A TV couple discovers a baby and has to take care of it for a day or so until its parents are found. It’s been done, a lot. Normally, this cliché of a show is written for laughs and for giving the viewers a chance to see what life will be like for the couple long after the show has faded into memory. To its credit, Castle used this trope to explore the idea of parenthood. It raised this episode from the usual, but just barely.
Castle is, of course, the ultimate dad. It’s a job he takes seriously, some might say too seriously. He immediately goes into dad mode, even leaving the crime scene to ensure that the baby has everything it needs. It’s not surprising that Castle’s parenting instincts are to go a step too far; he was raised by a woman who had other priorities and a man he didn’t know until recently.
Beckett, on the other hand, is not naturally parental. Although we have seen in the past that she is good with kids, she just hasn’t been all that interested in the idea of parenthood before now. My guess is that this lack of interest stems from two things. The first is that she was an only child, well parented by both her mother and her father. As she never had to deal with another child in the house, it just wasn’t something that came up when she was young. Then, after the death of her mother, Beckett shut down completely. The idea that she would love someone else so unconditionally would have scared her to death.
Now, however, that has all changed. Beckett has allowed herself to love again and this episode makes it crystal clear (OK, hits us over the head with the idea) that both Castle and Beckett see having children as inevitable. Castle, however, is worried. He’s already had to raise one child on his own and is not all that keen to do it again. The scene in the loft reassures us that, when the time comes, Beckett will be there.
Interestingly, Beckett is the only woman in this world who is not immediately drawn to the baby. Martha, Gates, Lanie, even Alexis all immediately reach for Benny and do their part to care for him.
The other men are also interesting to watch. Ryan, who is facing imminent fatherhood, is the most invested. I love the fact that he has been practicing with a doll and, while the subplot with the lottery tickets was meant to be funny, it also showed how great a parent he will be. He will do whatever it takes to provide for his child. Esposito, on the other hand, is not even slightly interested in holding the baby. Yet, Esposito knows how to care for others. I loved the scene where he reassured Ryan that everything would be fine.
All of this parenting was built into a story about fixing the lottery by threatening yet another set of parents. The overall plot was a bit far-fetched for me and seemed almost an afterthought to what the writers were really trying to express.
Not bad, but not great. Two and a half out of four very cute and expensive Thanksgiving onesies.
-- I can’t stand it when people coo at babies. Lanie’s scene where she gave us exposition in that sing-song voice made me cringe.
-- The television station’s call letters are WQTI. Seriously?
-- Beckett turning the tables on Castle at the end of the episode and her high-five with Martha was one of the best moments we have seen this year. I laughed out loud.
-- Castle is now on hiatus until the beginning of next year. Have a wonderful holiday season.
Beckett: “Uh, so you guys… you guys dress up for Thanksgiving?”
Castle: “Doesn’t everybody?”
Beckett: “No, I think that’s pretty special to you. Um… so is there anything else I should know about you before we get married?”
Castle: “So many, many things.”
Castle: “Highly qualified. I have an R.H.D. in childcare.”
Beckett: “And, an R.H.D. is…?”
Castle: “Ruggedly Handsome Dad.”
Beckett: “I’m suddenly getting a clear and frightening visual as to what my future will look like.”
Alexis: “How long have I been gone?”
Alexis: “Hey, if you guys have kids in a few years, and I have kids in a few years, they can grow up together.”
Castle: “And, it’s ruined.”
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.