Right. Well... That was weird.
I'll admit that I'm kind of at a loss as to what to think about this episode. It's not that I didn't enjoy it. It's just that I didn't get it. Castle has occasionally toed the line separating the general run-of-the-mill non-reality (e.g. Beckett's wardrobe and Tribeca apartment on her salary, Castle's Soho flat, how the 12th looks and is run, the feds' equipment, etc.) from the more totally bizarre, bombastic, ridiculous non-reality (I usually think of "Close Encounters" and the abduction by the feds, because, I mean, come on, what was that (even if it was totally hilarious)?). But "Time Will Tell" pretty much blew everything out of the water, to the point where there were times when I seriously questioning what show I was watching. I felt like I was spending half the episode waiting for Mulder or Buffy to show up, like there was a possibility that at any moment an interdimensional portal was going to open up in the middle of the bullpin or a couple black helicopters were going to descend upon the roof as the voice of Cecile Baldwin started rambling about the Glow Cloud. It was just completely bizarre, and as much as I could've accepted it, by the end the show seemed to really, really want you to believe that Simon Doyle wasn't a nutball. And that...that's just weird to me.
Castle isn't a sci fi show. It's a cop show. Sometimes it's a silly cop show, sometimes it's wildly ridiculous, sometimes it homages and pushes to the very edge of believability, but it's still a cop show. It's not The X-Files. Yet, this week... we went X-Files. In a lot of ways. I mean, come on...
|Is-- Is that... Oh my god. It's Ed Jerse.|
It's Eddie. Fucking. Jerse.
And there are a lot of reasons I'm unhappy about that.
The first is obvious. I don't tune into Castle for sci fi, and I feel like it's reasonable to expect that the show never go there. It breaks suspension of disbelief into a thousand jagged pieces to suddenly and randomly be thrown into a different genre. Castle's dealt with the supernatural before, but by wrapping time we're always given a rational explanation for everything, with at most one or two loose threads that tickle us with a playful little suggestion that maybe there is something para about the normal. "Scared to Death" was one of my favorite episodes of s5, as was "Demons" in s4. I love Scully-Beckett, and I really, really love (faux)Mulder-Castle, purposely ribbing Beckett whenever he can for the sake of personal amusement. But episodes like those never forgot that the show is, at heart, a procedural cop show (and "Close Encounters" didn't forget either). "Time Will Tell" did forget. It forgot hard. I don't know if this is a fault of editing or pacing, but even on the second watch I found myself being pushed into believing that Doyle was telling the truth. Never for a second did "Demons" or "Close Encounters" really leave me with that kind of impression. The fact that the episode then ends with him randomly disappearing, leaving his doo-hicky with Castle, and with Beckett creating the stain on that paper... that was just X-Files level of weird. That's actually precisely the sort of thing that XF would've done. The "rational explanation" felt more footnote-y than anything, shoved in there for about three seconds at the end.
And all of this I could sort of accept, except for what this episode is so heavily implying by having it end this way.
|Me too, Beckett, though for different reasons.|
I just... I can't handle it. I hate the idea that a woman cannot just end her story without children. And as petty as it is, I hate it when actresses get pregnant during filming, thus almost inevitably causing her character to also become pregnant. I thanked every god on Olympus, every god everywhere that has ever been conceived when Jill Hennessy's pregnancy only resulted in strategic coat and table placement in s3 of Crossing Jordan, and that Jordan was able to close the show having escaped the fate of becoming pregnant. This is something that Bones' Temperance Brennan did not escape (despite her s1 statement that she doesn't want children and has no intention of having any). This is something that Mary Shannon of In Plain Sight did not escape. This is something that Sydney Bristow of Alias did not escape (to my infinite displeasure, since as ridiculous as that show was I still sort of loved it). Dana Scully couldn't even escape it, despite her canon infertility. The idea of Beckett becoming pregnant with Castle's spawn is so horrifying to me that it honestly makes me feel slightly nauseous.
And "Time Will Tell" is almost blatantly stating, "Yeah, she's totally getting pregnant."
I had been entertaining the nightmare ever since the Caskett became a thing that Beckett was going to get pregnant. When we got through s5 without it ever coming up for even half a second, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. But this episode... between Castle's relaying his want to relive Alexis' childhood and Doyle's predictions, I'm really starting to feel that we're going to close s6 with a positive pregnancy result.
This is literally the worst possible thing that could happen. No matter how much I've invested (and I've invested a lot into the show right now), if it happens, that's it: I'm done. I'm done immediately, no question. I stopped watching IPS and Alias literally the second the pregnancies were revealed.
The problem with "Time Will Tell" in this context is then... everything. The name is suggestive ("only time will tell if Doyle was correct"). The ending is suggestive ("guys, he really is from the future, and he knows that they have three children"). The dialogue is suggestive ("our future" from Beckett, Castle clearly wanting to spend time with tiny!Alexis again, and the later "drive you crazy" comment). It's such blatant fan-service for Caskett fannits who would inevitably support this sort of thing that it makes me feel like I should start lowering the lifeboat off the ship and piling in the life jackets.
The thing is that I don't want to jump ship. I want to keep enjoying Castle until it ends. I want to keep enjoying Beckett, keep enjoying her badassery, keep enjoying how quickly she draws her gun, that look on her face when she leads the way into a hostage scene or a dangerous scenario, when she glares down some dirtbag in the box like she's an attack dog sitting poised at the end of a short length of chain, and I want to keep enjoying casual!Beckett with her flowy clothes and easy smile. A pregnancy won't change Castle much, if it all (he's already a father), but it will change Beckett. It will change her a lot. A lot a lot. And I don't watch Castle for children and family drama, and I certainly don't watch it to see Beckett getting increasingly chained to her desk because of her (unsightly) physical impediment. I don't want to see her angsting about how a pregnancy and a kid is going to affect her life (considering, a) she's a confirmed workaholic, and b) she loves her job), I don't want to see some cutesy dialogue between her and Castle about her having to give up coffee until she has the kid, and I really, really, really, really do not want to see her in any stage of pregnancy, birth, or baby-holding.
|Ugh, just shoot me, Beckett.|
"Time Will Tell" is the first episode that's seriously suggested that Beckett is going to be subjected to this shit. What's worse is that it was co-written by the creator of the show (Marlowe). Am I being alarmist in reading into this? Maybe, but I can't help myself, especially since Beckett didn't say anything against the idea of having children. And it's because of this that this episode put the fear of god into me.
As for the rest of the episode, it was entertaining (up until Doyle made his predictions, at which point my brain pretty much melted). I didn't have that strong of a reaction to Alexis wanting to move in with Pi. The thing about Alexis is she's always pretty much done what she wants, just like her father, and I've justified in my head-canon why she's in a relationship with Pi: I think part of her likes his dependence on her, especially since her other canonical boyfriends all left her (from what I can remember; I mean, she broke up with Ashley, but he physically and emotionally left her long before that); I think she likes how casual and non-serious he is, especially in light of the fact that she's such an extreme academic fuddy duddy, because I think she probably finds it comforting (I can totally see her being one of those college students who's starting to fear what she's actually going to do with her life once she graduates); I think it's possible that she's too naive to see that part of what's motivating him to be with her (I'm guessing) is her money. Moving in with him may not be the brightest move on her part, but it's not like she's marrying him (merging assets), and I'm really, really confident that if they two of them have started boinking, she's practicing safe sex. Once things go wrong, I can see it being an ugly break-up, sure, probably even a messy one, what with them living together, but not permanently damaging-- either emotionally, financially, or physically (since Pi doesn't exactly strike me as violent). Do I like the fact that she fought with Castle? No. But, then again, this is hardly the first time they've clashed over her decisions regarding her relationships (I have a feeling that she may have internalized Castle always telling her that she's "the smart one" -- to the point where she believes that she truly is better at making decisions than him). I'm sure in a few episodes she'll show up in tears on Castle's doorstep telling him what a mistake she's made, apologizing for acting rashly and impulsively, for not listening, and everything will be fine. I mean, for god's sake, Castle is rich enough to buy any attorney in the nation, and his fiance is a cop. If there's anyone who could get out of a messy relationship with very little real blowback, it's someone with Alexis' resources.
At any rate, that's pretty much all I have to say. To be frank, I just really, really hope "Time Will Tell" was nothing more than tease, because I'd love to rewatch it ten episodes or a season from now and laugh at how ridiculous my reaction was to it, since it was otherwise a hilarious episode on the face of it (I mean, come on, the only thing more annoying than ghosts or demons or Big Foot or aliens or the CIA would have to be time travelers when it comes to working with Castle on a case, especially if a lot of the evidence piling up is only supporting Castle's whimsy when all she truly wants is to find the living, breathing, skin-and-bone explanation for everything so she can close the case and go home and take a bath and go to bed). Joshua Gomez' (Doyle) performance was a lot of fun to watch. I loved watching Beckett getting tackled like a quarterback (to match the shoulder pads), finally dragging herself up from her daze with gun and temper raised high. I'm finding it amusing that this is the fourth time Castle has almost died in as many episodes (since, again, I consider 6.01 and 6.02 to be one episode canonically). I'm wondering what happened to Gates and Sully, but to be honest it doesn't bother me that much that Beckett got her desk back and hasn't been relegated to a new place. Overall, it was good, fun, solid.
It's just... yeah. You get it, you know what I'm concerned about. I just hope I'm wrong, overblowing the whole thing because I'm on high alert.
|Please just shoot Bracken in the face before something worse has the chance of happening.|
At least give me the pleasure of watching you pull that trigger if things are truly going to go the way I fear.
And then you can go ahead and shoot me too.