Castle: The Double Down – A Review

Let’s just skip the preliminary fluff and get down to business. After watching this episode I’m in no mood for making nice.

The title of this week’s episode is Double Down. Perhaps the network should have opted for calling it Double Trouble. We’ll get into the reasons why in a second. First, I have to say the comedic aspect of the show was in overdrive. I have to wonder, though, if they have a new writer because this episode was unlike any other. I’m not saying the show was better or worse than usual, just different. Maybe even a little odd. But it was what is was – a bit of a disappointment for me.

The Highs and Lows (Remember, this is a review of the police procedure and a little of the forensics, not the overall show. I’m a big fan of Castle and Beckett. Great chemistry. Even the supporting cast is pretty doggone good. Well, with the exception of one cast member who insists upon spouting off BS forensic material. Maybe she’s just reading her lines, I don’t know. But if I were her, I’d certainly want to at least be as good as everyone else on the show. I did read an interview where she stated the show has a medical examiner as a consultant – a real M.E. who offered to show her around a real morgue. She refused the offer, but who could blame her? I’ve attended many autopsies and not one has been a pleasant experience. Still, do they not listen to their experts? Anyway, here goes. Double Trouble…I mean Double Down.

– Castle mentions the craziness that comes with a full moon. Most cops, ER personnel, and other creatures who work the graveyard shift will nod their heads in agreement with that sentiment. Trouble follows a full moon, and weird calls normally come in during those times. Good stuff.

– The full moon scene was a little over the top, with cops wrestling crazies whose clothing seemed to come off quite easily during the commotion. At one point a new female detective, Roselyn Karpowski (she played a good part in this show), landed on Beckett’s desk, on top of a struggling suspect. While there she spoke to Beckett in a calm, easy tone. I know this was way over the top, but cops are so used to fighting, tussling, wrestling, handcuffing, Tasering, etc., that it is just a matter-of-fact occurrence to be in the middle of a big brawl. So good stuff, here. Take this one to the bank. Cops don’t get excited easily when faced with danger. After it’s over, maybe. But when it’s happening they’re right there, toe-to-toe with the best of them.

– The medical examiner working a homicide in a cocktail dress???? No way. Even if she didn’t have time to change she’d have put on a lab coat or other protective clothing. I should not have complimented her last week, because it all went downhill from this really low spot in her night. Geez… I actually felt bad for her. But, as they say on American Idol when the train wreck happens…She looked fantastic.

– Becket told the M.E. to check for fibers and hair. Hmm…I don’t know a single M.E. who’d have to be told that. Nor do I know one who’d take orders from a detective. However, I’m sure Beckett felt she needed to guide this one through the hoops.

– This isn’t procedure, but I had a nice chuckle when Castle said, “The person who killed her also killed the English language.” Those aren’t exactly his words, but you get the idea.

– There was a new coroner at one of the crime scenes. He was very believable, in this scene. But it didn’t last. More in a second.

– Loved the coroner’s “Looky-loo” comment. That’s a nickname used by cops for the people who find it entertaining to observe crime scenes, car accidents, and train wrecks. Again the coroner’s character is pretty good up to this point.

– The betting scenes in the show were very distracting for me. It was cute, but I think they went way overboard with it.

– Okay, here’s where I wanted to kick the TV screen, shout four letter words, and flush the remote down the toilet (after turning off the show).

The two pathologists, the M.E. and the coroner (I’m still not sure why they have one of each. Is it like that in NYC? Dr. Jonathan Hayes, are you out there?), made the announcement that they’d found a diatom on the victim’s bodies that was specific to a single body of water, but they didn’t know where that body of water was located. WHAT???

How in the world could they say the diatom was specific to place they couldn’t identify. If they couldn’t identify the place, then how could they say the diatom is specific to that place.

Hmm…If they knew the diatom could have come from only one place in the world then they must know where that place is. Otherwise, they’d found something but don’t know where they hell it came from.

Where’s Charlie Brown when you need him?

Wait, I think I know the name of the place. It’s called Conundrum.

Doggone it. You can’t discover something that’s only found in one place on earth if you haven’t discovered that place. It’s 2am right now and this crazy-making stuff is really frying my brain.

Oh, it gets worse.

– This started when the M.E. stated a forensic detail popped up during autopsy. That detail was locating the precious missing-link diatom (A cubic inch of diatomite contains millions of diatom fistulas. In other words, they’re pretty darn tiny. A really large one can be as big as a half-millimeter). To begin with, a medical examiner would have to be searching specifically for a diatom during autopsy to have found one, or even a hundred of them. This is not part of a normal autopsy. And so what if they did? What would that mean? That someone was near a river, the ocean, a pond, a mud puddle, damp places, or close to some soil? Yes, diatoms can be found in common soil!

Next, who would have identified this wacky organism in the morgue? Would the pathologist automatically know this as part of their medical training?

Oh, we’re really rolling downhill now…

The medical examiner informs Beckett that the victims had to have come in direct contact with this one of kind water in order for the diatom to have been on the body. Triple hogwash! Water evaporates. How did she know where the diatom came from? How did she know it wasn’t transferred from another person, or in the mist in the air?  Man, I’m really aiming the remote at the toilet now.

Castle suggests the water came from an aquarium in the victim’s office. Okay, he’s a layperson feeding off the garbage being tossed to him by the “pros.” Now the coroner adds his two cents to this bizarre scene. He says the diatoms were dispersed into the room by the aquarium pump and anyone in the room would be contaminated with the little fellers. What? Is it like a rain forest in that office? Shoot me now!

Back to the diatoms in a minute.

– Beckett and crew (By the way, the two detectives are much improved this season) pull into an alley to serve a search warrant. Good idea, but sliding patrols cars sideways into an alley with flashing red and blue lights isn’t a good way to sneak up on someone. The bad guys would probably toss the evidence before you could say “diatom.”

– During the car sliding/red and blue light fiasco a bunch of street kids are heard yelling Five-0. This is good. That’s what the real hoodlums say when cops roll into the hood.

– If the detective holding the shotgun in this scene had been forced to shoot during the raid, I don’t believe he’d have been able to hold on to his weapon. A shotgun has quite a bit of recoil, so it’s best to hold the butt of the gun against your shoulder when ready to fire. He was holding his shotgun like you see the SWAT guys carrying their automatic weapons. Different animals entirely.

– Back to the dreaded diatom. As it turns out, the thing came from the Hudson River. Yeah, that Hudson. The body of water that’s never been discovered according to the M.E. The Hudson that New Yorkers are exposed to every single day of their lives. This is the mysterious body of water that could only contain this special diatom. Nay, Nay. The Hudson River is connected to:

* Opalescent Brook
* Cedar River
* Indian River
* Boreas River
* Schroon River
* Sacandaga River
* Mill Creek
* Battenkill River
* Hoosic River
* Mohawk River
* Normans Kill
* Catskill Creek
* Esopus Creek
* Rondout Creek
* Roeliff-Jansen Kill
* Crum Elbow Creek
* Wappingers Creek
* Fishkill Creek
* Moodna Creek
* Quassaick Creek
* Croton River
* Pocantico River
* Sparkill Creek
* Wicker’s Creek
* Saw Mill River

Well, you get the idea.

And now to wrap this up…

– Beckett and crew question the two murder suspects, separately (good), and trick the weaker of the two into confessing by saying the alpha crook squealed like a pig. It works like that in real life, too.

At least everyone looked really nice this week. And Castle was pretty funny.


20 replies
  1. tudza
    tudza says:

    Agreed, but that doesn’t make it so. No reason to keep spreading this sort of information if it is not true according to analysis of the records.

  2. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    tudza – You’d have a very difficult time convincing all the people who the graveyard shift that there’s no truth in the full moon theory, science or no science.

  3. Terry Odell
    Terry Odell says:

    And what I forgot to say .. Lee, no matter how bad the writing is for the ME’s role, it’s not worth the cost of having a plumber come fix your toilet. Find another place to throw the remote.

  4. Terry Odell
    Terry Odell says:

    All the blogs I hop around, primarily romance and mystery writers rave about the show. Most are female. Most blatantly admit it’s simply for Nathan and his one-liners.

    I had no trouble with the cocktail dress. It was there for the XY crowd, just like the cat fight. All about ratings. Kind of like everyone says, “Dan Brown/James Patterson” (interchangeable in discussions) can’t write worth beans, but they know how to tell a story to sell books. The “public” loves them.

    Meanwhile, we watch Castle so we can read Lee’s review and see if we caught the cop mistakes.

  5. Susan
    Susan says:

    You know what the biggest problem with this excellent chemistry between Castle and Beckett is? When they FINALLY do get together, that will be the end of the show. It always is. Moonlighting anyone?

    That thought makes me sad.


  6. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Peggy – There are no written rules, but it’s always best to question people at the police station. Never at home or work, if possible.

    JoAnn – They know how to reach me, and I’d be happy to help out.

    MNR – I agree. The chemistry between Castle and Beckett is great. I wonder what would happen to the show if that faltered?

  7. Marie-Nicole Ryan
    Marie-Nicole Ryan says:

    For the sake of Castle and Beckett’s chemistry, I lean back and just enjoy. However, I’ve become very displeased with NCIS LA. It has none of the humor and great chemistry of the original.

  8. JoAnn Haberer
    JoAnn Haberer says:

    Hi Lee.
    Yep, totally agree this was one of the more “duh, ha!” episodes. I tuned in at the point where they were discussing the specific diatom theory and I thought the same thing as you: okay, but if you don’t know where diatom X came from, how can you know it’s specific to only one body of water? I was no math major, but even I can see that doesn’t compute.
    Love your weekly insights. Can’t imagine why they don’t get you onboard as a consultant. No mystery editor would allow those kinds of procedural “face plants” to make it into print.

  9. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    The one question I’ve always had, and I don’t think you’ve answered it here, is what rules or procedures govern who’s brought into the station for questioning, and who’s questioned at their home or work?

    I get that television varies locations for visual interest, but what happens in real life?

    Inquiring minds want to know….

  10. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Kate – No, I haven’t reviewed Medium. Why not? Because I can’t make it through an entire episode without feeling as if I’ve swallowed an entire bottle of Syrup of Ipecac (used to induce vomiting). I’m beginning to have the same problem with Castle.

    Roberta – I’m glad we helped start your day with a smile. We aim to please.

  11. Susan
    Susan says:

    I’d have found this more intriguing if I hadn’t just finished Sandra Brown’s latest novel, Smash Cut, which is also based on the Hitchcock film Strangers on a Train. I’m wondering if the Castle writers ever saw the movie, because while their plot had some of the same elements, it wasn’t quite the same kind of case. (If you haven’t seen the movie, go rent it somewhere. It’s an awesome film.)

    In any case, while I still love this show and think the chemistry is fabulous (sorry, romance writer here) I was disappointed in this episode.

    Except for Beckett’s brown coat. And Fillion’s “Bam, said the lady.” (If you don’t follow him on Twitter, you won’t get it.)

    There’s still next week…


  12. kate
    kate says:

    Have you ever reviewed “The Medium”? If yes, would you point me to the correct URL?

    Also, I was wondering about language. You mentioned the term “lookey loo.” I like that kind of role-specific language. Do you think it’s appropriate, confusing, or excellent if used appropriate but horrible otherwise? If yes to appropriate, what makes it appropriate?

  13. Robin Burcell
    Robin Burcell says:

    Hey, you’re talking about MY toothbrush on Lee’s blog? That is so not fair. And for what it’s worth, it is a scientific fact that diatom from the toilet bowl will cover everything in your bathroom when you flush, which is why you should always close the toilet lid–and not leave your toothbrushes on the counter. (Read it by some scientist in Reader’s Digest. Before the internet. So it must be true.) (Note to self: When committing murders, don’t flush the toilet with the lid up, or you might cover yourself with diatoms from the murder scene that will connect you to the case.)

    But back to the M.E and the dress. Nice dress. I think they are going for some CSI Miami visuals. Maybe they were worried about ratings.

    Personally I liked the betting thing. I like the comedic take on the two detectives, and the fact that Beckett wanted in when she was pretty sure of the case. That was fun.

    And yeah, the opening scene with the full moon was a bit over the top, maybe a lot. But just about every TV show gets the whole prisoner custody parading through detective office thing wrong. Clothes never fly off that easy when the underwear is so good looking. It usually rips, and that’s on days when you think dang, I should have worn the underwear without the holes in it.

  14. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    So, as I read your comments, apparently the case is solved with good old fashioned police savvy. The diatom really never entered into the solution?

    It must have been like the little fillers in the newspaper – you know – like the average rainfall in Arkansas during a leap year. It was apparently used to fill out the hour long show.

  15. Mary Q
    Mary Q says:

    I missed the show last night, but sounds as if I would have just been aggravated, too.

    Your comment about the water in the fish tank made me laugh. It also reminded of the person who said she doesn’t keep her toothbrush in the bathroom b/c spray from the toilet(when it’s flushed) would get on the toothbrush!

  16. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Unfortunately, Dave, they were quite serious. What I don’t understand is why they choose stuff like this when there are tons of viable evidence that could be used in their cases.

  17. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    Lee, Now you know why I don’t often watch police shows any more (Andy Griffith and Barney Miller, excluded), except you already knew.

    I looked up diatom, because I certainly didn’t know what it was (they were apparently banking on the fact no one else did either,) and I still had to re-read the comment the ME made several times, and it STILL makes no sense.

    Since comedy was apparently ramped up in last night’s show, have you considered that perhaps the ME and pathologist were just joking with the detectives? That would be the only explanation I could come up with. Maybe next week they’ll show the ME and patho in the next room laughing hysterically as the detectives chase off after another ludicrous red herring.

  18. Karen Olson
    Karen Olson says:

    I watched about five minutes of this show last night and then turned to Olbermann. Couldn’t get past that cocktail dress. Although as you said, the line about murdering the English language was pretty funny. The highlight of my five minutes. Is the appeal of this show the fact that the guy is a writer? Better show: Bored to Death on HBO about a writer who reads Chandler and decides he can be a private eye, too.

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