E: This week’s Castle begins with the happy news that Heat Wave has been optioned as a film. The characters gleefully discuss who should play them. Ryan is all for James McAvoy (oooh, nice choice – slightly random, but excellent). Esposito reaches for Oscar winner Javier Bardem. Laney wants Halle Berry. But ah, Beckett. She doesn’t want to play. Castle’s happy to play for her. Angelina Jolie? “No, wait! Kate Beckett… Kate Beckinsale. We’ll call you KBecks.”
And then Beckett’s phone rings. “Nikki Heat? I want to report a murder,” the gloating voice says. “I did it.”
Pretty soon it’s clear we’ve got a serial killer dedicating his crimes to Nikki Heat. The FBI barrels in, in a caravan of black SUVs, and soon enough Castle’s crushing on his former Desperate Housewives cast member (and onscreen wife) Dana Delaney in her new role as agent Jordan Shaw (Shaw… like Chuck’s Shaw? M: Thankfully no, she actually brings something to the table). Shaw totes a few metric tons worth of fancy-schmancy equipment into the Precinct, including glass smart boards – as well as Agent Avery, better know as D.L. from Heroes.
C: Oh! I knew I recognized him!
E: And don’t even get Castle started on the way she takes a picture of a finger print at the second crime scene and emails it to the FBI lab. “There’s an app for that?”
M: I thought his giddiness over various things, which is weekly one the best parts of the show, was at its apex in this episode. He was downright school-girl-level excited over a bunch of the tech stuff, and over Shaw’s case history.
C: Agreed. It was fantastic to watch him geek out over the fancy boards, which really didn’t seem like they could be real (M: no, the ones on CSI: Miami have been even better for years! ;), the cross-referencing programs, and all the rest. Beckett’s grumbling jealousy was also amusing – it didn’t seem so much sexual as defensive. “Hey, we regular cops do just fine! And I’m as cool as Jordan is!”
M: Yes, it was definitely defensive, not sexual. She thinks of herself as very capable and successful, and she doesn’t need some “Federal version of her” coming in and taking over.
E: Nevertheless, she can’t help showing her irritation at Castle’s puppy-like attention to Jordan – “it collates information so quickly, Agent Shaw, tell me all about it!” After that, the cultural references flew fast and furious. “You can’t blame Jodi Foster for John Hinckley… but you can blame her for Nim’s Island.” When the FBI team starts reading (and Avery detailing) Heat Wave to get inside the killer’s head, Castle stops Jordan from revealing the killer by yelping “spoiler alert!”
C: Yeah, and if this weren’t a TV show that wants its viewers to buy the book, she would have slapped him down and said it anyway!
E: There was also Martha watching what Castle snarkily refers to as an old wedding video – a tape of herself on an episode of The Hulk. Awesome!
M: Particularly since it clearly wasn’t doctored — that was actually Susan Sullivan, the actress that plays Martha, in an old Incredible Hulk episode. Great job there!
E: Martha’s considering moving in with Chet, her most recent boyfriend. Alexis is understandably bummed. Rick says he’ll support her, whatever she does, just like he has since “the last man you lived with stole all your money.”
C: I’m with Alexis. The Castle household without Martha Rogers? It’s hard to imagine that, and I don’t want to! Hopefully they’re just mixing things up, and she’ll come waltzing back in after a few episodes – or will change her mind about leaving.
M: I agree, I think it’s just a move to clear up budget for a stretch of episodes by having her not appear, and that she’s sure to be back. The dynamic in the Castle home won’t be the same without her.
E: In other “relationship” news, Shaw is convinced that Beckett and Castle are sleeping together, and tells them so.
M: I thought that this episode’s playing on the Castle-Beckett relationship was great. We got them being overly defensive, Beckett looking at times disgusted and at times appreciative of him and his concern for her, and Castle doing his best “I so want this to happen” face whenever anyone mentioned it. But mostly we got Shaw, D.L. and the rest of the FBI folks, and the wonder twins all insinuating that something was going on.
E: Then Castle didn’t exactly help this image problem by showing up at her place (with wine) in hopes of protecting her from the killer (since, indeed, she’s sent the protective detail home).
C: Beckett is more amused than comforted: “And you’re going to stop him with what, the vast arsenal of your rapier wit?”
M: One of their best lines!
C: The next morning, while Castle’s cooking pancakes and Beckett’s wandering around in her jammies, it occurred to me that the show had to arrange for someone to see them like this.
E: Oh yes. That’s much too awkward a situation to pass up.
C: As soon as Castle said “Oh, I forgot the paper!” it flashed into my mind that the body that went missing the night before would be sitting on the doorstep. But that’s not at all bad for Castle – telegraphing their shocking reveals mere seconds before they happen, instead of half an hour!
M: True, for them it was definitely a better kept secret.
E: I love the little details of this. Castle calls Beckett’s fridge a styrofoam temple with no eggs or bacon for breakfast, so he makes her pancakes. This results in Esposito’s best line ever, once the apartment turns into a crime scene thanks to the body at the door – that pancakes are “an edible way of saying thank you so much for last night.”
M: It’s nice when they let the Wonder Twins get a good line in, every so often.
E: Twice they think they’ve caught the killer. (Including a guy who sold his finger for a bargain 5 grand. Oh, yeah, impressive trade there, dude.) Twice they’re wrong. And then, boom!
C: The ending was certainly cliffhangerish. It would be hard to conceive of how Beckett survived that explosion, unless the shots of her showering were actually taking place somewhere other than her apartment. (I don’t feel familiar enough with her place to swear that was her bathroom.)
E: I’ve been thinking the same thing. Have we even seen her place since the first season? All those lingering, gratuitous shower shots (so 80s) – we’ve never seen that stand alone tub, and it was her cell phone ringing, not the house phone. Could just as easily be Laney’s place, say, although I’m not sure this killer would be that sloppy.
C: And I was really impressed with the preview for next week – not a wisp of evidence that Beckett might be alive! Still… forgive me for not being terrified. She is, after all, the co-star.