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Castle "The Fast and the Furriest" Review: Spurious George

Castle S05E20: "The Fast and the Furriest"

Castle believes in a lot of things most people don't believe in. Specifically, he tends to believe in the kinds of things most people abandon once they reach a certain point of reason in their life—stuff like zombies, ghosts, and whatnot. But Castle isn't always the most reasonable person. He's a big man-child, we know, and in a way, it's fortunate that that childish aspect of his personality manifests in a way that primarily just makes him absurdly curious and maybe just a little bit gullible... as opposed to, say, making him a petulant, whiny ass, as so many man-children I know in real life tend to be.

So when Castle decided early on in "The Fast and the Furriest" that this week's murder had to have have been committed by Bigfoot, there wasn't much to feel about the situation other than an eye-rolling sense of déjà vu. Of course Castle believed a murdered primate researcher on the hunt for Bigfoot had been killed by the savage beast, because really, what else would he believe?

Here's the thing, though: Whereas I've found previous episodes revolving around Castle's peculiar beliefs kind of obnoxious, "The Fast and the Furriest" mostly managed to wriggle out of any major eye-roll moments. Maybe it's because Bigfoot is more of a cryptozoological mystery than a supernatural one, but I had an easier time just rolling with this episode's peculiar theories and goofy red herrings than I did when, say, the show tried to make me think that maybe a damn ghost actually killed somebody.

Not that I ever assumed the killer of 20-something researcher Anne Cardinal was ever anything but a decidedly human crime, but "The Fast and the Furriest" did at least manage to have some fun in splitting the team between its believers and skeptics. Initially, no one seemed quite sure what to make of Cardinal's injuries. Her body had been dumped outside of a hospital emergency room after being discovered in a random, dirt-filled alley in Manhattan by an ex-con passerby. In addition to blunt-force trauma to the head, her face featured a particularly grotesque slash mark that looked as if it was delivered by some kind of animal. When we learned that Cardinal's research dealt with primates, and that she herself was a Bigfoot tracker of sorts, Castle's brain went wild with theories about how the beast might've wandered into the city, especially after giant-sized footprints were found at the crime scene... alongside a pair of human boot prints.

Castle and Ryan went Team Bigfoot for a good chunk of the episode, while Beckett and Esposito took their usual position of Team Skeptical. This dynamic is nothing unfamiliar; in fact, it's something we've maybe seen a little too much of in the last couple of seasons. I like seeing the team square off against each other with differing theories, but in these kinds of goofball episodes, we always know that the story's going to loop back around to a less absurd conclusion. "The Fast and the Furriest" didn't really have much new to offer on the team dynamic front, nor was the actual mystery particularly great. So why did I think this episode worked at all?

For starters, there was a lightness to it that some of the show's other supernaturally oriented episodes have lacked. Yes, a young woman was murdered, but the action revolved around a rogues gallery of insane weirdos, ranging from a nerdy cryptozoologist who apparently owned his own, massive Bigfoot costume to a ludicrous cross between Steve Irwin and Captain Ahab who was hunting the beast in New York after claiming he'd had his arm ripped off by one in Nepal. It was all so ridiculous, and the whole episode pretty much played out that way, right down to the moment when Castle and Beckett found themselves trudging through the woods, hunting for Bigfoot and/or the original spot where Cardinal was killed, and getting caught in a giant pit that had been dug as a trap for a Sasquatch. 

The episode also featured its share of decent little character moments. There was a particularly good one between Castle and Beckett mid-episode, where Castle lamented Beckett's lack of curiosity when it comes to the unexplained phenomena of the world. In that moment, you could see the childhood explorer in him peeking out, talking about how there are so few mysteries left in our world that it's impossible for him not to be curious about the ones that remain. Beckett's answer was equally good, as she talked about seeing the magic and the mystery in every day life, in the people around her. It was a more grounded perspective, but neither was really too far off from the other. They're both intensely curious people who just happen to have different curiosities. Considering how few genuinely reflective, conversational moments we've had between the two of late, it was nice to see them actually address Castle's weird pursuits in a way that felt natural to their relationship's development, as opposed to Beckett just shaking her head every time he brings up whatever weird supernatural murder theory he has, as she's often been relegated to doing in the past. 

Still, as tends to be the case with these sillier episodes, the murder mystery didn't quite stick the landing. After spending most of the hour pursuing Bigfoot hunters and researchers, the evidence somehow circled back around to Cardinal's former roommate, who had been murdered a year earlier. The suspect was the girl's boyfriend, who'd disappeared not long after the murder. Beckett was convinced that he may have retreated to the heavily wooded area where Cardinal was originally attacked—and where Castle believed Bigfoot was hiding—so they went there, only to get caught in that trap, and run into the aforementioned researcher in his Bigfoot outfit, drenched in deer pheromones. That, by the way, was the only Bigfoot we got to see anywhere in the episode. 

Eventually the boyfriend was corralled by the cops, but he wasn't the killer. Instead, the murder tied back to a seemingly throwaway character from earlier in the episode: Cardinal's boss at the primate sanctuary. As we learned through copious explanation from Beckett, the bossman had previously been Cardinal's roommate's professor. The roommate had mysteriously dropped out of school, which everyone assumed was because of the boyfriend. However, it turned out the professor had been stalking her, and when she was about to report it, he killed her. But he also took a souvenir in the form of a pendant she always wore. Cardinal recognized the pendant and began looking for more evidence, and when the guy got wise, he killed her too. That pendant, by the way? She swallowed it whole before she died. It was a pretty big pendant.

So, yeah, not exactly the rousing conclusion you might have been hoping for. Still, considering what a weird episode "The Fast and the Furriest" turned out to be, there were enough funny gags and cute character moments to mostly make up for the convoluted nonsense of the murder mystery. I'm just hoping this is our last "Castle believes in something weird!" episode for the season, given that we've only got a few installments left. We've seen enough of that for a little while, and frankly, we're starting to run out of things for him to believe in.



NOTES

– I didn't say much about this week's weird subplot with Alexis stealing food out of Castle's fridge because I have no idea why any of that happened. Like, okay, Castle was annoyed that someone was stealing his food and set a trap, which exploded and turns Alexis's face blue. That was funny. But the conclusion, where Alexis confessed to spending all her allowance on some kind of crowd-funding initiative for bamboo gardens on skyscraper roofs? Yeah, you lost me there. I'm kind of sad at how lackluster most of the Alexis material has been this season. Outside of the two-episode kidnapping arc, there just hasn't been much for her to do this year, and these little moments aren't really tugging at the heartstrings the way they have in the past. Just kind of a bummer, since I like both the character and Molly Quinn. 

– This was the second episode this season directed by Star Trek: TNG alum Jonathan Frakes. His other episode, the wonderfully funny "The Final Frontier", is still in the running for my favorite episode of the season. This one? Not so much.

– Perlmutter calling Esposito and Ryan the "B Team" was a bit ironic coming from the B-tier medical examiner. Where's Lanie been lately?

– Did I miss the explanation for why Cardinal had been planting the fake Bigfoot footprints in the alley? I remember the crazy Australian hunter guy suggesting that it was designed to throw him off the track of the "real" Bigfoot, but did we ever get confirmation on that?

– "There is one inexplicable, mysterious phenomenon that I believe in: Us." Beckett, providing the d'awwwwwww moment of the night.

– I'm not the only one who screamed "MAN IN SUIT! MAN IN SUIT!" at the TV the second the giant gorilla wandered up to Castle at the sanctuary, right? Because holy hell was that ever a guy in a bad gorilla suit. It was, like, Congo bad.

– Your animated GIF assignment for the week: The giant gorilla making the throat-cutting gesture at Castle like some demented, primate version of The Undertaker.

Comments (31)
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Episodes always leave me disappointed from the get go as I know no matter what happens and how much craziness occurs Castle will never be able to give us an ending where the killers is the ghost, zombie, Bigfoot etc. So I usually spent these episodes waiting impatiently for Castle (and Ryan) to cop on to the fact that nothing supernatural was afoot.
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WHAT? NOT ONE COMMENT ON THE SIZE OF THOSE FREAKING HANDCUFFS???

COME ON, PEOPLE!!WHERE WAS BECKETT CARRYING THEM, UP HER BUTT??AWESOME!!!
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I asked myself the same thing.. Though it was a nice side-gag.
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Unrelated to this episode - but it has been bugging me for a while: why is Castle always in a shirt? Why not the occasional sweater or semi-casual look? Season 1 wardrobe was better. He looks like he hasn't got a neck in those shirts - not very flattering. Also - does Beckett always have to wear make-up that looks like she is going clubbing? This episode she even wore it to bed!
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What good was Richard Castle in this episode? Where did his "insight" help the investigation? That really bothered me in this episode, these silly episodes where he acts like Shaggy and Scooby Doo rolled into one betray the very premise of this series - Castle is good at solving crimes because, as a mystery writer, he can imagine scenarios that would be plausible enough to sell books but outside the type of thinking the police normally have. Yet policework did all the heavy lifting here and he just bumbled and acted dopey and believed anything at face value - would his characters behave that way? If so, he wouldn't be a famous, rich, successful author - he'd be a laughingstock at best and a fizzle at most. And there's been way too much of this lately, stuff that any decent mystery writer should see through in a heartbeat but because they've made Castle a wholesale believer in the supernatural he believes in The Ring video, ghosts, zombies, Bigfoots (Bigfeet?), and what have you which makes him pretty gullible and unbelievable as an investigator, much less a mystery writer. There used to be a side to Richard Castle where he'd look at these preposterous things he'd say in the squadroom with a smile and a wink knowing he was saying silly things to lighten the mood and energize the creative thinking; now he's just a big daft anchor dragging the team down. In fact, it seemed like the case was solved by Beckett's standard detectivework, and THAT was merely cleaning up the sloppy investigation into the previous murder and done entirely offscreen.

Anyway, this was a cute episode I guess, but super sloppy. Stuff just came and went for no reason, the gorilla threatening Castle, the victim falsifying Bigfoot prints, the reflective glass in her wound, the Bigfoot hunter show that just evaporated as a concept, why the killer had kept the pendant and how the vic swallowed it.

When Alexis caught the dye pack in the face, all I could think of was Tobias Funke saying "I blue myself".

The gorilla suit was fine, not sure what you would expect for TV, it looked good enough, especially for a throwaway gag that didn't even return later.
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YES exactly! I really miss season 1 Castle that could actually be anything more than comic relief!! He was a smart suave kind of guy with a sense of humour and with enough confindence to make himself look silly sometimes. The Castle we got in this episode was a somewhat enoying clown! I really didn't like this episode and if this is the way Castle is gonna be than I agree with Gates that he has no business anywhere near a police investigation!

I liked the Alexis plotline though all things considered. It was nice and was credible. Always so sensible and mature Alexis should have a bit of Castle's naivity and wanting to help.
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Haha, I dunno. I love these episodes, because it always BREAKS UP the team dynamic. Instead of having Castle & Beckett and Ryan & Espozito, suddenly we have Beckett & Espozito vs Castle & Ryan. And I love those little quirks. It really shows why the two partnerships work because Castle & Ryan's childlike curiosity really offsets Beckett & Espozito's more serious/logical outlook on life.

Though, I would like to see more Beckett & Ryan and Castle & Espozito episodes, but I honestly have no idea what could happen to make something like that work.

Either way, I really enjoyed it. I was laughing out loud the entire time, and I think that if you're a Castle fan, it's not exactly for the mysteries. I was thoroughly entertained the entire hour, and I think that's awesome. Plus, the character moments that we did get, I loved. So. Eh, I was a happy Castle fan.
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Too soon after the fairly recent goofy story IMO. I thought it was bleh, didn't totally hate it, but that's the best I can say about it.
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I disagree with Alex, the directing was pretty good. The episode had a good flow and the script was ok. Funniest moment: the two duets! "Who's Daryl Meeks?" - "Who's Daryl Meeks!" :D
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I personally enjoyed...

"SHOOT IT, SHOOT IT, What are you waiting for shoot it..."
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I thought the episode was pretty good. Except for the Alexis subplot but oh well. Also the part with the gorilla (which was friggin hilarious by the way) it was so obvious that it was a guy in a suit.
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I thought it was weird that they made such a big deal about how gruesome the victims wounds were. They've seen much worse in previous cases.

I wondered if I missed the explanation of the big footprints. Since I'm usually on my laptop while I'm watching I sometimes miss things.

The Alexis story was weak. There's no reason she wouldn't have just told him she was taking the food, or told him what she did with her money. And Castle's trap was overkill.
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Ok first things first,
How on earth can you NOT like the zombie (Killer's a zombie!-high 5) and similar episodes.
They have some of the most iconic scenes of the entire series, with Ryan & Castle getting "the look" in the ghost episode and generally just great Castle/Ryan vs Beckett/Espo/Alexis moments.

Castle at its best.

That being said I can only agree on how utterly hilarious this episode was. I was loving it from start to finish.
New top 5 moment: Castles doubletake hand-then-finger move to Beckett, after the would be Bigfoot explains how he earlier heard clear and definite signs of a bigfoots mating call (Castle doing his wookie scream and tapping a stick on logs).

I missed Castle, but this was worth the wait!
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I went through the exact opposite this episode: I usually like the silly murder theory episodes like the zombies and ghosts one, but this one? It got a lot of eye rolling from my side. Maybe because the last goofy episode was not long ago, and even though I like it, once a season is enough, or one after a serious drama like the two-part I'm okay with, but this week I was like, 'again?!' I don't know, didn't quite enjoy it, which is weird from me when it comes to Castle.
I did like the character moment of Beckett and Castle, very sweet, And I agree about Molly Quinn, she's damn good but they're not taking advange of that lately.
Hopefully we get to serious business from now to the finale.
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It was a fun episode, but I have to say, they are making Alexis into a really unlikable character. Molly Quinn is a talented and beautiful actress, and they're giving her such crap to work with. It's disappointing. The writers can't seem to put out a good story for anyone besides Caskett. I'm getting kind of sick of it always being about just them, when the entire cast is so talented.
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QUOTES OF THE NIGHT

"George would never do that"

"i really liked moonshine for this"

"which would explain why there are no pictures of bigfoot"

"Castle, Castle, please no more wookie calls"
"I'ts not wookie, i'm not doing wookie, i cant do wookie. Alexis does a really cute wookie"

"Ah spork, they all laughed at you"

"i gotta go get my outfit"

Ryan is really having a good season so far
Also Castle in the woods doing bigfoot calls was very funny
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when Beckett is standing on Castle's shoulders trying to get out of the trap pit; Castle says "shouldn't you be wearing a short skirt for this?"
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i missed that one
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It was as usual a highly entertaining episode. Castle the show keeps delivering light entertainment where other fail to do so/
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I really liked the B-team comment.

But I agree that Alexis is now simply being misused. After the kidnapping storyline and the following episodes in which they seem to have forgotten, no mention of therapy, second guessing or PTSD, it seems like the writers are pretending it never happened hoping that if they don't mention it again the fans will forget about it. And since they are ignoring the kidnap part, then how many attractive rich college girls spend their freshmen year without a boyfriend of a sexual nature. She was an innocent high school girl when the series started. And I'm sure they don't want her romances to overshadow the Caskett, but after following her high school boyfriend around for years all doe eyed, she should at least be making one or two bad choices. And making her father more uneasy with every choice. Instead they treat her like she wears a chastity belt and spends her nights in prayer or meditation, nothing wrong with that if she did, but they are clearly not willing to treat her character as anything more than an afterthought.
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I agree. I have been waiting for the PTSD episode also. She should be seeing a pdoc. I do not understand why they are not talking about it at all. Castle just met his father. They should mention that too. There are two major life changing moments and the writers have just swept them under the rug. Do they really think that we will forget??
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Alexis/Molly wears a purity ring on and off the show, so that could be why they aren't giving her a sex life.
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It was hilarious.
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When the gorilla walked in I was half expecting there to be Phil Collins drum solo shortly after.

Combine the blue paint from the fridge and Alexis' costume from 'The Final Frontier' then we really would have had something closer to Richard's Na'vi reference.

Anyone else find Beckett's shirt distracting when it couldn't decide if was an off the shoulder number or not?
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The best moment in this episode: Alexis looking like a smurf. Second best was Castle looking up to (fake) bigfoot.

Beckett: I haven't been in your appartment for [pause] 2 days... lol....
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