Castle” turns up the heat this week after a matchmaker is murdered. The case is swept to the background when Laura Prepon (from “October Road” and “That ’70s Show”) plays Natalie Rhodes, an actress shadowing Beckett in lieu of her next role as Nikki Heat in an upcoming film. Will Natalie’s presence affect Beckett and Castle’s relationship? Find out in our review below!

The Players:

  • Director: Jeff Blecknerr:
  • Writer: David Grae
  • Cast: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Molly C. Quinn, Susan Sullivan, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tamala Jones, Laura Prepon, Melody Thomas Scott, Thomas Calabro

Episode: “Nikki Heat”

When Castle’s novel “Heat Wave” is turned into a film, Natalie decides to shadow Beckett as character research, slowly transforming herself to walk, talk, and look just like Beckett.  Detective Ryan has a few mishaps when planning to propose to his girlfriend, and about the murder case–the matchmaker’s death leads the team through several suspects and unexpected twists and turns before they finally determine the truth.  Which is, as Natalie finds, all in a day’s work.

The Good:

  • The Proposal: Ryan frets about making his proposal to his girlfriend perfect, which proves to be humorous when mishaps abound.  More importantly, the end scene makes us question the definition of intimacy after Beckett insists that a proposal doesn’t need to be grandiose, as Castle suggests–it just needs to “be intimate.”  Ryan’s proposal at his workplace instead of a fancy restaurant as he originally planned is deemed perfect by both Castle and Beckett, which shows that sometimes intimacy is informal, shared with friends and acquaintances.  And sometimes, that’s more special than any elaborate gesture could be.
  • Hot and Bothered: Natalie’s goal to portray Beckett to a tee takes a hilarious twist when Natalie starts dressing like Beckett, mimicking her actions and repeating her sentences.  As Beckett becomes increasingly annoyed, Castle only becomes more intrigued.  But is Natalie’s behavior creepy and obsessive? Or is she simply demonstrating a level of dedication necessary for actors/actresses to accurately portray their character? It’s nice to see the cast entertain the question from their different viewpoints: the detectives are freaked out by Natalie’s determination while Castle, possibly due to Martha’s acting career, finds it normal. It remains seen whether this brings the two closer or not, but it’s a step in that direction.
  • Screenwriters Aren’t Hacks: Castle’s initial condemnation of the screen-written material for the Nikki Heat movie in comparison to his novel (“that screenwriter should live in a crawlspace for a week “) is later taken back when he declares that not all screenwriters are hacks after watching Natalie take control of a serious, dangerous situation.  Castle’s new-found respect for another writer’s work is inspiring.

The So-So:

  • Murder Takes a Back-Burner: The murder case may be driving the plot of this episode forward, but there is nothing significant about the case or suspects besides some recognizable guest stars (Melody Thomas Scott from “Young and the Restless” as Tonya Wellington and Thomas Calabro from “Melrose Place” as Scott Donner).  Luckily, even though we didn’t get the usual enthralling view an underground culture in New York City, the who-done-it suspense was still there ’til the very end.

The One-Liners:

  • Beckett: “It’s not every day we get someone famous in here.”  (Castle does a double-take)
  • Beckett: “[Natalie] took my coffee, Castle.”  Castle: “it’s just coffee…”  Beckett: “what’s next? my soul?”
  • Esposito: “What are you guys doing?” Ryan: “Hiding from creepy Beckett.”
  • Ryan: “We really should have a code word so we all know which Beckett to kill when our clone army attacks.”
  • Natalie: “I need to sleep with [Castle] in the name of character research [...]” Beckett: “I need to go…over there.”
  • Beckett: “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Castle: “Yes, yes I think I can.  Especially when it’s my book.”

Overall:

This week, “Castle” has succeeded in making us laugh, get all teary-eyed, and ponder the preconceptions we have about relationships with others, screenwriting, and preparation.

Rating: 9/10

“Castle” airs Monday nights at 10pm on ABC.

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Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!