“Cuffed”? More like “Innuendo 101”. Castle has always been a show that relies on nudges, winks, and nods, but this week’s episode introduces a whole new level of sexually suggestive fun. While Castle and Beckett have been building their relationship over the course of the past three-and-a-half seasons, being handcuffed together and imprisoned in a basement certainly brings them closer they have ever been physically (at least since they were trapped in a freezer together in last season’s two-parter). And this leads to a whole lot of crazy shenanigans, brought to us by the husband and wife writing team of Terri Edda Miller and Andrew Marlowe.
We start with Beckett and Castle in bed together…and this is already enough to get the fans excited. Beckett is clearly enjoying snuggling with Castle until she realizes that they’re trapped in a dungeon of sorts, handcuffed, with no memory of how they got there. So begins a ridiculous and wonderful quest to piece together what happened and find a way out. Because of the nature of the show and characters, the sexual tension usually arises from the witty writing, banter, and smouldering chemistry between Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. Here we have much more of an emphasis on physical innuendo, with almost slapstick-style gags, heavy breathing and grunting, and Beckett literally climbing all over Castle. Needless to say, it was lots of fun to watch!
However, perhaps more significant than the suggestiveness of “Cuffed” was the willingness of both characters to address that suggestiveness. When Castle braces himself behind her as they try to shift an impossibly heavy freezer, Beckett tells him he’d better not be enjoying their proximity. His reply as they push and strain is, “I’ll let you know in a minute”. There are other moments in which they make comments about the merits of each other’s legs, and at one point Beckett essentially gives Castle permission to fantasize about her…once they get out of the basement, that is. They are comfortable with each other, and aware enough of their own feelings and desires to pass beyond innuendo and make their teasing explicit.
This culminates in the final scene of “Cuffed”, when the prospect of Castle and Beckett spending another night together is both directly and indirectly addressed. In a really sweet moment, Castle has a little Freudian slip and declares that he would want to get hitched to Beckett. While he protests that he meant to say “cuffed” not “hitched”, Beckett’s reply, “I understood what you meant” speaks volume even though it’s delivered lightly. There’s also a nice tie-in to their earlier basement conversation (in which Castle chides Beckett for never accepting courtesy from anyone) as Castle helps her put on her coat.
But the icing on the cake really comes in the form of Beckett’s response after this moment. She tells him she wouldn’t mind being handcuffed to Castle for another night either, but that next time she’d prefer doing it without the tiger. It takes Castle a beat to realize the full meaning of this and call her on it (and while I was convinced that she was propositioning him for sex, H and S assured me this was all hypothetical…rats!). Beckett’s glance back at Castle is perfect: there’s a combination of amusement, seriousness, and openness. She’s not laughing off the comment, covering it up, or dismissing it; rather, she commits to it in a way that Castle can’t help but realize. So while I was hoping that the tiger was only ONE of the reasons that they filmed “Cuffed” on a closed set, I actually really liked the ending.
And speaking of tigers, I should probably talk about some of the other parts of this episode that weren’t centred on Castle and Beckett (ummm, other parts?). The idea of having a tiger in the next room as opposed to another prisoner – throwing all of our human-trafficking speculations out the window – was bizarre but also really scary. And another frightening and shudder-inducing factor was the creepy old witch-lady locked in a cage. But in all honesty, she did facilitate one of my favourite moments of the episode by saying to Ryan and Esposito that she’d shoot the pretty one first. They both steal glances at each other, wondering, like all of us, which one she means.
This wasn’t the only moment in this episode where Ryan and Esposito shone. I realize more and more what excellent cops they are in their own right. Not only do they eventually discover the same leads as Castle and Beckett, but they often solve the case themselves in addition to rescuing the writer and his muse from whatever horrible situation they have gotten themselves into. We’ve seen this over and over again: from “Setup” and “Countdown” to “Cuffed”, with some parts of “Knockout” and “Kill Shot” in between. Kevin and Javi are funny, intelligent, loyal, diligent, and absolutely supportive of each other.
Great as all these elements were, I think my favourite thing about this episode was Castle and Beckett’s exchange about Lanie and Esposito’s relationship troubles…which were played with just the right amount of sass and humour by Jon Huertas and Tamala Jones. Beckett explains that they both want to be together but neither wants to admit to it. When Castle wonders how people can do that to themselves, Beckett speculates that maybe they just don’t see it. To which Castle responds, “how could they not? It’s so obvious!” Ohohoho! Well done, writers, well done!
Other things worth mentioning:
- Castle saying, “do I begrudge you your coping mechanisms?” This was a one-off line but I love what it says about them and their relationship. He knows what losing the watch, badge, and gun means to Beckett, but isn’t so scared of her that he can’t joke about it
- Beckett, in response to Castle’s claim that she never accepts help or lets anyone else go first: “You do realize that if someone opens the door for me, then I will be going through it first anyway, right?”
- I loved the lock-opening scene. Very sweet, intimate, and fun all at once
- Please please PLEASE let us see the police picnic and the three-legged race!!
What were some of your favourite parts of “Cuffed”? What do you think Castle and Beckett learned about themselves and each other while they were handcuffed together? Any other thoughts? Share them in the comments!