C: In a triumphant return after a few weeks on break, episode 11 of this season of Castle features a mystery that keeps you guessing. Why did a man fall out of an 8th-story window into a fruit cart, stark naked? Why are several dozen women convinced that he’s their true love? What happened a month ago when he broke contact with everyone he knew? Why is he now operating under a false identity with bricks of cash in his possession? And who is the plus-one Lanie is bringing to Ryan’s wedding?
E: Fruit cart! Love it! Especially the way the fruit jumped up as he hit.
C: And the way someone had tactfully arranged strawberries over his private parts…
M: The strawberry “fig leaf” was pretty hilarious. It only would have been better if they had actually used figs.
E: Really, all in all, it was a super enjoyable return to form. Light Castle is the best! And they had an entertaining subculture-of-the-week: pick-up artists.
M: I totally agree, light Castle is so much fun. The banter, the joking between the characters, Castle’s hairbrained ideas. I literally laughed so loudly at the “It’s like the beginning of The Bachelor” comment that Mrs M and I missed the next two lines and had to rewind! While a show like Chuck has turned so badly that I have literally forgotten what it was that I liked so much about the show in the first two seasons, Castle frequently, if not constantly, reminds us of why we love it.
C: It was a lot of fun to see Ryan and Jenny doing a “cleanse” before their wedding, fasting and drinking nothing but lime juice. Sounds like a surefire way to increase pre-wedding anxiety, though you would have an intense appreciation for the reception dinner! In general, it’s just nice to see a loveable secondary character being allowed to be adorably happy, even if our main protagonists must continue to be dragged through the angst.
M: Okay, quick aside. How is it that I didn’t know until doing a recent search on IMDb that Jenny (Juliana Dever) and Ryan (Seamus Dever) are married in real life?
C: I don’t know, because I’m pretty sure we’ve blogged that tidbit before.
E: We have? I don’t remember that at all. It’s cool trivia, though.
C: Anyway… when Castle tells the gang that his plus-one is smart, gorgeous, funny, etc., it’s obvious he’s bringing Alexis.
E: So obvious. Who else would he brag about like that?
M: Oh please, I knew before he even started the description. As soon as they mentioned “plus one”s it was obvious that he’d bring Alexis.
C: However, on a shopping expedition for expensive formalwear, Martha and Alexis run into a dashing, wealthy granddad-grandson team and are simultaneously swept off their feet. (I wish we could have seen that!) Alexis ends up ditching her dad in favor of a black-tie benefit Lady Gaga concert. So since Castle’s going alone, and Beckett’s going alone, they might as well be each other’s dates… yeah, who didn’t see that coming?
M: Well, Castle is not known for its ability to deceive the audience.
C: Heh. True.
E: How did you feel about the whole “should they or shouldn’t they tell” issue when the gang finds a picture of “gyrating Jenny” in the pick up artist’s book of conquests, dating from early in her relationship with Ryan?
C: First off, I thought it was brilliant that they’d already raised that very issue earlier in the episode. One of the victim’s buddies mentions that, a few days before he was murdered, he executed a miraculous pick-up using – among other techniques – one of asking the woman advice: “I found out my friend’s girlfriend cheated on him, should I tell him?” Castle writers aren’t usually that suave!
M: As a concept, the whole “do you tell/don’t you tell” is vastly overdone on TV. However, I thought they handled it surprisingly well.
E: On the one hand, I was really relieved it turned out not to be a big deal. But on the other? Ick.
M: Yeah, I was pretty fully in the “other hand” category. Oh, you know, we weren’t exclusive, so it’s okay that my soon to be wife slept with some male slut a month or two into our relationship. Ugh.
C: Sure, the very notion of sleeping with the guy who keeps a ledger of his “scores” is nasty, but if they were both dating other people at the same time I do actually think his reaction makes sense. Whether or not her having done so is believable – that’s a different issue.
E: Right! There it is. How likely was it that Jenny – so enamored of Ryan that she gave him a tie to celebrate their two-week dating anniversary – would go to a bar wearing that kind of underwear? I mean, Bailey was supposed to be talented at making women not just go to bed with him but fall in love with him just as quickly, but that underwear bespeaks intent. Heck, she was wearing a robe, wasn’t she? Unless they were supposed to be at her place?
M: I don’t know where it was supposed to be, but that does certainly raise questions. Maybe she was supposed to be meeting Ryan and he got stuck on a case? Or maybe we’re just not supposed to think that much about it…
C: The latter, I think. Speaking of overthinking: I happened to catch a fourth-season Bones rerun the other day and was reminded of the patented Bones formula: the killer is someone we meet early in the episode but have no reason to suspect – a secretary, an assistant, a friend, someone who volunteers information. They’re probably not the person our detectives set out to interview, but they’ll have a line or two, so they’re familiar to the viewer when they’re unmasked as the murderer at the end. Since I’d just been thinking about this, the killer in this episode pretty much leapt off the screen. It followed the formula to a T.
E: Quite so.
M: C, you say that like it’s not a formula that Castle has used repeatedly. They had a stretch where they would introduce the murderer at the beginning of the episode, and it would be the most famous guest star, then drift away from that person, then come around to them at the end of the episode, for just about every episode for at least half a season.
C: Well right, Castle does use the same formula often, but as you point out the “most famous guest star” formula often trumps it. In this case the guest star I knew best was Jaime Ray Newman, the woman the victim was with when he plunged. (She’s had long guest stints on a lot of shows, including Veronica Mars.)
E: I also knew we’d see the victim’s boss again, since I knew the actor (Officer White, Jason Lee’s partner on Memphis Beat). Don’t you think he should play Neil Patrick Harris’s father on something?
M: Totally! I was thinking he looked like an older NPH while watching. If Mrs M hadn’t fallen asleep I would have mentioned it to her at the time!
E: So, speaking of NPH, or at least of his role on How I Met Your Mother – the pick-up artist gang and their terms. How much did you love “exstalktion”?
M: That was a pretty hilarious little interlude in the middle of the episode. And those guy were so equally funny and skeezy that they were great.
C: Hm, I think they were more gross than funny, though they did remind me of Barney. I wish I’d made note of their various terms for different pick-up plays, though!
M: Agreed, especially when Esposito pulled out one of the terms and said he was going to use it in the bar.
E: I think that’s what made cross out of the totally gross – the procedural aspect to the pick up. Maybe I just love some good jargon, I don’t know.
C: Overall this was a characteristically entertaining episode with a sweet end. I completely loved that Lanie brought a sexy gay friend to the wedding, and Esposito brought his hot cousin! Dare we hope they’re getting back together?
E: I guess I could see why the writers might not want to pair everyone off, but I really liked that – and how many “will they/won’t they”s can one show stand?
M: Well, it certainly looked like they were heading that way at the end of the episode. Plus, where their break-up was so random and arbitrary that it could have been something Larry David wrote, I’ll say yes.
C: And yes, I’m a sucker – but I also liked that Castle and Beckett ended up with each other.
M: So say we all.