Castle 5-14: Reality Star Struck

One thing I love about Castle is the ability the writers and the cast have to go from drama to comedy and back again without missing a beat. Last week? Very serious drama. Next week? Looks like the first half of the annual two parter is going to be high stakes suspense. (I’m already dreading the cliffhanger.) But this week? Pure comedy gold. Granted, most of the comedy came from the sub-plots, but the mystery was light and fluffy as well.

Before we get to the episode, let’s discuss guest star Gina Torres, who co-starred with Nathan Fillion on Firefly. I was only a marginal fan of that show, so did I miss any references to it? I know Gina better for her amazing work on Suits on the USA Network. This character, one of the wives of Wall Street, was so different from her character on that show, and she was amazing here.  (Not that I was expecting anything less.)

The mystery centers around the cast and crew of “The Wives of Wall Street,” one of two reality shows on The Finance Network, and the one that is setting TV ratings on fire. The victim is Hannah, who was new to the cast. She is found stabbed in the back, which if you follow the workings of this “reality” TV show, would be rather appropriate.

Hannah had been working as an assistant to one of the wives (Gina Torres’ character) until she and that wife’s husband were caught in an affair. Then, she went to work for another one of the wives. But that first wife? She has a pretty good motive for murder, wouldn’t you say? Plus one of her fingernails was found in the victim’s hair. Case closed.

Not so fast. We’ve only hit the opening commercial break. If it were that simple, this would be the most boring episode ever. Naturally, she alibis out.

Hannah was photographed just a few blocks from where she died, and Gates recognizes the location as belonging to Hannah’s new boss. That’s right, Gates is a fan. Anyway, that wife alibis out as well.

Hannah had been missing for 24 hours before she was killed. Lanie finds evidence on Hannah’s body that shows she was in Madagascar during that time. Only that’s impossible, right? Meanwhile, her defensive wounds were from the period when she was missing. Like maybe she was bound somewhere.

In some moments of pure comedic gold, Gates assigns everyone to watch some episodes of “The Wives of Wall Street” to better understand the show and possibly pick up clues. Castle gets hooked on it and stays up all night watching. Along the way, he learns that Hannah’s new boss’s son was engaged to another of the wives’ daughter. The next day, he and Gates are discussing the show and what might be coming next, and their scene was so funny.

The detectives are able to track down a possible place where Hannah was being held. It even had some environmentally friendly features that are made from products in Madagascar. And it is owned by the wife that was her first boss. You remember, the one whose husband Hannah slept with. Our heroes head there to find…spoiler alert…that wife in bed with her own husband.

Back at the station, neither of them are talking until Beckett goes in and does her best impression of one of the wives on the show. That makes the husband crack, and he confesses they made up the entire affair to get them more air time. But Hannah was getting tired of it and wanted to come forward with the truth in order to save her reputation. That’s why they were holding Hannah hostage. And they called in the producer for help. That might give him a motive, but he alibis out as well.

About this time, they piece together that Hannah arrived at her current boss’s home the night she died earlier than had been said. She was meeting with that boss’s son. The one who is engaged to someone else, remember. Turns out that Hannah and the son were in love and she showed up to plead with him to run away with her that night. She was leaving town either way. But then his mother showed up and said no. After all, the son and his fiancée were going to star in the spin off series.

About this time, I put my finger on the real killer, and I was right. It was the fiancée, who used one of her wedding gifts as the murder weapon. She wasn’t going to lose her chance at the spin off series, so she killed Hannah.

The episode itself felt like a soap opera spoof as much as a “reality” show spoof. I was laughing at the twists and turns and how Castle and Gates reacted to them. They’ve really loosened Gates up quite a bit this season. They are walking a fine line between firm and goofy, and I’m not quite sure they have it yet, but I am enjoying it because it is so funny. All we need to round out the character is to meet her husband. Is Dennis Haysbert available? Pretty please?

Anyway, the sub-plots they had going on were pretty funny as well. Ryan and his wife Jenny (who we haven’t seen this season) are trying to have a kid, and he kept showing up late disheveled. And he was complaining that this was going to be the least romantic Valentine’s Day ever. Meanwhile, Esposito wouldn’t spill about his plan, although Lanie showing up dressed for their date was a dead give away. Please get them back together. I liked them as a couple.

Finally, there were the gifts that Beckett and Castle were giving each other. Castle had bought some nice earrings, and his mom suggested he slip them into Beckett’s pocket for her to find later. Unfortunately, her blazer and Gates’ blazer looked alike, and Castle put them in the wrong one. This resulted in lots of laughs as Castle tried to get them back without the Captain finding out. Plus there was a note from Castle with them. Fortunately, Castle hadn’t written Beckett’s name on the note, so their relationship is still a secret. The scene were Gates confronts Castle about it returned her to her hardnosed self, which shows they haven’t forgotten what kind of character she can be.

And Beckett’s gift for Castle? A drawer at her place. She had to spell it out for him, but I got it right away.

So there you have it. Lots of comedy in an over the top, light mystery. We’re back to the drama next week as it looks like Alexis is going to be kidnapped. And that had better be all they do to her. Based just on the previews, it’s going to be very intense.