Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Castle - In the Belly of the Beast

Needing help, the head of Narcotics (Carlos Gomez) asks Beckett (Stana Katic) to go undercover, taking the place of a Russian low-level drug courier (Britt Rentschler), and help take down a deadly new drug ring who has littered the street with six teenage murder victims in the past few months. When the simple exchange takes an unexpected turn, Kate finds herself abducted, on her own, without any back-up, and face-to-face with one of the mysterious Lazarus' lieutenants (Al Sapienza) as she realizes the woman she's impersonating is anything but a simple courier.

Given an audition to earn the spot as the gang's new full-time assassin, Beckett successfully parlays the fake the murder of a lawyer (Daniel Hugh Kelly) into a face-to-face meeting with Lazarus when she runs into another obstacle in Vulcan Simmons (Jonathan Adams). As Simmons men torture Beckett for information, the team calls in the help of Tory Ellis (Maya Stojan) who futily attempts to try and help the department narrow the search for the missing detective. Eventually Beckett is saved by the real assassin who spares Beckett's life on the word of the real Lazarus (Jack Coleman) who is using his ill-gotten gains of to fund his run at the Presidency.

The episode doesn't give much for Castle (Nathan Fillion), Ryan (Seamus Dever), and Esposito (Jon Huertas) to do as it centers entirely on Beckett's predicament. The tension of "In the Belly of the Beast" works well, and I'm happy to see the writers allow Katic the opportunity to carry such a drama-heavy episode on her own. However, there are more than a few issues with the basic logic here including what the real Elena was doing turning herself over to the cops in the first place?

Not only did it expose her boss' operation to his greatest enemy, who he had the assassin spare because of their MAD pact, but are we to believe the life-threatening  suicide attempt to get Beckett undercover was staged (somehow knowing Beckett specifically would be called-in? And isn't it a bit odd her boss so easily found an assassin that miraculously fit a description Beckett could replace on no notice?) and she just happened to show up at the exact second necessary to save Beckett's life as all part of some insanely-elaborate plan (which wasn't elaborate enough to take into account the torture inflicted hours before which could have killed Beckett, or the fact that Simmons men could have shot her at any time)?

Despite these rather large plot holes "In the Belly of the Beast" is still a strong episode on the back of Katic's performance and the very real danger Beckett is put in (even if the circumstances of her being in danger don't hold up to scrutiny). Thankfully these rather large plot holes only detract marginally from the enjoyment of the episode, but they certainly downgrade what could have been one of the series best into just another solid episode.

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