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Castle: Every Rose Has Its Thorn

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What's the deal with big-time guest stars being totally underwhelming these days? Lisa Kudrow was really average on Cougar Town last week, Julianne Moore was awful on 30 Rock last month, and last night Alyssa Milano stunk up the place on Castle. In "A Rose For Everafter," Milano played Castle's ex-girlfriend Kyra Blaine, whose wedding was ruined by the untimely murder of one of her bridesmaids.

Whereas Nathan Fillion delivered a stellar performance, digging deep into the serious/Captain Mal archives and pulling out some wicked puppy-dog eyes for Kyra, Milano was just... average. She hardly reciprocated the emotional depth he provided, and the awkward result made the episode's theme of "lost love" that much more heart-wrenching. To Castle, Kyra was the one that got away, but thanks to Milano's performance, it seemed as if she were never there in the first place. And to top it off, they embraced in a cheesy rooftop kiss.

In fact, the only satisfying part of Castle and Kyra's brief reunion was watching six-time bridesmaid Beckett (Stana Katic) squirm with jealousy. The delightful URST between Castle and Beckett keeps building, Bones-style, and the results are quite adorable. What's better is the minor characters are starting to notice and comment openly about their observations: Lanie (Tamala Jones) talked to at the corpse she was examining about Beckett's obvious feelings for Castle, and Esposito (Jon Huertas) and Ryan (Seamus Dever) exchanged eyebrow raises whenever Castle and Beckett are found alone together. And why shouldn't they? The URST is explosive.

So, with the exception of the very vanilla Milano, the episode was a winner. Fillion matched his dramatic performance with a hilarious moment of physical comedy: maneuvering a flip-top trash can to rip off duct tape from his mouth. Buddy cops Esposito and Ryan got a bit more screen time, too, from their debate about the cutest Jonas brother to their kick-ass interrogation of one of the bridesmaid's suspected killers. It's nice to see these guys moving up in the system, even if the system is fictional.

And let's not forget about the story, which took a great turn at the end. Castle deserves high praise for leading viewers to believe the obvious and then surprising them with a well-thought-out final twist. The dead bridesmaid, initially pegged as Kyra's fiance's lover, turned out to be an unlucky pawn in Kyra's Uncle Teddy's financial chess game with the family money. As for Castle and Kyra? Well, Kyra wound up at the altar, and Beckett wound up catching the bouquet. Seventh time's a charm...

What did you think of the episode?


Follow TV.com writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom

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