Below, TV Fanatics Jim Garner, Stacy Glanzman, Chandel Charles, Robin Harry and Christine Orlando are joined by Bobbie from The 12th a Castle Fan Forum to choose the most surprising twist, discuss whether Beckett’s future should include politics and debate which supporting character they enjoy the most...
Which twist in the case surprised you the most?
Jim: That the wife didn't do it. So many times when a recognizable actress is cast as the unassuming wife, she turns out to be the guilty party. Nice red herring this week, as I was totally surprised when the wife turned out to have a girlfriend on the side as well.
Stacy: I was suspecting Ryan's brother-in-law almost immediately to be involved, but I was really happy to learn he wasn't the shooter or knowingly helping the shooter. What he did was wrong, but at least he didn't mean to hurt anyone.
Chandel: Probably that the brother-in-law was involved. I suspected his involvement in something right before it happened, but where they took it with Ryan having to pull a gun was an interesting development. I have to wonder, does that mean the money Ryan was being paid was dirty?
Robin: I was surprised that the politician himself wasn't involved. I figured they were having an affair but he wanted to get rid of her as his presidential prospects started looking up.
Bobbie: I was surprised that the brother-in-law was dirty. It was a good twist because it really amplified the emotional toll on Ryan.
Christine: There were so many in this episode but I think I’ll have to agree with Jim. I suspected the wife as well. The last thing I expected was that her alibi was her girlfriend!
There was some talk about Beckett’s future and her thoughts on politics. Would you like to see her head down that road?
Jim: Speaking as a total fanboy, I would really enjoy seeing Kate assigned her own city wide task force that handled high-profile cases. It would expand the story options to things other than murder but still give her the clout to get things done in any precinct she walked into.
Stacy: Personally, as long as whatever Beckett's future is doesn't happen until after the show ends, I don't really care what she does. I like her right where she is, but when the show is over, the sky's the limit.
Chandel: I think she's a great detective and should go for the Captain's exam. If she wants to do politics later, I would be okay with that, too.
Robin: Not really. I don't like the politics idea; politics are too smarmy for Beckett. I like Jim's idea of her having her own task force with increased responsibility.
Bobbie: I definitely don't want to see Senator Beckett! The whole world of politics seems to go against her character, even though it was implied that she'd be the exception to the rule.
Christine: I hate the idea of Beckett going into politics. I like Jim’s task force idea or even her becoming Captain. She’s a great detective and I’d like to see her stay with police work because I think that’s where she’ll be happiest.
Other than Castle and Beckett, which character do you enjoy the focus being shifted to the most?
Jim: This is the second "Ryan" episode that I remember having and it just showed what an incredible actor Seamus Dever really is. I wouldn't mind seeing more Javi/Ryan episodes as the last few have been pretty good.
Stacy: I think Ryan has had the best story lines of the secondary characters. I loved when he went undercover in the Irish mob in Castle Season 5 Episode 18, "The Wild Rover"
Chandel: Always Det. Ryan. They always manage to pull out some aspect of Ryan we either haven't seen before, or didn't think was there. I really want to go back and watch Castle Season 6 Episode 11, "Under Fire" where he and Javi were stuck in that burning building and Jenny was about to give birth. Talk about a great character episode!
Robin: Always, always Kevin Ryan. I love Kevin-centric episodes, because Seamus Dever just dives in and gives us everything he's got. I look forward to any episode where he gets to do some heavy lifting.
Bobbie: I've thoroughly enjoyed the Ryan-centric episodes. I think Seamus is the most talented of the supporting actors and he does a wonderful job when given the chance to shine. “Under Fire” is one of my very favorite episodes because of Seamus' ability to portray such gut wrenching emotion.
Christine: I agree that Seamus Dever knocks it out of the park every time Kevin Ryan gets the spotlight. However, I’d love to see another Martha-centered episode. I’m a big fan of Susan Sullivan and that character and I’d love to see more of her on the show.
Was there anything in “At Close Range” that you found disappointing?
Jim: The preview ABC put together for it. It made us believe that Ryan was a suspect, when he clearly wasn't. For me this is the TV equivalent of internet click-bait. If I'm already going to watch the episode, lying about the plot doesn't win you any favors. If I'm not a regular viewer, lying about the plot is just going to remind me why I don't watch the show to begin with.
Stacy: Nothing specific, but I agree with Jim about the promo. I went into the episode thinking Ryan was going to be a suspect, as well.
Chandel: No, I was overall very satisfied with this episode.
Robin: I was a bit disappointed at how quickly and easily Esposito dismissed Kevin's concerns with an easy answer. It would have been nice if Esposito had been more willing to be his partner's sounding board.
Bobbie: I was a bit disappointed that we never got to see Ryan decide to quit working two jobs and spend the time with his wife and child. After this experience, I'd think that's where he was headed. But my biggest disappointment was the reveal that Kate had already made the decision to take the Captain's exam and had never even discussed it with Castle.
That lack of open communication brought back way too many memories of hurtful situations in the past when those two kept things from each other. They wrote it as if it didn't bother Castle, but that felt out of character to me. We know from the past couple of episodes that they've been discussing her future, so why keep it from your husband?
Christine: I know Ryan said it was a family thing, but I was disappointed that Esposito didn’t go with him as backup when Ryan went to meet his brother-in-law. It was a tense situation that could have gone badly and Ryan could have used his partner, even if he hung back to let those two in private.
What was your favorite scene in this episode?
Jim: I loved that Ryan called Castle, and explained it to Beckett as "When you have a crazy theory, you don't call the voice of reason." Just reminds me how much Ryan was channeling Castle while he was out playing P.I.
Stacy: The beginning cracked me up when Castle asked if it was One Direction. I'm not sure if I laughed more at Castle acting like a twelve year old girl or that Espo actually knew they were in Hong Kong.
Chandel: Probably when Kate was explaining to Rick what it meant to go through that woman's purse. I had never quite thought of a purse as something intimate, and the way she thought about it as a representation of a person was intriguing.
Robin: I seriously loved that Ryan called Castle to help him reconstruct the scene. I really enjoy their friendship, and I like that Ryan could trust Castle to hear his crazy theory and help him.
Bobbie: I really enjoyed the episode but can't say that any one scene was better for me than another. I did however, really like the line, "When you have a crazy theory, you don't call the voice of reason." Castle and Ryan are definitely two peas in a pod at times.
Christine: I’m with Chandel. Kate going through the victim’s purse really struck a chord. I don’t think we’ve felt Beckett connect with the victims as much as she did in earlier seasons and this was a nice throw back to that.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.