Castle: The Way of the Ninja

“I am merely a practitioner of the martial arts. But, I am very, very good.”

Not one, but two ninjas are loose on the streets of New York. Castle is thrilled and we are treated to an episode that included some of the funniest moments this show has ever done.

When Castle takes on pop culture, it tends to do it well. This episode, taking on our fascination with geishas and ninjas, was no exception. References were made to just about every film and book I can think of that address the issue. The reason that these episodes tend to work so well is that they are not taken seriously. They are filled with humor and good natured bantering among our gang.

My favorite Richard Castle is when he completely invests in one of his wild theories and begins to spin a story from it. While normally his theories are absurd and we can just sit back and enjoy the ride until we learn the truth, this time he was right on the money. Like Castle, we saw the ninja steal the dagger and we could sit back and enjoy the ride while waiting for everyone else to climb on board. Wow, is that an extended metaphor.

Anyway, the story was fun and kept me guessing. While the writers resorted to their old trick of using one of the first people on screen as the killer, I did not suspect who was actually guilty until the reveal. The second time through the episode, I noticed that the killer was pacing and nervous while Beckett was asking questions. While it was a clue to the killer that I missed, a trained martial arts ninja should have better control over his emotions.

The action sequences, while a tad cliché, were well choreographed and well shot. I got the sense that a policeman with a gun is no match for these ninjas. All kudos to the production design team for the interior of the club. It looked gorgeous.

What I loved most about this episode was Castle’s interactions with everyone around him. It’s been a while since we have seen the three boys out on the town together; it was worth the wait. Ryan trying to be completely faithful and singing karaoke (“Was it that bad?”), Esposito ordering the most expensive bottle of sake, Castle making out with the hostess to get information all made me laugh.

Even better was the three of them getting thrown out on the street with the bill that shocks even Castle. Which led to the single funniest encounter Castle has ever had with Gates. The look on her face as she crumpled up the bill and his reaction to her doing so made me laugh so hard I got tears in my eyes. A close second was the final scene with the flying star. These two are comic gold together; the writers should put them together more often than they do.

The Caskett relationship continues to be explored, but with humor this week. Beckett goes off to meet a friend from high school who has become boring since she got married. Beckett doesn’t want a boring marriage, no romance and only having sex on national holidays. The second time through the episode, I caught Castle’s face as Beckett pleads with him to tell her the truth as he has been down this road before. He doesn’t meet her eyes.

Those who have been married understand that life happens, that romance and sex can take a back seat to getting through. I do like that Castle promises Beckett to keep the excitement alive and the way he keeps showing her, as the episode progresses, that their life will never be boring.

I really liked this episode. Three and a half out of four flying stars.

Tidbits:

— References I caught, but please comment if I missed one. Memoirs of a Geisha, Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Of course, one alibi involved a Kurosawa retrospective.

— The two sisters were certainly committed to the lives they had chosen. Jade danced for one of the most elite ballet companies in the world; Amaya was a world class martial arts practitioner.

— No Martha or Alexis this episode. I didn’t miss them. Nor, I’m afraid to say, did I miss Lanie. While I love her, I always get excited when Perlmutter shows up. His disdain for everything Castle stands for always makes me laugh.

— Another moment that had me laughing so hard I had to rewind was Castle’s testing Lee with the coffee cup. “Way to racially profile” is one of the funniest lines I have ever heard a guest star use on this show.

Soundbites:

Beckett: “You are exactly her type. And, the last thing I need is to watch someone from my past trying to seduce my fiancĂ© while talking about the goddess that lives in her hoo-ha. She did ask for a signed book, though.”
Castle: “Who did? Carly or the goddess?”

Castle: “Our killer is a ninja.”
Beckett: “Or, he is just an athletic person with a hooded track suit.”

Castle: “The killer can’t be a ballet dancer because it’d just be such a huge let down.
Beckett: “Of course, we can’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.”

Castle: “If this is a tea company, I’d like a cup.”

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Becket mentioned "The Last of the Mohicans and Castle mentioned "Ninja III".
And I also like "The great Throwdini"