Castle Review: “Food to Die For”

E: This week’s Castle was a delicious blend of molecular gastronomy, romance, and guest stars from some of our favorite shows.  A chef known as Big Bad Wolf (who got his start in Kitchen Wars – a fictional Hell’s Kitchen-esque show) is found frozen to death with liquid nitrogen.  Suspects abound – his business partner, the restaurant staff, his friends, ex-lovers, and a mystery love interest.  Seriously, guys – reality culinary competitions, the return of the Cylon Tom Demming, and Veronica Mars?  It’s like they know us.

M: They’re definitely combining a very odd set of things that we happen to like, aren’t they!

C: Speaking of things we like, I liked Castle’s advice to Alexis at the beginning: “When you grow up, find work that feels like playing.”  It sums up his approach to life very nicely.  (Hers?  Not so much.)

E: Yes, poor Alexis, fretting over whether to go to the Hamptons with her friends, or stay at home and study for her A.P. Chemistry exam.  Quite the dilemma.  Now, who else thought of the original miniseries of V when the show opened with the victim’s hand shattering after being frozen?  Awesome!

C: Er, never seen it, so you’ll need M to back you up there.  (Sure, it’s a cult classic.  It also aired when I was 2.)

M: Um, I wasn’t 2, and have watched it much more recently than when it was first aired, but I didn’t catch, and am still not catching, the reference.  Sorry, clearly my bad.

E: You people, seriously.  The camera man whose arm got frozen by liquid nitrogen and then shatters when he bumps into a pipe or something like that.  Clearly I am alone in this.

C: Right you are. Moving on to a fun exchange – after Beckett tells Castle that she and the restaurant owner used to hang out in high school and have a good time, he responds, prompting her for details: “And what’s a ‘good time’?” “Well if you don’t know by now,” she responds, “it’s probably too late to explain it to you.”

M: As Sheldon on Big Bang Theory would say…  Bazinga!

C: And woohoo for the Veronica Mars cast!  Parker!  Deputy Leo!

E: You know, it’s a funny thing.  Leo was such an upstanding guy on Veronica Mars, and yet, whenever I’ve seen him since (Ugly Betty, Life) he’s played a weasel. Why is that, I wonder?  VM remains Max Greenfield’s most prominent credit.  So why is he type cast as the opposite now?

C: “Weasel”?  Really?  Because as far as this episode goes, I’m in sympathy with the guy!  Okay, murder was taking it too far.  But when your brother knocks up your girlfriend of ten years, and you find out she loves him and is only staying with you because you’d make a more reliable father… damn, that’s about as devastating as it gets.  If this were historical fiction, it would be Dueling Time and I’d be cheering on Leo’s side.

E: And wow, I’m happy we never had a fight about a boy…

M: Presented differently, or even were it simply presented to us from the perspective of before the murder, rather than starting with it, I would have felt totally different.  Instead I was focusing on which of the Veronica Mars alums would be the killer.  You know, because of the Castle “recognizable guest star” rule.  Poor Leo, who routinely got the short end of the stick on VMars, gets the short end again.

E: He does get the short of end of the stick, but that doesn’t absolve him of turning his best friend into a corpsicle.  I know there would have been no mystery, but I’d have respected him if he’d turned himself in.  Actually, you know where the sympathy issue lies?  We didn’t get to see his confession.  If he’d been remorseful, or anguished instead of cool about it, that would have made a difference.  Plus it would have been some nice screen time for Max!

M: That makes sense to me.  Obviously, the murder thing isn’t okay, and murder by Liquid Nitrogen?  Pretty nasty and not very (excuse the pun) heat of the moment.

C: Maybe I just have more sympathy for the position itself.  So let’s turn to something we can agree on – another great conversational exchange, back from before the cops knew Wolf’s mystery woman was his foster brother’s girlfriend. “The guy’s in love with a ghost,” says Beckett.  Castle’s eyes light up giddily.  “Ooooooo, it would be cool if it were actually a ghost!”

E: The best part, bar none (well, okay, I did really enjoy Castle waxing poetic about his dinner.  How fun that Castle’s a foodie – of course he is!), was the conversation between Castle, Esposito and Ryan about how one falls in love with a ghost.

Castle: “I fall in love with random women on the subway all the time.”

Ryan: “I fall in love with telephone operators.  I even asked one out, but she lives in Bangladesh.”

Esposito: “I once bought falafel every day for two months just so I could see the falafel girl.”

Ryan: “You mean like how Demming comes here every morning for coffee just to see Beckett…”

Ryan realizes this might be a weird thing to say in front of Rick; Esposito gestures at him to stop talking and mouths “NO!”.  Hee hee.

M: I loved Javy’s…  yeah, that totally doesn’t work just one week later… Esposito’s facial expression and mouthing of “no” there.  Great physical comedy.

E: I almost fell over when Castle said the thing about the subway.

C: He was pretty sweet in this episode with his continued jealousy of Demming, too.  Dressin’ up nice and coming in bright and early with coffees, only to find Demming’s beaten him to the punch?  Love it.  And I liked how they let Beckett articulate her reluctance to date Castle, through ostensibly talking about the case.  Because it’s true – he falls for a lot of women.  We’d like to think Beckett’s special, but how could she feel sure of that?

E: He is definitely not a good relationship risk.  On the other hand, he’s an incredibly supportive parent.  He’s lucky to have a great kid, but he manages her really well, and that suggests that if he were to fall for the right woman, he has relationship potential.  I thought the Alexis plot was adorable, as usual, even if she’s very young to be taking an AP exam. (M: Or a trip to the Hamptons sans parents).  I suppose they do let you do that sometimes with a science or a history, but is she even supposed to be a junior this year?  Ah well.  Genius daughter at swanky private school, I guess that’s something.

M: I loved how they had her resolve it, by asking Castle to basically ground her, then making him out to be the bad guy on the phone call.  And his “Dude!” while she was doing it?  Classic!

C: That was great because it felt so real.  We all really like having someone else take our moral dilemmas out of our hands, don’t we?  Even from a high school perspective, parents have their uses.

E: I also loved Castle randomly freezing and dropping produce.

M: The glee that he did it with was just great.  That might have been the highlight of the episode for me, were it not for another great “Castle and Beckett have the same thought at the same time” moment.  And she was on a date again, which only made it better.

Speaking of the date, Anders (happy, C?) continues to be totally winning.  He’s very hard to root against, even if we really want to.

C: Yes, I’m happy.  With your acknowledgment that I was totally right in our debate, and with the man himself.  Demming is, well, delightful!

E: Who said anything about rooting against him?  I love him with Beckett.  As long as they send him off in a hail of bullets eventually (or some such permanent exit), I’m totally good.

M: See, that’s my point.  We do like him with Beckett, even though his character, like Shaw on Chuck, was put in primarily to get in the way of romance between our two leads.  We like him even though in the end we want him out of the picture.  I personally wasn’t picturing a hail of bullets, but to each their own.

C: I’d prefer something less violent, like a reassignment to a distant land that he can’t get out of.

M: Either way, they are doing an excellent job of building his character, and the interaction between him, Beckett, Castle and the wonder twins.  And they continue to provide us with fun, witty episodes like Food.  To use a term I’ve decided to adopt after watching this week’s Doctor Who…..  Bully!

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