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Gold Stars: Castle “Kill Shot” 

Photo Credit: ABC

Leading up to this week’s episode, the buzz was there. We knew “Kill Shot” was going to pack a powerful punch and that’s exactly what happened. It lived up to the hype and became an episode chock full of so much goodness. Too much to narrow it down to just one scene or standout moment. It’s better I hand out some well-deserved gold stars for some great performances.1. Stana Katic

Photo Credit: ABC

Well, this one goes without saying. This was her episode, right? When a sniper starts wreaking havoc on the city, it triggers so much pain for the usually tough-as-nails detective. She runs to her therapist after having issues dealing with this mystery assailant’s actions. Thanks to Katic, Beckett’s fear is palpable. And so is her frustration with not being able to handle this situation and this case like she usually does. Soon she becomes out of control. She’s snapping at Castle for no reason; she’s playing bad cop with a witness when she didn’t have to; she’s flashing back; staring at her scars from the shooting; and finally she’s crouching in a hidden spot crying from fear and loss of control.

Beckett’s scenes with her therapist were really well done. Hopefully the show will continue to let us in on her sessions as the season goes along because Michael Dorn simply rocks as the therapist Beckett’s turning to for help in finding a way to deal with her PTSD and get past all her issues her mom’s murder created. Hopefully, with his help, she’ll be able to tackle all that baggage and transform herself from someone who’s “damaged goods” into a woman who is ready for love. And more importantly, a woman ready to love Castle.

Castle is often a light and funny show but, man, when it decides to go deep and dark it goes for it. It doesn’t completely lose the humor but the comedy does sort of take a back seat. What I love about Beckett is she can be that tortured soul and that driven perfectionist. But she also has this inner fangirl who geeks out over baseball, TV shows and Castle’s novels. And whenever she forgets the ability to smile, she has Castle there to remind her. That’s part of what makes them so great. Stana Katic’s performance was equally intense and heartbreaking and helped make “Kill Shot” one of the best episodes of the season and the series.

2. Jon Huertas

Photo Credit: ABC

Who knew Esposito would be such an integral part of this Beckett episode? So glad he was. Huertas showed us an Esposito who was knowledgeable and supportive. Plus, Javier helped put his colleague and friend on the right path to healing. After the cops figured out they were hunting a sniper, it was up to Esposito to get into the mind of the murderer. He was once a sniper in the Army Special Forces so he could guess what the gunman was thinking and feeling. His quick-thinking helped find a shell case with a finger print. I actually really loved that scene between Esposito and Castle. He was so sure of himself. It was pretty intense. And when he discovered that shell case I was amazed. Let me just say how engrossed in this episode I was. At the beginning I was taking notes. By the time the episode was over, I hadn’t really written down much of anything. And Huertas’ performance helped create that kind of environment. The writing was there. And the acting was too.

But the scene of the episode was the one between Esposito and Beckett after Castle asked Javier, the ex-sniper, to help Kate. In the evidence room, Esposito took out the rifle that shot her at Montgomery’s funeral. He helped give Beckett the strength to deal with what happened to her head on:

Esposito: “This is just a tool. It’s a hunk of steel. It has no magical powers and the person that fired it is not some all powerful god. He’s just a guy. With a gun. Just like the guy we’re hunting now. Like every other bad guy, he’s damaged goods.”
Beckett: “So am I.”
Esposito: “That’s right. And that’s OK. You think it’s a weakness? Make it a strength. It’s a part of you. So use it.”

I think that had to be my Moment of Goodness among a slew of really great scenes. Huertas stepped up and hit a home run. This pep talk was just what Beckett needed to hear and Esposito was the only one who could have really delivered the message. And it got through to Beckett. She wasn’t miraculously cured but it did give her courage to face her fears then actually go and do something about it with her therapist. Job well done on all fronts.

3. Nathan Fillion

Photo Credit: ABC

Just because I have him down as number three doesn’t mean he didn’t have any less of an impact on “Kill Shot.” It’s actually the opposite. Castle is always competent even as he comes up with one wild theory that goes nowhere after another. But the presence of the famed novelist was huge for this sniper case. He came up with a bunch of the leads including figuring out the clues to where the sniper was going to hit next (with a little help from Alexis, of course). A lot of his theorizing went places which was cool to see. And he did much of this while trying to solve the case alongside Iron Gates. Part of me wishes the captain had acknowledged Castle’s resourcefulness with a “good job” or “I underestimated you.” But I don’t need her to validate him in that way. Just continue to let him investigate with Beckett, Esposito and Ryan and stop giving him trouble. And I’m happy.

Castle also quickly spotted when things went wrong with Beckett. And you know what he did? He didn’t pry too much. He let her have the space to work things out on her own. Quietly, he asked Esposito to talk to Kate knowing he could provide something to her that he couldn’t. He didn’t complain or interfere. He was sensitive yet still charming. He was the perfect friend. I’m proud of Castle. Much thanks to Fillion for playing him so well.

Castle airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.

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