Castle: Clear and present danger

After two weeks of bad Castle episodes, it was nice to see a glimpse of the “old Castle.” You know, way back when the show was fun. Right, Melanie?

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Good cop Melanie reporting in. I’m smiling this morning, thanks to the hefty amount of Caskett in last night’s episode. Clear and Present Danger, a lighter episode with lots of laughs, gave us plenty of that. ‘Bout time!

I wasn’t watching at home, so I didn’t have the advantage of a DVR to rewatch scenes like I usually do. The bad weather distracted me, and the TV wasn’t the best. Yet I did manage to find a few key scenes online this morning, even if I haven’t had time for a full rewatch. That’s why my recap isn’t as detailed as usual. I’m having to rely on my memory, and it’s shaky at best.

I do, however, remember imagining Lee rolling his eyes at Lanie’s crazy supposition at the crime scene. Seriously? No wonder I focused on the Kate-Rick relationship.

Of course, along with their delicious PDA came frustration in the way of interruptions. These definitely get old after a while. I mean, is the phone going to ring every single time Kate and Rick start to get it on? And hey, if the phone didn’t ring, paranoia about the case kept them apart. Really? Just do it already.

Speaking of the case, I found parts of it hilarious, others ho-hum, and the rest made me look at my watch to see when we’d get back to the good part — Kate and Rick finally getting some uninterrupted alone time.

Of course, Kate and Rick’s encounter with the “invisible” man cracked me up. I found the premise far-fetched but loved the idea. Just wish the case part hadn’t gone downhill after this. I pretty much ignored it, just wanting to get back to Rick and Kate alone at the loft.

Thank heaven for Esposito, ragging Ryan about his new off-duty job. Those two made me laugh more than once. Then… enter Martha.

Leave her to get caught in Rick’s crazy “Zombie apocalypse” trap. So funny, and yet the trap itself left me shaking my head. I won’t get into the logistics of how long it must have taken for him to haul the pots and pans into the bedroom, tie the dental floss to the ceiling, and suspend the cookware in such a precise pattern… all while he’s in a hurry to get back to Kate. Didn’t seem believable, and yet it was funny and so Castle.

To summarize, I wasn’t thrilled with the episode as a whole but adored the renewed Kate-Rick dynamic. We finally got some much-needed PDA that made me feel as if their relationship is finally back on track. Hallelujah for that.

Next week’s “Kindergarten Cop” episode looks like more good fun. I only hope the case this time isn’t a yawner.


Lee Lofland

My turn, and you may be surprised to hear that I enjoyed this episode, sort of. Actually, this one just may be what it took to keep a few unhappy viewers/fans from switching off for good.

The show was fun, quirky, silly, and flirty, with a bit of murder tossed in for giggles. What made this episode work, at least for me, was how well the writers delivered a tale of believable make-believe. I was able to suspend belief/fact because Castle and crew were able to bring me inside their fictional world. And it’s hard to call someone a liar, even a fictional character, when you’re standing next to them, seeing exactly what they’re seeing.

To effectively deliver believable make-believe takes the combined efforts of both writers and actors. And that’s what we saw this week, a story told by writers who know their characters, and by actors who gave meaning and life to those same characters.

As a former contest judge (Best Episode in a TV Series) for a major entertainment-based organization, one of the things I watched for in the nearly overwhelming number of entries received each year, was the connection, or not, between the characters and the writers. Did the actors understand the characters and their story, or not? Did the actors understand the characters and their creators? Was the story believable? Were we, the audience, brought into the tale?

The failure of writer and actor to connect is a problem sometimes seen on shows featuring multiple writers—different writers for various episodes. Some writing styles seem to fit certain actors a bit better than they do others. When the “fit” is not there, well, it creates a bit of awkwardness that often finds its way on screen.

Even Lanie, with her witchdoctor mumbo-jumbo about the victim’s demise being caused by a punctured inferior vena cava, an internal wound she could not see while the victim was fully-clothed, was pretty decent in her attempt to help us believe fiction over fact. Well, there was that thing about the stress fractures of the victim’s hands. You know, the part where Lanie told us those injuries were proof that he’d caused all the damage to his own apartment, and that his injuries were a direct result of the destructive act. Why not a fall while bike riding, or mountain climbing? What about boxing, MMA, etc.? Yeah, that was a WTF line if there ever was one. Okay, maybe Lanie wasn’t much help after all.

Still, the pacing was good, and the characters actually seemed to be having a good time, once again. It was truly refreshing to see some relief from all the gloom and doom of previous episodes. Beckett, in fact, seemed to enjoy the “light” so much that she actually switched on a lamp prior to searching for evidence (cops don’t search places without some sort of light source). I also liked hearing Beckett’s comment about how she had to look at all angles of the case, no matter how “odd” they may seem at the time. She’s right. Investigators absolutely cannot rule out anything or anyone until fact says it’s so.

A couple of other good points from the show.

1) Cops, as a rule, do not earn a lot of money. Therefore, many officers work part-time jobs, including security. However, it’s unlikely that a department would permit an officer to work in a place that could be deemed unsuitable.

2) “You guys have the coolest toys,” Castle said to the chief scientist in charge of cloaking. I remember saying something similar years ago when I borrowed a piece of equipment from the FBI. Some of the things I saw there that day were, well, the coolest toys ever.

We’d love to hear your opinions. Did you enjoy this episode, or not? What was your favorite moment or line?

Castle: Montreal

“Need I remind you I’m a grown man. I don’t need to ask your permission. That being said, please, please, please can I go?”

My answer to Castle’s question is…YES! Please go, and please take the writers with you! I’m so frustrated with this show…well, let’s just say I’m not happy with what I’m seeing this season. But, as always, I’ll take one for the team. So here goes. First, though, let’s see what Melanie thought about this episode. Melanie…

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

This week, I’m back to playing Good Cop… with a major caveat. I liked Montreal much better than Driven, the season premiere, but thought the episode went off the rails for a while before regaining its equilibrium with a satisfying ending. An ending that gave me hope.

The episode opened with Rick being interviewed by a shark wanting answers about his disappearance. The woman first suggests his two month absence was nothing more than a publicity stunt, then asks if he left the day of his wedding to Kate because he got cold feet. Rick is clearly ticked off. He denies both scenarios and retaliates by offering a $250K reward for answers regarding his whereabouts during the time he was missing. I enjoyed this scene and Rick’s discomfiture. Seemed real to me.


The case Kate catches, the first with Rick back at the precinct, echoes her experience when Rick first disappeared. Rick catches on and seeks to soothe her. Then Captain Gates jumps him for giving the precinct number as the one to call about where he was during his absence, because the phone is ringing off the hook, and in his excitement, he kisses her. Gates. Kate’s boss. What? I first saw this scene in a sneak peek and almost spit coffee all over my laptop. I’m sure my expression mirrored the horrified look on Kate’s face, and I had to ask… why? Yes, the kiss garnered a strong reaction from me, but the craziness of it pulled me out of the story. ‘Nuff said.

Alexis helped Rick weed through the crackpots who called with so-called information, and then Martha announced to Rick that she’d gotten a date from grief counseling and needed him to make himself scarce when the man came to the door. So funny. I’m glad to have Martha back in the thick of things, if only for a couple of scenes. She’s such a fabulous character. We need to see more of her.

The nut who lured Rick to meet him and then claimed they’d been on the same spaceship made me laugh, too. Classic Castle. Even the makeup artist I initially thought was another murder victim brought back the fun of older episodes. I enjoyed watching the case unfold, even if it was odd and the drug dog didn’t act like the ones I’ve seen in demonstrations.

I was totally drawn in and rolling with the show. I bought the idea of the couple who came forward with the picture of Rick, the key sewn into his pants, and the possibility that it might fit a safety deposit box inside the bank in the picture. I even liked that Rick and Alexis traveled to Montreal to find out the truth — and loved the messages contained on the SD cards inside the safety deposit box. Rick’s message to Kate solidified her belief in him.

Rick, of course, had to keep digging. Too many questions remained for him to be satisfied. And that’s when I felt the episode hit a wall. Tory the computer tech, with her magical program that located the obscure buildings in the background of the picture, is partly to blame. Does that technology even exist? I didn’t like Rick going off by himself in search of answers… and when he dismissed the taxi on that dark, lonely street in Montreal, I wanted to throw something at the screen. Of course he ran into one of the men responsible for his disappearance, and of course the man held him at gunpoint. Their cryptic conversation only deepened the mystery, and that disappointed me. I’m tired of big plots hanging over the heads of our dynamic duo.

Will Rick be able to forget his disappearance ever happened? Or will the remaining questions tie him in knots and keep him from moving forward? The last scene gave me hope that he’ll move on, but I know for a fact that the writers will revisit this plot in the future. I only hope it won’t tear Rick and Kate apart. Kate’s show of faith in Rick and her promise to never leave him warmed my heart… as did their plan to wait a month, then make wedding plans. I truly believe we’ll get the wedding we want eventually. Can’t happen soon enough for me!

The preview of next week’s show made me laugh out loud. I hope it’s a classic Castle episode without so much drama and angst. After the past two weeks, I can use a good laugh.


Lee Lofland

Well, the writers are definitely not allowing any dust to collect on their one copy of the boilerplate script. Not at all. In fact, they pulled it out again this week to fill in the blanks with the latest suspects du jour. Add to the standard formula, another dumb plot point that was best described by the investigative reporter at the beginning of the show when she said to Castle, “Amnesia…really?”

Okay, on with the show…

Lanie. Bless her heart, she tried really hard this week to come across as sounding as if she knew what she was talking about regarding dead bodies and other important medical examiner thingies. She even made a point to let viewers know that bleach could destroy DNA (someone scrubbed the plastic-wrapped victim with bleach). And she’s right, bleach could and does destroy DNA. However, what’s the big rule of thumb when collecting DNA and other wet evidence? That’s correct. Do not place wet evidence inside plastic bags/containers. Why not? Because the plastic can serve as an incubator for bacteria. What could bacteria do? It could degrade or destroy DNA. So, wrapping the victim’s body inside plastic was basically the same as inserting wet evidence inside a giant plastic bag. Just a point for writers to ponder when crafting their dead-body-wrapped-in-plastic scenes.

On the other hand, the scene with Lanie and Beckett “just talking” was pretty good. Great, actually. Not so much for what they said, but that they had the conversation, as friends. Nothing over the top. Just intimate chit-chat.

Lanie also said that she could make a better cause of death determination after she got the victim’s body back to the morgue. Well, she said lab, but I assume she knows where she works. Anyway, that’s much better than doing a total and complete voodooish autopsy at the scene.

– During the search of the toy company we saw Ryan playing on the giant keyboard while Esposito pawed through paperwork and other items. Believe me, this sort of thing happens all the time—officers trying on someone’s funny hat, posing for a selfie with the suspect’s rare 9-legged Martian platypus, etc. Is that wrong? Definitely, but it happens.


– Beckett has a habit of using the term “canvass.” “Ryan, have uniforms canvass the area.” Espo, canvass the area.” “Hey, you. Cancass the neighborhood.”

I’m not sure if NYPD officers actually use that term norm or not. I’ve not heard it used anywhere else, though. Not as a part of regular dialog. It’s use is absolutely correct, but it seems a little odd to hear it among working street cops. Typically, it’s, “Hey, you. Hit the streets to see what you can find out.” Or, “Hey, you. Start there and knock on doors until you find someone who heard something.” Again, this one isn’t a big deal at all. Just thought I’d mention it in case someone was planning to work something like this into a fictional conversation.

– The drug dog. FYI – Narcotics canines do NOT suddenly leap up and run several yards to inspect someone’s pockets for drugs. Instead, they search where their handlers tell them to search. Sure, if a person passed directly by the dog, and if that person had a stash of heroin in his pocket, the canine might raise it’s head and ears, look at the suspect and then back toward the officer (an alert). But it would not get up and run 30 yards through offices and hallways, straight to a specific person. For starters, the scent of the drug does not work like a flashing red arrow that points at the suspect. The dog would need to work it’s way to the source of the scent. Very unrealistic.

– The goofy, stupid, magic computer. Dumb. I really hate that they’ve added this “device” that allows the writers to skip over/avoid the hard spots. It’s cheating, and it’s insulting to viewers.

Finally, the killer was, as expected, the toy company employee who had that quick, trademark/boilerplate script on-camera time.

Oh, one more month until the wedding? No surprise there. This show is the world’s worst for over-milking every single storyline.

So, what are your thoughts about the show? Better than last week? The same? Did you love it, or are you already hoping for something better to come along?


Castle is BACK! And Good Cop Melanie and I are here to help you through all the twists and turns. Was the season opener worth the long wait? Well, let’s start the year off with Melanie’s thoughts on last night’s show.

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

Welcome to Castle, season seven. I so wanted to start this year off as the good cop after watching Driven. I mean, I really did. I despised For Better or Worse, the season six finale, and hoped to start year seven off with a bang. Instead, I’m shaking my head. Don’t get me wrong… Stana Katic’s acting was spectacular. I just can’t help but wonder what the heck the writers were thinking when they came up with the whole season six-seven Kate’s-been-married-before, Rick-crashes-his-car-and-disappears-while-it’s-burning-before-the-wedding scenario. I’m a romance writer, and I would NOT have written Kate and Rick’s story this way. In my version, they would’ve had their storybook wedding before everything went south. Just sayin’.

The whole convoluted plot is what it is. I’m doing my best to roll with the punches, if you’ll pardon the overused cliché, even though I thought the writers shoe-horned way too much story into forty minutes. The beginning scene did grab me, and Stana scored playing the horrified bride, and the burning car sent chills down my spine — even though I knew Rick wasn’t in it, because I’d already feasted on episode sneak peeks. After that, however, I had trouble suspending my disbelief. Before I get into specifics, spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched the episode, you might want to stop reading now and do so, then come back to read the rest of the blog.

Consider yourself warned.


On to the story. I love Kickass Beckett and enjoyed her tackling the guy they chased at the salvage yard. That was truly cool, but her blatant use of force in the interrogation room set my teeth on edge. Sure, I expected her to be ruthless and pull out all the stops in her search for Rick, but I believe she went too far. A little abuse of power goes a long way. Kudos to Esposito for calling her out on it.

The time jump didn’t bother me, maybe because I’d already heard there would be one. I was surprised, however, when the Coast Guard found Rick in the boat so early in the episode. That was a twist I didn’t expect, as was his amnesia. I do not like that trope. In my opinion, amnesia plots are overused and cliché. Yes, I’ve written a book that included one, and it made perfect sense at the time. I’ve since decided it’s not the best plot device.

I know Rick didn’t remember what happened to him while he was missing — heck, at first he thought it was the day after the car crash — but when he first woke up, he seemed entirely too flippant. He had to have read the despair and relief on Kate’s face, and yet he made jokes. I call that poor writing and/or directing. I also didn’t like Kate using his last name when she first approached his hospital bed. He’s her fiancée, for crying out loud. She should’ve called him Rick. I also don’t believe she should’ve left so soon to search for answers about his disappearance. I mean, he’d just waked up, and she leaves the hospital? Nope. No freaking way, not after he’d been gone without a trace for two long months. Too out of character for me to buy.

Espo came off as kind of a jerk during the search, too. His doubt and snide remarks really got under my skin. The twist concerning the two “Henrys” was a nice touch, however, and I like that we have more mystery to explore. Yet I’m still reeling from the wedding not happening at the end of last season and am irked Kate and Rick now have such a wide gulf between them. The last scene broke my heart. I do believe they’ll eventually get back on track, but the romance writer in me is rebelling at the unnecessary angst. Will they ever find true happiness?

I’m hoping we’ll at least get some resolution to Rick’s story in 7×2, Montreal. I still love the show, and I’ll keep watching. I just want Caskett happiness.

Lee Lofland

I wish I had something nice to say about this episode. Unfortunately, I don’t. I’m weary of the same old and tired story-lines, the same boilerplate scripts, the same character-types, the “coffee cup,” and, for goodness sake, I’m “up-to-here” with the kidnapping scenarios. It has become a real chore to keep up with whose turn it is to be abducted. I’ve tried keeping up with them by posting the information on a handy-dandy chart, but even that wasn’t much help. There’ve been far too many people-snatchings, especially when you combine the solo kidnappings with the group abductions.


Adding to the same-old, same old, were the typical:

– searching places without a warrant.

– conducting searches and other police business in outside jurisdictions.

– taking control of investigations in outside jurisdictions

– the ever present FBI agent.

– amnesia (puleeze…).

– the computer person who has access to every single surveillance camera in NYC.

– questioning a suspect AFTER he requested a lawyer (and twisting and tugging on the bad guy’s thumb while doing so).

– Lanie (no need to say more).

– larger than life criminal who has access to DMV and other official records and files.

By the way, there was an odd thing going on in one scene. A police light bar flashed between red and blue, but it did so without an attached car, and only across Beckett’s chest. Anyone else catch it?


The blue light is visible in this photo. The next flash was red and it occurred over the right side of Beckett’s chest (her left).


The alternating flashing lights stayed with her throughout the scene. It was probably a phenomenon caused by either Bigfoot, someone involved in the JFK assassination, or by a props department employee who mistakenly grabbed something from the set of one of those ghost-hunting TV shows.

So what did you think? Was the season opener all you hoped it would be? Or did it fall flat for you, too?