Again, sorry for the delay, folks. My fault again, along with some technical difficulties, prevented this review from going up in a timely manner. But it's here now, so read and share your thoughts!
Happy Veteran's Day!
Recap: During the investigation of the murder of an Atlantic City casino owner at an abandoned warehouse, strong leads emerge for the team in both New York and Atlantic City. As Beckett and Capt. Gates work the New York leads together, Castle naturally chooses to join the detectives for the road trip to "America's Playground," hoping to help solve the case while throwing an impromptu bachelor party for Ryan.
Yes, this review is somewhat late, and yes, it's an IMDB recap again. I don’t intend to make a long term habit of borrowing from IMDB, but I've been having some serious issues with my OCD this week, to the point where the original version of the review was a complete and total mess. Hopefully, this is far more coherent. As for why my OCD has been giving me so many issues this week, the answer is simple: this week is the release of Skyrim. A video game that I’m probably playing right now as you read this.
I’m going to start this review by warning you that this is not a positive review. There were a lot of things I had an issue with in this episode. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad episode in fact, it was a perfectly functional episode of Castle, which is part of my problem. After an amazing episode that threw the formula out of the window, we get an episode that sticks so rigidly to the formula that it ended up creating some considerable inconsistencies.
First, we have the fairly standard Castle cliché of one of the first people interviewed actually did the killing. Not a problem in and of itself, though, but when combined with the rest, was irksome. Here's where things got iffy: they needed a considerable period of time to have passed for the ex-wife's initial story to be believable. So first of all, we're meant to suspend disbelief that two people getting divorced, especially when at least one of them actively hates the other’s guts, agreed to stay business partners in a building? Either someone wasn't thinking straight that day or their lawyers were the worst divorce lawyers on the planet.
It was hard to overlook how implausible that was, but what was even worse was the uncomfortable implication that the plot led to. What I mean is that our victim bought the property the concierge's parents lived in and threatened to evict them unless she slept with him. By any reading of the law that’s rape. Now here's where I feel like the writing got lazy: the rape implications seemed glossed over and everybody reacted like the stealing of the 10 million dollars was done to stop that from happening. Except one problem, the property was purchased 18 months ago and everything we were told about the guy was that he didn’t like taking no for an answer and once he's got you he doesn't like letting go.
See where I'm going with this? It just felt like a poor writing choice to me. They got so carried away with sticking to the formula and having all these twists and turns, they forgot about the details and glossed over an implication of serial rape. I know this seems over-dramatic and a bit dark for a review, but I didn't feel like I could let it slide. It wouldn’t have sat right with me.
The best man subplot felt like a cheap excuse to have a laugh at Esposito's expense and allow Castle to be a bigger manchild than normal. It was an episode involving the closest thing the East Coast has to Vegas in the run up to one of the characters getting married, and you're worrying about giving Castle an excuse to be a manchild? The episode premise alone does that. I would have preferred Esposito not being made the butt of everybody’s jokes. The last thing I want to mention is the opening teaser. We get Castle in his Elvis gear being dragged into a room and threats being made. I'm just gonna say it, I thought that was cheap. It's been used before in Castle episodes and to very good effect, but here it wasn't, it was used for cheap tension. When we get to the actual scene, you wonder what’s going to happen, only for that scene to have none of the tension we hoped for at all.
GatesWatch - Another example of the writers being lazy, this time in their characterisation. Gates has been written so far as an interfering busybody that doesn't like Castle. This is consistent with her history as an Internal Affairs investigator; if you're not prepared to be pushy and step on people's toes, you're not going to get far in Internal Affairs. However, this episode makes her look completely incompetent (Maximus: I would say more like willfully in denial more than incompetent, but yeah, I think it’s irritating too) in seeing what's before her. By now we're in the fourth year of Castle working with Beckett, it's hardly a secret. Hell, it's been published in national magazines and openly acknowledged in the dedications of two New York Times best selling novels. There's not a person on that Force that doesn't know what's going on. Beckett was one of the best cops on the Force before Castle came along and she's only gotten better with him around. So why is Gates acting like Beckett is just an above average cop and Castle's holding her back from being something really special? As I said earlier, it just makes her look like she can't see what's staring her right in the face.
FamilyWatch - So from the growing up last week of dumping Ashley, we get the party gone wrong cliché for no reason than to yet again point out that Alexis is the sensible one. We get it, Alexis is the kid every parent wishes they had, move on please. We don’t need to be told again (Maximus: While I love Molly Quinn, I think I agree that this C plot was rather unnecessary).
Moment of the Episode - Even in the not so good episodes there's usually some awesome moments. There's clearly only one contender here: the slow-mo entrance into the casino in the Elvis suits. All three of them cut a pretty good Elvis, and yes, even Espositio.