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Castle - Bad Santa - Review:"And Happy New Year?"

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It’s Christmas time in Castle Land, with the precinct and the opening, decorated accordingly. I love that the producers, or whoever makes this decision, have been changing up the opening to fit the theme of some episodes, and we’ve had a couple this season.

In every household, Christmas is synonym to mistletoe, eggnog, Santa Clause, presents, pretty lights and decorations. In the Castle household, it's synonym to all that and more. There are some time-honored, specific traditions, traditions newlywed Beckett is now a part of. Welcome to the family, Kate, not like you didn't know what you were getting into. These traditions are a big deal, for the Christmas enthusiast, Richard Castle, not to be looked over, not be forgotten. Martha started hers in July!

It’s not surprising the Castle family would have quirky, competitive traditions. Every year, all members of the family must write a 6 line rhyming poem for the Christmas card. It should be right up Beckett’s alley, since she’s the teenager who skipped her prom to attend a poetry slam. It’s a nice that Castle mentioned the conversation they had in “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” because honestly, without his comment, I wouldn’t have remembered. This season has been pushing towards showing continuity with the characters in the details, and I’m sure it’s something I’m not the only one appreciating.

Beckett complies, manages to write her part of the family poem in two days, and clearly, she's proud of it. In the end of the episode, she shows how even Beckett can let her fun out and have a dance party. Though it was probably more of a Stana-Moment, than a Beckett-Moment, the Lanie\Kate dance was cute to watch.

This has been an epic year,
Life’s been full of joy and tears,
Solving crime and catching killers,
Just like Castle’s favorite thrillers,
We share a passion every day,
As partners go, we’re here to stay.

This episode delivers an early Christmas present. It was meet time for Esposito to “Meet the Parents” and Lanie’s parent’s layover in New York City force Esplanie to pretend they’re engaged, and they aren’t very good at lying. Thank god for Ryan saving the day. I love his character, hopefully with Esplanie out of the way, we’ll be graced to more Jenny, Ryan and Sarah Grace moments.

In an episode where their interactions were actually sweet and humorous, it isn’t fake it until you make it. Esposito and Lanie, and hopefully the writers, finally acknowledged they’ll never be like Jenny and Ryan, never be like Beckett and Castle, and we'll never really care for them as a couple. In the most amicable, and possibly weird split-up, ever, they decide they both deserve more than what they have. It was so unexpected, but merited itself a happy dance from myself. I just hope, they won't throw Esposito or Lanie in another relationship, and give it screen time. There is already enough going on. Just give us more of the Castle household, of Ryan, Jenny and their daughter, expand on the missing two months, have more Esposito and Ryan bro-mance. There is no need for more relationships right now.

As the title “Bad Santa” hinted, the murderer was fashioning a Santa Suit at the time of the murder, making for the perfect disguise this time of year or...

“Squeezing down countless chimneys, delivering millions of presents in one night. It was bound to happen, Santa finally cracked.” - Castle
“Or our victim was naughty instead of nice.” -Esposito

When the victim proves to have ties with the mob, Castle uses his connections to gain Intel, because apparently, there is no one he doesn’t know. The NYPD investigation leads them straight to the mob boss’ second in command, and while Beckett feels the case is closed, Castle, moonlighting as mobster, (Hilarious Esposito line!) is enrolled to continue the investigation on behalf of his new mob family and find the real killer to bring to justice.

The case is closed and Beckett isn’t keen on the idea of having him investigate an already closed case, alone, surrounded by known killers, but she lets him. She feels it best to hide it from Gates, because as cool as the Captain has become, she’d never go for it. I’m even surprised Beckett went for it. Are you? Things never end well when they start hiding things from Gates, but the ending, no one could have predicted.

Castle swore Omerta, a ceremony which doesn’t impress Beckett. She doesn't think it should factor in, it doesn't make them blood brothers. Ryan on the other hand, is the always impressed, the always positive one. His quirky fun-loving side probably emphasized when he's beside Espo, he can't believe Castle got the chance to swear Omerta. He keeps asking Castle to explain, throughout the episode, getting a few chuckles out of me every time as Castle proudly explains how he "handled" the situation.

His investigation leads him through the people behind the scenes, as he gets to talk to anyone he feels the need to to get the bottom of things. He's doing his thing and Beckett and the boys are doing there's at the precinct. Castle uncovers the story of the star-crossed lovers trying to escape the world where their families are at war.

They manage to discover the real killer, and when he is killed, en route to the prison, things turn ugly for Castle. He trusted his mob-family would do the honorable thing, as they told him they would. This is why you should not trust known criminals. There is hardly ever any long term ramifications to his often times, careless actions. No one gets hurt (almost!), no one gets arrested, or fired, but in "Bad Santa," Castle has to answer to his actions. Working with the mob has him kicked off of the team, no longer a consultant with the NYPD, which will change the dynamic of the show next year, for at least a couple of episodes. For the best? For the worst? Who knows, we'll have to wait and see. (He chooses not to tell Beckett right away, and I hope we'll witness her reaction when he tells her!)

This mirrored my expression at the end of the episode perfectly.

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