It’s a sign of this dramedy’s growth that we put Stana Katic’s name in the headline and not just Nathan Fillion’s. The season 2 opener was Det. Kate Beckett’s best episode yet. Even though she was cold to Castle, I wager that old (and, fingers crossed, new) Castle fans warmed to her. Could be the auburn hair, or the sweaters…something different, and I liked it.
As we quickly found out, Beckett had not forgiven Castle for going against her wishes and poking around her mother’s murder file. (He discovered that three people died the same way she did, around the same time: a former law student of hers, a documents clerk, and a lawyer for a non-profit.) But Beckett made him a deal: He could help solve one last case to look good for a magazine profile being written on him and the NYPD (pictured: the photo shoot), then he would go peacefully. The episode’s case was more intricate than we’re used to — a strangled man’s body was found in a tree, and on the way to the morgue, it was stolen from the medical examiner’s van. Turns out the guy had lost his job and gotten into serious debt playing poker in Chinatown with Russian mobsters who offed him before he could fulfill his fast-cash duty as a drug mule. But really, the murder was just a set-up for Castle being his charming self and Beckett getting to save his ass while using a fake Russian accent and looking hellahot.
Castle’s best quip came when he was watching the inside of a glove be dusted for fingerprints: “You want me to put on some music? Whenever they do this sort of thing on CSI, they always do it to music in poorly lit rooms. Kinda reminds me of porn.” The runner-up quote was when he revealed his theory about why the strangle marks were lighter in one spot: “Maybe he’s fancy. Strangles people with his pinkie stickin’ out. [Hand gesture] Like tea.” Honorary mention goes to his reaction to Beckett’s sexed-up appearance after she rescued him from a Russian mobster who’d gotten wise to him at the underground card game he infiltrated: “Is it just my imagination or did you change?” (I love that Castle never tries to hide the fact that Beckett turns him on. If he did, no one ‚ including guest star/poker buddy Stephen J. Cannell, would buy it anyway.) He was equally clever off the clock. After he sulked about daughter Alexis (Molly Quinn) wanting to go see Fame with her boyfriend instead of him (SWOON), he made sure she knew he had dibs on A Christmas Carol, which made mother Martha (Susan Sullivan) ask if Hollywood had run out of ideas: “Well, they just optioned Asteroid the video game, so my guess is yes,” he said. “But Ryan Reynolds is playing the wee triangle, and he’s good.” Do we think that was a Fillion improv?
So, were you happy with Castle’s return? Do you agree that all it would take for Beckett to forgive Castle was for him to finally stop justifying his interference and just admit that he was wrong and apologize? (Because he was sincere, I buy it.) Would you like to see the writers dive into Beckett’s mother’s murder, or keep it as the ace storyline that’s played only during Sweeps? (I’m gonna go with the latter, but only because I can live for months on that scene in which Castle told Beckett she didn’t have to do it alone this time.) And if you were Beckett, would you reopen the case or keep it cold? I have to admit, I’m finding it hard to relate to her argument that the idea of catching her mother’s killer and watching him cut a deal to be back out on the street after 10 years is worse than knowing you’re sitting by and not trying to get him behind bars at all. I guess that’s why she was so angry with Castle: His strong leads will eventually force her to be consumed with catching the guy, like she had been for her first three years on the force. She knows she can live with the pain of uncertainty; she doesn’t know if she’d survive a resolution that she’d have no control over.
Photo credit: Michael Desmond/ABC