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Castle - The Wrong Stuff - Review: "Small Step, Giant Leap."




This week, Castle, Beckett and the team at the 12th, dive into the murder of an astronaut, bound to a Mars simulation, in “The Wrong Stuff,” an episode that was the perfect follow-up to the intense, drama filled, two-parter. “The Wrong Stuff” was funny and entertaining, and a thoroughly enjoyable hour of “Castle” that was certain to have you laughing out loud. And once again this week, the two leads aced every, more low-key, less drama-filled, aspect of this episode.

Last week presented us the darker side of the Richard Castle’s personality, but in “The Wrong Stuff,” he is back to the fun-loving, easily excited, childlike, man, we’ve all come to love. I have to say, Nathan Fillion is really throwing it out of the ball park this season, demonstrating how versatile he can be. The last two episodes showcased how powerful of a dramatic and suspenseful actor he can be, and this episode established his brilliant comedic acting. In “The Wrong Stuff,” it was in the simplicity of his actions that he made me giggle and laugh. It was by doing very little, with a smile, or a cheer, a facial expression or even the perfectly timed inclination of his coffee cup in the boys’ direction. He’s close to what I’d call a comedic genius in this one, and as much as I love seeing the drama and the heart-aches, what makes “Castle” so special is the humorous aspect of the main character, and let’s face it, of the cases.

The female lead also deserves her fair share of praise. Stana Katic continues to portray a smitten Detective Beckett, without ever overdoing it, so that it feels forced. It’s the continuous evolution of the character, and of their love story. Beckett was never one for comedy, or jokes, not in the same sense as Castle. She’s one for glaring looks, and dirty and surprising comeback, and they’re delivered wonderfully. But let's face the facts, I absolutely adore her in every single episode of "Castle," this episode being no different. Add to that the fact that she looked stunningly beautiful in her kick-ass new hairdo, mid-episode. (Is there any look she can’t rock? I think not…)

“Come on Castle, we got a murder. To solve, not to commit.” –Beckett

The Private Investigator Arc was enjoyable while it lasted, but, honestly, there isn’t anything better than Castle and Beckett working together again. (Without anyone of them getting kidnapped!) The case of the deceased astronaut, which received Castle’s “Best Case Ever” stamp, was probably my favorite, of the “lighter episodes,” since they got married, maybe even engaged. I’m having a tough time defining why exactly I loved this episode as much as I did, but maybe distance really does make the heart grow fonder. Ask me again in a couple of weeks.

When one of the five astronauts, confined in a yearlong planetary simulation, preceding their final voyage to Mars, is killed, the gang must sport spacesuits to enter the area that mimics the hostile conditions of the Red Planet, with airborne, hazardous gas. I can’t say, for sure, if it was always intended to have this particular episode released so closely to the reveal of the final 100 candidates for the Mars One Project, but it worked out beautifully for the crew of “Castle” if it wasn't. The episode had a relevant, almost realistic, feeling to it and it was hard not to see the similarities between the background of the case and the Mars One Project; Vigo Janson even mentioned the project, in passing.

It’s hard for me to believe, in the “Castle World,” or in the “Real World,” that anyone would willingly choose to go live on Mars, forever. The only thing that bugged me in “The Wrong Stuff,” was that both Beckett and Castle solicited to flee Earth, to flee each other, to flee to another freakin’ planet. Setting foot on Mars is an achievement that would go down in history, and I realise the draw, but never coming back? I have trouble understanding how Castle, even fighting-with-Beckett Castle, (Post 47 seconds?) would want a one-way ticket to Mars, and leave his mother and daughter behind. Even Beckett, also the sci-fi geek, applied to go to Mars, to leave everything behind. They both just mentioned it in passing, like it wasn’t meant to be anything important, just a meaningless statement, but this part of the episode just made no sense for me at all. Am I making too much of it?

“Space. Final Frontier. These are the voyages of Castle and Beckett, their ongoing mission to explore strange new motives, to seek out new witnesses, new suspects for murder, to boldly go where…” -Castle

The initial assumption that someone in the inside had to be the culprit, because of the impenetrable quality of the Mars Simulation, turns out to be flawed, when the possibility of tunneling in from below is pointed out. Castle and Beckett find themselves exploring the cobweb infested understructure of the building. Their investigation of the basement proved their playful banters still works, maybe even better now that they are married. Castle’s “Yes, dear,” in response to Beckett’s glare, was beyond perfection.

After recovering the murder weapon, they realise something, (no, not someone!) is down there with them. The creature even has the always so skeptical Beckett baffled, making Castle believe they really are playing a part in “Alien.” He’s spinning wild theories explaining the existence of the extraterrestrial being living close to the simulation, and Beckett is rolling her eyes, asking him to stop, to be realistic, just like in the good old days. I say good old days, but this episode doesn't make me reminiscent of the past, episodes like this one make me eager for the future, and what is still in store for us.

They find the mask which points to very human suspect, much to Castle’s dismay, leading them the red herring, in turmoil of corporate espionage, until arriving to the conclusion of: "The Rover did it."

“Are we seriously about to interrogate a computer?” –Beckett

This episode was clearly inspired by the nonfictional Mars One Project , but also by the artificial intelligence depicted in the fiction novel (or movie) “2001: A Space Odyssey.” MIRA, the mission computer talks, learns, and can almost be considered the 6th member of the space team. Even if, in the beginning, she was described more as SIRI, she demonstrated herself to be more like HAL 9000, and Castle’s rise of the machine theory proved not too far from the truth.

“Castle” history is made when they interrogate a sneaky, lying computer. MIRA, convinced Tom was a threat to the mission, used the ‘Mars’ Rover as a weapon to have him killed. It was supposed to protect the mission, and the astronauts, but when the two statements contradict, she gets stuck in an infinite loop. Unable to get anything out of the computer, it’s time to reboot it, but the computer falls into a failsafe mode, trying to kill them. If they were on Mars, like the computer believed, they would be dead, but they aren’t, and Beckett has the common sense to call Esposito to get them out.

A machine though, remains a machine, and without human orders, it (It, it, it. I almost wrote, she...) wouldn’t have carried out the task to kill anyone. With one of Castle’s clever ruses, the detective plays the remaining astronauts, letting them believe they have evidence against them so they would confess, and it works. (As it often works in this show!)

“Wow, guys. Get a room.” -Alexis
“We would, if there were any left!” -Castle

Mirroring the case, where people are stuck together in confined space, back a la Casa di Castles, the loft is getting a little crowded, seemingly getting smaller, with Alexis hanging out with her friends, Martha and her late night medleys with her new Beau, and Castle and Beckett. It was one of those episodes where their personal and professional lives merged together graciously. The scene following the traditional, sneak peak murder scene, had Alexis is playing Laser Tag with someone other than her father, in his gear, a clever wink the space effects of the sci-fi themed episode.

Rick calls in a family meeting, in the hopes of discussing the issue at hand, but Martha has plans of her own, and announced it is time for her to move out. (Martha moves out, take two!) I still can’t decide if I’m happy or sad about the turn of events. Martha and Alexis are a crucial part of the Richard Castle, back story, but is time for new back stories, now that he has Beckett? Is it time for it to change? Seriously how many allusions to little Castle babies have been made in the past few episodes? A lot! Is this really where they’re headed with Beckett's character?

Rick and Kate’s reaction to Martha’s announcement was flawless. Castle sometimes jokes about his mother sticking around, about her always being in his business, about her owing him rent, but in that scene we could see he deeply loves his mother, and despite the close quarters, it was never his intention for her to move out and leave. Is this small step for Martha, a giant leap for Castle and Beckett and their future?

“I did not expect that.” –Beckett
“Unexpected is her specialty.” –Castle

Agree? Disagree?
Am I the only one who really enjoyed this episode through and through?

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