Castle: Cops And Robbers – A Review
“Tell me you need me.” Did anyone else see the mix of anxiety and puppy love in Beckett’s eyes when she heard Castle say those words to her? Good job on Katic’s part for using one eye to swoon over her true love, while using the other to show the fear of possibly having to return the sentiment, out loud. But, as usual, that didn’t happen.
This episode ran hot and cold for me. Sure, there were good points, but there were a few lackluster points, too. Morse code? Come on and puhleeze… How many of you out there know Morse code, other than to tap out SOS? And to send the signal through thick, tinted glass using a shiny bracelet? It would have been just as realistic to have Lanie read Castle’s thoughts using her telepathic and voodooish crime-solving mind. Hey, speaking of Lanie…she didn’t appear in this episode, and the show once again flowed nicely. I’m telling you, the M.E. scenes are unnecessary stumbling blocks.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s see what Melainie has to say about this one before I continue. Melanie, you’re on…
I won’t even begin to discuss the case in this episode or the fact that the bank robbers named themselves for old TV doctors. I’ll leave that fun to Lee. No Lanie, though, so maybe he won’t rake the writers over the coals too much. Yeah, right! The Morse Code alone… but I digress.
The terror on Kate’s face, especially when the bank blew up, made my stomach clench. And so did the shippery looks between her and Rick — first, when she went into the bank posing as an EMT to get the guy who’d had a seizure, and then later when they went in after the explosion and she had eyes only for Rick, calling only for him. To her relief, they found the hostages, including Rick and Martha, safe inside the vault. Kate gave Rick such a brilliant smile, and she looked as if she wanted to give him a hug and a big kiss — and she might have, if only Martha hadn’t interrupted. Those stupid zip ties.
Rick, Alexis, and Martha shared a group hug when they came out of the bank, while Kate looked on with a weary smile. Then when the case was finally solved, after the obligatory unexpected twist (well, not totally unexpected; I expected a twist, just not that one), Kate invited Rick to go to the Old Haunt for a drink. He declined and took her home to the loft instead. I think he just wanted to be with his family.
When they arrived, Martha wrapped Kate in a giant bear hug that made her roll her eyes. Too funny. Of course, she had witnessed the scene in the bank when Kate and Rick only had eyes for each other. I love that. And she wanted to celebrate life, so she had made quite a spread. My only question is: what the heck was Martha wearing?
Alexis finally got tired of playing phone tag with Ashley, who’s off at college, and broke up with him. Maybe she’ll quit acting like such a brat now. Who knows?
All in all, I liked this episode — especially Kate going to the loft at the end — although I did find the Morse Code thing a bit far-fetched, even for Castle. I mean, really. Who knows Morse Code these days? Rick’s already said he wasn’t a Boy Scout.
I’m looking forward to next week’s show, when Rick and the boys crash Atlantic City and Kate is left in the city to work with Gates. Ack! She definitely got the short end of the stick on that one. Tee hee! Bring it on.
See, even Melanie thought the Morse code thing was dumb, and she’s a die-hard, they-can-never-do-wrong, fan of the show—the good cop. But, as I said, there were several good things going on in the episode. For example…
– The captain ordered Beckett out of the command post. She would have no business butting in on a well-trained hostage negotiation team. I almost applauded the writers for this one. Beckett cannot run the entire NYPD. But…as usual, they brought her in anyway. She talks to the bad guy on the phone for quite a while, meaning the robber knows her voice, right? Well, Beckett goes inside posing as a paramedic and talks to people with the robber standing nearby. Wouldn’t you recognize the voice? I know I would. And so would the robber.
And, hey, how about that snug, form-fitting paramedic’s uniform Beckett just happened to find out there in the street. Convenient, huh?
– A teller noted that the robbers pulled the “trigger bills” from the cash drawers. This is true. Some banks have cash drawers set up in this manner—pulling the bottom bills triggers the silent alarm. That’s why tellers are more than happy to clean out their cash drawers during a holdup.
– Ryan brought up the old cop’s joke about gaining entry into a house without a search warrant. One cop stands at the front door with door-kicking foot at ready, while his partner goes to the back door. Once in position, the officer at the back door yells, “Help! Police!” The officer at the front then kicks in the door, finds the evidence he was hoping to locate, and can then safely testify that his probable cause for entry without a warrant was that he heard a cry for help coming from somewhere near the rear of the house. Classic and corny cop humor.
– One of my favorite lines in the show was delivered by Esposito. Ryan was spouting off a bunch of far-fetched, Castlesque “what-if’s,” and Espo said, “Hey, Castle, Jr. Could you start thinking like a cop, please.”
– Of course, things began to go a little bit downhill when, as usual, Beckett sort of took over the hostage negotiations, knowing more about the job than the highly-skilled team that had responded to the scene.
– Okay, when the guy had a seizure and Paramedic Beckett went in to take him out, I was practically yelling at the TV, “He’s a bad guy, He’s a bad guy!” But she didn’t listen to me and helped the thug make his escape. How could she be “so sharp” about everything else in the cop world, and let this so-obvious tactic slip by?
– The bad guy goes to ALL THAT trouble—killing people, a bank robbery, hostages, the escape plan, etc.—to get an address from a safety deposit box, and he still doesn’t kill his ex-wife? Instead, he tells her he wants her to feel the pain of knowing he has their kid…Another scream-at-the-TV moment. Come on, writers…
– The cops do catch the escaped seizure guy, but did you happen to notice that the cop closest to the bad guy had a six-shooter aimed at the thug? How many of today’s cops carry revolvers? What happened, the prop department run out of semi-autos? I guess they issued the last one to the bank robber.
Two more good points:
– The dinner party. Now that was a great way of showing a budding relationship without having to go too mushy. It seemed natural and, if my intuition is right, will go a long way toward stirring the flames under a whole lot of Castle fans.
Alexis. Was it just me, or were you also waiting for her to go up in flames at the bank? You know what I mean… I was beginning to think the child was actually a vampire, since she never, ever goes outside the darkened Castle abode (I think the folks from CSI control the lighting in the Castle apartment). So, naturally, when the warm sunshine touched that alabaster skin, I was expecting her to go WHOOSH! A ball of flames and eerie, swirling smoke.
At least Alexis ended that annoying long-distance relationship with the never-seen, imaginary Ashley. Maybe the writers can now give her a normal life. And please, let her go outside to play once in a while. The girl could use a little vitamin D in her life…
I’m pretty sure the reason the cop at the end had a revolver is because he’s part of the plot, setting up a future sequel. After all, you never saw his face…
Catching up late with this post but all your Castle reviews are worth the read, Lee (and Melanie). Thanks for pointing out the ‘Castle Jr.’ line. Guess I missed it during the show.
Darn. The formatting took out my extra spaces.
. . . / – . . / – . . . / . – – – – / . . – – – / – – – – –
If you guess right, this is the SDB120. Now, take a moment and fake the covering and uncovering of your “bracelet reflector” to send this message. Morse Code timing has dit(.) as one unit. Dah(-) is three units. Time between elements is one unit. Time between letters is three units. Time between words is seven units. That gives you an idea of the cadence for sending.
Trying to emulate the speed in the show, this is 30-40 seconds per each send. So sending multiple times is a many minute affair. Certainly doable, but it seems like it would look very suspicious very quickly.
I should have also posted.
Who can decode: . . . – . . – . . . . – – – . . – – – – – – – –
I’m an Extra Class HAM, and while we don’t have to learn Morse any more, many of us do. I’m not very good at it, but it is an interesting way to chat. Like IM’ing from a different age. This was actually hard, due to the dahs being run together. Most that are trying to use translators are having issues with the dah-dah-di-di-dah-dah or the di-di-dah-dah-di-dit as these are punctuation.
THE QUESTION IS, WHO DOES NOM KNOW MORSE CODE?
This took me about a minute, because the dahs. I also think that the last letter of the sixth word should be di-dah-dah (W) instead of dah-dah-dah (M).
I can accept the Morse Code as a story device, but as soon as Becket said she know who should go in, I assumed one of her team. I couldn’t believe that she would be the one. Let alone the possibility that they want to call while the paramedic is there.
It took me about 30 seconds to google “morse code decoder” and about another 30 to copy and paste Jonathan’s message into the translation box… it came out as gibberish.
– …. . / –.- ..- . … – .. — -. / .. … –..– / .– …. — / -.. — . … / -. — – / -.- -. — .– / — — .-. … . / -.-. — -.. . ..–..
perhaps this is why you were having such a hard time figuring it out.
As a writer, I can accept that Castle knew morse code. I know that I’ve done some pretty crazy things in the name of research. I remember a particular Castle episode where Martha comes home to find Rick on the kitchen floor, bound and gagged with duct tape because he was trying to figure out a way for his character to get free without assistance—been there, done that, so… yeah, I buy it. Not so sure I buy the fact that he transmitted his message with Martha’s bracelet.
Oh, and the sight I used for the morse code conversion was onlineconversion.com.
I like Beckett’s sessions with the shrink, too. The only problem for me is that the scenes are very reminiscent of Tony Soprano’s visits to his psychiatrist. Maybe they’re intentionally copycatting those scenes.
I didn’t get to watch this live (I live in Kansas City, so was glued to Monday Night Football) but caught it yesterday on HULU.
Even with my toddlers distracting me, I caught most of what you mentioned, but I agree with some of the other commenters: the MORSE CODE thing could very well be some odd-ball thing Castle would know, having researched it for a book. Still, if they’d foreshadowed it some… even in a previous episode (within the last few episodes, so one would be less likely to forget it), it would have worked better. Plus, Castle’s message was short enough that it couldn’t have taken THAT long to decode it.
Loved the budding romance growing–the part where Beckett came in after the bomb had me grinning from ear to ear, especially when Martha got involved! 🙂
Still, I’d be interested to see more of Michael Dorn (the shrink, and WORF from Star Trek: The Next Generation) in future episodes. He’s only been in a few minutes, and I’m really curious about him (mostly because I only know him as a Klingon) and how Beckett works through what happened to her, and her relationship with Castle.
Anyone noticing the pattern? The “this is my favorite episode” comments always seem to follow the shows WITHOUT an appearance by Lanie. I’m just saying…
I had the same experience decoding Jonathon’s message — once I de-munged the danged autocorrect, the actual translation took only seconds using an on-line translator.
It did seem a bit odd to me that Castle knew Morse, but he does know a lot of weird trivia.
When Beckett walked in dressed as an EMT, my first thought was “but the bad guy has heard her voice!” But I noticed that they seemed careful to only have her talk in a low voice to Castle — she never spoke loud or addressed any of the bad guys directly. And the one bad guy that had talked to her on the phone didn’t come near, so it did seem like they were trying to make that plausible. But yeah, they shouldn’t have sent in Beckett, that was too risky.
Overall, this is probably my favorite episode this season.
One more thing that bothered me–at the end when our intrepid heroes were at the station and within two minutes figured out the entire scheme through their usual crazy reasoning. But the episode was close to the 40 minute mark and so the writers had to wrap it up quickly.
I enjoyed this episode of “Castle” except it was unbelievable like you mentioned that Kate went in as a paramedic and the bank robber or mercenary didn’t recognize her voice. I liked how there was more sensual tension and emotion between Kate and Castle. Their eyes for each other spoke volumes.
OK, I’ll admit to not getting the above message very easily, but mostly it’s because of the autocorrect for the dashes — I can’t tell which are one, two, or three dashes in a row, or where the spaces are. Once I got that worked out, I stuck it in here: http://morsecode.scphillips.com/cgi-bin/morse.cgi and got most of the message. With some tweaking, I got there. However, most of the time was used on figuring out how to turn that dang autocorrect off of Word! Hmm… 1/2 hour dealing with Microsoft, 10 seconds on the Internet!
William – There were quite a few tiny holes in this episode. That was one.
Castle Fan. You have Jonathan’s coded message in front of you. Please use your computer and see how long it takes you to decipher it. I’m curious to know how long it would take you. I have the code written in front of me and still didn’t do very well, and I was Boy Scout who studied the stuff while earning merit badges. So I’m a little familiar with it. Still not much luck.
I do believe, however, it showed Beckett translating as the scene progressed.
Screen time is an obvious indicator, huh? 🙂
Oh, come on… it’s believable that Castle would learn Morse code — that’s the kind of trivia he thrives on. The cops in the van were sitting there in front of a computer… it would have taken all of 5 seconds to find a Morse Code Translator on the Internet. The scene didn’t show them actually knowing it right away — they could have written down his dots and dashes, gotten the translation via the Internet, and then cut to the scene we see, where they’re discussing what it meant.
However, the bad guy hostage was obvious from how much screen time he got… I’ve been reading these reviews too much, and knew that must mean that he was involved. ;-P
You’ve proven my point, Jonathan. No one knows what the heck you’ve written, and it would take a while to decipher it even if you’d studied Morse code as part of book research. Well, unless you use it all the time and know it quite well.
– …. . / –.- ..- . … – .. — -. / .. … –..– / .– …. — / -.. — . … / -. — – / -.- -. — .– / — — .-. … . / -.-. — -.. . ..–..
Joe, the same is true for placement of tools and things on an officer’s duty belt. TV cops often place things in incorrect and awkward positions. Or, they leave off vital parts of the belt.
MigalouchUD – Yes, I think that by covering up Montgomery’s involvement in criminal activity, Beckett and crew are breaking the law. And I, too, wondered how the writers would get out of the corner they’ve written themselves into. Then again, it seems to me as if they think their viewers are a bit on the “slow” side, so it probably doesn’t matter to them if they never address the issue.
Sally. Good analysis. I agree, the payoff was lousy. A real let-down.
I agree with the comments about the unrealistic Morse Code (and how about how Beckett magically figured out the message Rick was sending?). I liked plenty in this episode, such as the feeling of fear inside the bank, the departure from the usual investigation format (although the killer was still somebody they talked to early in the show!), a chance to get Alexis and Martha out of the apartment set.
I love the scene of Martha pleased with the man who liked her acting. She’s always the diva! Also good to see Alexis acting like a scared child who needs her father, not the one giving him advice.
Not only does Rick know Morse Code but he’s an expert at bombs and can recognize C4 explosives at a glance. But then, this is the guy who can disarm bombs by yanking out the wires.
We saw Ashley in the ep when Alexis lost his pet rat. He seemed like an average awkward teenage boy, not the sort of smart character I’d expect for Alexis.
The unbelievable bits–the robbers letting the hostages go free. Even with surgical masks on the hostages could have IDed them.
Inside the bank Castle seemed far too calm. Even for hanging out with the cops he’s still a civilian and not trained to deal with such situations.
Once again Kate lets her emotions get out of hand, such as threatening “Trapper John” with “I’ll put a bullet through your head.” In last week’s ep she’s calm and rational and today she almost loses it. Yes, Castle’s life was at stake but still…
Castle tells “Trapper John” he’s figured out the robbers’ plan and he’s allowed to live?
All that trouble of setting up the bank robbery just to find an address? The bad guy could have tapped into the bank’s survelliance camera and zoomed in on the documents in the safe deposit box when it was open to read the address. He could disguise himself as the go-between and tell the bank he lost the key and needed a new one to open the box. I was expecting a far bigger payoff, such as the box had documents vital to US security or plans of a terrorist plot.
Loved the end of the show when C/B campare the number of times they’ve saved each other’s life. Flirting at its best!
This ep was a nice enough attempt (as much as you could expect from Castle’s writers) at changing the usual formula of the show. It was a “heavier” ep without the soap drama they’ve come to love given that they left room for humor which could not be different since Martha had more screen time.
Anyway, the morse code and the paramedic thing seem to fit right in amongst a lot of other ridiculous events Castle throws our way. Anyone remember the “let’s yank all the wires so the bomb won’t explode”? That kind of stuff makes it obvious to me that the writers have given up on creativity/believability and just rely most of the time now on the skills of the cast, mainly Fillion and Katic.
And the same goes for the C/B relationship, no one w/ a bit of sense can truly believe that two attractive grown-ups working together for 4 years wouldn’t have gone further than this two have, for better or for worse.
For all that, these days I don’t expect much reality from Castle, I just seat back and hope to get a few laughs. Anything other than that would just make me want to grab my tv and throw it out the window.
Thanks, Pat. lol I did like this episode… but the paramedic stuff bothered me, too. I didn’t really care, though, b/c it got Kate inside the bank with Rick for a few minutes — and the looks that passed between them were worth sacrificing a little realism, IMHO. My third favorite scene.
Oh, Steve, I just love your little scene. But even the Girl Scouts had dropped Morse Code before Beckett was old enough to be one.
Yes, Lee, I questioned where Beckett go the uniform that ‘fit.’ Joe, I wondered why they didn’t send in another ‘real’ paramedic who would not only know what to do but would be able to help put the guy on the stretcher. I figured the foaming at the mouth was just a Hollywood visual thing. Lee, I did not realize the ill man was the bad guy, I guess I was too tangled up in the Beckett/Castle romance part.
Love this episode but even more I loved yours and Melanie’s review.
But the key to fiction is writing it so it’s believable. And they just don’t make that effort on this show, at least not very often. Have any of you watched Grimm? Now that’s a far-fetched as can be, but the writers make it seem as if that sort of thing could actually happen.
The Morse code thing didn’t bother me. I can see Castle taking the time to learn it. He’s just that kind of goofy, research nut that he’d want to know it for something he’d written so it didn’t seem so far fetched to me.
Kate donning the paramedic’s uniform was the sticking point for me but hey, it’s TV and it gave me a Castle/Beckett hand holding moment so I can let the implausibility of it go.
Love the comments here about Alexis bursting into flames. She is incredibly pale. That girl could definitely use some time in the sun.
You cut TV slack as you do in any fiction, the suspension of disbelief: What if … ? And “Once upon a time …” but that doesn’t buy a free pass, and sometimes it steps over the line. I was a Boy Scout. I knew Morse code, and my father was a ham radio operator, who really knew it, but I couldn’t remember enough if it to send anything other than an S0S these days. That both Castle and Kate can? You could have set that up with a short scene anywhere in the series:
Now what are you doing, Castle?
He waves a book.
Learning Morse code. I have a scene
in which my character uses it.
Even though nobody really knows it any more,
not even Western Union.
Actually, I got the Communications
Merit badge when I was a Girl Scout.
Why are you smiling?
I’m picturing you in a Girl Scout uniform.
She shakes her head. Daring him to say something about cookies …
I’m probably the only one who liked the Morse code, although it was far-fetched. I’ve always wanted to learn Morse code, just in case, so I downloaded a Morse code app and sometimes practice on Sundays when church starts dragging. (Gotta remember to mute…) So it was a wow moment for me, goofy as it was.
As for the ending…there’s no way Martha cooked that spread in the few hours she had at home after being a hostage. Does she even cook? We know she’s not into cleaning. And we know she’s got takeout down cold. Or reheated. In any case, the warm moments were nice, the twist was well foreshadowed, and now (thanks to Joe!) I know how to distinguish a fake paramedic. Cool!
i actually thought this one was more back on track of the older episodes we liked. There was Martha, always a hoot, and a nice tough of the simmering romance between Kate and Castle. Having him bring her home at the end spoke volumes. OK, the Morse code thing was super-unrealistic, but hey, it’s fiction!
One of the big things that I had a problem with was Kate being a paramedic. Surely there are tactical medics on the SWAT team who probably would have had a bit more medical training and at least know how to dress–you never put your trauma shears and other stuff on the front of your belt as it prevents you from being able to bend over.
Another problem was that the seizure patient didn’t act like one: I’ve never seen one foam at the mouth–it may happen but in 12+ years as a paramedic and 7+ years as an ER tech, it isn’t something that I’ve ever seen; a great number of seizure patients also lose control of their bladder; no physical exam–at least shine a light into the guy’s eyes and check a pulse; no asking if the patient fell and struck his head which means that he should be secured to a long spine board; not asking as to how long the seizure was, etc.
I could go on and on, but everyone should get the idea…
So, this was an episode where I wanted to throw stuff at the TV!
Critical Care Paramedic/Firefighter
Did I miss something about Agnes and the BadGuySoninLaw hating each other or she disowned him? Remember, the wife and son were officially deceased, there was no divorce, so technically he was still a family member. It would have been a lot simpler for Agnes to die (be killed, whatever) and as her ‘last living family’, BGSiL would have had legal access to the box eventually.
Or did I miss something indicating otherwise?
Ashley did appear early last season, but not in season two. Owen took Alexis to the prom that season. Just FYI.
Now I can’t wait to see it. I’ll look for all the stuff you’ve pointed out.
Lee I have a question and it doesn’t pertain to this episode, but in fact one aspect of the Beckett’s mother’s killer story arc, and I was wondering if you would be willing to tackle it regarding Castle.
We know the show is portraying the late Captain Montgomery as a hero, however I am a bit skeptical based upon his past actions. Specifically I am speaking of how he helped kidnap members of the mafia back when he was a rookie with McCallister and Raglan, is the actual killer of Undercover FBI Agent Avery whose murder Pulgatti took the fall for, seems to have been involved with the cover-ups of Johanna Beckett and FBI Agent Avery’s deaths, seems to have known that Johanna Beckett was killed to preserve his innocence and chosen to possibly cover that up as well, and finally the possibility that he may have been intentionally steering Beckett into dead ends regarding her mother’s case.
Now morally I know what he did was wrong, but my question stems from the actions of the rest of the characters upon knowing this. What is the legality/cop side of the fact that Beckett and the boys are choosing to cover the entire thing up and not report it to their superiors or IA? What sort of trouble would they be getting in, since it seems they are intentionally covering up a murderer’s identity? Does Montgomery’s confession count as credible evidence to the point where they could get Pulgatti, the mobster who took the fall for FBI Agent Avery’s death, a retrial and possibly freed.
I know this topic is a hot debate amongst some fans and I was wondering if you had a cops perspective on what I am seeing as a HUGE plot hole that the writers seem to have completely overlooked. In other words I don’t exactly see how they can resolve Beckett’s mother’s case now without revealing Montgomery’s involvement in Pulgatti’s death, and ultimately incriminating themselves for covering up Montgomery’s identity.
Thank you in advance!
Stress – I, too, remember seeing Ashley a LONG time ago, so long ago that he now seems imaginary. They needed to lose the character a while ago and move on.
I have to say that, technically, we *did* see Ashley. He showed up in a couple of episodes in… it was either late second season or early third season, I forget which.
You’re right though in that we haven’t seen him beyond those couple of (brief) appearances. I’m almost positive we saw him pick up Alexis when they went to prom together.
I’d have been willing to let Castle skate on the actual knowing of Morse code. After all, it’s been well established that he does extensive research in his writing and he seems to have at times a near photographic memory so I’d have been willing to just write it off as him having learned morse code for one of his books but the whole ‘sunlight off the bracelet thing’ was a step too far. Not to mention that Beckett would know it off the top of her head on her end.
One thing I liked (that I didn’t see either of our esteemed reviewers mention) is we see Beckett and Castle kind of ‘thinking together’ again. Even when they’re separated they’re thinking parallels one another’s and they’re still filling in different pieces of the puzzle. It goes a long way towards also cementing their relationship — it shows how much they’re kind of in each other’s heads after all this time. Like watching couples finish each other’s sentances.
I’m impatient for Beckett to say something to Castle about her feeling. It’s getting to be irritating that she doesn’t say anything.
I’m glad that Alexis ended her relationship with Ashley, too. The writers made a good call there. But it was nice to see her acting like a girl instead of just being the perfect daughter. The very pale-faced perfect daughter. 🙂
I cracked up when I read your comments about the Morse Code, Lee. And I did wonder about Kate going into the bank… yes, the guy she’d talked to on the phone would have recognized her voice. Duh.
And you brought up something I forgot. The “I need you” theme. Rick said, “Tell me you need me” to Kate on the phone (and you nailed her reaction perfectly) and then later Alexis was telling Ashley’s voice mail: “I need you.” Forgot to point that out in my comments. One relationship is cranking up (slowly, yes, but they’re getting there) and another just dashed against the rocks. I love it.