It was the final season of Castle.
Under normal circumstances, that alone would evoke a certain amount of sorrow, but it was the very existence of Castle Season 8 that caused us misery.
From the first installment, Castle Season 8 Episode 1, all the way through to the series finale, Castle Season 8 Episode 22, it was obvious that the very heart of the show had been altered.
A show that had once made Mondays the happiest day of the week had taken a fatal turn in the hands of new show runners who never seemed to understand why fans tuned in.
Still, we’ve decided to take a look back and see where the magic was lost, if it ever sparked back to life, and what grade Castle Season 8 deserves.
If you're already missing the best of the series, you can always watch Castle online here at TV Fanatic and check out our 29 Most Memorable Caskett Moments now.
We Knew Something Was Off…
Right from the very beginning, I knew something was off with Season 8. I normally get my Castle premiere screener and watch it the first time just for pure pleasure. Then I watch a second time and take notes for my review. (I may have been known to watch it a third time before the live airing, just for fun.)
But I knew something was off when I had little desire to rewatch “XY” even a second time. The show had a darker tone and more violence than was the norm on Castle. Worst of all, even the Caskett scenes lacked that spark I'd always loved.
I'd hoped it was a fluke and that the new show runners simply needed time to find their footing. Boy, was I wrong!
Worst Plot Twist...
This one is easy. Castle Season 8 Episode 2 had Beckett walking out on her marriage in order to protect her husband as she attempted to stop LokSat. What could be worse? Castle let her go without a fight! All I could think was, What the hell!
Kate Beckett fought her inner demons in order to be a better, healthier person and have a happy relationship. Now some mysterious conspiracy had Beckett throwing that away?
Rick Castle fought for their relationship for years, but he let her walk out the door with virtually no explanation. It didn't make sense from the start and was the beginning of the end for the show.
Castle Season 8 Episode 10 was the first installment of the season that I can honestly say I enjoyed from beginning to end. “Witness For the Prosecution” provided a new twist and the old Castle magic that we always loved.
Caleb Brown cross examining Rick Castle on the stand was one of the best scenes of the season. And in a season where there was little emotion felt between Castle and Beckett, it was satisfying to see how affected Kate was watching that cross examination and not being able to stop it.
Perhaps even better was seeing our fabulous foursome (Castle, Beckett, Esposito, and Ryan) once again working a case over Chinese food at the precinct. We were even reminded that Rick Castle is a best selling author! There was lots to smile about in 8x10. I might even watch this episode again.
There are just too many to choose from for this category, but we're going to go with Castle Season 8 Episode 3. “PhDead” was the first regular episode after the two-parter, and it was a huge let down.
It had many things we never thought we'd see: Caskett separated, Castle being fine with Alexis parading around like a Victoria's Secret model in front of a bunch of frat boys, Lanie telling Castle that being abducted and kept from his loved ones for two months was the same as Beckett walking out on their marriage.
Castle was partnered with Alexis. Beckett was partnered with Vikram, and Happy Castle Mondays suddenly needed a Castle Depression Rescue Kit.
The birth of Nicholas Javier Ryan – Castle has always been at its best when Castle, Beckett, Esposito, Ryan, and Lanie band together, and the best thing about Castle Season 8 Episode 17 was watching this team rallying around Ryan as they awaited news about Jenny and their new baby.
Even better, Ryan and Jenny named the baby Nicholas Javier Ryan, a nod to Ryan's desire to name his child Javier in “Under Fire.” The moment was like a giant group hug for our favorite characters and their fans.
Most Horrendous Lie...
Castle Season 8 Episode 9 had our favorite couple lying about cheating on one another. As if the Caskett separation wasn't bad enough, their secret reconciliation and desire to keep it hidden from their friends and family made it all the worse.
Rick Castle was cheated on by his first wife. It ended their marriage and left him to raise his daughter alone. But in “Tone Death,” we were supposed to believe that Castle was fine letting his closest friends believe he'd cheated on the love of his life? I didn't find that funny; it actually made me cringe.
Even worse was that Beckett had no problem allowing her husband's reputation to be trashed. Beckett was always a character with such integrity. How was it okay to let the world believe that the husband who adored her was off screwing some Russian model on the side? The writers claimed they wanted to add some fun into the story by having Caskett sneak around to be together, but nothing about this was fun. It only made us sad and angry.