C: The summer has ended, but Castle’s still gone. The folks at the Precinct haven’t heard a word from him, and boy are they annoyed about it. Beckett’s got reason to feel a bit jilted. After all, the last time she saw Castle she’d just dumped the all-around appealing Demming in order to admit her interest in him, when he turned up with his ex-wife — make that current girlfriend. But Beckett isn’t the only one annoyed. When Castle gets back from the Hamptons and doesn’t call, Ryan, Esposito, and even the Chief sulk around like jilted lovers! I love this series.
E: This episode hit all my Castle-loving buttons: a funny and clever case that delves into a fascinating subculture, sweet moments with Alexis and Martha that hit at the episode’s emotional core, and the jealous wonder twins being all out adorable. It was a perfect opening episode.
C: What’s with the episode title, though? There was no affair, in the romantic sense.
M: It doesn’t have to mean a romantic affair.
C: Yeah but why not save it for an episode where you could use the pun? Besides, the very last episode was called “A Deadly Game.”
M: But there were no board games!
C: Oh hush, M. So, writers: running out of ideas?
E: Can’t defend it. It’s especially silly since they’re generally bursting with wacky, wonderful, and punny ideas.
C: Perhaps the greatest moment of the episode was when Beckett and the gang found themselves literally followed by a life-size cardboard Castle. What do you wanna bet those are now available for sale on abc.com? (I know a few folks who’d buy one…)
E: He was the Mona Lisa of cardboard cut outs — his eyes were watching the detectives where ever they went. Completely great.
M: That was classic, and I thought the same thing with the eyes. When they picked it up and walked along the storefront with Beckett and crew? Great. Ryan looking at it, and punctuating the scene with “He really is ruggedly handsome”? Gold, baby, gold.
C: There’s so much funny business on this show — whoever comes up with the constant bits of shtick gets major kudos from me. For instance: Esposito rolling his office chair over to talk to Beckett, and Ryan trying to do the same and overshooting? Priceless.
E: That might just have been my favorite scene of the whole episode.
M: I loved the scene of Castle and Beckett betting on who would figure the connection between their victims out first. Then they pondered what would happen to their bet if the wonder twins made the discovery, only to pan to the twins staring blankly, mouths agape, at the crime board. Loved it.
E: The various scenes where Beckett and the twins walk in on Castle standing over a body were pretty damn impressive, too.
C: In one of the less-savvy moves in this generally delightful premiere, the writers continue to mirror Castle’s life through Alexis with anvil-dropped-on-head subtlety. Alexis’s boyfriend from the summer program said he’d call her, but he hasn’t! Shame on him! The only amusing aspect of this subplot was that Castle kept defending the boyfriend, much to Alexis and Martha’s puzzlement and chagrin.
E: Oh, I dunno. That’s just one of the elements of the show. I’m not offended by it, even it if is completely anvilicious. We get to see what Rick’s really feeling without him having to confront Kate; this week’s manifestation makes clear that Castle’s as mature as a 15-year-old boy. Just in case we were wondering.
M: Or that Beckett, the chief and the wonder twins are as immature as a 15-year-old girl… 🙂
E: I was surprised not to see the ex-wife/editor/girlfriend, though. I wonder if they’re going to integrate her into the show? I mean, if he’s just spent the summer living with her, shouldn’t we expect to see her around?
M: I’ve had enough of the love triangle bit myself, so I was glad they left her out. They needed to either let Beckett have a life and date Anders/John May/Demming, stay out of the relationships and let them just banter and flirt, or they need to have Castle and Beckett have at it. Umm, in the emotional sense.
E: Well, since Anders/John May/Demming has now assumed a new identity on a cable show, that door has closed – but anyway, that discussion leads into spoiler territory. I wish we’d gotten to see more of the burlesque club! That could be a really fun place for them to focus their time, but it got very little attention here, between the various bodies, the moping about Castle, and the speculation about meth (a la Breaking Bad – too funny) and the counterfeiting.
C: We didn’t need to spend a lot of time at the burlesque club — that plot was pretty thin anyway. I care more about the central character interactions.
M: Honestly, it felt to me like the entire murder plot didn’t get that much attention, but was really just a plot device to keep putting Castle and the crew in the same place at the same time, then to reunite them. Now they’re reunited… and it feels so good. Sorry, had to.