Recap: Bad Santa



“Bad Santa” – When an ER physician is gunned down in the street, Castle and Beckett soon discover that the victim was a mob doctor to a Mafia family run by an old friend of Castle’s. Also, against the backdrop of Christmas, Esposito and Lanie reach a defining moment in their relationship.

What did you think of "Bad Santa?"

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A few things first | This episode could have been worse. I’m not one of these writers who’ll blow smoke just because I liked a few things in an episode and that wipes away the bitter taste left at the end. On the other hand, I don’t like being pessimistic and a Debby Downer all the time, either. So this is one of those situations where I liked the “story” but the choices within derailed what the good may have been. That said, “Bad Santa” had the makings of a good episode but like the previous nine episodes, missed opportunities, poor choices, the over emphasis on other characters and the marginalizing of a main character sends this episode into another realm. I don’t fault of the Creasey’s for this. They were given the episode to write by their bosses. They were told what to do by MarMann: split Esplanie up and drop kick Castle from the precinct.

The case of the week | And ER doctor is running for his life and is gunned down by Santa. The good doctor is mobbed up and the pieces fall into place from there. The doc is connected to family that Castle knows quite well. And after the initial investigation leads the team to believe one of the “henchman” to be the killer the family asks Castle to do them a favor, prove their guy’s innocence. (At this point, you know this isn’t going to end well for Castle on some level—the mob ties.) From there, Castle investigates leaving Beckett and the boys at the 12th to handle the “official dirty work” of policing. This episode is setting up for the future of what is about to become Caskett’s professional relationship. Turns out, the doc patched up the son of a rival family because said son (who was believed to be dead, but isn’t) is in love with Castle’s buddy’s daughter. Neither family killed the doctor but it was a dirty cop, who gets whacked on his way to the Toombs. Cue dark music.

A wasted mess | Like I said, I don’t fault the Creasey’s for the hand they were dealt by their bosses. They were told this what you need to do and they delivered. What bothers me is that they used “Kill Switch” as a way to move the relationship forward only to zap it in “Bad Santa.” It makes “Kill Switch” more of a wasted episode because of the implosion of Esplanie. I don’t care about whether or not these two are together or not but when the writers/producers give underdeveloped secondary main characters more screen time than the main stars and their first official Christmas as a married couple there’s a problem. And it didn’t go unnoticed by Caskett fans.

A very Castle Christmas | Random new traditions pop up once again and felt like a tacked on angle and an after thought. It was almost like “oops, we forgot about Castle and Beckett’s Christmas as a married couple, we need to include something.” I would have thought that after “Secret Santa” in season five and the off-screen Christmas of last year, I would think Beckett would be “well aware” of some of the family’s tradition. Apparently not. It’s pretty far-fetched to assume that Castle never gave Beckett a Christmas card during the previous years when they weren’t in a relationship. It’s par for the course this season in terms of how all the writers are portraying the Castle and Beckett relationship.

Beckett’s poem:

This has been an epic year
Life’s been full of joy and tears.

Solving crimes and catching killers,
Just like Castle’s famous thrillers.

We share a passion every day,
As partners go we are here to stay.

Mobbed up isn’t a way to win friends | Castle’s mob ties come back to haunt him in a very big way at the end of the episode. The fact that a dirty cop was inching his way onto to mob land and then gets bumped off because he killed a member of the family, it’s understandable the politicians who come out tough on crime can’t have someone helping the police who also has ties to the mob. Right before the 12th celebrates Christmas, Gates becomes the bearer of bad news: Castle is kicked out of the precinct. Of course, he doesn’t have the heart to tell Beckett what’s just happened, especially after she reads him her poem. Instead, the storm clouds hang over Castle’s head as we fade to black.

Where do we go from here | Castle and Beckett not working together isn’t going to win anyone over. And I don’t think the move to boot Castle out of the 12th and the NYPD isn’t going to keep them from working together. Castle will find away because their relationship is tied equally personally and professionally. So, anyone thinking this is going to “separate” them in the overall scheme of things, is mistaken. Like with the D.C.-arc last season, Castle finds a way to help Beckett and that is the case here, as well. But as I said earlier, it’s about the choices that get you from point-A to point-B. The writers (all of them) have taken detours and went the wrong direction a few times this season in all ten episodes thus far. I don’t know if making Castle a private investigator is the best choice or the worst choice. I’ll make that call when that episode rolls on Jan. 12.

So, until then, Castle until the train crashes into the ravine.


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A happy-go-lucky Castle fan who has 20 years of web management and 16 years of web publishing experience. In a past fandom, the EIC managed a fan website for a popular show and message board. The EIC is an academic with specialization in media and society and modern history and is a media professional.


  1. A huge disappointment all around from beginning to end. The lame tradition of rhyming poems in Christmas cards!! Are they Castles or Bradys?? Bringing Espo and Lanie closer last week only to pull them apart this week! Why?? I love them both, but they are secondary characters. I honestly don’t care either way, but stop making it such a production. Separating Beckett and Castle…AGAIN??!! WHY?? I fought against the ravages of Benadryl to stay awake last night for my favorite hour of TV. I should have just gone to sleep. ;) I hope that the show channel’s its inner Stella and gets its groove back…FAST!!!

  2. I think that head writers have a very hard problem looking at ratings! I really think that they started to miss the boat! at the end of season 6! I feel that the Castle wedding should have taken place! And after that the Castle mystery could have started! That whole thing about Beckett being married before was a waste of time! Now in season 7 the story line is all over the place! I think if you start a new mystery you stay with it! And you do not jump and used twilight zone or science fiction on what is a perfectly good mystery show! In this last episode there was really no reason to pull Castle out of the Precinct Why i said is Fans myself included love when Castle and Beckett work together! They only have been doing it for over 6yrs! So why this! Because he knew people in the mob! So did the corrupt cop that Castle exposed! The story line could have been much better! And the bosses of the show no that! Castle and Beckett are married! They should work as a team with the rest of the team! And not in completion with each other! The head writers should know how the show became a success! And that is Castle And Beckett solving murder cases together with the rest of the team! I do hope they get back on track! Because there is a mystery to solve and 3xk encounter perhaps down the line! And one other thing the Espo and Lanie relationship made no sense! Because neither of them know where they are going! The head writers have really no back story as far as I am concerned with them So in conclusion if the bosses of the show want to see a season 8! They need to bring it back to its basic! If not they can say goodbye to a great and popular series that they themselves wrecked in my opinion!


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