Castle: The Squab And The Quail

“It’s amazing how fate changes lives, isn’t it?”

Traditionally, Castle has a five episode arc at the end of every season. As last week’s was clearly a standalone, we had to wait until this episode to see what the final arc was going to be. Unsurprisingly, we are going to be treated to the next stage of the Caskett relationship.

The case of the week was a series of moments meant to remind us of the early days when Castle and Beckett were still coming together as a couple. Beckett is ordered to work with a rich, influential man she would rather avoid. Said man knows her backstory. She has a conversation about her backstory with said man. She and said man, spending time in a hotel suite, nearly share a kiss. It is a sniper who keeps Beckett and said man apart. The others in her world see two glasses filled with an alcoholic beverage and make assumptions.

The difference is the man involved in the story. While at the beginning Castle was abrasive and insincere, Vaughn is not. Beckett did not like Castle even a little when they met; she is instantly drawn to Vaughn. The irony here is that it is because of Castle that Beckett responds to Vaughn. She has fewer walls, fewer insecurities and the love of a rich and famous man; she is able to hear and accept that a man of Vaughn’s caliber (who, let’s face it, is almost too good to be true) would be attracted to her.

While the case itself was typical fare, it was not meant to be the center of the episode. The obvious and unsubtle illusions are there to kickstart another will-they-won’t-they storyline. Only, this time, it is not whether or not they will come together; it is whether or not they are going to get engaged. For me, however, this complication is coming too early and feels a bit off.

I’m not sure I completely understand what Beckett is looking for. Caskett are not living together yet (although she does seem to spend many of her nights at the loft); but, even more importantly, Beckett has not gone to the “I love you” place yet. Everyone else has (Ryan, Lanie and Alexis all refer to it in this episode), but she has not.

Martha’s telling Castle that Beckett isn’t committed without a ring set all my feminist sensibilities tingling. Martha is, by no means, a traditional woman. She bore a son without the benefit of a ring and, way back in season three, she struggled with becoming engaged to the man she was dating. Making that kind of statement to her son, in front of her granddaughter, felt really odd to me.

I cringed when Beckett initially tried to hide the truth of the kiss from Castle. Every single time these two try to hide things or keep secrets from each other, it ends badly. Surely, two people who know and love each other so much would have figured that out by now. I was pleased that she did, eventually, tell him the truth and I liked the fact that Castle figured out that Beckett had pushed Vaughn away.

The part of this episode that felt exactly right to me was Castle’s reactions. I’m not sure if he is taking Beckett for granted, although I understand why she would see it that way. This man has loved three women before, two of whom he married. All three left him. There must be some part of Castle that is beginning to protect himself from what he sees as inevitable.

We see several other examples of Castle’s defense mechanisms kick in. When Beckett accuses Castle of not trusting her, she is right, but not in how she thinks. Castle trusts her; he doesn’t trust the fact that she will stay with him. He’s been through this before. Meredith left him for a man directly connected to her career. To Castle, this scenario is too close for comfort.

The scene when he laughs at the idea of Vaughn actually wanting Beckett is the perfect example of his insecurities. While what he said bordered on insulting, I think he was reassuring himself without thought of how Beckett would hear his words.

In the final scene, Castle is reverting to behavior we have seen in the past. Rather than confront what they have just been through, he is charming and romantic. It reminded me of the first episode in season two where he tries to buy his way back into Beckett’s good graces. It was only the sincere apology that worked then. Beckett’s look at the end of the episode ensures that we understand that all the candles and hot oil are not going to be enough this time.

There has been a great deal of buzz about the fact that this episode should have followed one that we will not see until next week. As such, I am willing to trust that this episode will feel more real in a week’s time. Even so, I still liked it overall. Three out of four dead birds on a plate.


Tidbits:
-- The title is brilliant. Not only are squab and quail nouns, but they are verbs as well. The verbs are excellent signposts to what is happening in this episode.

-- Squab (baby pigeon) and quail look and taste almost identical. It is not a stretch to see how they would be mixed up by a waiter.

-- Ioan Gruffudd is one of the few men who would make me look away from Nathan Fillion as well.

-- Castle’s Last Supper List includes Lincoln, Einstein, Ian Fleming, John Lennon, Joan of Arc, Sinatra, Eric Vaughn and, now, Beckett.

-- I love good continuity. The writers remembered Ryan’s goose down allergy.

-- The show keeps telegraphing clearly that Gates knows about Caskett. In this episode, it was the look she gave Beckett after telling Beckett she will need to stay at the hotel with Vaughn and Castle walks out.

-- The pop culture references made me feel old this week. I had to look up both Bar Refaeli and Carrie Underwood.


Soundbites:
Castle: “You know how I get when I’m gaming. I was… I was in the zone. I was like Gretzky.”
Beckett: “Well, at least Gretzky knew how to score.”

Castle: “I can’t believe that the department is forcing her to hang out with some womanizing rich guy against her will.”
Ryan: “Yeah. Unbelievable.”
Esposito: “Yeah, she’s never done that.”

Vaughn: “Do you have any idea how remarkable you are? You don’t, do you?”

Vaughn: “We’re all misled by our hearts sometimes. It shouldn’t end a career.” Is it me, or is this obvious foreshadowing?

Vaughn: “You know, that’s an extraordinary woman you have there.”
Castle: “I know.”
Vaughn: “Do you?”

Beckett: “Where are we going?”
Castle: “To the bedroom."

9 comments:

Mark said...

I disagree with the "Beckett did not like Castle even a little when they met", but I think we've already had that discussion in earlier eps. :-)

Liked this ep almost from the start. It has been many episodes since we've had Castle contribute something meaningful to the investigation due to his unusual perspective (mushrooms with the quail), so I appreciated going back to that well.

A friend texted me to ask who Bar Refaeli was, too. Although we both thought it would be amusing if Underwood did have a song about chemically synthesized poisons, to go along with her car keying/tire slashing/headlight smashing songs.

sunbunny said...

My mom asked me who Bar Refaeli was too. :)

I missed several of the parallels between Castle and Vaughn, nice catch there! Speaking of, how on earth do you remember something like Ryan's allergic to goose down? Impressive. :)

Beckett being all weird about 'where is this relationship going' just felt...not right? I mean, it would be an acceptable worry with a man like Castle if she'd met him in a bar a few months ago or something, but she's known him for five years. They were friends and partners before things got romantic and she seems to be conveniently forgetting Castle telling her he loved her a year before they finally got together. Beckett. C'mon girl. I can understand her feeling like she's being taken for granted, but is she seriously worried that her relationship with Castle is going nowhere? Does she even watch this show?

P.S. 70% sure Martha was kidding. I think she was just being Martha to get a rise out of Castle.

P.P.S. Ioan Gruffudd? So freaking gorgeous.

celticmarc said...

Chris !

Typo !! "he doesn’t trust the fact the fact" Your cptr probably went over too fast a speed bump ! (10th paragraph)

Gee whiz. Am I the only one who "knows" Bar Rafaeli ? LOL

Lots of "pretty" nice moments during that ep. Really love the entire cast.

ChrisB said...

Thanks, Marc. All corrected now.

celticmarc said...

You're welcome.

That was happens when you put attention to a good written review.

(And I pay attention often)

Anonymous said...

I knew who Bar Rafaeli was..and Carrie Underwood.
and if anyone could tempt Beckett away from Castle it'd be Mr Fantastic..so nice to see him after the mess that was Ringer. Nice episode..is he going to propose for the finale maybe?
Anna

Kimberley@sunnykimmylovinglife said...

I love your insight into this episode, especially how you think Castle "insulted" Beckett to reassure himself. I honestly took that comment as an insult as well, but I like your reasoning and it fitts Castle.

I disagree though that Beckett didn't like Castle when they met though. I thought so too at first, but after rewatching the earlier seasons, I realized the signs of her liking him are there.

There was the fangirl like, which was there because he was her favorite author and I think because of that combined with the fact that he was arrogant and out to charm the pants off her, she put extra walls up against him.But I think she also liked that he was fun and flirty.

But his demeanor also made him come off early on as a playboy, so I think Beckett thought they'd have a fling and she'd be the one to get hurt and I don't think she was wrong. I don't think Castle was out to have a serious relationship with her at first. He just wanted to sleep with her and figure her out. He fell in love with her fast though, especially because she refused his advances and he realized she was more complicated and fun than he first thought.

But while I think she liked him, I also think that the fact that she liked him annoyed her and his flirtiness annoyed her, because she costantly had to have her guard up, which she failed in a lot by the way. But what I think annoyed her the most was that she couldn't control him. As she said, he was like a 9 year old on a sugar rush and he messed with her uptight ways.

So at first her feelings for him were a mixture of a little crush, denial and frustration/annoyance. The evidence of the crush is in her reaction when he gives her the signed book and the kiss on the cheek. Her reaction to the kiss and when she first sits down afterwards, say it all. The problem is that in the first seasons, every time she gives in to liking him, he ruins it, like her realizing when she sat down after the kiss that he'd been playing her. (By the way, Beckett's never going to admit to crushing on Castle from the start.)

Also, Martha insisting on a ring bothered me from the start. I don't think a ring is necessary for commitment. I think as soon as you decide not to see other people, it's serious.

Also, Beckett keeps info from Castle or flat-out lies to him when she thinks that what she tells him will hurt him or change the way he sees her. Or if she thinks he'll make fun of her. And history has also taught us that she hates hurting Castle.

I love all your isights into Castle's behavior. They ring true to me even though I didn't realize some of them. :)

I think a lot of what Beckett wants originated in the episode that was supposed to air before this one, Still. A lot of people thought Still was telling us that everything in their relationship was fine, spectacular even and I thought so too. But now I think that being faced with death once again got Beckett thinking. It made her admit out loud that she loved Castle and made her realize she wanted more. And it also made her wonder if Castle wanted more. And The Squab and the Quail made her doubt her relationship with Castle. Everything Vaughn said, Castle rejecting her in that same episode and then either ignoring or not catching that she wanted to talk about their relationship just became too much all at once. Then there's the fact that I think she's pregnant, so she might be hormonal/ emotional as well. Either way, everything that happened in the S & the Q made her insecure about whether Castle wanted more or if he was happy with the relationship the way it was.

And I think Castle was happy with the relationship because things were going well, he has commitment and previous failed marriage issues and let's not forget Beckett's wall and her tendency to run when things get too serious. But I think now Beckett wants more and Castle didn't know that.

So that's my two cents...or you know, more like a dollar. :D

Kimberley@sunnykimmylovinglife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChrisB said...

Great comment, Kimberly. Thanks for posting it.