It is difficult not to watch Castle: Mr and Mrs Castle and heave a sigh of relief whilst simultaneously muttering a heartfelt “finally.” Not so much for a return of the old “standards” which work so well for the Caskett team in the past, but more for the writers finally giving Toks Olagundoye a chance to do what the performer does so well.
Exuding that aura of cheeky classiness that simply overruns everyone else in front of the camera in her scenes, Toks rocks it feeling like a character that has been on the show for years. After presumably making the actress a new regular, it has taken a little time for the writers to work the character of Hayley Vargas into the storyline until this latest episode.
Mr and Mrs Castle also wraps up, albeit with a bit of a rush toward the end of the episode, the whole “breakup” of Rick and Kate. (As review this will go out before the episode airs, but only just, the ending will not be discussed any further to avoid running full tilt into spoiler territory.)
The main plot deals with a shipboard dancer on a theme ship winds up in the drink in period costume and a bullet in her head. At the Lanie-less autopsy, performed instead by Arye Gross as the vitriolic and sarcastic M.E. Perlmutter, a bag of pure uncut heroin is found in the woman’s body.
Cue a tie in to Kate and Vikram’s case, the one that necessitated Beckett moving out of the family luxury apartment. Captain Beckett goes to the ship to investigate and soon learns that “Top of the World” Castle has joined her. The two split up, as the ships heads for open international waters and the couple have one hour to investigate.
This gives Nathan Fillion a chance to show off his comic roots (Fillion is an adept comic performer who built up his chops on Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place (1991-2001). Rick questions the ship’s dancers, doing a comedy riff with a dance rehearsal where he plays Miss Congeniality‘s Sandra Bullock (in a deleted scene, watch the film’s featurette) to great comic effect.
Kate and Rick show that they still work better together and after they get a recording of a crew member smuggling heroin they separate. Kate to follow leads and Rick to team up with Hayley and her hacking expertise so he can learn who sent the “anniversary text.”
The scene where Hayley (Olagundoye) almost hacks Vikram’s firewall defenses feels like a cross between the Bond battle in Never Say Never Again and any other “hacking themed film” where both sides fight “to the death.” Sadly, Molly C. Quinn is only seen for a split second but Susan Sullivan does get a bit more to do in terms of the running breakup subplot.
This episode lacked the feeling of fumbling desperation of the previous episodes of season eight, although it has to be noted that seeing Adam Baldwin sing and show off his comedic chops in the previous episode was not disappointing by any means.
It now seems that Olagundoye will become a firm regular on this season of Castle, and please may the writers learn what this performer has to offer. Hint to the writers: Watch old episodes of The Avengers (the ones with Emma Peel, aka Dame Diana Rigg) and the scales will be lifted…
Mr and Mrs Castle has less of everyone peripheral; Javi, Kevin, Alexis, Martha and, thankfully, Vikram, all have minimal screen time, with Laney showing up not at all.
Kudos have to be handed out to Sunkrish Bala as Kate’s new partner. This actor is skilled at being both amusingly annoying and the spanner in Rick’s marriage.
If there can be any complaint, it is the very rushed ending of this episode where things finally fall into place. That said, Lucy, the home system that Castle bought when Kate moved out, does manage to get the final gag.
This episode feels like a return to the Castle that fans know and love. The interaction between Rick and Kate during the hacking scene was spot on; funny and comfortable as well as a return to form. Castle airs Mondays on ABC and season eight has finally picked up the dropped reins of character arc and storyline and moved forward. Tune in and bliss out.