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‘Castle’ Season 7 Episode 15 Recap: “Reckoning”

castle reckoning

Let’s go ahead and talk about the elephant in the room. Kate Beckett killed someone. Yes, it was in self-defense as the psycho Kelly Nieman was going to slice her face off, but she killed someone! You can’t come back from that, it will always be with you.

I’m reminded of a quote from the film Unforgiven: “It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.”

And though Kate Beckett killed in self-defense, she took a life and you don’t just get over that. And I think that’s what upset me about the ending of this Castle episode. The audience sees a shell-shocked Kate Beckett standing over the body of Kelly Nieman, her hands dripping with blood and the scalpel still in her hand, as Castle approaches her and pulls her to him. There is no aftermath to that scene, just Beckett being paraded into the precinct with Castle at her side and Ryan and Esposito behind her.

The people in the precinct begin to clap and you can see she is still disoriented. I don’t understand why she is being brought back to the precinct so soon? Was she checked out by EMTs at the ambulance and discharged, not having to go to the hospital? Okay, I will buy that. But why was she immediately brought back to the precinct?

Beckett also seemed to recover too quickly from her ordeal. When Captain Victoria Gates mentions Castle’s arrest earlier in the episode, it seems the comment makes Beckett too quickly revert back to the Beckett we saw before being kidnapped.

The episode closes with Beckett lying in bed, face turned from Castle, as he explains his mother and Alexis are returning from their world-wind trip he sent them on to keep them safe. Finally, they discuss for a moment about how Beckett closes her eyes and all she sees is Nieman’s face. Castle says he did the same thing but then opens his eyes and sees her. Castle also admits he didn’t know how Beckett managed for two months with him being missing because he didn’t last two days.

The episode closes with Beckett safely in Castle’s arms, but I was kind of left cold with the ending. I know there won’t be any more repercussions to what Beckett has done, the Castle writing staff rarely revisits a traumatic experience, save Beckett’s PTSD. So, the audience is left with the knowledge that Beckett killed someone and I think it darkens the show a bit moving forward.

As for the time leading up to finding Kate Beckett, it is Castle on the warpath trying to find his wife. He knows the man claiming to be Michael Beaudroy is Jerry Tyson even though he can’t prove it. Gates was very good to him as she reassured him they would do everything to find his wife and trying to talk him out of doing something reckless.

They are sent on a wild goose chase numerous times but still can’t find Beckett.

However, a dark Castle is a dangerous Castle. He doesn’t heed Gates’ advice and finds his way to the man he believes is Tyson’s door. He assaults him without mercy, but the man doesn’t break character. When the police arrive, they arrest Castle and the man says he is pressing charges.

It is then Castle realizes he can’t go straight at Tyson, he has to play his game. The audience sees Castle deducing this as Gates briefs the precinct. The audience assumes Castle is talking to himself and taking his plan on by himself, or is he?

Castle goes to see Marcus Gates, the man who was Tyson’s cell mate in prison and killed for him in the season three episode “3XK.” There, Castle talks the man into telling him a place Tyson would go to feel safe after convincing Gates it would be a way for him to get revenge on Tyson.

Castle is led to a house in the woods where he finds Amy Barrett, who has been helping Tyson and Neiman. Castle locks her in his trunk and goes to the house. As he explores the house, he finds a room with a monitor and sees Beckett tied to a medical gurney with a gag in her mouth.

Just then Tyson appears and he does his evil villain soliloquy. As he prepares to kill Castle, there is a pop and Tyson is shot in the heart. Then the camera pans to Esposito with his sniper rifle. It was all part of Castle’s plan as the episode flashes back to the scene in the precinct with Castle, when the audience assumed he was talking to himself, but he wasn’t – Esposito and Ryan were there with him.

They trace Tyson’s phone, using his last call to Nieman, and that is how they find Beckett.

During all the chasing around, with Castle trying to find Beckett, there are only snippet of scenes with Beckett and Nieman. Long story short, Nieman had planned to steal Beckett’s face and go off into the sunset looking like her. Beckett spent her time wisely as she bloodied her fingers loosening a screw on the gurney to use as a saw on her bindings. She just gets free as Nieman leans over Beckett’s face with a scalpel. Beckett grabs Nieman’s arm as the scene ends and we pick back up with Beckett standing over Nieman who is dead.

What did this episode achieve? The death of Tyson and Nieman and the return of Castle to the precinct to consult. Castle is sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service, for his assault on Tyson, and the DA agrees he will serve it in the 12th. So, some good does come out of the bad.

But I will close with this — because it has stuck with me since seeing the episode. At the end of the day, Kate Beckett killed her captive Kelly Nieman. Not with a sniper rifle, like Esposito killed Tyson – far away and distant. Beckett did it up close, down and dirty and watched the light leave her evil eyes. I think that moment will haunt me as long as this show stays on the air.

  • Jessica

    The way you write that she killed someone in the beginning of this review, it’s as if she’s never killed before. You seem to be forgetting that she has. Dick Coonan in season two and Bracken’s guys in the motel room in season six, for example.

  • R

    Okay for real? If some crazy psycho is pulling a knife out on me, attempting to rip my face off, she deserves WHATEVER comes next. And Beckett had to react and defend herself in any manner possible. There’s no time for a moral compass when you’re in a life or death struggle, especially not when it’s with someone that has tortured both you and your husband (really, for all Beckett knew, Castle could’ve been hurt or dead). If Beckett had more control of the situation, would she have merely incapacitated Nieman instead of killing her? Absolutely. But she didn’t have control over the situation. She had to save herself. In the struggle that followed that we didn’t see, one of them was gonna die. If Beckett didn’t make sure Nieman couldn’t hurt her anymore, she could’ve been killed. Beckett isn’t a cold blooded killer but she WILL kill you if you’re trying to kill her or her loved ones (see Sucker Punch or Veritas). And honestly? She shouldn’t have to feel bad about it (though we know she does from the following scenes). Once she processes all this, I hope she feels zero guilt because she shouldn’t have to feel ashamed for saving her own life. And, potentially, she saved future victims from a terrible fate as well.
    The fact that you’re more upset about a self defense killing than about the deeply disturbing crap 3xk/Nieman were up to is just bizarre, to me. But I guess you’re free to have that viewpoint.

    Also, Nieman isn’t Beckett’s captive. The word is ‘captor’.