Castle Crumbled Last Night

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love Castle. Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic have fantastic chemistry, the show's humor is quick and biting, and the murder cases they solve are always pleasantly intriguing. But last night's episode, "Love Me Dead," left me cold—and made me wonder if the show's already going stale.

It wasn't the plot that was off. In fact, the last-minute twist of the prostitute playing the pimp was surprisingly unconventional—and allowed suspense to build until the very end of the episode. And that fast-talking locksmith that Castle (Fillion) and Beckett (Katic) met during the investigation? Hilarious. Even the idea of Beckett and Alexis (Molly Quinn) sharing a storyline seemed entertaining. But in the end, the execution of the episode didn't work.

Castle relies very heavily on the witty, URST-filled banter between Castle and Beckett—and up until last night, everything was copacetic in the humor department. In this episode, the writers stabbed Castle with a double-edged sword: Both his daughter and his partner-in-crime kept the same secret from him, resulting in a completely uncharacteristic overdose of PMS from two of the three most important women in his life. And to make matters worse, the issue at hand was mild, at best: Alexis was considering a three-week trip to France and wanted to ask Beckett, who had studied abroad in college, for advice. The painful tension built among these three—via Alexis's noticeably standoffish behavior toward Castle and Beckett's unnecessarily mean taunts when Castle merely asked if his daughter was okay—was almost gratuitous. And in both cases, it was uncharacteristic of these women to act so harshly toward him, especially when he was just concerned for his daughter's well-being. I'm all for character development, but I'm also for continuity. The delicate banter always goes both ways, and this just seemed like a cheap attempt at a few extra minutes of dramatic build-up.

Here's a thought: Instead of trying to squeeze every last flaw out of the main characters, why not give the bench a little time on the floor? Castle has an incredibly talented supporting cast—and the characters they've created have believable personalities, even in the context of a police procedural. We heard about Detective Kevin Ryan's (Seamus Dever) girlfriend in Season 1. Let's meet her! We saw Lanie Parish (Tamala Jones) give Beckett some fashion advice in Season 1. Why don't these two spend more time together? Captain Roy Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) has a few friends in high places. Let's see him outside of the office! And Detective Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas) has so much potential, what with his rapid-fire comebacks and serious attitude. Wouldn't it be great if he had a love interest?

I'm not saying that the show should spotlight these guys all the time. It's called Castle for a reason. But sometimes the stars need a break. And in this case, they've got great backup.

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