Title Reality Star Struck
Two-Sentence Summary Castle and Beckett prepare for their first Valentine’s Day as a couple while Ryan’s “family planning” begins to affect his work life, and Esposito rekindles an old flame. These holiday preparations are set against the backdrop of the murder of one of the stars of a catfight-filled reality TV franchise.
Favorite Line “You are beauty, passion, and fierce intellect. Be my valentine. —Rick” (Castle’s Valentine for Beckett)
My Thoughts Fun, flirty, fabulously romantic Castle—oh how I’ve missed you! Honestly, that was the most fun I’ve had watching Castle in a long time. The comedy was sharp and full of pop culture references, the twists came fast and furious, and the romance was subtle but still significant. In short, this was an example of what a comedic Castle episode can be when all of the pieces come together in the right way. This episode was like a great piece of chocolate—sweet but not too sugary and incredibly satisfying.
In fact, my only complaint about this episode was the use of Gina Torres. Of course each scene she was in was made 1000 times better just by her BAMF presence, so I simply wanted more of her. She is one of my favorite women on television and has been for years. (Anna Espinosa was always a favorite villain of mine.) Therefore, I kept waiting for her to show up again—and to share some screentime with Nathan Fillion. On Firefly, those two were a dream team, so it broke my heart that we didn’t really get much interaction between them, especially compared to Fillion’s gleeful reunion with Adam Baldwin in last season’s “Headhunters.”
Although I was left longing for more
Anna Zoe Jessica Gina Torres, I honestly loved everything else in the episode. In fact, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m going to turn this recap into “14 Things I Loved About Reality Star Struck”:
1. Castle wanting a lightsaber for Valentine’s Day. Nerdy Castle is my favorite Castle.
2. All of the nods to the Real Housewives franchise, including the table flip. Stana Katic throwing a table on its side will never get old. (Thank God for GIFs!)
3. Captain Victoria Gates in all her reality-show-watching, happily-married, sassy glory. The writers have done such a great job fleshing her character out in fun, quirky, humanizing ways this season. I went from really disliking the character to be so happy to see her on my TV. A lot of credit for that turnaround has to go to Penny Johnson Jerald, who is taking this chance to show her comedic talents and running with it.
4. Castle staying up all night to marathon a TV show, while Beckett was able to watch just one and not get hooked. If that isn’t a clear indicator of their personalities in one seemingly throwaway detail, then I don’t know what is. Also, if you didn’t chuckle knowingly at his “I can’t feel my butt,” then I’m sorry you have never experienced a marathon TV session before. You should rectify that ASAP. In this spirit of this episode, might I suggest Firefly?
5. Castle putting the earrings in the wrong blazer. What is usually a stale sitcom gag got new life thanks to the always perfect facial expressions only Fillion can create. Also, I liked that there were stakes to this side plot. And as much as I want the “secret romance” plot wrapped up soon, I did enjoy Gates thinking Castle was trying to get in her good graces by giving her the earrings.
6. The comedic chemistry between Jerald and Fillion. They’re both so quick, and they bounce off each other so well. Have I mentioned I love Gates this season?
7. The return of Esplanie! When Lanie walked into the precinct looking so gorgeous, I felt a little flutter in the spot of my heart usually reserved for Castle and Beckett alone. She and Esposito are adorable together, and I loved seeing both of them so happy. It was the perfect way to end the precinct scenes in this episode.
8. Jon Huertas speaking French. Anybody else melt into a puddle after that? Or was it just me?
9. Castle pulling an Alias and using a drawer to signify the next stage in a relationship. Anything that reminds me of Season 2 of Alias (aka the greatest season of any TV show ever) will automatically make me smile.
10. The symbolic nature of the drawer. On Castle, I actually think it meant more than it did on Alias—and that’s why I loved it more. Beckett is far less eager to commit than Sydney ever was. She’s a woman who always had one foot out in relationships and liked it that way because she was afraid of losing someone if she let them in, and she was afraid of opening up her broken heart and broken life to someone. Now, though, she has jumped in with both feet; she’s committed to Castle in a way she’s never been with anyone else. He already had his own spot in her life and in her heart, so it was time for her to give him his own spot in her physical world, too. For Kate Beckett, a woman who’s never allowed herself to love fully after losing her mother, a drawer isn’t just a drawer. It’s her way of saying “I’m in this for the long haul—no more ‘one foot out’. I want you in my life. Always.”
11. Castle’s face upon realizing what his gift was. Fillion is the master of softening his features just enough to never leave you with any doubt about how much this man adores Kate Beckett, all while still keeping things subtle and realistic. The way he goes speechless for a second before saying “It’s perfect” was incredibly moving because Castle gets how big a step this is for Beckett, and he’s honored to have this spot in her home, just like he’s honored to have the spot he has in her heart now.
12. Castle’s Valentine for Beckett. I love that it was about more than just her beauty. From the start, Castle has been captivated by her passion and her intellect. That combination—beauty, heart, and brains—is what made her so different from all the pretty faces he had surrounded himself with for so long. Castle’s flair for words has always served him well when it comes to Beckett, so it didn’t surprise me that his love note would be beautiful.
13. Castle’s inability to get his clothes off fast enough to get to Beckett. Once again, GIFs are my best friend because one look at these tells you all you need to know about Rick Castle as a character.
14. The promo for next week! I don’t want to say too much here for anyone who’s still trying to stay unspoiled for any big plot points, but (and yes, caps are necessary) I AM SO EXCITED! Ever since I saw all of Firefly this summer for the first time, I’ve been waiting for Fillion’s chance to shine as a dramatic actor in more than just a couple of scenes. I think this is finally his chance to get some recognition for his incredible dramatic chops, and I can’t wait to see it all unfold.