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Guest Star Goodness

Two Takes: Castle “Driven” 

Photo Credit: Kelsey McNeal/ABC
Photo Credit: Kelsey McNeal/ABC

ABC’s Castle returns with a premiere that finally answers the question we’ve been asking all summer long: What happened to Rick? “Driven” is a great episode to start off season seven. In fact, we decided it’s so major, we needed two takes to recap all the action.

Kara: So, I feel like I need to start this off by confessing something: I stopped watching Castle last season. I’d been a fan for so long, but there were some things that weren’t working for me so I felt like I needed a break. Then when I heard the season 6 finale ended in such dramatic fashion, I knew I’d have to give the series another chance. And I am so glad I did because “Driven” is a great episode, but there’s one thing that really irritated me — even though I completely understand it. As the evidence piles up supporting the FBI’s theory that Castle has, in fact, staged his own kidnapping Beckett, Espo and Ryan give up on him. That hurt me on an emotional level. I just hate that even in the face of overwhelming evidence, they all go to a very dark place. As I said, I get it. But I was very upset.

Tina: Well, I don’t feel like Beckett totally gave up on him. I just don’t. I think doubts entered her mind. But I think her mind kept coming up with possibilities that would explain away what happened to Rick. To be honest, I was frankly more hurt by Espo than anyone. Because I feel like Ryan at least tried to give Castle the benefit of the doubt at first. I get that Espo is highly protective of Kate. And they seem to share more of a bond than Kevin does with Beckett. But I was disappointed that he was totally believing Castle’s guilt once he saw the video of Rick dropping off that money in the dumpster. OK, that’s my one negative opinion of this episode. At the beginning of the hour, I was worried they were going to find Rick right away and there wasn’t going to be much to this abduction. But he was gone for two months, Kara. TWO MONTHS! And when he gets back he has no memory of where he’s been or that he was shot at one point during his captivity or whatever went on with him. I truly hope that it’s going to be fun and mysterious and interesting to find out what really happened when Rick was gone all those weeks.

Kara: Beckett admits that she gave up on Castle, but I also have to believe that there was still some small part of her that believed she’d find Castle and that there would be an explanation. [EDIT: I had to go back and watch that scene again. The “giving up” vs. “losing hope” thing was bothering me. You were definitely right, which I never doubted, I just don’t know what made me think she said she gave up on him as well. *Sighs with relief.*] And, the evidence against Castle was overwhelming. We’ve got the video footage of him dropping the 10K off, making it seem like Castle staged his own kidnapping. We’ve got the fake Henry Jenkins telling Beckett, Espo and Ryan that he’d seen Castle camping on the shore. Camping? Ha! Can you imagine Castle camping? Glamping, sure. Camping? Um, no. But inside the tent, they find Castle’s wedding tux, his watch, some other possessions and newspapers from the last few months — proving that he’s been keeping tabs on the story of his disappearance. Am I missing anything else? Whatever happened to him over those two months, I’m also really interested to find out who is behind it and what this mysterious person or persons had Castle do. But mostly, I’m ecstatic that the team is back together. Oh, speaking of Espo — that scene where someone is handing Beckett a (Starbucks) coffee cup? You can see that she thinks it might be Castle. And then when her face changes as she realizes it’s not him? That broke my heart. I do appreciate that Espo made the gesture and that he was there for her throughout this terrible ordeal. I literally cannot imagine thinking the person you want to spend your life with is dead or a liar and impostor for any amount of time.

Tina: She’s probably most down when she returns to the camp site with Castle. She interrogates Rick as if he’s guilty. But I still feel like she never hit rock bottom with her accusatory thoughts. She looks a bit devastated, yes. But she still listens to him. And then, of course, it doesn’t hurt that when they go back to talk to Henry Jenkins, she realizes the guy she originally questioned is a fake. And Fake Henry probably has something to do with Castle’s disappearance. By the way, I really enjoyed the scene at the end where Beckett tells Castle how she would get her hope back every time she lost it. Staring at his picture on the board…not letting anyone touch his chair. I get how with such overwhelming evidence you can think the worst about someone you love. And I wonder if it’s going to affect their relationship in the near future. Castle’s the one that says he’s sorry for what she went through. I’m glad she says it’s not his fault. What’s really heartbreaking is what is said next:

Rick: “We can’t just pick up where we left off, can we, as if nothing happened.”
Kate: “No.”
Rick: “We’ll get there. We’ll find our way home.”

It’s so sad how a traumatic event can affect a relationship. But I have to say, I love Castle’s strength here. He’s going to need that strength in the future to find out what happened to him.

Kara: Yes! Loving Castle’s strength and insight. I’m glad that they both realize they need to rebuild some trust and do some work to get back to where they were before. I also love when Martha, Alexis, Rick and Kate are toasting Castle’s safe return and he calls Kate the love of his life. I hope Kate never truly doubted that, but I appreciate that Castle feels the need to remind her. Also, how great was it that Lanie could pitch in with this case even though there wasn’t a dead body to examine? We’ve already talked about how we want to see Tamala Jones get more screen time in general. I was happy that she could provide a little bit of information on what Castle had been up to. You mentioned the bullet wound already, but she was also able to tell Beckett that Castle had been in Africa, Asia or Latin America in the last two months because of the dengue fever antibody in this blood. But the fact that neither Lanie nor the doctor at the hospital can find traces of anything else in his blood — like a drug or something else that would explain memory loss – is puzzling. And the psychologist pretty much rules out trauma, although as she says there’s no way to really know. I mean, this really is an exciting mystery.

Tina: I totally agree. I want to find out more, more, more. How does Matt Letscher’s character fit into this? Who else are we going to be introduced to because of this mystery? My expectations are up. So, Castle Powers That Be, please don’t let us down. Make this Rick-centric mystery every bit as good as you did the murder of Beckett’s mother story arc. I’m also curious as to when we’re going to get another wedding for Kate and Rick. One that will go off without an “ex”-husband showing up to throw a wrench into things. One without some sort of dangerous plot interrupting the event. Just sweet wedding bliss. I’m sure they’ll wait for one of the sweeps months. But it better happen this season. And, yes, I think we fans have a right to be impatient.

We’ve mentioned Matt Letscher. We recognized him and a couple other guest stars in “Driven.”

Guest Star Goodness

  • Jon Lindstrom plays Special Agent Connors. He’s called in to cover Castle’s kidnapping from a federal side of things. Lindstrom is best known to daytime fans (like us) for his roles on General Hospital and its late GREAT spin-off, Port Charles. He actually played Dr. Kevin Collins and his serial killing brother, Ryan Chamberlain. Actually, the actor made a few appearances on GH earlier this year. Lindstrom played Mark McCormick on one of the best soaps ever created, Santa Barbara. And he did a damn good job as a recast Craig Montgomery on another cancelled soap, As the World Turns.
  • Matt Letscher plays Henry Jenkins. Beckett and co. come across Henry Jenkins during their investigation. Something tells us we’ll be seeing him again this season. We love Letscher. He was recently the dad on the CW’s The Carrie Diaries. He was the totally douche-tastic Billy Chambers on one of our favorite shows, Scandal. He’s done a couple episodes of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Some of his other TV credits include: Joey, Eli Stone, Brothers and Sisters, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Bent.
  • Don Stark plays Vincent “The Scar” Cardano. With a character name like that, it’s no surprise to find out the guy he plays is mob related. He also has something to do with this case. He’s actually brought in to the precinct for questioning. He actually originated this role in a season five episode called “Murder, He Wrote.” Anyway, Stark is a veteran actors with tons of TV credits to his name. You might remember him as Donna’s dad on That ’70s Show. He was a producer in the “Hollywood Babylon” episode of Supernatural. He’s been in everything from Sledge Hammer! to The Golden Girls to Baywatch to Curb Your Enthusiasm. Most recently he’s been playing Oscar Kincade, the dastardly owner of the fictional NBA team, The Devils, on VH1’s Hit the Floor.

Castle airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.

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