Castle "The Squab and the Quail" Review: The Foxy Mr. Fantastic

Castle S05E21: "The Squab and the Quail"


It's been a while since Castle and Beckett really spent much time examining the nature of their new-ish relationship. While the early goings of this season were often steeped in moments meant to have Castle and/or Beckett stop to think about how viable this coupling really is, the latter half of the season has, thankfully, mostly just been willing to accept that they're together, without having to write an entire episode around the topic. Given that merciful break, I suppose I can't be too mad about the existence and plotting of "The Squab and the Quail," an episode so obsessed with trying to create meaningful cracks in Castle and Beckett's love that it all but forgot to be much of an episode of Castle, otherwise.

There was, of course, a murder to investigate. A wealthy venture capitalist found himself on the wrong end of a poisoned entree at a Dorsia-like NYC restaurant, but as we quickly learned, he was not really the target. Instead, the killer was after wealthy inventor, philanthropist, and all-around super nice handsome boy Eric Vaughn, played by Welsh actor and former Mr. Fantastic Ioan Gruffudd.

Vaughn was presented as a cross between Steve Jobs and George Clooney, a man so aggressively handsome and successful that other guys more or less wilt in his presence. So when the episode kicked off with Castle essentially ignoring Beckett's slinky come-hitherings to the bedroom in favor of playing another round of some online multiplayer shooter, the seeds were planted for a full episode of Castle freaking out because Beckett is forced to spend so much time with a guy even Castle couldn't help but have a man-crush on.

Emphasis there is on the word "forced," as "The Squab and the Quail" went to great lengths to ensure that Beckett is always in compromising situations with Vaughn. First, she was simply investigating the attempt on his life, but then she was working as his personal bodyguard, all at the behest of the off-camera police commissioner. This, of course, drove Castle insane. After all, not only was Vaughn going after his girl, but he was doing it through roughly the same means that Castle used to get himself onto the police force in the first place. He was being bested by someone richer, more influential, and more immediately charming than himself. That can't feel good.

It was a great set-up for Nathan Fillion, who is often at his comedic best when he's panicked or otherwise obsessed with something. Here, Fillion went positively bonkers to try to solve the murder before anything happened between Beckett and Vaughn, constantly freaking out to a mostly disinterested Esposito and Ryan, who just went about their usual business throughout the episode. 

But outside of some good Fillion one-liners and facial expressions, "The Squab and the Quail" mostly fell flat. Everyone in the episode spent so much time talking about what a big deal Eric Vaughn was that nobody seemed to notice that he wasn't that interesting. If anything, he just came off like the richest version of the average tech executive: smart, affable, and certainly good looking, but without much to say outside of what was going on in his work life, or what his latest altruistic endeavor was. Gruffudd doesn't imbue Vaughn with much of a personality to hold onto, either. Really, Vaughn's most significant moment was when he dismissed Beckett's explanation that she was in a relationship with Castle and sort of creepily moved in to kiss her anyway.

At least he gently backed away when Beckett put her hand up. And it's a good thing he did too, because he managed to avoid yet another brush with death, by way of a sniper rifle from the hotel across the way.

It ended up being something like the third time Vaughn avoided death in the episode, which looped everyone back around to the crazy notion that maybe Vaughn was the killer all along, and that the plot was all designed by him to distract from the person who was actually murdered. At that point, a bus boy had been blackmailed into poisoning the food from the first attempt, and that bus boy had been summarily shot by the hitman who'd blackmailed him in the first place, all while Vaughn was ducking multiple murder attempts. So sure, throwing Vaughn out as a potential villain wasn't that ridiculous compared with everything else going on.

Instead, the writers pulled back on turning Vaughn into a full-on villain, and scrunched in some backstory involving a Mexican clean energy company that didn't exist, financial fraud involving said company, and the man in a bow-tie who handled all of Vaughn's day-to-day operations. He apparently made some costly mistakes, and his problem-ridden assassination attempts were all part of his efforts to cover his tracks.

With Vaughn seemingly safely out of the picture, Castle made a point to try and make things right with Beckett, offering her a sensual massage as a make-up for the video game incident, though Beckett's odd reaction seemed to indicate that she was anything but appeased after her time with Vaughn. Vaughn's subtle insistence that Castle simply doesn't understand Beckett—at least not the way Vaughn presumed he did—was nagging at her as she asked, "Where are we going?" and Castle, oblivious, responded, "To the bedroom," leaving Beckett with an expression of barely masked anxiety.

Something like this was inevitable. Ever since Castle's ex came to town with her friendly warning that he wasn't the most forthcoming of people, Beckett's had this doubt dangling in the back of her mind. Vaughn's words simply solidified the fears that were implanted however many weeks ago by Meredith. There was no way that this relationship wasn't going to hit troubled waters eventually; I suppose I just wish the reason was something more interesting than "Castle isn't very open, and also he's kind of an inconsiderate doof on occasion."



NOTES

– With next week's episode being a flashback-heavy nostalgia trip, that narrows the amount of time left in the season to meaningfully flesh this whole thing out. Incidentally, that episode was supposed to air this week, but because it features a bombing plotline, it was swapped with the episode that ran last night.

– I couldn't tell whether Vaughn's comment that his mother reads Castle's books was meant as a halfhearted compliment or halfhearted insult. Castle seemed to go with the former, if nothing else.

– "Erik Vaughn is way sexier than Clooney." No, Martha. No he is not.

– On the subject of the night's killer, I will only repeat a favorite quote from the David Mamet comedy State and Main. "It's the truth that you should never trust anybody who wears a bow tie. Cravat's supposed to point down to accentuate the genitals. Why'd you wanna trust somebody whose tie points out to accentuate his ears?"

Comments (41)
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– "Erik Vaughn is way sexier than Clooney." No, Martha. No he is not.

I have to disagree.
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well I have to agree with Martha on the comment.. I truly think Ioan is way sexier than Clooney and so is the Eric persona.. oh that accent.. can really blow a girl's mind:)
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What about Martha's comment to Castle about Beckett is not totally committed because they are not engaged? I think is a way to make him think about their relationship status. #Mothersalwaysknow :)
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Let's all remember that right from the get go the writer/director flat out said that clearly this was total fiction, as there was no way any police station would allow a civilian, no matter how famous, to follow along as a consultant/observer/bystander in any realm of possibility. This is a show that's meant to play on our complete fantasy, and i think everyone is trying to take it way too literally. The murder plots are cheesy as cheddar for a purpose, they're not supposed to be the earth shattering focus, and if they were i'd have been turned off a long time ago. If i wanted a setup that concentrated wholly on believability and cases and cared nothing for character development i would watch CSI, and i hate CSI. As it is, all these plots are just devices to push the characters together more. I don't care if Castle believes Big Foot is the killer for christs sake, i just want to know why and laugh along and think, hey, this was rather hilarious! I loved tonights episode, loved the focus on their relationship because they're not perfect, we just wish they were. And because this is fantastic fiction, eventually they will be perfect. Let's no push too much too soon. This partnership/relationship is doing just fine, it's sustainable and real seeming, and despite the whole Moonlighting curse, i've got noting but good things to say about how they've played out this romance this past season.
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Well said that man, errr Woman.

You're absolutely correct. TV cop shows are all about suspending disbelief and going along with the story.

If you want reality, watch the news!!!

It looks like we have a troll on the review section and we should utterly ignore him and give him nil minutes of fame.

As for the Moonlighting curse, I reckon that show got bad press about the whole David/Maddy relationship and all would have gone well untill the writers went crazy and started producing complete twaddle.

Look at Chuck, for example. They had the two leads get together very quickly AND they made it work

Bones, on the other hand took way too long and I got bored to death with it.
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Great episode! Castle was awesome in every sense and as far as Beckett goes with how she's dealing with the relationship? I'm not concerned, after all, she still calls him "Castle", never Rick, or honey bear or sweetums, you know...it's Beckett...too much focus on the relationship in a negative light with some people...
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"'Erik Vaughn is way sexier than Clooney.' No, Martha. No he is not."

Actually yes, yes he is.
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Actually, I loved the episode. I think it totally redeemed itself from last week, which is the opposite of what you think, I know...
I thought the episode was fun, interesting as it kept my attention all episode long and it was an interesting plot development (although not much of a development, I know) It was starting to bother me that Castle and Beckett had this perfect relationship and the little on camera moments of the couple made them seem like they've been married for years, so it was a matter of time before the planted this seed to rock the boat, but I'm glad. I also like HOW they're doing it, Beckett has every right to have doubts about the future, Castle's been married 3 times, so it's only normal. That's the word. NORMAL. I like the fact that they're showing that side of the relationship, the normal stuff. Not only the good and great and greater. Doubt. Fear. It's also part of it.
My theory, as shared via twitter, is that Castle will propose in the finale and Beckett'll say no. I sort of thought about that when Martha said that she's not really committed because there's no ring on her finger. And Castle's look of should I, shouldn't I...

PS: How could you not trust the KING OF BOW TIES, Donald Ducky Mallard people...?!
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Castle has only been married twice, not three times. That said, it's hardly surprising that he would not want to hurry into that level of commitment again.

Beckett has ALWAYS been the one who wouldn't see the forest for the trees while Castle patently wanted her for the past 4 years of the show.

We also have the whole "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" thing. Men and Women think in a fundamentally different way, so like it or not, a guy getting into a video game isn't going to be distracted very easily, even by a scantilly clad Stana Katic.

As a guy, I can perfectly understand Castles jealousy problem after waiting for Beckett all that time and I was horrified when Beckett almost let Vaughn "smooch" her. She should have belted him round the chops at his first move.

Personally, I think the writers have made a serious error in getting this friction going so quickly after the relationship started and as for Castle proposing, that would be the most stupid thing imaginable.

He's been there twice, so I doubt he'd be any hurry to repeat past mistakes.
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I get what you mean, but the writers do have to make some sort of tension or drama for the season finale. So far it's been related to the will they-won't they but now that they're together, they have to make it about the couple, and what can bring more tension than trouble? I'm not saying it makes sense if we were talking about an actual flesh and bone couple, but as a fictional one, it does. I also think it would be stupid for Castle to propose but it's possible that they'll go that way. Maybe not, Maybe they wanna do when it's right and only then, but it is a tv show we're talking about, they need to rock the boat a little.
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Thanks for explaining the ending for me. I guess I'm a bit like Castle because I didn't quite understand why Becket asked where they were going, and why she looked so concerned about his answer. The only thing I could come up with was that she was expecting a trip somewhere and was disappointed when Castle revealed their destination was 10 feet away, but that seemed really out of character for her, so I was really confused. Again, thanks.
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bow ties only work for doctor who... lol
and i agree with the writer that Erik Vaughn character was not really that impressive, but having said that, i still like castle way more than this writer ever will. i have noticed a pattern of writers on this website just don't like anything unless critics say it was good in the first place.

Note to tv.com writers... people are more entertained than you give credit for, not everything is some art piece, and if you do not like something, stop reviewing it.
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bow ties also work for brother mouzone from "the wire"
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you know your stuff my good man!
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yup!
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The review is a pretty tidy summation of why I don't watch this show. They should call it "Crimes of Our Days" in an open recognition that this show is as lame and tedious as any other soap opera.
The 'murders' are always far too complicated, unrealistic representations of what actual humans get up to where it seems like the character of the protagonists must be subservient to whatever inane 'plot twist' the unimaginative screenwriters have seen in another show and dropped into this show. The plagiarism seems to be committed in the hope that bored middle aged middle class females will enjoy it in Castle, without noticing the same gag has been used before, when they were too busy fretting over one of the myriad romance sub plots to pay much attention to the 'detecting'.
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And your review is a pretty tidy summation of your personality...serial winger...
don't like, don't watch...simple...read a book, or write one...you've got 'using an abundance of fancy words to say nothing interesting' down for one...
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Vaughan's company name was lame, Future Foundation would be hilarious.
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a better reference would be that captain Mal meets Horatio hornblower
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when Captain Mal meets Mr. Fantastic.. lol

but ugh.. I seriously hope ABC doesn't turn this into a will they won't they thing. I know networks think that helps your show but it doesn't, it makes them seem all the more ridiculous. if they break up, then he needs to propose. if they don't break up, he still needs to propose, or atleast tell her that's his plan eventually. simple as that.
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I agree, but if ABC wants this show to last a little bit more than 6 seasons, they're gonna have to think of/make something incredibly clever to save that relationship. I mean, if they continue like this it will be so boring that the show will end up losing its touch, but if Castle propose (and they get married eventually) the show will cease to exists right there. Either way, I think the show has spent all of its chips.
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I'm growing irritated with the contrived "issues" the writers are scrambling to throw at Beckett and Castle, and this one was forehead slappingly stupid. "Where is this going?" The man has been chasing Beckett for 5 bloody years lady, he's already told her he loves you, how about she just enjoy the now? Seriously, for a woman who seemed to otherwise have a fairly decent handle on her love life, Kate Beckett has found true love and instantly transformed into an unrealistic, insecure ninny. Please someone give our girl a reality check, because she has lost her mind. After spending more than a year pretending she didn't know how he felt and running from him, now they both (but him especially) should expect to execute a perfect 180 degree shift in behavior, on instinct and without communication? She would honestly freak out and pull a runner if Castle busted out a tiny velvet box, or grew too serious. What does she want, what does she need, to just simply enjoy her really awesome guy? I think they are where they need to be as a couple and she shouldn't go all daffy female and muck it up.

It is precisely this sort of behavior that provides fodder for men saying females are crazy. And in this instance it would be difficult to craft a rebuttal.
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Rubbish. Have you only just started watching this program? Any mature woman would ask where this is going. She isn't a 20 something who is just going with the flow, she is a 30 something who has a right to ask where this is going. They aren't teenagers. She isn't asking for marriage. I suspect she is asking, Is this it? Will it go anywhere? She needs some sort of commitment. All she needs to hear really is something like, "I can't see my life without you in it" Or some words to that affect. Basically, is he in it for the long haul?!

For the record, a woman always wants to know. No matter the length of a relationship, even if it is in a good place, a woman will always wonder where it is going. They want that "talk" That "talk" that always inevitably comes up in a relationship. They need to know if they are on the same page. Castle clearly isn't, and I suspect that has something to do with what Meredith said about him. People don't really know him.

What's interesting in my opinion, is that the roles are now reversed. I think Castle is now the scared one, and the one that people really don't know. I mean what is he thinking? Big grand gestures don't always work and isn't needed. Unfortunately women (yep annoying isn't it) just need the words. Some men hate talking and having that talk - Castle is no different.

In the meantime I suggest you read this: http://scripting-life.tumblr.com/post/48679738022 I don't normally read things like this but it's an interesting take. Remember why Beckett and Castle are the way they are.Suggesting that Beckett needs a reality check means you are missing the point.
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Yeh, it didn't really fit her character.

We've seen Beckett date, but not that often. There have been plenty of episodes stating that while she's no prude by any stretch, she hasn't sought out any / many serious (long term) relationships. Lanie (the M.E.) has stated the fact many times, and was quite glad when Beckett finally came to her to get setup on a date with the EMT a few seasons ago.

So, it would be one thing if Beckett's been looking for "the one" and thus wants to know if this relationship is going anywhere. But apparently Beckett's been a casual dater until recently so she should just be happy they're enjoying themselves. Heck, the sheer fact that they work together AND get to talk / act so casually means they're already ahead-of-the-game compared to married couples. They interact way more than most I know.
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They wasted a perfectly good joke.....
Castle: Erik Vaughn is brilliant, he's like the real life Reed Richards

It would've been so Meta
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I enjoyed this episode because I am a huge Ioan Gruffudd fan. Just watch the Horatio Hornblower series and you will be too. I personally didn't even notice his character because I thought he looked so dreamy through the whole thing. I always find "relationship interupters" in these kinds of shows tiresome. The endgame is Beckett and Castle being together and I would rather see them do that than continue with juvenille should we/shouldn't we behavior.
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Vaughn: Castle 2.0 just scarifying charm, wit in the ungrade
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"It's the truth that you should never trust anybody who wears a bow tie."

...Counterpoint: The Doctor.
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But the Doctor lies ...
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The doctor does indeed lie...but paradoxically it doesn't make him untrustworthy.
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I quite enjoyed the episode, though it's faults were definitely there. The reason I liked it is because it acknowledged that there might be conflict or strife in their relationship. They spend 4 years arguing, before they got together. My problem is, they still argue about the same things, their couple arguments should be way bigger. They're 2 different people who want to be together, that is bound to provide some conflict. I just wish they didn't have to use the same old somebodh else is introduced and makes a character realize something plot to do it. Castle and Beckett, or really Stana and Nathan work amazingly one on one, give them some room to talk, interact, have words.
Still I can't complain about the feeling of the show since they got together, it feels natural. Just wish they could re-inject some edgyness into it.
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First, there is no heterosexual man on this planet that if Stana katic was doing a strip tease would choose video game over her. None.

Second, the flirtation between Vaughn and Kate just didn't play well. Neither Castle or Beckett are the type to cheat so I just didn't by it.

I enjoyed the episode for the most part. But they are just flushing out their relationship for the sake of flushing out the relationship. They transitioned very well into them being a couple and it didn't destroy the show. But they now need to get back to the show. They will further their relationship, that is inevitable. Kate's wondering at the end of the episode seemed oddly placed. Castle will likely ask her to marry him. It is just going to take a bit. The man has been married what 3 times. After that you tend to be skittish at the term, no matter who you are with.

I love the show, but next season they need to get back to meat and potatoes of the show and throwing in a season long plot.
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I wanted to like it, but honestly, I just found myself annoyed at Kate the entire episode. Castle has never pretended to be a mature man. He's played video games since day one of meeting Kate. Since when is this new? He's never pretended to be a non-jealous man. Even before Kate and Castle got together, he was always throwing hissy fits when someone was stealing Kate's attention.

If this is just now getting to her, then she is just... dense. And it annoys me. I barely remember the case because I was so caught up in being upset over their relationship drama. I swear, if they break them up after only getting them together for a season, I might just be done with this show. I definitely don't watch it for the amazing mysteries every week. I watch it for the love story, and I expect to be swooned, damnit!
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I agree with most of your points.

But it's one thing to play video games, and another to turn down your GF's "come hither" act. Especially when laying it on as thick as she was. Not-so-much from a "I can't believe you're playing video games" but a "apparently I'm less desirable than a video game"

Just about any girlfriend / fiance / wife would take that as kind of an insult that their guy is choosing a video game / NFL game / etc over a near strip-tease seduction. And then wonder if the guy has lost interest in her.
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I totally agree Alex. The word obsessed is appropriate as the writers can't seem focus on anything except contrived drama in Castle's and Beckett' relationship. The writing is stale and unimaginative and sapping my interest in Castle.
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Didn't like it one bit and whole Beckett has doubts,etc. At first I liked it,because I thought ok,they gonna do some jokes,this and that,but it makes no sense for Beckett to act they way she did. It was stated and shown many times,that Beckett and Castle are meant for each other,they love each other,etc. and this episode goes against everything.
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The whole introduction of Vaughn won't entirely be wasted if he ends up becoming a valuable resource for Beckett in the future. After all, there's only a handful of them going up against a powerful U.S. senator, and that's a very daunting prospect (you wouldn't know it most of the time, as they never talk about any of that season arc stuff ever). Having Vaughn, a powerful and influential billionaire, on their side could actually make their fight realistically winnable.
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I thought the exact same thing. He is a multi-billionaire with fingers in everyone's pie. He should know things or at least know someone who knows things.
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I find it annoying that on most TV shows when people ask other people for relationship advice, no matter who it is that they're asking, they will always follow it. The rule tends to be that if two or more people, no matter who they are, say anything about the relationship that the main character is in, then our star will sadly take these words to heart. This episode went completely overboard on this, to the extent that Martha even said that if there's no ring on the finger, the relationship isn't important. What?

First of all, this is from a woman who has been married multiple times, and whose last relationship (the one with Chet, the seemingly invisible man who never showed up at any point) was an extremely important and powerful one for her, even though the two of them never actually got engaged. If you recall, that was the relationship where they loved each other, he proposed, and before she could give him an answer (she was going to say no) he died. That one relationship, regardless of the fact he died or that she was going to cut it off, was and is very important to her, even though she never wore that ring officially. Regardless, Martha is a terrible person to go to for relationship advice, especially considering the fact that her only child was basically born out of a one night stand.

Second of all, the notion that all romantic relationships, that don't involve an engagement or a marriage, are pretty much meaningless is absurd. The are countless couples out there who live happy, healthy, and productive lives together without actually needed a piece of jewelry to prove the importance of their relationship. The fact that Castle--who has had strong feeling for Becket for a long time now--would instantly get worried that maybe Becket doesn't have any real feelings for him at all, solely because his mother put forth an opinion, is absurd. And I'm saying this with the realization that Castle is one of the most childish, insecure adults to have ever appeared on television. But still, you'd think that even he would have some trust in his relationship in Beckett, considering the two of them have saved each other's lives countless times, and that the two of them have been through so very much together.

I mean, at this point I'm guessing that he'd believe anything that anyone said. If, in some future episode, three people he knows (it could be anyone, really) tell him that people can fly by jumping off tall buildings, I wouldn't be surprised if he actually took that leap, or at least considered that possibility for the entire episode. Seriously, it would be nice if any of these characters, especially Castle, actually had some degree of skepticism when it comes to the random things that other people say.
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STANDING OVATION! Thank you for stating what should be obvious - the romance is solid and everyone can be ok with where they are without diminishing the power of their connection. No need to hurry things along; it took 5 years to arrive at this level of intimacy, and now it is full steam ahead, no breaking for scenery? Perhaps if folks simmered down and refrained from racing toward marriage the divorce rate in Western countries wouldn't be as high as nearly 60%, you know, because expectations would be more realistic and communication would be better (hopefully). They've barely been together 6 months already. Slow down, enjoy just being, and when it feels natural then take a step together.
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