Castle: A Chill Goes Through Her Veins

“A cop doesn’t get to decide how the story ends.”

Until now, Castle has been focused on Castle himself. We have spent four hours getting to know his family and poker buddies, the way he is integrating himself into the precinct and, to a small degree, the way he thinks. Much of what we know about Beckett has come through either discussions with the people with whom she works or Castle’s perception of her.

From the onset, we know that this episode is going to switch gears a bit and that we are going to get more information about Beckett. The episode opens with Beckett in bed (alone) in her apartment. We see a photo of two people we can safely assume are her parents and we see her getting ready for her day. Wonderful juxtaposition of the girly (putting on the jewellery) with the cop (strapping on the gun).

At the beginning of the episode, Beckett has still not completely come around to Castle being underfoot. When she spots him at the crime scene, she shoots Esposito a look that can only be described as irritated. She won’t laugh at Castle’s jokes; instead, she comes back at him with sarcasm. Castle’s fixation on the story is so irritating her at this point that, in the precinct, she turns to him and, with a smirk, tells him to tell them the story of the frozen body. While she listens to what he has to say, Beckett is still convinced that what she does is more important and has more value than what Castle does.

Beckett takes her job very seriously and wants to be excellent at it. Although we have seen glimpses of this in the past, the conversation she has with Sloan really drives home the point. While many people would be annoyed with how he handled the case, Beckett is actually angry. She fails to maintain any level of civility and, when she has had enough, just walks away. Similarly, when one of the suspects keeps asking why it matters, it is all Beckett can do to maintain a level of composure.

There is something about Castle that makes Beckett very uncomfortable -- call it what you will. Whenever he invades her personal space, you can watch her shrink away. Whenever he teases her, she either rolls her eyes or zings one back -- seldom laughing or even smiling. She doesn’t even want to pretend to be married to him. Beckett, however, is not above invading Castle’s personal space. She takes a drink from his coffee mug which leaves Castle a tad taken aback.

There are hints at the beginning of the show that Beckett is slowly allowing Castle to become part of her world. When Lanie drops a bombshell on them at the morgue, Beckett turns to look at Castle, not Lanie. For the first time, Beckett doesn’t glare at him when Castle asks a question during an interview. In fact, she follows his lead. Beckett asks Castle for insight into the male psyche, not afraid to admit that there is something he may know more about.

The hints are only the beginning. There are two big turning points for Beckett during the course of this hour.

The first is when she comes to Castle’s apartment. This is the first time we have seen her reach out to him, especially for help. The scene always makes me smile. Imagine walking in on a grown man and his daughter dressed like that, not to mention Martha with a mask on her face. There must have been part of Beckett thinking, ‘What is wrong with this family?’ The look on her face as she enters the apartment says a lot.

The ensuing conversation in Castle’s apartment and the walk through the victim’s apartment are game changing. We see Beckett ask for help; we see Castle give it without being glib or flirty (one small slip, but Beckett quickly pulls him back). We see them finishing each other’s sentences; we see them working together to come up with a solution to the problem. We know that the game has changed because when Castle asks Beckett about why Sloan wouldn’t have followed up on a lead, Beckett’s response is “He wasn’t looking for the story. He’d already written it.” She’s beginning to see things as Castle does. And, for the first time Beckett invites Castle to come along when she is going to visit the family, a big change from even the beginning of this episode.

The second turning point is her opening up to Castle in a very real way. Obviously upset when she has to arrest the killer, Castle gives her an out. Rather than snap at him or roll her eyes, she tells him what she is feeling and what she believes.

The biggest change, however, is when Beckett tells Castle about her mother’s death. A beautifully filmed scene, it is one of my favourites of all time. Quietly, calmly, but unable to look at Castle, Beckett tells him about the most painful time of her life. Castle listens, asking the occasional question, but mostly just being there for her. As we the audience listen, so much of what has come before snaps into focus -- the jewellery at the beginning, the anger at the cop who didn’t do his job, but especially her reluctance to let anyone into her life.

Interestingly, this Beckett-centric episode does not end on her. Through the course of this episode, we have seen that Esposito and Castle have become friends. They tease each other and they talk to each other. But, now it is clear that Esposito trusts Castle and he proves it by giving Castle the case file on Johanna’s murder. I’ve always been a bit astonished at this ending -- just as Castle and Beckett reach a new level of trust with each other, he goes behind her back. Never a good thing.

I loved this one. Three and a half rings and watches.

Tidbits:

-- I saw an interview once in which Nathan Fillion admitted that “‘Bam,’ said the lady” is something he has been saying since his teens.

-- Castle calls Martha ‘Mom’ during the laser tag game. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time he ever does it. He usually calls her ‘Mother.’

Soundbites:

Castle: “Awesome, right? My first cold case. Come on, it’s a little funny.”

Ryan: “I don’t believe it.”
Castle: “Give me 250 pages, I bet I could make you.”
Beckett: “We’re solving a murder, Castle, not writing a book.”
Castle: “I would call it A Chill Runs Through Her Veins.”
Esposito: “I like that!” High-fives Castle.
Castle: “‘Bam,’ said the lady. Another bestseller for me.”

Castle: “It’s family moments like these I will never forget.”
Alexis: “With a good therapist, hopefully, I will.”

Beckett: “OK, you speak ‘guy.’ If Sam had a lover, would his best friend know about it?”
Castle: “Yes.”

Beckett: “Wow. I feel like Alfred in the Batcave for the first time.”

Roger: “Are two like this all the time?”
Castle and Beckett together: “Yes!”

Esposito: “Remember, this never happened. I was never here.”
Castle: “You have my word. Thanks.”
Esposito: “If you tell her I did this, I will make you bleed.”
Castle: “Understood.”

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.

3 comments:

Matthew L said...

Great review. You hit the points of why I stated in the previous episode of looking forward to the reviews of this episode and the next.

We have a change in Beckett's attitude towards what Castle actually can bring to an investigation and we have the beginnings of the Johanna Beckett murder storyline.

My favorite scene is the one you mention of Beckett arriving at the Castle home to ask for help. I like the fact that it's Beckett that feels like she's fallen into the Twilight Zone or something and that Castle, Alexis, and Martha feel no embarrasment being caught playing laser tag/wearing a beauty mask. This scene also shows the contrast you brought up of Beckett being essentially a loner but Castle having family time (dysfunctional as it is at times).

Bring on the review of Always Buy Retail (many fun scenes in that one). :)

Mark said...

Ha! I completely missed her drinking from the coffee mug while the credits were running. (I feel motivated to rematch these episodes, after reading your insights.)

ChrisB said...

Mark -- thanks for your comment. I have really enjoyed re-watching season one. It had been a while and I had forgotten how many things had been set up early.