Review: Castle – Cloudy with a Chance of Murder
By Stephen Janes (@stephenkjanes)
At the end of season four, viewers were treated with the sight of everybody’s ruggedly handsome author, Richard Castle, finally starting a real relationship with New York’s finest, Kate Beckett. The premiere of season five didn’t elaborate too much on this, as mentioned in the previous article (see “After the Storm”), but that was changed in this recent episode.
We begin with Castle and Beckett talking about how they will pretend to be single because they aren’t ready to go public just yet and begin to overanalyze every detail. For instance, when Castle meets up with Beckett at the crime scene, everybody notices that Castle didn’t get a coffee for Beckett, something we have seen since episode one. It’s especially blown out of proportion because it is Beckett’s first day back on the job since serving her suspension and sort of quitting. The two share various different awkward looks and aren’t quite sure how to handle themselves in this new environment. Ironically, in a department full of detectives, nobody can put two-and-two together and just assume they are both dating other people.
A local weather reporter by the name of Mandy Michael has been found murdered with a note saying, “If this gets out, I will kill you.” Beckett and Castle go to the local news station to learn more about their victim, and it’s here we get a few suspects: Rebecca Fog, the jealous understudy to Mandy, and Miles Haxton, who was secretly dating Mandy for months. Fog seems like a likely suspect because of her hatred towards Mandy being the number one weathergirl and the fact that Mandy stole a large quantity of her meteorologist equipment. Haxton plays the role of the distraught secret boyfriend, but neither have any substantial evidence to suggest it was either of them at this time.
As Castle and Beckett are leaving the news station, Castle runs into an old friend of his named Kristina Coterra, who insists that she interview Castle sometime soon. Castle agrees to, but not without looking at Beckett several times, almost as if to say, “Help me Kate Beckett, you’re my only hope.” Castle reluctantly agrees to the interview, despite Beckett getting jealous.
The investigation leads to a fictional basketball player named Reggie Blake, who owned several different ‘burner’ cellphones that made calls to Michaels. Detective Javier Esposito and Detective Kevin Ryan, who are still at odds with one another, attempt to detain the basketball star who then reveals to Beckett and Castle that he and Michaels were good friends with similar stories and brings up the secret relationship between Michaels and Haxton. Blake also mentions that Michaels was at a hospital one evening as a patient for an asthma attack. The asthma attack was induced when Michaels went into a news helicopter and flew over New Jersey with some testing equipment. This equipment was stolen from Rebecca Fog and, much to Fogs surprise, was used to measure how much of a certain chemical was in the atmosphere (styrene, to be exact).
The styrene chemical came from a carpet cleaning business, owned by George Cazuli, who was releasing the chemical fumes into the atmosphere illegally. While in detainment, Beckett and Castle go over Cazuli’s file in front of him and go over everything that they know, which prompts him to admit to everything about the chemical and even admitting that he wrote the threat letter to Michaels that was found on her body. As it turns out, the styrene chemical is causing many kids in the New Jersey area (specifically Condor Heights area) to have respiratory problems and be taken to the same hospital that Michaels did much of her charity work. Michaels was doing undercover investigating on this phenomenon, but wasn’t able to surface any information without more proof than she said.
To backtrack just a bit, when Castle and Coterra are conducting their interview, Coterra asks Castle the question if he’s single. Castle answers that he is, which then leads to Coterra asking him on a date the next day. Castle, with much hesitation, agrees to it, which causes a rift between him and Beckett. While on the date, Coterra tries to seduce Castle despite his best efforts to avoid her (and yes, he really was trying to avoid her, I’m not just saying that). Castle accidentally pocket dials Beckett, which she mistakes as a call for help. When Beckett arrives at Castle’s apartment, she finds Coterra in her lingerie on top of Castle, flailing his arms either in enjoyment or panic, I’m not quite sure. As Beckett begins to wonder what is happening, Castle removes himself from Coterra long enough to announce, “I know who the killer is.”
The two arrive back at the news station and take Haxton in for questioning. Haxton actually had a secret boyfriend that he did not want anybody to know about, which was part of the reason he was ‘secretly’ dating Michaels. Castle comes to this conclusion the night before with Coterra, who claims that only one other man was able refuse her advances in her life (Haxton). After some pressuring, Haxton reveals he accidentally killed Michaels because he wanted to have the exclusive story for himself so he could get the promotion to global anchor (think CNN or MSNBC). After Haxton has been detained, Beckett and Castle talk over their relationship rules, and agree that they will continue to be secret, but only mention they have been dating other people and not actually go on dates.
This episode got back into the classic Castle mold of storytelling; a murder with a few twists and turns to get to the killer usually spearheaded by Richard Castle’s logic mixed in with some buddy-cop humor. By the end of the episode, Esposito and Ryan have begun to make up and are back to making fun of each other in a comical way, while Castle and Beckett discover that a secret relationship is much harder than they anticipated. This ‘classic mold’ of Castle is tried and true, and this episode is no different. We finally got to see more of the Beckett and Castle relationship dynamic, which will continue to be a sub-plot throughout this season. Not the best episode in the Castle catalogue, but a good performance regardless. My only gripe is the lack of attention that a room full of detectives have and how they cannot piece together that Castle and Beckett are together.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars