Castle 5-2: Cloudy with a Chance of Murder

Second episode but first day of work? As strange as it might sound, that is what we saw on last night’s Castle as Beckett, Esposito, and Castle all returned to work after Beckett and Esposito finished serving their suspension.

The episode opens with Beckett trying to decide what to wear to work for her first day back. And Castle is there to help her. That is if suggesting she constantly needs to change is actually helping. They discuss the need to keep their new relationship a secret since Gates wouldn’t go for them being together. (No couples as partners, and Beckett doesn’t think the fact that they aren’t truly partners/co-workers would matter to Gates.) So they don’t car pool into work. And Beckett is upset when Castle doesn’t bring her a morning coffee like he always does. She wants everything to be completely normal.

They arrive at the murder scene to learn the victim is the evening weather woman at a local TV station. Family is not in the area, so they turn to co-workers. The other weather woman at the station had a feud with her since our victim got the plumb evening gig even though she wasn’t a true meteorologist. Furthermore, our victim stole some equipment from the other weather woman’s office. But she alibis out.

Next, we learn that she had a secret boyfriend (Coincidence? I think not). And that boyfriend just happens to be a local basketball player. Ryan and Esposito get beat up trying to bring him in, but they eventually do. We learn that yes, he knew the victim, but they were just friends. His wife confirms this, must to everyone’s amazement. But we begin to get the picture that she was very concerned about something.

It turns out the secret boyfriend is one of the anchors. They had to keep their relationship a secret (no inner station relationships). It caused a lot of stress on their relationship, which lead to a public fight. But the anchor has an alibi as well – he was at a conference.

About this time, our heroes get a bead on just what our victim was so concerned about. She volunteered at a local hospital, and she was noticing an increase in kids with asthma coming in. As a fellow asthma sufferer, she began to investigate and made a connection. She got the station helicopter pilot to take her up, and she tested the air around a park in New Jersey. That was why she stole/borrow the equipment from the other weather woman. And she found out that a carpet factory, in an effort to make their carpets last longer, was causing extra pollution, which was increasing the asthma in the kids who played in a park down wind.

The carpet factory owner must be the guy, right? Case closed.

Not so fast. We’ve still got 10 minutes left in the episode. And it turns out the owner alibis out, although he does confess to harassment and threatening our victim in a very funny scene all before his lawyer shows up.

It’s Castle who finally breaks the case while he’s out on his date. See, in an effort to make things appear to be normal, both Castle and Beckett are pretending to be single. He’s gotten roped into appearing on the TV station’s entertainment show to promote Frozen Heat, and when the attractive female host asks him on a date, he eventually says yes, after must hesitation (which gives Beckett time to yell “No” multiple times at the monitor where she is watching by herself. When the woman shows up unexpectedly at Castle’s door and tries to seduce him, she lets slip that only one other man has resisted her advances – the anchor at the station. The very anchor who claimed to be the victim’s secret boyfriend.

And it turned out they did have a secret relationship, just not the one he’d claimed. He was helping her investigate the air pollution story. But she wanted something done now, so she was going to the EPA. He, on the other hand, wanted to wait until their legal department cleared it so he could break the story on the air and make his career. He claimed it was an accident, but yet he confronted her in the street and pulled a gun on her. I’m not sure how much I buy that.

So that takes care of the mystery part of the episode. What about the rest? As you can imagine, all the talk about forbidden romance really shook up Beckett. At one point, the reporter was talking about how all the lying and sneaking around made things hot at first, but eventually ruined the relationship. It was actually Castle who convinced her not to worry. They would figure out how to make it work. Plus that comment had come from a killer, so what did he know.

The looks between them and how hard they were trying to not look at each other as they heard again about forbidden and hidden romance was pretty funny and so well acted.

Beckett and Castle had a heart to heart about his date and agreed that, while they are both still pretending to be single, neither one will go on any more dates to preserve their cover.

The only person to really figure out something was different was Lanie. She knows that Beckett has a new boyfriend, but no idea who. If anyone was getting clues that something had changed, it was Esposito. He’s the one who noticed Castle didn’t bring Beckett coffee. And he walked in on them talking about why Beckett dresses the way she does at work. “It certainly wasn’t for Esposito.” Castle’s mom and daughter were in Europe celebrating her graduation, so they weren’t around at all. It’s still anyone’s guess who is going to figure it out first, but my money would actually be on Alexis based on clues and guesses while it could be anyone if someone walks in on a supposedly private moment.

And in the Ryan and Esposito department, the two are definitely still on the outs and not willing to bend for each other at all. But while the tape of the fight they were involved in is being replayed, Esposito sees Ryan step in and take a punch meant for him. Ryan shrugs it off. “You’re my partner. That’s why partners do.” That seems to melt the ice, and the two take off for drinks on Esposito. If that’s the end of their fight, I’ll be happy. I like the two of them working together. But based on interviews, I was expecting much more in the way of conflict before they made up. I’m curious to see if everything is status quo next week.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode. It’s nice to see everyone back on a case of the week. Yes, Beckett and Castle’s relationship has changed, but the old magic was still there for me.

What did you think?

Meanwhile, if you like the show and haven’t read the Nikki Heat books, you really should. Yes, those books they mention on the show really do get published (and who writes them remains a closely guarded secret). They writing could be a little better, but watching how events from the seasons plays out in this twist on reality is lots of fun. To give you a feel, here’s my review of the latest, Frozen Heat.

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