Castle: “Pandora”

E: Well, that’s nicely twisty.  Maybe not as funny as I prefer (and they just haven’t been lately) but still, a very exciting episode.

M: It was funny, though, especially for a “heavy” episode.  That’s a step up!

C: Indeed! I thought this episode was comparable to the “a bomb threatening all of NYC!” two-parter of last year. Not as dour as the Beckett’s-mom episodes – trying for something on a more epic scale instead. This time, the CIA gets involved as a murder that our team investigates turns out to be part of a nefarious plot to bring down the United States. Yes – the whole country.

E: Yes.  Quite the stakes.

M: I think one of their writer may have watched Rubicon.  🙂

E:  How much do you love Alexis getting an internship with “Dr. Parrish?”  Hee!

C: It’s fabulous! Since Alexis is at loose ends between high school and college, this is a nice way to bring her more into the show. Of course Castle’s nettled because this is his world, and he’s the kind of guy to resent his daughter honing in on his special private thing – but to feel guilty for resenting it and pretend (poorly) that he doesn’t mind.

M: Oh, I couldn’t disagree more!  That was the worst part of the episode for me, and even though I liked it I have several complaints.  And for crying out loud, he got her an internship at the precinct a season or two ago!  He’s had her talk to Beckett about tons of stuff.  There is no way he’d be upset about her getting an internship with Lanie.  None.

E: Good point.  I like having her there, but he was quite silly about it.  It would have made more sense if he’d be worried about her being in harm’s way – and not to jump ahead, but when they headed to the scientist’s house, didn’t you think they would be?

C: I totally did, and was glad it didn’t go there. Alexis endangerment = no. More Alexis & Castle interplay = always a good thing.

E: Absolutely.

M: At least that one I’m with you on.  But let’s move on to the most striking revelation in the episode…..  Esposito’s new haircut.  WTF?!?!

E: Talk about role reversal, brother of mine – Espo got a haircut?  One that you noticed and I didn’t?  I didn’t think he had enough hair to do more than shave.

C: Ditto!

M: It’s that he has more than enough hair now, and he had it parted on top but shaved in the back and on the sides, and it just looked weird.  Really weird.  Anyway, let’s move on.

E: Now, I thought the bigger twist to this episode was that we saw the murderer’s face immediately, as he stared out the window at the fallen body of his adversary.

C: Yes, how about that? Our detectives track down a suspect right away and he’s actually the guy who did it – a sure sign of an unconventional episode. They haul him downtown, but somehow he manages to disappear from lockup (and even steal a police uniform!).

M: It seemed to me like he stole the dead body, too.  They didn’t handle that well, since it was a lot later that they explained that the CIA took it.

E: Well, the police assumed he did with an accomplice at first, which made sense.  The dude lets himself get caught so he can use the police data base to look up the home address of a scientist.  Couldn’t there be an easier way?  Like, I don’t know, Google?

C: Hm, good point. Or just, you know, following her. Lots of easier ways to go about it in fact, which wouldn’t make the police seem thoroughly incompetent…

M: Well, I think they were trying to make him seem super-extra competent, rather than the police being incompetent.  As for the easier ways of finding the woman’s address, they did say she was unlisted, so Google wouldn’t have worked.  Plus, have you ever actually tried to get someone’s address off a web search?  You have to sign up for one of those “1 year membership and turn over your first born child” deals just to do a reverse phone number lookup on someone, I can’t imagine someone successfully getting an unlisted address off Google.  Following, on the other hand, would seem more natural for a trained CIA badass.

E: Speaking of the CIA, I loved Jennifer Beals as Castle’s former flame, Agent Sophia Conrad.  Beckett’s outrage when she found out he’d shadowed another woman!  For a year!  And based a classic character on her!  Hilarious.

C: Ha, yes. I’ve never seen Beals in anything that I recall, but I love that she’s playing a former Castle muse here.

M: That surprised me, but then I thought about it.  Unless you watched her recent short lived show The Chicago Code, or saw The Book of Eli (which I think I liked a lot, but am still not 100% sure), you probably wouldn’t have.  She was most famously in Flashdance, but you were a toddler when that came out.  And I thought you might have seen here in Devil in a Blue Dress, but again you were too young for that.  Of course, as I found on IMDb, she had a small, un-credited role in family favorite My Bodyguard (with Adam Baldwin!), so there is that.

E: Did she?  Gotta watch that again.  Awesome.  I think her most recent high profile credit is probably The L Word (which I don’t think any of us have seen).  I wonder if ABC’s grooming her for a series, a la Dana Delany?

C: Anyway, her character’s very existence totally gets under Beckett’s skin – though she really can’t complain, since Nikki Heat is the protagonist while it sounds like Clara Strike was just supporting Derek Storm. So Castle clearly likes Beckett more, right?

M: I have to say, I didn’t like that they invented this scenario where Castle had a Beckett before Beckett.  It just seems, I don’t know, like it cheapens the whole set up and their relationship, even if it’s only a little bit.

E: Well, Beckett certainly thinks so.  Who else thinks Clara Strike is a reference to/rip off of Clarice Starling?

M: Oh, I don’t think so.  I think it’s just a very Castle-y name.  Storm, Heat, Strike…

E: At first, I was annoyed at the inconsistency of the killer leaving Beckett and Castle alive.  Not that I want them dead–

C: Duh.

E: –but why ever would he even talk to them?  He’d just shoot them in the back and take the phone.  (Yes, I know, he took Beckett’s gun – but why wouldn’t he have had his own? Not that he’d need a gun to kill them, as a former SEAL…) But eventually I realized, he’d decided to let them do his detective work for him, and flush out the illusive government scientist for him.  Unless it’s just that he knows they’re the stars of a really popular TV show.

C: Ahh, I suppose that is an explanation. Otherwise it does seem strange.

M: That does seem like the more likely scenario.  Unless his goal is to kill only people he HAS to.  Super-rogue, badass killer with a conscience, maybe?

C: Intriguing possibility, but that didn’t seem to be the way they were playing him…

E: And oh! that stupid scientist man!  It was blazingly obvious that he was going to die.  I don’t have any idea why he wasn’t lying down on the floor of the car – let alone why he’d go running off through the parking lot like that.

C: That was dumb. Not dumb on his part, dumb writing. Who goes, “Oh look, gunmen! I should run at them!”? NO ONE. EVER.

M: It was SOOOOO dumb, but it goes back even further.  If he’s worried for his life, why does he have them drive him to the pier in the first place?  Wouldn’t the safest place for him be in their car driving around through random parts of NYC?

E: And then Castle and Beckett, for staying the car, end up going over the edge of the pier. That is absolutely one of my fears, being stuck in a car that’s somehow underwater.  I think I’m glad we didn’t see anything.

C: All I could think as they were being pushed off was “roll down your windows while you still can!” Sheesh, people. If I can think of that, a trained detective ought to.

M: While I was thinking “turn the wheel and gun the gas, and drive away before they can push you off the pier!”  It reminded me of one of the few gripes I have with Raiders of the Lost Ark (which I watched some of the other night, LOVE that movie!).  When the boulder comes rolling down toward Indy as the temple is collapsing in the beginning sequence, I have always wondered why he didn’t just duck and let it roll over him on the rails it was on, rather than running out in front of it.  Yes, I know it was because it was more exciting the way it happened, but it was also dumb.  They either should have had him further away from the ramp, or had him duck.  Either way, we, as a stay-at-home mom and members of the software industry and academia, should NOT have better instincts than really smart fictional characters.

E: Well, no one ever runs reasonably in movies.  I’d like to think that if I were ever in the path of an enormous rolling boulder, I would have the sense to step out of the way instead of trying to outrun it.

M: As for the episode itself, I like the idea of there being some domino effect that could be triggered that will cause some unknown catastrophe in the country.  It’s a good plot line (as it was on the previously mentioned Rubicon), and old Beckett meets new Beckett is a good twist, too.  When you throw in that they actually allowed some of their humor into the episode, I thought it was great, despite my gripes.

C: Not a classic episode, perhaps, but quite enjoyable. Now let’s see if they can avoid going full melodrama while ramping up the tension next week!

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