A stormy celebrity ends up dead, or maybe not so dead in this week’s “Limelight.” Dodging the relentless paparazzi flashbulbs is bad enough for our Castle detectives, but Richard has to write a letter of recommendation for Pi. For Pi.
- Director: Bill Roe
- Writers: Rob Hanning
- Cast: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Molly Quinn, Susan Sullivan
Episode Title “Limelight”
An item in a gossip column involving Castle and his ex-wife has Beckett irked, but not nearly as stressed as Richard is. He’s agreed to write a letter of recommendation for Pi in order to please Alexis, although he hasn’t started it. They’re both relieved for the interruption of a murder investigation. It looks to be a famous celebrity, one Mandy Sutton, but in actuality it’s her double, Claire Saunders. The cops find Mandy herself passed out on the floor of her hotel room. The gang investigates all the usual avenues – mom, personal assistant, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend – but nothing adds up until Alexis arrives at the precinct to give her dad more Pi talking points. She and Mandy, who’s laying low there, accidentally switch phones. So Alexis is around when a bartender friend calls with information. She goes with Mandy, to investigate, get caught by paparazzi, and then kidnapped for a moment by the ex-boyfriend who wants answers. It turns out a photo of Mandy making out with her ex, wasn’t actually Mandy but her lookalike. Claire got a conscience about being involved in the staged publicity stunt and was going to tell, which is why she was silenced. The actual perpetrator? Mommy dearest, who wanted to keep cashing in on her daughter’s notoriety. Mandy’s finally free to go off with her hero boyfriend, and Beckett chooses to announce the engagement and embrace the public part of Castle’s life. Rick actually does write Pi his rec. Only Alexis has now realized that her boyfriend was a huge mistake.
- Best of Both Worlds: It is laughably transparent to spot the real life figure from whom Mandy Sutton is based. But props to Castle for not skimping on characterization. The famous TV show on which she played two characters, a regular kid and an ace sleuth because this is Castle, makes that simple. But Mandy is very much her own person. Props more to the actress than to the script for bringing a level of understanding. We believed that her “train wrecks” happen when you’re not looking.
- If We Were a Movie: The runner about Castle and his ex appearing in a gossip column was surprisingly satisfying, if only because it led to lame and transparent teasing from Esposito and Ryan. And Ryan, bless his heart, is so bad at it, he has to look at Esposito for approval, as if he’s trying to make sure he’s lying correctly. But we also like the twist that it’s Beckett who’s ready for the limelight of Castle’s notoriety. Well, a little limelight. There would be no paparazzi at that Space Wedding.
- Rent: Molly Quinn is back! Alexis is in the mix! Grandma’s scarf aside, it was fantastic to see Castle’s daughter in pure resourcefulness mode once she started helping Mandy with her own investigation. While her buyer’s remorse on Pi was a long time coming, its abrupt end was only because it’s been a month since we’ve seen the couple. So the nervous-pacing side of Alexis returned as well.
- Wrecking Ball: Usually, production design on Castle doesn’t stand out. Apartments look apartment-like and the precinct is the precinct. But the ‘Wessex Hotel,’ the high-end trendy place in which Mandy chooses to lie low, looked fantastic. That elevator with the eyes on the doors? Awesome. But was anybody else distracted by the bright neon sign that said “FEELINGS” or was it just us? That felt like an easy, arch understanding of celebrity culture. Plus, we kept thinking about Donald Glover and getting distracted.
- Gypsy: The ultimate twist: Mandy’s mother orchestrated the killing of the double to drum up publicity and make more money off her star daughter? That’s a tale as old as time. And this is actually a plus for the costuming department, but we saw it coming just as soon as we saw her and her falcon couture. “Limelight” had good acting, but the plot was particularly rote.
- Bangerz: Speaking of that bad-boy boyfriend Jesse Jones? He and his gold-rimmed motorcycle were the most heavily clichéd elements of the hour – in an hour full of clichés. The Habitat-for-Humanity true love was bad too, but we didn’t have to see that much of him. Jones did have the right attitude, but never felt authentic.
“Limelight” is a mostly fine episode of the show. What it lacks in surprise and originality, it makes up for in some charming Castle/Beckett banter and some breathless Alexis theorizing. Perhaps that grant recommendation was Pi’s last hurrah. But we hope Castle remembers to check in with the redhead more often. Who’s going to help her with that lease?
Castle airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC.
Will Castle want an underwater wedding next? Gossip away in the comments.