Castle: Reality Star Struck
by Stephen Janes
Depending on whom you ask, Valentine’s Day could mean two very different things. For those who are fortunate to be in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of the relationship and a chance to remember why you fell in love in the first place. To those who have yet to find cupid’s arrow, it could mean the commercialization of a well-known murder. For those that watched Castle on Monday night, both elements were combined into one Valentine’s Day episode starring everybody’s favorite crime fighting writer.
I absolutely love the couple bickering that Castle and Beckett engage in almost every episode. Castle and Beckett each got a gift for their first Valentine’s Day together, but were afraid of the possibilities. Castle made an innocent reference to a lightsaber, which got Beckett flustered when she was afraid of receiving an unwanted lightsaber (although, who doesn’t want a lightsaber?).
Let’s get one thing straight; I do not like reality television…any of it. When I saw that I had to put up with a fictional reality show, this episode was already in my doghouse, so my distaste might have been skewed to begin with. Nearly every single suspect that was interviewed and investigated always seemed to mention ratings, crew and publicity. It quickly became a broken record hearing the same words over and over again, especially with “reality actors” reciting them.
However, it was an enticing element as Captain Gates nearly took the lead on the investigation, citing personal interest. When Captain Gates first appeared, she was a genuine hard-ass that took no flak from anybody. Lately, she has dropped to more of a reserve role that appears once in a while to either yell at somebody or show a more humane side.
I nearly spit out my coffee all over my computer screen during a scene where Castle stayed up all night to watch the reality show that starred his victim. We see a sequence of Castle watching the show and the show itself until Alexis wakes up and asks if her dad really was watching reality television all night. With a blank and dazed look, all Castle could muster up was, “I can’t feel my butt.” He then proceeded to bond with Captain Gates over the show the next day and I can’t really explain why, but I loved every bit of this.
I nearly had another coffee on the computer moment later in the episode. Beckett used a scare tactic in order to get a suspect to open up and talk, and by scare tactic I mean she slammed doors and yelled at the top of her lungs. What capped off the scene was Captain Gates and Castle watching through the interrogation window and reacting like a live studio audience. Remember how I said this episode was in my doghouse to begin with? Yeah, me neither, especially with everything that I liked about this episode.
I mentioned the cat-and-mouse game between Castle and Beckett trying to “one-up” each other on their Valentine’s Day gifts, which showed a rare side of Castle actually panicking and not being so suave. His first issue was finding the right gift, which was solved when he purchased a set of earrings with approval by his mother and Alexis. His next issue arose when he placed the earrings in the wrong blazer (belonging to Gates) and his constant hovering trying to get it back. The confrontation between the two when Gates finally discovered the earrings was interesting, to say the least.
I really enjoyed this episode, as I feel it was a quintessential example of how Castle should be presented. Even with what I thought was an average murder mystery, the episode was lifted with great humor, intriguing side plots and a few touching moments. We saw a glimpse of Esposito and Lanie getting back together, as they walked off ready to enjoy their Valentine’s Day together and I’m sure some people shed a tear when Beckett revealed her gift to Castle.
All of these emotions took a complete turn-around when next week’s preview revealed Alexis being kidnapped and put in a situation that resembled the movie Taken. You can check out a few promos and trailers for the next episode using #savealexis on twitter.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars