In Castle: The Blame Game, aka episode 12 of season eight, one could be forgiven for expecting Billy the Doll, from the Saw franchise to suddenly roll up in a shot. As this seemed to be Saw revisited, sans the overwhelmingly gore or Danny Glover from the first in the series, or indeed, missing the over the top terror…
This episode, despite being helmed most impressively by director Jessica Yu, felt like a re-tread of sorts. Another episode where either Rick, or Kate, or both, get stuck in an impossible situation and must think their way out…or work together to overcome odds to escape a locked room.
In this case, there were others placed in the looked area for them to play off of and each one was locked in a separate room with different playmates. As in at least one Saw plot, one of the other captives was actually the perpetrator, aka “Jigsaw” played in the many film sequels by Tobin Bell, but in this episode the baddy was portrayed by Kevin Christy.
The Blame Game also owes a little to the Marvel verse. Specifically Jessica Jones, a hit on Netflix that has been approved for another season, where former Dr. Who star David Tennant played a character whose parents experimented on him as a lad.
During the episode, while the women are trapped in one “kindergarten class room” (and the men in another identical room) a prisoner mentions some sort of study. Regardless of this misdirection, the plot is pure Saw. Puzzles to solve, that can be deadly if one does not “think outside the box” and objects that do not act as expected.
(For example, there is a gun rigged to kill the shooter. The weapon was located next to a note that stated, “the last one standing leaves.”)
At the start of the episode, Richard excitedly bursts in on a little tea party between Alexis and Martha to tell them about a meeting with Stephen King to “collaborate” and the two women ask about whether King is still angry with Rick. This “meeting” is not real, but merely a ploy to trap Castle, along with three other prisoners.
There are some entertaining moments.
Rick standing in a rat infested hallway in a clearly condemned building watching the lights go out, the darkness moving toward him like any number of horror films and his terrified face as the last light goes out is a great moment. Another impressive moment is the gun, that kills its operator and even without the gore, is entertaining as well as surprising.
One highlight of this episode was the re- appearance of Toks Olagundoye, finally, after being listed on the credits for a number of episodes as a regular.
The plot for this particular episode did feel a little “old-hat.” Whether this was down to the many sequels of Saw or the Netflix series Jessica Jones is not clear but one thing is for certain, Rick and/or Kate being kidnapped is definitely getting old. Even Alexis mentions that her father gets taken hostage on a semi-regular basis.
By the end of the episode, Rick and Kate are working as a team and this enables them to defeat the monumentally screwed up captor who insists that one of them die with him. Martha, who appears at the start of the show, is not around to comfort Alexis, who actually leads the cops to dad and Kate.
It is Hayley Vargas (Olagundoye) who placates the distraught Castle offspring and the two go out to paint the town pink.
Castle airs Mondays on ABC and still has a few episodes to go for this season. News is not out just yet about the likelihood of another season, but it is to be hoped that if there is another one in the cards, that the plots are that bit more original…