Castle:Cool Boys was a lot of fun. Adam Baldwin getting back together with Nathan Fillion is always a good, seeing “Jayne” sing with Mal Reynolds was great, as was the touch of “Hope and Crosby” fisticuffs with the villains. (Granted the duo were not strictly doing the “pat-a-cake” routine from the “road pictures” but it was very close.) Still missing is Stana Katic as Kate Castle ‘nee Beckett.
Molly Quinn appears, for a bit, as does Martha (Susan Sullivan) and Toks Olagundoye makes a very brief appearance as Hayley Vargas. When the news of Stana’s signing a one year contract was revealed it did signal a “bowing out” move from the performer, but the sudden disappearing act could have been picked up a number of ways.
Alexis, Castle’s daughter, started this season with a increased presence and it looked good, turning the show briefly into “Castle and Kid.” Martha was rarely seen for more than a second or two and the only real possible replacement for Katic (Toks) seems to have been overlooked by the show’s new runner.
Olagundoye (Whom I firmly believe is this generation’s Dame Diana Rigg, aka Emma Peel.) has a presence onscreen that could do much to make what seems to be the last season of Castle go out with a bang instead of a tired groan. This performer has a brilliant chemistry with the existing cast and if Stana has decided to leave, putting Hayley into a regular slot with a lot more to do than writers have given her thus far makes perfect sense.
This current season of Castle appears to be struggling. The last two weeks aired two previous season episodes instead of following a timeline started where Kate left the marital bed and is apparently going for some kind of uber closure.
On the plus side, Castle: Cool Boys gave viewers a chance to see Adam Baldwin step way out of his comfort zone and do things like cook and sing. Until recently Adam been on the TNT apocalyptic drama The Last Ship as XO Mike Slattery. Baldwin returns to reprise his role of Detective Slaughter (2012 Headhunters) and it was an enjoyable episode, albeit one that lacked a certain sparkle.
There were a couple of standout moments. Number one is when Rick desperately smacks the desk for his gun, delivered with a spring-loaded device (that worked so well in a pervious episode), Slaughter snatches the weapon before Castle gets near it. Number two was the “Cool Boys” bit where the detective, a bit slow on the uptake, joins Rick in singing the song.
Castle seems to be spiraling out of control in terms of storyline. Without Stana Katic the show is limping from one episode to the next. This is not the fault of the performers though. An actor is only as good as the script and everyone, thus far is suffering. This new season has left Javi and Ryan to fall back on a mostly comedic routine as “double-act “while Rick flails about trying to win Beckett back.
(Granted these two are a comedic double act but in they past the two characters have exhibited much more depth.)
This last bit is just one of the issues plaguing Castle this season. With Beckett missing, the writers are striving to place a reminder in each episode, from a major guest character no less, that Kate loves Rick. In the last “current” season episode The Nose it was the presence of Beckett’s pheromones that allowed the guest star with the sensitive olfactory perception to placate Rick.
In Castle:Cool Boys, it is Baldwin’s Slaughter who takes a moment to remind Castle that Kate is “crazy about him.” This is an amazingly clunky interaction as the detective does not see Beckett at all and the entire thing feels manufactured. This has got to be down to show runner Paul Winter who took over from David Amann.
There are clearly some issues in season 8. For example, why bring Toks on board only to use her in a very minimal way. Why build up Molly C.Quinn’s presence only to fall back to (once again) a smaller spot. More importantly, why air two episodes from last season two weeks in a row…
With everything that is, apparently, going on behind the scenes, Castle is starting to limp harder than it did in seasons 4 and 5. The show airs Mondays on ABC, tune in and see what is going on without Kate…