Every Monday from now until the season premiere in September, we’ll be feature a random episode of the week. There’s no method to our madness other than we won’t select an episode twice and it won’t be a recently aired episode on ABC (in the last four weeks). So without further delay, this week’s episode is:
A sniper on a killing spree is terrorizing New York City. With the clock ticking down to the next murder and nothing to go on except a killer with no apparent motive but to instill terror, this could prove the team’s toughest case yet. The hunt is made even more complicated when Beckett begins to experience increasingly strong moments of PTSD – moments she tries hard to hide from Castle and the detectives.
Original Airdate | November 21, 2011
Written by | Alexi Hawley and Directed by | David M. Barrett
- Scott Michael Campbell as Lee Travis
- Alexis Carra as Julie
- Marcus Choi as EMT
- Tony Elias as Chris Nunez
- Christina Ferraro as Sarah Vasquez
- Natalie Lander as Marie
- Mark Nelson as Hot Shot
- Adam Pilver as Manager
- Joy Regullano as Anna
- Mandy June Turpin as Caire Travis
- Karissa Vacker as Emily Reese
- Troy Winbush as Marcus Ford
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT THIS EPISODE | Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious mental health condition that affects more than just soldiers and emergency services personnel. It can affect anyone who’s experienced a traumatic event. Detective Kate Beckett still has the physical scars from the shooting but she is also suffering from the psychological effects. Her symptoms don’t go unnoticed by those around her. The depiction of Beckett’s of PTSD is about as honest and real as they come.
THE CASE | Someone is targeting people in New York City. The sniper has carefully picked his victims based on their success. Each victim that Beckett comes across triggers a PTSD episode and each sends her further spiraling to the point of no return. The team is finally able to connect the shooter to a series of tokens left behind that point to the next shooting. They eventually are able to figure how the shooter is and where his next, and last, target will be.
When they finally catch up with the suspect, Beckett tries to talk him into finding another way. She tells the suspect that if he’s going to shoot her, he has to look in her eyes. They are too much alike she tells him. But he’s not backing down. Esposito saves Beckett’s life by shooting the suspect thus proving to her that snipers are also a force for good.
BECKETT’S PTSD | Kudos to Stana Katic for her portrayal of Det. Beckett’s PTSD. Her PTSD progresses throughout the episode at first she tries to deal with it. But as the case starts to unfurl so too her PTSD. Castle is concerned at first but no one really notices until the second shooting when Beckett ducks at the sound of the siren. They all look at her and she looks at them—she can’t hide what’s going on but they all know. What happens next is probably the best advice anyone who knows someone who’s suffering from PTSD is that is best to give them space and not crowd them.
The symbolism of her tearing off her coat and gloves and tossing her gun and badge down on the floor in the office building is symbolic of one’s struggle to separate oneself from the trauma and the physical world. She finally succumbs, realizing she can’t deny what’s going on anymore.
But what happens next is perhaps the best scene of the entire episode. Jon Huertas performance as Esposito complements Katic’s handling of Beckett in this episode. He is the only person that truly knows what she is struggling with. As a veteran, he knows and has experienced PTSD first hand. He takes her aside and tells her to hold the rifle that shot her. He goes on to tell her that the guy who shot her is just a bad guy and the rifle is just a tool. They’re not this all powerful force. Esposito tells Beckett to use the rifle for strength to get through this. And she does. She is able to figure out that the bizarre shooting locations are related to a physical condition.
At the end of the episode, Beckett tells her therapist that she’s finally ready to confront her shooting. She also realizes that her PTSD isn’t solely related to just the shooting—but her mother’s death. She’s finally ready to let go and move on.
SNIPER SCHOOL WITH JAVY | Granted this episode was about as heavy and as serious as they come. But one has to like how Javier Esposito walked the viewer through sniper school without it being the dreaded information dump or long exposition. At every turn of the case, he was explaining something in such a way that was easy to handle and understand.
THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR | It almost killed me to see Castle helpless as he watched Beckett spiral out of control. He went to the right guy for advice and heeded it. He didn’t push. He let Beckett sort through this and had her back when she needed it the most. The boys did as well. One could even think Gates that probably did as well. No captain would allow a cop who was a victim of a sniper shooting work a case involving sniper shootings. Gates probably had enough confidence in the boys to tell her if Beckett wasn’t up to the task.
BEST LINE | It’s hard to pinpoint a best line in this episode. But I think this the best one:
Castle: Just waiting for my partner. Maybe you’ve seen her. Pretty girl, thinks she can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Carries the weight of the world on her shoulders, yet still manages to laugh at some of my jokes.
OTHER THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR | Just before the final scene with the therapist and after Castle says Beckett owes him a lot of coffee and he leaves, Beckett starts to register that perhaps it’s time to let some of the blocks she’s put up around herself to start collapsing. And that’s evident from her conversation with Dr. Burke—she’s ready to move on. She has to.