Castle Review: “A Deadly Game”

C: “A Deadly Game,” the season finale of Castle, featured spies, deception, and murder – but what really had the Siblings at the edge of our seats was the showdown of the Castle-Beckett-Demming love triangle.  So I’m just going to say it now: this ending was lame!

E: Yeah.  They wrote themselves into a tough spot, but that was not a satisfying way to get out of it.

C: Alexis is off to a Princeton summer program, Martha’s doing summer stock theater, and Castle’s facing a whole summer by himself.  He invites Beckett to join him for Memorial Day weekend at the Hamptons, and she understandably turns this awkward offer down.  He holds out hope, though, until he learns that she’s going away for a beach cottage weekend with Tom Demming.  This?  Is not something easy to compete with.

Convinced he’s lost the game and uninterested in watching Beckett get cozy with another guy, Castle tells her he’s taking the summer off to finish his (late) book manuscript and hints that their partnership might be done.  This makes her realize she doesn’t want to let him go.  But after breaking things off with Demming, she finds out Castle’s taking his editor/ex to the Hamptons.  Burn!

E: I can’t believe poor Kate gave Tom the boot for nothing! I mean, fine, not nothing, because it was emotionally honest.  But.  Just kind of squicky, to think that she tossed away a great guy for someone as fickle as Castle.  And her little gulpy moment as Castle and the ex walked off?  Aw.

C: I agree.  From the little we’ve seen of him, Tom appears to be kind, clever, and funny, as well as having a sexual chemistry with Beckett that Castle frankly can’t rival.

E: Oh yes.  They sizzled like some seriously delicious breakfast.  Not to mention being  grown up, and being all “what did I do? Did I say something wrong?” when she dumped him.

C: Yeah, his gentlemanly disappointment made it all the worse.  Castle’s the character to watch the show for so of course I want him to get the girl eventually, but couldn’t she have kept Tom while he was still working out his neuroses?

E: I suppose I should commend Castle for not pressing his attentions, but the whole “I’m going to take my ball and go home” thing was a bit childish.  Really, the more time passes and the more I think about it, the madder I get at him for laming out like that.  I thought Javy was way the hell out of line when he confronted Beckett about the issue.   Is she not allowed to date, so that they can be kept in swank coffee machines?  It’s not as if Castle had declared himself.  As she found out to her cost.

C: I don’t know if he was scolding Beckett so much as making her face the real reason Castle was leaving.  Which still struck me as inappropriate; it would have made more sense coming from Lanie.  Also, as my roommate pointed out, one good talk might lead exes to spend the weekend together, but hardly an entire summer.  My verdict: contrived.

E: Yes.  No matter how big a client he is, I can’t imagine his editor could really take the whole summer just to keep him on task. You know the whole roast thing in Jerry Maguire where all his old girlfriends discuss how he can’t stand to be alone?  That’s our boy.  Is what’s in his own head so terrible that he can’t spend a moment alone with it?

C: I were to pop- psychoanalyze his fictional mind (and why not), I’d say he’s comfortable in his cheerful self-adoration, but is nervously aware that it would crumble if he were left alone to introspect.

E: Very possibly.  Alright. Moving on, before I work myself into a complete lather. Didn’t you love all the other writers (James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Stephen J. Cannell) taking him to task for only writing one book a year?  Excellent.

C: Hilarious.

E: And? Second week in a row that the title gave away a plot twist.  A desperate man killed in Central Park when his handler won’t let him come into the safe house.  Sure, I was momentarily distracted by the victim actually finding a pay phone, but I knew the spy game was a game immediately.  It was still cool, don’t get me wrong, but I wish it took slightly longer for that to be clear.

C: Nice work calling the spy game, E! I totally missed the Man Who Knew Too Littleness until Castle spelled it out.

E: I wish I hadn’t called it.  Moving on, though, before I annoy myself again. There was a lot I liked about this episode, starting with that little glimpse of His Girl Friday on Castle’s TV.  And the spy pen that spits out instructions to a rendezvous (including spy talk gobbledy gook) and then self-destructs?  Most excellent. Possibly the best thing?  Can it be?  Yes, it can!   Mitch Pileggi!!  Skinner as the meet in the cafe, who practically stepped out of a WW2 movie like Casablanca!  Glorious.  I love their casting director. Ah – directors.  Donna Rosenstein and Kendra Castleberry (yes, really) I hope the next time you google yourselves, you will read this and know that we think you are genius.  Your generosity to TV geeks is heartwarming.  I could dance, that made me so happy.

C: That was amazing casting.  There’s Skinner, being all Skinner – the cool, competent, collected G-man to a T – until Castle bursts the bubble that he’s really in prison and there’s really been a murder. Then he goes to pieces and starts wibbling!  I have never been so impressed with Mitch Pileggi in my life (and coming from a devoted X-phile, that’s saying something).

E: I know, right? Outstanding!  He was so smooth and sure they were going to let him out, I was honestly waiting for a call from someone, even though I knew the whole thing was part of a game.  I started to wonder if it was a game with friends in high places.  You know, it wasn’t as exciting as the Halloween episode (which is possibly my favorite ever) but this plot is up there for delving into a cool world. That cafe, and all the spy activity names, and the adventure vacation company?  Really awesome.  We should have a sibling spy vacation.

C: Spycation, all I ever wanted! Sign me up.

E: I’d love to see if businesses like that experience a spike in popularity after this episode.  Assuming they exist, which they probably do. Once we figure out that the vic isn’t a spy but taking part in an adventure vacation, we have another twist where it becomes clear (after some distraction from the handler running a side business selling fake IDs) that the killer came from the victim’s real life.

C: They succeeded in misleading me about the killer, too!  I totally had it pinned on the business partner (who I did guess was sleeping with the victim’s wife).  Having it be a character we hadn’t actually met was excellent misdirection.
E: I wasn’t surprised about the affair, either, not after the way the business partner was comforting the wife.  Not that she needed much comforting!  Wow, she was a piece of work, huh?  I thought it was a neat touch to use the husband from those Chase Sapphire commercials, David Starzyk (C: aka Big Dick Casablancas), as the business partner.  I was stunned that the killer turned out to be someone we hadn’t seen – but who did have a clear place in the narrative that we were just ignoring. That’s new for them, and new twists are always appreciated.  (So creepy that the whole confession scene took place with the couples kids playing happily in the other end of the room, though.)
C: Hear hear!

E: I’d like to step back to Castle’s life for a minute. What did you think of Alexis being all flirty with Zach Eggfron there?  The arm touching was a little much, no?  I’m not sure how consistent with her character that was. I liked Rick being utterly terrified about her summer away, however. Really excellent.  All his panic about boys and his trips in high school and nobody’s jokes being funny. (And the Ukranians being incredibly dorky – like, Napoleon Dynamite dorky – summer programs students, and not mafioso – thus playing back into his paternal fears?  So fun.)

C: It was a bit much for the first time she met a boy, for Alexis to be coming on that strong.  She’s no shrinking violet, but if she’s flirting at that level after an hour then Castle may really have reason to worry about what she’ll get up to this summer…

E: Oh yes.  He has reason to be worried.  Even really great teenagers are still teenagers.  I just hope the summer away doesn’t change her too much.

C: I hope the end of the summer away finds all the romantic snafus of this episode repaired.  Castle will certainly have broken up with ex, Alexis can return to her savvy innocence, and… well, it’s a bit much to hope that Beckett will have gotten back together with Demming and spent three months sexily sparring and co-coaching underprivileged basketball.  But whatever they dish out for us in the fall, I for one (E: and I for two!) can’t wait for this show to return!

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2 comments on “Castle Review: “A Deadly Game”

  1. […] used it in a Castle review, but we have no clue why someone would search it, or decide that a Castle review was what […]

  2. eesha says:

    Oh God, what an episode (season finale finished last night-June 29 here in India)! while the murder plot was cool, the Beckett-Castle-Demming plot was bad (just realized their last names are in alphabetical order, and ‘E’sposito comes next).

    I felt really bad for Demming, being dumped like that, and he was quite courteous through that you-are-not-what-I’m-looking-for stuff. Big hug to him from my side :p.I hope they bring him back somewhere in season 3 for an episode, but no flames rekindling and all that, because if eventually Kate & Rick have to be together, there’s no point in dumping the poor guy twice.

    I didn’t think that Esposito comment on Castle, to Kate was well put, especially because he hushed up Ryan in one of the previous episodes (Ryan – you mean the way Demming gets coffee for Beckett every morning, Esposito (mouthing his line)- No). It would have made more sense if it was Lanie talking, I thought Esposito just sent her on a guilt trip.

    I do hope Castle has his new book, his ex and what- am-I-gonna-do-if-Kate-goes-out-with-someone thoughts figured out over the summer. If the makers want to stick to his casanova image, then he can’t get jealous over the one guy that Kate chooses, that is quite unfair. They do face a dilemma there because I think we’ll loose some of the entertainment factor if castle sticks to one person, so they’ve to tread carefully.

    Alexis and Zac Eggfron (amusing name pick, you guys also reminded we of that Halloween- taking care of feggin episode) did get a little too comfortable, given how Alexis is and also that it was their first meeting, but hey, teenagers after all.

    Looking forward to season 3, hope they keep it entertaining and cool.

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