Episode 10: Significant Others
By: Carlos Uribe
Castle is a show about a mystery writer who helps his lover solve crimes.
I think what I liked best about this episode is just how funny it was. It's true that Castle can be a very funny show but something about this episode simply struck out. It's as if the writing was somehow sharper this episode compared to other ones. The comedic situations created by the weekly case and Castle's personal life were both a delight to watch that really delivered a chaotic feeling that the series often doesn't achieve. An example of this is when Castle Beckett goes to a female client of the victim. The client had just lost a major divorce case and she was angry at her ex-husband. This leads to a scene where she is destroying her husband's objects before he shows up and starts doing the same. The energy created by that scene is one that Castle often tries to get but so rarely does. I'm not trying to slight the rest of the show but that the elements of this episode came together in just the perfect way. Significant Others sounds like an episode that I would normally find as trying too much but in reality ends up becoming my favorite of the season.
Why wouldn't I normally like an episode like this? The weekly case and the personal life deal with the same material in a very blunt manner. Alexis is sick so her mom decides to come and try to take care of her. Castle makes the mistake of allowing his ex-wife to stay with him even though Beckett is currently living there because her apartment is being fumigated. Beckett isn't very happy with this because he's with her now. This conflict between the two helps to provide a lot of laughs that doesn't seem to get really serious. This is a good thing because I didn't really think it was as big as a deal as all the characters were making it. I understand a girlfriend is not going to want the ex-wife to stay over but it seems to really not care about an important detail. The ex-wife is Alexis' mother and Alexis is sick. Alexis might now be an adult but she's still her daughter. This justification honestly felt like the show was trying to stir up conflict for the sake of it but I was fine with it for two reasons.
The first is that I was laughing but the second is because of a development at the end of the episode. The ex-wife makes the point that Castle knew everything about her but she barely knew him. Beckett realizes that Castle is actually writing books based on her but she wouldn't be able to do the same. She doesn't know him in the same way that he knows her. This silly scenario led to a serious conflict that is built around their characters in brilliant ways. Beckett is someone who finds it hard to trust people but Castle has been able to get her out of her shell without coming out of his own. It's no coincidence that one of Beckett's problems with his ex-wife staying over is that Meredith knows a lot about Castle that Beckett doesn't know. To find out that Meredith doesn't even know that much about Castle is going to make Beckett question how close she really is to Castle.
The weekly case meanwhile is built around around a high-profile divorce lawyer who only represented women. This lawyer is found dead. The initial suspects are the ex-husbands of the clients that she represented. In the end, it turns out that it was a former client who had faked her own death and didn't want people to know she was still alive. The weekly case was completely built around exes and it certainly collided with Castle's personal drama. There's a part where Esposito and Ryan talk about how Castle's two worlds were colliding. They might have been talking about Becektt and his ex-wife but it might as well have been about his investigative life and personal drama. Their sheer similarities could have easily created an episode that was heavy-handed in it's parallel but it worked for two reasons. The first is that the weekly case created comical situations but the second is because it was good on it's own right. Even if Castle and Beckett weren't having a problems over his ex-wife, this would have been a great episode.
Significant Others is a pretty good episode that had a certain level of energy and chaos that made it really fun and entertaining to watch. This is definably the best Castle episode of the season so far and among the top five of the series. It's funny and the emotional cliff-hanger of the episode was very much perfectly executed. I don't know about you, but I'm actually slightly worried Castle and Beckett might go through a rough patch that might end their relationship. Whatever the case, this is a serious problem the two are going to have to deal with.
It might be that it wasn't the writing that was somehow stronger but the direction. Holly Dale directed another favorite of mine (Head Case). The series should consider using her most often.