Castle: Scared To Death – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

Castle: Scared to death


While watching the last scene of this episode, a booming thunderstorm and near torrential rains waited until just the right moment—the last minute of the show—to knock out our satellite TV reception. As a result, I missed the ending. How appropriate, though, to hear the skies grumbling and groaning and spewing jagged streaks of hot white electricity while Castle spent the hour waiting for his predicted B-grade horror movie demise. What I did see was nearly an hour of good fun, and I’m curious to know if Melanie enjoyed this one as much as I did. Melanie…

Melanie Atkins

Rick Castle cursed? Ha! I don’t think so, but he’s certain he’s next to die after watching a creepy video at a murder victim’s apartment. With his vivid imagination, he takes the video literally and freaks out while Beckett, ever the level-headed cop, scoffs at him. I loved the quick-witted by-play between Rick and Kate and the weird twists in this episode. After watching The Following and with thunder rumbling outside, it fit right into the night’s eerie feel.

The victim’s death and the deaths of two others were all connected to a serial killer named Nigel Malloy. I won’t go into too much detail about the case, because that’s Lee’s purview. Let’s just say I enjoyed Purlmutter’s snarky remarks, the odd twists and turns, and especially Rick and Kate’s trip to the cabin in the woods late at night to save another possible victim.

Rick is desperate to ward off the evil spirits, so he brings a “war chest” filled incense, some kind of mirror, and even holy water to help save them. Once they get to the cabin, they have no phone reception. Then the lights go out. And… a stranger is lurking outside. Kate chases him/her and finally brings down the nurse who attends Nigel’s brother at a mental hospital. I didn’t see that coming, but then I was more focused on Rick and Kate’s interaction than the rest of the story. Only, the nurse isn’t the killer.

The roommate of the original victim enters the cabin while Kate’s gone and uses a modified Taser to temporarily blind Rick, but Kate calls his name and he hits his assailant on the head with the holy water just in the nick of time. Too perfect.

My favorite part of the episode was Castle studying his bucket list to see what he could mark off in only three days. Then, of course, the delicious Kate-Rick interaction in the loft at the end when we learn the number one thing he had on his bucket list was to “Be with Kate”… and that he’d written the list three years earlier. Aw, too sweet!

I loved the lighter feel of this episode mixed with the inherent creepiness of the curse and the cabin in the woods. A nice change of pace from the last episode’s intense drama.

Next week, we get one that’s a little more Ryan-centric, and then on April Fool’s Day (Castle’s birthday), we get the show’s 100th episode written by Castle’s creator, Andrew Marlow, and his wife. That one’s guaranteed to be awesome.

Lee Lofland

There really wasn’t a lot of police-action/procedure this week. However, the little we did see was a little wacky. Like, when Beckett and crew traveled to Hoboken, New Jersey to kick in a door to Victim #2’s apartment. I’m sure you’re all aware that local police don’t have the authority to roam around the country bashing down doors and kickin’ butt. There’s a little matter of jurisdictional boundaries that come into play, and other departments and courts sort of frown on it when strangers force their way into people’s homes. I believe the correct terminology would be breaking and entering/home invasion.

As much as some would like to think, a badge is not a free pass to any and everything. Of course, Beckett and her posse could have dropped by the local police department and, after following the correct procedures, obtained a search warrant with the assistance of the local authorities. Then, they could have assisted the Hoboken police with the service of the warrant.

We were once again treated to an appearance by Perlmutter, whose favorite pastime is Castle-bashing. I had to chuckle when he addressed Beckett and Castle as, “Detective Beckett and DeFECtive Castle.”

Perlmutter delivered another mild zinger when he responded to Beckett when she asked if the victim had a heart problem. Perlmutter replied, “Well, she did when it stopped beating.”

It was nice to see an appearance by avid bird-watcher and slasher-film king Wes Craven of Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream fame. However, the scene really made me miss the earlier poker games.

As the episode progressed we saw the introduction of horror movie classics, like the cabin in the woods and the equally predictable lack of cell phone service.

Of course, all of the action was plugged into the traditional boilerplate script that never fails to feature a killer who was seen only briefly somewhere in the beginning of the show. And, there are always a few red herrings sprinkled throughout, including the asylum nurse and a sudden potential victim number three that was simply dumped in seemingly at the last minute.

Still, in spite of the predictability factor, this was a fun episode. And that fun was distributed throughout the show and characters. Even tough guy Esposito treated us to his more vulnerable side when the sudden appearance of a man startled him. Of course, he instantly regained his composure and attempted to “man-up” in front of Beckett. His comment to her was priceless and classic Castlesque humor. “Hey, I’m a grown-a** man.”

Another great line in last night’s episode was Beckett’s subtle and lighthearted jab at the NRA and gun control, when she said, “Evil spirits don’t kill, people do” (Guns don’t kill, people do).

Well, as I stated earlier, I missed the end of the show thanks to a spectacular spring thunderstorm. It was one of those where the thunder is not quite in your neighborhood, but close enough to make the house quiver. And where sporadic lightning sends flashes of white that illuminate the curtains just enough for small children to see the black silhouettes of swaying trees, and demons and goblins darting across the backyard.

It was a night where…well, it was a dark and stormy night that made me miss the ending, doggone it.

*     *     *

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13 replies
  1. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    Do people know that ABC is rerunning second season “Castle” episodes on midnight on Saturdays (at least in my area)? It’s so nice to finally watch the show without those annoying pop-ups (I don’t have the DVD sets). It’s great to see the fun and humor in those early episodes and how the seasons fit together. Last week’s show talked about how Rick knew nothing about his dad.
    Anyway, big fun in last night’s show and loved the Wes Craven cameo. I too miss the poker games and I didn’t like Rick pushing Kate away when she wanted to get together.
    BTW, a friend of mine will have a small role in next week’s show, assuming his scene didn’t get cut out. SPOILER: the scene involves a pool game, so maybe we’ll see Rick with a cue!

  2. Jenna Harte
    Jenna Harte says:

    I had a good chuckle with this show, although it reminded me when he thought he was cursed. I LOVED the bucket list with Beckett at number one. Nathan is excellent at the facial expressions and the look from “wait, wait” at the end to “okay now, here I come” was great. I think maybe the lack of chemistry is that we don’t see very much intimacy between them anymore. I wonder if that’s on purpose to try and keep things relatively the same. There was a little more this time with her trying to seduce him, but still not enough for me. And where were Martha and Alexis? I’m not sure there’s ever been an episode where we didn’t see them briefly or hear about them.

  3. 1 L Loyd
    1 L Loyd says:

    First, now you know why my family voted to drop satellite reception. We get too many thunderstorms in the Ozarks. And just when you want those reports on possible tornadoes, no tv.

    This show brings back what first attracted me to Castle to begin with: the sense of humor. I like the drama and the relationship, but the humor is what makes it great. I’ll forgive some sloppiness, not a lot but some, if they can capture this tone all the time.

  4. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I don’t agree at all with those of you who don’t see any chemistry between them anymore. I see more than ever! Then again, I write romance, so maybe that has something to do with it.

    Hahaha, Pat! Thanks for mentioning the ice cubes. That line was too funny, and it harkened back to an early episode (season 2, I think) when Kate used a line about ice cubes to torture Rick, who was getting on her nerves.

    Also, Rick has thought he was cursed once before in an earlier season, when he accidentally opened a tomb at an archeological exhibit. Remember that? So that’s nothing unusual for him. He has a vivid imagination and often lets it run wild. I love that part of his personality.

  5. a
    a says:

    This ep definitely put the fun in what I find is the most dysfunctional show on TV. I enjoyed it on a purely average entertainment level up until the creepy serial killer meme was introduced. Thooose eyes. Creepy serial kilers are the scariest thing in the world to me, because they’re real. I don’t find that kind of realistic fear entertaining. It reminds me of how I live 15 minutes from a park where Ted Bundy used to pick up girls….which makes the fear that a serial killer induces in a non-victim a little too easy to imagine, because I don’t have to imagine it.

    Had they left that aspect out, I would have found the procedural part of the show very very fun. Because of it, I fast forwarded to the end.

    I do not like the Castle as complete doofus personality which is so prevalent this season. I definitely wouldn’t date him and would feel like a perv sleeping with him. Nine year old? He acts more like a 5-year-old. And maybe that’s a portion of why my feeling about the relationship has developed into *apathy*. Honestly. It is like Bones for me now — no chemistry at all for me with the characters. Of course other reasons include the complete lack of an “organic” (apologies for using an over-used word) component to the relationship to the point that it’s distracting. You can only check reality at the door so many times on why a mature, brilliant, beautiful woman would date a childish, tired-looking, silly-acting man. Frankly, he’s not even eye candy anymore. You can only experience so many instances of kissus interruptus (another one last night), before you think it’s the stupidest relationship ever. Given that “Caskett” was what separated the show from other crime procedurals, I am now apathetic about the show in general. At the start of this season I craved the sneak peeks each week and searched out the end scene on you tube 3 hours ahead of airtime. This week I didn’t watch the sneak peeks at all and don’t even know if anyone published anything on You Tube. The only reason I watched the show last night instead of at some low time this week was because my husband threatened to put on Lost Girls instead. Anything looks like high quality television when compared with Lost Girls. Then once he put Castle on, he took the dog out. Castle is about the only show where he takes the dog out without pausing the show. He considers it “girl-TV”.

    But I love this web site’s take on things. You guys are tres cute. And that’s why I keep coming back to you! When you stop seeing me whine every week, you’ll know my “relationship” with the characters of Castle is really over.

  6. lauwer
    lauwer says:

    Overall enjoyable episode. Castle’s sudden super superstition was a tad bit weird tho’, but it’s forgiven cause it fit the story. BUT ENOUGH WITH THE NEAR-KISSES! ugh, so unbelievable: a couple that used to have so much tension is now so frigid. Are the actors afraid of each other or do the writers put that specifically in the episode? The writing was always so-so, the chemistry was what kept me hanging. They’ve totally lost that.

  7. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    The Wes Craven scene also made me miss the poker games, Lee, but I thought is was a great way to bring Castle’s writer friends into the story. As for the rest of the show it was typical Castle and Beckett which we all love. I love it when Castle’s imagine takes over his common sense. Light, funny, and scary episode. Sorry you missed the last two minutes. It was priceless. I’ll just say, melting ice cubes. Melanie, stop laughing. LOL

  8. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    All good points, Leslie. And I agree about Castle’s new-found and goofy fear of “the dark,” but I let it slide for what it was and apparently what this show never fails to do…morph the characters into whatever they need them to do at the moment. After all, look at Beckett. She goes from tough as nails to wimpy at the drop of a hat. And, I was holding my breath last night, hoping they wouldn’t subject us to yet another kidnapping/lose her gun scene. Thankfully, they didn’t.

    Still, it was light and fun, so I gave it a pass.

    As far as room-clearing goes, I gave up on that a long time ago. The writers and directors just don’t seem to care about even the slightest bit of accuracy. And that’s a shame because in some instances it would serve to enhance the show.

  9. Leslie Budewitz
    Leslie Budewitz says:

    Ok, it was fun but, why change Castle’s personality just for fun? I don’t buy him as blindingly superstitious — he’s the research hound, whose got all kinds of obscure facts at his fingertips, and he’s going to suddenly be convinced he’s going to die b/c he sees a DVD? Nah. Plus if he did think he had 3 days to live, wouldn’t the real Castle go see his daughter and his mother? And why didn’t anyone look at the metadata on the DVDs to see where & how they were made? And someone, please — Lee? — teach these cops how to clear a room!
    But it was fun.

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