Castle: The Lives of Others

Castle: “How many murders do you think we’ve solved since we met?”
Beckett: “I don’t know. Maybe a hundred or so?”

Who would have guessed? A midseason replacement that no one paid much attention to at first managed to find an audience and, this week, celebrate its 100th episode. This episode was classic Castle fare -- a ridiculous murder the precinct is trying to solve and a murderer that was painfully obvious simply because he has such little screen time. But, that’s not why those of us who have seen all hundred episodes watch the show, is it? We watch for the interactions between the characters and as much Caskett time as we can get. In that way, this show delivered in spades and was a wonderful way to celebrate such a landmark.

I’m not going to give the real murder much ink. The only thing I liked about it was the name of the victim, Mrs. DeWinter. This is another homage to a Hitchcock film, Rebecca.

Now, onto the Rear Window homage. While there is a fair amount to quibble about in terms of how well all the pieces came together to make it work, it was so much fun to watch that I didn’t care. On the second viewing, the conversations between the people who are in on the joke when Castle is not around are even better. We get to see the set-up, the worry that the joke has gone too far and Alexis’ role is clearer and better.

I really enjoyed the way that Gates was in on the plan as well. Let’s stop pretending, therefore, that she doesn’t know that our two are a couple. My guess is that the reason she was not at the party was so they could be together without fear of reprisals. The fact remains that as soon as Gates has proof positive, she will have to split the two of them up. Does anyone else sense the end of season cliffhanger here?

There was also a real sense that Beckett is now part of the Castle family. She refers to the loft as “home” on more than one occasion and she speaks to Alexis like a big sister. The biggest clue for me was Martha calling Beckett “Katherine.” She always refers to Castle as “Richard,” so I get the impression that formalizing the name is the same as telling Beckett that she is now one of them.

The best part of this episode, however, was watching Beckett and Castle’s new relationship. All great stories involve character development and both Castle’s and Beckett’s have been part of this show from the first. Looking back at the first episode, Castle is obnoxious, rude and flirty; Beckett is emotionally closed down, almost repressed, and completely wrapped up in her job with no time for any kind of a personal life.

Look at them now. Back in the third series episode of “Pretty Dead,” Castle tells Montgomery that the best gift to give a woman is to give her the thing she said she wanted when she didn’t think you were listening. This is exactly what Beckett has just done. In this season’s “Reality Star Struck,” Castle asks Beckett if his Valentine’s present is an impossible murder for him to solve. She was listening.

Castle has spent his life desperate for validation, causing him to always be the caretaker. He takes in Martha when she is homeless and allows her to stay; he is a wonderful father to Alexis; he has managed to stay friends with both of his ex-wives, although they are both crazy. Most importantly, he was the one who forced Beckett out of her shell, who taught her about family and about love.

These two were damaged people when we met them, neither of them capable of any kind of truly adult, loving relationship. Now, Beckett is able to take care of Castle and he is able to let her. From literally moving away whenever Castle came close, Beckett can be affectionate and tactile. From hiding their relationship from everyone, it is now well out in the open and neither of them appears to mind; in fact, they are even kissing each other in public.

The defining moments, however, were at the party when Beckett solves the case but doesn’t leave. For the first time ever, we see her put her personal life before her professional one. Then, when Castle says to Beckett at the end that no one has ever done anything like that for him, I believe him. The emotion in his eyes and his voice shows us just how much it all means to him. No quips, no snark, just love.

There has been some moaning on the boards over the past month or so that neither of these characters has said, “I love you” yet. Maybe not, but this entire episode was a love letter, to each other and to the fans. Three and a half out of four perfect birthday presents.

Apologies for the delay in posting this review. Let’s just put it down to the fact that I am old and got dates mixed up.

Tidbits:

-- Great amendment to the title card that had the pen stabbing the number 100.

-- Beckett has a lot of vacation time. Skiing one week and Bora Bora two weeks later? That’s a sweet deal.

-- Ryan and Esposito posing as Charlie’s Angels is one of the funniest things I have seen in a while.

-- Andrew W. Marlowe and Terri Edna Miller, the writers of this episode, are the two writers depicted in the window. Very Hitchcockian.

-- When Castle looks at his phone in the middle of the night, the time is 3:13. The shot was so clear, that I got suspicious. Sure enough, it is the episode number of “Knockdown.” Not only one of the top five of all time, it was the first time Caskett kissed -- and it was a doozy!

-- Stana Katic looked like Grace Kelly in that black dress. Maybe as beautiful as she has ever looked.

-- As though of you who read these reviews know, I ship Esplanie nearly as much as I do Caskett. I was so pleased to see them making out at Castle’s party, I may have let out a little squeal.

Soundbites:

Martha: “It is a spa trip, darling. Not a guilt trip.”

Beckett: “OK, as long as by ‘writing’ you don’t mean staring out the window and ogling at your neighbors.”
Castle: “No. That would be immoral and intrusive.”
Beckett: “Yeah, like you’ve never done that before.”

Esposito: “Hey, Castle. Is it hard to balance on those crutches when you’ve just had your ass chewed off?”

Castle: “Well, I don’t say this often, but I’m sorry. I’m sorry I got you into trouble, sorry I lost my mind.”
Beckett: “You know what, Castle? It’s OK. Your overactive imagination has actually brought a lot of people to justice. In fact, it’s one of the things that I love about you.”

Castle: “No, don’t do it. It’s too dangerous.”
Beckett: “Not as dangerous as me if you blow up my plans.”
Castle: “Well, what if he doesn’t let you in?”
Beckett: “Look at me. He’s gonna let me in.”

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.

11 comments:

celticmarc said...

A fun 100th to watch. Very enjoyable. And very Hitcockian.

And your review is a "wow" : really thoughtful...

Quoting you now : "I am old". What ??!! From the woman who made a brilliant post on her own site ?! Let me repeat to you and to all (why not make it a public announcement while we're at it): "hey ! age is between the left and the right ears !!"

Quoting you a second time : "Esplanie". Oh, so cute.

sunbunny said...

What a cutie patootie episode. So sweet. I was so into the story I didn't guess it was a setup at all, even though it's pretty obvious in retrospect. Beckett is okay with illegally searching a storage unit? Beckett goes alone and unarmed into the apartment of a would-be murderer? Nope.

Nice catch with the Valentine's Day comment. I'd totally forgotten that. I like your note about Martha calling Beckett 'Katherine' too.

BUT I have to disagree about the dress. I thought it was a bit old and matronly for her, especially paired with that hair. Hair and makeup people: please stop pulling Stana's hair back so tightly! It ages her considerably.

ChrisB said...

celticmarc -- wish I could take credit for Esplanie. I'm not sure which site coined it first, but it is all over the boards now.

sunbunny -- I LOVE Beckett's hair pulled back; in fact, I prefer it like that than when she wears it down. It's so long now that, when it's down, I think it distracts from what she's wearing and her beautiful face. The dress was a direct homage to the one Grace Kelly wears in the movie, but I did like it. I've always been a fan of the LBD.

Billie Doux said...

Loved it. Just the opener with Nathan Fillion all by himself was wonderful. I wasn't expecting it to be a birthday gift from Beckett, and it was perfect. I loved his reaction. And I loved that the two of them ARE STILL TOGETHER! I'm waiting for the inevitable "we can't have our leads happy with each other" break-up, but it doesn't seem to be happening, and yay! For me, it was a four out of four birthday presents.

Terrific review.

a.m. said...

"Ryan and Esposito posing as Charlie’s Angels is one of the funniest things I have seen in a while."

Me too! I loved so much of this episode, but I could watch this little moment over and over--is there a gif out there yet?

celticmarc said...

"...a cutie patootie episode". (and I've learned another new word)

Sunbunny, you've just made my day !

Chris, playing the innocent here, still giving you the credit !

Austin said...

About time! Lol I'm just giving you a hard time. But, seriously, it's been over a week ;)

I can't believe I was fooled by this episode. I was just shaking my head the whole episode, wondering how far the writers were stretching plausibility. It didn't click for me until Beckett is grabbed and the lights go out. Then I started laughing at myself, because of course it was a setup!

Though in my defense, some things went way too perfectly. Just the gamble that Castle would be watching at that precise moment throughout the episode was risky. And why did Beckett have that concerned look on her face when Castle called and said he just witnessed a murder? Shouldn't she have been trying to suppress a laugh? Still, what a fun episode. I like when I'm fooled.

Anonymous said...

Espo and Ryan as Charlie's angels was laugh out loud funny. Lovely Caskett stuff and a tribute to Rear window..what's not to like?
Anna

Nonei said...

I was thinking also about how Castle would be watching at that precise moment - but then I realized Martha said she was the "director", and remember she was supposed to be out of town. Not too much beyond the imagination for her to be in an apartment across the street with her own set of binoculars!

CrazyCris said...

LOVED this one! Such fun!!! They are definitely such a lovely couple, the heart of the show! And I never suspected the setup until Beckett was "grabbed"! Fabulous! Definitely the best Bday present ever!!!

sunbunny said...

I was very wrong about the dress. It's perfect, and, as you said, very Grace Kelly. Still not crazy about the hair. Stana/Beckett looks much better when it's down, imo.