Castle: Pretty Dead – A Review

Castle: Pretty Dead


Miss Illinois is dead? Murdered? Strangled with her own sash? Say it ain’t so! Yes, the beauty queen’s premature demise was the case Beckett and crew were charged with solving this week.

Normally, I like a case with lots of twists and turns, especially when the twist comes at the end. But this episode had us worming around and through so many winding roads that I was almost dizzy before the final scene. Actually, there were too many twists. And, those twists, unfortunately, were without substance. I hate to say it, but they were simply weak (poorly written?) attempts to throw the viewer off base.  I knew the killer’s identity from the beginning. Anyone else?

Okay, on to the cop stuff and this will be easy because there wasn’t much of it. And something else was missing from this episode, but it was a welcome absence…NO LANIE! Hang on while I dance on the ceiling for a minute…

Okay, I’m done celebrating. Now, for the forensics set-up we were treated to another visit by Perlmutter, who, by the way, says the same goofy stuff as Lanie, but he delivers it in a believable manner. His character is much more realistic. And he’s likeable. Don’t get me wrong, Jones (Lanie) is a fine actor, she’s just playing the wrong part. She’s, so, so wrong for the M.E. role. But, lets move on.

– Perlmutter shows Beckett a black sequin found in the victim’s hair. Well, they make a big deal out of the clue and learn that it came from the dinner jacket worn by the emcee of the pageant. And Beckett makes an even bigger deal of it when she questions the emcee. “Explain how this sequin got in the victim’s hair.” Well, I could explain it for him. After all, they’d just watched a video where he and the victim were talking and he leaned over to whisper in her ear. AND, when he did her hair was against the jacket. Duh…

– Why was the victim’s father (and scores of other people) allowed to walk freely through the crime scene while the body was still there? And wouldn’t it be in better taste to interview the father in a location where he couldn’t see the body of his dead daughter being tended to and wheeled away by folks from the morgue?

The investigation was weak and a bit ho-hum, but this episode was all about Castle’s relationship with Alexis, which I’ll leave to Melanie. But I do want to mention two more things before I go.

First, my favorite line from the show came from Beckett. “He’s dropped more pills than a three-fingered pharmacist.”

Finally, I’d pay close attention to next week’s episode. Might be shocking.

Okay, Melanie. Take it away…

Melanie Atkins

I really didn’t think too much about PRETTY DEAD before tonight, because I’ve been so caught up in reading the flood of speculation about next week’s finale. And I doubt I’ll think much about it now, either, even though Perlmutter was the ME rather than Lanie, and I’m sure that made Lee happy. I found the episode to be funny, yet unremarkable… except for a few relationship tidbits:

• Alexis broke up with Ashley so he would pursue his dream of going to Stanford rather than going to school in NYC… and limiting himself just to stay close to her.

• Rick told Kate about the Alexis-Ashley breakup, and she sided with Alexis, telling him the girl was simply being practical. Then Rick said, “But what happens when she meets her soulmate but she doesn’t risk it because it’s not practical?” Kate just stared at him.

• All the relationship banter with Captain Montgomery as he tried to come up with a present for his wife for their 30th anniversary. Rick has lots of ideas, and Kate is amused. Even Roy gets in on the action by making a remark about Rick’s failed marriages. Nice.

• Ashley comes to the precinct to ask Rick to act as an advocate for him with Alexis; to convince her to take him back and try a long distance relationship in the fall when he goes to Stanford rather than to a school in NYC. The line that jumped out at me was when Ashley asked Rick, “Have you ever been crazy about someone who’s determined to push you away?” And Rick was speechless, because yes, he’s crazy about Kate, and she won’t let him get close. She keeps pushing him away.

• Rick’s talk with Alexis on Ashley’s behalf was very sweet. He tells her, “Life is a journey, and we can’t predict its outcome. Don’t be so focused on what’s right in front of you that you miss the whole picture.” This analogy turned out to be more case related rather than having to do with Rick and Kate’s relationship, but the father-daughter moment was nice.

• The looks Kate gave Rick toward the end of the show. Wow. Makes me wonder if she and Josh have already broken up. Speculation was that they might break up in this episode if they hadn’t, but I saw no sign of Dr. Motorcycle Boy tonight. He hasn’t been mentioned for a while. So who knows?

• Kate asked Rick if Alexis had made decision about Ashley, and he says, “She decided that it’s worth the risk, and she’s going to just keep showing up.” Kate smiles and says, “Good choice.” And they just stare at each other, knowing they’re actually talking about their own relationship instead. I think Kate has already ditched DMB, and she’s taking Royce’s letter (the one she read on the plane last week) to heart. What do you think?

I’m curious about Montgomery’s decision to retire and Ryan’s question about what they’ll do without him at the precinct. Would that be a little foreshadowing about what might happen next week? Just sayin’… I have a feeling that episode will be tough to watch. Where this one was light, that one is said to be dark and angsty.

Only one more new episode to go!

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Don’t miss your opportunity to learn from the pros at a real police academy!





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9 replies
  1. melanie atkins
    melanie atkins says:


    Not true. According to Andrew Marlowe, the show’s creator, Beckett and Castle WILL get together. He does not believe in the Moonlighting Curse. He believes that it can work, and so do I. Of course, we’ll have to wade through a lot of angst to get there. Won’t be right away, and that’s good.

  2. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    JZB, I didn’t see the episode, but allow me if I may to jump in and try to answer your question.

    Questioning procedures can vary, depending on the set up and the investigator’s preference. Any time you have a table between yourself and the suspect, it creates a barrier for the suspect. Many detectives like to remove that barrier and have nothing between themselves and the suspect, thereby invading the person’s “space.” I used to sit around the corner of the table, having that barrier, and could then, when the time was right, edge closer and move in on the suspect, who had nowhere to go.

    As for the sequin, it is okay to show evidence to a suspect, as long as they can’t do something to mar or destroy it. So, I hoped they handed it to the person in a baggy he couldn’t pop in his mouth.

    Showing evidence like this brings it home to the suspect, proving there is real and tangible evidence against them.

  3. TheJZB
    TheJZB says:

    When Beckett and Castle interviewed Bobby Stark, they sat next to him, with the door behind the three of them. Other cop shows always show the interviewer facing a suspect across a table, with the suspect’s back to a wall and the interviewer closer to the door. What’s the usual procedure in real life?

    And would it be kosher to hand the suspect the evidence against him, namely the broken sequin? (I’m just sayin…)

    Thanks, Janet

  4. ChrisP
    ChrisP says:

    Any potential romance between Castle and Beckett is doomed, simply because it’s a TV series. It’s the romantic tension that keeps viewers coming back.

  5. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Okay, first let me say that I’m in a location with a horrible internet connection. It took me three hours just to upload this post and photos. Needless to say, I didn’t write as much as I’d hoped to, including comments about Beckett going into the apartment without permission. Sure, she needed a warrant to go inside. BUT, officers may enter a place without a warrant if exigent circumstances exist (someone’s life is in danger, evidence is about to be destroyed, etc.). I suppose she could argue that she thought someone was in trouble. It would be a weak argument, but she could try. However, if the court didn’t buy the argument, then whatever evidence was found could not be used in court.

    The sash…Well, I’ve seen people strangled with socks, a vacuum cleaner hose, plastic bags, neckties, bed sheets, pillow cases, underwear, etc. So I suppose the sash thing could work. I do agree, however, that it was certainly lying there are neat and orderly across the victim’s neck. Too orderly.

    Jonathan. You are so right. Detectives would have examined EVERYTHING in that photo. And, for me, Castle finding every single important clue is getting really old.

  6. JonathanQuist
    JonathanQuist says:

    I’m with Sally on this one. The sash was draped, unwrinkled (and “un-sashed”, because it was just a length of ribbon, not a looped sash like all the others). Speaking as the father of two daughters who took ballet – and therefore a man who has had to struggle to tie ribbons into a nice bow, you can’t do that with this sort of material and keep it looking new.

    Also, the ME just said “she was strangled with her sash”, but the only evidence was that it was draped across her. There was no mention of ligature marks on the neck.

    And the whole “look at the big picture” thing… I’m betting that any detective looking at photos of a murder victim pinned to a boyfriend’s wall is going to look at the background, and try to get some clue where the pictures were taken.

  7. Sally C.
    Sally C. says:

    I don’t see how a person can be strangled with something as flimsy as a contestant sash, even if you rolled it up–and the sash atop the body looked brand new and untouched. Not an effective weapon in my mind.

  8. melanie atkins
    melanie atkins says:

    I wondered about that myself, Tansy. Lee? Were they wrong to just go into the apartment and look around? The door was unlocked… but it was closed, not standing open. Hmmm…

  9. Tansy Ragwort
    Tansy Ragwort says:

    I’m new to following the site, so forgive me for the ignorance, but what about the scene where they enter Jeremy’s (the dead boyfriend) unlocked apartment. Was there enough cause there for that or should they have gotten a warrant/come back later?

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