Castle: Mr & Mrs Castle – Finally (Review)

It is difficult not to watch Castle: Mr and Mrs Castle and heave a sigh of relief whilst simultaneously muttering a heartfelt “finally.”


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.”

Rick in the Dance Rehearsal scene…

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.

Castle: Cool Boys – Adam Baldwin Sings (Review)


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…



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


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.

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.

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.



Castle Season 8 Two Part Premiere (Review)

Stana Katic

Right off the bat, it needs to be clear that Castle is an all time favorite, the characters, the actors and the storyline (the basic one, Rick and Kate) all feel like family. Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Molly C. Quinn, Susan Sullivan, Jon Huertas, Seamus Deaver and Tamala Jones all feel like close relatives that we cannot wait to catch up with in each new episode.

It was therefore a little disappointing to see that Team Casket opted for a season opener where someone, this time Kate, goes missing. Granted, the feeling of deja vu all over again (as the late Yogi Berra used to say) does not last quite so long and Captain Beckett knows where she is but Rick did not. The other difference is that, as pointed out in part two, Kate is only gone for 36 hours and not eight weeks (in Castle time).

In many ways this was  a pretty excellent season eight open. Regardless of the “OMG one of them is missing” staleness, the show moves well. Plenty of shooting, with a couple of cheats. (Really guys?? The shootout at the theater is behind closed doors with just the sounds of gunfire? Really??) Still, the gun device in the desk gag along with Esposito and Ryan popping out of that “oh so cool” hidden office space makes up for the cheat  a little.

XX picked up where XY left off. Kate is in a safe house with Vikram and the baddies are headed straight for the two of them.

*Sidenote* Having missed last week’s season opener and those spiders (which rather interestingly seems to be theme on television this week with Gotham having a threat of “spider on face in a box” as well. What happened when these scripts were being written? Did someone in the writer’s bullpen watch repeats of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here?) that Rick endured since he had no idea where Beckett was.  It was surprising to get a lot of flashbacks this week. Overall the “what Kate got up to”  scenes had a sort of  Resident Evil 4 feel to it. For those who do not get this reference, play the game, or at least read up about it. all will become clear.

Jack Coleman was back at that nasty bit of work Senator Bracken, but not for too long. Bracken gets to snarl at Rick and freak out when he talks to Kate about “LokSat.” The disgraced politician ends up very dead in isolation to be discovered by Rick and co later in the second half of the two part premiere.

The two parter featured a storyline that had Kate’s life threatened because of Bracken and and Beckett’s temporary posting to the Attorney General’s office a couple of years back.  The suspense was nicely done  but there were so many red herrings and suspects on offer that they all began to feel like rabbits being pulled out of a hopped up magician’s hat.

Annoyingly, Kate is “saved” by Jackson Hunt’s wife, aka Rick’s stepmother. A heretofore unknown family member. Apparently James Brolin was not available to play Castle’s dad; the super-spook and CIA agent who dropped by in 2013 and 2014. Coyly, the show’s producers have opted to keep the actresses name off of IMDb who played “Mrs. Hunt.”

Toks Olagundoye
Olagundoye as Hayley

The stunning, and very capable,  actress Toks Olagundoye was back as Hayley Vargas, the security expert who aided Rick in the first half of the two part open. It has to be said, if Stana Katic is to be “apart” from her new husband for any length of time, it would be very nice if Olagundoye became a more permanent part of “Team Castle.”  She and Castle, as well as Molly C. Quinn as Alexis, have great chemistry.  Although it is doubtful that Kate will be gone for too long.


The second half of the show went to great lengths to show how both Kate and Rick think alike and work as a team, even when they are apart. Is this a hint? Are the two going to have separate storylines this season?  Or…Will they break up over this. Nathan Fillion as Rick,  looked pretty angry at Kate’s decision to leave…

Leaving the plot questions alone for a moment, it was nice to see Susan Sullivan back this week as Rick’s mother Martha.  Granted, Susan was only there for a moment, but Castle without Mother Castle is like Castle without Alexis. It just feels a little…less.

It is unclear as to whether this “a woman’s got to do what a woman’s got to do” plot device is merely a feint or if someone thought this would create enough conflict to keep things interesting.  A word of warning to the producers, these two are platinum together, keeping them apart is not a good thing for fans.

Castle is so much more than creating tension between the two main characters. The writers manage to allow each episode to shine with clever dialogue and moments that stand out.


Near the show’s end, Kate is forced to lay on the ground by her “assassin” (the chap who put a bag of spiders over Rick’s head last week). As the frustrated killer points his gun at Kate, he says, “Lady, I have never worked so hard to kill anyone in my entire life.” The man’s frustration is written all over his face.

This whole scene in Rick’s new office  makes the entire second half of the two parter.  Esposito and Ryan save the day by popping the would be killer with tasers and there is moment for a very short comic interlude before Hayley shows up with another assassin in tow.

Cue that ultra-cool moment where Rick’s new toy, the spring loaded gun device in his desk, saves the day.  These are the moments that define Castle, like his childish delight at how great the secret room turned out in last week’s episode for example.  Just like the increased comfort and interaction between Kate and Rick. (The fetching line at the beginning of XX for instance.)

The gangs all here, but not for long…

As the end credits roll, Kate is ready to leave complete with clenched jaw and a determined look in her eyes.  There cannot be many fans who were not shocked by this ending. The deja vu feeling of having been here before is annoying.  Let us not go back over old plots and just shuffle the points around to make them seem fresh.

Still, annoying plot devices aside, kudos go  to Fillion who still delivers each week and to Katic for those massive chops. Mad props  to Quinn, who also gives noteworthy performances on cue, and to guest star Toks Olagundoye.  This actress could just become this generation’s Dame Diana Rigg…Just saying.

Castle airs Mondays on ABC. Fans of the successful series will continue to tune in and for those who have not watched before, the new season can be enjoyed, but may be a little confusing  to the newest viewers. A bit of binge viewing may be required. Enjoy.



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