Castle "Scared to Death" Review: Ring Around the Hokey

Castle S05E17: "Scared to Death"

After a two-week break following one of the better (if still ridiculous) dramatic arcs the series has had in a while, I was kind of hoping that we'd return to a rejuvenated Castle. It's not that this season hasn't mostly delivered—outside of some of its more lackluster standalone episodes, it's largely been quite solid—but after such a dramatic, James Brolin-flavored rush, and a couple of weeks to catch our breath, I was ready to return to the fun-lovin' murder-solvin', divorced-from-any-larger-story context. We certainly got that, but beyond a few good laughs, "Scared to Death" might have been the worst episode of the season yet.

"Scared to Death" lives in the same problematic area that last season's zombie episode took up residence in. The premise, which involved the thoroughly hokey notion of a spooky, demonic DVD that kills its viewers three days after they view it, was mired in a supernatural kookiness that might be believable in, say, a particularly murder-filled episode of Scooby Doo, but made no sense in a show that is, by and large, predicated in real-world crime-solving. I grant you that much of what happens on Castle is kind of silly and unbelievable, but there's a difference between, say, a crime-solving author with a CIA agent father tagging along on endless murder investigations with a super-hot lady detective whose mother was killed in a massive, far-reaching conspiracy involving corrupt senators and god knows what else, and actual evil spirits coming back and killing people.

Of course, actual evil spirits were nowhere to be found in "Scared to Death." Just like the dumb, dumb, dumb zombies episode, this one has an entirely corporeal evil at the center of it. But for long stretches of "Scared to Death," Castle, as well as Esposito and Ryan, were periodically convinced that something creepy, kooky, and altogether ooky was going on. Beckett, for her part, remained unconvinced, as any sane person should have. She attempted to reason with her suddenly cowardly compatriots, and even volunteered to view the DVD herself, despite grave warnings from Castle, who accidentally watched it at the crime scene.

And speaking of the video, it was maybe one of the silliest things I've seen mature adults attempt to appear fearful of on a major television program. It was an obnoxious hodgepodge of The Ring-inspired imagery that looked like it was constructed by a 16-year-old with terrible taste in horror movies and a fondness for crappy video-editing filters. And yet its hilariously delivered warning of, "You saw it. Three days. You die." was somehow completely terrifying to Castle, a grown-ass man who's seen plenty of other seemingly supernatural events pass by with entirely reasonable explanations.

It's not that I don't appreciate Castle's occasional childlike qualities. I like that he's a big, silly man-baby who plays the coward when it's funny, but can still be heroic when real trouble comes. But the writers' insistence of putting their characters through such nonsense plots is never not awful. These people are not stupid. We've watched them evolve over five seasons now, and the idea that Castle was actually terrified that a video was going to kill him was maybe just a bit more than I could take.

It was especially ridiculous given that the writers so clearly hated this plot idea, too. The Castle crew brought up The Ring no fewer than three times during the episode, which included a particularly bizarre cameo from Wes Craven, whom Castle called up to "hypothetically" discuss a way out of his predicament. It's one thing to maybe knock on the fourth wall a bit and poke fun at how stupid something like this is, but "Scared to Death" seemed almost embarrassed at times by its utter lack of originality.

Almost nothing about this episode worked. Not Castle and Beckett wandering into a spooky old hotel briefly seen in the video. Not Castle and Beckett wandering into an insane asylum on a dark and stormy night. Not the realization that all the victims were witnesses in the trial of a serial killer. Not the fact that the serial killer's dead body had apparently gone missing from its grave. None of it was scary, creepy, or even particularly entertaining. It just felt like the tossed-out entrails of various horror scripts being stitched together into a lazy, altogether unpleasant... thing.

Really, the only tolerable thing "Scared to Death" provided was a few decent jokes. Beckett's constant teasing of Castle over his death fears (not to mention her frequent, only half-joking sexual advances) was fun, and Esposito and Ryan's bro-dude fist-bumping over their own mutual cowardice in not wanting to watch the video was pretty great. But other than those few amusing bits, "Scared to Death" was pretty much a wash. Too often the episode became bogged down in its own unenthusiastic usage of tired horror tropes, and the result, which featured the daughter of a man originally accused of the crimes committed by the dead serial killer using the "scary" video and a defibrillator as a way to extract revenge on the witnesses who originally fingered her dad—it was a bit much, really.

Some shows can do horror and make it work. Castle is not such a show. Maybe some day, the show's writers will figure that out.



NOTES

– Ryan's assertion that he couldn't view the video because he's trying to have a child and doesn't want any evil spirits causing him and his wife bad juju was maybe the most honest character moment of this entire episode.

– I don't know why Wes Craven was in this episode. He didn't even make The Ring. Was Gore Verbinski just busy?

– In order to keep Craven on the phone, Castle immediately launched into a genuflecting diatribe on how great all of Craven's movies are, including his most recent movie, My Soul to Take. First rule in praising a director: Don't talk about how great a movie they made that everyone hated and nobody went to see was. They won't believe you.

– Just a quick "You're super old!" reminder that The Ring is an 11-year-old movie.

Comments (62)
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Did anyone notice Espositos cup at the end of the episode? Its handle is shaped like a gun
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I thought 'Scared to Death' was an amazing episode. It was funny, scary and interesting- a classic Castle episode. And the icecube reference at the end? Such a great scene.
It was obviously a filler episode but I thought it was one of the best. Season 5 has been fantastic on the whole!
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I certainly wouldn't call that a good episode but I know I did find it very creepy. But yeah, the writers have given us too many amazing episodes this season for this to really work for me anymore. Once the creepy is over, I'm just feeling kinda meh over it.
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I like the show Castle but I did not like anything about this episode except for Kate Beckett's coat...awesome coat!!
Accurate and well written review!
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Kate's wardrobe is awesome. Love all her coats.
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I don't mind if they don't touch on the whole father-is-a-spy thing for a while. But isn't Castle the father of a young girl who was just kidnapped and taken out of the country, and almost killed??? At what point does that man, who is suppose to be a great dad, go right back to the job he doesn't really work at, get paid for, or need to show up at because he is a millionaire writer??!??

I know Alexis is the only other character on the show CASTLE with the last name Castle, but I don't expect them to show her going to therapy for PTSD or even mentioning it every week. But to have the main character (the guy who built his own murder wall for Kate's mother's murder) no take a week off on camera as part of that story arc is kind of ridiculous.

I know Firefly had a problem with it's episodes being aired out of order, and this one left me feeling the same way. No mention of a possibly life altering event. Jokes about pregnancy superstitions. It felt like the episode was written before the kidnapping.
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On that issue I defenitly have to agree with you.

Otherwise the episode was silly but ok.
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What if this is a month later?
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then they should have acknowledge that, no mention of it means it wa written without prior knowledge, or they are ignoring the implications, and I like the show too much to believe that.
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I felt the same way exactly. It's as if that life altering event never even took place.
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*SPOILERS*

I didn't like a single thing about this episode. Not one. From Wes Craven's stupid appearance (where the dialog delivery made me painfully aware that he never actually spoke to actor Nathan Fillion) to the pointless ripoff of The Ring (which I admit scared the crap out of me), nothing worthwhile happened here.

Speaking of The Ring reference, this wasn't a loving homage, and despite its scariness The Ring isn't exactly a "classic" of horror cinema, so why did they do this? It just seemed random.

Another problem was that everything was obvious -- as soon as the killer walked onscreen in the first five minutes, I knew it was her, from the way they were clearly trying to make her *not* look like a killer, and because I know this show's MO. And when the nurse ended up being involved? Well duh.

If I'd believed for even half a second that the writers would entertain the possibility of actual evil spirits, or an unresolved cliffhanger ending, I might have found this, if silly, at least more narratively interesting. But no. This was the epitome of lazy filler. I'm afraid that, following the ridiculous but acceptable "Castle's father is a spy" episode, last night's episode provided strong evidence that the writers are out of ideas, and that this show is done unless they totally jump that shark.
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Just watched 5 seasons of Castle at once in the last month. It was friggin awesome all the way and i'm glad a show has had characters and their dialogue the same and consistent from the pilot til now. And I'm glad the relationship between Castle and Beckett didn't change a damn thing (how refreshing, thank you writers). But i'm reading this review now and seriously? Dude, you're either watching something entirely different, or you shouldn't be watching this in the first place! Seems like you're more interested in the intellect of you own word combinations than anything else...to each his own, but this was not a review worthy of Castle's awesomeness...
As for the episode, i thought nothing wrong and was thoroughly entertained again. But yeah, their have been a few cases on its own during the last 5 seasons that were less entertaining (not many), but Castle and crew always are, so it doesn't matter...the cases come 2nd to them. If you're a true Castle fan, you can't complain at all! My two cents!
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a true Castle fan can complain if the episode is bad--are we supposed to just shut up when an episode is truly bad? I think fans are the perfect people to let the writers know when they are screwing up. By "true Castle fan" do you mean turn your brain off or do you mean close your mouth and don't point out the flaw. I think we should actually point out the flaws when they show a really bad episode so they can learn from their mistakes.
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very good point...but in the case of Castle, there is no such thing as a 'bad episode'...duh...nah, seriously, you are absolutely right! Not what i meant!
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Castle goes redic a few times each season, and I usually laughed at them. But not last night - it seemed forced I guess.
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This was exactly the kind of fun silly episode Castle needed, after the serious double episode with the kidnapping of Alexis.
How about we get someone who's a fan of the show to review it, or rather not even a fan, just someone that overall likes it.
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I'm a big fan of Castle, have watched it since the first episode, and have previous seasons in my DVD collection which I watch over and over. So I believe I can tell a crappy Castle episode when I see it.
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Well, quite obviously you can't!

This was a welcome return to Castle of old after the total crapfest of "Hunt", giving us some decent humourous situations on the way.

Rick Castle is an author after all, who lives in his imagination most of the time, so it was entirely in character that he would concentrate on the "fantasy" elements of the case, while Beckett as a "rooted in the ground" detective would follow the logical route.

I was massively disappointed with the two episode story, so for me, this was an excellent return to form for the show.

Long may it continue.
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I suggest you watch the pilot and first few episodes again. Now that's funny. The last episode was just lazy and lame.
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This was hilarious. I loved Castle being cursed and trying to "save" Beckett from a similar fate
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I loved this episode. I'm not sure if it's because my sister and I watched it 11pm and the wind outside was terrible-but we were freaked out of our minds. We hate when things jump out our startle us and the episode had a lot of that. This episode totally should have been the Halloween one.


Personally I totally believed that Castle would believe the video. It's totally him and I saw nothing strange in it.

Again-I really enjoyed this episode.
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I'm constantly mystified about why certain episodes are aired when they're aired. This would've been the perfect Halloween episode, why the heck air it now?
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Im not sure why they would air this episode now. It would have been a better Halloween episode. Though I guess with The Following, Cult, Pre-cho and the new Hannibal show it's not complete out of left field. Im not exactly sure why people find this episode so out of place with Castle. This is the 4th monster/horror based episode so far (Vampires, Ghost Trackers, Zombies). If you count the costume one this is the 5th "noir"/"spooky" episode. It's not like this is a whole new direction for Castle. Ask yourself, if they episode was aired near Halloween would you have appreciated it more?

What I found funny was I instantly called who the killer was. Literally they appeared one screen and I was "yup they did it...". The rest of the episode was mehish, though I did enjoy the back and forth between Castle and Wes Craven. It was also kind of fun to watch Castle turning down Becket over and over again while Becket's advances just got more and more extreme.

Overall, yes the mystery was blah, but it wasn't a bad episode. Just kind of there.
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What a waste of holy water... LOL
My, this ep was sooooo boring.
At some point I had a flash back of when I was a wee child watching Hart to Hart w/ my mum... (hey, I also watched Star Trek & The Time Tunnel re-runs with her!)
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Does the staff even enjoy tv anymore if it doesn't include zombies? I'm fairly certain that TWD and GoT is the only thing you guys like to watch anymore.
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Amen.
It's as if they expect, no demand that other shows become copies of them.
Castle is staying true to what it is, and it's progressing the major story arc in proper tempo.
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Agree with you entirely on this one Alex. This episode was just silly, without the funny, comedic, entertaining jaunt Castle delivered in its earlier seasons. And after a two week break it's like the most momentous event in Castle's life never even happened.
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Even though at times it seemed more of the same in the genre, I thought it was nice to see some good ol' child-like goofy Castle. I thought it was entertaining. Again, I thought it was overwhelmingly ridiculous at times, because come on dude, that DVD was indeed worse than the one from The Ring, but it reminded me of the escense of what the character once was, before all the seriousness and frowning 24/7. I liked that particular concept. It felt more relaxed... Way too goofy, but entertaining.
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It's a comedic murder mystery.
Sometimes, the 'comic' gets a bit out of hand...and vice versa. (e.g. Sexy, intelligent and strong females who wear spike heels to do investigative work including murder scenes.)

What I object to are stupid slips like:
The ME didn't notice Taser marks and neither did their forensics people?

Just drove out of cell coverage and nee to make a call. Cars have this gear called 'reverse.'

Digital evidence goes to the lab. Who would break out the images and check for other evidence.
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I get it. You hated it. And it's the first time I see someone is so honest and so true about an episode. I agree with you in some level because I didn't think of this episode as one of the best (not even near) but it had its moments, don't you think? Very few but still. We all know that Castle is a child (and probably will always be) but some of his childlike qualities are the ones that keep some of us liking this show. I know this one definitely could have been a lot better and that's why the writers need to dig a lot deeper in their extensive and creative minds in order to save this show. Because, the way I see it, its end is near.
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Problem is, this reviewer has stated before that he doesn't like the show, that he watches it for his fiance.
It's a problem to have someone review something he doesn't like.

Getting a bit old to hear how everything is wrong with every episode, and the tone of the show.
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Is that true? That's wrong, he shouldn't be allowed to review at all!
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Actually, that's entirely not true. I've said before that I didn't start watching the show until my girlfriend got me into it, but that I actually do quite enjoy it. Otherwise, I wouldn't have continued watching it, nor accepted this recap assignment.
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If you enjoy it, how come you find basically everything wrong with it? Especially the core things of a show, such as chemistry amongst the cast, the relationship between castle and beckett, the humour of the show - all things you've mentioned as lackluster on Castle.

Bit odd from someone enjoying it if you ask me.
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What show have you been watching for the past 5 years? Have they not made it clear that Castle is in fact a giant man--child? His girly scream is a guaranteed laugh. His response was in character and I agree his actions toward the end always prove heroic, childish behavior be damned.
As for the Craven cameo, it made sense as a prolific horror movie maker, his inclusion wasn't about the dvd itself, but Castle's superstitious belief that there was a 'spirit from beyond the grave' behind it thus the reference to Nightmare on Elm Street. I'm not saying it was a top tier episode, but it was the mix of funny and half serious that Castle's more fun episodes usually have.

P.S. It was Esposito and Beckett at the spooky old hotel, not Castle. And I laughed when Espo jumped at the Inn Keepers voice.
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Why are all of you complaining, it thought it was a great episode! Obviously not as good as the two previous ones but still pretty good.
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think episodes like this are what Castle does best - mix the fun and the serious case. If you strip away the evil spirits stuff the actual case was interesting. One reason I love Castle is the chemistry between the characters, the writing and the mix of silly and serious. Overall it reminds me of X-Files, in Marlow & company's ability to mix Beckett's serious nature and Castle's theories.

Admittedly many of the early episodes this season I did not like at all. The show had lost the fun, chemistry and the acting was mediocre at best. I thought the Secret Santa episode was one of the worst ever. Things started to turn around with Significant Others.

For the record the zombies episode is one of my absolute favorite episodes. This one was good - probably top 10.

If I want heavy drama I will just watch the news and the world around me. I want to be entertained when I watch TV. Castle does that for me. When all the elements of Castle work - chemistry, writing, directing and acting - it is the best show on TV.
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You are really preaching to the choir on this one, Alex. I like Castle, I really do. I think the premise is brilliant (if slightly unbelievable, but then, hey, police actually consult psychics in real life, so why not crime writers who have a lot of useful contacts and have done a lot of actual research?), the acting is well done, and for the most part the plots have very interesting. However, there are three problems that I have, and have had with this show. 1. A lot of the "main characters" on this show aren't seen that much at all, and when they are they usually don't have a good reason for appearing in the first place. 2. This show honestly doesn't do a good job with incorporating season arcs into the majority of its episodes. In this season the big deal is that we finally know who's supposedly behind the murder of Beckett's mother, someone that has been the main question of this entire series, and yet there have only been two episodes so far, out of 17, in which Senator Bracken has actually made an appearance. And finally, 3. This show is often annoying childish and silly to the extent that it is completely unbelievable.

For the most part, it's the first two problems that I actually take issue with. Normally I can roll my eyes whenever Castle says something completely childish, stupid, and ridiculous (like suggesting that maybe Beckett actually killed some people to create a difficult mystery for Castle to solve on Valentine's day. Seriously, he actually said that out loud.). But this episode, like a handful of other ones out there, was just way too much. First of all, a lot of the "supernatural" cases on this show involve things that a fair amount of people actually believe in. Curses put on mummies and other such sacred objects, for instance, are actually real things, in that people actually did their best to curse these dead people and objects, though they can never really seem to actually make them work. So I guess I could see an adult actually being afraid of these things, since they are somewhat based in reality. However, as this episode was more than happy to point out several times, the idea of a video tape making someone die in three days in not based anywhere in reality.

This idea of someone watching a videotape, and dying at some later point, was first thought up in a manga (Japanese comic book), which was adapted into a movie, which was then turned into another movie. It is this third movie, The Ring, that this episode made three references to (thanks for counting, Alex), and that Castle unfortunately based a lot of his decisions on, decisions which, you know, determined whether other people would live or die. I can understand if Castle often feels the desire to jump towards supernatural explanations when his cases seem to resemble more traditional, based in actually mythology, things, like more traditional ghosts and stuff like that. But from the very beginning of this episode, he was just jumping at the bit to lay everything upon some sort of ghostly culprit, even before he found the tape. And even when things started to look more and more like this was just about getting revenge on some witnesses or sent a man to jail, he was still determined to believe in his initial hypothesis which was based on the plot of a comic book.

To be fair to Castle, there were several places in this episode where the writers cheated. A number of times he, or someone else, asked the question: Can anyone think of a logical explanation for what is going on? And more often than not, the reply was: I honestly have no clue, but I'm sure there's some sort of logical explanation for this...somewhere. First there was the fact that the door to the apartment of the first victim was locked, something which was briefly mentioned and then forgotten. While it can be inferred that the roommate, who obviously had a key, just locked it on her way out (Way to ask her for an alibi, btw's. That would have saved everyone a lot of time.). Then there was the victim herself, whose heart had stopped for no discernible reason. First of all, Castle really needs to learn that it's fine if a medical examiner doesn't know precisely how someone died (especially with the kinds of cases on this show) after only a matter of hours, and that just because he/she can't draw him a diagram at that moment, it doesn't mean that the victim was killing in some supernatural manor. And he should really learn that just because he's the only person in the room with a theory (which in this case was a hypothesis more than anything), that doesn't mean that his theory is actually correct, or even remotely plausible. Regardless, I can think of no less than three murder mysteries, off the top of my head, that I have seen/read, in which the victim's heart was stopped due to some sort of electrical shock. And since Castle happens to be a murder mystery writers, and is well versed in the genre (Beckett is too for that matter), you would expect him to think of that kind of far-fetched theory as opposed to just saying "ghost curse" and thinking that actually answers anything. Regardless, the medical examiner should have at least mentioned that something electrical might be possible. Or even that gun, which supposedly actually exists, that was used in that Dan Brown novel to make it look like someone had a heart attack.

Then there was the videotape itself. While I trust that Castle isn't the kind of person who phones up his mother to apologize every time he steps on a crack in the sidewalk, it is troubling that he instantly believes anything that a random videotape tells him. And what's even more troubling is that fact that he had the smarts to know what a lot of the symbols on the tape meant, but didn't once question the fact that they all came from conflicting belief systems, and that none of them fit the context of his hypothesis. Still, in Castle's defense, he seemed to be the only one who actually tracked down the origins of the images on the tape, even though it led him to the wrong conclusions. And even more in his defense, no one actually spelled out that a killer was probably pulling a scare campaign on their victims by making them think that they were cursed to die. Similarly, Beckett didn't even think to suggest that someone was trying to make this whole thing look supernatural in origin, which would explain why that one guy's body was missing, and why the tape was made in the first place. And the worst example, of no one being able to come up with a logical explanation for something that was actually pretty obvious, was when not one person could explain how the guy in the mental ward was getting information from the outside world, since he had no access to the internet, a phone, and wasn't even able to write a letter. The obvious logical explanation here, which turned out to be the case, is that one of the staff members was helping him, something which you would think would be a fairly straightforward conclusion. But then, when everyone's actually considering the possibility that he was, in fact, communicating with the ghost of his brother who was killing everyone, it's no wonder that these people are blind to the logical explanations that are right in front of their face.

Basically, this episode was so over-the-top with the whole supernatural thing, that I found myself trying to think of some reason why/how Castle can continue to behave and believe this way. And I think I've figured it out, though my solution is honestly just as crazy as Castle is a lot of the time. I'm pretty sure that Richard Castle, the character in a television show, is aware that he is a fiction character. The problem is, he's just got his genre wrong. Think about it, this is a man who honestly believed for most of the season (And who even in the end still thought that that one guy actually never died. Which reminds me, if he and Beckett every arrest me for murder I'll just claim to have been possessed by a demon, and he'll instantly believe me since I said so.) that he was going to die because he watched a creepy video tape that said he was going to die, a situation which is obviously from a fictional movie. This is also a man who has previously believed that vampires, werewolves, and zombies were responsible for actual crimes that he was investigating. And in all these cases, he will jump to these supernatural conclusions without much evidence (and all too often no evidence) at all, even thought these are all supernatural things that have their basis in fiction, and nowhere in reality. He even spent half an episode believing that Santa Clause had been murdered. Santa Clause!

So, since Castle will always jump to the supernatural explanations based on fictional beings, who didn't even have the decency of being thought up by people who even claimed that they were real, it follows that he believes that fictional beings exist in his world. Which means that he must think that he is in a fictional world. Which, again, in his defense is actually very true. It's just that he thinks he's in a fictional word whose genre is supernatural in nature, when in reality he lives in a world with a humor/crime genre. If only he knew, it would make his life so much easier. I mean, think of how much better a crime-fighter he would be. If he actually treated his cases like the books he and his fellow writers write, instead of immediately assuming that ghosts, vampires, zombies, and crazy/ridiculous conspiracy theories are the answer, he would know who the killer is almost immediately. All he'd have to do is focus on that one person they questioned once or twice, but who had an airtight alibi, had no discernible reason to kill the victim, or who seemed like someone who isn't the murdering type. Think of it, he'd be on fire.

Obviously this isn't the case, but it is scary how much this ridiculous hypothesis actually makes sense. In the best of worlds, I would have Castle be a whole lot less childish and just plain stupid. At the least, I would have him believing only in superstitions and paranormal phenomenon that have a basis in some sort of established religion/mythology/belief system, and not in a bunch of monsters that were invented by fiction writers like himself. Because for some reason it would be crazy if he met someone and actually thought that they were Romeo Montague, Heathcliff, or even Sherlock Holmes, and yet the show considers it realistic that he genuinely believes in vampires, who are fictional creatures based on a dude named Vlad the Impaler, who, true to his name, impaled his victims and was known to drink their blood, but who in no way was thought to have been immortal. And it really doesn't help that Castle consulted a horror writer/director in this episode, as opposed to an actual expert on the occult. And while people will often joke about following the rules of horror movies when they find themselves in a similar situation, no one, and I mean no one, would even forgo sex with their incredibly attractive girlfriend because people who have sex in horror movies die.
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I think its just plain laziness. They come up with the nugget of an idea in the writer's room and then just write around that, disregarding the history of the show over 4 seasons and the arc of the characters. Except for the name and the actors many of this season's episodes don't bear much resemblance to the original Castle. The character growth and funny comedic elements which makes the show so entertaining seem trite and forced now. Someone needs to shake up this writing staff.
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Oh come on! It was fun episode! We needed that after the whole Alexis kidnapping thing. Some fun. And Castle was just himself. He believes in everything because he is a big kid. And this is what I love about him.
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Seemed like a typical Castle episode to me. Much more in the Castle wheelhouse than his Super Spy father showing up out of nowhere complete with a James Bond-esque villain.
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Craven was chosen because several of his films - most notably Shocker - and his postmodern irony were referenced throughout. The most annoying thing about this ep was that script and direction were keen to show off every modern horror trope and film since the first Evil Dead instead of coming up with something at least faintly original.

The best actually was Wes Craven and his off-phone comment about the joke author Richard Castle has become.
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the show felt like someone called Wes Craven and he agreed to do the show kinda late, so the writers wrote this dreck in a 24 hour redbull-fueled marathon
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In Richard Castle's defense... his imagination is pretty much ALWAYS in overdrive. So finding the DVD himself probably freaked him out.

Of course, there was obviously no reason why we (the viewers) would believe it since the show doesn't go into the supernatural. But from a character's standpoint.

Lots of people believe in bad luck. Lots (LOTS) of people believe in the Hawaiian curse (of removing volcano rocks). It's not that far out there that, after finding a body with no visible cause of death dying X days after watching said video, that a person might think there's something to it. Especially if their imagination is in overdrive (like Castle) or has an innocent mind (like the cop).
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This was awesome and funny episode! Don´t get why anyone complains..
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I totally agree. I love the mix of humor and serious case.
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Now I want to watch it for all the silliness mentioned cus to me, that's what the show is, a silly show that I love to watch.
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I really think that is what Castle does best. Mix the silly with the serious.
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Worst of the season is generous, this was an embarrassement. And once again Team Castle solved NOTHING, the solution was merely running around in the woods and drawing down on the ONLY PERSON THERE. How are we supposed to believe these are police detectives at all if they don't look at the "roommate" who arrives out of the blue? Seriously, the first person in the door after our main characters is the killer? That's so lazy it's pathetic.

But the real problem of course is the credence given to this shoddy The Ring parody by the main characters, who the hell in real life would get to where Castle and Beckett and Ryan and Espo are in life and still buy into this tripe? It's not even clever or original, it's literally just The Ring as the premise and Scooby Doo as the solution. And for this to be the first episode back after Castle's Dad??? What a waste of momentum. At least the zombie episode Castle was incredulous even as he talked himself into really starting to believe, here there was no pretense of him having a second thought. How can a writer of detective stories not think of a clever way to fake something like this?!? This wasn't even clever stuff when Dashiell Hammett was writing, you have to go back to Arthur Conan Doyle to find plausible characters believing in this level of supernatural claptrap. It wasn't even using Halloween as a pretense for the stupidity.

And why the red herring character of the nurse trying to save the victims on behalf of Leopold? That made less than no sense, that was so cheap as to be shameful. How does she know where these people are or why they're dying or WHEN they're dying? This was head-slappingly stupid, and I'm glad to see that your review, Alex, feels similarly.

There were a couple moments that Beckett gave that were cute, and Castle's bucket list included meeting William "my namesake" Shatner, but on the whole this wasn't even fun or funny, just bad. This was the first episode that I really felt like I was wasting my time with this series.
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So true.
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How were there no marks from using the taser ?
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"Modified" was their cheapass reasoning, and it's a damned flimsy one.
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Even modified should have left a mark.
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i thought it was modified to produce the flash
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It was modified to produce a flash AND to kill the victim the way her father died, Espo even said it had increased voltage over a normal taser.
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I just recently discovered Castle and did a marathon of the series up til present (like 3 episodes ago) and it kind of feels like I'm coming in at the end now.. great show that I seem to have cursed by starting to watch it.

totally agree with the giant man-baby comment, he has moments of cowardice punctuated with a girlish scream but it almost comes off as him being playful because when the chips are down he delivers. but he honestly was afraid of this ridiculous premise. this is the same guy that in the pilot smack talked a guy with a gun to his head simply because a safety that could be disengaged in about 1 second was on. now he's paranoid and calling his friends so an evil DVD doesn't get him?

Meh. 4/10
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It would've been funnier if Castle was actually faking his "fear" so the team could joke about it.
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Lol,I don't think you jinxed this show by starting to watch it...I mean,it would be easier to blame you...hmm lemme think,what was I saying.. :P:P...no,I am joking,you are not to blame,Castle(show) is to be blamed here.
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I called it from first 3s,that the girl in glasses is the one who did it. Pretty meh episode...maybe it's just these stupid breaks between episodes getting to me.
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No, this was a terrible episode coming off a break, and it used the crappy classic TV detective trope of "first person our hero meets after viewing the body is the killer" writing - Elementary is often guilty of that as well and it's why I gave up on that show so quickly. Why didn't they look at the girl in the glasses at all for the killing? Should be standard to investigate someone claiming to be a roommate in an unusual circumstances death, or at least to have 15 seconds of conversation with them about it.
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To me it was pretty obvious...they made here like this geeky,scared girl,that "no one" would think twice about her and that's why they spent so little time with her,so audience would get with the whole Ring-parody program and move along from shy,geeky,wears glasses,is scared,every stereotype possible...yawn. First scene at start with her,I looked at her and said,yep she did it.
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