Castle Review: “Cops & Robbers”

C: When this episode ended, a friend pointed out that it had been yet another serious episode. Thinking back, yeah, I realized it hadn’t been very comic – but I hadn’t even noticed. Come on, what’s not to love about a bank robbery?

E:  I had that same though about midway through, but I was okay with it, too.  And usually I really can’t stand the serious episodes.  Maybe it’s a mythology thing.

M: I don’t think it is, I think it’s a writing thing.  In my opinion, this episode is what serious Castle episodes should always be like.  They can have drama, both emotional and case related, but they can also retain the sense of humor that helps drive the show and help made it a show we love.  As an example, none of the other “serious” episodes had a line like “Don’t worry, I saw this work in Die Hard“.  They NEED lines like that and they don’t detract from the seriousness of the episode at all.

E: Good point.  The serious episodes CAN work.

C: Agreed – if, as we’ve said so often before, they’re not too serious! And every TV series seems to be required to have an episode like this at some point: one or more of the main characters gets caught in a bank being held up.  Heck, E and I even watched a short-lived series, The Nine, which was entirely about that.

M: For the record, I watched that for a while, but gave up on it before the inevitable cancellation.

E: It co-starred Susan Sullivan, aka Martha Rodgers, by the way – and I loved that aspect of this episode. Remember the Halloween episode where the cast came to Castle’s party wearing their clothes from previous roles?  It’s like Martha got the chance to do that.

C: So fun! The whole scenario, of course, this raises huge believability flags. Do bank robberies really happen that often, especially in New York? I can’t remember the last time I read about a hostage situation in the news, let alone one where the hostages were all killed. Yet throughout this episode, the cops outside the bank were all treating this as the most probable outcome.

E:  Oh, come on, C, it’s their job to plan for the worst.  Bank robberies do happen surprisingly often, though you don’t often hear about ones with hostage situations.

C: Prepare for mass slaughter, sure. Expect it? That was the part I found unlikely.

M: I’m with C (and E, we’re back to our usual), you never hear about massive hostage blood-baths, and that cop was treating it like it was inevitable.  Overall I thought that the character of the head SWAT/negotiator cop was a horrendous stereotype, and that he was put in the episode only to look dumb and be a road block to our team.  I was thoroughly annoyed by him, especially after watching the hyper-intelligent crew that has the same job on Flashpoint (yes, I’m plugging it again, and now it’s on ION, if anyone has that network), he just seemed like a caricature out of a by-gone era of cop movies.

C: I’m in complete agreement, M – the obstructive cop who keeps wanting to give up and sacrifice the hostages is such an obnoxious stereotype. I don’t buy for a second that Beckett, a homicide detective, would be better at negotiation that then head of the New York SWAT team.

M: It really does take away from the realism of the episode, which is too bad, because overall that was decently high.

E: For whatever reason, it didn’t bother me the way it bothered the two of you. It gave our team the chance to solve everything while the SWAT folks punted.

C: Of course, another reason this episode didn’t feel too serious to me was that you know from minute one that Rick and Martha will get out without a scratch. If it had been other character(s) I might have feared some sort of emotional damage at least, but those two? Psshh. Martha even sashays out of the bank with the manager’s phone number in her pocket!

E: Super cute, the bank manager – who hadn’t wanted to give Martha a loan without Castle cosigning it – turns out to be a huge fan of her Shakespeare in the Park from the 80’s.  “If I have to die, I’m glad to do it with someone who appreciates my work!” she trills.

M: That was a fun little touch, but regardless of the fact that we knew they’d be fine, the concern and emotion they built up in both Alexis and Beckett was really well done.

E: I think they did as well with something like this as they could have done, and I’ll say it again, I’m glad they went there.

C: What this turned out to be, naturally, was an excuse for Beckett running around letting everyone see how much Castle means to her, and Castle and Beckett to do a lot of significant gazing at each other – first when she comes into the bank posing as a paramedic to take out the epileptic hostage, and then when she comes in to cut the hostages loose at the end… but, to Martha’s annoyance, stops after freeing Castle. Some very nice warm, happy, mutual gazing in that moment!

E: Very nice indeed.  I was sorry to have that broken up.

M: They also both repeatedly referred to the other as their partner, which they never really did before, showing the bond between them growing even more.  And I wasn’t so much sorry to see Martha break up the intimate gazing, as much as I thought it was out of character for Martha, since she has been trying to get them together for most of the life of the show.  Not so smooth.

E:  Oh, they’ve done that before – call each other partner!

C: Not this often, though.

M: Exactly, and before it had been more Castle saying it.  They’ve been having Beckett struggle with that over the last few episodes, saying he should be that to the therapist a few episodes ago, and hesitating before committing to “partner” in this one.  I think they’ve made it into a big internal turning point for her.

C: As to Martha, I couldn’t blame her for wanting her bonds cut, even if she is a fan of the love! (She did make them dinner later, too.)

E: But speaking of stopping the love, and also of the inevitable, Alexis finally kicks that deadbeat Ashley to the curb.  She’s tried to reach him as she panics outside the bank, but when she finally gets through, sobbing, and he doesn’t want to take the call?  Yeah.  Wrong moment to be self-absorbed, buddy.

C: There could have been a really legit reason for him being too busy to talk – not knowing why she was calling. Overall, I do feel this “Ashley is an insensitive clod” thing has come a bit out of nowhere.

M: It’s funny, when he was an on-screen character they made him super sweet and caring and had him dote on Alexis.  As soon as he became an off-screen character he turned into an insensitive and self-absorbed doofus.  Now, you can probably chalk it up to him being 18 and away in college for the first time, but still, good riddance.

E: I do chalk it up to the college transition, which pretty much ends almost all high school romances, but you’re right, it’s a big reversal.  Although, her voice mails were frantic – I feel like he should have noted the tone in her voice and not blown her off. Now, in a reversal of last week’s trend, I called the epileptic hostage as a baddie pretty much instantly.  The biggest surprises to me was there actually was C4 (I assumed he was lying), and that the robbers – who styled themselves Doctors Huxtable, Trapper John, Quinn and Houser – all actually died in the c4 explosion.

M: The baddie was pretty easy to spot, especially given the rule of fictitious hostage situations: anyone that is not a main character who makes themselves stand out is really one of the bad guys.  I loved the doctor names, another good touch that helped keep the sense of humor of the show despite it being a serious episode, especially Castle grilling the one named after Doogie Houser.

C: Only he’s wrong – what could be bad about being named after Neil Patrick Harris?!

E: Er, Doogie Hauser was way before NPH was cool.

M: And long before NPH and Nathan Fillion starred together in the very bizarre Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, too.

C: As for them dying, when the SWAT guy said they were dead, I thought he was lying!

M: Oh, I didn’t, and still don’t, buy it for a second.  It wasn’t really C4 (which would have blown the whole floor of the building to shreds, including Castle and the rest of the hostages, and all the cops standing right outside), and the bones very easily could have been plants that the fake doctors brought with them.

E: I’m kind of annoyed with the idea that there are no cops where the not really dead wife was hiding.  I’m all for our gang saving the day, but that was ridiculous.

M: What do you mean?  Our crew wasn’t there, they were back at the NYC precinct when they got the call that the guy was caught.

C: Yeah, I was thrown at first when our team was waiting on hold, as to why the Ithaca police weren’t already on the way to the poor woman’s house – but thank goodness, they were!

E: Don’t even get me started on little Connor being the same age as in the two-year-old photograph.

M: Yeah, well, there’s no excuse for that.

C: The point is, justice was served. And even if their off-screen demise was impossible to believe, I don’t expect we’ll see the Doctors again either.

M: In all, though, the episode felt like a really good mash up of Castle, Die Hard and especially Inside Man.  I thought they pulled off the con in the episode surprisingly well, and liked each twist as it came up.  I hope they learn from this episode that even when they get serious, the fun and frivolity can still exist.

E: Yep. There was urgency, genuine mystery (who was the murdered old woman, who was posing as her husband, what was in their safety deposit box, and why would anyone care?) and genuine emotion, all with a side of the characteristic funny.  Remember this formula, writing staff!


One comment on “Castle Review: “Cops & Robbers”

  1. Gina says:

    I agree, this was a fantastic episode.

    As for Ashley, I think he fell victim to Gilmore Girls Boyfriend Syndrome — as soon as a male character has outlived his usefulness, turn him into a jerk and kick him out. It’s lazy writing and super annoying, but since I was never that invested in Alexis/Ashley, I haven’t minded it as much as I usually do.

    On a totally frivolous note, I am in love with Beckett’s hair from this episode. If she’s going to keep it long, she needs to do that, or something similar to it, all the time. Down and straight looks awful on her, but the curly bun is so gorgeous I think I’m going to try it on my own hair! 🙂

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