Monday, September 9, 2013

TV Show Review: Castle - Season 5

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: "Best Handshake Ever."  "Yeah."
Cons: "That Theory is Highly Improbably.  And Coming from Me, that's Saying Something."
The Bottom Line:
The romance heats up
And mysteries keep coming
Served with lots of fun

"In Your Dreams."  "Look at My Life.  My Dreams Come True."

After four years of will they won’t they, the only question on the minds of fans of Castle while waiting for season 5 was, “Now what?”  Season 4 ended with author Rick Castle and police detective Kate Beckett locked in kiss as we faded to black.  All the press over the summer was asking how the show would avoid the curse of the main couple getting together.  Personally, I wasn’t worried.  Then again, maybe that’s because their relationship has always been secondary to me.

The season picks up the morning after season 4 ended.  Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) are shocked to be interrupted when his mother Martha (Susan Sullivan) returns to the loft unexpectedly.  And that’s when the two of them make the decision to keep their relationship a secret, at least for the time being.

The season premier also brings Beckett face to face with the man behind the conspiracy that lead to her mother’s murder and gets her reinstated on the force.

As far as on going stories go, we get some fun as Castle and Beckett try to keep their relationship a secret from his family and her co-workers.  But keeping a secret from a bunch of detectives?  That’s going to take some work.

But the heart of the show is still the case of the week.  And we get some fun ones.  Castle himself becomes the chief suspect in a murder.  A romantic weekend in the Hamptons becomes an issue when a dead body turns up in Castle’s backyard.  Detective Ryan (Seamus Deaver) goes back undercover with the mob while Detective Esposito (Jon Huertas) takes on a trouble youth much like he once was.  And Captain Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald)?  They soften her character some as she goes through some humorous sub-plots while still coming down on Castle when the occasion calls for it.  While she hasn’t warmed to him completely, she isn’t as quick to blame him for everything this year.  Frankly, I liked that.  And fans of Esposito and Lanie (Tamala Jones) will be happy to learn that there may still be sparks between the detective and the coroner.

A few other stand out episodes include the 100th episode which features a great tribute to Hitchcock’s classic Rear Window.  And the February two parter finds college freshman Alexis (Molly Quinn) in trouble when she and a friend are kidnapped.  Fans of Firefly and sci fi in general will love an episode set at a science fiction convention.

As you can see, there are plenty of great cases and great moments here.  In fact, the stolen moments between Castle and Beckett are as good as the unresolved tension between them used to be.  The quips and jokes keep coming as well.  While the clips show does highlight their best moments together, there are still some great ones this season.

Speaking of that clips show, don’t skip it.  There is a moment at the end that truly matters, and some great moments along the way.  Plus, seeing Castle’s greatest hits all in one place is plenty of fun.  The episode came about because ABC asked for a last second additional episode, and I think it works well.

Overall, this season was lighter than last season.  Yes, there are a few more suspenseful or dramatic episodes, but they have recaptured the fun of the show.  And seriously, just because Caskett is finally together doesn't mean the sparks have stopped flying.  Looking for the hottest scene on TV this season?  I would gladly submit the handshake scene from early in season 5 as one of them.

I will say the arc the show started on leading up to the season finale and the cliffhanger was the weak point in the season.  I got so frustrated with Beckett and her behavior.  It didn’t help that Castle was being a clueless guy, but really, work on things better, okay?  And the cliffhanger was a bit weak and predictable.  But these are minor issues.

My other minor complaint is that the mysteries are formulaic.  But considering how many episodes they crank out a year, it would be hard to do something that was truly surprising each week.  And since the cases are really just an excuse to spend time with these characters I love, it’s a non-issue overall.

The actors continue to do a great job bringing their characters to life and since the characters are the heart of it, that is very important.  Castle and Beckett get new layers this season, and the actors are perfect and portraying those.  The rest of the cast fills out their characters as well and shine when the occasion calls for it.

There were 24 total episodes in season 5, and there are all included on this five DVD set in their native wide screen and full surround sound.  Extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel, and fun behind the scenes featurettes.

Frankly, I found nothing major to complain about when it came to season five of Castle.  The show is still serving up chuckles with fun characters and good mysteries.  If that sounds like your cup of tea, you’ll love this set.

Season 5 Episodes:
1. After the Storm
2. Cloudy with a Chance of Murder
3. Secret's Safe with Me
4. Murder He Wrote
5. Probable Cause
6. The Final Frontier
7. Swan Song
8. After Hours
9. Secret Santa
10. Significant Others
11. Under the Influence
12. Death Gone Crazy
13. Recoil
14. Reality Star Struck
15. Target
16. Hunt
17. Scared to Death
18. The Wild Rover
19. The Lives of Others
20. The Fast and the Furriest
21. The Squab and the Quail
22. Still
23. The Human Factor
24. Watershed

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