The ongoing tension between Castle, Beckett and Demming escalates tonight, with playful rivalry becoming fierce competition as well as some heartbreaking moments as Castle senses that this may be one story for which he can’t write the end.
The episode begins with a cleaner discovering the word ‘Murdere’ (not my typo) written in rather gelatinous looking blood on a mirror and, on further exploration, the body of a man who has been bludgeoned to death. We soon find out that the blood is in fact fake. On a side note, I was actually a little concerned about how obvious that fact was to me (maybe it’s time to watch fewer Zombie flicks). In any case, the murder victim is the owner of a line of male cosmetics, and the fake blood points us towards the first of our mandatory series of suspects.
But before we get too ahead of ourselves, it’s important to introduce the far more prominent source of intrigue, namely Castle’s jealousy towards Demming. This is set up nicely through an interaction between Castle and his daughter, Alexis. Alexis has just finished reading the draft of her father’s next book. Although her review is glowing, she does have one suggestion that needs addressing. This turns out to be Castle’s inclusion of a character called ‘Schlemming’ who, we learn, appears out of nowhere and behaves like ‘a bit of a doofus’. The writer aggressively scribbles out his name as we get our first taste of the not-so-underlying tension between the writer and the detective.
Beckett invites Demming to join the investigation, due to the possible significance of some books stolen from the murdered man’s room. She seems to thrive on the rivalry between the two men, as they compete for her affections by scrambling together clues to the case. This leads to some great moments, as Castle gets caught out several times making childish comments under his breath, such as "well he’s your boyfriend" and that his lead is "much better than some stolen books". Several pointed looks are exchanged between the men and it’s clear that both are aware of the other’s agenda.
This theme continues throughout the episode and swings from harmless teasing, to real moments of poignancy, as Castle realises that his mother’s insight that "in life not everything’s gonna go your way", may be painfully accurate. Martha’s rivalry with a fellow actress acts to mirror Castle’s own frustration and he projects some of his anger onto her situation, proclaiming that you should not thank a rival but crush them. This was an excellent way of highlighting his real feelings, which often get lost under his layers of charm and charisma.
It may be apparent that I have not given much attention to the actual crime, the reason being, that it is totally overshadowed by the developments between the lead characters. Arguably one of the less interesting mysteries, the key suspects are somewhat neglected in the first half of the episode and I found it quite difficult to keep track of who’s who. It follows the same formula of the whodunit, where everyone is a possible suspect, but unfortunately it fell into the trap that so many crime shows do, of placing one highly recognisable actor into the mix, one you know will play a more prominent role than at first seems apparent. Fortunately, the case turns out to be a little more involved than ‘he/she did it’, but I still guessed the killer the first time they appeared on screen.
The first twenty minutes did feel a little confused and it was difficult to feel invested in the crime mystery, due to that fact that most of the interviews and questioning drew focus towards Castle’s facial expressions and glances at Beckett and Demming. I admit that my mind did wander in some of the earlier scenes as the slew of suspects were still being introduced. However, the developments in the case and a greater concentration on some of the characters involved in the murder, lead to far more intrigue and even though the unveiling of the killer was somewhat of an unbelievable scenario, the build up was exciting.
But the real star of this episode was Castle’s jealousy and his realization that he is losing the battle for Beckett. A slightly more somber atmosphere, with fewer laughs than usual. These quieter moments are handled perfectly however, with simple glances instead of unnecessary monologues. The case itself is a little too involved for its own good and it was slightly contrived in the end. We all love twists, but this one felt a little forced and unusual (I mean the odds of that scenario actually taking place are incalculable).
I do like the direction they have taken with Beckett and Castle and respect the writer’s hesitation in simply continuing a persistent state of flirting like other shows do, but I am wary that the programme begins to take itself a little too seriously at the expense of its humour and charm. Hopefully, they will continue the slew of one-liners. They were still there tonight, with several digs at Castle’s metro-sexuality and it's here that the show and it's characters shine.
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