"Secret's Safe With Me" was my favorite episode of this (admittedly young) season so far, despite having the worst ending we've seen yet. Why? Because it simultaneously managed to juggle the Castle/Beckett romance secrecy and an interesting (up to a point) mystery in a way that was very nearly successful across the board. Until that ending, of course. But more on that later.
Last night's adventure saw Castle and Beckett working the murder of a young girl in a seedy motel room; she had scribbled the word "LIE" in her own blood. What lie was she referring to? None, actually. After a bit of investigating, which led the pair to a local storage facility, Castle came to the startling conclusion that the blood-scrawled message actually referred to the number 317, which could perhaps be the number of a locker inside the storage facility. That was, indeed, the case, and it just so happened that the locker in question belonged to the dead woman's twin brother, who also died under mysterious circumstances. It was also up for auction.
A brief aside: I watch Storage Wars. Yes, I know, it's terrible, bottom-feeding television. It's nothing but sweaty, questionably bearded men picking through the remnants of someone's former life in order to make a chintzy profit. But you know what? It's watchable. It's TV comfort food, meant to be taken in unhealthy doses. It's like Law & Order in that I will never, ever seek out the show on my own, but if there's a marathon on one lazy afternoon, I won't leave the couch for five hours.
With this in mind, I was really hoping "Secret's Safe With Me" was going to have a little fun with the storage auction subgenre of television. You figure at least ten episodes of Castle a year will play to some pop culture hallmark or another, and while this episode did at least toy around with the concept in having Castle bid on the locker in question, it didn't exactly tear into the culture of storage-locker plundering that seems so easily ripe for mocking. Hell, you could do an entire episode around a Dave Hester type killing for a storage locker, and I'd probably watch.
Apart from a bit of up-bidding from a mysterious Russian fellow, and a brief cameo from 30 Rock's Dot Com (Kevin Brown) as another would-be bidder on the locker, that was pretty much the end of the storage-auction referencing. After Castle outbid the Russian, the team began systematically sifting through all the junk inside, but to no real avail. All anyone found of value was a creepy little doll that nobody in the office seemed to like much... except for Captain Gates. Suddenly, Gates' hard edges were buffed smooth when she saw the wretched little thing. Castle, sensing an opportunity to get in her good graces, offered her the doll at no cost. The wide-eyed look of utter disbelief on Penny Johnson Jerald's face was literally the closest thing we've had to character development for Captain Gates since the character debuted.
Where the episode went from there was less interesting, though ultimately buoyed by some good scenes from Nathan Fillion with both Stana Katic and Molly Quinn. We learned that although Castle's mother and daughter now know of his relationship, the folks at work still don't. So when they're at work, Castle and Beckett have taken to elaborate handshakes to emulate public displays of affection. While we only got a few moments of fleeting romantic flirtation, the two actors were able to do more with a stare and a handshake than many actors manage with a full-on love scene. As for Quinn, this episode marked Alexis's departure from Castle's nest as she left for college. The Castle/Alexis stuff occasionally borders on obnoxiously sappy, but last night, it mostly stayed genuinely sweet. The two had a particularly nice moment in Alexis's dorm room as they said their sort-of-goodbyes. I like Quinn, and I'm glad the writers are paying a bit of attention to Alexis now after mostly ignoring her for the first two episodes of the season. Hopefully the college storyline bears some worthwhile fruit.
As for the mystery, the whole thing delved into some strange territory involving the brother's former employer, insurance fraud, and a mysterious glass eye, found within the doll Castle gave to Captain Gates. It turned out the killer had caused an accident that killed the twins' parents ten years earlier, and they were killed over evidence that proved his guilt. Namely, the glass eye, which contained his DNA. Yeah, I didn't really see things going in that direction either.
It was a limp ending for an otherwise entertaining episode of Castle. If nothing else, "Secret's Safe With Me" made it official that Castle and Beckett's coupling has done nothing to ruin the goofy crime-solving fun of the show. Now if the writers could just churn out some slightly more interesting mystery plots, we'd be golden.
– Have I mentioned yet how good Stana Katic has been this season? Several times already? Good. I'll just say it one more time. Stana Katic has been pretty damn good this season.
– Seeing Johnson Jerald go from scowling menace to gushing excitement and then back to scowling menace was a real rollercoaster ride, though not really the fun kind. Can we not do that again?
– Nathan Fillion moment of the week: It's a toss-up between him excitedly getting to say "The butler did it!" and the half smile, half look of terror on his face when his mother exclaimed that she would be remaining at his home indefinitely, so he'll "never be alone again." *shudder*
– For as generally happy as I've been with the chemistry between Fillion and Katic this season, my girlfriend (who got me into this show in the first place) cannot deal with it. She has completely sworn off the show, because she finds the dynamic just "too weird." Any advice on how to handle this? I don't know if I can watch this entire season alone...
What'd you think of the episode?