Castle: Hell Hath No Fury

“Just yanking your chain, Detective. Just yanking your chain.”

One of the things I most admire about the writers on Castle is that they did not force nor rush the initial stages of the Castle/Beckett partnership. Certainly the aspect of the show that kept me coming back through the initial episodes was being able to watch these two people forge a relationship. In this episode, as they solve the murder of a politician, the partnership is evolving -- but slowly.

In some ways, it seems as though Beckett does not want to admit that she may have been wrong about Castle and that it may be helpful to have him around. This resistance comes out in almost childish ways, especially her being reluctant to accept the espresso machine. In front of him, she refuses to drink the proper coffee and, when he catches her using it late at night, she is so startled, she drops her cup. This is a woman who is used to being and working on her own. She is not going to let some wannabe disrupt her carefully ordered life -- at least not easily.

On the positive side, as we got a glimpse of in the previous episode, they are now actually talking to each other as opposed to simply trying to one-up each other. In a complete reversal of last week when Beckett was concerned about Castle, this week, he asks her if she’s all right and is empathetic to why she is upset. They are working together better now, each showing a growing appreciation and respect for the other’s brain and ideas.

But not to fear, they are still winding each other up at every opportunity. Beckett is understandably concerned about what Castle’s new heroine is going to be like. He goes on, listing adjective after adjective of positive traits that the character will have. We see Beckett breathe a sigh of relief, with a small smile on her face, but Castle can’t help himself. He adds, “and kind of slutty.” Beckett rises to the bait, a look of complete panic on her face.

Paybacks being what they are, Beckett scores. She rocks up to his book reading looking simply stunning -- so stunning, in fact, that Castle does a double-take and loses the rhythm of what he is reading. Knowing she has the upper hand, she tells him that she is going to bother him at his work for a change and makes fun of what he was reading. But, neither of them ever has the upper hand for long. Martha lets slip the name of Castle’s new detective, Nikki Heat, and Beckett is not at all pleased. Basically ordering him to change the name, Castle just keeps backing away from her, knowing that now he never will.

But it’s not just the budding partnership that raises this show above the norm. The supporting characters are as well written and each is beginning to become his or her own person, apart from simply supporting the core two.

Martha is up to her old tricks, pushing her son’s buttons at every opportunity. In a genius edit, Martha calls Castle just as he hits Beckett with the “slutty” remark. He takes the call, and Martha proceeds to tell him that his books aren’t selling. Instead of simply ignoring her, he too rises to the bait, exactly as Beckett did just moments before. As if this weren’t enough, Martha goes out of her way to find a bad review and then tries to comfort him. Again, Castle cannot let it go and finds yet another bad review. But, at the book signing, it is Martha who tells him that he is going to be number one and that he shouldn’t believe the bad reviews. And, she is the one who pulls Alexis away from Castle and Beckett during their final confrontation.

Alexis is much less annoying this week. She and her father obviously have a very warm, very close relationship. She discusses the case with him; she cooks with him; she supports him when Martha gets snarky and she makes sure he gets to the book signing on time. Alexis is becoming the person who, inadvertently, helps solve the case. Similar to last week when she made the comment about her friends sticking by her, this week she tells her father that she would get blackmail money from him. Castle picks up on this and it is the beginning of the end for the killer.

Esposito and Ryan’s relationship also begins to take off in this episode. We learn that they are friends outside of the job and that they compete for women. Their male friendship is beginning to expand to include Castle, whom as far as we can tell, doesn’t have a lot of male friends. The scene in the precinct where the three men are looking at Tiffany’s website is stereotypical male bonding, but hilarious. And the looks on Esposito's and Ryan's faces when Beckett chases Castle trying to grab his phone followed by the arrival of the espresso machine make it pretty clear that these two are getting used to and are beginning to enjoy having Castle around.

Lanie provides the BFF role for Beckett. Because Lanie is not in Beckett’s chain of command, she is the one who can get in Beckett’s face and tell her the truth. Through their conversation, we are reminded that Beckett doesn’t have much, if any, of a personal life and that Lanie is a bit concerned about this. She just wants her friend to have some fun.

Montgomery does not have a lot to do in this episode. He provides most of the exposition, but he does tweak Beckett at the end, another sign that Castle being around is helping to lighten up the atmosphere at the precinct.

This was the first episode in which the possibility of a romance between Castle and Beckett arises. Alexis basically asks her obviously uncomfortable father if there is something going on and Lanie is trying hard to get Beckett to “get her freak on with writer boy.” It is too early for that. Castle is obviously attracted to her and is growing to like her; Beckett still has a way to go.

Three out of four yanking chains.

Tidbits:

-- Although many people attribute the title quote to Shakespeare, it is not. It is from a English playwright and poet called Congreve, writing around the same time as the Bard, in his play The Mourning Bride. The exact quote is “Heaven hath no rage like love to hatred turned/Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” Ironically, Kirby tells Castle that his books are “not exactly Shakespeare.”

-- “Road kill” is an accepted practice. Certainly in my neighbourhood, when people are finished with things that are still useful, they will put them outside on their garden wall with a sign telling people to take them. Without exception, they are taken.

-- At one point, Nesbit mentions the “B&Ters.” This refers to the “Bridge and Tunnel Crowd,” a Manhattan pejorative for those who live in the Boroughs or New Jersey and who come into Manhattan to party.

-- Castle’s cell phone number is 347-555-0179. It is no longer a working phone number…

-- Montgomery mentions that he has a three-year-old son. This is the first mention of his family, which is the one area where the writers really dropped the ball in terms of continuity. Stay tuned.

Soundbites:

Castle: “Hiding would be building a fortress out of my comforter and then downing a fifth of Scotch, but apparently that’s considered unhealthy.” This is my idea of the perfect way to hide!

Beckett: “Thanks for not making it a joke.”
Castle: “Hey, I’m a wise-ass, not a jackass.”

Castle: “Yes, well, Derrick Storm is no Harry Potter.”
Martha: “Clearly!”

Ryan: “Dude, between you and me, you ever pay for it?”
Castle: “Are you counting my marriages?”

Lanie: “I mean, how bad can he be?” Beckett’s phone rings. She looks at the caller ID and rolls her eyes.
Beckett: “Beckett.”
Cut to Castle: “Guess who’s got a date with a prostitute!”
Cut back to Beckett who throws her hands in the air and gives Lanie an “I told you so” look that is one of the funniest things this show has done, ever.

Ryan: “Stop running, bro. Campaign’s over.”
Castle: “Yes!”

Castle: “Oh, you’re telling me how to do my job?”
Beckett: “Irritating, isn’t it.”

Beckett: “What kind of name is Nikki Heat?”
Castle: “A cop name.”
Beckett: “It’s a stripper name.”
Castle: “Well, I told you she was kind of slutty.”

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.

6 comments:

Matthew L said...

One of my favorite bits you mentioned in the soundbites was when Castle is complimenting Beckett in describing the character he's basing on her and then ends it with that little "and kind of slutty" comment. :)

I like that they actually published the books they mention in the show. The books are fun tie-ins.

Again showing continuity, I like that the dress Beckett wears at the end when she goes to the book release shows up again later in the season in Home is Where the Heart Stops.

Josie Kafka said...

Hi Matthew L,

I'm sorry, but I had to delete your other comment. It contained spoilers for later seasons of Castle, and I'd hate for someone to get ruined on future plot points if they're just starting the show.

Please feel free to re-post a non-spoilery version of the comment! I've got a copy of it: if you want me to send it to you, just email me at josie dot kafka at gmail dot com.

Matthew L said...

Josie, no problem. :)

I don't suppose there's spoiler tags available to hide spoiler material?

The really bad thing is that as I write this, I'm blanking on exactly what it was I wrote that was spoilery...:D

Anyway, I'll e-mail you to get the comment back and stick back in my memory...:)

Matthew L said...

Chris, looking forward to the reviews of the next two episodes, A Chill Goes Through Her Veins and Always Buy Retail. Lots of good banter and some interesting new elements of the show being introduced.

Ta-da, comment reworded to be non-spoilery...I hope...:D

Josie Kafka said...

I hereby stamp your above comment with the official seal of approval.

[Thudding noise meant to represent large seal stamping into digital wax.]

Mark said...

Josie: Next time, use the Giant Writer's Pen of Approval (that spills blood after impact), like in the Castle intro.

I thought "555" was the official non-functional Hollywood phone number. Did Castle's cell number ever work?

I like that the writer's got subtler as the season went on, about Castle's home life providing insights into the case he's working on. Nothing wrong with adding more pieces to the puzzle, but these early eps had blatant "eureka" moments.