Episode 17 of season 6 on Castle: titled Belly of the Beast sees Beckett thrown in at the deep end of an undercover assignment that could have been called the Lazarus effect. Because not only will Kate be in a life or death meeting with a crime underlord by that name, but, a man from Beckett’s past has metaphorically risen from the dead, just like Lazarus.
The beginning of the show starts on a false note where Rick and Kate are about to enjoy some quality “font” time together when Captain Gates calls and tells Beckett to come to the precinct sans Castle. Once there the detective is pressured into impersonating a drug runner who has “turned” and shortly after doing so has attempted suicide. Kate must become the Russian speaking mule and meet with the head of a new local druglord and try to get enough information for the cavalry to come to the rescue.
Unknown to Kate, and the police, the Russian woman is not what she claims to be and when Beckett is kidnapped, her planned impersonation will now have deadly consequences if she gets it wrong. While Esposito, Ryan and Captain Gates must pull out all the stops to get to her before the drug lord discovers she is a cop.
This episode of Castle, Belly of the Beast, is a showcase for Stana Katic who plays Detective Kate Beckett. Nathan Fillion takes a back seat by having minimal time on screen while the show pits Katic’s character against the mysterious Lazarus who is head of the criminal organization. The effect of this move from the usual double act is brilliant and gives the audience a more sober episode based on Stana.
It is not often that the 35 year-old actress has a chance to really shine and this episode allows her to do just that. In a program where she generally plays the straight man (woman) to Nathan Fillion’s eccentric, and often childlike, writer Rick Castle Stana gets to go through some heavy duty acting in this segment. Getting tortured and having to relive the pain of her mother’s murder again and facing her possible death Katic shows that she is definitely much more than a pretty face and an appendage of Rick Castle.
Not since the terse two-parter where Beckett almost died, which coincidentally also gave the actress a chance to prove her acting chops, has the show focussed so completely on her character. Castle has done very well at providing what can best be described as a “dram-odey” The show usually balances its drama perfectly with a comic touch, usually furnished by Fillion.
This episode leaves the humor out and gives the audience a tense and suspenseful 42 minutes. At one point Kate writes a letter to Rick in case she does not make it out of this deadly situation alive. During the short scene, Katic manages to put an entire five seasons worth of urgent and real feelings as she “writes” the short note. There is not one point in this monologue that feels false and Stana shows just how well she understands her character and the way she feels about Castle.
Episode 17 of Castle: Belly of the Beast is easily the best show of season six to date. Taut, edgy, suspenseful and engrossing this particular talent show case for Stana Katic could almost be an award winning episode. While it could have been called the Lazarus Effect because of an old villain being resurrected, it could also have been called The Importance of Being Kate. Bravo Stana Katic.
By Michael Smith