Friday, May 21, 2010

Castle - Season 2

Castle's second season picked up pretty much where the first left off, as Nathan Fillion and company make some pretty good jokes and solve some pretty interesting cases. Not every episode is a winner, and sometimes the real killer is just too obvious, but usually it's a solid, well paced mystery. The show gets heavy every now and then, like with the excellent two part story about a serial killer who's obsessed with the character Castle based on Beckett, though for the most part it's good, clean fun. I wish just once that a murder would be unsolvable or that the obvious culprit would be the actual perpetrator (this one would be easy to pull off; if you feel the need to have 40 minutes of hot cop action, just solve the first murder quickly and have it lead to another), but its goal is certainly to entertain and not to accurately portray homicide investigations, so it's just something my brain will have to deal with. The chemistry between Castle and Beckett remains strong, the rest of the cops continue to become some of the more likable characters, and Castle's subplots with his mom and daughter remain cute.

All that said, I do have to say something about the Unresolved Sexual Tension (UST or URST depending on who you ask) that supposedly drives the show. That thing being, it doesn't. The two leads have a good repartee and I'd like to see them together. But I don't watch the show because of the will they won't they dance, I watch it because the whole cast works well together and the cases are usually interesting. Let's be honest, the show's basic premise is flimsy as hell. After a murderer mimics a character from one of Castle's books, he is brought in to assist a homicide detective and then sticks around to tail her for a bit of inspiration on a new novel. Okay, I'll buy that... for a few weeks. But at this point the duo have investigated and solved 33 separate cases over the course of two years. It's obvious that it's only still going because they're attracted to each other, but because a couple shows have mishandled actually putting its two romantic leads together, it's now considered a bad idea and the gods of ratings conspire to keep them apart. The problem is not that people don't like to see a developing romance pay off, it's that writers often handle it badly by forgetting to make the actual relationship interesting or trying to make it interesting in ill-considered ways. So instead of letting the characters take their natural course in the season finale, a wedge gets driven between them out of left field with little justification, and the show's premise continues to weaken. It was just poorly done and disappointing from a pretty good writing team. I'll be there for season three, but it won't be because of their clumsy handling of that aspect.

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