Castle Review: “Sucker Punch”

E: The episode begins with a well-armed man who was knifed to death and filled with about 30 holes, his blood leaking through the floor and into a fresh white pain tray.

C: One of the best lines of the night was the Wonder Twins’ one-two punch, after Castle postulates that the very stealthy killer could have been a ninja assassin: “Ninja assassin?  Isn’t that kind of redundant?” “Isn’t a ninja, by definition, an assassin?”

E: I love that.  And I love that Castle responds by calling them Webster and Roget.

I don’t know how I feel about the whole Irish gang thing.  I mean, first of all, when I hear the name the Westies, all I can think of is our tiny little white dog.  Who wasn’t exactly scary.  And neither was gang leader Finn Rourke, honestly.

C: Of course he wasn’t scary, he was Father Christmas!

E: Ah. That explains it. The dead man, Jack Coonan, was an enforcer for the Westies; after a series of false leads we find that he was tasked by Rourke with finding out who was selling drugs on their turf.  A rival gang, the Latin Kings, had strayed into their drug-free territory, and Coonan was supposed to take out whoever was responsible.  He even sounded out the FBI about it.

C: Which seems awfully unlikely, but oh well.  Then comes the bombshell, or what would have been a bombshell if last week’s previews hadn’t given it away: the hit man who killed Coonan was the same one who killed Beckett’s mother.  I for one am wondering what on earth Beckett’s mom could have been involved in that got her killed by an assassin!  A very pricey one at that.

E: Anyone else cheer to see the doctor from Star Trek Voyager?  He was the best character on that show.   Robert Picardo makes me happy even if he’s just there to deliver devastating news.

C: An actor as awesome as Robert Picardo is almost wasted in a tiny role like this, but yeah, it was nice to see him return as the medical expert who last season put together the evidence, at Castle’s behest,  that Beckett’s mother’s murder fit a pattern of other killings.

The team decides that the best way to find Coonan’s killer is to find out who was running the drugs, so they track down a late-night infomercial guy whose imported get-rich-quick-through-my-pyramid-scheme DVDs were being brought into the country lined with heroine.  The guy, by the way, turns out to be an American-born MBA faking a fresh-off-the-boat accent to soak customers.

E: Castle should have taken way more pleasure in the infomercial king’s accent slip, shouldn’t he? They tried to be atypically serious, and they’re not very good at it.

C: I agree.  Overall I found this episode both implausible and disappointing.  Of course the show’s plot twists rarely hold water, but that doesn’t matter when they’re being their usual charming selves.  Here?  I was absolutely grinding my teeth at the idea that they would let Beckett keep making the calls on a case that involved her mother’s murderer, and that they would let a drug kingpin with a fake charity organization and at least one hit to his credit go scot-free just to make a deal with an assassin – not even with the contingency that he’d lose immunity if the hitman had been tipped off and didn’t show!

E: Yeah, I was practically screaming at the tv over the whole “transactional immunity” concept.  Don’t even get me started on Castle casually putting up the $100,000 assassin’s fee.  Also, there wasn’t nearly enough of Martha and Alexis.  Oh.  That’s funny.  Why have I never seen that before?  Martha Stewart’s only offspring is a daughter named Alexis.  Could that be intentional?  Martha Rodgers is hardly the Martha Stewart type.

C: Ha!  Certainly not.  I’m rooting for “coincidence.”  Not only was there insufficient Castle family in this episode, there wasn’t even sufficient emotional development for Beckett; the plot steamed ahead too quickly.  In the scene where she comes to his apartment, I thought we could expect a heart-to-heart, but after Castle’s sweet “I’ll do whatever you want me to do, including nothing” (he’s learned his lesson!) the moment was cut off.

Then we get the odd revelation that Coonan’s older brother the humanitarian/drug runner is the hitman himself.

E: Busy fellow, huh?

C: Beckett makes this discovery after realizing that when he taunted her with knowing that one of her family members had been killed by the same assassin, he said “her killer,” implying he knew details and wasn’t just reading all this off her face as he claimed.  SERIOUSLY?  Because he couldn’t have gone home after the interview when Beckett told him about his brother’s death, Googled her name and found out about her mother?  Beckett’s been in the news kind of a lot, what with Nikki Heat and all!  There was absolutely no grounds for jumping to the assumption that he must be the murderer.

E: This show has always been a little crazy about diction, though.  That’s usually a selling point.  In the end, Beckett takes out her mother’s killer, but there’s no sweet mixed in with the bitter, because she wants desperately to know who was behind the hired gun and she’s lost her chance.  Surely she’s closer, though.

C: Don’t get me started on why trained cops and agents on TV can’t ever seem to manage to hit a bad guy with anything but a single fatal shot.  Shooting to incapacitate but not to kill would be easier, you would think!  All you have to do is miss a major artery.  But no, TV heroes are incapable!

E: Yes.  Drives me nuts, every time.  The real lingering question is why would anyone take out a hit on Beckett’s Mom.  Have we met her Dad before, and what does he do, I wonder?   Will it turn out to have anything to do with that?  And do we think Castle ever gets his hundred grand back?  Seems unlikely, no?  Although on the other hand, I’d imagine that Coonan-the-elder just had it sent to himself, and now that he’s dead, perhaps they can subpoena the info on his accounts or something? Annoyingly stupid either way.

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