Review: In the Belly of the Beast

Beckett Goes Undercover

Beckett helps out the narc unit in what is sold as a routine undercover mission but it quickly turns deadly when she learns the people she’s supposed to meet think she’s a contract killer.

Beckett’s life is put into danger when a routine undercover mission goes awry

The March 3 episode was meant to explore Kate Beckett’s mythology. Instead, we were treated to yet another episode in the Johanna Beckett murder mystery. What offered the producers to a chance peel back more of Beckett’s character, ended up being another episode to expand the saga of Beckett and her quest for justice for her mother. Yawn!. From the very beginning, we were told that this would see people from her past—more like immediate past and not all that unexpected.

“In the Belly of the Beast”, an appropriate title for this episode as it sends Beckett deep into the waters of New York’s massive underworld, opens with a lazy day for Beckett on her day off where we learn she’s pretty much all work no play. Castle teases her on this. But they have some things to get out of the way—choosing a font for their “save the date” (is that what the cool kids are calling wedding invites these days?). But the two have other things (ahem!) on the mind but they’re interrupted with an urgent call from precinct. Beckett has to come in and is told rather bluntly to not bring Castle with her.

At the precinct, Beckett almost plows into the Deputy Commissioner and Esposito promptly tells Beckett that more brass has been through the precinct than a marching band and they don’t know why. Gates calls for Beckett (she gets to know) to come into the conference room where she is promptly told about a three month investigation into the murders of several low to mid level drug dealers. They snagged one and she’s willing to cooperate. But she tries to commit suicide before she can tell them more information.

Beckett tries to convince herself she's getting herself out of this messy situation.

Beckett tries to convince herself she’s getting herself out of this messy situation.

The drug captain tells Beckett and Gates that there’s a meet going down in two hours and they need to find out who’s running this drug ring because it’s big and the commissioner wants it stopped. Sticking the typical boilerplate script for TV crime dramas, it comes down one person who can go into her place and it’s Beckett. Of course, never one to back away from challenge and always wanting to get her man, Beckett agrees to the mission. And of course, things go wrong.

I’m going to skip all the middle stuff. Of course, Beckett realizes how dire her situation is and she writes a nice goodbye not to Castle where she lets him know how much he means to her (Bones anyone?) and we can be almost certain this letter will turn back up when the wedding vows are read. From there the episode takes a turn for the uber crazy that smells and feels more like Scandal, House of Cards, Homeland and a Tom Clancy novel rolled into one.

For whatever reason, either out of convenience or necessity, the writers decided to insert season three bad guy Vulcan Simmons, who has a bit of history with the Beckett family. First, Johanna Beckett killed Simmons’ drug operation in Washington Heights many years earlier, and Beckett tried to pin her mother’s death on him in season three’s “Knockdown.” We get why the writers went to him. One, he’s connected to Beckett’s mother, and two he’s a drug lord. I get it. But in order to “reset” the field, they had to create a fall guy for the big kahuna, Lazarus. Who has a more immediate connection to Beckett.

And who is Lazarus? Bracken of course because obviously they need to the one time assistant district attorney turned congressman turned powerful senator into a slime ball politician who makes Nixon look the Virgin Mary to get back in the picture again. And they can’t do that without his “IOU” to Beckett for saving his life hanging over the whole story’s head, now can they? Who would have thought it would come back to bite Beckett in the ass big time?

With the slate now clean between the two of them, he can carry out his Dr. Evil plans for world domination knowing Beckett and her band of Merry Men unable to stop him. It will have to be by putting a bullet in his head. And we know Beckett has too many morals to do it herself. Which means it’s going to fall onto Castle, Ryan, Esposito, Gates or a mixture of them to finally put this guy (and our) misery.

And given how poorly this episode did in the ratings, the writers better start putting their collective heads together because they have truly wrote themselves into a corner with the Johanna Beckett murder mystery. And even though Andrew Marlowe has stated he plans to revisit the JB murder case before season’s end, it better be to end it. Otherwise he will prove to the world that he cannot write Kate Beckett or the show without this major story arc hanging over the detective’s head. After all, Beckett said herself her mother’s murder is why she became a cop. And who is Kate Beckett without that non-closure to drive her into oblivion. I suppose I should be thankful that she didn’t descend down into that rabbit whole that has consumer her most of her life. Only this time, Castle will go down with her. As he should, because without him, there’d be no Senator Bracken to go after.

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2 responses to “Review: In the Belly of the Beast”

  1. Susan says :

    I enjoyed this episode- more so on a second view. I will agree that it was not the most evenly weighted episode. Wished the end hadn’t felt so ‘tidy’. A little more fleshing out of some segments would have given it the legs to be a 2 parter.

  2. jcraines719 says :

    I think a two-parter might have been better if it would have allowed them to bring SImmons down. End with Beckett starring down the barrel of the gun fade-to-black. Open part two with Elana killing the henchman and all that. Then spend the next episode bringing Simmons down and finding the connection to Bracken.

    A friend who’s far more versed in the series and is an excellent storyteller suggested that the SImmons takedown maybe the revisit that Marlowe has referred to. Elena kills SImmons because he’s a loose end and because Bracken knows that Simmons may just “turn” to save his own skin.

    Beckett and the boys have to “solve” Simmons’ murder which leads them directly to Elena. And to save her own skin offer to do Beckett a favor and take care of her employer. Or hand over information that will allow Beckett to finally bring Bracken down.

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