Castle: Secret Santa – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

Castle: Secret Santa


Holiday traditions was the behind-the-scenes message in this episode. Well, that and Santa simply cannot fly without his reindeer. But he does make the deepest snow angel I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, the show this week was a great reminder to us all that time, and life, moves on, and that it’s okay to begin a new tradition. And what better way is there to start a new tradition than to do so with someone you care about?

For now, though, I’ll stick to our old tradition of asking Melanie to start off the review. Here goes…

Melanie Atkins

Finally, a Castle Christmas episode! The dead Santa case was rather bizarre, so I won’t really even mention that, but I loved the Casketty goodness. As the show begins, Kate at first assures Rick she’ll come to the loft for his family’s Christmas Eve festivities, and he’s so excited. Not surprising, with his nine-year-old on a sugar rush tendencies and his deep love for Kate.

She seemed startled by his casual description of his huge tree and other elaborate decorations at his place, however, although I don’t know why she should have been, knowing him. Still, after that, she kind of pulled back a bit. I had to wonder if that had something to do with losing her mom right after Christmas all those years ago, or if she were simply overwhelmed by Rick’s lifestyle and exuberance, especially in light of her initial reaction to his huge Hampton’s house in an earlier episode.

Then both Martha and Alexis told Rick they had made other plans for Christmas Eve. He’s crestfallen. How can they abandon their traditions? Why would they even consider it? He’s still reeling from their defection when Kate tells him she has to work that night because the precinct is shorthanded. Rick can’t understand that, but he somehow manages to keep his cool after at first freaking out, and he lets her know it’s okay. Poor Rick. Will he be alone on Christmas Eve?

Even though he seems resigned to the fact that his traditions are changing, he brings Captain Gates a gift and asks her if she’ll please ask someone else besides Kate to work that night. Gates lets him know really quick that Kate asked to take a shift on Christmas Eve. That stuns him.

He confronts Kate a little later, saying, “If you aren’t ready (to join my family for the holidays), why didn’t you just tell me?” Kate explains that Christmas hasn’t been the same for her and her dad since her mother died on that fateful January ninth. Their Christmas decorations were still up, and when they put them away after her death, they put them away for good. The boxes haven’t been opened since. Jim goes to his cabin every year, while Kate “keeps watch” so other families can celebrate the holiday. I teared up during her confession, and for a minute I thought Rick might cry, too. Wow. He was so understanding about that, so sweet. I wanted to hug him. (Well, when don’t I want to hug him?)

When that night finally rolls around, Martha and Alexis join Rick for their traditional Christmas Eve dinner and surprise him by proclaiming they’d changed their plans so they could spend the entire night with him. He is still miserable, however, because he wants to share the holiday with Kate, too. So they send him off to the precinct… only, when he opens the door to leave, Kate’s standing in the hall, about to knock on his door.

“I was just coming to see you,” he tells her, and she says, “I was coming to see you, too.” So sweet! They both decided to start a new tradition, with each other. Sappy, maybe, but I loved it. The decorations were beautiful (as Kate said) and totally over the top, but they also were so Rick. And the kiss in front of the tree… perfection — although I would have liked one a little less chaste, even thought that wouldn’t exactly have been appropriate with Martha and Alexis in the room. And I didn’t exactly like the fact that Rick said he didn’t get Kate a gift. Really? Still, I loved the romance, the Christmas goodness, and the lightness of this episode. Classic Castle.

Welcome to the Christmas hiatus. See you all again in January, when Kate and Rick will have to deal with Meredith, one of Rick’s ex-wives!

Lee Lofland

Beckett – “Was the cause of death the fall?”

Lanie – “Looks like it, but I won’t know for sure until I get him back to the morgue.”

Okay, I did a few cartwheels after I heard Lanie’s comment. Yes, that single bit of dialog was nothing short of a Christmas miracle. And, for two weeks in a row…wait for it…Lanie was totally believable!! Sure, I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for the axe to fall. But it didn’t. What a breath of fresh air.

Even later, when Lanie showed Beckett a bullet that she’d dug out of Dead Santa’s back, a halo floated above her head. Unfortunately, Beckett stepped in and made a goofy comment. They just couldn’t leave it alone.

Lanie – “I pulled this (a bullet) out of his back.”

Beckett – “And that, is a .38.”

So I’m guessing that Lanie gift-wrapped her old crystal ball and re-gifted it to Beckett, because that’s the only way Beckett could have accurately predicted the caliber of that round without testing.

BUT WAIT! (Remind you of one of those TV commercials? “We’ll send you an Acme Slicer-Dicer for only $9.99…but WAIT…if you call within the next 10 seconds we’ll send you a second Slicer-Dicer absolutely free!”)

Lanie continued to impress me when she said she was going to send the red paint chip (found embedded in Santa’s red suit) to the lab for analysis. Great stuff! That’s how it’s done in real life. Labs test and examine evidence. The old Lanie would have taken a mere glance at the sample and instantly spouted off the chip’s entire chemical composition. Again, she was very good this week. Even the manner in which she delivered her lines this week was believable.

– Beckett…well, she searched dear old Santa’s apartment without a warrant. Not a good idea if want your evidence to stand up in court.

– Hey, what about the helicopter seat? You know, the one that’s totally dry and clean, but when pressed with fingertips, oozes a pint or two of fresh, liquid, bright red blood. This is where Santa supposedly bled after receiving the gunshot wound. Yeah, right. How many of you have ever cut yourself? Okay, how many of you have ever seen blood on a surface such as a floor or counter top (cut finger). Does that blood remain in a liquid form, and bright red, until, say, a day later? No way. And neither would the blood inside a foam seat cushion.

– Beckett sees a lot of activity at Case Commerce and asks a uniformed officer, “What’s going on here?”

“Looks like a heist occurred at the office Christmas party,” he tells her.”

Okay, who says “heist” these days? A present-day cop, especially in public, would most likely refer to the crime as a larceny.

Well, that’s about it for the police procedure this week. But I would like to mention this dialog between Ryan and Esposito.

Ryan – It seems like the world is falling apart. How am I supposed to bring a kid into that?

Esposito – The world’s always falling apart, since the beginning of time. But having kids, making a family, that’s what keeps it together.

How appropriate for these troubled times of ours.

*By the way, Esposito delivered the stolen clock to its original owner, Ms. Cabot. Well, there’s a tiny flaw with this heart-warming deed…the clock is evidence in a crime. He couldn’t simply remove it from the PD and give it away.

Until the next episode, ho, ho, ho…


13 replies
  1. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I don’t particularly care for the Lanie/Esposito relationship. Although, I did know a medical examiner who was married to a deputy sheriff, and their relationship was an extremely hot one – always kissing, hugging, pawing, etc. Absolutely could not keep their hands off each other. It wasn’t too bad, though, until they did the same while at the dinner table with us and a very famous medical examiner, in a pretty exclusive private club.

  2. Liberty Speidel
    Liberty Speidel says:

    Hard to tell when one is kidding on the internet. 😉

    I’m not a huge fan of Gates, but I’ve noticed she, like Alexis and Martha, is on the show less this season so far. Alexis’ character I can understand, being away at college and all that, but fewer Martha interactions have been odd in a way… Gates, though, does bring a tough aspect I think was lacking with Capt. Montgomery.

  3. Raphael Salgado
    Raphael Salgado says:

    My mind must have went into a weird tailspin, because when Esposito couldn’t find a person to be with for Christmas, and Kate wanted to work that night, I was like, “Oh no, they better not hook up in some weird incident.” Those two did kiss, although not officially on the show:

    I was put off by how Martha and Alexis canceled all their original plans to be with Castle, only for Castle to almost bail on both of them. Lucky that Kate showed up when she did, but of course, that’s a nicely wrapped finale for TV.

  4. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Liberty – You know, I think it would be nice for Esposito to date outside of the core group to add a different dimension to the show. I suppose, though, that would mean adding another character.

    I know Gates is sort of in the core group, but what if she and Esposito… Hmm…

  5. Liberty Speidel
    Liberty Speidel says:

    Good episode, although I rolled my eyes when Kate said the .38 thing… The writer was doing so well until that point!

    I’m surprised Melanie didn’t mention anything about the Espo/Lanie interaction in the morgue. I thought that was good, and it’d be nice (for me at least) to see them get back together.

  6. t
    t says:

    The episode fits into the so-so category for me, 3/5. (Sort of) guilting his family into staying home for him and then (potentially)leaving them after they agreed to stay out of love for him is the work of a 16 year old teenager, not a family man, and not the maturing figure he became over Season 4. That scenario kind of ruined the whole Christmas sentimentality thing…then add to it the end scene comment about the present in which Beckett then transforms herself into the 16 year old. Geez, he honored her wishes. Couldn’t they come up with a better punch line? Not likeable.

    And please! Kill Beckett’s “Mom is my reason for everything” storyline already!

    For me, those kinds of details are the equivalent of Laney’s crystal ball ballistics for Lee. They are very distracting and kill the moment.

    But the Santas were cute, especially bad Santa, LOL. And I think Esposito was the star of this show. He acted his scenes very well. Also, bringing back the clock, as far-fetched as it was evidence-wise, was a very pure (TV) Christmassy thing to do. He and the woman would make a cute couple. And of course the Castle-Beckett Christmas Tree latte scene was cute.

    I think the writers are taking the route that many TV shows take, via making the actors increasingly unlikeable.

  7. William Simon
    William Simon says:

    I enjoyed this one, the first in a while. It was very much “Castle”, as opposed to the Conspiracy Crap they’ve been throwing in. For me, “Castle” is supposed to be a throwback to the glory days of MOONLIGHTING and REMINGTON STEELE; if you want conspiracies where no one can win, dig out THE X FILES.

    Kate’s insistence on Castle *not* getting her a present was classic, and I saw the punchline coming miles away. When he admitted he had not gotten her a present, the way her head snapped back and she asked, “WHAT?!?!” made me laugh.

    Alexis’s growing up and preparing to leave the nest is killing Castle slowly, but I guess every parent goes through that. The interaction between the two is dead-on; she has to grow up but does not want to hurt her father. He HAS to let her grow up, but letting his daughter loose in the world scares him to death. Sounds about typical to me…:)

    Silly, sappy, and sentimental though it was, I’ll give this one a 4.2 out of 5. Not as good as some episodes have been, not as bad as others Like my other current favorite, LEVERAGE, the series runs about 3 out of 5 perfect, one stinker, and one clunker. About average for network TV….:)

  8. Michael A. Burstein
    Michael A. Burstein says:

    Aha! As Nomi and I were watching the episode, we both said that you’d like Lanie’s lines this time around, and we called it on the clock as evidence. And frankly, all Esposito had to do was deliver a snapshot of the clock and tell them that they’d get it back after the trial, thus still ensuring that he could be invited to the Cabots for dinner.

    (Is it weird that as much as we love this show, we do now watch it with the question of “What will Lee Lofland think?” in the back of our minds?)

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