Watching Castle: “A Deadly Affair” (ABC)

Castle, the little “hunt for a serial killer meets romantic comedy that could” opened its third season Monday night with a three-person body count, a freaky underground burlesque show (complete with snakes, fire breathers and juggling little people), and the distinct possibility that Stana Katic may be sporting the beginnings of a “baby bump.”  Anyone else notice the unusual prevalence of loose-fitting blouses, bulky police vests and oversized file folders obscuring any clear view of Stana’s mid-section throughout the episode?  (See… I watch Castle, I’m instantly a detective!)

This show never leaves much of an aftertaste, does it?  But it’s sure fun while it’s going down.  Katic and Nathan Fillion have a charming chemistry.  He pokes at her for personal jollies.  She insults his intellect and manhood to crank her own motor.  They’re the “Sam and Diane” of the police procedural genre.  Yes, there are corpses here and there, but they’re so intentionally inoffensive and humorous they might as well be popping out at you from behind a cardboard tombstone at your neighbor’s Halloween party.  Thankfully, Castle knows where its bread is buttered, and it’s not at the scene of the crime.

I will say that after having watched “A Deadly Affair,”  I’m almost certain I could successfully pull off counterfeiting pre-1998 twenty dollar bills.  If anyone knows a good chemist, sculptor, vending machine operator and tattoo artist interested in making a few extra bucks (get it?), please leave their contact information in the comments section below.

A summer apart wasn’t enough to stamp out the sexual tension between Castle and Beckett.  Castle promised to call while off in the Hamptons finishing his book, Naked Heat. He didn’t.  Beckett was given ample opportunity to express her frustration over never getting the promised call.  She didn’t.  When the two finally re-encounter one another over the episode’s “Stiff #2,” the cold shoulders fly!  Why Castle never bothered to call Beckett isn’t really ever addressed in this episode, but does anyone really care?  There’s a case to be solved and more importantly, lots of coy banter to be exchanged.  Nothing is more fun on this show than watching Fillion and Katic spar.  They don’t really even have to solve the case as far as I’m concerned.  Let a few of them get away.  After all, did it really matter that (spoilers!) the missing link between the three corpses was their common involvement in a secret counterfeiting ring led by a murderous burlesque dancer named Kitty Canary and her tattooed thug of a husband, Earl?

Nah!

But for anyone who needs further clarification… the paper for the counterfeiting came from the vending machines, the chemicals from the chemist, the metal press plates from the sculptor, and the burlesque club laundered all the money.  Seems like an awful long way to go and involving way more than the necessary number of people to pull this kind of thing off, but I suppose that’s why it took almost an entire hour to figure the whole thing out.

Anyway, it’s not important.  What’s important is that Castle and Beckett are back on the case, putting their petty differences aside and getting pumped to tackle next week’s case of the psychic who predicted her own murder!  See you then.

Be sure to keep an eye on that Stana belly.

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