I like TV as a medium. What movies attempt to do in mere hours can be stretched out into full seasons of drama and intrigue. Sustaining an idea is what keeps most series alive. But how long is too long? If a mystery really lasts five or more years, is there anybody left who really has any interest in the overall resolution? We’ve been taught through The Killing that resolution is more apt to please viewers than plot-centric cliffhangers, and from LOST came the lesson that no matter how grand a mystery, its ability to engage viewers diminishes as time goes on.
So why are we still watching Kate Beckett fumble through her mother’s murder case?
I can grant a reprieve for the romantic stalemate that Castle and Beckett have burned through these last few years, as such fare is pretty standard for hour-long cop dramas. And in general, the show hasn’t let up on the fun situational episodes nor the gravity of homicide among the humor. Like most seasoned dramas on a major network, developments are notoriously predictable for the most part, but occasionally the writers will cram in some secret map or entry-level puzzle for our protagonists to solve. None of this is without reason either; the familiarity makes Castle a comforting outlet on a Monday night.
Where I cannot stand idly by though is this silly case of Beckett’s. This one case, along with the two’s glaringly obvious feelings for one another, serve only as opportunities to bookend each season. Last year’s finale was engrossing, no doubt, but the aftermath was much less edge-of-your-seat despite such a leap in the case coming out in the open. Instead, we get “Always,” a finale emotionally stirring for much different reasons, yet also annoying because we’re asked to follow the same convoluted plot once again. It was clever to tie this one case in with another unsuspectingly, although TV veterans could have noticed a plot switcheroo on the way when the case was practically resolved 20 minutes in.
However, cutting into the last handful of minutes would be a crime, for despite there being too many “final scene” style shots there were some really solid moments before we were left waiting for season six. Fillion and Katic performed at their best for some of these later scenes, and while I’d say overall both their skills have been declining over the last year or two they won me back a little here. Sidekicks Ryan and Esposito likewise handled themselves well, although their roles in trying to assist or bar Beckett from her mother’s murder case didn’t feel realistic for their characters.
Again, the writing fluctuates a bit, but it was all to get us to the end. Whether that is worth it to constant viewers or not is really the key. Mostly I’m just tired of hearing how dangerously vague Beckett’s mother’s murder case is. If we have to listen to another “this is bigger than you can imagine” or “you don’t know what you’re getting into,” I’ll be the first to suggest jumping ship. But hey, if they can wrap this one up next year, I’d be more than happy to eat those words.