Title Clear and Present Danger
Two-Sentence Summary The murder of a pool shark and former MIT student by an unseen force leads Castle to theorize that the killer is the Invisible Man. As the team works to solve the case, Ryan tries to hide his second job as a bouncer at a male strip club and Castle and Beckett try to get romantic.
Castle: And you thought Zombie Apocalypse Survival Camp was a waste of time…What?
Beckett: You just kind of make nerdy sexy.
Castle: That’s true.
My Thoughts As much as it pains me to do this (because this was such a great episode), I’m afraid this will be a rather short review. Duty calls at the job that pays the bills, so I’m going to quickly share with you the three most important things I took away from “Clear and Present Danger.” I’ll hopefully be able to expound on these in more depth later tonight and into tomorrow as I respond to your comments, so please share all of your thoughts with me and feel free to discuss amongst yourselves this thoroughly entertaining episode.
1. This episode was smooth. “Clear and Present Danger” was a great transition episode from the darker and more mythology-heavy first two episodes of this season into the usual tone most Castle fans know and love. I know the new mystery of Castle’s disappearance is a divisive one (I happen to love it), but I think it’s safe to say that this episode did a nice job of reminding us that this new mythology exists but also allowing life to go on for us as viewers and for the characters, too. Castle’s disappearance was brought up in a surprising but realistic way (with the focus on how that disappearance has impacted their intimacy), which was a nice way to still include this new layer while opening the door for a little more lighthearted fun than the previous episodes allowed for.
2. This episode was funny. Kudos to Chad and Dara Creasey for getting the tone of this episode just right—it was “classic Castle” with a twist, feeling like something out of the show’s earlier seasons with the added bonus of Castle and Beckett being in a relationship and the show mining humor from that. It’s amazing that we’ve had seven seasons of Castle getting excited over ridiculous theories, and it still makes me laugh. It’s a testament to the childlike glee Nathan Fillion still brings to these moments after all this time, as well as a testament to Stana Katic’s reaction shots (which have developed from pure annoyance to playful affection). I laughed a lot during this episode, and it was nice to do that after a stretch of episodes going back to last season (as far back as “Veritas”) that were heavy on the angst and light on the comedy. From Ryan and his body glitter to Martha getting stuck in the “Invisible Man trap” and interrupting Castle and Beckett (which reminded me of “After the Storm” in the best way), the supporting cast really added to the humor in this episode. I spent the entire hour feeling thoroughly entertained, which was exactly how I wanted to end my long weekend.
3. This episode was sexy. Honestly, how long has it been since we could say that about an episode of Castle? I’m not one to gripe about how little time this couple spends kissing/doing more than kissing, because I think they have more than enough moments of emotional intimacy to keep me happy as a viewer (and admitted “shipper”). However, it is nice to have an episode that shows rather than tells us about this facet of their relationship. Using their impatience to rekindle their sex life as the lens through which we were reminded of Castle’s disappearance was perfect because it was believable. That first scene with them on the couch was wonderful because it made sense for them to be a little shy about moving too quickly physically after so much has changed, but once they were open with each other about what they wanted, there was no holding back. Sometimes the trope of the two of them getting interrupted can feel stale, but I found myself really loving it in this episode because Fillion and Katic sold the heck out of their frustration and the buildup of the tension between them. Watching Beckett and Castle clearly turn each other on while theory building was such a nice callback to the show’s earliest days, but it now had the extra layer of knowing that this tension could be resolved as long as they stopped getting interrupted.
And what kind of reviewer would I be if I didn’t talk about that bedroom scene? It was just frantic enough to feel believable for two people who have been away from each other for too long, and that made it even better. And, of course, no mention of the sexiness of this episode should pass without bringing up the ending. It was a lovely “show, don’t tell” moment made all the more wonderful by Fillion’s reaction shots. At the ripe old age of seven, Castle is still smooth, funny, and sexy, and I couldn’t ask for more as a fan than what we got in “Clear and Present Danger.”
It was funny, a nice change from the seriousness of the last two episodes. I loved the flirting and the attempts to get it on but always getting interrupted, and Esposito’s teasing and his gift to Ryan. Next week looks like another entertaining episode as well. Castle’s good with kids, but I don’t think he can handle that many.
It was a very welcome change of pace, even for me as someone who is enjoying the new mystery. And I’m definitely looking forward to next week’s episode!
I loved this episode. So much. Probably better than any episode of Season 6. Obviously more than the first two and last season’s finale.
Favorite parts: Castle goosing Kate. The comment about how his zombie apocalyptic kit would come in handy. Taking out the bad guy with a sword. And the theorizing!
I’m so happy so many of us seem to be in agreement about how much fun this episode was! 🙂
This was a great transition from the dramatic episode in the past two weeks. In the beginning of the episode, I really loved the subtle tones of the couch scene where Beckett and Castle are trying not to step in each others emotional boundaries as they felt each of them were not ready for sex. Until they communicated in which both of them found out that they were both ready. Need I say, communication is the key role in a relationship, and yet they still have that classic communication issues in which their conversation didn’t go as smoothly when it comes to their personal feelings or desires.
Over the course of the episode, I felt like I was watching an classic Castle episode from season 3. Lots of theory turn-ons in which Castle and Beckett couldn’t do anything. We had some Caskett interruptions in which I felt they were done with justice. For example, when Castle and Beckett had to stop their make out session only to find out Martha is trapped in one of Castle’s trap. Or when Castle and Beckett were talking about the plans and the phone rings in which Castle replies, “Don’t pick it up.” Things like that. We had Castle and Beckett who got their “mind meld” on. We had Esposito teasing and questioning Ryan’s about his moonlighting job as a bouncer. I adored their childish bromance.
Most importantly, I loved how Castle and Beckett still remains to be themselves – Castle who believes in the unknown and the impossible while Beckett wants to believe in the evidence and logic. I was in awe of how well Nathan and Stana played their characters, and how their chemistry flowed over the course of the episode.
Overall, it was such a great episode.
Thank you so much for sharing your very articulate thoughts with us!
You are 100% right when you say that, through it all, Castle and Beckett have remained true to themselves. These characters were written and acted with such confidence from the start, and its made every transition in their relationship feel smooth because we’ve never lost sight of who they are at their core.
I would like to re-titled this episode ‘How Caskett got their Groove Back’. And when I say that, I mean on all fronts, not just in the bedroom. I loved your breakdown of smooth, funny and sexy not just because it was accurate, but because when I think of some of my favorite ‘classic’ Castle episodes those are words that often come to mind. This episode had it in spades.
For me, there are some episodes of Castle that really just fire at all cylinders case/Beckett and Castle/supporting cast. The works. This lived in the company of “A Chill Goes through her Veins”, “Tick Tick Tick/Boom” and ” Poof You’re Dead”. Where we get great banter and tension between Castle and Beckett within the context of the case and episode. For a host of good reasons the first two episodes this season felt like those two parts of Castle formula were working against one another which made this episode a welcome pivot. As you pointed out, the writers smartly layered in Castle’s ordeal without having it hang like a shadow over the episode. They are moving on, moving forward but not forgetting. They are taking a page out of Castle’s very own playbook and not letting what happened rob them of their lives. Castle doesn’t have a good lead or reason to move on his disappearance and memory loss especially given the reveal that it was of his own making. Having them get back to normal allowed us to settle back into the show we’ve come to love.
Kudos to the Creaseys! I have not always been a fan of the outlandish plots their episodes have had. But it was easy to forgive because they clearly understood the relationship touch points of Caskett and did such a great job of highlighting them. However, this episode delivered on an outrageous plot that was interesting and fun. I really appreciated the call backs to the history of our couple, their early history, not merely their romantic one. I loved the parallel that while they were trying to get back their physical intimacy they were also finding their work intimacy groove. The foreplay banter was back in full effect and to even greater humor because the banter wasn’t unrequited. The turn on can and is now fulfilled by their relationship. So that reality interrupted in the form of Lanie was hilariously charming.
A moment about the interruptions – I am in agreement that these are too long in the teeth and to often the well they go to on the show. However, in this episode they really worked for me. I either found them genuinely funny or fitting for the plot. But I am definitely in the camp that wouldn’t be sad if they dissipated over the next few episodes.
The Funny – Man did they bring it on all fronts tonight. From Fillion’s fall away into the uniform at the crime scene (meme please) to he and Dever leaning into the frame when the neighbor came into the crime scene. The aforementioned “Don’t pick up the phone” pleas and Javier’s entire run through of figuring out what strip club Kevin was working in. We even got an easter egg that was the Captain Mal as Castle slayed the villain. It’s a nerd overload in one screen shot. And the piece de resistance – Martha. I don’t care how corny it might have been Susan Sullivan screaming had me laughing off my couch. It’s comedic genius.
The show brought together the funny in more subtle ways that really tied the fact that Castle and Beckett’s intimacy issues were both in the bedroom and in the 12th. Along with the banter, we’ve got the side glances from the observation room when Ryan and Espo are doing an interrogation and then there is that moment mid-episode when Beckett is staring at the murder board and Castle is perched behind her. There is a wonderful knowing look on Castle’s face as Beckett comes full circle. The theorizing these two have done around a murder board is epic. I adored how this quiet moment gave us how Castle’s crazy theories has evolved from Beckett’s annoyance and automatic shut down to acknowledging though far-fetched, the possibility of it having credibility does hold. That in fact it is the nature of his theories that often possess a key element to finding the evidence that leads her to a solution, though not in the fantastical way that Castle has spun it. It’s a small shift, but one I like because it speaks to their trust, history and chemistry. Much like the reversal of seating at the 12th with Castle at her desk and her in his chair. This partnership is seamless there’s no walls around ‘her stuff’ anymore. Their partnership has a great transparency that makes them endearing.
I also thought Castle and Fillion once again hit a great tone on a part of Castle that I think has at times been sacrificed in recent seasons. Savvy Castle. Savvy Castle has swagger and that was on full display here. It hearkened back to tapping into Castle’s real knowledge from his life experience, in this case gaming. But it was very reminiscent of when Castle would claim to Beckett ‘I’ve got a guy’ that traced back to his writer’s research. Recently I have felt they overplayed the fantastical aspect of Castle’s personality tipping it into court jester territory. Here they balanced Castle’s inner believer with the man whose quick savvy has helped them solve cases, not merely the source of hijinks. When they lost ‘playboy cavalier’ Castle they sometimes forgot to keep his swagger. This episode gave us that back in spades from the key card to zombie training set up to his gaming prowess.
Of course then there was the fire extinguisher. This for me was the moment of the episode. That beat pause when both Beckett and Castle arrive to the same solution. Better than the sex scene, this gave us back the duo we so love to follow. To have Castle shout out in the middle of the mayhem “I so missed these mind melds” was both sincerely adorable and completely in character of the man who in episode 1 famously shouted “Tell me you saw that” when taking away the gun of the man who was holding him.
This was a Castle episode working at all levels. This was an episode that reminded me of season 3 in all the best possible ways and this was a terrific way for the audience to watch Castle and Beckett getting their mojo back in full effect and on all fronts.
There’s nothing better than starting my lunch break by reading your thoughts on a wonderful episode of Castle. 🙂
“How Caskett Got Their Groove Back” is now always going to be what I refer to this episode as in my head, just so we’re clear. I love that so many of us were reminded of the glory days of Season Three banter and balance with this episode.
I have little to say except an emphatic YES to all of your points here but especially to your point about the interruptions. They do have the ability to be grating more often than not, but they worked surprisingly well within the context of this episode. The interruptions were organic to the plot and they helped heighten the tension, which was so delicious in this episode. The show tends to be a bit heavy-handed with them, but this was one of the few times I really enjoyed them. And you’re not alone in finding the Martha moment hysterical. That was an instant rewind for me. 😉
I love that Castle manages to excel at both the darker arc episodes and the lighter case-of-the-week episodes. This episode was a needed break from the darkness of the first two episodes and more than anything, was just fun.
The divide between Castle’s belief in all things supernatural and Beckett’s skepticism always leads to entertaining episodes but this one was especially good. Nathan Fillion is so good at that very child-like excitement that these cases bring and Stana Katic has adorably and lovingly exasperated reaction faces. So when that is combined with their mutual dismay over their continued interruptions, it brings out the best in their partnership.
In other great partnerships tonight, Esposito and Ryan were hilarious. From Esposito’s protectiveness of Jenny to the way he went down the list of strip clubs he knew to figure out where Ryan was working, you could see why these two work so well together. They care about each other and the people important to the other enough to ensure that they are treated well but they can also make fun of the other and know that there is nothing malicious about it. Their final scene was my favorite. Esposito is so often the one picking on Ryan and Ryan turned that back around on him so well that it had me chucking the whole time.
I absolutely love that, after so many season, Nathan Fillion can still make all of us smile with the childlike excitement he brings to this role. It’s a side of this character that will never fail to make me instantly happy.
And thank you for bringing up how great Ryan and Esposito were! Their friendship continues to feel so realistic and honest. The moment when Esposito got very protective of Jenny was one of my favorites in the whole episode.
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