TV Time: Castle 5.02

Title Cloudy with a Chance of Murder

Two-Sentence Summary The murder of a local TV news personality provides the backdrop for Castle and Beckett’s first case together after her suspension is over. Their plan to pretend to be single (because of the NYPD’s rules about partners dating) backfires when a flirtatious talk show host sets her sights on Castle.

Favorite Line “Excuse me, it was you that was trying to sleep with me…Don’t tell me you dress like that for Esposito.” (Castle)

My Thoughts I think I summed up my thoughts on last night’s episode of Castle in the most succinct way I could on Facebook after it aired: “Another Monday night, another perfect episode of Castle.” There really is nothing else that needs to be said. I know this season is only two episodes old, but I really feel like the writers and the actors are operating on another level right now. Not only are they working to disprove the “Moonlighting Curse” and the belief that a show’s quality deteriorates once you get your will they/won’t they couple together; they’re working to prove that the opposite is true: If put in the right hands, a show can actually improve once the unresolved tension becomes blissfully resolved.

Last night’s episode felt like a return to the glory days of Castle (circa Seasons 1 and 2). The case was full of twists that I was surprised by, and the snarky look at local news was incredibly fun. But they still included the moment where you can see the physical toll that calling the victim’s parents takes on Beckett, which was such an important touch. The best Castle cases are interesting and fun but still have at least one or two moments to remind us that the victim was a person—not just a plot device. This week there was the phone call with Beckett and the scene with the little boy from the hospital. Those small moments of humanity in the “fun” cases are what has always made Castle such a unique and compelling procedural.

Before I get to the developments between Castle and Beckett in this episode, I have to take some time to talk about Castle’s other dynamic duo and their long-awaited reconciliation. I adored Ryan and Esposito in this episode. Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever have a comedic chemistry that almost rivals the one between Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion at this point. Two episodes was the perfect amount of time to have them be on the outs; I was already getting more than a little frustrated with Esposito for failing to accept that both he and Beckett could have been killed without Ryan going to Gates in the season finale. Their scene at the end was just sweet enough to be appropriate for the two of them and their partnership. It wasn’t flowery or over-dramatic; it was just right for them. They’re partners on a level that is almost as deep as Castle and Beckett, and I loved seeing that reinforced. Ryan took a punch for Esposito not to prove his loyalty but because it’s what they always would have done for each other, and I was so happy to see Esposito acknowledge that and make the first move in finally forgiving Ryan.

This episode had a lot of scenes of the 12th precinct “family” together, and I was so happy to see that. This core group of characters is one of my favorites from any show on television right now. I loved seeing them eating together while working on the case, judging Ryan for his knowledge of celebrity gossip, and just being a team again in the precinct.

My only complaint about this entire episode is about the way Ryan, Esposito, and Lanie treated both Beckett and Castle while they were pretending to be single. As friends who’ve watched Castle and Beckett get closer and closer to an intimate relationship for four years, it felt strange to see them all so willing to accept that they were both seeing other people. It felt a little out-of-character for all of them given the way they’ve treated this kind of situation in the past.

To tell you the truth, it was hard focusing on anything in this episode besides Castle and Beckett—and I mean that in the best possible way. Fillion and Katic are absolutely electric together this season; their chemistry is better than it’s ever been. Some of that is the writing, which is smarter and spicier than it’s been in a long time, but some of it comes from a kind of nonverbal energy that can’t be written. I remember hearing in the DVD audio commentary of the pilot that the network wanted them to tone down their chemistry because no one would believe that they weren’t going to sleep together—and now I can completely see why.

I loved the banter between them at the start of the episode because it showed that their essential personality traits and roles in the relationship haven’t changed. Castle is still going to be playful (telling her a shirt doesn’t look good just to get her to take her clothes off while he’s watching). Beckett is still going to be the one needing to rein him in. But instead of annoyance, we now get Beckett enjoying Castle’s puppy-like enthusiasm. The moment where she smiles at him while he’s playing with the newsroom green screen perfectly reflected the subtle change in their relationship without even needing words; he’s always made her happy, but now she finally gets to give in to that happiness completely and show him.

There are times when I love a good “jealous Beckett” storyline and times when I hate it. Last night, I loved it because it felt rational and it got them to talk honestly about their relationship. Katic is at her comedic best when she gets to play jealousy (see Season 3’s “Nikki Heat” for a perfect example). The scene in this episode where she’s answering Castle’s interview questions for him while he’s on TV was a perfect bit of comedy, as was the scene in the newsroom after Beckett found Castle being straddled by the bikini-clad reporter (featuring one of my new favorite Castle phrases: “Terminator of sexpots”). And don’t even get me started on the “boobs” line that ended the episode because I’m still laughing just thinking about Katic’s delivery.

Once again, the Castle writers did a great job balancing the comedy inherent in this situation with the very real and believable relationship questions that would arise from it. Katic did a great job of showing the hurt Beckett was wrestling with in this episode. The last scene between Castle and Beckett was like a breath of fresh air, seeing them directly talk about a problem between them. Beckett’s new vulnerability with Castle is such an interesting side to her character, and I like that it seems to be something that’s sticking around. Castle is a habitual flirt, a charmer of the highest order. But I love that he was clearly sorry for what happened and how out of hand his faux date got. Beckett’s insecurities about Castle’s ability to be satisfied with just her is definitely something they’re going to touch on again later, and I’ll be interested to see how he ultimately reassures her that she’s all he wants (because we as an audience clearly know that already).

The episode ended with real progress in their relationship. They basically made it clear that they are exclusive, and that is a big step in any new relationship. I really appreciate that the writers aren’t skipping over major relationship moments along the way for these two. We as an audience have been waiting four years to see this, so it’s nice to watch the slow, natural progression unfold.

The beauty of watching this relationship develop is watching these characters have fun together, find happiness together. There’s such a natural feeling to every Castle and Beckett moment; nothing feels forced or like it’s trying too hard to be a sweet/sexy/intimate moment. There’s a comfort level between the actors that translates perfectly to the comfort level between the characters. There are even more sparks now because they know each other so well that it’s like playing with fire in every scene.

I love that these two characters feel like real people in a real relationship. Their talk about which one was trying to seduce the other for the past four years felt like a candid moment between a couple who were friends for ages before finally taking the next step. Beckett’s soft “wow” after Castle kissed her (and pulled her close with a very intimate little tug on the small of her back) seemed like a real moment of happiness between a couple before one heads off to work. And the smile on Beckett’s face when she told Castle he didn’t have a choice but to agree not to date other people, “because I have a gun,” looked so warm and genuine that I couldn’t help but smile too.

This episode of Castle was like a cup of my favorite coffee on a cold Monday morning—it warmed me up, it started my week off on the right note, and it made me much happier than I would have been without it.

4 thoughts on “TV Time: Castle 5.02

  1. Hmm. I had mixed thoughts on this episode really. I did like the Esposito/Ryan storyline, and the banter between Castle and Beckett was great, but to be honest, I’m not sure I’m buying the whole “We have to keep our forbidden love secret because if it gets out it’ll destroy our entire world. dun dun dun”. I didn’t buy it as it pertained to the case (somehow I doubted that dating the weather girl at a local news station would derail your national newscaster dreams, and it turned out to be a lie so…) and I don’t really buy it for Castle and Beckett either. I feel like if Gates found out now, she’d be more pissed about the lying than the relationship. And if they just told her from the start she’d probably just say, “Ok, Castle can’t work here anymore”. Which I get that that’d be disastrous for like the premise of the show, but disastrous for their relationship? I get it that for the purpose of the show Castle needs to keep working with Beckett, but when you’re writing the show, you’re not supposed to be so obvious about writing a show, if you know what I mean. They could just have the relationship be out in the open and come up with some reason for Gates being ok with it or eventually accepting it, and to me that’d be a lot less awkward and more realistic than the whole keeping it secret thing.

    I also felt annoyed with the Castle/crazy bikini lady thing. It was cute and funny all the way up until she showed up at his house. Then it went into cringeworthy territory for me. At any point, he could have just stopped her and said, “Look I’m just not that into you”, or, I don’t know, anything really to put her off. Instead he just kept bumbling and falling over stuff, but nothing actually trying to stop what was happening. I mean, yes she seemed sexually aggressive, but I think if he’d just looked at her point blank and said, “I’m never going to sleep with you because I don’t want to”, she would have stopped. It just wasn’t believable to me that he’d let it get that far, and it felt like we were being told, “Look! A guy can practically cheat on his girlfriend and it might not even be his fault because cougars, amirite?” I do probably have a little history here that’s coloring my view of this, and I do understand that it was intended to be humorous, but to me it was just kind of disturbing.

    I did like that Kate called him on the BS, and I loved the end, that she wasn’t ready to just start making out again, even if it was obvious she wasn’t too mad at him.

    I also do agree with your point about Lanie and Esposito and Ryan, how in the past they’ve always tiptoed around talking about sex partners and romantic others around Castle and Beckett because they’re all aware of the UST between them. So it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that suddenly they were all cavalier and casual about it in this ep. But that’s a really minor nitpick really.

    I did love all the cute moments during the show like when she smiled while watching him be an idiot with the green screen, and the moment when she was sad about having to talk to the victim’s parents and how Castle showed concern for her. And I also liked that they set the limits for their relationship at the end.

    So yeah. I hope I didn’t rain on your parade too hard or harsh your squee or anything. I know you respect differing opinions though, and so do I. I think it’s perfectly valid for others to love this, I just think personal experiences or whatever makes it so I can’t really love this ep.

    • Never apologize for harshing my squee, my dear. I LOVE hearing different opinions, so I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. And I can totally understand where you’re coming from about the scene with Castle and the reporter. It made no sense to me why he couldn’t just tell her he wasn’t ready for that amount of “fun” yet. I understand he’s not used to turning women down, but to make it seem like he was helpless in that situation was ridiculous. I’m just happy they had him genuinely apologize for it at the end. For as much experience as Castle has in committed relationships, I think this whole thing is so real and huge for him that he’s in unfamiliar territory, too, which I’d like to see even more of.

      I guess I can suspend my disbelief over the idea of having to keep their relationship a secret because I don’t think it’s going to last long. I still think Beckett is wary of Gates (whether or not she should be is another story), so I can see why she’d be nervous about them being found out.

      As someone who is dealing with having mixed emotions over a couple of TV episodes lately that have been praised by their respective fandoms, I totally understand your inability to completely love this episode. It definitely wasn’t a perfect episode. “Fun” Castle episodes often give me mixed feelings; I just think I was so focused on the banter and the small moments between Castle and Beckett that I was willing to overlook some things that might usually have bothered me in this one.

  2. I didn’t like this episode as much as the premiere, although the first scene had me grinning for the rest of the episode. I love Stana and Nathan’s chemistry in their flirty scenes and of course, I love seeing Beckett smile so much.

    I liked the case this week and enjoyed all of the twists. I didn’t love the fact that so much of the case seemed to relate back to the fact that Beckett and Castle were hiding their relationship. It felt like it was a little too much for one episode. I really didn’t like the accidental phone call and walking in on Castle in a compromising position bit. In an episode where most of Castle and Beckett’s interactions felt so real, that felt extremely artificial to me.

    I completely agree on Ryan, Esposito, and Lanie’s reactions. They just didn’t work for me, knowing that they are all aware that Castle and Beckett have feelings for each other, even if they don’t know that they are dating.

    • I completely agree about the heavy-handedness of certain plot points. I’m much more of a fan of subtlety in my writing, and it did get to the point where it felt like I was being beat over the head with it. However, I did like what they chose to do with some of the heavy-handedness. The moment of silent agreement when the suspect says “the sex is amazing” in secret relationships was incredibly well-played by Nathan and Stana. And I liked that the last scene directly addressed the parallels we saw in the episode. It could have been done more smoothly, but I’ve seen plot anvils drop a lot heavier than these did, so I’m okay with it.

      I’m also hoping that it turns out that the 12th precinct family had an idea about Castle and Beckett being together already (if not actually knowing) and wanted to wait until they told them to say anything about it because this just feels so out-of-character for all of them.

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