By Michael Seese
WARNING! Lots of spoilers...
As I have said here and there, I really appreciate the episodes which focus on someone other than Castle or Beckett, since it allows the writers to develop the other characters. "The Wild Rover" may have been the best of the bunch.
Esposito may be the one with Special Ops experience. But Ryan showed a real toughness in this one, a toughness that even his friends may not have appreciated. In fact, when Agent Walker sung Ryan's praises, Esposito positively beamed.
We got our eyebrow-raising moment, when Siobhan walked over and kissed Ryan, then he quietly said to his friends -- and his WIFE -- "I can explain." (Cue the commercial break!)
Ryan's brash, brazen alter-ego served up a nice contrast to the soft-spoken, buttoned-down detective we all know and love. And I thought his whole "I can do this" psych-up was a great scene.
Then the end...
In my review of "Hunt," I called the rescue scene the best two minutes of the show's history. The last ten minutes of "The Wild Rover" is a close second. When Liam confronts Ryan and tells him that they're going for a ride, both my wife's and my heart were pounding. It didn't get any less tense when Bobby S. asked Ryan to put a bullet in Siobhan, a woman who obviously, though never explicitly stated, he had loved. (My wife called the part about blanks in the gun.) Then that scene wraps up with the cavalry arriving, following a plausible explanation as to how Ryan got word to them.
But wait...there's more.
Then we got the satisfaction of seeing the murderer -- a non-suspect, up to that point -- brought in. (Remember? This all started with a murder.)
Next, we had Castle confessing to Beckett about his embarrassment at his college dalliance in plagiarism, which pushed him into his writing career.
Finally, we got to end the show on Ryan's and Jenny's happy note.
Despite the intensity of this episode, humor abounded.
Beckett: "I happen to be an expert on nothing, and this is not nothing."
Castle: "Most of what I say is meaningless. Why would it be any different when I'm asleep?"
Beckett: "Looks like he's not the only one keeping secrets."
Castle: "I'm going to ignore that."
Castle: "Did you see the way Siobhan gave him that flying lip-lock?" In fact, I think "flying lip-lock" is a keeper.
And the looks...
Castle's discomfort at being upbraided for eating the dead guy's cupcakes. "It was free samples," he pleaded.
Castle's anticipation when Ryan said, "It's complicated." "I love complicated," he said, sitting down like a 15-year-old about to hear an older boy describe what sex is like.
And in one big, huge, line- and look-fest...
Esposito gave us a great look when Castle asked, "Where's Ryan." Then, cut to the apartment, where Ryan and Jenny are preparing for their doctor's appointment, and she sends him off to do his duty. Followed immediately by Castle saying, "So master baker Jimmy Whelan..." Gut-splitting stuff.
I'm really looking forward to tonight's episode. As I watched the previews -- which promise an obvious homage to "Rear Window" -- I said, "Is Castle actually in a wheelchair?" Per the pictures on IMDB, he is.
Feel free to share your thoughts.
It wasn't Castle, but Ryan, who was the "Wild Rover." Click to tweet.