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.