Castle: Secret Santa

“Santa doesn’t enter through the chimney; he enters through the heart.”

The first holiday episode that the show has ever done and it opened in typical Castle fashion with Santa falling out of the sky. Somehow, I knew this was going to be an episode I would enjoy.

Of course the case was going to be about redemption. It’s a Christmas episode. But, I really liked this one. Unlike so many of the cases we see on this show, this one hung together well; the story was believable and well told and the killer, although a surprise, did not come completely out of left field.

As always, this show was much more about the people we care about than it was about the case itself. Traditions are changing for our group. Alexis and Martha want to go out on Christmas Eve; Ryan wants to be with Jenny, not Esposito; Beckett feels forced to become part of the Castle extravaganza. At the beginning of the episode, I was discouraged around the no gifts thing and was afraid that we were going to have another episode of Beckett’s insecurities. Thankfully, it didn’t go that way. What we did get was Caskett continuing to come together, find their common ground and agree that, perhaps, new traditions are not such a bad thing.

I was surprised at Castle’s response when Beckett told him she had to work the Christmas shift. For someone who is usually so intuitive, he missed all the signs that Beckett was being less than truthful. What a step back for both of them. Beckett lies; Castle goes behind her back to try to fix it. Uh-oh.

Luckily, for every step back our duo makes, they make a step forward. What a change when Gates told Castle that Beckett had requested the shift. The last time Castle caught Beckett is such a lie, he jetted off to Vegas and picked up a flight attendant. This time, he found the appropriate time (in the precinct, handing her a coffee) and asked her about it. Although it would be crystal clear to anyone who watches this show that the explanation would be around her mother, Beckett’s story about her Christmas tradition I found moving. It is so in character with this woman to remove herself from the festivities themselves, but to watch over others who want to participate.

I also liked Castle’s explanation of why his Christmas is so over the top (that apartment looked a tad too decorated, but I don’t want to judge). Most of the stories we hear about Castle’s childhood and especially about his relationship with his mother are around how insensitive Martha was and how Castle had to raise himself. The fact that every year Martha would make such an effort I found charming and lovely.

There was a bit of a theme this week about lying to protect those we love. Beckett lied to Castle about her shift; Alexis lied to her dad about whom she was meeting on Christmas Eve; Castle lied to Alexis about Beckett coming over on Christmas Eve; Edmund lied to the Cabots for years while trying to help them at the same time.

There was a lot of humor in this as well. Gates and her mother-in-law; Esposito’s dance with the Christmas lingerie; Esposito getting his ass kicked by the Santas; Castle’s face when Beckett teases him about the lack of a present all made me laugh out loud.

I am a complete sucker for holiday sentiment and I will now openly admit that I teared up through the last five minutes of this episode. From Esposito telling Ryan to go make a baby, through the Caskett kiss, through Esposito showing up at the Cabots’ with the clock, I wept. Any episode that makes me both laugh out loud and cry must get top marks. Four out of four glasses of glogg.

As Castle is now on hiatus until the new year, may I take this opportunity to wish you and yours all the best for the holiday season.

Tidbits:

-- Castle keeping cookie angel made me laugh out loud. For all of you parents out there, could one of you please explain to me the keeping of ornaments your offspring made as a child? My mother has a Santa that I made in first grade and the thing is hideous. Every year, she insists on hanging it on the tree. She has similar things my brother and sister made. Why, oh why?

-- I always thought that glogg was similar to mulled wine. I’ve never heard of it made with aquavit. Sounds deadly.

-- I love, love, love Esposito and Lanie together. Here’s hoping they go through with their plans to hook up in the new year. I’m wondering about Mrs. Cabot, however...

-- I liked the name shot with the green and red lights and the candy cane instead of the pen.

-- Bells and Holly Agency for Santa. Say no more.

-- It’s a Wonderful Life. The best Christmas movie, ever. The Nutcracker Suite. The best Christmas music, ever.

-- Of all the towns in New Jersey, Ho Ho Kus is the most aptly named, wouldn’t you say?

-- I couldn’t find a clockmaker named Thomas Tilledge. Usually, the show is more grounded in reality than this, so if I missed him, please comment.

-- If you look on the whiteboard in the precinct, above a photo of the helicopter it says, “Santa’s Sleigh.”

-- Use the mistletoe! Use the mistletoe! Arrgh...

Soundbites:

Beckett: “Hate to break it to you, Castle, but there is no Santa.”
Castle: “Well, not anymore.”

Gates: “Lord, I hate the holidays.”
Castle: “Yet another quality she has in common with the Grinch.”

Lanie: “Javi, let’s not be one of those sad, desperate holiday hookups.”

David: “Maybe it’s time to hang up the fluffy red jockstrap.”
Castle: “Is… is that a metaphor, or do you really…?”

Castle: “I was thinking, tomorrow night, perhaps we should have a Christmas movie marathon or… some other kind of marathon that makes life wonderful.”

Gates: “Mr. Castle, I am on my way uptown to meet my mother-in-law to have tea and eat those tiny, freakin’ sandwiches. So, why don’t you just say what’s on your mind.”

Gwenn: “When he left me, he told me he never wanted to hurt me. That’s what people always say right before they hurt you.”

Gates: “Detective, if you happen to receive a report of a homicide tonight at my address, do me a favor. Ignore it."
Beckett laughing: “Yes, sir.”

Castle: “On the shortest, darkest days of the year, people of all faiths celebrate the light. Plus, who doesn’t love presents?”

Esposito: “So go home. Make a baby. You’re ready.”

Beckett: “What about your family tradition?”
Castle: “I was just thinking it’s time for a new tradition.”
Beckett: “Me, too.”

Beckett: “Merry Christmas.”
Castle: “I didn’t get you anything.”
Beckett: “What?”

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.

11 comments:

sunbunny said...

Stop the BD presses! We agree on an episode! Hurray! While it did bug me for the first half or so that Bones did something EXTREMELY similar a few years ago, I ended up enjoying the whole thing.

Loved, loved Gates complaining about her mother-in-law and Beckett's explanation of her Christmas Eve tradition. Like you said, it's so sweet that her happiness comes from sacrificing her time to protect the happiness of others. Awww!

Adored the title card.

CrazyCris said...

Great review! I really enjoyed this one too! That poor kid from the beginning is probably traumatised for life though... :p

So many wonderful little moments, and you managed to list them all, even the fun new Castle starting card! :o)

I was wondering why Becket's dad wasn't included in the Xmas invite (since he and Marth got along so well in the end) until she mentioned the cabin.

I'm with Castle! Presents on Christmas Eve!!! If you leave them under the tree until Christmas morning Santa might think you've received enough and won't leave any more! :p
That was the argument my mom used back in the day to convince my dad anyhow... ;o)

Johanne said...

sununny: that bugged me too!
The storylines about our characters were great, but come on; this crime was solved by Brennan and Booth years ago!

Anonymous said...

Such a nice episode..Caskett were adorable...and the funny bits were genuinely funny..
Glogg is delicious and comes both with and without alchol..
Anna

Ceridwyn2 said...

Loved this ep, too.

Though no tragedy in our family, we're often separate for much of the holidays. My parents often go visit my sister, bro-in-law and kids. I'm a nurse. And for the past several years, I've worked the Christmas Eve night/Christmas Day night and Boxing Day night shifts because I have no kids and it gives those with kids some time together. Then I usually take NYE off and have friends in. However, this year, I'm going to my sister's with most of the rest of my family - aside from brother, sis-in-law & kids because they live out west and too expensive for five to fly across country for Christmas.

The show hit the right notes with old traditions making way for new ones. Lovely.

Billie Doux said...

Ceridwyn2, my friend, how lovely that you get to have a holiday with your family this year. :) I hope it's wonderful.

Len Vinci said...

Anyone else notice the Miracle On 34th St ref? In it, Kris Kringle was played by the great Edmund Gwenn. :-)

CrazyCris said...

I did! Brought a smile to my face and made me want to pop the dvd in the machine... except I loaned it to one of my students so I'll have to wait!
MAGIC! :o)

(I do hope you're talking about the original, right?)

nancy namaste said...

Love your review and love the way the show is developing Casket (cute name BTW). When they got together, I was worried that it would ruin the show. But, instead, it's almost a primer on how to develop a relationship between a modern man and woman. Beckett hasn't turned coy and helpless. Castle still has his goofy sense of humor and honor. The side characters are a joy to watch. This is one of the few shows that I never miss. I am always smiling when it's over.

celticmarc said...

Excellent episode; great cast and awesome review.

Ahhh ! Esposito's demise with the Santas : add this to the top 50 best memorable moments of the entire series. This show is so good that 10 or 20 wouldn't be enough.

Yup, got teary eyes at the end too...

celticmarc said...

Cris sans le H,

Quand je vais au bureau, c'est Noël a tous les jours. Sarcastique pour ce que je vois et entends sur une base quotidienne. Mais merveilleux et valant la peine pour les quelques personnes formidables (que je nomme mes perles) que je côtoie.

Sorry guys, no translation ! Shame on me !