Castle: The Nose – Hayley Vargas Returns: Sic Transit Kate Mundi?

SUSAN SULLIVAN, MOLLY QUINN, NATHAN FILLION

In Castle this week the plot thickens. Not the main one, where Stephnie Weir plays hyperosmia perfume specialist and murder witness Mia and helps Rick through the episode. The one where it looks like Kate Beckett, aka Stana Katic  will go on a long hiatus and Hayley Vargas may be an interim (?) replacement as cool strong female character. (Think this generation’s Emma Peel here, gorgeous and talented but oh so cool with it.)

In other words a perfect co-star for Nathan Fillion and more than capable replacement for Stana. After all, “Mrs. Castle” has only signed up for one more season (one year) contractually. While there has been no official word about the talented Katic leaving, the presence of Toks Olagundoye as uber cool insurance fraud investigator Hayley Vargas for four of the first five episodes of season eight (and billing on a fifth) makes it seem the actress may be here to stay.

Granted, neither actress had too much screen time although there was a rather telling scene where the two characters question a suspect. Vargas and Kate compliment each other; recognizing equals in the battle for justice. Almost like Beckett handing over the reins to her replacement…Later in the episode, Kate takes Rick’s jacket, after inhaling his aroma from the collar and replaces it with a NYPD T-shirt.

In The Nose a transporter is murdered for a Van Gough he is carrying and the act is witnessed by Mia (Weir) who is pressed into helping Rick solve the murder to impress Kate. Javi and Ryan are thrown into turmoil when Esposito passes the sergeant’s exam and Kevin does not.

As investigations get into full swing, Harley Vargas drops in to assist as she is after the painting, listed as stolen since WWII.

The episode is heavy on comedy. Example: Kate is bent over and looking into the murder victims car. Ryan says, about the vehicle’s interior, that the back end is too small for a man to get into. Splendid bit of comedy and it appears that bums are a theme in this installment as Javi is shot in the a** later by Ryan.  Once Espo returns to work everyone, it seems cannot wait to mention his a** wound.

STEPHNIE WEIR
Mia aka Stephnie Weir

Weir (The Comedians, Big Day) gives a brilliant performance as the prickly smell expert who finds other’s odors so offensive that she lives in a giant humidor. She also gets some of the best lines. When asked if she would like Ryan and Espo to drive her home, her response is:

“I’d rather french-kiss a corpse.”

The plot was apparently inspired  by The Transporter Refueled a “reboot” of the popular franchise that opened this year, with Camden born actor Ed Skrein replacing Jason Statham as Frank Martin.  With the stolen painting as the show’s McGuffin, it also looks like the show’s writers were giving  a nod to the 2014 film The Monuments Men.

Lucy, Rick’s home device made another appearance and this week saw Molly C.Quinn in a teeny cameo while her “grandmother” Martha (Susan Sullivan) had much more to do in terms of screen time. Mia meets Martha when she cooks a super bland meal for Castle’s human bloodhound.

The underlying storyline, of Kate’s leaving Rick and stopping by to collect the rest of there things, reeks of a Stana Katic exit scene.  A lot of time was spent, via  olfactory clues from Mia, relaying to the viewer just how much Beckett loves Rick and, of course, vice versa.  So it looks like Kate is leaving for an indefinite amount of time. (Remember that one year contract?)

Replacing Katic with Toks Olagundoye, even if it is only for season eight, is a good move. Fans will come closer to accepting this strong character, that Toks brings to life brilliantly, as a good substitute for  strong positive female role model Kate. While there are no clear signs that Hayley might become more than an investigative partner for Rick to work with;  the two actors do have splendid chemistry when on screen together.

TOKS OLAGUNDOYE, STANA KATIC
Kate and Hayley work together

There have been hints that Olagundoye could become a “regular” and all that remains is for the show’s runner to make an official announcement.  MikesFilmTalk has stated once before that Toks could well be “the new” Dame Diana Rigg. She exudes that aura of sophisticated charisma and cool sexiness that Rigg, in the guise of Emma Peel and many of her other roles, could have invented.

The Nose as an exit episode for Kate, who looks to be disappearing again,  worked brilliantly. As was typical of any good Castle episode there were enough comedic moments to keep the viewer smiling and laughing and just enough pathos to prompt a tear, or two, from the same viewer.

Stand out moment award goes  to Nathan Fillon for his “John Wayne/Harrison Ford” screen punch that knocks out the baddy and also breaks Mia’s nose. Great stuff and one more reason why “Fillion Rules.”

Castle airs Mondays on ABC and is still addictive viewing. Tune in and be captivated.