“Secrets, murder and gambling. Three of my favorite pastimes.”
Taken directly from the Hitchcock film Strangers on a Train, the case of the week is really two cases. Castle/Beckett work one while Esposito/Ryan work the other. Not surprisingly, the cases connect in a way that won’t surprise you at all if you have ever seen the film or watched a procedural on television. Every one I have ever watched has done this plot at some point during its run.
While the plot has been done, and better, by others, what makes this episode so much fun to watch is the bet. This is one of the funniest episodes this show has ever done. I laugh out loud through most of it, even though this is one I have seen multiple times.
What the bet illustrates so beautifully is how integrated Castle has become into the world of the precinct. His relationship with Esposito and Ryan is solid enough that first they make the bet and then spend the episode working against each other. It is not cruel or malicious; it is similar to watching brothers trying to one up each other.
Castle is so comfortable with the boys that he makes the bet behind Beckett’s back. In light of the fact that only an episode ago she was angry enough with him to ban him from the precinct, this is a bold move. However, having been forgiven for such a major transgression, Castle is confident enough in his relationship with Beckett to know that she will get over whatever irritation she feels if she finds out what is going on.
Which, of course, she does. Beckett is a great detective and it wouldn’t take a lot to see the entire precinct is doing something behind her back. When she discovers what is happening, we see Beckett of old. She is irritated and scolds the boys, but I always get the distinct impression it is less about the bet and more about the fact that she has been left out. Not for long. As soon as she feels that she and Castle have an edge, she not only enters the race, she doubles the stakes.
The grin that Castle gives her when she enters the fray tells us a lot. He likes this woman, likes having fun with her and likes being on her team. The final scene, both teams trying to take credit for the inevitable confession, is wonderful. Castle really likes the boys, but he is solidly in Beckett’s camp.
My favorite scene, however, is the most serious. Castle comes into the precinct and finds Beckett looking at the board. He makes a quiet joke that makes her smile. He quietly asks her if she is all right and she talks to him, again about her mother. In the midst of all the chaos, two murders and a bet that has blown out of proportion, these two are beginning to connect in a very solid and real way.
I love this episode. Three and half out of four glasses of warm honey milk. I knock it down half a point for the unoriginality of the case itself.
-- I love the opening scene with Castle eating popcorn and watching all the “crazies” in the precinct. His long look at the woman in the pink bra is laugh out loud funny. What makes it even funnier is that, moments later, he can’t keep his eyes off Lanie’s “girls.”
-- Ryan’s relationship with Jenny has progressed to the point where they drink warm, honey milk before they go to bed.
-- Three cheers for the appearance of Dr. Perlmutter.
Castle: “You guys should really sell tickets. I mean, you’ve got everything. Madness, mayhem. Now, all you need is…” The phone rings and Castle raises one eyebrow, obviously excited to be that there will soon be another murder to solve.
Castle: “Also, his command of grammar. ‘You’re’ should be you apostrophe re as in 'you are.' It’s not even a tough one, not like when to use ‘who’ or ‘whom.’”
Beckett: “You really think that’s the takeaway here, Castle?”
Castle: “I’m just saying whoever killed her also murdered the English language.”
Martha: “Ah, young love. First, banana splits then splitting assets.”
Castle: “Ah, Mother, you are a hopeless romantic.”
Martha: “I know.”
Ryan: “The bet is back on?”
Beckett: “You bet your britches the bet is back on.”
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.