Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a deacon dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Category: Castle (page 1 of 2)

Castle 6.3: Need to Know

timthumb.phpThings are starting to get back to normal for Richard Castle. He and Beckett are having pillow talk, except that he and Beckett are in two different beds. They spend the morning Face Timing with one another, he in New York and she in Washington, D. C.

The morning news reports the murder of Charlie Reynolds, a former child star who made it big playing a lovable nerd in a 90s teen sitcom, “2 Cool for School.” Castle sees Ryan and Esposito on live television and decide to try and get in on the case. It take some convincing, but he manages to do so.

Until Agents Beckett and McCord show up. They are taking over the case. Ryan and Esposito, glad to see Beckett, but not happy that they are being left in the dark. The Feds know more than they are telling, even though McCord will later explain that they don’t know as much as they would like.

They uncover a pop-culture secret. Charlie Reynolds had gathered some of the old cast together to make a “2 Cool for School” reunion movie. The Russians are funding the film, because they love the old TV show.

Their investigation leads to a warehouse in Brooklyn, which is believed to be the last place Charlie went before he was killed. They traced it down by following a 9-digit number that Ryan found in Charlie’s shirt pocket. It was an invoice number for cameras shipped to New York from Russia. They find the camera cases that are storing illegal guns.

They also uncover Ethan Wright, a CIA agent, who tells them that Charlie was working for them. He places a tracking device in the camera case to catch the Russians in the act of selling illegal guns. Both the NYPD and the Feds are told to back off on the investigations. Beckett, though never voices it, is clearly not okay with it. McCord continues to say, “We don’t get the whole picture.” Beckett is a whole picture kind of person.

As such, she hands over a thumb drive to Castle as she says good-bye. The information on the drive lead the guys to discovering that Charlie had a romantic relationship with one of the actresses, who was also the Russian mob boss’ niece. They also learn that Charlie’s co-star Ramon Russo (Antonio Sabato, Jr. from Melrose Place) was not too happy with the idea of Charlie walking away from the film. They got in an argument, and Russo pushed Charlie off the building.

The truth is Russo’s greed and envy for money, wealth, and all that comes with that was greater than what it meant to be a co-worker or friend. Paul Tillich, the 20th century German theologian, talked about religion as being one’s ultimate concern. The thing that concerned a person the most, became their religion. Russo’s religion is wealth and fame. His life,  he says, is not complete without all of those extras.

Beckett is uncomfortable with the way Charlie’s girlfriend is being treated with the CIA, so she leaks information about her to the press. Castle tells Beckett that this long-distance thing is not working. Beckett (and the rest of us) looks worried. Castle’s solution, however, is getting an apartment in D.C. He can write from anywhere, and his place in New York is getting crowded. Then, McCord comes by to tell Beckett that they found out to leaked information to the press, and because of that she is fired.

What will happen to Beckett now? Her desk has already been filled with a newer, messier, detective.


Castle 6.2: Dreamworld

timthumb.phpThis episode opens with a few questions. What is Dreamworld? Who is behind this deadly toxin? And is Castle dying?

Dreamworld was a special-ops base and operation in Afghanistan. Current Secretary of Defense Reid was General and commanding officer of Dreamworld. Bronson, the man who died from the toxin last episode, was seen picking up a servant girl and leaving with her after an Afghan home was destroyed by an air strike.

The servant girl was Valkyrie. She was a special-ops agent, an American citizen. The federal investigation team discovers an audio tape where then General Reid gave the order for the air strike knowing that an American citizen was still in the home.

Turns out that Brad Parker, a reporter who had written a story about Dreamworld using Bronson as a source, was mad at Reid. Reid had the story shutdown personally. Parker has the toxin, and the antidote, and is planning to use it on Secretary Reid. Right?

Well . . . . not exactly. In a great Castle-Beckett moment in the car headed to stop Parker from killing Reid, they figure out that Parker is sending them on a wild goose chase, and that the target is really Mrs. Reid. Parker plans to take from Reid that which Reid took from Parker. This Castle-Beckett moment, where they banter back and forth about the case as if they share a mind, was terribly missing from the first episode and this one.

They manage to stop Parker, get the antidote and save Castle and Mrs. Reid.

Fillion as Caleb in BtVS

Fillion as Caleb in BtVS

Nathan Fillion shows off his acting chops in this episode. Though, Fillion fans aren’t surprised. He played the evil prophet of the end of the world Caleb in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. He was courageous Captain Malcom Reynolds in Firefly, and comedic gold as Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

In this episode, Fillion delivers a side of Richard Castle that we aren’t used to seeing. In fact, his mother Martha is concerned seeking help from Ryan and Eposito. This is Castle less than a day away from death. He is surreal. He calming takes the shots offered that will extend his life, but only for so long. He struggles to tell his mother and daughter that he loves them. There are no smart-ass comments. It is Castle being real.

Castle wakes up in a hospital with his family around him. When they are alone, Beckett leans in and says, “It’s not suppose to be this hard.” Castle replies, “Sometimes the hardest things in life are the ones worth doing.”

Which leaves us wondering: What will Beckett do? Beckett is uncomfortable with the large amounts of gray in Washington, D. C. Beckett wants to go after all the bad guys, but in D. C. you have to sometimes turn the other cheek. Will Beckett stay in D. C. and learn? Or will she go back to New York?

Castle 6.1: Valkyrie

Castle-5-550x365The first episode of the new season of ABC’s Castle starts off where the last episode of season five ended. Castle has proposed to Beckett, despite the fact that Beckett is taking the job offer in D. C. We don’t have to wait long for the answer. Beckett says yes.

Flash forward two months, Beckett is running through the streets of Washington, D. C. The chase ends with Beckett getting shot, but it is soon relieved that it was only a training course. It’s not long, however, before Beckett is removed from training and thrown into an important case.

Unfortunately it is the same weekend that she and Castle are suppose to spend together. The first time in months! While Beckett has been in D. C. training, Castle has bee on a book tour. They are in need of spending time together. Castle is not the only one returning home. He finds Alexis is back from her trip to Costa Rica and she brought home more than just a souviner. A guy named Pi.

So, Castle decides to surprise Beckett by showing up at her D. C. apartment. Beckett’s new partner, McCord (Lisa Edelstein from House), isn’t too happy to see Castle. Mostly because he will be a distraction to Beckett. At first, Castle wants in on the case, like when they were in New York. But Beckett can’t share with them the details of the case. Unbeknown to Beckett, a photo falls out of her file. Castle finds it after she has left, and he can’t help himself, he has to get involved.

While walking down the street looking for a special dinner for him and Beckett, the suspect in the case abducts Castle and asks him if the feds know about Valkyrie. Castle has no idea why the guy thinks he will know or what Valkyrie is referring to. Some strange chemical is released in the car and the suspect ends up dying at the wheel.

Castle is sent home where he hangs out with Ryan and Esposito. After trying hard to talk about the case, Castle finally tells them. Esposito seems to think that a secret military weapon is involved. In the meantime, Beckett and McCord track down the suspect’s girlfriend. She has an encryption system on her, though she claims she has no idea how it got there. McCord doesn’t believe her and thinks the case is closed. There is something about the girlfriend that makes Beckett believe her. Beckett looks into the building that was broken into and finds out that a chemical weapon is what they’re dealing with.

Cut back to New York, where federal agents come into Castle’s home and take him to D. C. Castle thinks he is in trouble again, but it turns out, in the last few moments of the episode, that Castle was exposed to this deadly chemical when he was in the suspect’s car. If they don’t find a remedy to it, Castle may die.

Overall, it was not as good an opening season episode as I had hoped. It certainly presents the challenges that Beckett and Castle will face now that they are living in two cities. But more importantly, now that they cannot work together on cases. Will their love survive this change?

The episode almost felt formulaic. Of course Beckett said yes, were there any doubts? I think we all knew that the writers were not going to put us through a whole season of Richard Castle bemoaning that Kate Beckett said no. The show has also not made clear where the setting of this season is going to take place. Are they leaving it open enough for Kate to come back to New York? Is this D. C. thing just a plot ploy?

But, I guess, before those questions can be answered, we have to find out how Castle does not die. Because we’re all pretty sure he’s not going to, right?

Castle 5.15 & 5.16

As “Target” (episode 15) starts, Alexis is gone. To college. Martha makes Alexis’ favorite pancakes because she misses Alexis so much. Castle is trying to be the parent who successfully lets his child leave the nest. But when there is a murder of someone who is supposedly a student at Alexis’ university, it becomes difficult for Castle to “let go.” As the case unfolds, it is believed that a young Egyptian student was kidnapped. The victim was hired as a discrete bodyguard. Her father is extremely wealthy. As they continue the investigation, they find out that Alexis knows the kidnapped girl, and has been kidnapped as well. Was Alexis in the wrong place at the wrong time?

This two-part episode is intense. Nathan Fillon delivers as a dad who is emotionally torn. We have not seen this side of Castle. And while we often prefer the silly side of Nathan Fillon, this was a good side to experience. More importantly, it added another layer of Richard Castle that we can relate to.

A ransom is offered for the two girls, but only one girl is delivered. Alexis is still missing. When it seems evident that the FBI are not going to do a whole lot after they find out that the girls are being held in Paris, Castle goes to the city. He meets up with a man who helped with research for a Derek Storm novel, who sets him up with a guy who seems to know a lot about everything. The guy is able to track down where they were holding Alexis, but they had already moved Alexis.

The drama continues as the guy Castle hires turns him over to the kidnappers. The whole thing doesn’t make a lot of sense. And it only gets crazier. Beckett learns that Alexis was the target from the beginning. She cannot get through to Castle to let him know. But, he’s learning from his . . .wait for it . . . father.



The mystery man in Castle’s life has finally revealed himself. James Brolin plays the spy. The initial moment is too much for Castle, he is torn between “oh my gosh,  you’re my father,” and “we need to save Alexis.” His father knows so much about him and Castle knows very little about his father. But, they set that aside to work together to rescue Alexis. And they do, following Castle’s father’s plan. And eventually Castle gets Alexis home where there is a package awaiting for him. It is a copy of Casino Royale. He learned from his father that the last time they saw each other was when Castle was 10 and his father helped him pick out Casino Royale at the library. The book that made Castle want to be a writer.

Does this mean we will see more of James Brolin? Will get to find out more about Castle’s father? It seems that this has been the last missing piece to who Castle is. Much as Kate’s mother’s death haunted her, the identity of Castle’s father loomed over him. There have been episodes where you got the sense that Castle was uncomfortable without this knowledge. In the little bit of time we had to learn about Castle’s father, I think we got a better sense of who Castle is, like why he wanted to become a writer.

But, we needed more than we got too. I hope that the writers give us more of this relationship.

Castle 5.12

A Girls Gone Wild producer is found murdered in a night club bathroom. Strangled. With a bra. And the crew is not lacking in suspects. One of which is Scarlett, played by Kelly Hu. Scarlett catches Eposito’s eyes, and we have to wonder, will Eposito’s judgement be affected. Scarlett seems to have uncovered a video that features one of her friends.

This episode was not the smoothest of Castle episodes. A few things just didn’t add up and the flow was a little off. But the kicker was when Castle learns that Alexis has her own Vlog (a video blog). It has to be a set up for future episodes. Castle’s reaction may be a little bit of an over reaction. But considering what Castle has been exposes to in this case, its understandable. When you put yourself out there for all the world to see, there is no telling who might find you.

We all have a story to tell. And telling our stories, as Dean Borgman as often pointed out, can promote healing. For some a medium like blogging can be a way to achieve that.  But, precaution is a good thing. Writing helps me, for example, process the many things that are going through my head and heart. And sometimes when I don’t write, like the last few months, my thoughts and feelings get clogged up. I need to unclog it, and the more I write, the more pours out of me. But I am fully aware that the only filter this medium has, is myself. I choose how much that is going through my head and heart is posted for all the world to see.

I think it is helpful to remind teenagers that when they use social media to tell their story, to remember to post only what you really want people to see. Think through what you’re processing before you post it. Do not share personal information about yourself or your family. And, for that matter, don’t post things on behalf of your family members. Tell your story, let them tell theirs (unless they give you permission). Cite your work, for example, a lot of these suggestions come from the site Teen Learning 2.0.

Blog, vlog, tweet, post responsibly.

Castle 5.11


Remember the emotionally charged cases that shaped the first season or two of Caste? Under the Influence was such an episode.  A DJ named Holly is found murdered. As the team begins to piece the case together, they learn that on certain gigs, Holly worked with a young man nicknamed Monster, whom Castle calls Cookie Monster, because of his age. He is a high school who has been working for a man named Shane, who at best is a mob boss. Monster, whose name is Joey, has been skipping school and getting involved in other questionable things.

This is one of those episodes when we don’t worry too much how whether or not they will get the bad guy, because we know they will. The investigation sets up to give us a chance to learn more about Esposito. The relationship that develops between Esposito and Joey reminds me of the relationship with Dick Tracy and the Kid. Esposito finds himself caring deeply for Joey. He goes the extra mile to take him in for a night to keep from being shipped to another foster home.  Even when Joey escapes through a window in Esposito’s place, Esposito still makes the teen a priority.

Esposito hits on what so many churches are missing these days. Churches for some reason expect young people to just come to church and to be “good, little Christians.” But, without wisdom guides and mentors. Young people need adults in their lives who will love them as they are, not as they think they “should be.” As Kenda Creasy Dean has pointed out for years, a partnership between adolescents and adults provides adolescents a means to be part of the broader Christian community. And isn’t that we want?

For so long the church has drawn an invisible line between “us” and “them,” the “saved” and the “unsaved,” the “adults” and the “youth.” Dean Borgman writes, “We often fail when we try to drag them into our world, teach them our values, and share our faith in our cultural way. It is we who must make a radical jump across class or culture to enter another world.” Jesus was the mode for this. Jesus did not draw lines between him and others. He erased the line. He did not drag others into his world, he entered theirs, and loved them where they were.

Eposito models this for us in this episode. If groups of people – or the church – did what Eposito did more often, our churches would be flooded with young people answering God’s call upon their lives.

Castle 5.10


In Significant Others, the team is investigating the murder of the prominent divorce lawyer Michelle Twoken. Michelle is known for representing high-profile women who are divorcing their high-profile husbands, which gives the team a huge list of high-profile ex-husbands who had reason to kill Michelle. They learn that Michelle uncovered something major regarding a missing woman Michelle represented who was believed to have been killed by her husband, whom she was divorcing.

Meanwhile, Castle’s ex-wife, Meredith (Darby Stanchfield who is Abby on Scandal) shows up at Castle’s door. Kate is already there, because her apartment is being worked on. Meredith and Alexis were suppose to go to Paris together, but Alexis has mono. Meredith has decided to stay with Castle and take care of Alexis. But, really, she is coming to check out Kate. She tells Kate later in the episode that Alexis was telling  her that things were getting serious and so Meredith decided she needed to check out who Kate is.

Everyone tells Castle that this is a bad idea to let Meredith stay with him. Martha, Lanie, Ryan, and Esposito, all tell Castle that he has made a mistake. The last he needs is his girlfriend and his ex-wife in the same house. Castle tries to make everything better by getting him and Kate a nice room at the 4 Seasons. Kate refuses to go, telling Castle that he should not have let this own situation happen to begin with. The next morning, Kate is fixing coffee for her and Castle – which is their thing – and Meredith takes Castle’s coffee, sprinkles in some nutmeg, and then with Castle emerges, gives the cup to him. Meredith has stepped on scared ground.

Meredith finally decides that Kate is okay, and at Alexis’ urging, she leaves for Paris. Before she leaves, she tells Kate that she couldn’t write even a pamphlet about Castle. There were things about him, she did not know. Kate gets a worried look on her face, and we wonder if she is worried about her relationship with Castle. Will she ever really know him? Meredith mentions (and we have to think that the writers did this on purpose) that it was rare for Castle to talk about his father. Will we be learning more about Castle and his past in this season?

Relationships are hard. Castle has made mistakes in the past, and he may be the first one to tell you that. And while Kate is bothered by Meredith’s presence in Castle’s home, she is full of grace in her dealing with Castle. She doesn’t give him a free pass on this one, she holds him accountable for his actions and does not let him “get out of it.” And the look on Kate’s face at the end, while it may be a look of worry, but also a look of concern. She is deeply concerned for the man she has learned to love. Why doesn’t Castle share his personal stuff?

Castle 5.8

Castle and Beckett’s dinner with their parents – Castle’s mom and Beckett’s dad – is interrupted by a homicide. The victim is a Roman Catholic priest, who is found murdered on the other end of town from his parish. A nun informs them that the priest and the mob boss Mickey Dolan have had a long time relationship. She knows that he had the priest killed. Ryan and Esposito begin to look into the relationship between the priest and the mob boss. Castle and Beckett go out to find the witness.

With the witness in toe, Beckett and Castle head back to the precinct. But, they are confronted by Dolan’s men. They escape with Leo the witness, but Beckett’s car has been stolen. Now, they have no way to get back to the precinct and no communication with them. And, they are still being chased by Dolan’s men. The three are on the run in a bad end of town.


Castle is separated from Beckett and Leo, and is picked up by Mickey Nolan himself. Castle starts to put it all together about the same time that Ryan, Esposito, and Captain Gates do. Leo was the bad guy, working for the O’Reilly clan. He killed the priest, to draw Dolan out who was in Federal custody, planning to testify against the O’Reillys. Dolan is ready to kill Leo, but Castle appeals to him. In memory of his dear friend the priest, Dolan does not. This scene could have been a little bit more compelling. It didn’t take much for Castle to convince the mob boss not to kill someone. But, the spirit of the scene is not lost.

Castle, in a somewhat priestly role himself, calls upon the memory of Dolan’s best friend the priest. It is memory of this friend that causes Dolan to consider his actions. Faith traditions are built on memories.  It is was the Passover Feast that reminded the Hebrews of the great exodus of their ancestors led by a liberating God.  It is the memory of Christ at the communion table that causes us to remember the liberating acts of the cross and the tomb. It is the memory that causes the faith community to re-member as it considers the way in which it functions. And the same is true for the person of faith.

As Castle and Beckett run for their lives, they are fighting over whose parent was the worse at dinner. Leo suggests that maybe they are fighting about something else. This gets the two of them thinking that they, like their parents, are from two different worlds. Beckett starts to over think it and not talk to Castle about it. When Castle finally gets it out of her, he assures her that they are fine; that they are good together. It becomes a step toward normalizing the relationship. The question is, how much longer will be sit through the questioning and assuring of the relationship? With Christmas around the corner, I suspect there will be a few more questioning and assuring moments.


Castle 5.7

“Swan Song” was yet another different approach to Castle. This time the episode opens on what is a documentary filming on an up and coming band. The whole episode is filmed in this documentary style. I have to hand it to the Castle people, while they use multiple different styles of storytelling, they do not lose the characters. In fact, they continuously develop.

James Swan, the leader of the up and coming band, is found in his dressing room murdered. Castle and Beckett and the team do their thing and track down a few suspects. One of which is John Campbell, the founder and leader of the Church of Worldly Enlightenment. Or, as Castle tells the team, “A cult!”  It turns out that James was a part of this cult before he escaped the compound.  Beckett and Castle set their eyes upon Campbell as the killer.

While there is a connection to the cult, Campbell is not the killer. The connection is that James’ friend, Buck Cooper, recently escaped from the compound. The documentary that is being filmed, James refers to him as a mentor. Buck taught James how to play the guitar. Beckett and Castle will soon put together that James was planning to let someone in the band go so that Buck had a spot in the band. Because he was so talented.  Turns out that Zeke, the bass player, was the one who murdered James in a fit of rage. James had told him that he was out and Buck was in. Zeke couldn’t believe that just as the band was finally making it, James was letting him go.

All in all, this was an okay episode. Murder. Suspects. Case solved. Oh, yeah, and Beckett and Castle are almost caught on tape.

It took a lot of courage for James Swan to walk away from the life he knew. He recognized that the teachings and the way of life, even in the name of God, were not correct and did not gel with the God he had come to know. The majority of the “unchurched” people in our society today are people who have left the church at some point in their lives because they felt that the teachings of the church did match their understanding of God.  Are we focused on growing bigger or growing deeper? Who is willing to take that bold step, like Esther did, to save our people from the downward spiral of church numbers and send us growing deeper in our faith?

Castle 5.6


After last week’s creepy episode, this week takes us into the silly and goofy. This episode takes us to a sci-fi convention and onto the set of a fan experience for the canceled television show Nebula 9. This is just another example of how brilliant the show is. Littered throughout the whole episode are tv sci-fi shout outs. To start with Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation) was the director of the episode and makes a cameo as Richard Castle’s number one fan.

Kate arrives at the sci-fi convention where Castle is signing copies of his graphic novel. The victim, Annabelle was discovered on the set of the Nebula 9 fan experience. Annabelle had worked hard to bring new life to the television show that has been off the air for years. She worked hard to make it happen, but things were not going well lately. Gabriel Winten, the actor who plays Nebula’s captain (Eureka’s Ed Quinn) is the key to the experience. But he was showing up drunk or not showing up. Annabelle made arrangements to sell the rights, but before she can, she is killed.

Quinn’s Captain Whatshisname stays in character far more often than he needs to. Do you remember Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest? It’s okay if  you don’t, but that’s the cheesiness that Quinn delivers here. Beckett and Castle invesitagte and come to learn that the murder weapon was a blaster made like one used on Nebula 9. It leads them to an electrician in the Bronx (played by Armin Shimerman from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).

Yet, with all of these cameos and sci-fi geekdom, there still remains the question, who killed Annabelle? The answer: Stephanie, the actress who played Lt. Chole.  She killed Annabelle because she was selling the rights to the show and she worried that it would pike interest in the show again and she would be forced into being Lt. Chole all over again. And she didn’t want that.


The best part of the episode has to be that more of Beckett’s past is relieved. And this has nothing to do with her mother, but with her love of Nebula 9, which neither Castle or the viewer saw coming. Castle can’t help himself, he has to poke fun at Beckett. The show is cheesy and not very good, as he observes.  Beckett finally tells him to stop making fun because the show may have not been very good, but it was about identity, leaving home, and being anybody you wanted to be. She speaks about Lt. Chole being a scientist and a warrior, in other words, Chole was a role model for Beckett. The television show meant Beckett where she was in her adolescent years and made a difference.

Part of the problem with humanity is sin, which has left the image of God in humanity distorted, blurry, or disfigured. The journey of faith and salvation is about restoring the image of God within humanity. Nebula 9 gave Beckett the courage to seek her vocational identity and to live into it. Cheesy or not, it played a role in the development of who she is today.  What is your Nebula 9?

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