Oh, the hilarity that ensues when our favourite crime-fighters get to sing, rap, drive Ferraris, shake their undercover booty at nightclubs, and catch the bad guy…all in one episode! While “Lucky Stiff” couldn’t possibly live up to the intensity and depth of “Knockdown” (see S’s review of that episode as well as my own thoughts), it was in many ways a return to the witty, relatively light-hearted Castle banter that we all know and love. I have to say, there were some season 3 episodes that I thought were a bit sub-par, but the episodes since Castle’s return in January have been consistently great.
“Lucky Stiff” seems to me like a simultaneous throwback to earlier episodes and a step forward for the show. The beginning of the episode definitely reminded me of season 1 openings. Cool song blaring: check. Cool shots of New York: check. Person conducting his/her daily business about to discover or become a dead body: check. Which leads to the whole “if I had 100 million dollars” premise of the episode. Everyone at the precinct is more than happy to contribute their ideas of how to spend hypothetical lottery winnings (winery, Ferrari, boat) – everyone except Beckett, that is. This for me was reminiscent of season 2’s “Tick Tick Tick” when Castle finds out that Heat Wave is being made into a film. Beckett is reluctant to name an actress who could play her in what will be essentially a movie of their lives, while all the other characters jump in with suggestions.
This time, however, Beckett has a reason for not wanting to play Castle’s game, which brings me to the ways “Lucky Stiff” moves the characters and storyline forward. After Castle tells Beckett about the Johanna Beckett scholarship he has just created, she responds with, “you just can’t stay out of my personal life, can you?” This made me think about how much closer they are growing as the series progresses, obviously embodied by the kiss two weeks ago. Castle is in Beckett’s life a lot more lately, but it’s almost always because she invites him in (basically every scene in “Knockdown” is evidence of this, especially when she takes him to the meeting with Raglan as “someone she trusts”). This is not to say that Beckett’s not very much a part of Castle’s personal life as well. We see her affection for him and his family in her conversation with Martha about the inheritance from Chet. I think H and S will agree with me when I say that I would really love to see more Beckett-Martha, Beckett-Alexis interaction. Keep the cross- family bonding coming!
But as these instances move the Castle-Beckett storyline forward, I have kind of a weird
question to ask: is Beckett’s character consistent? I’m thinking back to season 1 when she
admits to never going out, can’t find a dress to wear to a swanky function, and is generally quite buttoned up. Then suddenly, she’s breaking out the Herve Leger dresses, discussing her wild child phase, and teasing Castle with hints about a tattoo and navel ring. Don’t get me wrong, I think these moments often provide great comedy fodder, whether it’s flirty Russian Beckett (“Deep in Death”), flirty-flirty Beckett (“Last Call”), or flirty-drunk/high Beckett (“Lucky Stiff). Castle’s reactions to her assertions of sexuality are reliably funny, but I just wonder whether the character underwent a believable change. What do you guys think? Does Beckett’s character development ring true? Is this a side to her that she suppressed when she entered the police force after her mother’s murder? Or does it seem too far removed from her earlier, season 1 self?
Here are a few favourite one-off moments from this episode, not to mention the club scene which I really hope someone else will discuss…
- Beckett’s deadpan line to Castle and Montgomery: “While you guys are fantasizing about the size of your rods, I’m gonna go interrogate our suspect.” Snigger snigger.
- Castle’s little shoulder-dance move while carrying drinks at the club. [and when he thinks to hand her the drink instead of her handcuffs when she’s got her guy pinned – S]
- Beckett, with furrowed brow, trying to figure out the right key in which to sing “move that ass”. Adorable, silly, and hilarious – three things this show is very good at! And thank you S for alerting me to the brilliance that is the Get on the Floor (Move That Ass) music video.