Television Review: Castle – Season 01 Episode 02 “Nanny McDead”

Oh Castle… I think we’ll be getting along after all.  Castle returned for its second week to show off more Fillion-filled procedural glory. This cleverly (not) titled episode started with finding a young nanny murdered and shoved inside the dryer of an apartment building’s laundromat.

Fillion. Yes. It's true. He's pretty cool.

Fillion. Yes. It's true. He's pretty cool.

As far as the characters and the case went, everything was as procedural as you’d expect. However, Castle showed alot of great potential for how the typical case to case episodes will work. For starters, I was surprised that show was willing to deal with the darker material this episode managed to come across. In the morgue they discussed the possibility of rape due to “trace evidence” left behind and the final showdown of the show was almost creepy with the killer rocking back and forth and carving a knife into their own leg. This might not seem too dark, but for the light hearted nature of the show I was not expecting material that felt as gritty as this one. On Law & Order, sure, but I didn’t expect it here.

As for the light hearted nature of the show, there were some winning moments. The playful banter between Beckett and Castle continued to be charming and playful, however nothing really funny or emotional has come out of this yet. They even gave the other two police offers (don’t care to remember their names yet) some rediculous banter that just seemed strange and out of place; but that’s mostly because they seem strange and out of place so far. What really won me over with this episode was how instead of being a cliche of a crime procedural it bordered on the line of being a parody instead. There were several references throughout this episode as to the stereotypical and predictable nature of the crime they were investigating. Nathan Fillion gave a fantastic performance in a scene where he put on his “author voice” and self-narrated exactly what happened to the girl at the beginning of the episode. How he narrated from the perspective of the “quiet guy in the apartment that no one ever notices” was a hilarious and pitch perfect rendition of how predictable crime stories have gotten. As they investigated the case, the self-referential humor kept going. They went through the usual build up to finding out the man the nanny worked for was having an affair with the nanny. Then Beckett let on that she already knew that and more or less made the statement procedurals needed to make years ago “THE NANNY IS ALWAYS SLEEPING WITH THE DAD! DUH!” So that’s relieving enough… then it turns out the dad was having an affair… but not with the nanny. So then naturally, you’d think the wife probably killed the nanny because she also assumed the affair was with her. Needless to say the case bounced around quite a bit before it landed on the actual killer. In the end, it wasn’t that complex of a mystery, but the pure enjoyment of how they poked fun of every stereotypical cop drama cliche was priceless.

<Insert witty sexual banter here>

:Insert witty sexual banter here:

We didn’t get to see any of Castle’s friends this time around (although they were mentioned). We did get to see more of his home life with his Mom and his daughter. His daughter seems genuinely sweet and charming and looks to be a great anchor for the character of Richard Castle. Let’s just hope they don’t make her another atrocious TV daughter getting in absurd situations… (A mountain lion, Kim Bauer!?!?) The characters are still pretty thin but the show is already getting very comfortable with using them. Nathan Fillion has already shown great comedic wit (any line from the morgue) and moments of genuine humanity (any moment with his daughter). Stana Katic also got to do more than just be the tough cop this time too, she got a whole scene at the end of the show where she had to talk the killer out of a situation. Nothing too important came out of the confrontation, but it was a powerful scene nevertheless; and the show also proved it knew when to shut Fillion up. During the whole confrontation he stood there in awe, a few times even almost trying to say something witty, but couldn’t do it. Had he dropped one of his expected lines during this scene, it surely would have thrown the whole power of it off.

What may seem on the outside as anything special of an episode, inside reveals tons of great news for the future of Castle. The crime-parody (which I don’t see going away as long as he’s a cliche crime novelist), the witty banter, the gritty case, the character shells which could eventually be interesting, and the already impressive showing of how they handle juggling the serious with the non, all add up to what could be a great series. Considering we’re only 2 episodes into the show, I’m officially pumped. I don’t think the ratings are too hot for this show, especially after following a powerhouse like Dancing With The Stars, however, I do think it might be able to putt along for a season or two and for as long as that goes I think this will be a great way to settle down after watching 24.

Until next time.

– Kyle

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~ by axknel on March 18, 2009.

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