C: “It’s Fashion Week in New York City, and the clothes are to die for.”
If this episode of Castle, “Inventing the Girl,” were one of Richard Castle’s mysteries, that would be the tag line on the book jacket. We know, because Castle points this fact out. It’s that kind of obvious-joke-delivered-with-irony that makes this show’s humor unique. This week Castle and Beckett are investigating the murder of an up-and-coming model who was stabbed by something resembling the Washington Monument. Castle’s also wearing a distractingly magnificent sheeny maroon shirt in an early scene with Alexis. Ooooo… Okay, sorry about that.
The list of potential suspects look likes like so: the fashion designer who employed the victim, the lecherous photographer, the stalker, the husband, and the frenemy who got the model’s big break after she kicked the bucket. And holy crap, the fashion designer is Julian Sands, George from the transcendent Merchant Ivory film A Room With A View! (E: Sigh. Big Sigh.) He’s looking a bit craggy, but still quite recognizable.
Did they call the victims “the vic” last year? (E: I think so.) Because I’ve found it distracting in the past few episodes. It just sounds so, I dunno, jaunty. (E: Eh, Esposito and Ryan are like that. Which, by the way, Ryan! That’s the other one’s name!) The mystery surrounding the woman’s death is fairly interesting, but it isn’t my favorite element of this episode. E and I have talked in the past about how we like Castle better than we expected after the pilot, where they made it seem like Castle was a big playboy; it’s so refreshing that, for all his big talk, he’s actually a down-to-earth family man. In this episode we get the first instance of him making a date with a hot model… only to have Alexis inform him that the young woman was once her babysitter. Castle’s chagrin as his mental concept of the glamorous model shatters is just priceless! And the way that thread’s resolved is even better. (E: And the fact that the actress, Shanna Collins, also played Pam, the evil genius behind the Purity Test on Veronica Mars? Just another one of those delightful gifts from the universe. C: Mac was the genius – Pam was just evil. But we digress.)
As for the mystery’s resolution…I have to say, I was disappointed that the husband did it. (E: I know! That sucked.) The fact that he killed her thinking she was cheating when she wasn’t was just too sad. But of course, from the moment when we heard that the victim had a wonderful, loving husband, it was a foregone conclusion that he would turn out to be the killer. They set him up as so sympathetic, so pitiable in his grief. Here’s a Public Service Announcement to mystery writers: the whole “person you least suspect” bit doesn’t actually work when the average viewer’s been thoroughly trained to suspect the person who seems the most innocent. If you want to surprise us, you’ll have to think up a new formula!