Title The Good, the Bad, and the Baby
Two-Sentence Summary After a dying man abandons a baby at a church, Castle and Beckett must solve not only his murder but also the mystery behind the baby’s identity and connection to the case. Until they do, they take the baby in, which allows both of them—especially Beckett—to take a glimpse into their future and the possibility of having children of their own someday.
Favorite Line Upon walking into the loft to see Martha holding a baby while Castle and Beckett are sleeping near her: “How long have I been gone?” (Alexis)
My Thoughts In honor of this episode’s Thanksgiving theme, I would like to turn this week’s review into a little list I like to call: “10 Things to Be Thankful For in ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Baby.’”
1. An Excellent Opening. The opening of this episode, with the victim stumbling into the church while the cantor was singing and the service was going on was just unsettling enough to be memorable. Part of me was a little frustrated that the chilling events of last week’s episode went completely unaddressed in “The Good, the Bad, and the Baby,” but that’s sadly to be expected from a procedural. However, I did get a good dose of goose bumps from this opening scene without being as terrified as I was by “Disciple,” which is just what I want from a holiday-themed Castle episode.
2. Playful Pocahontas. Between last season’s “Secret Santa” and this episode, I really enjoy watching Castle and Beckett share holiday traditions—even made-up ones. I had a feeling Castle was kidding about his Thanksgiving costumes, but I loved that Beckett was willing to play along. Even more than that, though, I loved that she was smart and sassy enough to get him a costume just in case he turned out to be kidding.
3. A Family Affair. It warmed my heart to see Beckett and her father included in Castle’s family festivities for Thanksgiving. I have always loved that the Castle Family feels like a real family, with history and traditions that are special to them. And now I love that Beckett and her dad are becoming a part of this warm and welcoming family. From Beckett helping Castle shop for the Thanksgiving meal to Alexis talking to Jim Beckett on the phone, there was a very natural, domestic feel to this episode, and that tone was perfect for a holiday episode. It further proved to me that this season of Castle is all about confidence, and now that extends to confidence in the characters’ abilities to form their own big, happy family without having to make a big deal about it in the plot.
4. Just Enough Alexis. After the angst-driven father/daughter storyline that permeated the show only a few weeks ago, I was happy to see Alexis used sparingly but enough to make a fun impact in this episode. Her entrance to the loft (see my favorite line of the episode) was hilarious. And her final line about having kids at the same time as Castle and Beckett could have been cringe-worthy, but it was saved by Nathan Fillion’s hilariously horrified reaction. I’m not sure if I was supposed to think that Alexis is serious about having kids with Pi in a few years, but I’m hoping it was just meant as the setup for another awesome Fillion reaction. And was anyone else thrilled that Pi existed in name only in this episode?
5. Kevin Ryan. Is it even humanly possible to be more adorable than Kevin Ryan? Seamus Dever is knocking everything he touches out of the park this season, and this episode was no exception. His lottery subplot was genuinely funny, and it fit perfectly with what we know about his character (as did Esposito’s dislike of the lottery). But Dever’s best work in the episode was with baby Benny. There is no worse feeling than feeling like you made a baby cry, and that little bit of realism mixed with comedy was a great running side plot in this episode. The stress of Ryan’s impending fatherhood was something that hadn’t really been dealt with too much this season, and I thought this was the perfect way to make his anxieties tangible while not making them too melodramatic.
6. The Best Bromance on TV. Another week, another reminder that Castle and Beckett aren’t the only perfect partnership on this show. I thought Esposito’s little pep talk to Ryan about being a dad was perfect—it said just enough without being too sentimental. It felt right for both characters, and it reminded us of an important part of Esposito’s character that we were only really privy to in one episode—his sense of abandonment and his lack of a real family, which makes his brotherhood with Ryan so special.
7. Lanie the Baby Lover. Was anybody else surprised that Lanie was so enamored with baby Benny? I love when character traits sneak up on me, and that’s what happened with Lanie’s maternal side. Tamala Jones was so cute in her interactions with Benny; her baby-talk delivery of facts about the case was both adorable and realistic. (I have definitely had conversations with other adults in that kind of voice while holding/interacting with babies.) I also love that just because Lanie loves babies, it doesn’t mean she wants to rush out and start a family with Esposito right now. That would have been a clichéd direction for this episode to take, but instead, Lanie’s love for babies and her desire to have one of her own seem separate, which is often the case in the real world.
8. Beckett and Benny. Beckett not being a baby person was so true to her character that I could have cried grateful tears for Terri Miller knowing her so well. Not everyone is a baby person, and it makes so much sense for Beckett, who doesn’t seem to have much experience with children, to have trouble knowing how to interact with a baby. Also, I’m sure babies and talk of motherhood and starting a family bring up a whole host of issues in the back of her mind about losing her own mother and all of the emotional baggage that has come with that loss. But watching Beckett come to warm up to Benny was one of the great rewards of this episode. There was a brief moment where she was holding Benny and watching Castle, and you could see in her eyes the recognition that this could be her life someday soon. And the happiness Stana Katic put into that moment absolutely killed me—in the best possible way.
9. Ruggedly Handsome Dad. You’ve got to hand it to Castle; it knows how to work with what it’s got. And what it’s got is one heck of a charismatic leading man who looks even more desirable while holding a baby. Naturally, this episode featured Fillion interacting with Benny as often as possible. It fit with Castle’s character—of course the warm, playful man who practically raised Alexis on his own would be great with babies. But, more importantly, it gave the GIF makers of the Castle fandom endless material for anytime you want to fall in love with Fillion all over again.
10. Terri Miller. There’s nothing like a Terri Miller episode of Castle. They’re uniquely funny, warm, and believable. Miller has such a great grasp on these characters and their relationships that even the smallest details ring true. I love the way she writes the Castle/Beckett dynamic; it’s always smart, playful, and, above all else, genuine. Whenever those two interacted in this episode, it felt like a real engaged couple talking. Their discussions about their future family weren’t made into these big, game-changing talks. Instead, they were simple, realistic moments of understanding that both of them do want a little Benny of their own. Fillion and Katic played those moments with such genuine joy and easy warmth, and the writing and performances combined to make the perfect finale for what has been an excellent first half of Season Six.