After hours of discussion, debate, analysis, and fan-girling at The Viewing Party’s virtual HQ on the interwebs, we have composed a list of our 10 favourite Castle episodes to date. To narrow down to only 10 there were arguments, emails and near virtual steam-punk duels at dawn before we were able to reach an agreement. FYI, actually ranking this list may just have killed us, so we’ll do it chronologically …. our top ten Castle episodes:
A Chill Goes Through Her Veins (1×05) Castle finds its legs in this episode, balancing humour with more serious elements and furthering the banter-filled relationship between Castle and Beckett. It’s got classic moments we all love like Castle and Alexis playing laser tag, plus some important advancements in the Castle-Beckett partnership; they verbally spar (“Alright, so you and I are married – ” “We are not married!” “Relax, it’s just pretend.” “I don’t want to pretend.” “Scared you’ll like it?”), but they also begin to complete each other’s sentences and act things out in unison – something we’ll see a lot more of in the future of the show. Castle’s skills as a writer come in handy to solve the murder backwards, and perhaps most importantly, a level of trust is established between Castle and Beckett when she shares the details of her mother’s murder with him for the first time.
The Double Down (2×02) After a short first season we’re still fairly new to the characters early in the second. The Double Down lent the spotlight to Ryan and Esposito leading them on their way to that special place they now hold in our hearts as they faced off in a wager of who could solve their murder first. The bet initially made between the boys for fear of Beckett’s wrath ended up making a small crack in her tough exterior when she wanted in on the pot excitedly diving in and showing her sense of humour and competitive spirit. Of course the crimes ended up being linked and no heads were shaved or men in dresses appeared but alls good fun in crime-fighting.
Vampire Weekend (2×06) As if Nathan Fillion making his entire fan base erupt with joy as he dons his old Firefly duds and appears dressed in his “Space Cowboy” Halloween costume to Alexis’ skepticism that such a thing even exists wasn’t enough to alone get this one on the list… well yeah it is. But the following references in just the first 5 minutes to Buffy The Vampire Slayer (which Fillion also appeared in as the most terrifying Priest pretty much ever) as well as Underworld just ups the ante.
A Rose for Ever After (2×12) A dead bridesmaid cannot be a good omen on the eve of your wedding. With all the fun running around trying to figure out who the killer was, who was seducing who, and room switching going on the crime of the week played out like a farce stage play, or perhaps a game of Clue….which is awesome and wacky cases is something I adore about Castle. More importantly, the bride was Castle’s “one who got away”. Beckett was still cooler in mid-season 2 but was beginning to really warm up as a character, and to Castle, figuring out her feelings for him beyond annoying sidekick. With a steamy kiss shared between Castle and Alyssa Milano’s Kyra, Beckett was left in the cold adamantly denying her jealousy to the very observant and very correct Lanie.
Suckerpunch (2×13) Not only does this second season episode add another layer of intrigue to the story of Beckett’s mother’s murder–laying the foundation for the conspiracy that will be picked up in “Knockdown” and “Knockout”–but it also moves Beckett and Castle’s relationship to a whole new level of trust and friendship. Beckett’s admittance that she likes having Castle around to “pull my pigtails” is a big one. She has a hard job and Castle makes it a little more fun. If we hadn’t known it before, then this episode certainly makes clear that these two are in it for the long haul.
The Third Man (2×14) To this day, we don’t think there’s another episode of Castle that makes us laugh as much as this one–which is saying something. Everything: from Castle’s paranoid attempts to hide a newspaper article from Beckett, to the dynamic duo’s excitement over the case, to the disastrous double dates, and not least Ryan and Esposito’s snarky background commentary (“do they realize they’re finishing each other’s sentences?”) is pure comedic gold. And of course lets not forget Beckett and Castle’s little post-case burgers and milkshakes date. A hair twirl can speak a thousand words.
Last Call (3×10) This is another episode of Castle at its most hilarious and hijinks-filled best. And really, what could possibly be more fun than a story of prohibition-era smuggling, mob hits, gambling, a bit of undercover work, 150-year-old whiskey, and a new watering hole for the precinct? Well, perhaps the whole gang ending it off with a rousing round of Billy Joel’s Piano Man. That could make it just about perfect.
Knockdown (3×13) Picking up where Suckerpunch left off, Knockdown brought a level of intensity to Castle that we had never seen before. The big-time developments on Johanna Beckett’s case are matched by even bigger developments on the Castle-Beckett front: namely, their first kiss. I’m sure we’ve all re-watched that scene over and over (I can’t be the only one!), but even better is the level of trust and reliance that is established between Castle and Beckett in this episode. We see Beckett both vulnerable AND badass, and Ryan and Esposito get some wonderful moments. If nothing else, this episode has the first use of the word “always” to essentially mean “I love you“, and it’s now become a Castle catchphrase.
Countdown (3×17) What can we say about this episode that hasn’t been said already? The latter half to the heart-stopping two parter, the episode opens with Beckett and Castle where we left them last: locked in a frozen storage container with no way out and no one in the precinct aware of where they are. And if nearly freezing to death in each other’s arms wasn’t enough, Castle and Beckett then go on and track down and defuse a dirty bomb set to take out in Manhattan in, arguably, the funniest and most realistic way a bomb could be defused (don’t try it at home, kids). And lets not forget the long awaited hug we get when Beckett and Castle realize they’ve cheated death for the second time in 24 hours. Everyone tilt your head to the side and go “awwwwww.”
To Love and Die in L.A (3×22) This episode took Castle and Beckett out of their comfort zone in more ways than one, and we absolutely loved seeing them strut their stuff in Tinseltown! While there were many genuinely hilarious moments (from Castle’s bathrobe obsession to a joint admission of Gene Simmons-themed Halloween costumes), there were also a lot of heartfelt, touching, and downright squee-worthy moments…most notably the conversation and near-hookup when Castle and Beckett share a hotel suite. We all became fans of Mike Royce – despite his earlier betrayal of Beckett – when he posthumously told her to risk her heart on Castle. And we finally FINALLY got to see Castle drive!! (in a Ferrari no less)
So those are our top ten, what are yours? Tell us in the comments! Also check out our updated Top 5 list of season 4 episodes.