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Castle: Always Buy Retail

“I really am ruggedly handsome, aren’t I?”

During the first three minutes of this episode, we get a strange, ritualistic murder followed by a hot sex scene during which we are introduced to Meredith after seeing images of tunnels and tall, pointy buildings (yes, I’ve read my Freud). She is Castle’s first ex-wife and Alexis' mother, threatening to move back to New York to disrupt everyone’s lives.

The woman is a force of nature (Castle calls her, “Auntie Mame on meth”) and I loved everything about her. Castle’s relationship with her is interesting to watch and is even more insight into the man he is underneath all the bluster. Yes, he still sleeps with her and he is hardly respectful of her (deep-fried Twinkie, indeed), but he supports Meredith to Alexis and he helps Meredith get a role in a film. I got the impression that although he no longer wants her around nor does he want to be married to her, he still loves her to a degree and he is very grateful to her for being the mother of his child.

Watching Alexis with her mother (and her father and grandmother to a lesser degree), we get a real insight into why she is the way she is. When one is dealing with adults who are so immature and so self-centered, it is easy to see why she has become the mature, responsible one in the family. It’s also telling that Alexis doesn’t give her mother up to her principal; she just goes along for the ride.

It is fun to watch Martha’s reactions to Meredith. I am convinced that part of Martha’s antipathy is jealousy. Like Meredith, Martha is not the naturally maternal type. Meredith got to leave her child with her ex-husband and fly off to California to further her career; Martha did not have that choice. But, she seems to be much more maternal with Alexis. As Meredith is leaving, Martha puts her arms around Alexis and draws her close. Of course, it is only seconds later that she is asking Castle if there is a part in the film for her… Meredith is Martha twenty years ago.

It would have been easy for the writers to have Beckett become jealous when she meets Meredith, but her reaction was better and much more true to life. Like the audience, Beckett is amused by this woman and simply loves the fact that she can watch Castle squirm a bit. The scene where Meredith walks into the precinct is one of the great scenes that Castle has ever done. Hilarious from start to finish, we get to see Castle on the back foot and Beckett loving every minute of it. But, the best part is that it is Meredith who knows that the purse in the photo is fake and, therefore, blows open the case for our team. The look of satisfaction on Meredith’s face as she realizes what she has done just made me love her all the more.

The case itself is a fairly standard procedural, but there were some great moments. The first is the scene with the writers vest, which we see for the first time, the phone call (with that horribly annoying ringtone) and Castle letting the suspect get away. Poor Castle; he wants so much to be a real part of the team, not just an observer. But, his failure at every aspect of this tac strike just leads to scorn from the rest of the team; embarrassing for him, hilarious for us.

The second is my favorite part of the episode, Beckett and Castle caught in the gun fight. Adrenaline coursing through their veins, they turn to each other and work as a team. Both are concerned about the other and both play their part in bringing the killer down. All of this followed by an absolutely wonderful exchange in the hall that makes me smile no matter how many times I have seen it. I think it was at this moment that I truly fell in love with this show and knew I was in for the long haul.

Three and half out of four snack foods that are bad for you.

Tidbits:

-- The fans have nicknamed the Castle/Beckett team Caskett. From now on, I will use that term when I am talking about them together.

-- Castle’s sex list shows how well traveled he is. In this list, it becomes clear that he has been to France, Hawaii, Greece and London.

-- Vodun is a very interesting religion. Here is a small snapshot of it.

-- I enjoyed the discussion between Michelle and Beckett about religion. One of the things I most admire about Beckett is her willingness to listen to others and to learn, even though she may not always agree with what she is hearing or learning.

-- Castle has now saved Beckett’s life once. Castle 1/Beckett 0. This count will become important down the road.

Soundbites:

Castle: “I had sex with my ex-wife this morning.” The looks he is given from Beckett, Esposito and Ryan are laugh out loud funny. He still hasn’t quite mastered the art of subtlety.

Castle: “That would be a very special brand of hell. The hell of a deep-fried Twinkie.”
Ryan: “A deep-fried Twinkie?”
Castle: “Yeah. The guilty pleasure that you know is bad for you, so you only do it once, maybe twice a year for the novelty. But, a deep-fried Twinkie every day is…”
What I love about this exchange is the Esposito and Ryan immediately understand what he means; Beckett shuts him down with one of the great lines of the episode, “How about a little self-respect, then?”

Castle: “Let me tell you something about crazy people. The sex is unbelievable.”
Beckett: “How shallow are you?
Castle: “Very.”

Meredith: “Beckett. Your new muse. Alexis told me all about it, and I simply had to stop by. [Looks Beckett up and down.] You know, I was his inspiration once.”
Beckett: “Were you now?”
Meredith: “Still am, from time to time. Right, kitten?”
Beckett: “Kitten?” [Huge smile on her face while Esposito and Ryan snigger.]
Castle: “I had this dream once, only I was naked and much less embarrassed.”

Martha: “Why did you marry her, anyway?”
Castle: “I don’t know, Mother. Maybe she reminded me of you.”

Castle: “I got this special order. And, look.”
Beckett: “Writer?”
Castle: “Cool, huh?”
Beckett: “No, not cool. You don’t need a vest.”
Castle: “If you shoot me, do I not bleed?”

Beckett: “Probably saved my life.”
Castle: “I definitely saved your life. And you know what that means, don’t you? It means you owe me.”
Beckett: “Owe you what?”
Castle: “Whatever I want. And, you know exactly what I want, don’t you? You know what I really, really want you to do. Never, ever call me kitten.” Beckett’s grin is infectious.

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.

2 comments:

Matthew L said...

Yeah, a new Castle review. :)

One of my favorite episodes. Why? One word...Kitten...:D

I agree with you about the parallels between Meredith and Martha.

I love the whole conversation in the precinct when Meredith drops by to leave Alexis with Castle. The whole kitten nickname coming up and I especially love at the end the terrifed expressions on both Castle and Alexis when Meredith states "And think about how much fun it'll be when I move here" (something along those lines). Alexis' expression is hilarious.

And lastly, that's an interesting ringtone Castle has picked out for his daughter. I can see Castle having the whole Stewie "mom, mom, mom" speech from Family Guy as the ringtone for Martha. :)

Mark said...

The soundbites don't do justice for the way it's presented on screen. The "uagh" face after the deep-fried twinkie quote is the funniest part. And when Castle leans in and says "what I really, really want you to do" in a soft (lusty) voice, then delivers the punchline, it gives Beckett's reaction (a smile) more subtext. (And fuels the Caskett fans.)

I remember, first watching the show, that I thought Stana Katic was a stiff actor (outclassed by Fillion) who was getting better with more experience, by this part of the season. But when I rewatched the episodes, I realized that her acting was consistent and good. Beckett's interplay with the captain, Ryan, Esposito, and Lanie are intact from that first episode. What changed was that her character was warming up to Castle. What I mistook for poor acting was, in fact, the mask that this control-freak character presented to the stranger in her life. I'm enjoying re-watching the shows to see when Beckett lets things slip by her mask (like the smiles and frowns), and especially when the character is caught off-guard and the mask drops entirely. (Stana does an amazing little-girl-lost expression.)