A Castle Community
ABC (ended 2016)
Well, I guess I knew this was going to happen. After an episode like "That 70's Show," which blew everything out of the park and showed us just how great Castle can be, this week quickly brought our expectations back down to the level this series has been dragging them to for a while now. Well, I guess I should say my expectations, because I'm sure a lot of Castle fans think that "Law and Boarder" was television at its finest. It wasn't. But whatever, let's start talking about the episode.

This action started with one of the strangest chase scenes I have ever seen. In arguably the most action packed opening ever, a mysterious figure on a motorcycle (well, motor-cross bike) chased some dude on a SKATEBOARD through the quiet and abandoned streets of NYC. Now, I realize that the man who would soon be this week's victim was a professional skateboarder; but still, I was surprised he was able to hold out as long as he did. Though what with this being a show focused in part around murder mysteries, he didn't hold out for long.

As you can imagine, before long our heroes were sent to investigate this strange crime. After hearing about this bizarre chase, Castle said that it reminded him of an action move. What kind of crazy action movies are there in the Castle universe? Anyway, the witness who had seen all of this take place, one Fredrick Hallifax XII, had been having a very strange couple of days. The night before he had seen something so strange and crazy that he realized the drink had finally twisted his mind too much, and it was time to quit. After being informed by the NYPD that what he had seen was in fact real, he realized that the real world was just too crazy to live in. It was back to an alcohol induced filter of haziness for him.

Seriously though, this was a strange one. So you'd expect that this case would lead our heroes on the track of some skateboarding crime ring, or a cabal of squares with a diabolical plan to kill off all "them kids with their boards and stuff." Wherever this case was headed, it had to be one of those patented zany Castle worlds that we love so much...right? Wrong.

It turns out that Logan was some sort of pro skateboarder who had come to NYC to be part of a street sports festival. Now, this could have been really exciting. The episode could have explored the surprisingly seedy underbelly of extreme sports. And honestly, that's what I thought would happen. After all, "Law and Boarder" featured one of the most complex and involved crowd scenes of the season.

That's right, the street sports festival was actually a real thing that we got to see. Well, only for a few seconds, but it was nice to see a scene that didn't involve people in offices or apartments. Though, I did find it weird that the producers/writers chose to have a large, extra and stunt intensive scene in this episode, and not "The Greater Good" (the Wall Street one). Especially considering that this episode actually had almost nothing to do with extreme sports.

Sure, Castle and Beckett met some people at the festival who helped fill in the blanks on Logan's last couple of days alive. A rival athlete told them that the victim had ransacked the festival's office. And Tommy Fulton (Michael Lombardi of Rescue Me), the festival CEO, revealed that his gun was missing from the office, and that Logan might have been involved with a bad crowd. They also talked to Ross Dekonging, a rich trust fund kid who liked to hang out with the athletes, and learned that a dude involved in "drugs and all kinds of bad stuff" named Enver Kotta may have wanted to harm the victim. Oddly enough, Dekonging did think of Kotta as a suspect until Castle mentioned Albanians.

Seriously, you'd think that somewhere on his list of suspects would be the scary professional criminal who swore he'd harm Logan. By the way, what is it with people on TV shows always telling female cops that they're hot, and then further suggesting that they hook up sometime? Whenever I'm approached by police officers, my first thought isn't "Hey, that one's cute. I should totally hit on her while she's carrying out her official duties, which almost always consist of the prevention or solving of crimes." It's "Damn I shouldn't have buried that body in a public park. What was I thinking?"

Anyway, Enver Kotta (Eric Etebari of Witchblade) was an Albanian with ties to the mob who had found religion while in prison, and had actually met with Logan in order to get his forgiveness. Logan had asked for $3,000, which Enver had gladly given. The plot continued to thicken as our heroes traced a bag that Logan had been carrying to a thief who had helped him break into an office building on the night of the murder.

According to the thief, Logan had paid him $3,000 (the money from Enver) to belay him down a rooftop into an office below. That was the last he saw of him. Ryan was able to pinpoint the exact office that was broken into: the law offices of one Brett Zaretsky (Ned Vaughn of Commander in Chief and 24). So Castle and Beckett went to go confront this lawyer -- who had to be involved in Logan's murder in some key way. What followed was one of the most awkward cover-ups in history.

Yep, whenever someone exercises their rights on television they're always hiding something. And if they refuse to have their offices searched more than halfway through an episode, they're totally guilty. He also claimed that it was a bird that made a carefully cut, circular incision in his window. And just in case you weren't sure about Zaretsky's guilt, here was the lingering parting shot we were left with in that scene.

At this point our team were starting to get a clear picture of the night of Logan's death. He broke into Zaretsky's office to steal something, and then shortly afterward was murdered. Whatever he stole, or tried to steal, was worth killing for. It was also around this time that they got a huge break which essentially blew the case wide open. The search team had found a Hi8 camcorder on the same block that the murder had taken place. Earlier they'd learned that he'd bought that exact item, but they couldn't figure out why.

It was Castle who realized that the victim needed the old camcorder to play an old-format video tape. He also was the one (and not the clearly incompetent CSU) who found part of the Hi8 tape still in the camcorder. Not surprisingly in the least, Tory Ellis made quick work of it. Soon they were looking at a convenient recording which conveniently showed Tommy Fulton threatening Logan back on April 27, 2008.

Earlier Beckett and Castle had learned from Logan's mother that a young boy named Jay Dixon had died when Logan was little. There was reason to believe that Logan was somehow trying to avenge Jay's death. This video clip proved it, as it was taken on the same day that Jay died, and Fulton clearly had something to do with the boy's murder.

At this point our heroes rather easily cracked the case. Fulton spilled the beans on everything, revealed this case to be one of those "a bunch of people who appeared once in the episode all were in on it" things. The actual murderer turned out to be Ross De Koning, or "DK" as he was called on the street (that street being Madison Avenue). On April 27, 2008, DK had accidentally killed Jay, and Fulton had gotten it all on tape. Logan wanted to go to the police, but the others threatened his life. For some reason, Fulton had told his lawyer (Zaretsky) about the fact that he'd been involved in a manslaughter and it's cover-up? And he'd had Zaretsky keep the Hi8 tape of the whole event for safekeeping until DK's 21st birthday, when he'd have control of his trust fund. Then Fulton would hand over the tape for a cool 5 million.

Now, this may have looked like a cool, intricate manslaughter/cover-up/murder on paper, but the finished product didn't make that much sense. First of all, there was the fact that Zaretsky was even involved in this in the first place. Maybe if he'd found out some way, and then his greedy side got the better of him, I'd buy it. But they never really explained what happened, and the presumed explanation is that Fulton went to him with the tape. Also, there's the simple fact that DK killed both Jay and Logan. In other words: this guy:

Is also this guy:

In the opening scene, the man on the motorcycle is clearly waiting for Logan in some sort of garage. He chases the victim for a bit, Logan tries to run off, and then the killer shoots at him three times (from pretty far away) and he falls down dead. What this means is that DK had to 1. Know that Logan had stolen the tape, 2. Know where he was going to be, 3. Get in his motor-cross bike with a gun and wait at a location he knew Logan would go by, and 4. Be able to hit a fairly far away target while sitting on his bike. More specifically, he had to be able to hit his target in the back all three times, which is what ended up happening.

I just have a hard time believing that the guy who left a bunch of evidence everywhere, and was basically said by a number of people to be generally unskilled in everything, is the same badass killer who took out Logan so effectively at the beginning of the episode. I guess it's not impossible that this could have happened. Zaretsky could have had surveillance and tracked where Logan was going, for instance, and then told DK where he'd be. But even then, it's weird that DK was brought into this thing in the first place. Surely if anyone would have discovered that there had been a break-in at the law office, it would have been Zaretsky. And wouldn't he have contacted Fulton, not DK? Anyway, I'm pretty sure we got no explanation for how DK got to be there, at the right time, to kill Logan in the first place.

Regardless, as usual our heroes solved the murder and presumably put everyone involved behind bars. DK had done them a huge service by 1. leaving evidence of his crime everywhere around his own property, and 2. leaving part of the HI-8 tape in the camcorder which he dumped near the crime scene. And Fulton confessing to everything without securing a plea deal first tied up any loose ends their case may have had.

Now, there's a reason that I've titled this review "Skate-Bored." Honestly, this case didn't grab my interest. I felt that the whole extreme sport world/festival wasn't as tied into the murder, or even featured, as it could have been. Sure, we got to see a snapshot of the festival, as well as two party/crowd scenes (again, where were those in "The Greater Good?"), so the world was displayed and populated. And most of the characters/suspects we met were somehow involved in this world. But that's where the connections ended. The street sports festival was just window dressing. The case had nothing to do with skateboarding, biking, sports, athletes, extreme sport smuggling rings (as I originally thought there would be), or anything of the like. There were no insights into the lives of these athletes, or the people who occupied this world, nor were there lessons learned that transferred over to Castle, Beckett, and the gang.

Instead, "Law and Boarder" could have taken place in just about any world, seeing as the extreme sports aspect was merely a loose backdrop. You had a rich kid, a lawyer, a professional, and the victim. Those people could have fit in anywhere. Again, maybe if "That 70's Show" hadn't been last week I may have felt differently about the episode. That episode lived and breathed the 70's, both physically and emotionally. "Law and Border" may have featured the extreme sports world physically (though honestly not that much), but it wasn't done emotionally. This, coupled with the fact that the specifics of the case weren't anything new, make everything a little boring.

However, "Law and Boarder" wasn't all about the case. As usual, there was a B story thrown into the works. In fact, this week there were two of them. Apparently it had taken six years for Beckett and Castle to play scrabble, or if they had Beckett had suddenly become a master. A few hours before the episode started, they had been playing that oh so fun game of words and wit. And low and behold, Beckett had won. Well...technically Castle had one move left, with only a few uncooperative letters at his disposal, with which he had to achieve an impossibly high score.

Because he hates to lose, especially at scrabble, our hero stayed up THE ENTIRE NIGHT (no joke) trying to win this impossible game. That means that all throughout the first day of their investigation, he was running on empty. I wish that meant we got to see him do some strange, wacky things while constantly having to fight off the sandman, but instead he and Beckett had some playful back-and-forth over the whole thing, which was still fun. In fact, they even had a rematch in the middle of the episode, in which Beckett won again in a surprise finish with "Quixotic" on a triple word score.

Meanwhile, Ryan and Esposito were kindly given a B story of their own this week. Early in the episode, Laney and Beckett talked about the former's bridesmaids dress -- which apparently is perfect -- and in the process they mentioned the fact that Laney is Beckett's maid of honor. This makes perfect sense, seeing as Laney is pretty much Beckett's only friend. Anyway, their conversation got the sadly former Starsky and Hespo duo thinking about who Castle's best man was going to be.

What followed was a rivalry that reminded me of Castle past. They both went out of their way to be nice to Castle. Esposito gave him a pen with a naked lady on it, and Ryan gave him on treasured family recipe. They both also awkwardly tired to put him in a corner, hinting about his wedding and how they'd be happy to fill in any roll required. At the same time as this, Castle was still bumming over losing at scrabble to Beckett twice; and, in a twist of humor, he and the boys had a classic conversation where each side thought the other was talking about something completely different. Castle told them that he knew why they were being nice to him, that it was making it more difficult, and that they should act normal. Naturally, Castle was really referring to being usurped from the scrabble throne. But Ryan and Esposito thought he meant something along the lines of: "I have to choose one of you as my best man, and it's a really hard choice, so please don't make it harder by doing a nice-off."

As we've come to expect on this show, it turned out that neither sidekick cop got the title they so desired. Instead, Castle had already made Alexis his best man, because his daughter is the second most important person to him (after Beckett) he literally has no friends and the writers needed someone other than Ryan or Esposito to be the best man so that the joke would work. While this was a touching moment (even though I'd rather have seen the bit where he actually told her that, so we'd get to see Alexis's reaction), Ryan and Esposito looked like this:

Back at the B-A story, Beckett found a less sad-face way of resolving this dethroned scrabble king issue. Castle wanted another rematch, but she insisted that instead they play poker. Strip poker. This was the result.

I've kind of already said this, but both of these B stories reminded me of earlier seasons of the show. Playful/kind-of-serious competitions and bickering used to rule the day. I suppose these are fun in moderation, but I personally prefer the slightly more serious: "now that we're living together we have to work through issues in fun yet grown-up ways" B stories that we've been treated to this season. Like replacing Lighness with framed shells they collected together. That kind of thing. Sure, it was fun to see our two couples (that word deserves air quotes depending on whether or not you consider fan fiction to be canon) duking it out for an episode. But I personally felt that when the beginning of Season 5 featured nothing but these pesky quarrels and misunderstandings, it got tiresome. It's more satisfying to see our heroes work together than work against each other, even if the latter is playful. So while this episode's pair of B-stories were a fun departure from Season 6's norm, I hope they didn't feel too welcome.

Overall, "Law and Boarder" was a middle of the road episode. The world of extreme sports wasn't exciting on its own, especially on a show that's featured werewolves, vampires, zombies, counterfeiting rings, underground steampunk clubs, etc. What's more, the already so-so focus of this episode wasn't really much of a focus at all. And while there were some B-stories which reminded us that some things have been happening this season, "Law and Boarder" felt more like a filler episode shoved somewhere in the middle, rather than the penultimate, penultimate episode. And considering that the previous "That 70's show" hit it out of the skate park (the pnster finally got back from that conference), this one fell pretty flat.


Notes From the Bloody Fountain Pen:

1. Alexis and Martha were back to their minor support status this week. At least they're showing up, rather than disappearing for several episodes at a time.

2. How many of you watched "Law and Boarder" thinking "Finally, I've been waiting forever for Castle's take on extreme sports." What? Nobody? Oh wait, there's a hand way in the back. Okay, so one person. Congratulations then, I guess?

3. So they've got all the bridesmaids dresses done, so that's at least one thing checked off the list. Speaking of which, this wedding is happening, right? I mean, there are only two episodes to go, and it's not like they even know where it'll take place. I guess it'll be one of those things where suddenly we're at the wedding and it's happening, rather than have a gradual buildup with plenty of revelations. Heck, as long as there's cake it should be fine.

4. Okay, don't shoot me or anything, but just to remind you all: Bracken is still a thing. And he still hasn't shown up since that one time for two seconds. Now, I'm not an expert on these things, but if the man who had your mother and a dear friend murdered were running for president, wouldn't you at least talk about it every once in a while? I mean, you'd at least contribute a bit to his opponents campaign, right? And, just maybe, if you were a maverick cop with some powerful connections you'd, I don't know, actually do something to stop this bad dude? Or just wait around for a whole nother season to see a few more seconds of him on television. What do I know anyway?

5. Now, I realize that my reviews of late have been just a tad negative. And I realize that I've been a little repetitive about pointing out the same flaws over and over again. But hey, if the writers would just give Martha a damn character arc/story/anything I wouldn't have to keep dredging it up.

6. Once again, there are only two episodes left to go. I don't know about you, but "Law and Boarder" didn't leave me with a "we're nearing the end, so buckle up" feeling. Is anyone else worried?

7. What did you think of "Law and Boarder?" Let me know.
Comments (36)
Sort: Latest | Popular
May 10, 2014
I am very angry with the Alexis as "best man". Castle really should tell dad, but as he can't, he could have called a friend of his literary life or someone who has been the best man in his other weddings. Or even ask Beckett's dad. That has been a stupid premise, Castle has many friends. we just don't see them much in the show.
May 06, 2014
I was SO ready to post a comment on "Veritas" when I saw your post, until I realized that it was about last weeks episode :)
May 06, 2014
Yeah...my bad on it being so late. The "Veritas" review won't take that long, I promise.
May 06, 2014
No problem, I'm glad someone does a Castle review at all.
May 06, 2014
Castle and Beckett's scrabble-playing got me thinking - what are Martha and Alexis doing while these matches are happening? Why not have all four involved? Or they could have epic laser tag tournaments with Beckett, Castle and Alexis, with Martha teasing them afterwards? (That said, it was nice to see that Alexis and Martha apparently still live there, more or less.)

I love the commentary you've been writing - totally agree with your points on both this week and last week's episodes. The serialised aspect of the show really seems to have been lost, and I wish they'd spread the focus between more of the characters. (I mean, as you said we barely know anything about Gates, and Martha and Lanie are nearly as neglected. And one of them even lives with Castle and Beckett. Also, why did they make a point of giving us Tory Ellis's name but then use her even less during the rest of the season?)
Follow this Show