Throughout its seven-season run, Castle has been at its best while exploring ongoing storylines revolving around deeply personal foes for its characters, or through the dramatic and intense two-episode events that have become highly-anticipated installments each season. While past two-parters have revolved around large-scale conspiracy theories, federal agencies, terrorist activities or horrific kidnappings, Monday’s offering was quieter, much more subtle, yet chilling. The episode relied on its merits as an intense and compelling psychological thriller and its resurrection of two of the show’s most notorious and elusive serial killers. Castle and Beckett were forced to face their greatest fears, ones that have sat under the surface since Jerry Tyson and Kelly Nieman evaded capture, only to leave behind a terrifying warning that somehow, someday, their paths would cross again. In Monday’s thrilling start to this season’s two-part event, that day finally came.
Written by current showrunner and longtime Castle great, David Amann, and directed by the brilliant and legendary Bill Roe, the aptly-titled “Resurrection” brought Tyson and Nieman back into the folds when Beckett’s latest murder case was all too familiar. It was interesting to watch the way in which Beckett initially wondered if the murder itself and their victim’s history pointed in that direction or if she was making that connection out of her own deeply-rooted fears that the serial killers would eventually come back for revenge. Despite her attempts to shake away her initial instincts, Lanie seemed unable to do the same, immediately taking action to find the connection between their victim and Dr. Kelly Nieman, something that Tamala Jones brought to the screen with just the right mixture of fear and conviction.
While I am typically not a fan of the use of flashbacks, the Castle team utilized them well throughout the hour, keeping them short but to the point and as a means of reminding the audience of the ongoing 3XK saga. More importantly, they showcased how each of the characters were affected from their encounters with Tyson or Nieman. Each flashback gave the audience a sense that while the characters may not talk about these villains very often, it is merely because they would rather keep those memories hidden away. After all, these are memories that haunt them and force them to confront their deepest fears about their own failures of the past, but they are memories that are still as vivid and terrifying to them now as they were back then.
The episode was truly a cinematic masterpiece, with breathtaking imagery and intensely dramatic storytelling, the hallmarks of any Castle two-parter, but there was something much more riveting about it as it quietly and chillingly explored the depths of the rivalry between Castle and Tyson as well as Beckett and Nieman. The hour played out like a tense and spine-tingling chess match between them, struggling for the upper hand while never wanting the others to see their fears. Truly, Tyson and Nieman are the perfect adversaries for Castle and Beckett; highly intelligent, charismatic, and well-spoken individuals who are able to plot our their crimes without error and stay one step ahead at every turn, though their bloodlust and lack of compassion make them as dangerous as they are cunning. It was obvious in Monday’s episode that they are the two people who Castle and Beckett fear more than anyone else and they both feel the pressure of their past failures in capturing these serial killers.
There were far too many highlights within this episode to shine the spotlight on them all but it must be said that guest stars Annie Wersching and Michael Mosley were absolutely brilliant in their performances throughout the hour. It is no easy task to portray characters like Jerry Tyson and Kelly Nieman. These two are pure evil, with no sense of humanity whatsoever, and yet as much as viewers are meant to hate them and fear them, they are also meant to be captivated and intrigued by them. Wersching and Mosley have always risen to the challenge and delivered these incredible layers to their complex characters on Castle, but Monday’s episode gave them the platform to elevate their performances to an even higher level.
In fact, some of the most intense and unsettling scenes of the hour came when Tyson or Nieman were facing off against Castle or Beckett. Between Nieman attempting to hide her thirst for revenge against Beckett, hiding her feelings behind that steely confidence and eloquent manner of hers, and Tyson rather convincingly claiming to be a man named Michael Boudreau, a patient of the not-so-good doctor who had some work done to look like Jerry Tyson rather than himself, these two always balanced their outward appearances with that familiar killer instinct stirring just beneath the surface, often evidenced merely through the cold stare deep within their eyes. The interesting element within each of these scenes was that none of the characters were overly forceful or confrontational, even when they were clearly taunted their counterparts, perfectly aligning with that feeling that they were engaged in the most intense and chilling chess match ever. It added a greater depth to the episode, increasing the heart-pounding suspense and terrifying fear that one of these pairs would eventually make their move, striking when we would least expect it.
Truly, that was the sense that could be felt throughout the hour, a constant tension that was certainly building up to the thrilling cliffhanger ending. And while it should have been quite clear that Beckett was walking into a trap towards the end of the hour, something that seemed to be brilliantly and purposefully telegraphed for the audience, this simply added to that tension as the viewers were forced to face the reality of the situation long before Castle or Beckett did. In those final minutes of the hour, with everyone at the precinct holding their breath to find out if Tyson’s DNA came back as a match to the baby tooth that Castle and Beckett found at his childhood home, it started to become clear that Beckett was helplessly and unknowingly about to walk into a well-crafted trap and that everything had gone exactly to plan for Tyson and Nieman.
Exactly as the serial killer couple had planned it, Beckett was abducted while trying to find their supposed witness, having been injected and wheeled away by an accomplice of theirs. Meanwhile, the DNA from the tooth, clearly a well-planted piece of evidence, revealed that Tyson truly was Michael Boudreau, or so it appeared, allowing Tyson to be freed from police custody with Neiman waiting to take him home. Now with their freedom, as well as an air-tight alibi for the time of Beckett’s kidnapping, Tyson and Nieman walked towards the precinct’s elevator, their hand-holding a taunting gesture to let Castle and the team know what they knew all along but could not prove; Tyson was truly Tyson and he and Nieman were back for revenge.
In that final minute, perhaps one of the most chilling and gut-wrenching of the entire series, Castle realized that he and Beckett had once again been played by their murderous foes, with Beckett now in the most grave danger of her entire life. Helpless and terrified, Castle could do nothing but watch as Tyson and Nieman escaped again, though not before Nieman silently received a call to let her know that Beckett had been taken care of, all while Castle still held his own phone up to his ear, praying that Beckett would answer and he would wake up from this nightmare. With that, Nieman flashed a triumphant smile and Tyson gave Castle a taunting wink, making sure to revel in their victory while Castle and the rest of the team could do nothing but stand by and watch the elevator doors close, letting the city’s most notorious serial killers escape once again, this time with Beckett’s life in the balance.
Thus, it was not Beckett’s kidnapping that served as the true cliffhanger ending of the episode, rather that chilling and terrifying revelation that came about because of it; everything that had happened throughout the hour was perfectly plotted, crafted, and executed by Tyson and Nieman, all to bring them to this very moment. Just as they have in the past, the pair proved how truly calculating, resourceful and psychotic they both are. From start to finish, they were in control, even when Castle and Beckett believed the pair had made mistakes and even when Nieman and Tyson seemed to show signs of frustration that they had been outsmarted.
In the end, they had simply played their roles perfectly, even with little details like making sure to offer Beckett a swag bag at the hospital so she would immediately recognize it on their surveillance footage, thus leading them to Amy and then to Tyson, and ultimately through every other twist in the case. They were as methodical and cunning as ever, showcasing how truly dangerous these two are together, especially with their sights set on exacting revenge. Then again, would we want them any other way?
What did you think of Monday’s episode of Castle? What were your favourite moments or scenes or lines throughout the episode? What did you think of the performances from Annie Wersching and Michael Mosley? Did you enjoy the family moment at the beginning of the episode or were you more focused on the drama throughout the rest of it? What are you hoping to see in the second part of the two-episode event? How do you think it will end? Share your thoughts with us in our comment section below!
Lisa Caputo is a proud TV Junkie, something that is evident by her extensive collection of TV shows on DVD and Blu-Ray. A trained scriptwriter, cinematographer, and video editor, Lisa is a firm believer in the craft of storytelling, always looking for compelling stories, captivating characters, and a healthy dose of clever dialogue and stunning drama. Before joining TheTVJunkies.com, she was a freelance writer for TV Guide Canada, covering shows like Castle, Grey’s Anatomy, The Following, Revenge, Big Brother, and Big Brother Canada. You can catch her on Twitter at @Lisa_Caputo.