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In Season Five, either the FACT of Caskett’s newly declared love forever binds them together as an unstoppable crime fighting duo, or the FRICTION continues and takes a darker turn in fine film noir tradition.
It appears that every fan, everywhere can agree that there are certain TV shows we do NOT want to see Castle emulate in Season Five or ever: Bones, Moonlighting, Bones, and most of all, Bones. Now the point of this article is not to begin a discussion of those shows and their respective shortcomings but instead, to re-imagine Castle as a television or film predecessor who successfully combined romance and suspense without resorting to tired clichés. What are the shows or movies you hope S5 will most resemble? My choice is that kickin’ 60’s classic British TV series the Avengers. The chic designer clad duo, not the spandex costumed dudes.
Let us begin by clinking our champagne glasses and imagining, if you will, the following scenes featuring Castle and Beckett instead of Avengers‘ Steed and Emma.
“Too Many Christmas Trees” – This mind-blowing episode opens with a Rick Castle-like moment. We see his Christmas tree topped by, not a sweet little angel, but a blond bikini clad Barbie doll, and his bachelor apartment in disarray that is obviously the aftermath of a wild party. She enters, surveying the apartment and the disheveled bachelor with a wry smile. Her only comment is, “Coffee, black?” to which he readily agrees. She makes the coffee and her easy familiarity with his kitchen, and with his attractively rumpled condition, suggests that they have shared this cozy scene many times before. He tells her of a recurring nightmare and she senses that there is something more going on than insomnia. Questioning him about political secrets and the possibility of a leak, he leans close to her and says, “Impossible. I’m the only one who knows and you’re the only person I confide in.” She invites him to a Dickens of a Christmas party at a big spooky house where his nightmare begins to come true and her suspicions are confirmed. As his nerves start to unravel, it is up to her to find out what is really going on and put a stop to the insanity.
There are many moments in this episode that impress the viewer with a little something I like to call The Emma/Steed Mystique, which is the sneaking suspicion that Steed and Emma know each other a whole lot better than they are letting on, and this is the quality I hope to see in ample evidence during S5 of Castle. There’s no need to explain, nothing more is offered than what is suggested through sexy dialogue, the brief touch of a hand or an unspoken understanding, but the attraction and the close bond between the dynamic duo is undeniable and a whole lot of fun to watch.
A scene that Beckett and Castle could do to perfection comes when Steed and Emma join together to sing Christmas carols in order to confuse an eavesdropping villain. The mutual understanding they share as they connect only through eye contact and without words, with the common purpose of confusing the enemy, is brilliant. It not only accomplishes the goal of outwitting the foe, but it also shows us that they are perfectly paired. Think of the tense moment in “A Deadly Affair” in which Castle and Beckett appear to be aiming pistols at each other, the brief glance of trust passing between them, as they each shoot the bad guys who are coming up behind them sight unseen, and you have caught a tantalizing glimpse of the Emma/Steed Mystique thriving in Castle and Beckett!
The Avengers TV show can be purchased online or to pique your interest you may enjoy viewing this delightful three minute fan video that deftly captures the enduring Emma/Steed Mystique.
“Love is blindness, I don’t want to see, won’t you wrap the night around me. . .” (U2)
A chill ran through my veins when the gritty film noir The Killers was referenced at the beginning of Castle’s season finale “Always”. Could this be foreshadowing of a most shadowy and sinister nature, I wondered? If so, then those familiar with the 1946 film noir starring Ava Gardner as a dangerous dame and Burt Lancaster as the sucker who falls for her all the way to his death may have good reason to worry about the direction S5 may possibly take. Let us consider the facts, as cold and hard as those facts may be, that indicate the continuation of Caskett’s conflicted romance.
Classic films have always played a part in our favorite show, usually giving us clues about that episode’s story or insight into the characters, such as the opening scene of “A Deadly Game” in which Castle is watching His Girl Friday while dreaming of his girl Kate. “To Love and Die in LA” referenced It Happened One Night, and the stunning painting featured in the hotel room was inspired by the silent film and tragic romance, Camille. (You may have seen the later Garbo version, with sound!)
“Slice of Death” referenced a slew of films noir such as The Usual Suspects, Gilda, and – again – The Killers. In “The Blue Butterfly”, the entire episode paid homage to film noir.
Keeping this in mind while viewing “Always” (my trusty box of Kleenex by my side) and remembering that brief reference to The Killers, I couldn’t help but wonder what Beckett was really thinking during the scene in the rain. Yes, she was sorting through her feelings for Castle. Yes, she came to the conclusion that it is time for a change. Yes, she really does love him, want him, gotta have him and is now ready to admit that to him. But I’m not convinced that she has tossed aside the search for her mother’s killer, or that she has forgotten the things Castle let slip about Montgomery’s files. She knows that he knows the location of that envelope. She knows what Castle wants most – Kate Beckett. Now at this point any femme fatale worthy of the title has only one thing in mind: get those files by any means necessary!
Does this mean the romantic ending of S4 was a red herring and that the new relationship we hope to see in S5 is a lost cause before it even begins? Not necessarily. Every film on the following list is a masterpiece on the subject of conflicted romance, and despite all the obstacles some (but not all) have happy endings. We will have to wait and see if S5 brings us a femme fatale and an antihero in a continuation of their conflicted romance, or a fun and sexy dynamic duo that no one and nothing can separate. I’m hoping for fun and sexy! But to pass the time during this long hot summer of waiting for what’s next, let’s kick back with a few episodes of the Avengers, or cozy up with a few classic films, and dream of what the future may hold for Caskett.
- The Killers – referenced at the beginning of Always and this makes me nervous. Starring Ava Gardner and Burt Lancaster, it’s about love, and crime, and a dirty double crossing dame, and the guy that loves her anyway. [Buy Now]
- Gilda – The definition of a conflicted romance! Definitely of the moody film noir genre, the thing that makes this movie distinctively different is its focus on the relationship between Gilda (Rita Hayworth) and her old flame, Johnny (Glenn Ford), which takes precedence over the crimes and shenanigans. In most films of this genre, the criminal element is the focus and the love interest takes a lesser role. [Buy Now]
- The Lady of Shanghai – Also starring Rita Hayworth, this is another tale of good love gone bad. Real bad. [Buy Now]
- Vertigo – Starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, and arguably Hitchcock’s most twisted suspense film. Is it a mystery, a ghost story, a psychological drama, a love story, or all of the above? No matter what you think, you will never forget the ending. [Buy Now]
- Notorious – Another by Hitchcock, examining the love/hate relationship between special agent Devlin (Cary Grant) and bad girl Alicia (Ingrid Bergman). This is a great suspense film loaded with subtext. And the kissin’ scenes are H-O-T hot! [Buy Now]