Compared to last week’s episode of Castle, which we gave five stars, the concluding part of this tense two-parter disappoints. If Target was a forty-minute reminder of what this show is all about, then Hunt is a forty-minute reminder of what it isn’t. At the end of last week’s episode, we discovered Alexis had been kidnapped and taken to France. In response, this week’s episode simulates Hollywood blockbuster Taken and follows her there.
Castle abandons his friends at the 12th Precinct to travel to Paris and track down Alexis with the help of some sketchy individuals who once helped him with research for a novel. This marks the first problem with the episode: its location. It seems that Fillion wasn’t actually flown to Paris, even though Molly C. Quinn was; as a result, exterior shots involving Castle either feature a dodgy green-screen background, or are so distant we can’t distinguish Fillion from his stunt double. This feels weird, and makes it harder to engage with the story.
Then we’re onto these sketchy individuals with whom Castle is trying to track down his daughter; one is a near-blind audiophile who shacks up in what basically amounts to a dungeon, surrounded by computer screens and speakers (one can only imagine his problems with humidity). His appearance and demeanour, not to mention his discovery of impossible proportions, completely destroy the episode’s realism – the character is a ridiculous caricature, the like from which Castle is usually free. That feeling of surreality continues into the episode’s resolution, which had me wondering: “Is this really it, or is this a joke?”
Hunt’s strengths basically lie in the quality of the acting, which remains stellar, and the novelty value of the series’ foray to France. The execution of its conclusion features a minor ruse which subverts the audience’s expectation in a way that deserves a little praise, but it still lacks the finesse of some past episodes’ endings. It develops a previously sparse area of Castle’s backstory too, but the revelations have no apparent significance outside of this episode. Ultimately, this is a remarkably average episode, and that’s especially disappointing considering it’s the direct follow-up to the brilliant Target.