Castle Review: “Famous Last Words”

C: In this week’s Castle, the team investigates the death of Hayley Blue, lead singer of Alexis’s favorite band The Blue Pill (presumably a Matrix reference, perfect for an emo-punk band, though the term “blue pills” is also – equally appropriately – an old-fashioned nickname for antidepressants).  The opening sequence reveals something we didn’t know before: Beckett is the only homicide detective in the city!  When Alexis reads a report of Hayley’s death on a gossip website, Castle tells her “It can’t be murder, or Beckett would have called me.”   And then Beckett calls.  Huh!

Spoilers for “Famous Last Words” below.

I have to say, I found this episode kinda weak.  In the first scene with the kindly producers I said to my roommate, “One of them did it.”  (M: I said the same thing to my wife.) *yawn* I am so sick of this ‘the-nicest-seeming-peripheral-character-is-the-killer’ thing.  (E: The Mentalist did the same thing last week, but was saved by some truly delicious interactions between the detective team.) I was actually happy when it seemed like they would not get a confession and the case would go to court with an uncertain outcome, because that was something Castle had never done before.  But no, last-minute convenient discovery of guilt, of course.

E: Agreed.  Of course, last week was so snappy and brilliant that it’s not surprising they couldn’t live up to it.  Even the dead singer didn’t look real – was it just me or did she look too old to be twenty five?  And have blue hair?  Sigh.  The wife was a terrible blind, too.  How did they not notice that the whole buying of a gun/going to the police/living in constant fear didn’t mesh at all with that scenario?  Bah.

C: Not to mention that their obsession with spectacular crime scenes always leads to belief-straining last-minute explanations. That guy really planned ahead enough to bring along duct tape and his wife’s (extremely unflattering!) lipstick, and took the time after killing Hayley to set her iPod on repeat and then tape her upside-down from a fire escape?  A process which would be noisy, lengthy, and hard to do alone…

M: C, as I mentioned, I too called who did it after that scene with the producers.  She asked why, and I explained that the husband was familiar looking (unfortunately, it turns out that’s because he’s in High School Musical 2 – I hate myself), and in stereotypical Hollywood “twist” writing, those familiar faces always come back to be part of the solution to the crime.  That, and that Castle seems to be trying so hard to make the eventual killer be unpredictable, that it has become completely predictable.

C: The funny thing is, they seem to be aware they’re doing it – going by Castle’s joke that Alexis was the perfect suspect.  Take comfort, though, M – you may have recognized that actor not from HSM2 but as the antagonistic juror in the “12 Angry Men” episode of Veronica Mars.  Which leads me to the one aspect of this episode that I really enjoyed: seeing Alexis take part in the investigation.  Hooray for girl sleuths!

E: Sing it, sister!

M: Agreed, that was fun.

C: Also, a new addition to the annals of great Castle/Beckett banter: “I’m so used to seeing you act like a twelve-year-old, it’s refreshing to see you as a father.” “Makes you want me, right?”  “That’s the twelve year old.”

M: Best line!  We laughed so hard we hard to rewind because we missed the next two lines.

E: Loved his further parenting snark, when Alexis marvels that he met the dead singer’s former band (in a nicely grungy rehearsal space reminiscent of Frozen Embryos’ lounge from My So Called Life): “and all I can say is… admire them from afar.” Plus the one where Castle explains Alexis’ contention that Death wasn’t death at all, but the tarot card representation of transformation and change: “She wasn’t hiding from death, she was hiding from change.” “She hated Obama!”  Add that to the fact that Death was code for the kindly producer wife, whose name is Bus(c)h?  Loved that bit.  Even when the episode is subpar, they’re still darned quotable.

M: Don’t forget when Beckett told the grungy guitar player not to leave town, and Castle added “but feel free to bathe.”  Fun stuff.

E: BTW, didn’t the stalker fan (who took the Death song literally) look like some creepy guy who was a web sensation for crying about a singer?  Was it Britney?  Something’s tickling my memory.

C: No clue, sorry.  But speaking of being a fan, I noticed something in the Castle credits this time around that we haven’t talked about yet: the fact that Rob Bowman, awesome X-Files producer and sometimes director (of episodes including such classics as the “Anasazi” trilogy and the coachroach episode) is also a producer and sometimes director on Castle.  It’s not surprising to find they have people with great histories behind the camera as well as in front of it!  The two shows have little in common beyond the investigative premise, but there are moments when Castle and Beckett approach the bar of bantering perfection set by Mulder and Scully.


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