Castle: Hedge Fund Homeboys

“You know, actually having to prove things is really tedious.”

This week, our team sets out to solve the murder of a teenaged boy found floating in a row boat in Central Park. While the case itself was good enough, what was really well done was the theme of the show -- the juxtaposition of wealth and street in Manhattan, a point very well made by the title of the show.

On the one hand, we have the wealthy kids. Having never wanted for anything, they turn to extremely risky behaviour in order to push the boundaries. These are also the kids who appear to have no moral compass. Lying, drinking, shooting guns at each other, dealing drugs, framing someone for murder -- nothing is off limits.

On the other hand, we have the street kids, represented here by the drug dealer Scoville. Although we have traditionally seen street kids as the bad kids, in this show they were the better example. Yes, Scoville was dealing drugs, but he never carries a gun. In his own way, he is living by a higher moral code than the Redding kids.

The two victims, however, do not fall neatly into either of these categories. Although Donny had been raised in wealth, he was now a scholarship kid who actually felt he had to sell drugs to make some money, a reason that many of the street kids start. Max, on the other hand, died because he refused to abide by a lack of moral code and was going to come forward with the truth.

Castle was a wealthy kid and one gets the impression that he was much more like the Redding kids than we would like. “Kicked out of all of New York’s finer educational institutions” is not really something to be proud of. Although we get no details about he did to get kicked out, it is easy to assume, especially after he tells Alexis that he would understand if she were doing drugs. Beckett, although not wealthy enough to attend a private school, was certainly not on the street as a teenager. What I find really interesting is that both Castle and Beckett, although neither of them needed to, have chosen a life that takes them into the streets everyday.

The partnership between Castle and Beckett is beginning to gel. They are becoming more comfortable with each other and the teasing has taken on a lighter tone than in the previous two episodes. The scene where Beckett pulls on Castle’s ear and then just walks away leaves me laughing every time. They are also beginning to talk to each other instead of at each other. When Beckett asks an obviously upset Castle if he is OK, instead of making a glib response, he actually tells her what is bothering him. And, the resulting conversation leads them directly to the killer.

Castle is still learning how it’s done, watching an interrogation where Montgomery walks him (and us) through what Beckett is doing and (although it was a bit on the nose) how good she is at doing it. Castle’s a quick learner. The final interrogation scene, where Castle tricks the killer into confessing, is brilliantly done. Even better is Beckett’s face as she realises what is happening and allows it to all unfold.

Castle is also becoming part of the larger team. He makes a point of always including Esposito and Ryan in his discussions with Beckett and the two men are obviously getting used to having him around. They treat him, not as a guest, but as one of their own and are beginning to listen when he talks. Which is a good thing as Castle seems to be the one who comes up with a lot of the points that change the case.

There were the obvious parallels between the case and Castle’s home life. And, of course, what we are meant to take away from this episode is that Castle’s daughter is a “good girl” who would never buy drugs in Central Park and then cover up a murder.

But, it went too far. The scene in the bedroom where Castle asks Alexis if she does drugs was a lovely scene and an example of excellent parenting. To drive home the point, however, the writers gave us the scene about the turnstile. I understand that the point of the scene was that Alexis was feeling guilty about lying to her father, but jumping a turnstile? Really? They could have come up with something a little more serious than that. Even Castle didn’t take it too seriously, punishing her by making her eat ice cream for breakfast. But, no, that’s not punishment enough so Alexis grounds herself. Again I say, really? Where are the kids that behave like this?

The whole chaperoning thing I found a bit too much as well. I have never, not once, met a teenager who actually wanted his or her parent to accompany him or her on a school trip. In fact, most go out of their way to ensure that it will never happen.

As much as Alexis annoyed me in this episode, Martha made me laugh out loud. A Life Coach, indeed. She and Castle are more alike than either of them would ever care to admit, even to themselves. The whole scene with the business cards naming Castle as her client is something right out of the Rick Castle playbook. She has justified it to herself and, therefore, it should make sense to everyone else.

Martha is much more the kid in this trio than Alexis. She is, after all, the one who can’t get Castle and Alexis out of the house quickly enough because she wants to throw a wild party. And, both Castle and Alexis treat her like the kid; Castle by almost staying home to chaperone (his mother!) and Alexis by constantly defending Martha’s behaviour to Castle.

A good case and a good theme, but marked down because the Alexis plot line annoyed me. Two out of four lime shards in the ceiling.

Tidbits:

-- The UK DVD set has this episode out of order. They switched around this one and the next, which I never realised until I started to write this review. Wonder if the DVD reflects the originally planned order?

-- Manhattan is the perfect setting for a show about the haves and the have nots. As prices have reached astronomical rates for rents, the middle class has fled to the boroughs and the suburbs. Manhattan is now mostly occupied by the very wealthy and the very poor, who live in substandard, subsidized housing.

-- In Donny’s video, there is an allusion to Dancing with the Stars, the lead-in show for Castle in the US.

-- Ryan used to work in the narcotics division.

-- Castle’s screen saver says “You Should Be Writing.” I wonder if the threat of legal action is still being held over his head.

Soundbites:

Alexis: “The ‘70s are back.”
Castle: “They’re like the Highlander; they just won’t die.”

Castle: “I don’t want you to feel you ever have to lie to me. Anything you and your friends have done, believe me, I have done worse.”
Alexis: “I know. But, the good news is, I’m not you.”

Castle: “I hate that kid!” Don’t we all.

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.

5 comments:

Billie Doux said...

That is a *fabulous* episode photo. :)

Matthew L said...

Glad you mentioned the episode order in the UK DVD set as Hell Hath No Fury was the 3rd episode that aired.

And I agree, Alexis is sometime written too perfect.

ChrisB said...

Billie -- right??? I couldn't believe it when I found it. Thank the gods for Google Images.

Matthew -- are you talking about aired in the UK or the US? I got myself completely confused this morning and did a big internet search. Everything I could find showed that HFH aired third and HHNF fourth. Which, frankly, makes much more sense in terms of continuity.

Matthew L said...

Whoops, I mistyped. Either that or I just confused myself. :)

You are correct that HFH did originally air 3rd (3/23/09) and HHNF did originally air 4th (3/30/09). But on the DVD set, they're in the reverse order.

And since I've watched the DVD set over and over, I think I just started assuming that was the original airing order.

So as Roger Clemens put it, I misremembered. :)

And while I'm at it, I liked the use of modern technology (the synching) that was used to catch the killer and you brought up Martha as a life coach, I like that it's brought up again later in the season in Little Girl Lost when Martha starts spouting her Marthaisms.

Matthew L said...

Oh, and I also forgot the great scene where Beckett talks to the Captain about how the violent drug dealer may not be the killer and the whole time, Castle and Montrose are talking about the Knicks game with the Mayor. The expression on Beckett's face when Castle leaves the office and the Captain says "See you at the game"...priceless. :)