Title The Wrong Stuff
Two-Sentence Summary The 12th precinct team investigates a murder in a simulator designed to train astronauts for a 2018 Mars mission. The psychological effects of too many people in cramped quarters is also explored within Castle’s loft, as Alexis starts bringing more friends over and Martha gets a new boyfriend.
Favorite Line “To boldly go—oh, right over there.” (Castle)
My Thoughts Due to time constraints (and a brain that can think of little else but the Parks and Recreation series finale) today, I have to keep my thoughts on this fun episode brief. Therefore, I’m going to break them down into Five Fast Takes on “The Wrong Stuff.”
1. This episode didn’t really take off until its final act.
Sometimes the shift from dramatic Castle episodes to comedic episodes works, and sometimes it feels incredibly jarring. The beginning of this episode felt like one of those jarring times. After the intense drama of the previous two weeks, it was difficult to get back into the swing of a typical Castle episode, especially when a standalone episode like this one doesn’t allow for any residual talk of what happened with 3XK or for any residual effects to be shown by the characters. It took me longer than usual to go with the flow of this light Castle fare, and I think it’s because—for as much as I like the “fun and nerdy” cases—I’ll always favor the heavy stuff when it comes to this show. It was only when the twists started coming fast and furious that I really began to enjoy the ride.
2. A well-placed bit of physical comedy goes a long way.
Castle’s weird “Mars walking” (or “Mars frolicking,” as I kept calling it) was the single funniest part of the episode. Sometimes a little detail is all a scene needs to go from being boring to being memorable, and Nathan Fillion doing that walk was hilariously memorable.
3. I love a good 2001 reference.
There are few things scarier than machines who can think on their own, and we all have HAL to thank for the sense of unease we feel when Siri seems just a little too intuitive. “The Wrong Stuff” was a loving tribute to all things science-fiction, but especially to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Pop culture references are a surefire way to win my heart, so the moment the computer said “I can’t do that,” I was all-in with the episode’s final scenes. Having Castle demand that she “Open the pod bay doors” was just icing on the cake. The twists surrounding the rover and computer system were very strong ones, and I especially liked the discovery that the astronauts were all covering for each other because they all wanted the victim dead. There was a Lord of the Flies vibe that I got from the murder in this episode, and I always like episodes that look into the psyche of killers and examine what drives people to commit murder.
4. Martha is the best.
Let’s all take a brief moment to think about how far Martha has come. When we first met her, she was a boozy, out-of-work actress who needed to move in with her son because she was broke. Now, she’s found success in different avenues, found a grounded sense of emotional stability, and has become the backbone of her family while never losing the twinkle in her eye that makes her who she is. For as much as we all talk about Castle and Beckett’s character growth, Martha has also grown by leaps and bounds since the pilot of the show. And Susan Sullivan has always made that growth a joy to watch unfold. And in this episode, that growth reached its full potential with Martha knowing her time had come to exit stage left and move out of the loft. It was a moment of maturity, wisdom, and understanding that was delivered with Sullivan’s trademark gift for bringing Martha’s depth into the spotlight at exactly the right moments. I found myself so unexpectedly moved by the honest emotion of this scene, but Castle was right: His mother is the master of the unexpected, and that’s why she’s such a great character.
5. Is this show nearing the end of its run?
Maybe it’s just my feelings about Parks and Rec ending that have me contemplating Castle’s TV lifespan today, but my first thought when Martha suggested she move out of the loft was to wonder if this was a hint that Castle might be nearing the end of its run. With the end of 3XK, talk of babies, and cases that are getting exceedingly less plausible as the show goes on (A murder in a Mars simulator felt like a stretch, even for Castle.), I’m staring to really think about the possibility of Castle ending in the not-too-distant future. I hope the show goes out knowing for the whole season that it’s going to be its last because I think it deserves a full-season farewell when that day comes. Who knows, though? I could be totally off, and the show could go for another five seasons. I’ve just been thinking a lot about my favorite shows ending lately, and it has me considering the very real possibility of a limited amount of time left with our favorite detectives and mystery writer.