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“Does she know that you are doing this?” an incredulous Kate questions Rick.
“What! Are you kidding me; no, she’d kill me.” Rick responds.
“And be justified!”
“I’m her father. If something is going on, I need to know.”
It’s a parent thing, this worry, especially fathers for their often vulnerable and precious baby girls, their daughters. In season three’s “Law and Murder,”3×19, Rick downloads an app to his phone to track his daughter’s whereabouts, for he has caught Alexis in a lie.
Poor Rick gets slammed on all fronts. At home Alexis confronts him: “Welcome to George Orwell’s “1984” with my father as big brother.” And the final blow. “If you’re so interested in what I’m doing, why don’t you ask your phone? I’m sure there is an app for that.”
At the precinct Kate doubles down on hapless Rick: “You had it coming, Castle. You have the best kid in the world.”
“Is what I did so wrong?” The question still hangs there for all parents to grapple with.
Kate replies: “You broke her trust.”
Perhaps Rick remembers Kate’s sage remark from “Punked”: “I wouldn’t worry, Castle, I’ve seen the way she looks at you. Your real problem is that girls, who adore their daddies, end up marrying guys just like them.” Indeed! I wonder what your father was like, Kate.
Oh, I know, he is kind, loving, witty and smart, and you are Daddy’s little girl. Didn’t it take Jim Beckett at least three years to finally get together with Johanna, the love of his life? And they had a grand love affair.
For Rick the questions still remain: Who is Alexis with? Is she safe? What is she doing? The father who sits up half the night the previous year, waiting for his young daughter to return from prom is worried then and now and no doubt will be, always.
A contrite Alexis comes to the precinct and apologizes, explaining the nature of her lies. She is repaying the store for the items her friends shoplifted. Rick doesn’t know whether to be “angry or proud.”
When Rick attempts to understand all of the nuances between girls and their friends, to learn their names and to question Alexis’ loyalty to them, Alexis intones: “Dad, it’s not that simple.”
“You’re right; it never is,” Rick prophetically sighs. On that very point and moment, Kate inadvertently and quietly walks in on father and daughter. Kindly Kate offers to leave them in privacy, but Alexis sweetly says: “No, Detective Beckett, stay, I was just leaving.”
Alexis tenderly touches Rick and leaves as Kate, genuinely moved by the loving and caring scene, asks Rick if he is okay, to which Rick responds: “Sometimes ignorance is bliss.”
“Tell me about it,” Kate generously replies.
“Death Gone Crazy” 5×12, mirrors the earlier scene, for Kate, now deeply involved and in love with Rick, walks in on a similar confrontation between Rick and his daughter. Never intrusive between Rick and Alexis, Kate offers to leave, but Alexis hastily exits saying, “No, stay; I’m leaving.”
Alexis is angry with her father’s prying, and Rick is flummoxed, needing to know. Alexis creates an online video blog, and Rick, ever vigilant, and slightly snoopy, is very aware of the dangers such posts can generate with so much personal information revealed and floating out in cyber space for ever. Perhaps, in his heart, he is thinking of 3XK believing he is still out there… and watching and waiting as he has done before.
Indeed, Rick has a certain amount of notoriety as an author and is often on “Page 6.” Also Kate draws attention in the papers, especially over the last few years, even now linked to Rick. It was so much easier to protect Alexis when she was younger, the girl, now young woman who just a few short months ago asks Dad to check under the bed in her dorm, for monsters, completing a ritual long established between the two.
He has been the single parent, proud nanny, confidant and friend, go to guy, and involved father. Rick sympathizes with and understands Alexis fear of moving on which she expresses shortly before graduation.
Yes, he has valid reasons to be worried, and Alexis, a typical teen and freshman, pulls away from parental interference. Now, not needed as much, Rick knows change is good, but internalizing that adage is difficult; it hurts.
Certainly Rick is involved with all kinds of murder, stalking and mayhem, and currently he and Kate are involved with a murder investigation involving a participant in another old case. The owner of the adult franchise “College Girls Gone Crazy” the disreputable Beau Randolph has been murdered; perhaps hoisted by his own petard or rather strangled with an expensive, high end bra. Now that stirs quite a flap.
Oh, we have seen Beau before in “Head Case,” 4×03, early season four. In that case Rick and Kate enter his lair joking and debating an existential issue: Would they personally like to have extended years of life. In that it is just a few episodes from Kate’s recovery from a sniper’s attempted assassination, Kate seems a little reluctant to discuss extending life, so happy to have the one she has, but teasing Rick as not having changed much thus far and probably not so much in the next ten years.
On the way to interviewing Beau, they pass half- clad, very young college- age women, and Rick pays absolutely no attention to their almost in his face scant clothing. To Kate, Rick remonstrates: “Someone needs to get these girls clothes made of actual fabric.” It is obvious he is only interested in Kate and is a gentleman and most important a mature father.
“When did you become so judgmental about naked women,” Kate asks, slightly shocked and teasing him.
“Since my daughter hit college age!” As Beau lasciviously greets Kate, Rick defends: “There he is; the defiler of co-eds.” Beau wasn’t guilty of murder then, but he is quite dead now, murdered, the scene of the crime; the bathroom.
It is amusing to hear Kate tell Rick, in the current case: “Castle, it is all right to look.”
In truth, Rick has changed because of his love for Kate and his love for his daughter. A different man than the person who once showed off, ogling young models in “Inventing the Girl,” Rick becomes aware of his own childishness and poor reputation when he realizes the young model in question is Rina, a former Alexis babysitter, now her friend.
In this early season- two 2×03, Rick sees the cut throat meat-market world young models such as Jenna inhabit and how it can destroy their youth and joy. Rick wants to help, starting with a lonely Rina; he arranges a movie get together with his daughter and Rina, for she truly needs a friend.
In “Famous Last Words” 2×07, Rick’s compassion and fatherly awareness shine through when he and Alexis unravel the story of drugs and the surrogate father and producer breaking all trust, and sexually abusing the young singer in his charge, Hayley Blue. Rick helps her sister Skye in her struggles to survive drug free and psyche whole.
Slowly Rick awakens to see the world through his daughter’s and Kate’s eyes, the two whose regard matters most. So many scenes and episodes feature fathers and daughters and the protection or lack of safety and trust the fathers afford their daughters.
In “Swan Song” Rick observes Esposito interrogating a father, an admitted stalker, risking everything, protecting his daughter Butterfly, a groupie, not much older than Alexis. And Rick is rattled with the honesty.
The father is afraid that his estranged daughter will become an addict or pregnant and the situation saddens and heightens Rick’s awareness and protective nature. When Kate asks, as she frequently does, what will he tell Alexis, about a case or some misfortune, he always answers: “the truth.”
And what is Rick’s truth? He has held lightly his reputation, happy, for whatever reasons to be seen as a playboy, a jester and an often careless and carefree man. But that was then. He is not the same man we first met, although always an honest caring one; he is a good man, a kind man, a wise man in search of meaning and happiness after two failed marriages and unhappy relationships.
In one of the last scenes in “Probable Cause” Rick thanks Kate dearly for believing in him, for given his past and his reputation, she could easily have doubted him. Kate knows this man she declares to Lanie. She is not blind to his weakness. She trusts him, sees his renewed image, sees his depth with his daughter and his mother and experiences his love and honor daily. Kate believes in him and she loves him.
On this note I must say I need to see some expression of love between my two favorite lovers. That is what is missing in this episode, their passion for each other. What has happened to the handshake and all of the subtle touches, looks, and connections we have always seen? They seem to be stripped away, hiding in our own imaginations, in very deep subtext, waiting for a February sweep. I miss that connection and the caring.
While paralleling Rick’s progression to love, this episode, interesting enough, is devoid of any recognition of intimacy, except for the last few words and Kate’s touch of a smile of recognition. I even cringed when Rick calls her Beckett while away from prying eyes; it was cold. I am used to Kate calling him Castle twenty times an episode, but Rick in love calls her Kate.
Yes, not the perfect episode and not a Rick and Kate love in, but the ”College Girls Gone Crazy” message quietly hits home to us, to Rick; indeed the camera telegraphs his awareness as it lingers on his face while Rick assimilates the parallels in his life… and the truths. Can a man such as Beau Randolph change his life, his sordid ways; his destiny? What or who would convince such a hedonistic man to change?
The story is about fathers, some absent or unknown, fathers and daughters, (and sometimes sons), reputations, media’s impact, and trust. Alexis feels that her dad does not trust her to do the right thing in her decisions and in her blogging, or to be mature, but she reminds him that she is eighteen and should be able to make her own decisions. Isn’t he the guy who says we have to let them go and find their way?
Both forgiving and contrite, father and daughter make up, for their love is very deep and honest. Rick understands, but says: “It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop worrying or caring or reminding you from time to time that you are indeed wrong.” Their relationship is solid again.
The surprise twist of the story is Beau. He is giving up his adult, slightly porn franchise. Everyone has noted the change in him. He has broken up with his ex Tiffany Shaw, a suspect in his murder. He holds a damaging sex tape on a scan disc some feel is for black mailing purposes.
Beau’s body guard, a hottie named Scarlett Jones who puts the moves on Esposito, or is it mutual, (beware Lanie) actually works for Little Frog Enterprises to essentially spy on Beau. In his bid to reform, Beau wants to help or buy out the children’s media company, much to the owner’s dismay and distrust. He is onto Beau, doesn’t think he is genuine, and knows what Beau is really trying to buy, something he cannot get on his own: “Respect.” But why respect?
Actually, Ryan may inadvertently reveal the story’s essence in his off the cuff remarks. While he and Esposito are watching Kate interrogate Scarlett, Esposito claims Scarlett’s breaking the guy’s nose makes her even hotter… and cooler. Incredulous, maybe, Ryan whispers to his partner: “Who are you?”
Now Candace Mayfield and Beau are together on the sex tape. She is afraid for her reputation, for she is a kindergarten teacher and the daughter of Beau’s principle enemy, the head of a protest group Voices for Decency, Ronald Armstrong.
She fears for her father’s reputation, with his daughter involved with the “vulgar and offensive” man he hopes to shut down and destroy. In an interview at last, Armstrong worries that “his words, his mission, led Candace to do something terrible.” And this remark affects Rick in his dealing with his own daughter; we see it in his face. Has he been too harsh? Has he driven her away?
Beau is another father. Ryan discovers that he set aside a five million dollar trust for his unborn child carried by Candace his lover, a daughter. Candace acknowledges that Beau is “cleaning up his act and going legitimate in the hopes of being part of the baby’s life” and winning Candace.
But Beau’s degraded reputation turns her off; she is not willing to wait to see him reform; she doesn’t want that bad reputation forever impacting her baby’s life and future, their baby girl.
In the end, the producer of College Girls Gone Crazy, Troy Strickland confesses he murdered Beau, his boss and his friend. Beau was changing, dumping the business, all the money invested, his promises, and him, and for what…a baby.
A fatherless child with no other relatives, Beau wanted a family and decency. “All his life he’d been searching and looking for meaning in his life, and that he finally found it was being a father.” Candace continues: “He kept telling me that he would convince me that he could change.” Perhaps he would have in time, but he did not have the time to turn his life around.
Rick realizes: “He really was trying to be a better man.”
Finally Candace’s father comes to the station to pick up his pregnant daughter. I am reminded of Kate’s final words to Rick in “Head Case” as the two stand together. Rick wonders if they will ever be united, the two frozen lovers. Both Rick and Kate hope they make it, and Kate replies: “That’s what all the great love stories are about, right, beating the odds?”
Regarding the hardened, protester for decency, Ronald Armstrong, Candace’s father, Kate asks Rick, “Do you think he will be able to accept his granddaughter?”
“Absolutely.” Rick declares.
“What makes you so sure?”
“Because a father would do anything for his daughter,” Rick affirms without any qualifications or hesitation.
Kate slightly smiles and knows Rick’s mettle, his truth, his worth.