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Castle is all about secrets, surveillance and military strikes in “The Human Factor.”  The episode provides the most technologically-sophisticated cause of death yet—a drone. With no body, no proof and no witnesses, the team must rely on their instincts to guide them.

The Players:

  • Director: Bill Roe
  • Writer: David Amann
  • Cast:  Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Carlos Bernard, Jed Bernard

Episode Title: “The Human Factor”

A car bombing responsible for Dale Tanner’s murder is shrouded in mystery when Homeland Security cleans the crime scene and takes the body. When the team discovers the victim’s identity, they learn more about the man who ran a website exposing government and corporate secrets. When CSU learns that the explosion was caused by an aerial attack, they must find out why the Feds are trying to cover it up.

The Good:

  • Old Theme, New Approach: Warburg explains that we need humans because their emotionally-driven actions and intuition are far more valuable than the logic run by computer systems. It’s nice to see intuition and emotion, two qualities often regarded as weaknesses, recognized as strengths in our decision-making.
  • Balance: Beckett’s prank-playing on Castle and teasing that he’d run away from danger is effective after he proved that he would stick by her side in the greatest of dangers in “Still.” We’re glad that they’re able to make light of such heavy situations. Many of us need that kind of example to follow in our own lives. No matter how complicated things get, Beckett and Castle find a way to focus on the task at hand, and enjoy the little moments in life.
  • Coincidence? We Think Not: This episode shares its title with a book by Graham Greene and a movie based on the real lives of British spies. Like one of Castle’s crazy theories regarding a Bond villain, Greene set out to debunk the myths surrounding spies. According to him, they’re not as action-packed and glamorous as we imagine. It drives home the point that Beckett seems set on keeping her homicide job because she works plenty of exciting cases. Not to mention working with a team she’s grown to trust and love.
  • “A” Team: Stack compliments Beckett on her asymmetrical thinking. While she does a great job of thinking outside of the box, the reason she enjoys her job is due to Castle, Esposito and Ryan. We really noticed their teamwork this week. It’s sometimes joked that Ryan and Esposito are the “B Team,” they contributed greatly to the case. Maybe Lanie will reappear before the season’s over too?

The So-So:

  • Hush, Hush: There’s a great parallel between the team working a mysterious case and Beckett keeping a secret from Castle. How do we feel about Beckett not telling Castle what Stack said? It is nothing if she’s not considering the job. But is there something missing in their relationship if she chooses not to share?

The Bad:

  • Self-Demotion: We’re not sure what to make of Castle’s books being on the clearance rack at the store. Why would the writers intentionally display Storm Season in that way? Even if they’re signalling a major change in the show we’ve come to love, we fans (and book buyers) are disappointed.

The Quotes:

  • Castle (to Beckett): “If you’re trying to decide what to wear, just wear what you’re wearing now…or less.”
  • Beckett: “Pervert!” Castle: “That’s Field Marshal pervert to you.”
  • Castle: “Hey, guys. Get this a lot, Agent J? Agent K?”
  • Beckett: “Well, we don’t have a body. We don’t have a crime scene. And we don’t have any witnesses, but–” Castle: “At least we have each other.”
  • Beckett: “In my experience, huge bureaucracies don’t act with that kind of efficiency.”
  • Stack: “Jared Stack, special investigator for the Attorney General’s office.” Castle: “I’ve never heard of it.” Stack (whispers): “You’re not supposed to.”
  • Stack: “I’m even wearing a mask.” Castle: “Really?” Stack: “No.”
  • Castle (to Stack): “That theory is highly improbable. And coming from me, that’s saying something.”
  • Castle: “Machines have achieved consciousness. And they are pissed.”
  • Castle: “Warburg…sounds like a Bond villain, right?”
  • Beckett: “Castle, you don’t actually believe that. And keep in mind if you say ‘yes’, I will find you less attractive.”
  • Castle: “I was pretty close.” Beckett: “If by close, you mean opposite.”
  • Castle: “I love this place.” Beckett: “Oh look, Storm Season…oh, on the clearance table.” Castle: “And love fades.”
  • Castle: “I just had a deeply disturbing thought.” Beckett: “Much like most of your thoughts?”
  • Castle: “I can’t believe you missed with every shot.” Beckett: “Really? Do you think that you shot down that drone with your marksmanship?”
  • Castle (answering phone): “Press one for Castle. Press two for Beckett.” Esposito: “How ’bout I just talk, jackass.”
  • Stack: “Look at that, how she uses the silence. She’s a force to be reckoned with.” Castle: “You don’t know the half of it.”

Overall:

“The Human Factor” contains great writing, acting and an engaging case. It’s an effective lead-up to the season finale.

Rating: 8/10

Castle airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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Are you ready for the season finale next week? Let us know in the comments!