After two weeks of subpar episodes, Castle swung for the fence and hit it out of the park in this week’s episode “Dead From New York.” Veteran Castle writer Terence Paul Winter penned the 150th episode of the series and he brought all the fun and nuances that got the series to that number.
The case of the week centers around the murder of a showrunner of a late night comedy series called “Saturday Night Tonight” – think Saturday Night Live. This setting offers a wealth of nuggets and fun for Richard Castle and Kate Beckett to play off of with each other, as well as some of the more colorful actors and crew.
The home life “B” story is an endearing plotline focusing on Martha and the opening of her new play on Broadway. As Martha continually spouts the line “Is he dead?” Beckett first tries to answer her, only to learn it is the method Martha uses to prepare. Castle informs Beckett that for the 48 hours prior to the play opening, she only says the first line of the play.
The best part of the “B” story with Martha comes in the middle of the episode. Beckett can tell Martha is struggling with something and urges Castle to talk to her. It is a classic nudge by a wife to her husband and it was an endearing scene.
When Castle talks with Martha, it sets up a classic moment between mother and son. Martha is worried social media will judge her performance, in a preview of the show, and she won’t live up to the part. Castle gives her the pep talk she deserves and it is a truly heartwarming moment.
In the classic walk to the crime scene and talk about issues of the day, Castle recounts the numerous times he has lived with Martha preparing for a play and reminds himself this is a first time for Beckett. It is interesting Castle offers to have him and Beckett stay at a hotel while Martha prepares for her role, though she declines. That moment speaks volumes in that it feels as if Castle is still shielding Beckett a bit from all the nuances of his life, continuing to ease her into the life of being a Castle.
The case affords some great fun for Castle and Beckett as they both play fanboy and fa girl over the show, the cast and the celebrity host. Beckett is the focus of a lot of the attention usually saved for her famous husband author. The celebrity guest host Danny Valentine, played to perfection by Gregory Harrison, blatantly flirts with Beckett much to Castle’s chagrin. Beckett kind of eats it up, enjoying the attention of a handsome celebrity and she doesn’t waste a moment torturing Castle about it.
Beckett also gets some attention in a sketch on “Saturday Night Tonight.” A writer on the show is enamored with Beckett and both she and Castle are shocked to see rehearsals of a sketch in which a cop model in high heels is solving crimes with an author played by Valentine. A once very uptight Kate Beckett would have found issue with the sketch but the more laidback Beckett just laughs it off.
As the hour closes and Castle and Beckett narrow down the suspects, there is a scene where the duo go to the show as it is airing. They meet the musical guest — Carly Rae Jepsen — and watch her perform from backstage. As the song plays, Castle asks Beckett to dance and they do so for a few minutes. Though shippers will adore this scene, it just seemed out of place, and so not the professional way Beckett would handle herself during the middle of an investigation.
When the killer is finally caught, Beckett and Castle say “I know who the killer is” simultaneously. The killer turned out to be an executive producer who was embezzling money from the show.
As for Martha, her preview performance of her play was a smashing success. She shows up at the precinct and shares champagne with Castle, Beckett, Esposito and Ryan. It was an odd flashback moment at the end as it almost had a feel of the Martha from the alternate universe episode earlier this season. That Martha was successful on Broadway as well but happily in this universe so is Castle and is married to Beckett.