Castle "Cloudy With a Chance of Murder" Review: Sex, Lies, and Videotape

By Alex Navarro

Oct 02, 2012

Castle S05E02: "Sex, Lies, and Videotape"

Early on in "Cloudy With a Chance of Murder," resident medical examiner and sassy side character Lanie Parish (Tamala Jones, who I had forgotten I kinda missed until seeing her again this week) mads an off-hand comment about seeing something "different" in Detective Beckett. Later, she identified that exact thing: Beckett was having sex. She identified a "glow" about her that previously had not existed. I can't remember entirely if Beckett had, in fact, not had sex for the entire four years prior to this moment, but regardless, the weird part of the whole thing is that I saw it too. It's one thing when a scripted character points out something you're meant to see, but I'd noticed it last week as well. Stana Katic is different this season, and it's a difference that's wholly welcome.

Katic has always been Nathan Fillion's straight-man, so to speak. She was the voice of reason, the one meant to set Fillion up for his various goofball one-liners. She was the serious character with the serious history who got to do all the serious stuff on Castle. Now, all of a sudden, she's not so serious anymore. Funny what getting laid will do for one's personality, no?

I've made my complaints about Katic before, but so far this season, I haven't had a single one. She's been fun to watch, seemingly more willing (or more able) to mix it up with Fillion on a comedic level. And because of that, this relationship is working. Fillion's still being Fillion, which is what people want and expect from Castle. But Katic going toe-to-toe with Fillion on the fun front adds a whole other dynamic that this show has rarely had before. Seeing these two actively enjoying each other, instead of just passively enjoying each other in sort-of-secret, has given the show a nice shot in the arm.

I just wish they didn't have to keep the relationship secret from everyone else. You see, despite Castle not actually being an NYPD employee, the NYPD still has very strict rules against coworkers dating, and undoubtedly mean ol' Captain Gates would put the kibosh on Castle's continued assistance on murder investigations should she discover his and Beckett's secret humping. Additionally, Castle's minor celebrity status in New York City means he has to keep things quiet on his end too, lest he end up on the front page of some tabloid rag. Though considering his previous history with the local media, it's more likely that they'd just mistake him for Jason Bateman again.

Because of this, Castle and Beckett spent much of "Cloudy With a Chance of Murder" jumping through hoops in an attempt to keep their coupling a clandestine affair. At times, such as with the always delightful Dr. Parish, this made for some decent comedy. This became especially true later in the episode, when Castle found himself stalked by a man-eating local entertainment reporter (Jodi Lynn O'Keefe). After innocently sitting down for a segment with her on the news, O'Keefe took things to maximum levels of awkward by asking him out on the air. Castle being Castle, he of course accepted. While Beckett stood not even 10 feet away. Oops.

Let's not even bother addressing the ludicrous lack of professionalism that led a reporter to ask an interviewee out on a date, live on television. This is Castle, so naturally something wacky and hilarious like that would happen. What we should address is Castle agreeing to the date specifically as a cover. In his mind, it was a way to fool the world into thinking he and Beckett aren't dating. By going out to dinner with this voluptuous TV personality, he could shake any possibility of people assuming he has a secret relationship with his best cop lady buddy. He did this without quite realizing what Beckett's reaction might be. One could describe it as "displeased."

It was fine for a time, until we realized that O'Keefe wasn't just overly forward. Indeed, she was a sex-crazed, celebrity-devouring temptress, who lured men into her den of sin by being incredibly hot and also apparently wearing top-of-the-line bikinis under her clothes. No, not sexy lingerie, but bikinis. In New York. In the fall. Right.

While O'Keefe was fun in full-on vixen mode, and Fillion's usual blubbering in these types of situations is always good for a laugh, I'm really, reaaaaaalllllly hoping that this doesn't go on for the entire season. I like Castle and Beckett together, but I'm not digging the desperate attempts to hide their love. It's funny in spurts, but it's also kind of exhausting, and it certainly isn't helping the standalone episode plots.

This week's mystery involved a sexy, aging weather woman for a local news station finding herself shot to death in Central Park. How she got there—the result of an expose on a carpet company polluting the air, or something—ultimately played second banana to a constant string of parallels to Castle and Beckett's own situation. Most notable among them was the silly conversation with the weather woman's supposed former boyfriend, who relayed a long, torturous account of the many lies and deceptions they had to indulge in to keep their relationship secret from their coworkers. His pain suddenly became Castle and Beckett's pain, and the conversations began to spiral into depressing self-reflection and doubt over their ability to keep this secret from their friends.

I realize that some drama will have to be wrung from Castle and Beckett's coupling, but the secret romance thing is just such a tired old trope, and it's not being used to particularly great effect here. "Cloudy With a Chance of Murder" was at its best when Castle and Beckett were free to have fun with one another and just focus on solving a damn mystery. Granted, the mystery was a largely forgettable dud, but this early in the season, I'm willing to forgive that in favor of just enjoying this new dynamic between the show's leads. Boy I sure do hope I get to keep enjoying that, and don't have to sit through episode after episode of Castle and Beckett desperately trying to hide their fun from everyone else.


NOTES


– Ryan and Esposito seemingly made up this week, which would be great if I cared about them. Look, they're decent comic relief, but whether or not they're fighting doesn't make much of a difference to me. Just be bros and keep spouting your expository dialogue week after week. That's all we need from you, guys.

– Man, the writers really had to jump through some hoops to get Beckett to run in on Castle and Sexy Reporter Lady's bikini wrestling match, didn't they? I haven't butt-dialed someone on my phone since phones stopped having keypads.

– Really hoping for a better mystery next week. Last season was probably half good/half bad on that front. Considering we're now in this show's fifth season, I'm worried that ratio might start leaning toward the bad end of the spectrum.

– Best dialogue of the night: "She's like the Terminator of sexpots!" "What does that even mean? That she never stops coming?"

– Fillion moment of the night: That little end-of-episode smile that creeped out after Beckett confessed to still being weirded out by seeing Sexy McSexLady's boobs all up in his face.

  • Comments (28)
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  • BrookeParker Oct 10, 2012

    You KINDA missed Tamala Jones? Kate bustin' in the door like that was kinda epic! There were other things I thought about as well.

  • tinsmith63 Oct 05, 2012

    It wasn't a pocket dial - Castle deliberately took his phone out and called Beckett, so that she would overhear the exchange and come rescue him.

  • DavidJackson8 Oct 04, 2012

    Overall, I like Ryan and Esposito... but I will say that Espo's gotten too one-note lately and has been slightly caricature-ish. Hopefully being buddies with Ryan again might settle that down a bit.

    I agree with others about not wanting to see Castle and Beckett hiding their relationship much longer. I like the dynamic between the two since they shacked up, but the "we can't tell anybody!" part of it is already getting old. Although, I will say that if it had been written better (funnier), it probably could have lasted a whole season without me hating it... but having it be less funny and more, uh, disrupting?, it's already tiresome.

    And yes, I didn't much care for the case-of-the-week. It didn't help that I thought Josh Randall's character (Miles?) was the killer as soon as I saw him. That's often the biggest problem with procedurals, I guess.

  • Liria Oct 04, 2012

    Co-workers not allowed to date? Lanie and Esposito were doing what again all those seasons ago (don't really remember when that was)?

  • flyPBA Oct 05, 2012

    Lanie is the coroner ... who works for the Medical Examiner's office ... not a police officer.

  • BillHilbrich Oct 04, 2012

    If you look closely and compare the new shows with past shows, you will see that Beckett's hair is a lot more fluffy. She is also looking more relaxed, and obviously actually have sex is a whole better than just thinking about sex.

  • YoPoco Oct 03, 2012

    The strict policy of not dating co-workers didn't stop Beckett to be with Demming for a short time...

  • Ronin_Blackwing Oct 03, 2012

    Another biased review. Thankfully this episode did not leave that many openings for you to pick at but mate it's clear you have an issue with the show and that is not helping your review.

    And how have you missed the mountain of spoilers and teasers by Marlowe saying that they will not stay secret all season. In fact I believe it was Katic that let on in an interview for some website that the secret will be out by end of the first third of the season. SPOILER FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T SEEN THE SNEAK PEAKS -----------Judging by the sneak peaks for next week they actually got busted on day one. And by the end of 5x03 there should be 2 people knowing about them. -------- Also for what is probably the billionth time - give it a rest already with the jabs at Stana's past performance on the show. Beckett was supposed to be the more serious, more rigid character so that's what she played - she still managed some ( and by that I mean plenty) of comedic moments during the first three seasons and even a few last season. But given her story arc last season I hardly think her lack of comedic inclinations was surprising - I doubt you could take a bullet to the chest and then bounce back to joking around, especially if the person that put the bullet in you is still running around.

    I'll will give you that the episode had a couple of minor issues and yes some things required a suspension on disbelief to get past. Guess what - any show that lasts more than 10 episodes will have those problems you are pointing out (hell some shows can't make it 3 episodes before those emerge) and as for the second part, well duh, it's TV show no one says they have to keep every single tiny detail realistic. The so called reality TV can't stay realistic for 10 minutes, so by comparison Castle is doing pretty great. And just generally Castle is doing pretty great. Two very entertaining episodes so far and from the sneak peaks a third one just as entertaining and funny coming up. Personally I think if they can stay off the heavy drama for at least half the season and get back to the roots off the show this season has the potential to be better than Seasons 2 and 3 in many ways.

    And here's my final point. A note to you Alex Navaro - either try to keep neutral or hand over reviewing Castle episodes to someone who can. I'm not saying have a someone who is a fan review it, 'cause that brings it's own set of issues (overlooking problems in episodes that should not be ignored being just the most obvious) but if we can find someone who can review THE EPISODES and not looks for roundabout ways to attack the cast that would be really nice.



    PS: SPOILER FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T SEEN THE SNEAK PEAKS(another one yes) ----------- Sneak Peaks # 4 and 5 ... awesome is all I'm saying. Their faces during 4 were priceless.

  • TVwanderlust Oct 03, 2012

    I have to agree with SokkaAppa, this reviewer is a downer especially after watching a great episode of Castle. More enthusiasm for what is one of the few good-natured and hearted shows on TV would be appreciated.



    Also..lay off on Esposito and Ryan. Some of my favorite and funniest Nathan Fillion as Castle moments have been because of those two characters.

  • JT_Kirk Oct 03, 2012

    This was a cute episode, and yeah, Stana Katic has been pretty flat in the past and more interesting and dynamic lately.

    I thought the mystery worked fine riiiiight up until the actual "I figured it out!" moment where it just flopped on its face by being convoluted and cheap and thin. This guy hadn't confessed and any lawyer could have gotten him off - how the hell do Castle and Beckett not know the guy is bisexual and having an affair with both?

  • SokkaAppa Oct 03, 2012

    Look Alex, stana katic is a good actress so lay off. I am just completely turned off reading anymore of your reviews at this point. The writers are giving espositio and ryan a little side story that's actually amusing and you are just crapping all over it! Please TV.com get someone else who actually watches this great show and likes it. Case it point:

    "I can't remember entirely if Beckett had, in fact, not had sex for the entire four years prior to this moment"

    Answer: It was just a couple seasons ago she was dating a cardiologist.

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