In the five episode season finale arc, I saw this episode as the palette cleanser sorbet between courses. Refreshing, cool and fun. I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud so often.
First, and most importantly, how wonderful was it to see Adam Baldwin and Nathan Fillion on the screen together again. Their chemistry leapt from the television (or computer screen in my case) and they both seemed to be having the time of their lives. Their interactions reminded me of early Castle/Beckett. The latter duo has become so angst ridden lately that it was fun to see a more light hearted pairing.
The bromance during the first half of the show was among the best things that Castle has ever done. Castle with his man-crush; Slaughter (what a great name!) only going along to get Castle to help him out of a jam. There were so many things that made me laugh out loud that it’s difficult to list them all. My favourites were the rules, the skirt with ‘writer’ on it, Castle shouting ‘NPYD,’ Castle winning the bar fight, but then falling down at the end. However, it doesn’t last long. Castle quickly figures out that Slaughter is trouble. The conversation about Alexis, although funny on the surface, was the beginning of the end.
The overall theme of this episode, however, was Castle “leaving the nest” and working without the rest of his team. Castle, although he likes to think of himself as part of the NYPD, is not. He is a civilian – a fact that got pointed out to both him and to Slaughter more than once this week.
When Castle walks into the precinct with Slaughter for the first time, he tells Beckett that he can take care of himself. It quickly becomes obvious that he cannot. He is part of a team, all of whom help him during the course of this episode.
Esposito and Ryan will not do anything for him at first because Beckett is not involved in the case. They finally cave in when Castle agrees to their bribe requests – Knicks tickets and the Ferrari. I must admit I found this a bit cheeky on their part as Castle has been very generous with them in the past, but it did add yet another level of humour to the episode. Having said that, the two boys are very protective of Castle and come to his rescue in the nick of time.
Of course, it was Beckett who had Castle’s back the whole time. It was nice to see them at a crime scene again, just the two of them working on finding the solution to the murder. It’s actually been a while.
So, where do we stand on the whole Caskett issue? Both Castle and Beckett are as oblivious as each other. Beckett was so pleased to see Castle when he showed up with the coffee that a blind man should have seen how she feels about him. Instead, Castle is so wrapped up in his “new” partner that he misses it – even when she puts down the coffee (never a good sign) and tells him that searching out Slaughter is not a problem while not being able to meet his eyes. Beckett, meanwhile, has a bitch session with her therapist. Although it was good to see that she is still getting help, she continues to jump to conclusions – that we, as the audience, know are wrong. We have now had Lanie, Esposito and her therapist try to talk some sense into her. Maybe, just maybe, Beckett should stop talking to everyone else and have a chat with Castle. Don’t get me wrong – I am not holding my breath.
Was this episode perfect? Far from it. The case fell into the current Castle trap – too convoluted, finally, with a resolution that felt forced (a working pay phone in Manhattan? Seriously?). I was also disappointed in the final scene with the detectives. Of course the writers feel that Beckett should be the badass, but I would have preferred Slaughter to have the final word. After all, he is the one that wants to take down Vales so badly.
The whole subplot with Alexis stretched credibility beyond the breaking point. Stanford has not been her dream; she only wanted to go there via early admission to be with her boyfriend at the time. Besides, if she goes to California, she is effectively off the show. Will anyone else be surprised if we find her at Columbia or NYU next year? The whole point of this subplot was so that Castle could reflect on his relationship with Beckett. Come on, writers. You can do better than this.
But, overall, this was a really fun hour of television. Please, oh please, bring Slaughter back again.
Three and a half writer skirts.
Firefly references that I caught. Please comment if I missed any:
-- The opening scene with Castle playing with the dolls (sorry, action figures), one of which was a dinosaur.
-- Castle giving Slaughter the brown coat.
-- Slaughter saying he works alone, then teaming up with Castle.
-- The bar fight.
-- One of Glitch’s mistakes involved stolen medical equipment.
-- Slaughter’s undercover buddy was wearing a hat that, although not identical, reminded me of Badger’s.
-- Gates was missing, again. I think the writers missed a trick here. It would have been fun to see her reacting to Castle and Slaughter.
-- What was with Laura in the morgue and not Lanie? Should we read anything into this?
-- Great callback in Shea’s interrogation to Finn Rourke, the head of the Westies. We met him in back in “Sucker Punch.”
Castle: “Muses are to provide inspiration, and right now I ain’t getting any.”
Slaughter: “.32’s I’m guessing?” Camera pans down.
Laura: “You’re talking about the bullets, right?”
Slaughter: “Yeah,” with a huge smile on his face.
Castle: “That was awesome! Beckett never drives on the sidewalk.”
Slaughter: “If you’re gonna hang with me, we’re gonna lay out some ground rules. Rule number one, do not use the word ‘awesome.’ You’re a grown man. Rule number two, stay outta my way.”
Castle: “Is that it?”
Slaughter: “That’s kinda all-encompassing.”
Slaughter: “Speaking of partners, I’ve seen pictures of yours. She’s smokin’ hot. You’re tappin’ that, right?”
Castle: “What? No!”
Slaughter: “No? What’s wrong with you?”
Castle: “Nothing’s – nothing’s wrong with me. We’re just friends.”
Slaughter: “Man needs a friend, he gets a dog. Woman like that, you storm the beaches or die trying. Come on!” [Similar to last week, the writers putting the fans’ feelings into a character’s mouth.]
Slaughter: “You got a skirt that says ‘writer’ on it, too?” [The line of the show.]
Castle: “Hey, I can take care of myself. You just never give me a chance.”
Castle: “Guys like Slaughter, they just float from precinct to precinct, you know? They’re like nomads, wandering the streets of New York City, kicking ass and taking names, which isn’t the most original turn of phrase, but the character is so great. It’s really gonna help me shake up this next Nikki Heat book.”
Beckett: “Yeah, sure, if you live long enough to actually write about it.”
Castle: “Want me to bust out Jake and the Fatman again?” [The looks from both Shea and Slaughter were priceless.]
Kate: “What if I waited too long?”
Burke: “You weren’t waiting, Kate. You were healing.”
Ryan: “Next time, we might not be there to save you.”
Castle: “You did this for me? All this time you had my back.”
Castle: “I guess the question is, do you want it badly enough to get over being hurt?”