Castle: Ghosts

“You afraid of a little action?”

The premise of this show, a person hiding his or her identity for years because of something s/he did in the past, has been done in just about every show I have ever watched. The plot is always the same: an “ordinary” person is murdered; turns out they are not who they said they were; family is shocked and law enforcement is stymied; the murder has something to do with what they were involved with all those years ago. Yawn. The writers of this episode, to their credit, did manage to create a pretty good twist on the tale, but like I said, it’s been done.

What is fun in this episode is to watch the evolution of all the relationships that are beginning to develop. Castle is truly becoming a member of the team, not just the outsider tagging along and getting in their way.

For a “fun” open, the one in this episode is very revealing in so many ways. The first, and most obvious, is that Castle’s relationship with the entire team has shifted; he is now their friend. They have come to his house to play poker and the team is clearly very comfortable with both Castle and Martha.

Martha is having a great time. Drinking wine, revealing Castle’s tells and freely admitting that she prefers strip poker to Texas Hold ‘Em, she is the life of the party -- much to Castle’s chagrin. Interestingly, she is the one who picks up on the fact that Castle has thrown his hand and, for the first time, we get a real sense of how well she really knows her son. It’s interesting to watch Martha’s allegiance subtly shift in this episode. She is obviously very fond of Beckett already, to the point where she feels comfortable calling her and ratting out her son.

The boys are also becoming quite a team. There is a wonderful scene where Castle is spinning a tale about Allison’s boyfriend. Esposito and Ryan start chiming in and the three of them manage to create quite a fantasy. Beckett, who is becoming more used to these shenanigans, gives them some time to create and then announces that perhaps they should look for evidence, not make something up.

Castle is growing up. In the first episode, we see Castle behaving exactly as Lee Wax does here. She is will to do anything, including seduce Castle, to get the story. Not so long ago, Castle was trying to seduce Beckett for exactly the same reason. Now, not only has he moved beyond behavior like that, but he is even a bit put off by it. I love the smile on his face at the end of the episode where he rescinds Lee’s all-access pass; he feels as though he is protecting Beckett.

Of course, we have our share of Caskett moments in this episode, especially in the poker games that run throughout the show. In the first, Castle throws his hand so as not to one up Beckett in front of her team. Although she is less than pleased at his doing that and demands a rematch, Beckett does exactly the same thing at the Gotham City game.

The other thing that is so interesting about the second game is that Beckett is playing poker with three people she met before, but in very different circumstances. Judge Markway she met in "Flowers For Your Grave," where she learns that Castle plays golf with him; the Mayor she met last episode at the ball and, of course, her boss. Thanks to Castle, Beckett is less awed by these guys and is able to relax and talk through the case with them. It is impossible to imagine her being able to do that at the beginning of the series.

Throughout this episode, it is obvious that Caskett are much more comfortable with each other, are beginning to respect each other a great deal, have begun to understand and make allowances for each other and, finally, are really beginning to like each other. The poker game at the end for the bag of gummi bears is not something colleagues or acquaintances would do.

I have to give this one two vats of oil, not three, because of the weak underlying case. Maybe two and half.


Tidbits:

-- Beckett’s response when Lee Wax asks her for a favor is one of my favorite Beckett moments in the first series: “You know, I would love to, but I have a whole list of writers who are hanging around, looking for favors.” She slaps Castle on the arm and then spins as she walks out the door, giving him a great look. Fantastic.


Soundbites:

Castle: “Whoa, whoa. Someone say “murder?” Hold on! I’ll get my coat.”
Esposito: “Look at him, all excited.”
Beckett: “Yeah, like a kid at Christmas.”
Ryan: “With a dead body under the tree.”

Castle: “Westchester to Lower Manhattan? That’s a long way to go for a lube job.” Beckett turns and gives him the look we all wish we would give him. “See, when married ladies go to cheap hotels, it’s always about sex.”
Beckett: “Or drugs.”

Martha: “Kate Beckett is not some bimbo that needs big, strong you to look out for her. She’s a real woman and a real woman does not want to be patronized.”
Alexis: “She’s right, Dad.”

Castle: “Remind me if I ever decide to write a memoir, to never write a memoir.”
Beckett: “OK.”
Long pause. Castle waits for the inevitable and Beckett prolongs it as long as possible.
Beckett: “Why not?”
Castle: “Because memoirs are about truth, and I’m not a very truthful person. It’d be too easy to make myself look good.”
Beckett: “It might be harder than you think.”

1 comment:

Matthew L said...

I think this is my least favorite episode of the first season and I think it's for the same reason you pointed out, the case is too predictible. Although I did like this episode for the poker scenes.

As a lot of us Castle fans are impatiently waiting for Season 5 to start, rewatching previous seasons is a way to pass the time. And although this episode is weak in terms of the case, it does, as you say, continue to build up the character relationships, especially Caskett. And this, in of itself, is a reflection of the fact that the creator of this show has always stated that Castle is a love story wrapped in a procedural. So it's no wonder that at times, the case of the week is going to be week or take second fiddle to the character developments and relationships.