Castle: The Squab and the Quail – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

Castle: The squab and the quail


Remind me to never order quail, or was it the squab that caused near instantaneous death? Either way, I think I’ll stick to my personal favorites when dining out…duck or crab. Oh, and please hold the spritz of poison. It tends to ruin a perfectly good meal. It also makes TV medical examiners lose their freakin’ minds. But more about Lanie later. First, lets see if all the jealousy, swooning, and lip-locking held the attention of our good cop, Melanie.

By the way, if you let your eyes wander over to the right sidebar, beside the paragraph above, actually, you’ll see Melanie’s latest book, Blood Bound. Click on the book cover and you’ll magically be transported to the spot where you can purchase a copy of your very own.

Melanie Atkins

Is the honeymoon period over? Does Rick take Kate for granted? One would think so, the way Rick ignores Kate — who is dressed for seduction — while gaming. He acts more like a guy who’s been married for a while than someone who’s been dating his hot girlfriend for less than a year, and Kate notices. Of course she does. And it bugs her.

Then she meets handsome, suave, ultra-wealthy Eric Vaughn — who gave me hives, by the way, but that’s neither here nor there — and has to keep the man safe, at first in his home and then in the presidential suite at a ritzy hotel. Castle is incensed… and very, very jealous. He pushes Ryan and Esposito to solve the case in record time to get Kate away from Vaughn. Rick’s hi-jinks kept me laughing, but I also found his reaction a bit sad. He loves Kate, and yet he’s got no clue about what she wants. He’s never asked.

Vaughn attempts to ply Kate with champagne while in his home, and then later at the hotel, he questions her about her relationship with Rick. Are they together? Yes. Is it serious? Yes. Except… she hesitated a beat before answering that second question — maybe because she’s not sure where their relationship is going — and that gives Vaughn an opening. He tries to kiss her, and she obviously considers kissing him back before pushing him away. Then, of course, a shot rings out, narrowly missing Vaughn.

For a while the billionaire looks guilty of setting up the attempts on his own life to hide a fraudulent business scheme, but then our dynamic duo discovers one of his associates is to blame.

Even as Kate walks away and Vaughn leaves the precinct, he gives Rick a parting shot: “You know, that’s an extraordinary woman you’ve got there,” he says. And Rick answers, “I know.” Then as the elevator doors close, Vaughn asks, “Do you?”

His question seems to shake Rick up, because that night he symbolically “cuts the cord” on his gaming system, kisses Kate soundly, and invites her into the bedroom for a romantic full-body massage surrounded by roses and lit candles. The man is trying, sure, but he still doesn’t get it when Kate asks, “Rick, where are we goin’?” She’s talking about their relationship, but he says, “Into the bedroom.” Men! They can’t see the forest for the trees.

I enjoyed this episode a lot even though it toyed with my heart strings. I laughed and I almost cried. I’m a Caskett shipper all the way, and Kate’s confusion really bothered me. It’s natural, of course, so I’m going to hang tough and ride out this little ripple.

We all must remind ourselves that The Squab and the Quail (episode 22) was flip-flopped with Still (episode 21), the one revolving around a bomb theme, in deference to the bombing victims in Boston and the explosion in Texas last week, so the continuity is a bit off. Shouldn’t hurt continuity too much, however, from what I’ve gleaned online.

I can’t wait for more… and I trust Andrew Marlowe when he says he won’t break up Rick and Kate. All relationships have their ups and down, and he’s attempting to keep this one realistic. I can’t wait to see what happens during the finale airing May 13.

Lee Lofland

Okay, I’m diving right in. Lanie has fallen off the wagon and reverted back to Granny Clampett/voodoo/witchdoctor science. And she was relentless last night, never letting up, not even for a moment. Billows of roiling black smoke rose from Ouija Boards, crystal balls rolled down the hallways of the ABC studios, bowling over anyone who got in their way, voodoo dolls screamed for mercy, and an army of root doctors ground chicken bones, dried bat wings, and human toenails at a furious pace. But they just couldn’t keep up with Lanie’s nonsense. Not even close.

We all saw, with our own eyes, the man who took a bite of poison-tainted fowl, suddenly spew a bit of foamy spittle (I know, not pleasant) and then keeled over dead, and all within a few seconds. Right? Well, here’s where things began to go downhill. No, this was where Lanie dove off the cliff, screaming goofy stuff all the way down until she hit the bottom, beside a huge pile of ACME anvils, boulders, broken umbrellas, mis-fired rockets, and other debris left behind by Wile E. Coyote.

Lanie (paraphrasing) – “His pupils and excessive saliva suggests a foreign substance.”

How about epilepsy, Lanie. Or a tumor. Or Bell’s palsy. Maybe even an earlier trauma (a nasty bump on the head). Oh, I know, Lanie…a snake bite can cause foaming at the mouth and that’s just as likely as you diagnosing this one as poisoning, so quickly and based on so little.

Alas, she didn’t stop there. No, she crawled out even further on the nonsense limb. “Didn’t show up on the tox, but I can say for sure it was some sort of paralyzing agent.”

Well, if nothing showed up, how on earth do you know so quickly that it was a paralytic? Maybe you have that muscle stiffness confused with rigor?

And on she went… “The poison was chemically synthesized.” Now, how could she possibly know this? Remember, nothing showed up on the tox screen (basically, you have to have some idea what you’re searching for in order to have a comparison). So, I’m guessing that she (by the way, M.E.’s don’t do this testing and comparison) tested for every single possible natural chemical in the world, and found this one was indeed not one of them. Therefore, that’s how she came to the conclusion that the poison that killed this guy was chemically synthesized. Puhleeze… Do you have any idea how complicated and difficult it would be to do this without first having something to go on? It would be a total shot in the dark, and not one that would return a result as fast as our Voodoo doctor reported. Think about it, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s a bit hard to find it.

Let’s step into the restaurant for a moment before continuing with Lanie’s silliness. This was a no-brainer for the detectives. We know the orders were mixed up and the intended victim did not receive the tainted bird. Therefore, the killer had to have known the menu items (which was squab and which was quail) merely by looking at the finished product. He also had to know which diner ordered which dish, in order to doctor to the correct meal. So, it was an inside job, for sure. We didn’t need to find the discarded jacket/vest to come to this conclusion, but it was definitely icing on the cake.

Okay, so Lanie somehow, within a mater of hours, learns that the poison is saxitoxin, which by the way is extremely deadly and it is a paralytic. Saxitoxin can be found in shellfish contaminated by “red tides” (certain algae blooms), or when the shellfish feed on other certain dinoflagellates (microscopic cellular beings). It’s toxic to humans by inhalation and ingestion (“shellfish poisoning”).

Symptoms of saxitoxin poisoning normal present in 5 to 30 minutes, starting as a faint tingling in the lips and extremities followed by difficulty breathing, a reduction of motor abilities, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, and possibly, convulsions. The next steps are complete paralysis, respiratory failure (minus assisted breathing) and then death.

Within 2-12 hours, there could be complete paralysis or death. If the victim survives past the 12 hour point, however, then he/she is on the road to recovery, no matter how severe the dose. Within a few days they’d return to normal with no lasting effects of the poison.

By the way, there is no antidote for saxitoxin poisoning, and, victims do not die instantly like we saw last night. Therefore, doctors would have more symptoms on which to base their diagnosis and treatment. Approximately 75% of severely infected people die within 12 hours of ingesting the poison, not 12 seconds.

– I’ll leave the mushy stuff to Melanie, but I would like to mention a couple of points regarding the police aspect of the episode. First, seeing a couple of feathers floating from beneath a doorway is not cause to kick in the door. Well, unless you’re there save the life of a very important chicken. Other than that, the police are little more careful about when it’s okay to kick in a door without a warrant.

– One of the two, Esposito or Ryan, called the bloody pillow a “poor man’s silencer. Nice touch, and believable.

– Some may scoff at the idea of Beckett assigned to protect Vaughn in his home. Unfortunately, I was once assigned to similar duty, to protect a woman whose husband had attempted to kill her and their children. I was inside the very modest home for two days while other detectives were assigned to surveillance on the outside. They spent their time trying to stay warm, drinking lots of coffee, and eating cold sandwiches. I watched TV in front of a gas fireplace, played video games with the kids, and enjoyed a couple of nice home-cooked meals. Tough duty to say the least. The woman and her children were finally taken to a safe house.

– A few weeks ago, Beckett finally started using BOLO (be on the lookout) in place of the outdated APD. I noticed she used APB again last night. Not a big deal, but we notice.

My favorite lines from the show:

Castle – “I can’t believe the department is letting her (Beckett) hang out with some womanizing rich guy.”

Ryan – “Unbelievable.”

Esposito – “Yeah, she’s never done that.

* This episode was just “okay” for me. And, I thought Beckett had gone a little Christina Aguilerish with the makeup. But that’s just my opinion, and we know just how important that is. Right, Lanie?

* Here’s one for the mystery writers out there. Bullets coated with saxitoxin have been tested and the poison survived the hot gases produced by the gunfire. A double blow to the victim. They might survive the gunshot wound only to find a strange tingling sensation on their lips and fingertips as it becomes more and more difficult to breathe.

15 replies
  1. Katie
    Katie says:

    I really like crime and lawyer shows, mostly I think because I know nothing about actual police work, laws, and court rooms. That’s why I was really happy to stumble upon this blog, because I’ve always wanted someone to tell me what is possible and what is total crap. As a former ICU nurse and current nurse practitioner, I can’t watch shows with any medical content because all of the factual errors make me so annoyed I can’t take it (I can’t even watch The Mindy Project). So, I’m impressed that you can actually watch these shows and critique them!

    From a medical standpoint, the part of this episode that really bothered me is the fact that the guy who died at the beginning pretty much just foamed at the mouth and put his head down. And then he was dead. When they cut back to the scene when the detectives are there, no one has even moved him from his position at the table. That means no one even shook him to see if he was okay. The 911 operator didn’t tell them to put him down on the ground and check if he was breathing and had a pulse. The EMTs who arrived didn’t try to revive him at all. No one in that really expensive, fancy restaurant had any medical training to try CPR. They must have just stood around, scratching their heads going, “Wow, that really sucks that he’s dead all of a sudden.” How did everyone know it was a crime scene and not to touch the victim?? I mean, come on.

    I used to love Castle. Really, really love it. Now I watch it out of obligation, kind of like The Office. Even I, with no criminal justice background whatsoever, knows that I should take every story with a grain of salt. But even that is getting harder and harder.

  2. mouse
    mouse says:

    Kapil, before the guy keeled over he said something like “this squab is fabulous”. I can’t recall the exact phrase. Anyway, if when the other diners gave their statements of the event they mentioned “he was just saying, (whatever he last said), and then keeled over” and then it came up that whatever was on his plate was quail, I can see how they’d want to dig into that; with it happening in that order. So that particular detail didn’t strike me as so far fetched.

  3. a
    a says:

    These days Castle just makes me kind of sad. Rick is the typical Peter Pan boyfriend who will never grow up. I personally have dumped about two people like that. They will not change.

    Time and again, Castle has chosen distractions over Beckett. As I’ve said before, she practically runs around the room to show she loves him and he barely reacts. Yick. Now that he has her, he’s moving on to other more interesting challenges — like video games? No wonder he’s starting to look like a sloth. Who knows if the end scene would even have happened if the rich crime victim hadn’t shown interest in Beckett. Castle is one of those guys who wants what he can’t have.

    I used to be a shipper. I really, really, really did. Episode 1 of this season, I said that Castle was the best love story I have ever gotten interested in and I was so happy that I have access to it. But the writers have pretty much destroyed it for me, likely with the help of Fillion. Last night I honestly rooted for Beckett to hook up with Vaughn. Vaughn was so much more attractive on a “spiritual level” to me than Castle is now, mostly because he acted grown up and gave the woman some undivided attention. I can’t think of many less appealing things than a 40-year old child. And to be honest, judging from my readings of Twitter, I have to think that Castle is morphing into Nathan Fillion. Ugh. Nice guy, but very immature….not someone I would give much of my time to and don’t seriously think a woman like Beckett would either. I really thought the “walls,” the murder-solving, the kidnappings, the serial killers in his life had matured him. But this season he’s regressed considerably.

    Re the show in general.
    I loved Vaughn. That accent. HOTTTTTTT!
    The crime of the week was typical silliness. You can’t give that show any credit for research, but if you check reality at the door, it often entertains.
    I liked the line about Beckett being forced to hang out with a rich guy. LOL.
    I found it satisfying that after 4 seasons of Beckett walking off with another guy while Castle waited in the wings, this time Vaughn took the elevator home while Castle got Beckett. If only Beckett got a decent Castle….

    But I pretty much didn’t like anything else about the episode. The more this show’s writers leave people like me wanting, the harder it is going to be to satisfy us by giving us what we wanted 6 weeks ago, instead of what we want today. There are so many missed opportunities that they can’t get back now.

    I’m hoping that the bomb story next week turns out to be a dream and the “I love you” from Beckett at the end is said in her sleep so that Castle hears it as he’s standing over her (as he is in the previews) with coffee in the morning. I’ll wait and see if what I’m hoping is true. If instead there is a real bomb, I’m not watching.

    I’m going to save the last two episodes for next season. Two out of four season finales on this show have ended badly and a third was just a short season, so didn’t have a real cliffhanger. Thus I figure the likelihood of a cliffhanger that I don’t like is pretty good. Given that I have Shonda Rhymes(sp) post traumatic stress, LOL, I don’t plan on pissing myself off by watching the season finale.

    I enjoy reading you guys so much. I hope Castle gives me reason to watch next season so I can come see your opinions.

  4. Paul
    Paul says:

    I don’t think that I would want Beckett protecting me. Wouldn’t the first rule of protective duty be to close the drapes and warn the person being protected to stay away from the windows? One would think that her own experience with a sniper would have maybe given her some idea about that.

  5. Janet
    Janet says:

    It’s to the writers’ credit that they’re willing to take the relationship into areas where both halves of Caskett have been unwilling to be vulnerable.

    Kate brings on the sex-kitten seduction but can’t choke out the words “I love you.” Castle responds about like you’d expect — he keeps playing an online game because at least there he knows what the game *is.* He wears his slightly-goofy persona most of the time, rather than being serious and capable . . . and vulnerable.

    As Martha — no novice to marriage — noted, Beckett doesn’t know where the relationship is headed (no ring on the finger) anymore than Castle seems to know. When they have that discussion and act like grownups, the relationship can go somewhere. In the meantime, it’s stuck about where many of us were in late adolescence and early adulthood: frozen.

    I probably had too much psychobabble for breakfast today. That said, I do give the writers credit for acknowledging that the course of true love can go through uncomfortable, uncharted territory.

  6. Pat Roy
    Pat Roy says:

    I enjoy watching Castle, but find myself needing to suspend a lot disbelief to do it. I keep asking myself, when does this man have time to write?

    Last night, the minute the guy tasted his squab (or was it the quail, apparently neither the waiter nor the diners could tell the difference, so how am I supposed to keep it straight?), he started foaming at the mouth and keeled over. Talk about fast acting poison. Then there was Lanie’s instantaneous poison diagnosis. A psychic couldn’t have worked that fast.

    Nice twist that this episode highlighted what an extraordinary woman she is and how lucky he is. Until now, it has been the other way around with her wondering what a wealthy, debonair writer would want with a regular gal cop.

  7. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Kapil – You just hit the edit button…me. I corrected it.

    I agree with all the lousy loose ends, but there were so many this week that I focused my attention on the truly obvious…Lanie.

    Arne – Interesting information. Thanks.

  8. Kapil
    Kapil says:

    typo in above comment – meant “or did the scorned lab researcher” in the first line. the comment section needs an edit button, Lee.

  9. Kapil
    Kapil says:

    Did I get something wrong did the scorned lab researcher giving the poison to the hired killer made no sense??? As I understood, the researcher (Cindy, I think) gave the hired killer the saxitoxin because she thought he was a rival researcher who wanted to claim a patent. But the patent was supposed to be for the antidote to saxitoxin, right? So how would giving the guy a bottle of the poison, as opposed to the antidote, help him in any way in getting a patent???

    Also, the reveal at the beginning of the real target being Vaughn seemed like really lousy writing. The police assumed the victim ate the squab based on what? Who told them that he ordered it? Wouldn’t it be much more plausible that they discover that he ate the quail, based on the plate left in front of him after his death – which would also obviously be tested along with all the remaining food in the kitchen – and then somehow find out LATER that he had actually ordered the squab, as opposed to the other way around. Also, quite weird that the waiter, who mixed up the orders, knew immediately by just looking at his ticket that it was Vaughn who ordered the quail – considering that his ticket just has people listed as P1, P2 etc – not their names.

  10. Helen Ginger
    Helen Ginger says:

    Okay, I admit…I rarely watch Castle. I do come to read the analysis of the show here, though. This is more entertaining, I think, than watching. Honestly, I don’t know why the two of you haven’t been asked to write an episode or two.

  11. Mark E. DeSade
    Mark E. DeSade says:

    The previews for next week’s ep make it seem like Castle and Beckett will be brought closer together by the near death experience…only for the next ep (this week’s) to have them moving further apart…

    Of course the fact that Kate calls her boyfriend by his last name, even at home, probably doesn’t help matters (although Brennan/Booth are just as guilty)

  12. Arne Croell
    Arne Croell says:

    As an aside, it is possible to get poisoned just by eating quail (that has not been tampered with), at least wild European quail. It is known as “Coturnism” and was already known in Roman times. It happens when the quails eat poisonous (for humans) seeds during migration to and from Africa.

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