Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Castle - Season 7 Episode 6 - The Time of Our Lives

After having to wait an extra week, Castle fans finally got the episode we have been waiting for, The Time of Our Lives.  Overall, I am very, very happy with the episode.

There are spoilers ahead, so beware if you haven’t watched the episode yet.  You have been warned.  Read at your own risk.

First, before I get into anything else, I want to clear up one thing.  The wedding does really happen.  It is not a dream or something in an alternate world.  It happens.  It is beautiful and wonderful.  I will go into more detail with that in a bit.

The episode begins by showing a man riding in the back of a vehicle with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist.  He seems a bit nervous, and it turns out he has reason to be.  His car is ambushed, he and the driver are killed, and the killer uses a rather unpleasant method of getting the briefcase.

At the loft, Kate is putting together breakfast when Rick joins her in the kitchen.  He hasn’t been able to sleep the last few nights for some reason.  Martha is considering whether she should audition for a new play.  He sees that Kate had gotten an invitation to Will Sorenson’s wedding and that gets the two of them having short talk about how they would be different if they hadn’t met.  Kate then gets a call about a murder and they head off.  The victim is the man that was ambushed.  Rick notices something that makes him think an abandoned coal plant might be involved and he convinces Kate to stop there to check it out. 

On the way inside the plant, Rick asks Kate if she wants to go to Will’s wedding and she says she isn’t ready to see someone else’s perfect day, something that clearly upsets Rick.  Inside they find evidence that seems connected to the murder including some kind of amulet that Rick picks up.  Some kind of alarm goes off, alerting the bad guys that they are there.  There is an explosion, Rick is thrown through a door, falls through it or jumps through it as an odd light washes over him.  When he gets up, Kate and all evidence that anything was going on there is gone.  He rushes back to the 12th, telling Ryan and Esposito that Kate is in trouble.  They call out the captain, who is Kate and she says she has never met Rick before.

Rick is surprised but tries to convince everyone that he knows them.  He knows things about a current crime scene, which raises suspicion so they take him into interrogation.  Kate eventually goes into interrogation and mentions wild things that Rick has done, like jumping onto a float during the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade and singing a duet of Let it Go - he would never sing a duet of that song.  She wants to know when they met, and he mentioned the book party six years before when she had short hair that was cute.  Kate says that didn’t happen and that a different detective contacted Rick about the murder that was similar to his book.  Rick did help with that case, but he didn’t continue to work with the police and never wrote the Nikki Heat books. 

Rick ends up calling Martha to pick him up and is surprised to see her signing autographs in the precinct.  Her career has done very well on the stage and she is in final preparations for a revival of Mame.  Rick is in for even more shocks when they get back to the loft.  Since Martha co owns the loft - that happened after Rick lost most of his money - she went a bit wild in the decorating department.  Alexis is home for a few days to see the opening of Mame.  She moved to California three years before and dyed her hair black and she and Rick don’t have a great relationship.  When he can’t make himself wake up, Rick decides he is in some alternate world and sets out to find a way back home.  Rick manages to talk his way into observing Ryan and Esposito - mostly in exchange for good seats to Mame.  Ryan is a huge Martha fan.  Rick tries to find the amulet again but manages to get himself in trouble with the guys and Kate and he is kicked out.  Rick is persistent though, and he sneaks his way through the precinct to watch another interrogation, only to be caught and thrown into holding.  Kate shows up and lets him out, saying she doesn’t want to do the paperwork.  She also admits that they met years before at a book signing.

Rick returns to the precinct again, and he asks Kate out for a drink.  She accepts and shares that she isn’t sure that being a detective was the right job for her since she never solved the case that set in down that career path to begin with.  They are able to catch a suspect that closes the case, though the amulet is still missing and they don’t know the whole story.  Kate is satisfied but Rick isn’t.  That night Rick and Alexis talk, with her sharing that when he gave up on writing after a badly received book, she felt like what she isn’t making a difference either and that she shouldn’t bother anymore.  He tells her that everything matters, which makes him determined to get through to Kate.  The next morning he picks up coffee to take only, only to be taken at gunpoint.

One of the bad guys takes Rick back to the factory.  Marcus Lark, a wealthy man, has the amulet and believes that Rick is from an alternate world and wants to know how the amulet works.  He is less than pleased when Rick says he doesn’t know how it works.  Kate shows up just in time to save Rick.  Then another armed person shows up, and Rick jumps in front of Kate, saving her from being shot.  Kate asks why he did that and he says it was because he loved her.  The medallion activates again, sending Rick home.  He wakes up to Kate wanting to know if he is all right.  Once he sees the engagement ring, he knows he is back home.  Rick tells Kate about what he went through before saying it helped him figure out a few things, including why he hadn’t been able to sleep the last few days.  It is because they didn’t get their wedding day.  He thinks they are ready now and he asks Kate to marry him now.

They head to the Hamptons with Martha, Alexis, and Jim (Kate’s dad) and have a ceremony outside at sunset.  Kate has a new outfit that is different than I expected but fits her.  I am almost 100% sure that she is wearing the earrings that Martha gave her the last time.  Their vows are sweet and beautiful.  The episode ends with Jim, Martha, and Alexis drinking champagne while Rick and Kate dance to a song he plays on his cell phone with Kate proclaiming it to be perfect.

Like I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect from the alternate world type of story.  I first read a little bit about that a few months ago I think it was.  At that point, there was basically no information shared other than it would be an alternate world story and I thought it sounded interesting.  Then I saw the first preview, at the end of the fifth episode, along with another short clip that had the story idea making less sense to me at that point.  I think the story ended up working well.  It was entertaining and interesting to see the different versions of characters - some more different than others.  Kate was definitely successful in her career, but had no personal life and didn’t seem to have much in the way of happiness.  She even doubted her job choice because she hadn’t been able to solve her mother’s murder.  Kevin and Jenny’s relationship fell apart after he and Javier had to work longer hours when Kate was promoted.  Javier and Lanie still have a history, but things went wrong there too and they didn’t work it back out.  Rick’s reaction when he saw a very pregnant Lanie walk through the precinct was rather funny.  Javier seems to have some lingering issues about the former relationship as well.  Seeing the different version of Kate - either in a dream or alternate world - along with hearing about himself did make Rick realize a few important things. 

There was a good amount of build up to Rick and Kate getting married last season in Castle.  I was fine with that at the time, along with their decision to have a big wedding that seemed to just keep getting bigger.  Then the finale happened which, as far as I am concerned, screwed up the wedding.  They were minutes away from it when Rick is run off the road and the episode ended.  I still have not watched that episode again.  I really do not like it for multiple reasons, including some that have nothing to do with the non wedding.  I am now referring to that episode as The Episode That Shall Not Be Named.  I have also had issues with the first few episodes of this season, but I have been liking the season overall.  I am very happy with The Time of Our Lives, but I still don’t like The Episode That Shall Not Be Named.  Honestly, I don’t know that I ever will like that episode, but it didn’t drive me away from the show. 

There was speculation online even before the new season began about when the wedding would be.  Many people have thought that it would happen in the sixth episode for a few reasons, including the fact that Terri Edda Miller wrote the episode.  She is married to the creator of the show and one of the producers.  I wasn’t sure what to think when I first heard about this episode having some kind of alternate world story, especially once it became more clear that the wedding would be in this episode.  The few previews that came out - it seemed like there were fewer clips and pictures released this time - just confused me more.  I was still looking forward to the episode though.  I was a bit anxious while watching as things unfolded even though I knew the wedding was supposed to be coming.  There were several call backs to moments in earlier episodes, though I may have missed some since I was a bit distracted waiting for the wedding.

All along, I didn’t care if Rick and Kate a big, huge, extravagant wedding or something smaller.  I tried not to have many expectations for the wedding and I did well, until the last week before The Episode That Shall Not Be Named aired.  Some of the promotional things at that point really built up the wedding, so my expectations grew.  And then it didn’t happen.  Even if I had kept my expectations more under control, I still would have been annoyed by how the episode ended.  Last season, as they discussed the wedding plans a bit here and there, it did seem to be growing a bit out of control.  I definitely remember Kate saying at one point that she didn’t want a huge guest list and Rick agreed, but the guest list grew and grew until it reached several hundred.  I wasn’t crazy about Kate’s first dress and I loved her mother’s dress that she was wearing when everything went straight to you know where.  The creator and new show runner both said in interviews over the summer that a wedding was still coming.  I still wanted to see a wedding of course, but I kept the expectations down.  Yes I did get very happy and even excited when I watched a short interview with Nathan done on set and I spotted him wearing a wedding ring, but I still kept my expectations under control.  That is probably part of why I am so very happy with the episode overall now.  I have watched the episode again already, and the wedding specifically many, many times.  The rewind feature of my DVR got a work out.  I honestly don’t know how many times I backed it up to watch again last night.  I will more than likely be watching that part of the episode again tonight.

I was not expecting the entire episode to be focused on the wedding or even most of it.  Really, I just wanted to see the wedding, no matter how long or short it was.  The wedding is short, taking place in the last five minutes or so of the episode.  I am not the least bit disappointed that the wedding wasn’t longer.  What we got was sweet, beautiful and perfect.  I like that only Jim, Martha and Alexis were there.  Yes it would have been nice if Kevin, Jenny, Lanie, and Javier had been there, but I’m not upset or disappointed that they weren’t.  I actually think that if more people had been there - even if only those four - it would have lost something and it wouldn’t have been as perfect.  It would have been nice if Jim had gotten at least one line, but that is a minor thing for  me.  Hopefully there will be some extended or deleted scenes on the season seven DVD release. 

Before watching the episode, I wasn’t sure where the wedding would take place, though I had a few ideas.  I didn’t think they would go to the Hamptons again because of the mess that happened last time, but it works and I like that they went there.  I do think that shot of the house was pulled from Murder He Wrote, the season five episode when they spent the weekend there, with the background adjusted with effects.  I remember reading before that the location for that house was very, very expensive, so I don’t think they really went back there.  I think the shot was reused, and the actual ceremony, set outside on the grounds, was on a set with green screen.  At first, the sunset does look odd and even a bit unnatural.  On rewatch, I didn’t even notice it.  Filming on set also allowed them to keep any pictures from leaking before they were ready to release something.

Rick and Kate both look so happy during the entire ceremony part of the episode.  Kate wears a white pants outfit that is different but works for her.  It is a simple, elegant look which fits her perfectly.  I did like her mother’s dress, but I get why she didn’t wear it again.  Their vows are touching, beautiful, and absolutely perfect for them.  I love when Rick called Kate Mrs. Castle and how they started to dance while the others were drinking champagne.  It was a very sweet moment between Rick and Kate, especially when she says that it was perfect.  When she says that, Rick gets such a happy look on his face.

I am very, very happy with The Time of Our Lives overall.  The alternate world story is interesting and entertaining and the wedding is beautiful, touching, and perfect.  Yes they could have devoted more time to the wedding, but I honestly don’t think it could have been any better than this.  Last year, Booth and Brennan got married on Bones and most of the episode was focused on the wedding in some way.  There were nice moments in the episode, but once it was over, I was left thinking is that it?  I haven’t felt that way at all with The Time of Our Lives at all.

The episode is available online at the ABC website as well as other streaming services.

Season 7 Castle Episode Recap/Reviews
Driven ~ Montreal ~ Clear and Present Danger ~ Child's Play ~ Meme is Murder ~

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