Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Castle 8x20 Review: “Much Ado About Murder” (Method to the Madness) [Contributor: Hope]

“Much Ado About Murder”
Original Airdate: May 2, 2016

This was another episode that I really enjoyed. The Caskett storyline was cute, the Ryan storyline was adorable, and the mystery roped Shakespeare into the whole crazy mess… and somehow, it just worked. Everything tied in together enough that storylines didn’t get lost in the mix, and it was just an entertaining hour.

If you forget that this was either the third last episode ever or the third last episode of Castle as we know it. If you can sweep that under the rug for 60 minutes, then you probably enjoyed it, too.

It helped that this episode lacked the heavy-handed foreshadowing present in last week’s episode. There were only two things that hinted at what’s to come, one being the term YOLO that was thrown around quite a lot, and secondly, that Castle might be writing a biographical movie about a crime lord? Um, so if Castle does come back for another season, does this mean that, since it would be too painful for him to write another Nikki Heat novel, he’ll be able to turn to this project instead? Thanks, show, for ending on that note. This is why we can’t have nice things.

But push that out of your mind! Imagine Kevin Ryan: Superdad twirling around with his little girl, and the priceless footage Javi took that’s going to come back to haunt Ryan someday (not that he’d truly mind, though).


First, I have to express my gratefulness that, given the Castle Goes Off the Deep End trend, he didn’t believe the killer was a ghost or visited by a ghost… or anything to do with ghosts. It looks like the penultimate episode is going to be another one of those where his imagination runs wild, and the only consolation is that we at least got this really good one. All I’m saying is the next episode had better have more weight to it than that. I can kind of understand – or at least accept – having a filler episode as your penultimate for the season when you know the show is certainly going to be renewed. What I don’t get is taking what could possibly be your second-to-last episode ever and goofing off with it. It’s presumptuous, disrespectful, and just plain stupid from a storytelling standpoint.

Anyway. The case involved the death of a (terrible) movie actor who was trying to successfully transition into acting on stage as Hamlet. It didn’t go so well, seeing as he ended up with a quill pen to the neck. The investigation led from an extremely method Ophelia, to an ex-con stepbrother, to a Mexican crime lord, and also to Martha, who got a little extra screen time than usual (Alexis and Hayley were completely absent, probably running that P.I. business Castle neglects).

You know, at this point in the game, I should remember by the end that the first people our characters talk to are often the killers, but no. After we’ve been tugged around to at least half a dozen different acquaintances and suspects, I’ve forgotten them. That’s probably the purpose of having so many twists and turns to the investigations: making the case more and more convoluted makes it harder to see the (relatively) simple answer.


So let’s talk about what happened here, because this is kind of crazy – and yet from the moment El Oso asked/forced Castle to write his movie, I had a feeling this wouldn’t be the last we’d hear of it. When you think about it, it does make sense. Castle, in the hypothetical season 9, would need to have something to write if he is going to continue to be a writer and not just a private investigator. With his muse/love of his life/inspiration for his main character… out of the picture… he might fall into an endless abyss of writer’s block. But he’d have El Oso’s write-this-or-else movie deal hanging over his head.

However, if Castle and Beckett ride off into the sunset… well, he can write anywhere. And this storyline really wouldn’t matter anyway because the show would be over. At that point, if we get a happy ending, I’ll forgive this show for any loose ends, especially this one. I just want that happy ending. I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but I want this show to give all us viewers the happy ending we’ve earned after all these years. I know television is a business, and businesses and money go hand in hand, but businesses also need to (or should) have integrity. 


In case you needed proof that Kevin Ryan in an excellent father, we now have multiple scenes of him choreographing his daughter’s flower-themed preschool performance. How adorable was this? In the middle of the sidewalk, in an empty interrogation room, in the middle of the precinct… he didn’t care who saw him. He wanted to be so involved in his daughter’s school, and it was touching. He ended up overestimating preschoolers’ dancing abilities, to the point that the rest of the parents banded together to make him step away from the play.

Esposito also joined in the dancing at the end, which was a nice touch. I’m so happy that, at least through this episode, whatever drama these two have had this season is gone. That would be the last (well, not the last…) thing this show needs right now. Sarah Grace called him Uncle Javi, and I just feel like we’re missing out on so much potential for Ryan and Esposito’s storylines. We all know they’re close, so why not show us more of that? Don’t just tease us with this. They have personal lives, too, and yet the only characters we get to see at home are Castle and Beckett. However, it’s a little late for that now, being the twentieth episode of the season and all.

I keep noticing (correctly or incorrectly) how certain things seem to be clues to how the series could end or continue, but for some reason, Ryan’s family being in the episode didn’t give me that feeling. I wish it did, and I truly hope that the El Oso storyline simply overshadowed this possibility in my mind. I bet the fans would love to see more of Ryan and Espo, especially if they stick around for the possible ninth season. Their bromance could come to the fore, and they could also help Castle survive without Beckett (and I mean that in both senses of the name “Castle”). From what I’ve read, it looks like the show would probably go the P.I. route, but I would much rather we stay focused on the 12th Precinct. Not because I don’t like Hayley or Alexis, but because I want this show to maintain at least a little bit of its original self, and it isn’t complete without Ryan, Esposito, and the NYPD.

  • “I haven’t seen you this excited since… well, um, earlier this morning, so...” 
  • “[YOLO is] a way of life.” “No, it’s a way to be obnoxious.” In which Beckett is me.
  • “Our weekly date night, it’s our thing.” These two.
  • A period dinner with the Founding Fathers as waiters? Where can I sign up?
  • The little peek into Castle’s backstage childhood was nice.
  • “We have queries and you shall answer–” “We are so not doing this.”
  • “And I want a baby unicorn with a rainbow tail… for my daughter.” Ryan, you’re a gem. 
  • I just want a Ryan/Espo spinoff, someone make this happen, I will even write it for you, just fund it, please and thank you. 
  • Castle was parked in by El Oso’s henchmen, but it doesn’t matter who they are – people who park so close you can’t open your door are THE WORST.
  • “Then you should just typie, typie, typie.” If only writing was that easy, dude.
  • “This is his life.” “YOLO!” “That’s cold, Beckett.”
  • “No, I’m just the funny kind of court jester!” 
  • “Are you saying you planned my abduction?”
  • “He doesn’t want to kill me!” “Until he reads the first draft.” “Well, then there’s that.”
  • Not only did Jenny appear in this episode, but we also got to see little Sarah Grace and Nicholas Javier. And Uncle Javi dancing along with Sarah. Seriously. This group of characters and a spinoff comedy. Who’s up for it? Ryan and Espo could figure out how to solve crimes without Beckett and Castle, channeling their sharp reasoning and creative thinking (respectively). It could be the buddy cop comedy the world has been waiting for.


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