Castle: Countdown – A Review

Castle: Countdown

What can be said about this episode of Castle? Well, not a lot by me. There was very little police procedure to screw up. And Castle has completely taken over all investigations, solving every single case that comes along. Seems that Beckett and crew have suddenly become so incompetent that they have to rely on the investigative skills of a mystery writer to save New York from the evil-doers. So that makes it difficult to evaluate the police procedure since he’s not a cop. Therefore, my role this week was easy, and brief. But Melanie’s going first again so I’ll turn things over to her. Melanie…

Melanie Atkins

Well, last week Lee wasn’t pleased with the show, and I was. I don’t know what he thinks this week, at least not yet, but this time I’m not a happy camper. Marlowe turned the tables on us, and I don’t like it.

Yes, I enjoyed the freezer scenes, the theory building, and the search for the bomb. All of that had a bit of a “movie” feel. Not bad.

But seriously…what in the name of everything holy is Kate still doing with Josh? Okay, sure. He’s a doctor. I thought he might play a part after they were rescued from the cooler, if his plane didn’t take off for Haiti… but I also thought Kate would kick him to the curb after that. I mean, seriously! Is she blind? Can’t she see that Rick loves her?

I have hope, though, that she might eventually get a clue, as evidenced by these points:

• The way Rick looked at Kate when she went to Josh after they talked near the ambulance. He was stunned. Sucker-punched. Had the wind knocked out of his sails. Use whatever cliché you want – it hurt.

• The brokenhearted look he gave her after he sent Alexis and Martha to the Hamptons. He wasn’t just thinking about them; he was also picturing her with Josh and thinking that he’d never have a chance with her.

• The way Kate watched Rick as he built theory with Fallon while they were searching for the bomb. I’m convince that her heart wants him, but her head won’t let her admit it because he’s Rick Castle.

• They almost died together – again – after they found the bomb, and they shared a delicious hug afterwards. Sure, they were celebrating being alive, but it was sweet nonetheless. They’ve shared so much together. Surely something should click soon.

• During their celebration over beers at the precinct, Esposito said, “You guys don’t know how lucky you are.” And Rick looked at Kate and said, “Actually, I do.” That look says it all. He’s in love with her. Everybody in the room picked up on it… except, apparently, Kate. Or maybe she just ignored it because she’s scared.

• Before Josh (the ass) showed up at the end, Rick was about to ask Kate out… or something. Maybe he wanted her to go for a drink. We’ll never know, because he apparently saw Josh arrive and changed what he was going to say – a mirror image of what happened in last year’s season finale when Kate changed what she was going to say (telling Rick she’d go to the Hamptons with him) when Gina showed up.) And yes, this hurt just as much. Aarrgghh!!

• Josh took Kate in his arms, but she was looking at Rick as he walked away — even though he kept his eyes averted and never looked at her again. I guess seeing them together was just too hard to take.

So yes, I still have hope. But this hurts almost as much as watching A Deadly Game at the end of last season. I hope Marlowe will take pity on us shippers and ditch Dr. Motorcycle Boy at the first opportunity. I’m ready to buy him a ticket to Haiti myself.

Melanie…This episode actually made me miss Lanie Parish. Why? Because it was a snooze fest for me. Boring. Boring. Boring. Your hero, Marlowe, seems to have let us down this time. And, as I said in the opening paragraph, there wasn’y a lot of police procedure involved in this hour of…whatever it was. But…

I think the DHS agent was written as a hard-nosed guy that we were supposed to dislike. But I didn’t. Actually, he ended up playing a decent part. I just wish he’d have just that ***hole in the interrogation room. At least that might have provided a teeny bit of tension in what was supposed to be a nail-biter of an episode.

– DHS agent tells the captain to get him a list of all the significant events going on in the city. What? Where is he from, Happyland, Idaho? They’re in New York City for goodness sake. The task of listing every event going on there would be like having Lanie Parish say something intelligent about forensics…not happening.

– How about how Ryan and Esposito found Beckett and Castle? In a city the size of New York, those two searched places they thought Beckett and Castle would go (yeah, right), and then they saw her car, went inside the right building, saw a light in the storage container, and voilà, there were the two human popsicles. How could they see a light in a container that was sealed tightly enough to be used as a freezer? It would have been much more believable had a patrol officer found the car while doing what they do…patrolling.

– Why was Josh working from an ambulance? Isn’t he a doctor…a miracle worker? Wouldn’t the paramedics who actually would work there be the right people to treat the sick and injured in the field? And…even if Josh did need the extra money, what are the chances that he’d be in that ambulance, in that part of the city, responding to that call?

– Beckett tells her crew that patrol units located the crook’s missing cell phone in a dumpster. Yeah, that could happen. In a city the size of New York, how many dumpsters do you think they’d have to search to find a tiny cell phone? It would be difficult to search one dumpster and be lucky enough to find a phone under all the garbage. Besides, did every single patrol officer stop what they were doing to paw through dumpsters?

– I quickly grew weary of Castle pointing out every single clue and case-solving aspect, including the ID theft of the soldier. For a split second there, the DHS agent and Beckett and crew looked like the Three Stooges while Castle explained how the ID theft would have occurred, and why. Something a rookie would have known two days BEFORE entering a police academy.

– And then there’s the scene where everyone chases the bad guy down the street. Well, they catch the guy, draw their weapons, and begin yelling the usual, “Hands up!” sort of commands. BUT, the suspect was standing directly between Beckett and the DHS guy, who were both pointing the pistols at the slimebag’s chest. Can you say CROSSFIRE? Had either, or both of them fired their weapon(s) there was a good chance the round(s) could have passed through the bad guy’s body, killing both him and Beckeet and DHS guy. Not to mention that Castle was standing next to the suspect AND an innocent civilian looky-loo stood just to Beckett’s right.

– And pulling out ALL the wires from the bomb? I’m not even going to address that nonsense.

Needless to say, I didn’t like this episode. Not at all. The cast is far better than the writing of this one. When the show ended, my wife made a comment that summed it up nicely. She said, “After that, it would be difficult for future episodes to ‘underdo’ this one.”

14 replies
  1. lorilake
    lorilake says:

    Lee – I DVR’d the two eps and watched them together last night, so I just finally got to your reviews here. Everyone has covered every issue (and gosh, weren’t there a lot!) EXCEPT one small detail, something maybe only someone who lived 26 years in Minnesota would be peeved by.

    A freezer is, indeed, set at or slightly below freezing level, but that’s only maybe 30 degrees give or take. Believe me, that’s NOT that cold —- or it’s not that cold if you aren’t so stupid as to sit down on the frozen floor and lean against the frozen wall to transfer the cold into your resting muscles! All they had to do was stay on their feet, move around, run in place occasionally, and they could have lasted HOURS – probably DAYS – without reaching the point of hypothermia. They’d have died of dehydration first.

    Neither Castle nor Beckett are that stupid. The writers had them lounging on the floor in one another’s arms merely for romance purposes. Well, I’m sorry, but who’s so stupid as to want to freeze to death for a cold squeeze? I just *SO* did not believe that one!!
    🙂 Lori

  2. TheJZB
    TheJZB says:

    No, these reviews are delightful and informative. Nicely done. Where I see free-for-all’s is on news sites and other public places where people lie in wait to attack anyone they might possibly disagree with. Kind of like my cat, waiting for an ankle to pass by so that he can pounce. I don’t see anything like that on this blog, which is why I contributed my little bit. I’d been reading this for a couple of months.

    Actually, all the Castle-philes I’ve encountered are polite and enjoy repartee.

  3. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Janet – Thanks for stopping by. Great comments, too. And I also agree with the comments you posted at the Castle site. I’m curious, though. You’re saying these reviews are normally expressions of rage?

  4. TheJZB
    TheJZB says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading this blog and the comments. What a change to read thoughtful, clever comments rather than the usual angry vitriol. To add my two cents…

    I was moved by the background music as the nearly-dead-in-the-freezer scene ended, and I thought Nathan did particularly well in delivering lines that could have been melodramatic (to Martha and Alexis, primarily).

    Re Motorcycle Doc who needs a haircut (or at least a wash and a set), I eventually decided that he was at the ambulance because he’d called to say Beckett wasn’t picking up, and R&E told him where to come. Naturally, he drives around with a stethoscope around his neck.

    The problem was that the viewer shouldn’t be focusing on the logic of the plot, just like a reader shouldn’t have to go back and reread sentences to figure out what they mean. The writing should be invisible, just as the acting should be invisible. Perhaps the scripts need better editing or continuity.

    Monday night I went to to check the schedule, and got invited to take a Castle survey. It asked which characters I thought were necessary, which I liked, whether I thought the two-parter was as good as last year’s (it wasn’t), and what I liked and didn’t like. I said I’d like this painful period to end, and I’d like Beckett to quit being a selfish ninny about relationships.

    Plot development by polling?? Curious approach.


  5. WilliamSimon
    WilliamSimon says:

    Thanks, Lee! You’re right, it has been a while. It was not intentional to be gone so long…:)

    Sally, I love the ‘theater’ idea! That would be an instant classic.

    Personal fantasy, I’m waiting for a case to take them overseas, preferably to England. I can just picture Beckett’s face when RC looks at the ground on the moors, and yells, “These are the footprints of a giant hound!” It’s a big dog, Castle. “It’s a Giant Hound!” (This may not work writing it out, but trust me, it’s hysterically funny in my head…:))

  6. Sally C.
    Sally C. says:

    I certainly agree they could have escaped the freezer on their own. This weekend I re-watched an old “McCloud” espisode with Dennis Weaver & guest star John Denver trapped in a freezer (and you didn’t see their breathe in the “cold” air!). If McCloud could get out of a freezer, surely NY’s finest can. Why didn’t shooting at the door work? Couldn’t Kate shoot off the hinges?

    Logic went right out the door in this episode. In breaking into the bad guys’ lair at the end, didn’t anyone worry about hitting the baby with the gunfire? And what was that silliness in the interrogation room of FBI agent threating the suspect with a gun and Kate pulls her weapon on him–and you know neither one of them will shoot (the suspect knew it, too). Not even Rick Castle would write a scene like that for his books.

    NYC could save a money by shutting down its bomb squad. Who needs demolition experts when Castle can pull out the (brightly colored) wires! I expected him to dance around with the wires like Curley and say “Woo woo woo!” If the terroists put a camera in the truck the woman drove, wouldn’t they also put a booby trap on the bomb to go off if someone tampered with it?

    I don’t think this episode was meant to be a comedy, but some of the plot points were pretty laughable. Hopefully the writers will take a break and get back to speed. The show works best with lighter fare. Leave the “save the world” scripts for CSI.

    I want an episode where Martha is cast in a play and one of the actors is murdered in the theater. That way we can get her out of that apartment set and the writers can have fun with all of those actor egos.

  7. melanie atkins
    melanie atkins says:

    I agree, Tansy. Having them find a way out of the freezer would have made much more sense… and it would have made Beckett more heroic.

    Just FYI… no new episodes until March 21.

  8. Tansy Ragwort
    Tansy Ragwort says:

    The better escape from the freezer is that they do it themselves. Instead of attacking a locked steel door, they should be looking for the vent and fan that is blowing in the cold air. A freezer that size would probably have a vent large enough for someone as small as Beckett to get through. If nothing else their efforts might have broken the freezer and warmed things up a bit.

  9. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Hi William. We know Castle is fiction and it’s not meant to be realistic. I started writing the reviews at the requests of a few mystery writers who wanted to know if the things they were seeing on the show were real police procedure/forensics, or not.

    By the way, it’s good to “see” you again. It’s been a while. Thanks for stopping by, too

  10. WilliamSimon
    WilliamSimon says:

    Agreed overall, but let’s face it: CASTLE is to real-life like CHARLIE’S ANGELS was about law enforcement…:)

    I agree with Lee, though. RC is becoming too all-knowing, all-seeing, all-thinking. I thought the Wire Yanking Scene was kind of amusing (I mean, at that point, what was there to lose??) but I couldn’t help but think, “Had I written that, Castle could have done the Victory Dance, then turned green, looked at Beckett, said, “Excuse me,” and leaped to stick his head into a trash can.” Glamorous, no? A realistic reaction after going through something like that? OH, yeah….

  11. Chantelle Aimee
    Chantelle Aimee says:

    To me, the episode(s) was far from being a nail-biter. I watch Castle because the relationship between the protagonists reminds me of something from the Nick & Nora era. My favorite episodes are the ones with a bit of an eccentric twist – like the Steampunk episode, or the episode with the hidden prohibition cellar. I don’t like it when they try to deal with heavier issues – and I just don’t think it works with the characters (I’m not faulting the acting, but the overall premise). We know they will be found, and that the bomb won’t go off, because this is a ‘happy’ show – these devices just can’t work in this format. I was also disappointed in the lack of procedure… especially the ‘easy out’ when Ryan and Esposito found them in the freezer. RE the relationship, I may be alone, but I’m more bothered that Castle can’t man-up and say how he feels, rather than Beckett staying with what seems like a great guy (despite the fact that I, too, am not a fan of Josh).

  12. PatMarin
    PatMarin says:

    I agree with everything said here so far. I just have one comment to add…I have never seen or heard of two people suffering from severe hyperthermia who recovered so fast and suffered no apparent side effects.

  13. TVFanatic
    TVFanatic says:

    Lee, I am right there with you on all your points this week. Especially the fact that Dr. Motorcycle Boy was in the ambulance. Ryan did mention that Josh called them, not sure why, but maybe Josh came to the scene after the initial Medics revived them?? I don’t know, but was too fishy for me. Also, after having been on scene, any intelligent man, I assume a Cardiac Surgeon would be smart, could figure out what was going on. DHS, duh??? In that case, wild horses should not have been able to keep him from the the woman he “loves”, but Josh just goes on his merry way, and oh just shows up at the end of the day like it was no different from any other? So not realistic. However, this ep was more for the Diehard Shippers than the Cop Show fans. I think too much detailed procedure would have been a distraction for us this week. So in a way it worked. Where I think Andrew Marlowe let us down was in his writing of Beckett’s Character. This ep made her seem Flippant, Fickle and Shallow, something she is most certainly not. I cannot fault Stana Katic’s acting, as she has said in many interviews, it starts with the writing. However, you would think after this much time playing the character, she would have felt the inconsistancies and put her two cents worth in? Oh well, at least it wasn’t the Season Finale. Shippers will only be in agony for 3 weeks instead of 3 months while we await another ep. Of course, like after the Kiss, I am sure we will have at least 2 fluffy episodes where the subject of their relationship isn’t addressed. Can’t wait for the Season Fianle and she solves her Mother’s Murder. Where will she go from there, and what role will Castle play in putting that Dark part of her life to rest for good?

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