Castle Review: “Dial M for Mayor”

E: Sigh.  You know, mythology is normally a thing which attracts me to a show, but I could really, really do without mythology on Castle.  I respect the initiative, but the execution?  These episodes always leave me wanting more. More resolution, more coherence, more humor…

M: I’m willing to bet that some of our readers remember last week, when we extolled the greatness of “light Castle.”  We know light Castle.  This was no light Castle!

E: Now, granted, it was fun to finally meet Castle’s good friend, the Mayor.  And the opening scene, where it looks like a woman has fallen asleep on her tender lover’s shoulder?  Very nice when she turns out to be dead.  Very nice.

M: They also did a good job of making it look kind of like it was Beckett.  I think they wanted to make us think it was Beckett and Castle, maybe even coming back from Ryan’s wedding.  Of course Castle doesn’t have a car, so I knew something was up, but it was well done, as their opens usually are.

E: Oh.  Hmmm.  I didn’t remotely think of it as being Beckett and Castle.  I did like it, though.  How did you feel about the phone sex business?  Sort of funny – seeing that for the most part the women were normal looking, even elderly.  But all together, eh.

M: The first thing that stuck out to me as all wrong was the giant tacky, strip joint-esque neon pin-up girl.  That doesn’t strike me as the kind of thing that a phone-sex warehouse run and staffed entirely by women would have, and seemed totally out of place in the “it’s all business” atmosphere they created.  The show is usually really good about details of the quirky subculture of the week, but that just seemed really off.

E: Well, yes.  It’s one of those confusing things; do they find the sexy image somehow inspiring, and – considering how little it matched the rest of the place  – why?  Also, from the point of the customers, can’t you tell when you’re talking to an elderly person?  Aren’t there usually vocal cues?

M: Generally yes, but if they are specifically taught to disguise their voice, maybe not.  Plus, I’m not so sure the people who call those numbers are listening too critically.

E: Well, maybe there are old lady fetishists.  Okay, I don’t want to think about that anymore.  New subject. I knew that the handsome young aide to the Mayor’s chief aide was going to be a suspect, since he’s a recurring character on Bones.

M: Not watching Bones I didn’t have that insight that you did, so I figured if it was someone close to the Mayor it would be the chief of staff.  However, I have to admit, I was thrown off by the “prominent New Yorker” thing.  I knew it wasn’t going to end up being the mayor, but it felt like it needed to be someone else prominent because of the way they played it, and the chief of staff just didn’t qualify.

E: And in theory, Deep Throat meetings in dark parking garages should rock. But no.  This all leaves me cold.  No, worse than that.  I’m starting to get annoyed.

M: Yeah, well, that’s because they didn’t build up the right level of tension.  The Deep Throat meetings in the first season of X-Files were so tense, so fraught with peril.  I didn’t get any sense of that here.  Additionally, there was no information passed back and forth.  He told him to listen to the tape.  WTF was that?  Like he couldn’t have said that over the phone?  Plus, all I can think of when I see the actor playing that role is him sitting on a couch talking a talking stuffed rabbit voiced by Bobcat Goldthwait, which really doesn’t set the right mood.

E: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

M: The actor who plays the Castle version of Deep Throat, Geoff Pierson, was in a Married With Children rip-off years ago called Unhappily Ever After.  His character (the Al Bundy rip-off) would go hide in the basement, where a stuffed rabbit voiced by Goldthwait would give him advice.  It was memorable for a few things, none of them good, but the most notable was that it was the show that united Goldthwait with former long-term girlfriend Nikki Cox in what is not quite at the Doug Hutchison level of creepy, but was up there.

E: Ick.  Let’s move on.  I can’t really think of any memorable quips.  Just generally uninspiring, and last week’s episode was so good it makes this feel even more leaden.

M: And we are back to the problem with heavy Castle.  They need to retain the spirit of the show and what makes it great when they have heavy or mythology episodes.  They need the jokes to keep coming.  There was one good one, when Castle quipped that maybe the cell phone-less victim was Amish, and then Esposito said that the Amish theory looking better after they searched her apartment.  Oh, and there was Martha performing The Tempest, special effects and all, in Castle’s living room.  However, those were both early and quickly forgotten, and the rest of the episode was devoid of the Castle spirit and mirth we love.

E: Proving your point, I had forgotten those.

M: Touching on the mayor for a moment, we’re supposed believe that someone who is expecting to run for President in a few years is not even going to bother running for governor because he was briefly questioned in a murder investigation?  Not only that, but that it was a murder that was committed solely to try to set him up?  We’re supposed to believe that he wouldn’t use that as a rallying point, and launch his campaign with the huge publicity behind the truth of the case?  That was really weak.

E: Well, but if you knew there was a shadow conspiracy with no compunction against embezzling from a charity and killing people to make sure you didn’t get elected?  That would freak me out. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for that.  Of course I wouldn’t like giving in to those shadowy forces, either, but I can see how it would give you pause.

M: As for the mythology itself, we’re now to believe that the deeper conspiracy that killed Beckett’s mom, is responsible for who wins, or at least who runs in, gubernatorial elections?  I thought that it was more of a “fill the void of the mob bosses we busted,” L.A. Confidential kind of thing, not so much an all powerful, far reaching Rubicon type conspiracy.  The larger it gets the less realistically it ties to Beckett’s mom.

E: Yep.  Why do they not understand they could have just solved it at the end of last season and have it done?  Does anyone actually like the mythology?  It’s so schizophrenic I can’t even handle it, and I don’t get why the creators persist in going there.  I mean, do we even really know who the murderer was?  Was anyone arrested and truly held responsible?  How unsatisfying is all this?

M: Is that rhetorical?

E: Yes, bro.  Yes it is.

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3 comments on “Castle Review: “Dial M for Mayor”

  1. Adrienne Eiser says:

    One thing… I got the impression that the people behind Beckett’s Mom’s death were not the same people who were trying to set the Mayor up…. Remember at the end? The whole reason they helped Castle solve the case was because if whoever set the Mayor up succeeded, then Castle wouldn’t be around to stop Beckett from looking into her mother’s murder. … Maybe we’re looking at two opposing conspiracies here! Wrestling with one another to secure the largest slice of New-York-Pie?

    But you’re right, Till Death Do Us Part was better.

    • M says:

      Ooohhh, I didn’t think of that, but I like it. Though, I doubt that the Mayor becoming the Governor would really result in Castle having no leverage to stay on the job, but still. I just assumed since it was the same informant that it would be the same baddies, but it’s entirely possible that it’s not.

    • E says:

      Oooh. Agreed. Good point. I’m not sure the writers are as clever as you’re being, but I hope so.

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