Castle Season 5 Review “The Lives of Others”

Castle achieved a milestone tonight with its 100th episode. Not many shows make it past the first 5 episodes let alone make it to 100. So that is definitely something to celebrate. But I must say that I was fairly underwhelmed by this episode.

A few thoughts about “The Lives of Others”:

The case of the week was of an IRS investigator who was bludgeoned to death in an alley. The killer had some weird infrared thingamajig that obscured his face from the camera, so Beckett and Co. ended up sifting through all of her files to find someone who may have held a grudge against her. They did some digging and found out that the victim was trying to get money and a new identity so she could leave her husband and start a new life. Ultimately, they found out that the victim’s husband was having an affair with the security guard who reported the murder. Apparently, she helped him stage his wife’s murder in that alley when in fact he had killed her several hours earlier at their house. He had recently taken out a $1 million dollar life insurance policy on his wife and he killed her so he could be with his mistress without going through a messy divorce. Ain’t true love grand? The case of the week really kind of took a backseat to Castle’s unorthodox investigation of a murder though.

Castle broke his leg in a skiing accident and was pretty much confined to his wheelchair in his apartment. He was obviously going stir crazy because a man like Castle can’t be confined to one spot for too long. Alexis bought him some binoculars and he naturally began spying on his neighbors across the street. He witnessed his neighbor and his girlfriend get into a fight, and then he believes he saw the guy murder the girl. Castle called Beckett in a panic and told her what he’d seen. Ryan and Espositio interviewed the guy but said they didn’t find anything in the apartment and the guy seemed too calm to have just murdered his girlfriend. Castle tried everything to get Beckett to believe that he’d witnessed a murder, and she sort of indulged him but she never really believed him. Finally, on Castle’s birthday in an attempt to get him to shut up about the murdered girl, Beckett went over to the supposed killer’s apartment where Castle witnessed him grab Beckett and a knife. Castle called Ryan and Esposito and they burst in on…a surprise party for Castle. He thought it was awesome. Me, not so much.

This was obviously supposed to be a ‘Rear Window’-esque episode, but that never really worked for me. I can’t really put my finger on why either. I just never really bought it. Perhaps because I wasn’t really invested in any of what was going on in the supposed killer’s apartment. The only real suspense came when it looked like Castle might get caught snooping in the killer’s apartment. There weren’t even any sinister looks from the supposed killer toward Castle. And I really felt cheated that this was all a hoax for Castle’s birthday as opposed to an actual murder mystery. On the one hand, I get that Kate was trying to help cure Castle of his boredom. That’s a very sweet gesture and it says a lot that so many people were willing to try to help out. But at the same time, I felt manipulated. Castle’s initial reaction when he walked into the surprise party is more along the lines of where I was. I didn’t think it was funny or awesome for Kate to make him think, even if just for a second, that something horrible like that had happened to her. Some will say I need a better sense of humor. I have a great sense of humor. I just don’t find it funny to make someone you love think something awful has happened to you. Even if you are just trying to make them feel better about being cooped up in the house all day. Of course, finding out that it was all a birthday prank kind of makes Beckett’s reluctance to believe Castle more understandable. I was starting to get kind of agitated with Kate that she was pretty much blowing Castle off, but it all made sense in end.

This episode was ok but it’s not what I would’ve expected for the series’ big 100. The case of the week wasn’t really all that interesting and Caskett wasn’t even really featured working the case together. The Caskett relationship and the relationship Castle has with Ryan and Esposito is really the heart of the show. I would’ve thought the 100th episode would focus more on that than it did. I guess, I’m just kind of disappointed that this was what they chose to go with for the big 100. This felt like more of a throwaway than an episode celebrating a milestone. But maybe it’s just me. Maybe I was just expecting too much. So what did y’all think of this episode of Castle?