Castle: “A Deadly Affair”

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh this is going to be a great season.

It is my observation that S3 is often the peak of excellence for television series. Since there are only three seasons, it is premature (not to mention limiting) to call the third season of Castle the show’s peak. Given the pilot, though, I think it will prove a fair statement to say that this season is going to be even better than the previous two. Which is no small thing.

I didn’t even realize how much I missed this show until this season premiere. Castle is SO. GOOD. And it really looks like they’re taking the gloves off this season and going for broke in every aspect. Mostly that’s a good thing; there are a few things I worry about.

In the Good Things camp, it appears that Castle is going to get a little more action-heavy. Maybe you didn’t notice, but that opening (and closing) scene? Pretty Damn Epic. Predictable, admittedly. Did anyone think for even a second that Castle and Beckett were going to shoot each other? I certainly hope not. But actually seeing them simultaneously blast the people behind them in the knee caps? HOW AWESOME WAS THAT. Plus, they used the mirror room gag which is one of my all time favorites. Nathan Fillion has the capacity to be an action star, so it’s about time they combined that ability with his physical comedy prowess and incorporated it into Castle.

Another awesome thing from this first episode of the new season: It is all about Beckett. I don’t care who the show is named after. Stana Katic is kicking her co-star’s ass performance-wise. This is possibly her best episode so far. And yeah, she was actually better than Nathan Fillion. Give the lady a standing freaking ovation. And also more episodes like this one.

Castle seems to be upping the ante on silliness as well. The cardboard-cut-out Castle stalking Beckett through a bookstore window? Priceless. Especially when the ultimate punchline is a Ryan-reprisal of “He really is ruggedly handsome.” Other excessively silly things: Burlesque circus, Castle and the captain in the interrogation room (Ruben Santiago-Hudson may not get a lot of screen time, but he definitely makes it count), and, well, pretty much any time that Ryan and Esposito are on screen.

That last part, while enjoyable, may become a bit of a beef with me. To this point, Ryan and Esposito have been pretty underdeveloped as far as being human characters, and very little has been done to distinguish them into two real individuals. So, making them branch out into different traits and areas is a good thing and I’m not going to say anything different. What worries me is that this episode placed them so firmly into Straight Man and Funny Man camps. It’s as though Jon Huertas has been given all the hardcore police stuff and the more serious touchy-feely moments and Seamus Dever has been flung unceremoniously into goofball land. When has Ryan ever been so ridiculous as to almost shoot Castle? He’s not incompetent and he never has been. The balancing-an-egg-on-its-tip-on-the-equinox I will grant you. But otherwise, this is going to worry me if it turns into a multi-episode trend.

Somewhat incongruous title aside, “A Deadly Affair” is an overall solid episode. It more than did its job as a season premiere and while there were a few heavy-handed moments (e.g. the exceptionally obvious Alexis-Richard relationship parallels), mostly it delivered everything we could have asked and more. The transition from Everybody Hates Castle, which was just the right mix of real drama and awwwwsilliness, to Beckett And Castle Together Again was impressively handled (although the questions about Castle’s summer were conveniently not answered). Despite the previews’ showing Castle getting arrested, the writers still managed to get some real shock-and-laugh factor out of that by pulling the gag not once, but twice in a display of comedic genius. And the “I know who the killer is!” moment? Pitch perfect.

My favorite part was Beckett letting Castle win their bet. Especially since I could almost sort of see it was happening…mostly because Stana Katic has amazing facial control and does brilliantly subtle things. Other people might have actually figured that out; if so, kudos to you. If we recall, I’m not so good at that. I’m the one who’ll watch the episode and go (when the wallet is first pulled out) ‘Man, can’t they find slightly more realistic looking money?‘ but still manage to be totally blindsided when the answer is counterfeiting. I guess I’m just special that way.

But Castle is more special in more ways. And I am SO HAPPY TO HAVE IT BACK YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW. Or maybe you do.

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  • Lena  On September 22, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    And on a shallow side note, there is something slightly different about Nathan Fillion’s hair this season, and it is really working for me.

  • Katarzyna  On September 23, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    Give this woman an EMMY already! Stana Katic totally deserves it :)

  • carolyn  On September 23, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    Stana is always a better actress than Nathan in my opinion, she is the reason I watch the show. Her facial expressions,eyes,and her humor.

  • Mac  On September 23, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    This has to be my all time favorite articles ever written. Thank you for giving Stana, Jon, Seamus, and Ruben some kudos. They get forgotten most of the time as many articles focus on Nathan.

  • Joni  On September 24, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    Love this show, love the characters, love the writers and crew. Agree with absolutely everything you said. Can’t wait for Monday nights!! Good write!!

  • Katie  On September 24, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    It was a fun episode and I am glad that show is back although I still haven’t forgiven Marlowe or Castle walking off with Gina.

    I have to disagree with you on one thing though. I hated it when Beckett faked being less intelligent than she is and let Castle win just so he would stick around. If you have to diminish yourself so you don’t lose a relationship, whether it’s romantic or friends, it’s not a relationship worth keeping.

    • Lena  On September 25, 2010 at 4:36 PM

      I think it was probably more along the lines of, when she realized she had won the bet, it struck home that she didn’t WANT the prize. She didn’t diminish herself, she managed to get exactly what she wanted, and save face at the same time. IMHO.

  • Mack  On September 27, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Fantastic review!

    And being a Stanatic, I’m really happy that you’ve appreciated the excellent work Stana has been delivering on Castle – particularly since S-2, culminating in a BRILLIANT performance in the S-2 finale. I mean I just couldn’t take my eyes off Stana there! So to me too, the show is really “CASTLE & BECKETT,” or even “BECKETT & CASTLE,” rather than just “Castle.”

    However, I also think it’s unfair to put Nathan down while extolling Stana. IMHO, while Stana’s dramatic skills are par-excellence, Nathan’s comic genius + charm is equally exceptional…and perhaps even rarer. But unfortunately, most critics (& awards panels) tend to underrate comedic performance.

    And let’s face it, the show wouldn’t be its sexy / compelling self without each of their magic! Or as Castle might say…what would Yin do without Yang!


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