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‘Castle’ Review: “PhDead”

Devika Syal ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Copy Edited By: Lindsey Buttel ‘18

Monday night’s episode brought comedy back to Castle as the storyline separated itself from the intense two-part season premiere. While this was one of the funnier Castle episodes viewers have had recently, it was coupled with the underlying sadness that comes with the fact that Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) just left Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) and essentially abandoned their still-fresh marriage at the end of the last episode.

Photo Credits: ABC
Photo Credits: ABC

“PhDead” opened with Castle waking up in bed alone and looking over his shoulder at Beckett’s empty side. Fans of Caskett, the name given to Beckett and Castle’s relationship penned by the show itself, know that the two have shared many moments and conversations in that bedroom, which added to the strength of the relationship. They’ve made decisions in that room, argued with each other in that room, and laughed in that room. To see what was once a symbol of their relationship downgrade back to just another bedroom was heartbreaking.

What was more heartbreaking about this episode was the dynamic between Castle and Beckett throughout the entire thing. The audience knows that Beckett left Castle to protect him so that he wouldn’t get involved and ultimately try to help in her search for Senator Bracken’s (Jack Coleman) murderous partner. What was revealed in this episode, however, is that Castle thinks Beckett left him because she doesn’t love him anymore. Obviously Castle recently rewatched season one of his own show because he concludes that in order to win Beckett back, he must do what made her fall in love with him in the first place: solve some crimes. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to go back to the beginning? Isn’t that what made us fall in love with Castle in the first place?

So P.I. Castle and his new partner in crime, Alexis Castle (Molly Quinn), use their resources to solve the murder of a college student found stabbed with a tree branch while Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas) represent the twelfth precinct in trying to do the same thing. Beckett warns Ryan and Espo to refrain from working with Castle on the case, but it is clear by now that that order is never followed. It takes about five minutes for the detectives to break down and allow Castle and Alexis to help.

Photo Credits: ABC
Photo Credits: ABC

Ryan and Espo’s failure comes after the funniest part of the episode in which they attempt to go undercover as twenty-something-year-old frat boys to interrogate a suspect. Obviously their cover is blown in under five seconds. As much as they’d hate to admit it, those two have aged over the span of the show. If an actual college student looks ridiculous in the clothing they wore, imagine how out-of-place two grown men would look. Shout out to Ryan for mentioning how he had eyes for a hot blonde named Jenny supposedly going to their school. Everyone aspires for a love like Castle and Beckett’s but forgets how in-love Ryan and Jenny are, too!

Some more comedy came into play when Castle had Alexis go undercover at a frat party, realized his mistake, became the protective dad, and rushed in there after her only to get completely drunk after challenging a student to a game of beer pong. Great interrogation technique, Castle. Of course, Beckett comes in, wins the game — because she’s good at everything — and simply utters the phrase “I have a gun, you know,” when a student hits on her. Beckett can be in an episode for five minutes and still be the best part of the entire episode.

Photo Credits: ABC
Photo Credits: ABC

In terms of the actual murderer, it became predictable the minute the character was introduced. She seemed like the type of person who would have done it, and of course was. The rest of the case was fascinating, taking Castle, Alexis, Ryan, Espo, and the viewer through a series of clues, such as a secret BDSM dungeon hidden in a school apartment, however they managed to pull that off, before settling on a prison simulation in which one of the university professors was keeping students in a jail to study them, the victim included.

Another Caskett moment, which was actually uplifting, was when Castle locked the pair in a cell to figure out how the victim escaped on the night he was murdered. As fans, viewers probably would have preferred for the two to be locked in there forever, seeing as it would ensure that Beckett didn’t leave again. However, everyone’s hearts soared when Caskett did their typical habit of saying the exact same thing out loud at the same time when figuring out an important clue.

Photo Credits: ABC
Photo Credits: ABC

While a funny episode, the best part was the ending when Castle begins a new tradition with Alexis, for each time they solve a case they share a scotch. For viewers who have watched Alexis grow up on the show, it’s so strange to realize that she is a true woman now. Castle pulled out a case of cigars, to which Alexis was shocked, before realizing that they blow bubbles. The episode ended on a beautiful shot of the bubbles joining in the air and popping one by one as the viewer had the opportunity to predict what other great cases the father-daughter duo will take on together in the future.

Episode Grade: A

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One Comment

  1. Any time you have Molly Quinn having more screen time with Fillion than Stana Katic you have seriously lowered the quality of the product.

  2. Come on! This episode should not have been rated an “A”.

    First, the whole jail house thing in a college was completely unrealistic. There is no way a college would allow psychological or physical torture along with false imprisonment to be conducted on their students. The PR damage and the lawsuits by angry parents would drive the school under. Can we say what happened to Penn State after the child abuse thing? The school’s board would make sure heads would role.

    Second, there was no way the killer could have physically killed the victim in the way the show depicted it. The killer simply didn’t have the physical strength or size to do it.

    Third, how could Castle, who has always been overprotective dad, allow his precious little pumpkin to go into a frat house dressed in lingerie? That was so out of character it hurt.

    Finally, having Alexis engage in sexual innuendo with her dad (during the BDSM room segment) is SO inappropriate and points out what’s wrong with this season. It’s okay if this kind of banter is used between lovers or potential lovers (Beckett and Castle) but a daughter certainly shouldn’t mention it with her dad.

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