Castle: Reality Star Struck – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

Castle: reality Star Struck


Back Stabbers. Now that would have been a perfect name for this episode of Castle. And, to set the mood for this review, please click on the video below before reading. Oh, and before you do, you might want to climb up into the attic to find your old bell bottoms and platform shoes…


Okay…take it away, Melanie.

Melanie Atkins

I didn’t pay much attention to the case this week because I was too caught up in wondering what would happen between Kate and Rick for Valentine’s day, and fearing I might be disappointed. For once, I wasn’t. I actually liked this episode, although I always want more on the romance front. Just sayin’.

Who will give the best gift on Rick and Kate’s first Valentine’s Day as a couple? They each try to guess what the other has gotten them, and suddenly… it’s a competition. Rick, of course, believes he has the best gift. Kate is smug but won’t give anything away. I liked this idea, but wanted more of it.

Rick shows Martha and Alexis the beautiful sapphire earrings he’s bought Kate, and his mother suggests he slide the gift into Kate’s pocket at the precinct to surprise her. He loves this idea, of course, being Rick. So in a sly move, he slips the earrings into Kate’s jacket pocket when it’s hanging on the back of a chair in the break room. Not brilliant, but it’s a very “Castle” thing to do.

Then Kate puts on her coat. The wrong coat. Rick calls her out on it, and learns it is her coat. Only, it’s not the same coat that holds her earrings. Gates slips on that coat. Yikes!

He tries to get them back, but keeps getting distracted by the case. Really? I thought he should just forget the silly case and go after the freaking earrings. I mean, seriously! We’re talking about Gates finding his gift for Kate. On several occasions, he tries to pick the captain’s pocket, but that strategy is an epic fail — even while he and Gates bond over the vapid reality show at the heart of the case. I found that extremely disturbing.

Then Rick tells Kate about the earrings! That surprised me, too. I thought he’d try harder to get them back before telling her what he got her. He didn’t, however, and Kate is terrified Gates will find the gift, read Rick’s lovey-dovey note, and realize they’re in a relationship. That will end his time at the precinct (she believes), and she doesn’t want that.

While they’re plotting to retrieve the earrings from Gates’ pocket, the captain finds the earrings. Her face lights up when she sees the beautiful jewelry, and then changes as she reads Castle’s note. I wasn’t sure which way they’d go with this… and I was startled when Gates thinks Rick gave them to her to try to gain favor. Really? Is she truly that blind?

I wish the note had been written “To Kate” so she’d know about them. I mean, give me a break. This “will she/won’t she catch them” game has been going on all season long, and frankly, I’m sick of it. Rick’s not an employee of the NYPD, so why does it matter if they’re dating? IMHO, the storyline is contrived, especially after so much time has passed. Gates is not that dumb.

Their gifts are more important than the forced story thread, however. Rick obviously isn’t going to give Kate the earrings now, after Gates opened them first and read the note, and he tells her he’ll get her “something else even more beautiful” later. I’d love to know what it is.

Kate, on the other hand, gives Rick an empty drawer in her apartment. A symbolic gift that lets him know she’s all in. That she wants him in her life and in her heart. I loved this! Then finally… finally… we get some kisses and romance. Not as intense as I wanted, but still… I’m doin’ a happy dance. Even better, after she kisses him, she says, “Now… take your clothes off, put them in your drawer, and meet me at the bed.”

I’ve been waiting weeks for this. Thank you, Andrew Marlowe, for that little bit o’ Valentine’s Day lovin’.

The two-parter coming up looks insane. Alexis is kidnapped, and Rick goes into a tailspin. I can’t wait!

Lee Lofland

A knife in the back…we’ve all been there, right? Well, maybe not an actual knife, but back-stabbers certainly are abundant in this world. I know I’ve seen more than my fair share. Hmm… Come to think of it, I’ve seen more than my fair share of actual stab wounds to the back. Also, wounds to the back caused by axes (inflicted by exes), gunshot wounds to the derriere, and so on. The combination of back-stabbers who kill with an actual stab to the back is, well, not so uncommon.

You see, to kill by fatally wounding someone from behind takes the personal aspect away from the act. These killers usually know their victims, and not having to look them in the eye while killing them seems to make the act a little easier to pull off. Anyway, let’s get on with the show, starting with…Lanie.

Last night, Lanie was, for the most part, on the mark. From the smokin’ hot red dress to her crime scene analysis of the murder victim. There were no crystal ball predictions. Instead, she stated the obvious… “I’ll run DNA when I get back to the lab.” There is ‘possible’ genetic material under the fingernails…” All good stuff. AND, her delivery of the lines was quite believable. I’m really liking this new and much-needed direction. Still, there was the moment where Lanie told Beckett that she’d identified the substance under the victim’s fingernails as alluaudia, a plant/tree from Madagascar. The wood from the tree is used in building, and in making charcoal (in case you were interested). There is no standard panel that would include alluaudia, therefore, Lanie would more than likely not have been able to learn this so quickly, if at all.

Now, however, we need to work on Gates, who is totally unbelievable in her new role as a goofy sort of blundering, stammering sidekick. I’ve never liked the character, but she was far better as an unsmiling piece of cold granite. Why not let her play the role as a real police captain should act…like a strong, caring person with responsibility. Not as Curly or Larry from The Three Stooges. Man, they fix Lanie and break Gates. Makes me wonder what’s next.

The case last night took a backseat to the playful romantic aspect of the show, finally. I was beginning to wonder if Beckett and Castle were two cold, dead fish. But, there were a few points to showcase. Like…

– The broken fingernail in the head, and I know someone will ask. So…yes it is possible to retrieve enough testable DNA from a fingernail.

– No, merely having a broken fingernail was not enough probable cause to arrest Penelope. Perhaps, a positive DNA match to the knife would have helped achieve that level, but not just the broken nail.

– Beckett showed Penelope a copy of an autorad, the result of DNA testing conducted using gel electrophoresis. Most modern-day labs, however, use computer analysis conducted using genetic analyzers, which produce results in graph-form (elctropherogram).

*Okay, time for a quick, abbreviated lesson in DNA testing.


In the beginning (gel electrophoresis), DNA was loaded into gels for testing


Electric current is introduced to gel, causing DNA to move across the gel. Larger, heavier bands remain behind, while smaller ones travel further (shown below on autorad).


Completed gel is removed and placed onto an illuminator for viewing


 Gel on illuminator, used to see DNA bands

*My thanks to Dr. Stephanie Smith for allowing me to hang out in her lab to take the above photos.

DNA bands on gel

DNA bands shown on autorad (a “photo” of the image on the gel). This is what Beckett showed the suspect.


Most modern-day labs use genetic analyzers for DNA testing, not gels.


DNA results shown (above) on Electrophrogram.

This is what Beckett should have presented to the suspect. Although, she could have simply made a copy of an autorad from Google images and then offered it to Penelope as a ploy to get her to confess. Cops do things like that all the time. Remind me to tell you the story of the Bugs Bunny video I used to trick two jewel thieves into confessing. In short order, I had a confession, the jewelry in hand, and before they knew what hit them, it was, d’ dit, d’ dit, that’s all, folks…

All in all, this week’s show was a hit, as far as we are concerned. Writers took us back to the style fans adore, and the viewing audience was treated to a bit of believable (finally!) Caskett romance.

I wonder, though, how long it took Castle to get that shirt unbuttoned…


20 replies
  1. Frank & Val
    Frank & Val says:

    Finally, a more funny and classic “Castle” episode. It reminded us of past seasons of the show though not as well written. We actually saw some romantic scenes between Castle and Becket. The worst part of the episode was Ryan running home to Jenny to make babies. Since when is a detective on duty allowed to repeatedly leave the precint without permission from his commanding officer? Ryan and Jenny only decided to start a family in the Christmas episode. That was only 2 months ago. Couples usually try having sexual relations for 6 months to a year before the fertility thermometer routine. How old are these writers?

  2. Gwise
    Gwise says:

    My favourite line was, hands down, Castle’s “cock-a-doodle-doo!” for Ryan.

    I also agree with the above comments – having a superbly talented actress like Gina Torres guest star and then not give her proper screentime is a crime in itself.

  3. Gloria Clover
    Gloria Clover says:

    My favorite line: “I’m a writer. Of course I wrote a note.” Followed later in the evening with, “That’s all I wrote?” That’s the stuff that made me laugh. And, of course, the fade out, “Seriously?”

  4. Paul
    Paul says:

    Thanks for the info on DNA tests. Great to know those details.

    I had a couple of problems with this episode. One has been touched on here in the comments: The episode had been hyped as a reunion of Firefly alumni Mal and Zoe, and did not cash in on the opportunity provided, especially compared to the Mal and Jayne episode.

    Second, I thought the writers were making Castle’s character a shallow caricature of himself. Specifically, I hated Castle’s choice of gift, and I think the writers chose it just because they needed something that could fit into a pocket. Remember in an earlier episode, how Castle came up with the idea of creating a scholarship in honour of Beckett’s mom? Clearly, he is capable of coming up with a better gift. Furthermore, earrings… are you serious? Remember in 5×05, where Castle went to jail suspected of murder because they found an earring that he had allegedly bought for the victim? Earrings would only remind Beckett of that horrible situation. Poorly done, in my opinion.

  5. Mark E. DeSade
    Mark E. DeSade says:

    @Katarzyna Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds is the character Nathan Fillion played on Firefly. Zoe Washburne is the character Gina Torres played. So, this episode had a reunion of two Firefly actors…and then gave them no scenes together. Seems like a waste considering how many Firefly references they slip into the show.

  6. Katarzyna
    Katarzyna says:

    @Mark E. DeSade: Who are Mal and Zoe? And what are you talking about exactly? Don’t know whether we’re watching the same show. I’m watching CASTLE, and you?

  7. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    I must be in the minority because I didn’t like this episode at all. All the reality show characters were so obnoxious and boring I lost interest in the case really fast. The dropping-the-earrings-into-the-wrong-coat gambit seemed like it came straight out of “I Love Lucy.” Why couldn’t Rick just tell to Gates he dropped something into her coat pocket accidentally and retrieve it? The way Beckett told Castle to “meet me in bed” sounded more like “let’s get this over with.” Why didn’t Rick take Kate to a nice restaurant or a show? No flowers? I saw far more passion between Esposito and Lanie in the red dress. Let’s definately get these two together–Esposition is acting like a kid chasing after every available woman. I couldn’t believe that by-the-book Gates would go all gooey over a silly reality show.

    The writers have fallen into “the morning after” syndrome in which they finally bring the lovers together but they don’t know what to do with the characters after that.

  8. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I agree with you, Lee, about Gates. I don’t like the direction they’re taking that character at all. And I do think she knows. She’d have to be a real doofus to not have already figured it out, and supposedly she was an excellent detective before becoming captain.

  9. Raphael Salgado
    Raphael Salgado says:

    Did anyone catch any Fireflyisms in the episode, because I didn’t. Overall, nice episode. Again, there was no real twists to who the murderer was and the killer seemed to be thrown in at the last minute to close up the show.

    Call me temporarily shallow, but I was expecting Kate to have some lingerie or hint some sexy theme (after all, in the whole series leading up to them getting together, they really played her like such a minx). However, after the fact, I totally get the empty drawer as a symbol of having him as a more permanent part of her life.

    I’ll second Thumper and ask, can a cop go postal in the interrogation room legally? I mean, as long as he/she’s not physically abusing the suspect?

    Good Lord, next two weeks are going to be craaazy with Alexis’ kidnapping. I hope she makes it to the end of the series!

    On a side note, Molly Quinn is in a new movie called “Hansel and Gretel Get Baked” coming out early next week in select theaters and video-on-demand. Sure, it’s no “Les Miserables” but it’s nice to see her getting more airtime. (Maybe her shift into new productions could be at the expense of the Castle show, OMG!)

  10. thumper
    thumper says:

    no one is discussing beckett going ballistic in the the interrogation?

    and i’m so disappointed in how underutilized gina torres was in this episode… she is so good in her regular series “suits”.

  11. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Thanks for explaining the back-stabbing. I wondered how someone who was arguing with a person face to face could stab them in the back.

    I think Gates knows the earrings were mean for Beckett and hid it like Ryan did in the being. I think she wants to avoid all problems. But I do agree its silly since Castle is not an NYPD employee.

    I figured Castle was going to use his teeth on that shirt sleeve button. LOL All and all I loved this episode.

  12. t
    t says:

    I liked the drawer idea, but the dialog around it sucked, as did the pecky kiss in darkness. In addition, the cufflink humor ruined any moment they might have had. And Nurse Beckett. Get undressed, put your close in that miniature drawer I’ve given you, and I’ll have sex with you. That’s really more like what a proctology ARNP might say rather than what a lover might say. Gee, are they going back to Fillion’s OB-GYN roots? LOL.

    Not impressed. I liked the COTW better than usual tho. But the show is getting more and more contrived, the dialog more and more shoehorned.

  13. Mark E. DeSade
    Mark E. DeSade says:

    My issue with this episode is that you had Mal and Zoe in an episode together…and then did nothing with them.

  14. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Not really, Pat. DNA doesn’t merely cling to the outside of hair, or any other “human part.” Instead, scientists must first perform an extraction process to release it. Therefore, foreign DNA wouldn’t simply fall from Dr. Smith’s hair onto the gel.

    Still, proper precautions should be taken at all times. However, she was running DNA from a strawberry, so the results weren’t all that critical. Besides, the strawberry hadn’t committed a single crime.

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