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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Castle goes out disappointingly

     I have been a fan of Nathan Fillion for quite some time.  When I learned he was starring in a crime mystery-of-the-week series, Castle, I was disappointed.  He's so much better than that.  Having popped into the show a couple of months ago, having not watched it since the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised to see how witty and entertaining it was, despite the formula.  So I have been watching since, and this week's season finale, "A Deadly Game" was the weakest episode of the last few.

     The finale centered on a 'spy' that was killed during a 'mission'.  Those extra punctuation marks are present because it's all a game, except for the real dead body.  Frankly, I could care less about the murder Castle and his partner Beckett (Stana Katic) are working on.  I tune in for character development and interaction.  This week's case was just boring.  I know, I know.  It certainly sounds exciting, but it wasn't handled in an interesting way.  It kind of plodded along.  It's like there was more concern with how they would end this season with Castle and Beckett than there was about the case.  Which is fine.  That's what it should be.  Except it was done all wrong.

     A hallmark of these types of shows is the entire series-spanning 'will they or won't they?'  It's frustrating as hell and generally dumb.  It's been done over and over again.  Occasionally you'll run across a show like Bones that handles the situation beautifully, but it still wears on over time.  If you're a smart writer, you do it like Chuck or, it appears, House will soon be doing, and you put them together and go for it.  True, that has killed shows before, but to keeping the growth going and the show worth watching, it needs to happen.

     Castle started out ok with this.  Beckett dumped her perfectly good boyfriend (Michael Trucco) when she was about to lose Castle.  So far, so good.  Then out of nowhere comes his ex-wife and the two go off together, leaving Beckett alone and frustrated.  Terrible.

     Instead, the best part of the episode was between Castle and his daughter, Alexis (Molly C. Quinn), as she was about to move into some college dorm for a summer program, and he worried about the sort of things he did at her age without parental supervision.  It was clever, fun, and if the entire show was like this, it would be brilliant.  Capture that light-hearted banter, and Castle could have gold.

     Castle has already been picked up for a third season, and will return next fall to ABC.

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