C: The episode 2 of the second season of Castle aired tonight, and a good time was had by all. Well, except the show’s hairdressers, who have probably already begun receiving threatening mail. Seriously: it isn’t bad enough that Beckett’s hair looks as much like a mullet as a hairdo that is not a mullet could – they have to give Castle’s mom an atrocious new ‘do as well? (E: It was heinous, wasn’t it? Way worse than Beckett’s hair, even.)
Now on to some non-coiffure-related commentary on the episode…A couples therapist has been murdered and ungrammatical words written on her face. Castle, now that last week’s apology has resolved all tension between him and Beckett, is doing double-duty on this case – fighting crime and crimes against the English language at the same time. I loved his little bit on the meaning of “ironic.”
There’s also a bet going on, which at first I found a little distasteful, but I must admit it turned out to be pretty funny as everyone in the department put money on whether Castle and Beckett or Esposito and The Other Guy (hey, I learned one of their names!) would catch their killer first.
While we were spending more time with the Buddy Cops this week, there was a bit less of Alexis and the mom than usual. I loved that Castle was late to meet Beckett because he was dealing with his daughter’s heartache, though. Poor little Alexis. As my roommate pointed out tonight, it’s a real pity that actress isn’t British, because she’d make a completely fabulous Ginny Weasley.
The wrap-up of the mystery plot was more than a little too convenient, as seems often to be the case. But of course, the mystery is never the reason to watch. No, that would be the banter! (E: And the hidden jokes – I swear there was an intentional nod to a classic SNL skit there, when Sean Connery reads Therapist as The Rapist on Celebrity Jeopardy.) My favorite interchange was when they were face-to-face with an unsuspecting baddie: “Do you have any suspects?” “We’re looking at one right now.” And I enjoy that, while Beckett is generally the straight-man (so to speak) to Castle’s guffing, she occasionally busts out her lighter side. The final scene, with all four detectives mocking each other as they walked out the door, showcased the relaxed, seemingly effortless character chemistry that makes me love this show.
Not that the show’s relaxed attitude is completely unproblematic. A series like this – not a complete spoof of the mystery genre like the late lamented Pushing Daisies, but not a serious drama either – requires that its characters not take the plights of the victims and their loved ones too seriously; sure they care about cracking the case, but they crack jokes along the way. This show’s done a decent job of walking that line so far, but they occasionally stray into making Castle himself more callous that I find appealing. Just as they occasionally stray into some objectifying visuals of their female victims – the very different way they filmed the two dead bodies in this episode was a strong example (E: Not to mention the wrestling bodies. Hello unnecessary bobbing boob close-up!), and it looks like next week (the case of a murdered model) may go that way again.
In spite of my criticisms, though, I still think this is one of the cleverest and most entertaining shows on the air right now. My Monday nights? Always end on a high note.