There’s always a moment of hesitation when it comes to Rob Hanning. The guy who brought us “Still” and one-half of “Veritas” has proven him a champ at some episodes while providing us with some duds in the past. All writers have their strong suits: some are better at writing dialogue while others at comedy. Hanning is an equally balanced writer. And while my like-versus-dislike of “Habeas Corpse” has more to do with a lackluster and underwhelming season seven, there’s not a lot to dislike in this episode but there is a bit to dislike as well.
This episode is one those episodes that takes all the banter between the two characters and throws it out there knowing that some viewers, they won’t care of how silly the case is or anything else that felt off, as long as its there they’re happy campers. The banter serves a distraction. And for someone like me, I can see right through it.
Keep in mind, I didn’t dislike this episode. I didn’t like either. Like 95% of the other episodes this season, it gets toss on the “I could care less pile.” In other words, part of me wonders why they’re wasting the final few episodes of what could be the series on lazy episodes like this is confusing. Maybe arrogance does rule after all.
Like I said, this episode isn’t without its endearing and likable moments. The first one is Beckett helping Alexis prepare for some sort of law class mid-term and being impressed by the intelligence that has returned to Alexis. Beckett event comments that Alexis would make a great lawyer. We’ve come a long way from “Like Father, Like Daughter” where Beckett felt like an outsider to the Castle clan. There’s a bit of sexy banter between Castle and Beckett about the homicide detective’s change of careers from one side of the law to the enforcement side. It lends itself to a possible future discussion of a return to law school.
This week’s b-story features a talent competition for a police charity fundraiser. Given that this is an ABC show, Kimmel is mentioned as the host but when a schedule conflict comes up and he bails, 1-PP asks Gates to ask Castle to fill in. He does and the game is on.
For the second time this season we get a wager-episode that features a healthy dose of competition. “Double Down” will forever remain a classic in the Castle-verse and every attempt afterwards will never be as good. This episode, no different. Castle is blind to Beckett’s uneasiness. Her uneasiness is not without reason, the girl has a serious case of stage fright and it ashamed to admit it. But it could also be that she wants to be respected if she does make captain and you can’t have a YouTube video playing of you looking like an ass.
The secondary plot leads to a semi-funny (more funny than not funny) scene of Ryan and Esposito practicing their routine to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
That only increases the competitive edge in Castle and leaves Beckett confront her fears, but as luck would have it, Castle overhears a conversation between Beckett and Martha and the mystery writer is finally clued in that he never asked Beckett about participating and rather than have her feel completely uncomfortable calls his buddy Kimmel and gets to re-commit to the fundraiser, saving Beckett and Castle having to do their routine… The boys remain kings of the competition, complete with the Pharrel hat and the motorcycle helmet. Me thinks this routine will be on the season seven DVD set, ya think?
The episode ends with Castle and Beckett in the shower singing. Not sure of the point of it other than eye candy for the audience. Yes, that’s Nathan and Stana singing. That’s the bright spot of the whole scene.
The case of the week focus on Richie “The Pitbull” Falco, a slimey ambulance chasing lawyer whose gimmicky commercials feature his head on a pitbull. Apparently everyone has heard of him except for Ryan. (Yes, this is the same Ryan who know all about Jimmy Vong in “Sucker Punch”.) And given Falco’s line of work as a personal injury attorney, there’s no shortage of suspects. All the usual ones line up perfectly.
First there’s a running back named Lightning and a personal injury lawyer named Savannah the Hammer. The team even centers on the ex-wife of Falco. Score for silly nicknames.
During the course of the investigation, Castle and Beckett get tied up by Hammer and leads to a semi-funny scene of crime-solving duo trying to bust out of zip ties, which according to Castle writer Shawn Waugh the method used really does exist. The crazy part about the scene was Castle simply watching Beckett dig a hole. So that’s how things work in their relationship. Beckett does all the work? (Laugh, please.)
The crux of the case is this: Falco was a corporate lawyer before he realized his bosses, a fictitious car company who has a problem with their air bags (which is ripped straight from the headlines, google Takata) malfunctioning. Rather than cash in on the slew of personal injury lawsuits that would come with a class action settlement, Falco was going to take his findings to the people that handle this sort of thing, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA handles things like vehicle safety, not the NTSB (as Beckett later said). Savannah the Hammer offed Falco to score a big pay day.
Overall, this episode had its likeable and enjoyable moments. But it didn’t keep my interest as well as I would have liked it too and that’s becoming a bigger problem.
Castle until World War 4 happens! And even then, it’ll last… forever.