Where to start about the Castle episode “In the Belly of the Beast,” and where to end?
It was highly-charged, dark, heart-pounding, soulful and in many ways so romantic. And I’m not talking about the opening scene between Richard Castle and Kate Beckett, enjoying a rare Beckett day off. No, I am talking about realizations on what truly matter to you when your life hangs in the balance, where you pull your strength from and the things you hold onto when hope seems lost.
I have made my issues known about certain aspects of season six, but I have been pleasantly pleased by the episodes after the winter break. This episode is the culmination of so many things that make the show Castle special. When the writing is top-notch, when the actors are at the top of their game, there aren’t many shows on television today that can touch it.
“In the Belly of the Beast” is one of those episodes.
For an episode that begins so light and breezy it turns dark quickly. Who has ever wondered what Kate Beckett does on her day off? Your question is answered in this episode. What does Kate Beckett do when she doesn’t have to work? She lounges around in her pajamas until 2 p.m. with her fiancé Rick Castle, enjoying not having to be anywhere.
Castle does have one task for them – picking out a font for their save the date wedding announcement. As they look over the fonts, Beckett likes one while Castle has doubts. He says, however, he could be persuaded. This leads to one of the best double entendre lines of the episode:
“What we both need right now is a really good font,” Beckett exclaims as she and Castle head to the bedroom. So, are they going to talk over the font or something else?
We don’t find out as Beckett gets a call from Captain Gates asking her to come into the precinct. Though Beckett reminds her it’s her day off, Gates ask her to come in anyway. Beckett heads to the precinct and Castle shuffles his feet back and forth looking lost as she leaves without him – Gates has asked her to leave Mr. Castle at home. Poor Castle.
The head of narcotics has asked Beckett to come in and help them with a case. Beckett, fluent in Russian, has made her useful to them as they ask her to impersonate a low-level drug courier. They know the meet time and its leader Lazarus doesn’t know what the woman looks like so Beckett is perfect.
Beckett, always up for a challenge, agrees and has two hours to get ready. She calls Castle and says she will be a while and he promises to have dinner ready, and she tells him she loves him. Always a warm fuzzy feeling when the formerly closed off Beckett says she loves Castle.
Beckett’s foray into impersonation launches into a perilous situation for our bad-ass detective. What was to be a simple meet turns deadly when Beckett is kidnapped, a black hood placed over her head and thrown into a van without a clue where she is going.
Beckett thinks her microphone is still working, the narcotics officer fitted her with, but it isn’t. So, she is talking to no one, flying blind.
When the man who kidnaps Beckett takes her to another man, he offers her $50,000 a week to work for them full-time. She claims she won’t agree until she meets Lazarus. He says he will ask him but until then Elena, whom Beckett is impersonating, is their guest. Beckett isn’t going anywhere soon.
Beckett, alone in a bedroom in the house, sets up one of the most heart-breaking moments in the series.
It is rare the audience gets a chance to delve into the mind of Kate Beckett, but we get the opportunity when she pens a letter to Castle just in case she doesn’t make it out of this situation. She cuts her finger and places it on an air vent, saying that if CSU finds this place, they will comb the room and find the letter. The letter is just so full of longing and a hope and fear she will not be able to tell him all of her thoughts himself.
The final line of the letter is what really was heart-breaking:
“Our partnership our relationship is the greatest thing that has happened to me. You are an amazing man, and I love you with all my heart. Always.”
As time goes on, and Esposito and Ryan are brought in when they are trying to find Beckett, it doesn’t take long for Castle to show up at the precinct looking for Beckett. He had a nice dinner laid out for her but when she doesn’t show up, and won’t answer his calls, off to the precinct he goes.
Here is where things get perilous. The woman Beckett was impersonating isn’t who she seemed to be. She isn’t a drug courier, she is a hit woman. To meet Lazarus, Beckett, as Elena, has to pull off a hit on a target. With the watch-full eye of the man who brought her in, Beckett must kill this man. She pulls it off by telling him who she is and splashes the man she is supposed to kill with ketchup and beet juice making him look dead.
The supposed hit done, Beckett is taken to meet Lazarus. She scans her surrounding and picks up a clue that will help her later.
Here is where things turn from bad to worse for Beckett. She is taken to whom she is assumes is Lazarus and when he turns around it is Vulcan Simmons, the man she thought killed her mother in season two.
This is it for Beckett, she assumes. Beckett is tortured as he dunks her head in a bucket of water nearly drowning her as he tries to get her to cough up the information he wants. She never does. When he realizes she won’t tell him anything he orders her death.
Taken out to the woods, by the man who kidnapped her in the first place, there is a haunted look of resignation on her face. Through all the other times she has faced death, even having a bullet pierce her heart or standing on a bomb, I felt like she believed this was truly the finale to her life.
But it isn’t. The very woman she as impersonating saves Beckett. She says Lazarus, Vulcan Simmons was not Lazarus, sent her and they are even now.
We don’t see Beckett get out of the woods or her being reunited with Castle but what we do see is even more poignant – Castle at her side the whole time, never leaving it, always there. When Beckett passing along a clue about a company that Lazarus is funneling money to they find out it ties into a big political war chest. That can only lead to one thing – yes, Senator Bracken.
Before closing with the Bracket business, I want to touch on the conversation between Castle and Beckett. She tells him that during her whole ordeal he was with her and thoughts of their wedding and building a life together got her through it. It truly was a beautiful moment.
The end of the episode shows Beckett realizing Bracken is Lazarus. He owed her for saving his life in season five, and after he spared hers, they are even.
When they next meet Beckett knows all bets are off. She doesn’t look as resigned and determined to bring him down in the final scene as she has before – she kind of looks a bit apprehensive. Maybe Beckett has decided going through such great lengths, including giving up her life, to bring her mother’s killer to justice isn’t her life’s purpose anymore. Maybe honoring her mother would be to let it go and build a life with the man she loves. That would be the greatest honor of all.