Title Room 147
Two-Sentence Summary When three people confess to the same murder, all signs to point to a mysterious organization that claims to help people better themselves but actually seems much more like a cult, complete with drug-induced mind alterations and a disturbingly charismatic leader. Beckett also has some mind-altering of her own to do, as she tries to convince Alexis to stop punishing herself for her decision to move in with Pi.
Castle: You should know you’re engaged to a genius.
Beckett: Yes, a genius at annoying me.
Castle: So I’m Justin, and you’re one of the several people who shot me.
Beckett: I’m starting to feel the urge.
My Thoughts This was another episode that could have just been midseason filler—albeit very entertaining midseason filler—but it was elevated by a scene that led to great progress in a relationship that has often struggled to find its own footing. “Room 147” featured an interesting case, classic Castle/Beckett banter, and plenty of fantastic reaction shots from both Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion. But it was the development in Beckett and Alexis’s relationship in this episode that made it something special.
This week’s case allowed for a lot of humor, and it brought Castle and Beckett back to their default positions in the precinct: the boy with the crazy theories pulling the pigtails of the serious girl who doesn’t believe him (but loves to have those pigtails pulled). One of my favorite moments in the episode was when Castle started theorizing about psychic connections, and Beckett couldn’t help but laugh at his enthusiasm for such a crazy idea. It was another little touch to show just how far these two have come—from exasperated looks to suppressed smiles hidden behind rolling eyes and finally to Beckett admitting that Castle is cute when he runs with an absurd theory. Castle’s enthusiasm has always made Beckett’s job more fun, and it’s nice to see that written all over her face.
Speaking of faces, boy oh boy were there some great ones in this episode. Fillion and Katic are masters of great nonverbal reactions, and they outdid themselves here. Fillion’s uncontained glee as the case got more and more twisted was perfect, as was Katic’s increasing frustration. It was so much fun to just sit back and watch their reactions in every scene. It reminded me of earlier seasons in the best possible way, and I don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing “gleeful kid Castle” and “annoyed Beckett.”
Beckett’s annoyance with the case was hilarious, but what I loved even more was her annoyance with Castle when he dragged her back to Room 147. Their banter is that scene was wonderful, and kudos to writer Adam Frost for really hitting that important part of their dynamic out of the park. I didn’t love their dialogue in their scene with the wine as much as I wanted to (it was a little forced for me in its attempt to tie the case to their relationship), but I’ll forgive that little bit of heavy-handedness when the rest of their dialogue was so good in this episode (and when Katic looked so gosh-darn cute delivering it).
I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable I found this case. Three was the perfect number of confessors; it escalated the humor each time but stopped just before the joke would have gotten old. I found myself genuinely intrigued by the details each remembered about the murder, and I loved seeing the psych analyst again. I even thought the drug-induced mind alterations were done in a way that was clever and unique enough to be more of a nod to and less of a direct rip-off of Season Four’s “Undead Again” (one of my favorite cases Castle has ever done). I felt the confessor’s confusion as to why they would feel such anger towards a man they had no memory of knowing, and that made me feel more invested in their stories than the victim’s, for better or worse. The cultish self-help organization wasn’t developed as much as it could have been, but I didn’t need it to be. But I have to say that the use of a singular symbol and repetition of a number with “47” in it made me think of Alias and its cult of Rambaldi fanatics. (Then again, when does something that happens on a TV show not remind me of Alias?)
I had a feeling that one of the members of the theater company was going to be the real killer, but I was surprised by the director’s motivations. I don’t always like Castle cases that tie up the loose ends with information we as an audience weren’t privy to, but I thought the scene itself was acted very well by all involved.
All of those elements added up to a fun, if not exactly memorable, midseason Castle episode. What made it memorable was the way it gave one often-overlooked relationship its time in the spotlight. I have always wanted more scenes between Beckett and Alexis. I think their dynamic could be great, but it’s been squandered up to this point in favor of focusing on each of their separate relationships with Castle. But, while Beckett is never going to be Alexis’s mom, they are going to be family someday soon. It was about time we saw them have a real, honest conversation, and the conversation they had exceeded even my expectations.
I’ve been hard on Alexis this season, but I am so happy to say that this episode reminded me of all the reasons why I fell in love with her character in the first place. Alexis’s isn’t perfect—she’s stubborn, impulsive, and prone to perfectionism. And when perfectionists mess up, we’re the first ones to punish ourselves for it. That’s why Alexis needs Beckett. She needs another stubborn, strong, perfectionist woman in her life with a wealth of experience for her to learn from. And Beckett needs Alexis, too. She needs to know that her struggles might help some other young woman from becoming her own biggest roadblock to happiness.
I loved the sincerity Katic gave to this moment between Beckett and Alexis. Beckett spent so many years punishing herself for her mother’s death and her subsequent inability to catch her killer. And, though Alexis’s situation may not be as serious, Beckett doesn’t want to see another young woman punish herself when she doesn’t need to. Beckett spent 10 years punishing herself and pushing people away because she thought she didn’t deserve better, and she doesn’t want Alexis to lose another day of potential happiness by pushing her father away because she feels like she hasn’t atoned enough.
The tone of that scene was perfect. It was warm without being cloying. It was familiar but still reserved enough to be a believable scene between these two women who are still trying to define their roles in each other’s lives. It was exactly what I’ve been hoping for ever since Castle and Beckett first got together, and it’s a scene that I hope points towards a continued fleshing-out of this relationship.
When Alexis returned home and Castle’s smile showed that all was right in his world, I felt the same way. Was this my favorite episode of this season? No. But was it good enough to leave me feeling content? Yes.
Alexis ended the episode by telling Beckett “Thanks,” and I feel like saying the same thing to Frost. Thanks for finally letting these two women open up to each other in such a genuine way. I’ve always thought there was so much potential in this relationship, so thanks for making me feel like I wasn’t crazy to think that way.