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Castle – “He’s Dead, She’s Dead” – review
So far, so good for Castle‘s third season; they are two for two on good, entertaining episodes. From the promos this week–famous psychic found murdered (“Guess she didn’t see that coming”)–it seemed like this might be one of the cheesier, very episodic episodes. But in fact it had emotional depth an implications that were completely unexpected so soon after last week’s emotional fireworks.
Again this week, the mystery seemed very secondary to the undercurrents between Beckett and Castle. This week was on the surface a very amusing conflict of believer and skeptic values–Castle even cracked a Scully joke at Beckett’s refusal to “believe,” which was an adorable moment that for me encapsulates what the show does well about pop culture referencing–but on a deeper level a feeling out of their worldviews. We learn that Beckett is naturally skeptical of what cannot be explained by science, and that Castle prefers to think that just because hasn’t seen or experienced something, that doesn’t mean it can’t exist. There were several good lines on this theme:
- Castle: “I’m not saying I can speak with the dead–I’m just willing to admit there are people in this world who might be more sensitive than me.”
- Castle: ”Let me guess; you were one of those annoying six-year-olds who stopped believing in Santa because you figured out he couldn’t travel faster than light?” Beckett: “I was three, and we didn’t have a chimney.”
- Castle: “I’m surrounded by skeptics!” Ace (or would Esposito be Gary? Damn. Help me out on that casting, y’all!): “It’s called being a cop, bro.”
What made all of this work so brilliantly was the backdrop of the case–and by extension the world at large–that is not obviously one or the other enough to change someone’s mind; on the possibility of the supernatural, people believe what they want to believe. I really liked the aspects of the case that could have been coincidence, such as the psychic predicting a real estate investment would lead to “true happiness,” only to come true in a way that had nothing to do with the implied expectations from that prediction. So, true prescience, or the twisting of events in order to create the narrative we want? I think the show wanted to come down on Castle’s side, of there maybe being more possible, because certainly he dispelled Beckett’s reasoning for how the killer could have sent the letter ”from the psychic” predicting her own death in weird detail, and because of the words of the psychic’s maybe-also-psychic daughter.
Oh, boy, that dream she had about Beckett, and her mysterious Alexander: “Alexander. I don’t know who is or what he means to you. But you will meet an Alexander, and he will be extremely important to you. At some future date, he may save your life.” Sounds like a wack-ass dream from someone who’d met Beckett recently and just pulled those memories to the surface in regular ole R.E.M. Except…we find out at the end of the episode that Castle’s birth name was Richard Alexander Rogers. (He legally changed it to Richard Edgar (after Poe) Castle to have a good writer name–guess that explains why he doesn’t have the same name as his mother even though she doesn’t know who his father is.) However. As fascinating as that reveal was, and potentially bomb-shell (he will be very important to you), it was also undercut by the saving Beckett’s life part. (1) That has already happened several times over, and (2) if Castle continues working as her partner, such situations are bound to come up again, and (3) if he is important because he saves her life, that could mean he’s not important for any other reason.
I was actually thinking about that in general, but this seems a good place to mention it–do we really believe that Beckett dumped Demming because she was ready to take up with Castle, or did she use Castle as an excuse not to get more deeply involved with Demming? I mean, that guy was really pretty perfect for her, warm and genuine and ready to fall in love. Favorite writer crush aside, does Beckett actually have feelings for Castle that she wants to act on? Ever? Or is that just a really good excuse, even to herself, to stay in her walled-off isolation?
And speaking of walled-off emotionality, can we all take a step back and laugh at both Castle and his mom for their thoughts on what love is? No wonder neither of them has had a successful relationship, if they think it is all based on passion and fireworks. Poor Alexis. At least she’s smart enough to see that her dad and her grandmother are doing things that don’t work, so she’ll do the opposite of what they suggest and end up more stable and happy for it. I love that girl. Still reminds me of me–and I definitely figured that out about my parents around her age!
And yet, Castle is at heart the world’s biggest romantic. As he tells Beckett, “Because if you don’t believe in even the possibility of magic you’ll never, ever find it.”
I loved the angle of Chet dying. I mean, it was sad that he died, not saying it wasn’t, and in a way too convenient to have him pass so that Martha comes back to live with Castle and Alexis full-time. But she could have just broken up with him, and I think they chose to have him die to give us a moment of true emotional vulnerability for Martha. Also it kind of underscores the possible superficiality of her behavior, and forced her–and perhaps more importantly, her son–to examine whether that “thrill” is really what it’s all about.
So long story short, I loved this episode and found it surprisingly full of lures and tantalizing dangles toward future possibilities.