Castle Review: “3XK”

E: Wow, guys, this was an atypically serious episode of Castle.  There was very little of the regular wordplay to it. Brava to them for changing things up and taking a risk, but I’m not thrilled about how it turned out.

C: Yeah, heavy stuff.  A serial killer who targets young blonde women and kills three in a week – once that was established, it was clear they were going to have two deaths to investigate but prevent the third.  And yes, they save a third woman – but the killer gets away! So we know that even if they catch him in a future episode, it will only be because he’s killed again.  That’s atypically depressing stuff for Castle – more of a typical Bones move.

M: I thought that it was in the same vein as the two-parter last season with Dana Delaney, a very heavy episode with a few bits of comedy and wit thrown in, but overall a darker, more serious episode.

E: I agree – that’s the closest they’ve gone to this serious. And I don’t prefer them that serious.  Our first look at the Castle fortress is of Martha counseling Alexis. “What chasm of doom have you led her to with your romantic advice?” wonders a horrified Rick.   You know what horrifies me?  That Alexis goes to the last page!  Who reads the last page of a mystery first?  That slays me.  I don’t get that.

C: I know!  Seriously, the only excuse for skipping to the end is if the book is truly dreadful, and you just want to satisfy your basic curiosity.  But even then, you’d have to have read some of the book to judge.

M: It also seemed very out of character for her, she seems much too, well, perfect for that.

E: Also?  Alexis is totally smart enough to know her hair isn’t flaxen.

C: And as a writer and wordsmith, there was no reason Castle shouldn’t have commented on the inappropriateness of that adjective when it was first mentioned!  That bugged me.

M: That was in there for a specific purpose, which worked on me, of making you think it might be the killer, and that Alexis could actually be targeted as the third victim.  Now, it worked mostly because I’d watched the preview from last week, where it said to keep your loved ones close, and then showed Castle at gunpoint being asked how close to death he wanted to get, but it worked, I was concerned.

E: So it wasn’t just me (and Castle), the commercials had you in a panic that Alexis would be the Triple Killer’s last target, too.

C: I didn’t think he was going to go after Alexis, because they played the scene where Castle was panicking at the thought way too lightly.  We were being signaled to chuckle at his concern, not to get anxious ourselves. At worst, I thought the admirer might be a creepy kid that Martha had to send packing.

E: I don’t know how much good Martha was going to be against the triple killer, though.

C: “Found a penny. Under the circumstances, is this still lucky?”

E: I loved Rick and Kate’s exchange, when she was teasing him ruthlessly:  “Just for that I’m basing my next book on Esposito.”

M: That was my favorite line of the episode!

E: I also adored the conversation when Castle realizes: “You called to seek my counsel.”  His shock is glorious.  I was also a fan of the look he shot Beckett when Lanie revealed she had compared Linda’s autopsy report to the old Triple Killer files.

M: I was surprised there wasn’t a snarky comment from him after that.  That’s the second time in the last few episodes that Beckett has followed up on one of his comments that she scoffed at when he said it.  You’d think he’d be holding that over her.

E: Also slightly surprising: you don’t need a confession for a conviction.  Not that it isn’t nice, of course, but I don’t get the impression that most people confess, and they had a lot on Gates at that point.

M: True, but under the circumstances, and with the chief’s emotional ties to the case, you can see where the evidence could be made to look circumstantial, and blame could be thrown elsewhere by a good attorney.  And, as it turns out, they had the wrong guy, so their evidence obviously was lacking.

E: Well, Gates did kill the two most recent women, so they didn’t entirely have the wrong guy.  I still can’t figure out where the guy got the money from, can you?  Did I miss that somewhere?  One thing I will say, however; they had lulled me into thinking I absolutely knew who the killer was the whole episode, and then surprised me with the twist.

C: The money came from the real killer, who paid for the operation as a bribe to Gates to take the fall for him. They did make it seem like Gates had done it – I was convinced.  My roommate wasn’t, though.

M: I wasn’t either.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t sideburns guy, but I didn’t put two-and-two together on the real killer.  However, I think E’s point on the money was how the real killer came up with $100,000.  He was only out of prison for a day or two.

E: Yes, exactly.  How many people have 100 grand lying around?  Especially when they haven’t worked in four years?  And what do you think about Alexis (so in love last week) and the secret admirer?  Isn’t that wrong to do when you have a boyfriend?

M: Yes, it is.

E: Maybe it’s a sign of her impending rebellion.  How “Pina Colada Song” was that ending?

C: Kind of cute, to be your girlfriend’s secret admirer, but mightn’t it lead to awkward questions about why she never mentioned the notes to him, and went off blithely to meet – supposedly – some other boy?

M: I was literally oscillating between thinking it was Ashley and the killer.  Looking in retrospect, I’d say it seems almost like a test to see how “into him” Alexis really is.  If she bites on the secret admirer stuff, she’s not committed to him.  He would have come off better if he had just sent her the notes and flower himself.

E: Yeah.  It’s weird.  If there are any teenage boys who read this space, that’s not the best way to woo the girl you’ve already got.

One comment on “Castle Review: “3XK”

  1. […] Beckett play a deadly game of wits with the killer to prevent more killings. What the critics say: Relatively Entertaining, […]

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