A return to the more comical and whimsical Castle that we now know and love, after last week's more dramatic set of events. Plenty of great one-liners and an escalation to the sexual tension between the two lead characters.
The crime mystery in Food to Die For, unsurprisingly revolves around the death of a star Chef; who after winning a reality TV cook-off, has been thrust into the spot-light and Castle and company are quick on the scene to sift through the slew of suspects and false leads. Like an Agatha Christie novel, every character seems to have motive for the murder and like any good whodunit, the audience is kept guessing until the very last moment.
But as always, the crime and its suspects play almost second stage to the interactions between Castle and Beckett, whilst being supported superbly by Esposito and Ryan. Some insight into Beckett’s past, comes in the form of an old high school friend, Madison, who hints at a rather different side to the seemingly straight laced detective. The budding relationship between Beckett and Demming is still lurking in the background, but it really only acts as a catalyst for some awkwardly jealous moments, as does Castle’s date(?) with Madison. Where once we were teased with the possibility of underlying feelings between the two leads, it is now painfully apparent, in every furrowed brow and concerned gaze on Castle's face. At one point, Madison confronts Beckett about her feelings for the writer, unaware that he is observing them both behind the two-way glass of the interview room. Notably, instead of denying her feelings, Beckett merely whispers that Castle is in ear shot. It would appear the lady doth protest not enough. The case itself, is an interesting and original premise, inspired by Heston Blumenthal’s style of culinary alchemy. The dead chef became famous for his scientific experimentation with food, involving Liquid nitrogen and unusual ingredient combinations. Blumenthal’s snail soup is replaced with popcorn soup and the liquid nitrogen acts, ironically, as his cause for death. These details, although often insignificant to the crime itself, really add to the quirky charm of the show and ignite much of the genuinely funny banter throughout the puzzle solving. One scene in particular was especially comical, with Castle freezing a selection of foods with his own stash of Nitogen. His childish curiosity ends with him him laying out a diabolic plan of world domination, culminating in a classically evil genius, hysterical laugh. Other actors may struggle to pull of these clowning moments, but Nathan Fillion thrives on them and they are undoubtably the highlight of every episode.
The mystery surrounding the culprit, predictably jumps from person to person and it’s eventually just a matter of seeing who’s left to reveal the killer. But the fun lies in the journey, not the destination and the revelation hardly seems to matter in the end. This, however, is arguably the only weak point to the show, with very little tension presenting itself in the actual crime fighting. But in fairness, the writers did try this in Den of Thieves and it detracted from the humor and charm, so I'm at pains to criticize them for it.
Will we ever see the relationship progress between Castle and Beckett? The teasing seems to be becoming more prominent, but it’s a difficult dilemma for TV shows to resolve. The joy seems to be in the flirting and sexual tension, but this is difficult to maintain across several seasons and viewers may eventually reject the persistent teasing. Bones is an excellent example of frustrating and eventually unrealistic pining. As it stands now, the promise of future romance is enough, but I am a little concerned at how long they can dangle this particular carrot. The show does seem to lay on a foundation of intelligent writing, so hopefully they wont slip into formulaic nonsense like so many other shows have. Overall
A return to some text-book Castle shenanigans. It’s all there; a crime straight out of a quirky crime novel, great moments of comedy to contrast the police work, and a healthy dose of romance and jealous tension.
I was a little worried after last week, that the writers might try and take a more serious approach to new episodes, but Food to Die For has defiantly quashed any concerns I had. Not the most thought provoking, or exciting thing on TV, but definitely one of the most watchable. The Macaroni and Cheese of Television… and it doesn’t go straight to your thighs.
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