Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Castle 8x10 Review: “Witness for the Prosecution” (Strange Signals) [Contributor: Hope]

“Witness for the Prosecution”
Original Airdate: February 14, 2016

This was a good episode. It had a different format, but also a lot of classic Castle feel to it. I really enjoyed it. Yet I’m sitting here and turning up a blank because it just didn’t dazzle me. I wasn’t even asking to be dazzled, but somehow, this episode simultaneously commanded my attention and made me laugh, and left me feeling ambivalent towards it. I think I’ll conclude that this was a solid episode, but lacking just a bit in humor. It was like a change-of-pace two-parter, minus all the crazy action scenes, conspiracy intrigue, and cliffhanger.


I liked this case. I liked how the show mixed things up with the courtroom and Castle being an eye witness. What I wish had happened, however, was that we had heard about this case before. Castle follows real time to a degree, so five months ago would have been September. Let’s say this happened right before the season started, which I’m assuming is what they want us to believe. If Castle had a reading for his latest novel and witnessed a murder at it, it would have been all he could talk about. Sure, a lot of other things happened since then, but I find it hard to believe.

I get that sometimes these things have to be done, but it’s evidence of something going on in the writer’s room. By the time they wrote this episode, last fall’s episodes would have been in production. They could have slipped in a sentence here and there to achieve continuity. But they didn’t. They also didn’t have this half of the season planned out. I’m not saying that it had to be, especially since this is an episodic show. But I’m always impressed by those shows that claim to have an entire season planned out (the pure dedication! What if it doesn’t get picked up for the next season, or gets its episode number cut? What if an actor leaves? What if some other variable falls through? Impressive).

However, the trial sure called on other past events — Castle being framed for murder by the 3XK, Castle losing his memory, the case from “I, Witness,” which did air on February 2, 2015 — and I can’t help but think it was partially to make up for the lack of backstory for this case. The case itself was interesting. It was kind of brilliant that while the killer was the husband, who is always the first suspect, it still came across as a twist because of how the storyline was structured.


After Castle became confused in the witness stand and started thinking that he hadn’t seen the whole picture, the team went to work with a deadline. However, the prosecutor wasn’t the happiest camper in the world and refused to believe that there was, in fact, reasonable doubt. It was a classic case of someone saying “we have someone, that’s good enough, the end” and Beckett et al. smiling and nodding... and then turning around, determined to get justice AND the actual truth.

So that’s what they did. Only they hit a roadblock and Castle took matters into his own hands and decided to delay the trial. Martha and Alexis were less than thrilled with the idea. He tricked the judge into thinking her house had been broken into, and then got himself charged with Contempt of Court and thrown in jail. Ryan and Espo got him out and actually worked with him to solve the case. I guess their hatred of him was short-lived? I was actually looking forward to seeing that play out a bit longer, but I guess they go too far back to be able to drop the habit of friendship that quickly.

In a last-ditch effort, Castle and Beckett stormed the courtroom without a plan. It was a nice twist to have Castle get himself back into the witness stand and solve the case while in court. Caleb Brown, part defense attorney, part LOKSAT-related bad guy, actually teared up when his client was absolved of the crime. It turns out that he likes being a hero when it suits him, so Beckett and Vikram now know his weakness. I’m excited to see if/how they trick him, and whether or not Castle plays a part in it. By this point, he’s proven himself a hundred times over to be an excellent schemer.


Last week was all about Castle and Beckett pretending to be at odds, and this week, that kind of got pushed aside. They had a common goal to work toward, so they were civil. Maybe a little too civil, but that’s beyond the point. It’s just strange to have these two hate each other, and they can’t even effectively keep up the act. One week they’re shouting and the next they’re eating Chinese while doing research with the guys? Good thing Ryan and Espo aren’t always the most observant characters in the world.

The episode started off with Castle trying to come up with a secret signal they could use to say “I love you” when they were around other people. It had to be subtle and unromantic, but Castle isn’t subtle so he settled for pretending to rub his nose. Beckett wasn’t on board with this system, and never actually sent him the signal herself. But every time he rubbed his nose, she smiled like it was the sweetest gesture in the world and she just couldn’t help it. These two, I’m telling you. Castle has neglected this adorkable love story for the sake of drama, and maybe the writers have finally learned to right their wrongs.

  • “Try not to be too charming.” “That’s like telling Superman not to be too super.”
  • “Do you need a tissue?” “No, that’s the secret ‘I love you’ signal.” 
  • “I need my life back. Given your new relationship with your computer, you do, too.” 
  • Lanie got about fivr seconds of screentime. Better than nothing, I guess?
  • I love it when they eat Chinese food in the precinct while they’re trying to solve a case. I don’t know why. 
  • Esposito’s story about the elderly lady in the wheelchair who tricked him into testifying that she beat him up was EPIC. The fact that the woman still brags about it? Golden.
  • “You really should think of something better.” “It’s adorable.”
  • “I’m going to get thrown in jail!” Classic Castle plan. 
  • There’s no way Castle would get the cell across from the woman, and I kind of love that about this show?
  • “How about a villain?” “Deal.”
  • “STOP THE TRIAL!” “Okay, now what?” “I don’t know, I didn’t think this all the way through.”
  • If only this episode had been the first half of a two-parter, we would have only had to wait a day. Where were these back-to-back episodes when we needed them?


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