for dispensing air freshener, or flying pest killer. Then, it would deliver a squirt or two however often it was programmed to do so. And, there are probably dozens of different combinations they could use to dispense harmful chemicals/gases.

  12. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    G-Wise – Well, I haven’t seen the movie. I did see the scene where Lee played the part of the desk Sergeant, though. Somehow, I just can’t get used to Tiny Tom Cruise playing the part of Big Jack Reacher. I’d rather keep the mental image I have of Reacher safe, sound, and intact in my mind.

  13. Nancy Laughlin
    Nancy Laughlin says:

    I heard your voice in my head last night, Lee, when Kate put down her gun.

    I also want to know how Pi got into the US if he forgot his passport in Costa Rica so he can’t go home to Amsterdam? Did Alexis sneak him into the country somehow?

    How long will an aerosol chemical agent last in the car’s air conditioning system? I’m wondering because the bad guy died pretty quickly but Castle was still alive and symptom free hours or a day later. That means the bad guy must have been exposed much earlier than Castle, hence my question, how long would it last? Would the chemical agent get less potent with time or evaporate? Would it come out of the system a little at a time or all at once?

  14. Gwise
    Gwise says:

    I didn’t know Lee was a fellow Jack Reacher fan! Now I can’t help but ask: What’d you think of the movie?

  15. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    Hooray! So glad Kate said yes right away. I was afraid she’d start off with “I have more issues to work through” in which case I would have thrown something heavy at the TV. So glad the angst of Season Four is past. Loved the episode (Lee, I take the goofy police mistakes with a barrel of salt). Lots of fun, humor and Castle seemed even more delightful with his amateur sleuthing on his own without Beckett to guide him. Don’t know how well the long-distance romance will work out though.
    Personally, I disliked Pi. What is with Alexis’ taste in boyfriends? I suppose the writers put Pi in as an irritant for Rick, but the kid annoys me too. Hopefully he’ll ship off soon.
    The nerve gas ending was nutty because we all know if Rick dies, we’ll have the shortest TV season on record. Of course they’ll find the antidote after the last commercial break. No suspense there.
    Otherwise, a good start for the new season. Looks like the writers got their funny bones healed. But more romance, please. Can Rick finally take Kate out to a nice restaurant? Seems like they’re always sidetracked.

  16. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    Hahaha. I do think Pi is cute. Or rather, I would have when I was the same age as Alexis. He has dark hair and a mustache. That was enough for me back then. Let’s just say he brought back memories. lol

  17. Liberty Speidel
    Liberty Speidel says:

    Enjoyed the episode, but I cringed when Kate put down her gun. Why do the writers persistently have her put down her gun?!?! I’m writing a female cop right now, and the LAST thing she’d give up is her gun!

    Honestly, I wonder how long it’ll be before she’s back in NYC… I doubt they’re going to let this storyline run for very long.

  18. Pat
    Pat says:

    If you’re going to break in a front door or any door the team will use a hand held ram or a special shotgun round to take out the lock. If this was the real world Kate would have been reprimanded when Castle first started to interfere with this classified case and he would have been locked up in jail for more than a few hours. Any further interference and he’s going bye bye for a while. The Feds aren’t going to fool around with some doofus. After the Onion Field killings, no cop would ever give up their gun

  19. Raphael Salgado
    Raphael Salgado says:

    Good to have Castle back, as well as Lee/Melanie’s review, after a really long hiatus. The only thing that bothered me was seeing the FBI headquarters so “small,” especially where they had this one typical heavy-set nerd looking at all the multitude of monitors doing all the facial recognition.

    Regardless of the situation, do all screenwriters have to think it’s always have to be one geeky-looking superhacker staring at a zillion screens with frantic eyes while chopping wildly on a keyboard to depict some seemingly ubertechnical superiority?

  20. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    I loved this episode…until the end. My investigative skills are lacking, I didn’t know it was a two part show. I wanted to toss my shoe at the TV at 11 PM. Yes, I know Castle is the star and he will be saved, just let me know the show is in two parts a head of time, please.

    Re: training. I realized Kate would be in training longer than 6 weeks (I listen to everything you taught me, Lee.), but then the TV season would be over so I bought into the premise of the show tonight.

    Melanie, you must have better eyes than I do. I do not thing Pi is cute at all. I’m with Castle, I think Pi is a freeloader using Alexis. Can you tell I really don’t like him here? It will be interesting when Kate and the boys meet him and I have no doubt they will. I think Pi will be around for a while just to stir up trouble. LOL

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