Midseason Report Card: Was ‘Castle’ season 8 hindered by the split?

There are times when we admittedly do our best to give shows the benefit of the doubt, mostly because we want to believe that in time, a show will justify a twist with its subsequent actions. We were like that for a long time with Castle and Becett’s separation on “Castle” season 8. We wanted to believe that this was something that would make more sense over time, and we’re still not entirely sure that it ever did.

With that being said, did this twist in some way ruin all of season 8 as a whole? That’s something we’re going to get into more in the latest entry in our Midseason Report Card series.

What worked – Episodes like “Cool Boys” and “The Last Seduction” were incredibly fun and stuffed full of great, classic “Castle” moments like a chase scene in a spa, or Rick learning about Slaugher’s history in the performing arts. The show was best when they were doing things to help us forget about our frustrations, and this helped. The same goes for some of the supporting storylines. We like that there was conflict over Ryan and Esposito when it comes to their job titles, jealousy, and the need to move up in the NYPD. Ryan was presented with a real-world problem: He has a second kid on the way, and he’d probably like to have a job where he didn’t have to work every second of the day.

Oh, and Castle and Beckett did get together again during “Mr. & Mrs. Castle.”

What didn’t – Why in the world was the “Mr. & Mrs. Castle” twist not the way it was the entire season? Having the two pretending to break up but still being together in secret would’ve been fun, and also would’ve probably provided enough of a change in formula to keep things fresh. The breakup was just depressing, as it made the lack of tangible screen time together for Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic in the first eight episodes all the more depressing.

Granted, even if they did do the secret-relationship twist, there’s one other logical problem that would remain: LokSat would probably still target Castle even if they were divorced. They’re not idiots, and they’ll know the people Beckett is close to regardless. This entire charade of “protecting” him feels more like a pony show, and after this many seasons you would think these two would realize that they really are stronger together.

Overall – There were some good individual episodes in here. However, in looking at these first eight episodes as a block, it’s hard to remember them that fondly when the central storyline was something so unnecessary. We don’t think viewers watch “Castle” for the twist and the shockers; it’s more TV comfort food, a fun whodunnit where they know what they’re getting week in and week out. Grade: C+.

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