Review ABC’s Castle: “Under Fire” (Season 6, Episode 11)

[Warning: Possible spoilers ahead for this episode and any episodes preceding it]

After the traditional winter hiatus Castle returned last night and it was quite the doozy of an episode. Rather than start of with a “simple murder case,” Ryan and Esposito end up trapped in a burning building by the half hour mark. They had been investigating the work of an arsonist monikered “The Phantom,” whose last targeted building housed a murdered fire inspector. According to the victim’s partner, he had been spending his vacation days looking into the Phantom’s string of suspicious fires.

We Will Survive

While this episode definitely paced itself well, the amazing survival of the show’s characters without any major injury to their person whatsoever is beginning to wear thin (see Sidenote). This is not to say I wanted to see any harm come to Esposito or Ryan*, only that they walked out of that near-death situation far too unscathed. Literally, they were walking away from the scene after rescuers found them unconscious from lack of oxygen, no oxygen masks on their faces or anything. This isRyan and Esposito after falling however many stories to the secret basement floor, having accidentally triggered a bomb in the arsonist’s lab.
* Whose wife, for added drama, is having their baby while all this is going down
Sure, Ryan has a heavy post of some kind fall on his leg, but once Esposito levers it off all is ok.

Sure, their smartphones have no signal, but they can rig a phone with the conveniently accessible wires on hand.

Sure, it’s a desperate situation but Laney doesn’t once get a turn during Ryan’s call with his wife to speak to Esposito? And shouldn’t Beckett have been a little quicker in telling Ryan’s wife that her husband was alive (at least for now)?



This isn’t the first time a character has come close to dying on Castle (the dangers are divvyed out pretty fairly amongst the whole cast). And, granted, it is a network show, not meant to have characters be as disposable as those on cable (where even the most fan-loved can be offed). Yet despite all the almost-dying the only person that’s ever been truly killed is Captain Montgomery. Even 3XK is probably still alive, as hinted at earlier this season (“Disciple”). At this point there should at least be some broken bones or burns to show for all this mayhem. This isn’t even the first “fire set off by a bomb”. In season two’s admittedly great two-parter (“Tick, Tick, Tick…” and “Boom!”), Beckett survived the destruction of her apartment by jumping into a bathtub.


All this being said…

Ryan's MacGyver-eque Constructed Phone

…it was interesting to see Beckett in a situation where she herself recognizes there’s nothing she can do but physically be there for her friends and colleagues. Also, Ryan’s tearful good-bye was a great showcase for a character (and actor in Seamus Dever) I’ve always liked but who hasn’t always gotten the screentime. His line of wanting to name the baby Javier if a boy, followed by Esposito’s response of, “You’re going to name a white, Irish kid, Javier?” was truly the sweetest moment of the episode.
So what did you think? Was their surviving a fire with only some ashy clothes and a few cuts a little too lucky, or are the post-viewing feelings simply that of relief for them being ok? Share your thoughts (and/or skepticism) in the comments below.

Castle screencaps from here