castle episode 8 stana katic sparkles

Castle heads into big game territory, with a high-profile therapist getting murdered for an even higher profile hunk of carbon. But “A Murder is Forever” goes by in a flash, and its comedic lightness is a very good thing.

The Players

  • Director: Bill Roe
  • Writer: Chad Gomez Creasey and Dara Resnik Creasey
  • Cast: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Molly Quinn, Susan Sullivan

Episode Title “A Murder Is Forever”

A therapist to New York’s elite with animal-flavored relationship theories turns up dead. Her place is completely ransacked, but nothing is stolen. However, after Castle and Beckett uncover a huge diamond, it might be our jungle lady who was the thief. Our supporting players feel the love, with Ryan and Esposito getting into a firefight near Midtown and doing some musing on the nature of their relationship. Meanwhile, Castle and Beckett are pleasantly contending over the nature in their relationship, specifically the poster of Linus. It also helps shine a light on the crime’s perpetrator: The better half of a power couple whose husband has mastered the act of manufacturing diamonds. The victim and her South African boyfriend refused to keep quiet on the basis of their personal experience with the blood diamond trade. That’s why she was silenced. “Murder Is Forever” is so focused on its prey that we don’t even see Alexis or Martha. But the episode has a grace in motion not unlike a big cat on the prowl.

The Good

  • A Girl’s Best Friend: Short of a musical interlude, Castle handled its diamond plot flawlessly. What a fun prop. We may quibble that the wife in the power couple looked totally shady from the get-go; but as what usually happens on this show, the means are fun enough to outshine the ends.
  • It Takes Two: Castle and Beckett were oddly office-bound this week, which opened up some great beats for Ryan and Esposito. It was great to see the two of them in action over more screentime than they’re usually alotted. That sweater-vest was plenty manly under fire.
  • Down By The Sea: The personal plot tying all of this together – the contest between two alphas over artwork in their lair – was silly in the best possible way. It didn’t have many facets, but it kept Fillion and Katic affectionately swatting at each other. They’re masters at that kind of comedy, making it look cuter than a set of jungle cubs. Castle’s conciliatory gesture with the seashells was perfect too.

The So-So

  • Lions, Tigers, and Bears!: To go along with the jungle past of our victim, there were a lot of animals embedded into names: the fixer is a hawk, the CEO runs a labyrinthine conglomerate called minotaur, there’s monkey therapy – not to mention Linus and the elephant that’s good with money. Usually a few of these are playful and funny, but there were so many it got slightly distracting.
  • Shredded: Barrett Hawk was one slick operator. We were impressed with his wiped hard drives and micro-cut shredder until we did a Google search and found out you can buy those things at Staples. The evidence against him might be circumstantial, but we’re sure sworn testimony by two NYPD detective trumps his flip answers for why he was in the victim’s building.

The Bad

  • Out of Africa: The only thing that weighed the down the hour was the convoluted mercenary on the terror watch list/altruistic cartel-fighting boyfriend. He and Alice wanted to compare the giant manufactured diamond to other smaller ones and stop the bloodshed in Africa. Even though the diamond cartels apparently have the rights to the inventors machine, because that’s a thing they do? The plot’s convoluted, and limited to two bursts of exposition. So it felt a little backlogged at the end.

Overall

“Murder is Forever” isn’t exactly a walk on the wild side for Castle. But it’s a particularly breezy hour of the show, honed in on the casework and a bit of light comedy. The pleasure of watching that is about equal to a dog getting scratched behind the ears.

Rating: 6/10

Castle airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Which act in this three-ring circus was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!