Recap: XX

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CASTLE - "XX" - In part two of last week's Season 8 premiere, Beckett's side of her abrupt disappearance is revealed. After receiving a mysterious tip from her past, Beckett is launched into a fight for her life, with a team of mercenaries hot on her trail. While Castle investigates why his wife is on the run, Beckett must figure out who wants her dead, before they can finish the job. "XX" will air on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 (10:01-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Richard Cartwright) STANA KATIC, NATHAN FILLION

Castle wrapped up its premiere episodes with a doozy of an endling with Beckett putting the “pause” button on the relationship. Let’s be real here, regardless of what TPTB say in the media “they broke up” no one actually believes they broke up from this side of the TV screen. I’ll use the word pause here on out because that’s exactly what it is at the end of the day. There’s no break-up (they are still wearing their wedding rings) and are clearly still madly in love with each other. From a marketing standpoint using the word “break-up” is far more catchy than pause. It’s like saying a car smashed into building as opposed to saying it crashed.

“XX” opens up right where “XY” ended with Beckett looking out the window of a seized drug house with the bad guys rolling up. Her and Vikram share a moment of reflection before they try to get some sleep. Using the old “broken lightbulbs” trick, Beckett is quickly alerted to trouble lurking right outside. Just as they think they are about to make a getaway, they get cornered. Much like how Jackson Hunt ambushed the kidnappers in “Hunt”, Beckett and Vikram are rescued by Hunt’s better half, Rita (played by the wonderful Ann Cusack).

As promised in the weeks leading up to the premiere, “XX” flips the POV around to Beckett where the audience is quickly filled-in with time between Beckett left the loft that morning to the present day. It traces back to Beckett’s brief time when she worked in the AG’s office and she ran a search on Bracken hoping find a connection. Her search came up empty until very recently when it returned a hit on a redacted memo with the name “LockSat” on it.

It’s this memo that was then forward to Rachel McCord (Beckett’s old partner) that sets the chain of events of “XY” and “XX” into motion. They were killed because of what they saw, Beckett was targeted because she is more tied to the case than anyone. She knows intimate details of Vulcan Simmon’s operations and Bracken’s dirty dealings.

Rita fills in the blanks for our characters (and the audience) about a CIA partner who is using the agency to smuggle in drugs into the U.S. long after Beckett and company broke up the ring in “Veritas” (6×22). Bracken is killed by LockSat’s hired guns and Rita tells Vikram and Beckett they have to run, it’s the only way they’ll survive.  Beckett sticks to her guns: she has to get justice for Rachel and the rest of her old AG team and decides to take on LockSat and whoever else he sends her way.

After their reunion, Castle confronts Beckett about why she didn’t clue him on what is going on and about keeping secrets, something that will surely come up later on and throughout the season (given the interviews).

Operation takedown “LockSat” seemingly ends when the assistant AG sent to “find out” what happened to McCord ends with her suicide. Or does it? Of course not.

Here’s what we know…

LockSat is a dangerous person who many resources at his (or her) disposal. It’s because of this Beckett takes Rita’s words to heart about dragging people down into the rabbit hole if she decides to pursue going after whoever or whatever is the new nemesis. Anyone and everyone will become someone of value. Beckett makes the decision that could have disastrous effects going forward.

The last few minutes of this episode was perhaps the most difficult to watch. The decision Beckett makes here isn’t to give off some sort of “sign” that she and Castle aren’t together anymore to the new bad but to keep Castle in away from his inquisitive nature as she pursues this new obsession herself. The “pause” in the relationship isn’t to give off false impressions but to keep Castle in the dark as she goes down the rabbit hole. She can’t investigate this while living together because she knows Castle too well, he will get involved and that will make him a target.

Beckett asks Castle forgiveness and then leaves the loft, leaving Castle along with an audience shocked and confused. The symbolism of the front door being open is in away, Beckett wanting Castle to stop her but to also say she wants the opportunity to be welcomed back when she “sorts” through her issues.

A few things more…

Is Beckett’s logic flawed? Castle, even the boys, Martha, Alexis and Jim are all targets as she dives into this investigation. So yes, in a way, it’s flawed. But the key here is that as long as she keeps them at a distance and in the dark they aren’t in danger or so she thinks.

Think about this way: it would be nothing for the new bad to order another hit squad to take Beckett out. She’s easily accessible. They would ambush her as she gets home from work, leaves for work, cause an accident, rig the car to blow up. They don’t need to go after Castle to do so, or even take him to use as leverage. They could just kill her. At this time, LockSat firmly believes she has dropped it, satisfied with the pawn of the assistant AG’s “suicide.”This is also not a character regression. We’ve seen this behavior in Beckett countless times in the past. When it comes to her mother’s murder she puts up walls and dives head first without considering the consequences.  She was written completely in character. Her actions, her decisions all in tune with the past. This wasn’t out of left field.

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