Fame. Whether it comes over time or overnight, there is always a price to pay. In today’s world of instant news, that price can be high. Whether an old fashioned newspaper is printing false stories of a writer “gazing lovingly” at his ex-wife or a modern gossip site is posting false photos, the famous must always confront the fact that the truth is not always out there.
It’s not just the famous who are affected by the public’s insatiable appetite for gossip. Everyone who lives in their sphere will also be fair game, whether that person wants to be or not. This episode showed us the two extremes of this life. Beckett and Zack accept that they are involved with famous people and do what they must to deal with the reality. Mandy’s mother, terrified of losing even the reflection of her daughter’s fame, took the situation to the ultimate extreme.
Whether famous or not, we all make choices when we are young that we regret. Part of becoming a fully fledged adult is learning the hard way that too much to drink is rarely a good idea and that the boy we thought was so cool and interesting is, finally, not for us. Although Alexis is in a famous person’s sphere, she is mostly out of the harsh glare of the camera lens. She can come to her senses about Pi (finally!) and not have the world dissect her decision.
Mandy Sutton, clearly channeling Miley Cyrus, does not have that luxury. Every bad decision she makes becomes fodder for the tabloids and, as more stores continue to be published, she begins to believe that all of her decisions have been bad ones and that she is incapable of making good choices.
The writers make it clear which of the two guys in Mandy’s sphere we are meant to root for. The ex is a motorcycle riding, gun toting, tattoo laden bad boy. The current love is clean cut, wears blue t-shirts that make his blue eyes pop, and builds houses for the poor. OK, we get it.
What made this episode work so well was the interactions between the two young women. Although they lead very different lives, they are dealing with exactly the same issues. Mandy has found a good guy and blown it (or, at least believes she has); Alexis has found a good guy, but doesn’t love him. Mandy is hurt; Alexis doesn’t want to hurt someone else.
Alexis at the beginning of this season was so unpleasant that I had not missed her at all in the intervening episodes in which she has been absent. I liked her much more in this one, and her bringing Zack to Mandy at the end was a very sweet gesture. Because we haven’t seen much of her this season, Alexis’s decision about Pi as well as her sudden maturity seemed a bit sudden and, dare I say it, fan mollifying. I guess we’ll see where the writers take her. It would be nice for her to have her own episode in which she is not kidnapped…
The two themes this week, fame and choices, tied together beautifully. Much better, it must be said, than usually happens on this show. Mandy and Alexis were the obvious story, but the B story of Caskett announcing their engagement dovetailed perfectly. Castle is much less famous than Mandy (her “who are you?” made me laugh out loud), but he does show up on Page Six. I hope the writers continue to explore the theme of Beckett losing some of her privacy now that she has chosen to enter the limelight.
Another excellent episode, two in a row. Could it be that this show has found itself again? Three and a half out of four red wine hangovers.
-- All credit to the production department for the Wessex Hotel set. The eyes on that elevator, although hit-you-over-the-head symbolism, were creepy and effective.
-- Less credit to the props department. In today’s world of pause and HDTV, they really need someone to write the second part of that story.
-- Continuity error: Alexis arrives at Mandy’s hotel room with a bag and leaves without it. Magically, she has it again at the bar.
-- Continuity error: If this episode is meant to take place in January in New York, there should not be a green leaf in sight.
-- I love the fact that Castle is still pushing for a wedding in space. I choose to see this as a Nathan Fillion shout-out to Firefly.
Beckett: “So, you weren’t gazing lovingly into her eyes?”
Castle: “She had spinach in her teeth.”
Beckett: “He’s a nut job, but he’s probably not our killer.”
Ryan: “He’s having dinner with his other ex-wife. Something about not wanting her to feel left out.”
Esposito: “Good one.”
Mandy: “If I don’t drink, then I start to feel. And, I don’t like what I feel.”
Again, kudos to the production department. The neon “Feelings” in the background was a great addition to this scene.
Castle: “It took me less time to write the last Derrick Storm novel and, although both are works of fiction, at least that one was believable.”
Alexis: “Have you ever looked back on something you’ve done and it’s like someone else is doing it?”
Mandy: “You’re kidding, right?”
Beckett: “And, if they’re going to write about you, I want it to be the truth. I want it to be about us.”
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.