Driven: A Preview

This article is written by: Lisa Caputo from


The fall TV season is almost here and after last season’s shocking Castle finale, the summer hiatus has been filled with an explosion of varying reactions and speculations from fans of ABC’s hit series. With the seventh season premiere only a week away, these fans will soon have their questions answered; or will they?

As a longtime fan of the series, and of storytelling in general, I found myself more intrigued and excited for this premiere than I have been for any show’s premiere for a very long time, Castle included. Sure, there is always the anticipation involved in waiting for a premiere and while the Castle team has done well in the past to heighten that anticipation with interesting and character-driven cliffhanger endings, there was something so much more exciting about this particular one. Simply put, it seemed impossible to theorize exactly how the upcoming premiere would play out. With so many questions raised by the Season 6 finale and so many possible avenues for the story to take in answering those questions, that anticipation factor hit new highs for me. After seeing the newly released screener of “Driven,” the premiere episode written by David Amann and directed by Rob Bowman, I can safely say that my mind is blown.

ABC has asked that the media not reveal whether or not Castle is found or what happened to him following last season’s shocking ending. In the spirit of not spoiling the premiere for anyone, that is a request that will be wholeheartedly granted here. With that said, for anyone wondering if Castle survives the car crash or if he and Beckett will be reunited in the episode, one must simply consider that he is the title character of the show and the very heart and soul of this series is his relationship with Det. Kate Beckett. So the answers to those questions should be fairly clear in their simplest of forms, though the details, for now, must remain hidden.

Despite keeping those elements of the episode shrouded in secrecy, there are a few tidbits that we are happily able to share with you. The opening scene, which many fans have already seen thanks to ABC releasing a sneak peek of it earlier this week, is one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful and poignantly symbolic scenes possible, with Beckett desperately trying to get to Castle’s car despite the raging flames threatening her with every attempt. If you are looking for more scenes like this that display her absolute resolve to find Castle and get the answers she so desperately needs, you will not be disappointed.

While all of the ensemble cast collectively delivers a plethora of stunning performances, Stana Katic elevates the rollercoaster of emotions that Beckett experiences throughout the hour in ways that only she could. At times, her performance is overwhelmingly powerful and other times it is remarkably subtle with pitch-perfect nuances, something that hits unbelievably hard in a number of key scenes during the episode. With just a look, the audience is pulled in to feel what Beckett is feeling, something that is a vital component to the story as the episode progresses. I would love to discuss Nathan Fillion’s role in the premiere but I am not at liberty to do so as Castle may or may not survive the car crash and Fillion may or may not be in the episode to deliver an equally stunning and mind-blowing performance that may or may not prove invaluable to the emotions evoked throughout the episode. How’s that for open-endedness?


While much of the attention is on Beckett and how she handles this very personal investigation, there is also an interesting dynamic at play with Ryan and Esposito throughout the hour. Seamus Dever and Jon Huertas add a great deal to the episode and while it is true that the two characters are at odds at certain points, it should be noted that there is a brilliant level of realism involved in that and it does not come across as anything to be concerned about. Ultimately, the two friends begin to take sides as they so often have in the past, something that stays true to the characters and allows the audience to question which of the two they agree with as well. When the evidence in their case begins to raise questions about Castle and what truly happened to him, Esposito immediately shows his protective nature towards Beckett while Ryan tries to deflect the evidence and defend Castle. To make matters worse, Beckett inadvertently overhears one of their debates on the subject and is forced to be the voice of reason at a time when even she has started to question what she believes to be the truth.

While this is certainly not a typical Castle episode, it does follow a very similar formula, one that gives a sense of familiarity while also delving into a whole new realm of storytelling on the show. Fans can expect an interesting investigation, complete with some shocking twists that neither the characters nor the audience could have ever seen coming. And while more questions are raised than answered throughout the hour, there are some clever clues dropped in the episode that are bound to become vital as the season progresses and the mystery deepens. When it comes to the Castle team, nothing is ever insignificant, so the clues that seem irrelevant at this point will most definitely become key pieces of evidence later on down the line.

The entire ensemble cast is included in the season premiere and all have significant roles to play, even those who are not a focal point through much of the episode. Fans of Lanie and Beckett’s friendship will be happy to know that Lanie comes to the aid of her best friend in a way that only she can, leading to some very important discoveries. Martha and Alexis, of course, factor into the episode as well, though something did not sit well with this reviewer about Martha’s behavior at times. Is it possible that the Castle matriarch may know more than she is letting on or is her focus solely on finding her son and moving forward rather than being as desperate for answers as Beckett is? It could just be Martha’s optimism at play or her desire not to dwell on the past and, instead, move on to happier times, but I found it a tad suspicious at times throughout the hour. Then again, perhaps the summer of speculation has prompted me to believe too much in odd conspiracy theories. Time will tell.

For longtime fans of the show, there are also numerous ties to past episodes and to Castle and Beckett’s history in and of itself, something that again adds a sense of familiarity to an episode that is otherwise very different in a lot of ways. Mentions are made of Castle and Beckett’s most prominent enemies while the FBI attempts to compile a list of suspects, a very interesting character from the past returns as both a person of interest and a potential informant, and some key lines and symbols from Castle and Beckett’s journey together resurface along the way. Beckett even finds a new use for her homemade murder board now that she no longer needs it to solve her mother’s murder, something that rather brilliantly points to the investigation of Castle’s disappearance becoming the new ongoing mystery for the series and does so in such a meaningful way.

As a whole, “Driven” delivers perhaps one of the most complex and layered season premieres in the history of the series. It is a wonderfully character-driven story that not only pushes the characters to new levels but also forces them to question their own thoughts and feelings as well as what they really know about one another. This is certainly not a comedic episode, rather one of the most thought-provoking and absolutely mind-blowing episodes the Castle team has produced. It is likely to make you cry and it is also likely to make you question what you really believe the truth is, at times even doubting the characters you have known and loved for years. But that is exactly what this episode sets out to do, taking the audience on the same rollercoaster ride that the characters are forced to go through. It is a brilliant setup for the new season, moving the series into new territory, developing an incredibly intriguing new mystery to be solved, and challenging the characters in ways that will bring them together even more while defining them in new ways as well.

With that said, it is not all doom and gloom, not by far. There are so many fantastic elements within the episode and so many moments that fans will not soon forget. There are wonderful moments of hope and joy amongst the heartbreak and the fear, moments that are often captured in very telling ways even when they may seem subtle. It is a very clever premiere, perfectly setting the stage for an ongoing mystery that will likely span across most of the seventh season, if not further. Yet it does it all in an engaging way that holds our attention and makes us feel some truly interesting and powerful emotions. While the episode leaves us with more questions than answers, it does end with what so many of the best Castle episodes have ended with; hope, love, and unity. There may not be a blissfully happy ending but that is only because this is just the beginning.


Captain Founder, Administrator, Editor and Writer

The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary. You taught me to be my best self, to look forward to tomorrow's adventures. And when I was vulnerable, you were strong. I love you, Richard Castle. And I want to live my life in the warmth of your smile and the strength of your embrace. I promise you I will love you. I will be your friend and your partner in crime and in life, always. - Kate Beckett The moment we met, my life became extraordinary. You taught me more about myself than I knew there was to learn. You are the joy in my heart. You're the last person I want to see every night when I close my eyes. I love you, Katherine Beckett. And the mystery of you is the one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring. I promise to love you, to be your friend, and your partner in crime and life, 'till death do us part, and for the time of our lives. - Richard Castle

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