Castle: The G.D.S. – Total Recall and Blindspot have a Baby (Review)

2016 is the year for Total Recall homages, or at the very least borrowing the “message to yourself” plot device from the film. Castle: The G.D.S. uses the “pre-recorded message” scenario

NATHAN FILLION

2016 is the year for Total Recall homages, or at the very least borrowing the “message to yourself” plot device from the film. Castle: The G.D.S. uses the “pre-recorded message” scenario.  Blindspot has also used the device, something that was absent from the Philip K. Dick book that inspired both the 1990 and 2012 versions of “We Can Remember it For You Wholesale.” It does feel a little like Total Recall and Blindspot had a baby.

Sidenote: To be fair, at the end, just before the “message” part, Rick says that the whole Hayley/LA scenario feels like a Philip K. Dick story. 

While the main storyline of Castle this week is all about Rick trying to “find” his lost time in Los Angles, the serial killer plot line, which allowed one great cameo from Gerald McRaney who is rapidly becoming the face of Gravitas on television and a great guest spot for Summer Glau, Fillion’s former cast-mate from Firefly and Serenity.

Although in the intense of Rick Castle, his message may well contain the information that he has “done this to himself” (wiped his memories) but we find out the reason. (In Blindspot Jaimie Alexander’s character still has no idea why.)  Richard jettisoned his memories because he was investigating LokSat.

Before the revelation that Castle quite probably sentenced Kate’s investigative team to death because of his interference, he has to solve the murder of a deceased D.G.S. member.  The Greatest Detective Society, far from being the myth  that Hayley Vargas declares it to be, is real and its leader (McRaney) has offered Rick and San Francisco P.I. Kendall Frost (Glau) a chance to become members.

The catch is the they must compete to find the killer of former member Phillip Harris.  As Rick, with the assistance of Harley (Toks Olagundoye) investigate both the murder and Castle’s missing time. Alexis (Molly C. Quinn) is along for the ride and she also investigates her father’s  missing time.

Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) is missing from the proceedings, even when Javi and Ryan are called in to help with the investigation (There is a New York connection) the only other member of the 12th to be seen is Lanie (Tamala Jones).  In New York, the two detectives track down the East Coast serial killer in a pretty satisfying stand off with an impressive end. 

The two play a practical joke on Lanie that gets them both in trouble with the M.E. and in Los Angeles, Alexis makes a startling discovery about Hayley.  It turns out that Vargas is a lot more than she appears and that she and Rick have a previous connection.

A deadly one.

Despite the fact that the episode used the Total Recall “message in a video” device (sans wet towel) all the threads were neatly tied at the end. Revealing that, apart from appearances to the contrary, Vargas is a “good guy” and that she has her own reasons for working with Rick and Alexis.

At least according to Hayley she does…

There  is a clever twist  in the end where the Hollywood type who destroyed the Nikki Heat film turns out to be much more, and less, than a top notch studio head.  Interestingly, Castle’s father (played brilliantly by James Brolin, Josh Brolin’s father) is mentioned again in connection to the LokSat issue. Considering the amount of “verbal” airplay “Daddy Castle” has been getting lately it may not be too long before Brolin senior makes another appearance on the show.

After last week’s episode Castle: And Justice for All, where it looked like Alexis may be shoved to the side, Molly C. Quinn got quite a lot to do in this episode. At one point, it did look like Vargas might be a threat to her new chum, but that was soon sorted out.

It does still look like things may turn bleak, if not deadly, for Stana Katic’s character, especially if one reads between the lines and remembers that one year contract

The whole invitation to the “Society” as well as the competition between Glau’s character and Rick, with plenty of screen time for Toks Olagundoye’s character was entertaining and fun.  Any plot that enables the talented Toks to  show off her acting chops is a good one.

While the storyline of solving Harris’ murder was what drove most of the action,  it did allow time for Castle to search for his missing time. On a sidenote, the Lanie practical joke was funny.

Castle: The G.D.S. does two things very well. It ties Rick into the LokSat investigations solidly and implies that he inadvertently put Kate in danger. The plot also allows Fillion to drop the bumbling buffoon that his character has become in this season. A nice reminder that while Rick is not a “tough guy” he is capable of being serious and deadly.

Glancing at the upcoming titles on Castle, the season finale’s Dead Again, is a tad foreboding, but as it was Rick who was presumed dead before it may not indicate a grisly end for Kate Beckett as much as for the series.

Castle airs Mondays on ABC. Tune in and see if there are any clues as to whether Rick and Kate will return for another season.

 

Castle: The G.D.S. (Sneak Peek)

In Castle The G.D.S. (which stands for The Greatest Detective Society) Rick heads to Los Angeles to track down the mystery of his missing time.

NATHAN FILLION, GERALD MCRANEY, SUMMER GLAU
In Castle The G.D.S (which stands for The Greatest Detective Society) Rick heads to Los Angeles to track down the mystery of his missing time. After finding the clue in last week’s episode a’la OldBoy, Castle knows that Korea Town in LA was a clue.

He brings Alexis (Molly C. Quinn) and Hayley Vargas (Toks Olagundoye) with him and as seen in the first sneak peek, the ladies decide to drool over the delivery men while Richard gets an invite to The G.D.S.

Hayley tells Rick that the society is a sort of private detective fairy tale.

http://www.disneyabcpress.com/abc/video/ewssur3tia6_bwtggywfxkbcgkfa76ky/embed

Castle is recruited to help solve a murder and he, along with Hayley begin to follow the trail and Rick meets with an old acquaintance as part of his investigation. Things turn deadly once he agrees to look into the death.

The G.D.S. features Nathan Fillion’s old friend and cast-mate Summer Glau and former Longmire and Agent X actor Gerald McRaney

Summer Glau plays Kendall Frost, a stimulating and exciting private detective fromLos Angeles that tries to beat Rick to the punch at solving the murder. McRaney is Mason Wood, the head of the G.D.S. aka the Greatest Detective Society. Bad Boys II actor Jason Manual Olazabal is Detective Menendez.

In the second sneak peek Desperate Housewives actor Doug Savant appears as the new studio head that Castle has dealt with before; Victor Nigel, the man who brought “Heat Wave” to the screen and in the sneak peek below Nigel tells Rick, and Hayley that their showing up is “fate.”

http://www.disneyabcpress.com/abc/video/1mwgpvvtkiq_nn2jfeqdc6emmvzngu8_/embed?t=89

The G.D.S was written by Alexi Hawley and is directed by John Terlesky. The episode airs Monday on ABC.

Serenity (2005): Firefly Rides Off Into the Sunset

In 2005 fans of the television series of Firefly were finally able to get some closure. Joss Whedon’s western space show, Firefly had been cut off at the knees before it could really take off. Fox network (who I think should win the ‘We Hate Joss Award’) axed the new series almost, it seems, out of spite.

Firefly had a good solid fan base and characters that appealed to the audience. The show played well and the whole first season set up what should have been season two and beyond. The question has to be asked. Did Joss piss off Fox in some obscure way? Or was Fox annoyed that Firefly wasn’t another Buffy? We will never know.

That Whedon has a good track record on television is a matter of fact. You cannot have two programs that run for years and have an almost rabidly faithful fan base without having done something right. Of course you cannot talk about early cancellations without mentioning Dollhouse (2009). Fox called the shots on Joss’s next television baby and their guidance doomed the show to a quick death. By following Fox’s guidelines Joss took too long to build up the show and started losing the viewing wars before the show could build up steam.

But with Dollhouse, Joss was able to give fans of the show a bit of closure. The second season was allowed to finish and so finished the story. Perhaps not to a very satisfactory conclusion, but it was a conclusion of sorts, not like the hasty death of Firefly.

I won’t waste time going into the plot and characters of Firefly. If you have stopped to read this article you will already be familiar with the verse as presented on television.

Firefly (TV series)

Serenity is just Firefly grown up. Despite the small budget, the film feels bigger, more expansive and more dangerous than the tv show. All the show’s regulars are there. It felt a little like a class reunion. All the familiar folks are here, just a little older and perhaps not any wiser but their performances have aged like a fine wine.

The cast list is as follows:

Nathan Fillion as Mal

Gina Torres as Zoe

Alan Tudyk as Wash

Morena Baccarin as Inara

Adam Baldwin as Jayne

Jewel Staite as Kaylee

Sean Maher as Simon

Summer Glau as River

Ron Glass as Shepard Derrial Book

Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative

David Krumholtz as Mr Universe

The film opens with the rescue of River by her brother Simon. We find out that what we are watching is security footage of the River’s escape and the man watching the footage is the scary “The Operative” a deadly government man tasked to bring River back.

The rest of the film is the crew of Serenity trying to stay one step ahead of The Operative. There are brilliant scenes in the movie. The “I swallowed a bug.” scene aka “All right, let’s be bad guys.” This opening ensemble piece shows the group dynamic and introduces us to Reaver’s, bloodthirsty man-monsters who torture, rape, and kill everyone they come in contact with.

I won’t go too much into the film as there might just be someone out there who hasn’t heard of Browncoats, Firefly, or Reavers. But I will mention my second favourite scene in the film.

The crew of Serenity land and disembark on a planet. The whole crew is upset because Simon and River are going to leave. Mal and Jayne go to deal with their fences. River goes to watch a televised commercial for fruity oat bars. She sees something in the commercial that prompts her to murmur the word, Miranda.

The second she says the word, the ninety pound girl proceeds to kick every conceivable ass in the bar. She incapacitates Jayne and is in a ‘Mexican Stand off’  with Mal, when Simon saves the day.

This entire scene is a show stopper. The choreography for this fight scene (designed to show just how dangerous River is) is balletic and beautiful. It takes my breath every time I see it.

Of course, later in the film, we see why River is so deadly.

Even if you are not a Firefly fan and need some sort of closure, watch this film. I actually saw Serenity before I watched the television show. It is the best example of why Joss is boss and why he was the only choice to helm the Avenger’s Assemble film.