Title Murder, He Wrote
Two-Sentence Summary While attempting to enjoy a romantic weekend in the Hamptons, Castle and Beckett find themselves assisting on a murder investigation with ties to a meth ring after the victim shows up on their doorstep (or, in this case, their pool). Back in Manhattan, Ryan and Esposito attempt to put their detective skills to use to discover the identity of Beckett’s new boyfriend.
Favorite Line “Can I get a writer’s credit?” (Beckett)
My Thoughts This was a fun, funny, and thoroughly entertaining episode of Castle. It seems like the writers know that they’ve captured lightning in a bottle in terms of the way Castle and Beckett’s romance is playing out, and they’re running with it. There’s no pairing on TV as smart and sexy as they are, so it makes sense to showcase the chemistry between Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic to the fullest extent possible, which was clearly the goal of this episode. Well, that goal was certainly achieved; “Murder, He Wrote” was a great way to take the shackles of secrecy off of this couple, allowing the two leads to play and discover new beats in an already off-the-charts dynamic.
This week, I’m going to break my recap down into “The Missteps,” “The Mixed,” and “The Magic” that I found in this episode.
The shooting star at the very end of the episode: I can handle a lot of cheese on my TV shows, but that was too much.
I was not a fan of Esposito’s unnecessary “This is definitely a meth lab” line. We knew the episode was about a meth ring. Most of us know what a meth lab looks like (or can at least put two and two together to guess), and Ryan’s line about making crank was more than enough exposition.
Don’t get me wrong; I love dramatic, candlelit love scenes as much as the next romantic, but can we please have a love scene that is actually visible sometime soon? Between the ending love scenes in this episode and last season’s finale, I think my eyes are getting worse than they already are from straining to see my favorite TV couple lock lips. I really did love the mood of that last scene, so I can’t complain too much, but I’m just hoping for a nice, normally-lit kiss in a future episode.
I loved seeing the two most important women in Castle’s life being supportive of his relationship with the other most important woman in his life (especially Alexis because we all knew Martha wanted this from the beginning). But why is Alexis home already? Didn’t she just move into her dorm? It felt unrealistic that the girl who set clear boundaries last season in terms of needing her space in college would be hanging out at the loft already; it was a definite plot device, which wasn’t necessary because Martha could have handled that scene with Castle on her own.
I always feel weird when shows call attention to their fandom-given portmanteaus; breaking the “fourth wall” is something I’m not sure I enjoy because it takes me out of the episode. However, if they had to call attention to “Caskett,” I’m glad they did it in a way that was humorous and felt as organic to the dialogue as something like that could feel. There is a part in Frozen Heat about Nikki and Rook’s portmanteau, so at least it didn’t feel completely unrelated to something these characters would talk about.
I’m still not sure how I feel about no one at the 12th having suspicions about Castle and Beckett being together. On one hand, I loved the comedy of Ryan and Esposito playing the roles of annoying little brothers trying to figure out Beckett’s secret (and failing miserably). I also loved the big reveal to Ryan, mainly because Seamus Dever’s reactions in that scene were comedy gold. But I really had hoped that they knew and were just keeping Beckett’s secret for her; it’s so unbelievable that Castle wouldn’t even be seen as an option for Beckett anymore, especially since the two of them are doing a horrible job of pretending not to be in love at work. I still think Lanie might know; her silence was suspicious in this episode.
Creator Andrew Marlowe promised viewers a return to the lighter notes of Seasons 1 and 2, and he is delivering on that promise so far this season. I’ve found myself laughing out loud more than I have since those earlier seasons with each episode. Two of my favorite comedic moments this week were the police chief thinking Beckett was a prostitute (who watches a lot of cop shows); and Castle and Beckett’s visible impatience while awkwardly waiting for the police chief to leave their house so they could head to the bedroom.
I absolutely adored Ryan in this episode. I’m so happy he was the first one to find out about Castle and Beckett. Above everything else, Ryan is a man who always tries to do the right thing. In this case, the right thing is respecting Beckett and her need for secrecy, even if it means keeping the secret from Esposito. Dever gives his character such earnestness; Kevin Ryan is the kind of man you want as a friend, and I love episodes which remind us of that.
Beckett’s reaction as Castle gave her the tour of his beach house was pitch-perfect. It would have felt wrong to gloss over the fact that Castle (unknowingly) broke her heart in the Season 2 finale by bringing his ex-wife there just as Beckett was ready to tell him she had feelings for him. Beckett is still insecure about Castle’s past relationships and womanizing reputation, and this was an understated but effective reminder of that before it all comes to a head in the next episode. I loved that she actually told him what she was feeling without snark, sarcasm, or putting a wall up. And I loved that he reassured her but was still honest about his past. “None of them were you,” was exactly what Beckett needed to hear. Because none of those women mean what Beckett means to Castle; she’s different. And it’s good for both Beckett and the audience to be reminded of that in little ways every once in a while.
I thought I was going to hate the romantic interruptions, but I actually found them to be one of my favorite parts of the episode. They felt organic to the characters and their situation; just because they’re together, it doesn’t mean Castle and Beckett stop being Castle and Beckett, two people who were brought together by their fascination with finding the stories behind crimes. It made sense to me that thinking about the case would prohibit them from being able to get into the mood of their romantic weekend; solving crimes has always taken precedence for them. And I really liked that we got to see both of them frustrated with the other for choosing theorizing over romance. Both scenes were fun moments of romantic comedy for Fillion and Katic, two actors who do romantic comedy better than anyone else on TV right now.
Another thing Fillion and Katic do better than anyone else on TV right now? Showing the different levels of heat in a relationship to keep the audience interested and always on their toes. In this episode, they gracefully moved from serious conversations to playful ones; from flirting to frustration; from domesticity to desire; and from intense sparks to slow-burning warmth.
The change from theory building being a verbal form of foreplay for Castle and Beckett over the course of the show to being an actual form of foreplay this season is a joy to watch. The idea that solving cases together is such a mutual turn-on for them feels so right for their relationship. If you ever need a reminder of why these two are the most intelligently sexy couple on television, refer to this scene, especially the moment where they emphatically reach a conclusion in their theorizing. Could Fillion’s Castle be any more attractive than when he roughly pulls Beckett closer (I ask in my best Chandler Bing voice)?
The last scene in the episode was the perfect love scene for Castle and Beckett. It had a little bit of banter, a little bit of Nikki Heat talk (after all, Nikki brought them together in the first place), a little bit of a musical callback to previous love scenes (the same “I Just Want You” score from composer Robert Duncan), and a lot of chemistry. I was especially impressed with the fact that Beckett got to unabashedly take the lead physically throughout the scene, much to Castle’s enjoyment, and in a way that wasn’t played for comedy but rather a reflection of the reality of their relationship. She’s always been a character who was written to have a healthy attitude towards her own sexuality, and that was definitely on display in this scene. I’m pretty sure television screens could have melted from the combined powers of Fillion and Katic in that scene, and that speaks of nothing but good things to come as we get to see more and more of this expertly-crafted (and acted) relationship with each new episode.
I didn’t see Alexis being home a plot device. It was Friday afternoon. I work at a university that is dubbed a “suitcase” school because students stay here all week and go home on the weekends. Alexis is just a few miles from home. She also knew for a while that Castle and Beckett were going out of town together and wanted to be there when her dad left for the weekend. I had no issues with Alexis being there and thought the tag team between Martha and Alexis, and older and younger woman’s perspective, was great.
Thanks for the comment! I can definitely see the validity of your interpretation of this scene too. For me, when I was in college, people who lived in the dorms would very rarely go home on weekends, even if home was in the same city like it is for Alexis, and they especially didn’t go home right at the start of the semester (it was all about establishing a sense of independence). However, that’s my personal experience coloring how I saw the scene, so I can understand how you saw it differently. Plus, I did enjoy having both women there to give Castle advice.
Brilliant review! I agree with everything you say, including your comment about Alexis. That was the only part of the episode that truly felt contrived to me. I understand that they don’t want to lose Molly Quinn from the show to the extent that leaving for college would realistically imply, but to have her in that opening scene was too soon. As you say, Martha would’ve been more than enough alone. And, dare I say, probably funnier.
Otherwise, I loved your review, but you should’ve give a special shout out to Seamus Dever who stole the episode for me with that single interrogation scene. Oh, and the scene that melted me most, was Kate, literally, watching the clock because she wanted to go to the Hamptons with him so badly. Adorable.
Yes however to Fillion and Katic melting everything, both overtly and subtly as they find the new rhythms the change in the relationship allows them this year.
Thank you so much for the nice and thoughtful comment!
I wish I would have had more time to write this review because I had so much more to say about Seamus Dever and how fantastic he was throughout the episode (Why must work get in the way of my Castle reviewing?). I watch Castle with my mom and sister every week, and that interrogation scene had the three of us all laughing so hard. He completely sold that scene, and it made me love him even more.
I loved that, initially, Beckett just wanted to enjoy her weekend away with Castle and that Castle was the one that couldn’t let the case go. It’s such a change from the Beckett in earlier seasons who was so focused on her job and work and I love seeing the lightness that Stana has brought to the happy scenes between Beckett and Castle.
I love it when shows break the “fourth wall” so the ship name scene cracked me up.
How amazing was Seamus Dever’s performance in this episode?! I loved the look on his face when he realized what was going on and everything about the way he played that last scene with Esposito. Ryan is such a loyal friend and would never do anything to jeopardize his friends’ happiness or careers and I can’t wait to see how his next interactions with the two of them go. I also agree with you, I think Lanie knows already.
I found it so perfect that Castle was the one having trouble letting the case go. It reminded me of the Castle from the pilot, the one who didn’t buy the story he was being told about the murder and wasn’t going to rest until he figured out the true story.
And I can’t talk about this “new” Beckett and what Stana is bringing to her performance without getting emotional. This is the Beckett that existed before her mom died, allowing herself to have the happiness she deserves. The lightness Stana is giving her this season is 100% perfect, and it speaks to how much this character has grown.
I couldn’t agree more! I am so glad that the writers have not turned Beckett into a simpering mess! I like that she is strong and mature in both her working relationship and her own sexuality. Looking forward eagerly to the rest of the season!
Thanks so much for the comment! I completely agree with you in loving the strength Beckett shows in every aspect of her life, and I’m so excited to see that continue this season!