Castle, Season Two (2009)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Watching the first season of Castle left my mom and I in a quandary thanks to its terrible cliffhanger, an ending we were not expecting coming from such a feel-good, entertaining show. (This inevitably meant I would - from then on be using the Internet for spoilers on yet another show.) Waiting for the second set to release turned out to be a mild form of agony because we wanted to know what happened to the sparring Det. Beckett and the annoying Castle. Alas, the opening was a letdown in terms of much insight – happily that doesn’t hold true in season two's conclusion.

Things are now strained between famed novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Fillon) and his novel “inspiration,” Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). Her mother's murder is the one case Beckett asked Castle to leave alone, and that was the one case he just couldn’t keep away from. Finding something that the coroner never did means Castle’s brief stint as a “consultant” is over – as far as Beckett is concerned except for one last meeting. A magazine wants to do a piece on Castle which includes an interview with Beckett – the woman behind his latest character and a photo shoot to accompany their story. Unfortunately for Beckett, a call comes in and thanks to her boss wanting good press she is forced to let Castle tag along. The victim is found in a tree, supposedly pushed off a balcony. Although everyone from detectives, Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huetas) to coroner, Lani Parish (Tamala Jones) are surprised to see Castle on the scene, each treat him as an outsider. Bizarre twists soon take precedence when the body is stolen!
Putting aside differences for the one case, Beckett goes into investigator mode, determined to catch yet another killer while Castle not only handles his over-zealous, dramatic mother (Susan Sullivan) but his daughter, Alexis (Molly Quinn) is dealing with all the ups and downs of a first love. As it would happen it may be Alexis has more wisdom to offer her beloved father than he does for her.

There are numerous changes right off the bat as season two begins. Perhaps not the most insignificant of which is the ladies have all gotten a bit of a makeover. Kate has been made-up to look softer and more feminine to counteract the hard-nosed persona that she has created to become the best in her line of work. Wardrobe is a great deal different for her too; she looks much classier just during her day-to-day work than the typical tomboy cop she appeared during the freshman season. Many kinks have been worked out, and there doesn’t seem to be as much pliable tension between the two leads… at first. At the end of the first season, Castle opened old wounds, wounds that had taken Beckett a long time to overcome. Having said that, I think the reason that the cliffhanger wasn’t played up was because that is an ongoing plot throughout. Differences are likely in part due to the fact that season two is its first “full” run; season one was just a summer trial. Half the characters are either exactly the same or slightly different with new personality quirks. I’ve come to appreciate all the supporting players in addition to the leads, but no one is more memorable than Alexis; Ryan and Esposito are an entertaining duo, and the leads continue to be a good pair - kinda like “Starsky and Hutch.”

Cases are set up much differently. Before, the opening was always mysterious with catchy music as the camera panned the murder scenes, which I thought was kind of unique. Now the show didn’t always open that way, and when it did, there is something not quite as attention-grabbing. Thankfully, the aftermath of murders is all we’re asked to watch. Castle and Beckett constantly spar back and forth, and it is often “understood” they are attracted to each other. Alexis’ attempts to navigate her high school days are filled with plenty of angst, but she is such a doll and nearly all of her scenes are filled with purpose: she questions boys’ motives and wonders why they must always offer excuses, “why can’t they just say ‘sorry’?”  Alexis is taken out of the home environment we usually see her in and placed at the precinct on occasion, a very smart move on writers’ part. It’s been a joy to see her interact with Beckett while Castle and Beckett share some genuinely poignant moments (note the inscription in his book). At the risk of over praising Alexis’ character, let me just say that in a comedic crime genre, she is a refreshing part of the show. She and Castle’s relationship is far from clich├ęd; he is always there for her without being one of those typical  dads who lets work come in-between their relationship while she is very respectful and honest with him, minus one or two exceptions. Probably, although much was memorable on this return trip, the best episode came in the arc “Tick, Tick, Tick…” and “Boom!” (both were fabulous). On the surface, this may appear nothing special, but look deeper and I think you’ll find more than just comedy is driving Castle’s page-turning popularity.
(Victims are strangled, drowned, shot. Flirting and scattered crude quips make up the majority of any sexual material. The two episodes “concerning” are “Vampire Weekend” in which the crime-fighting duo uncover a “vampire” at a cemetery – with a stake through his heart. (As a part of their interviews, Castle and Beckett go to the club where various couples are making out and/or “biting” on others.) “The Mistress Always Spanks Twice” is a semi-graphic case in which the victim is found hanging by custom-made sex toy handcuffs. This leads to them investigating a “legal” sex operation that “punishes” guys; complete with whips, leather clad mistresses and the like. Castle has a brief fling with an actress who uses him. Pop culture serves as a backdrop for “Famous Last Words” proving a scary reality at the kind of song lyrics teens listen too; a teen has her punch spiked at a party. Another episode involves an “escort service.”)


  1. Castle keeps getting better with every season! It is amazing!! I don't know which episodes have been my favorite--I like portions of all of them.

    Oh, I do not mind at ALL if you link to my blog! Do you mind if I ever did for you?!

  2. Thanks, Ella! Right now, I don't think I have any readers that will be new for you, but since we review/like a lot of the same stuff, I thought it'd be fun to link to some of your reviews. =)

    And, if you ever want to do it with anything here, yes, that is fine.


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