Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Castle 8x13 Review: "And Justice for All" Review (Linguistic Mysteries) [Contributor: Hope]


“And Justice for All”
Original Airdate: February 29, 2016

This was another week of Castle Season 8: The Better Half You Suffered Months Waiting For, and it seems like the writers have found a new equilibrium for the show. Castle got to go undercover (always a plus) as a private investigator, but his storyline was never disconnected from that of the rest of the cast. He is the middle portion of a Venn Diagram, tying together the police department on one side and his firm (a.k.a. Alexis and Hayley, who are pretty much running the whole thing). The effect is a much less fragmented show than it was in the fall.

I’m not saying it’s perfect. The tension between Ryan and Esposito is gone, but nothing has replaced it. It’s like their personal lives, minus a mention here and a comment there, have disappeared. And there’s this overall feeling that something is missing, and probably won’t be found until the LokSat case (surprisingly nonexistent) is put to rest and everything can go back to normal. However, the cases are smart and the one-off characters are worth investing in, and all the main/recurring characters are interacting with each other. That’s all I’m asking for at this point, but I hope things continue to improve.

THE CASE


Castle infiltrated an English as a Second Language course under the cover of being a French Canadian, a disguise that included a bad French accent and a scarf (it would have helped if Castle had chosen a language he actually knew). His whole plan was to study everyone’s syntax to figure out who sent the victim — an immigrant who worked as a snake caretaker (cue tons of huge snakes) — a threatening text.

Later they found out about a federal judge who was exhorting immigrants. He would force them to pay him money, and when the money ran out (as it would, because they were all getting their start in the States), he would have them deported or find someone to kill them. So they all worked together to catch him, which made for an awesome sequence. Hayley was also involved in this, and played the part of the victim’s (nonexistent) fiancĂ©e. She cornered the judge and Castle in the hallway and shot the latter. ... Until the judge realized Castle hadn’t actually been shot and just waltzed off without confessing or saying anything incriminating. I guess that’s the downside to being a private investigator: you can’t exactly force people to do anything.

Meanwhile, an FBI agent paid a call to Beckett, angry about her husband and his “band of misfits” who almost blew his case against the judge. He threatened to deport every one of them until Beckett gave him a piece of her mind, and it was awesome. She shouldered all of the blame and called him out as “power-hungry,” which was right on the money. He was building a case against the federal judge, supposedly because said judge was exhorting innocent people… and the FBI agent suddenly wants go after the same people he’s protecting? Make up your mind, dude.

You know who was even worse than the judge? The ESL teacher. He worked with the judge, supplying him with immigrants, and that is just COLD. That class was a safe place, a place where they could make friends and feel like they belonged. These people depended on him to teach them English so they could successfully start their lives over in a country that, as Martha pointed out, was created by immigrants. And what does he do? Stabs them in the back so he can get richer.

Alexis also stepped in as the new ESL teacher, which is great, even though I think you technically need to have a Bachelor’s degree and/or a certificate in order to teach an ESL course. But whatever, I don’t really care, because I love that they invited all the students over for a party, and I love that Alexis is going to teach them. This would be a great opportunity for some continuity. Further along in the season they could meet up with some of the students again, maybe about another case.

REMEMBERING THE LOST MONTHS


Castle was at the ESL class’s potluck, and after a taste of some flashback-inducing lo mein, he remembered something about the months he was missing. However, he didn’t talk to Beckett about it at first. He was bothered by it, but only stuck around long enough to let her notice that something was off. He chickened out when she had turned her back, and disappeared down the elevator.

But if you worried that Castle was going to keep this from her, you worried for nothing. He just went home to order four hundred dollars’ worth of Korean food, in an effort to jog some more memories.

By the end of the episode, however, Castle realized he hadn’t been in Korea after all — he’d been in Los Angeles. So we get another L.A. episode. I appreciate the callback to season three and the change in environment to mix things up a bit. I’m still on the fence about the Lost Months storyline, because I automatically associate it with last season and last season was kind of meh in my book, but if half the characters get to go on a little road trip, then I’m a happy camper.

However, I seem to remember hearing something about this episode setting up for a possible change of pace in the hypothetical season nine, and for that reason, I’m hesitant about this whole thing.

PRETEND BREAK-UP?


The episode started off with a really cute scene between the two, in which Castle suffered from writer’s block and the evil blinking of his computer’s cursor. It’s scenes like these that set the tone for the rest of the episode. We also need these scenes to remind us that Castle is a writer after all and should be in the middle of a novel right about now.

Who are they fooling at this point? They work with detectives. Beckett might have been hiding her plan to have Castle work undercover on the case, but Ryan and Esposito would have put two and two together when Castle ended up involved.

Beckett also didn’t pull out the break-up card when the FBI guy accused her of letting her husband interfere with their case. She could have argued that they’re separated and she has no control over or knowledge of what he does. She didn’t, though. Why? Their ruse is half-hearted at best right now, or else they’ve given up on the yelling and violence and decided to portray the world’s most civil separation ever. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s surprising that the show didn’t milk the fake fighting for all the comedy it was worth.

Notepad:
  • “STOP!” “Who are you yelling at?” “No one, I just have writer’s block.” “So you’re taking it out on your laptop?” “No, not the laptop, the cursor. It’s sitting there, taunting me, just blinking on, off, on, off, like it’s so easy writing a best-selling novel. ‘Cause I’d like to see you try it, Mr. Cursor, I’d like to see you try it!” 
  • “I need you. I’m Sherlock without Watson.” “No, you probably mean Watson without your Sherlock, because after all, my darling, you’re the writer.”
  • “I think what you meant to say was ‘thank you so much ladies for taking my money pit and turning it into a profitable business.’”
  • “... Oh, there’s two of you?” Pearlmutter tried to set Beckett up with his twin brother. He also congratulated her on breaking up with Castle. I always forget he exists, and I wish he and Lanie could somehow coexist within an episode. It’s not fair that we get one and not the other.
  • All cases of grammatical errors should be termed “linguistic mysteries.” Editing would sound like detective work. 
  • “No need for sarcasm, all you had to say was yes.”
  • “This guy, he’s from England, why doesn’t he speak English?” The Geordie dialect from Newcastle is real folks. Google it, it’s interesting. I also love that they brought Hayley in to translate his super confusing English to their own.
  • When you fake-shoot someone and have fake-blood spurt out, make sure you sufficiently hide the fake-blood container. OOPS.
  • “In your position I would have done the same thing.” “No, you wouldn’t.” “No, I wouldn’t, I have a soul.” 
  • It’s so strange for an episode title to start with an “And.” Isn’t it? Or is that just me?

0 comments:

Post a Comment