I review the first and second episodes of Castle, entitled Flowers For Your Grave and Nanny McDead.
“What a great start to a series. Nathan Fillion is very strong as a lead actor and the show packs some great charisma between the two lead cast.”
Flowers For Your Grave
Flowers For Your Grave is a great starting episode to Castle. It introduces us to bestselling author Richard “Rick” Castle, who is called in to help Detective Kate Beckett with a case due to the fact that the serial killer is copying killings from Castle’s novels. The episode itself whilst sounds like your average crime show, is greatly enhanced by the comedic aspect brought to it by Nathan Fillion, who plays a very different character to Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly. He’s a strong lead actor with some great comic timing and I’m going to be looking forward to seeing the two lead characters, Castle and Beckett, collaborate together on many future cases.
The pilot episode is written by Rob Bowman and is a fun mystery even if you know that Castle and Beckett will save the day, there are some very interesting elements added to Flowers For Your Grave that prevent it from seeming like your average crime thriller. A nice touch that I liked to this episode was that it demonstrated some of the problems of a successful novelist – what is going to be his next book series after he killed off his lead character? Something that James Patterson, real-life crime thriller author, highlights in a poker game between Castle and a couple of other authors who I didn’t know – he would never kill of his lead character, Alex Cross. This brought a certain real-world feeling to the episode as well as its down-to-earth and realistic action.
It seems like, especially after having watched the next episode, Nanny McDead, that Castle is not going to have any overarching storylines for the first season at least so if you don’t like a different story per episode then you may want to give this show a miss. However, for those that stick around, the main strength of this show is Fillion, and the so far strong storylines that we’ve seen.
Castle is a show that clearly introduces the viewer to where it’s going to go in future episodes – which is what any pilot should do. Sticking on at the end of the episode to help with the NYPD to research the plot of his next novel, featuring a character inspired by Beckett, Castle will continue to help the cops solve the mystery of the week whilst working on his novels, with plenty of “Will they or won’t they” moments between Beckett and Castle, and some great witty banter between the two. If you’re after a show that’s more than your average cop series, then you’ll want to give Castle a look into. Flowers For Your Grave is a very strong pilot and it’s something that I wouldn’t mind giving it another watch, after obviously catching up on the almost 100-long episodes.
Nanny McDead is a rather appropriate title for the second episode of Castle, and follows Beckett and Castle as they crack down another case thrown at them. In this outing, a body of a nanny stuffed into an apartment building clothes dryer sets of a great ‘Whodunit’ mystery that is manages to be very entertaining with several twists and turns as new revelations are uncovered at every corner. The episode again uses Fillion’s strength at humour to great effect particularly with that opening scene when Castle’s in an office and he’s being told that neither him nor his relatives can sue the city if he’s shot, and that nobody including [his] “lifeless body, can sue the city.”
This episode also explores Castle’s family into a bit more depth as well – his daughter Alexis and his mother Martha. They comment that he’s starting to turn into a cop more, and we’re slowly starting to see the changes that he’s undergoing as a character under Beckett’s eye. One thing’s for sure is that I hope Alexis and Martha aren’t given anymore screentime than this amount in the future – I’m not a big fan of their characters and they don’t particularly interest me as much as Beckett and Castle and the people at the NYPD do.
This episode’s main themes are sex and lies, illustrated by the interesting plot twists in this episode and at the NYPD HQ, where Castle enters the room and asks if the three cops standing around a computer are watching porn and if they are he wants in. However, this episode also highlights a flaw – although the mystery was more interesting than the pilot, it isn’t as unique as it was – not relying on the whole writer aspect as much. Nonetheless, Nanny McDead is still a strong and entertaining episode and I will certainly be sticking around for more of this series despite its flaws.
CASTLE SERIES 1: Flowers For Your Grave, Nanny McDead, Hedge Fund Homeboys, Hell Hath No Fury, A Chill Goes Through Her Veins, Always Buy Retail, Home is Where the Heart Stops, Ghosts, Little Girl Lost, A Death in the Family