Castle Review: “Fool Me Once”

Hello, this is E, your substitute Castle recapper, and I have just one thing to ask you.  Do you like con movies?  Well, do ya?

When I was a kid, I desperately wanted to learn the piano so I could play “The Entertainer,” theme of the con movie to end all con movies, The Sting.  This week’s Castle trades on the fascination cons and con movies hold for us – for as Rick Castle suggests, a con man is just a really good storyteller, and don’t we all love a good story?  How many times will our team of detectives be fooled – and will they be ashamed, or respectful of the artistry of the con?

This week’s murder victim is a con with – or perhaps without – a heart of gold.  He’s murdered – or was he? – on camera while reporting to elite private school first graders, who’ve funded a trip to the North Pole.  Of course, it turns out that the North Pole is his (quite large) apartment, filled with a tent, backdrops, meticulous research, letters to the first graders, and fans blowing fake snow.  (“Technology.  A lot of criminals don’t take advantage – I blame the parents.”) Steven Fletcher was shot in the face, suggesting someone wanted to erase his very existence.  And lo and behold, he’s squirreled away a shoebox full of fake passports.  “That was AWESOME!” Castle exclaims, watching the murder video. Turns out that one of the grifter’s aliases is engaged to an heiress.  And the heiress is convinced that the cons were a cover for CIA covert operations; in other words, he wasn’t a con after all.  “This is the best case ever.”  No, it turns out, Castle checks with a source and the guy wasn’t CIA – but the heiress is now getting messages from her (presumed dead) lover, and his credit cards are being used to buy tickets to all over the world. Yep, Castle is so sure of it he’ll tell you again – “This is the best case ever.”  He’s even more sure when a crazy cat lady who was victimized by our victim seems to confess to the murder.  “Did you just say you killed him in your mind?  Yes, she says, and it looks like it finally worked.  “I don’t know – how did you kill him in your mind?”  The leads on the case continue to twist and turn until the killer, as always, is snagged, The Sting is referenced once more, Castle gets to watch Beckett not only be smart but also be a romantic, and all’s right in the world.

The subplot about Castle’s family perhaps isn’t as darling as usual.  Castle freaks out when his daughter’s new smoking hot violin teacher (“prodigies are supposed to be nerdy and awkward, not THAT”).  The point is that he’s supposed to be more trusting of her proven good sense (and indeed, Alexis is shockingly unphased by the presence of a preternaturally good looking guy – not sure I buy that).  Not that I wouldn’t have liked my parents to be more trusting of my proven good sense as a teen (not that I had any hot musical instructors to test it with) , but um, what the heck kind of kid hires her own music teacher anyway?  I don’t think it was that heinous of him to check Professor Stud’s credentials.  Sue me. (C: Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for a cute high school girl to take music lessons from a hot college boy in her bedroom.  What, responsible kids can’t be tempted? Castle had every right to insist they stay in the living room.)

No, as charming as they were, the highlight of this week’s episode was the short and deadly Agent Gray, Castle’s guy in the CIA.  “Thai food is pleasing to the tongue,” Castle quotes into Gray’s voice mail; Gray shows up in Beckett’s office, mesmerizes beat cops with the force of his personality, twits Kate about the love scene featuring the meta-fictionalized Castle and Beckett in Heatwave, offers up his information, and disappears as if by magic.

What do you think, gentle viewers? Do you like con movies, or the TV shows that reference them?  Was the scene of Kate in the tub a little too much?  (C: All I’ll say is, I’m still waiting for the scene that lingers over Castle’s unclad body, and I don’t except it any time soon. Double standard much?) Did you laugh when Castle hid in the ladies’ room to catch Beckett reading his book?  Did we know that Castle had Mary Sue-ed himself into Heat Wave?  And is it sexy or squicky to find out that a coworker has published his sexual fantasies about you?  Does it help if that coworker is Nathan Fillion?  Do you think the actual book, soon to be released (C: one of my friends saw it in a bookstore already!), will sell?  Will you buy a copy?  Or will you just go to a bookstore to see if that jaw-dropping sex scene really is on page 105?

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