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Throwback Thursday - Castle - The Lives of Others

18 Feb 2022

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Throwback Thursday is a weekly article in which we look back at our favorite TV episodes from the past. 
When thinking about an episode to revisit for this week, I realized that I haven't done a TBT for Castle, one of my all time favorite shows. So after I choose the show, the first one that came to my mind was this one, for its unique storyline and for being also the 100th episode of this show, and the fact that I’m writing this piece while I’m experiencing some reactions to my vaccine booster and I have to rest, it seemed suitable to review an episode where the main character is recovering from a health issue.

Before getting into the matter, let's remember that The Lives of Others is episode 19 of the fifth season of Castle, a crime dramedy that ran originally from March 9, 2009 through May 16, 2016 and had a total of 173 episodes. The show was created by Andrew W. Marlowe who, alongside Terri Edda Miller, also wrote this episode, which was directed by Larry Shaw and aired for the first time on April 1st, 2013.

The hour begins as most episodes of a procedural like this, with a crime that in this case, may seem weird since it is committed by someone that’s trying not to be recognized by the surveillance cameras of the zone. In the next scene, we discover that Castle is recovering from a leg injury and it happens to be his birthday week so his plans for a trip with Beckett have changed and now they’ll have to stay. Esposito and Ryan arrive at their home to brief Beckett about the new case they have and go, leaving Castle alone and sad for not being able to help the team to solve the mystery.

After some time bored he decides to use a set of binoculars that his daughter left for him and starts to spy on the neighbors of the building across the street, in a very Rear Window way, and after a few peeks here and there, he discovers a very passionate couple that have to break their displays of affection when the boyfriend of the girl arrives home so this makes the writer more interested in the scene, but the curiosity of discovering and infidelity turns into alarm when Castle apparently witnesses the murder of the girl in the hands of the jelous boyfriend, so he calls the team in to investigate but they find nothing conclusive and dismiss Richard’s suspiscions. But knowing that Castle is always up for a good mystery to solve and doesn’t have to spend the night alone since his mother and daughter are not there and Beckett is working, he keeps an eye on his neighbor and gets more and more intrigued by his actions, like leaving his apartment in the middle of the night carrying a suspicious rug and the next day, destroying which seem the girl’s IDs and doing some cleaning. By now the writer is joined by Alexis, his daughter who starts to believe his dads claims and ends up helping him to get into the apartment so he can retrieve the girl’s IDs and find something else, but since he’s in crutches this task is rather difficult and he almost gets caught by the supposed killer, escaping in the last minute.

All of this leads Beckett to get more worried for his boyfriend, cause his getting to invested in this case that leads apparently nowhere and even ends up sneaking with him to a warehouse were Castle thinks that the man is hiding the body of the girlfriend, but the only thing they find is a tell off from their boss after being caught by some guards.

Finally, Castle’s birthday arrives and as Kate promised him, they’re going out for dinner so their all formal, but Richard is still obsessed with discovering the truth about what happened across the street, so this upsets the detective and in an impulse to end it all, she goes to the apartment to see if the body is hidden in the fridge as Castle suspects, but things go out of control and the man is about to attack her when the lights go out, so this leads the writer to call the police and try to save his girl. So they all enter the apartment just to find out, when the lights come back, that all of Castle’s family and friends are there to celebrate his birthday with a surprise party. Castle realizes then that everything was staged from the beginning and everyone was in for this charade, and even when he pretends to be hurt by it, fooling the others on his own, he ends up saying that this was the best birthday gift ever. And even when it was Beckett before the one that was planting ideas in Castle's mind to fall for the trap, in the end it was him the one that helped her to solve her own case, showing how well they complement each other. And after going to a long list of suspects, Beckett discovers that the case she was investigating turnt out to be somehow staged too. So she could finally discovered that the murder was commited by the victim’s husband at their own house and he had the help of the guard, which happened to be also his lover. that witnessed the apparent murder in the street through the surveillance cameras.

Some final thoughts
I remember liking this episode very much when I first watched it and I think I was fooled just like Castle about the “crime”. What I found interesting after rewatching it knowing what was going to happen is to discover that the character kept planting ideas on Castle’s (and ourselves) mind: Alexis leaves the binoculares for him, Ryan mentions Rear Window and makes Castle interested in spying on their neighbors, Kate even mentions Castle that he’s bored and seeing what he wants to see and mentions again the Hitchcock movie, and in the end, she mentions the fridge because she knows so well how the mind of his boyfriend works and know he won’t stop until he solves the mystery, but us, like Richard are so invested in the story that don’t realize that there are some hints and looks that can point to the truth about this.

Another thing that I found funny about, that I didn’t know and that also could give a huge hint about the storyline is the date this episode aired originally, which happened to be April’s Fools Day. Also, at some point, when Castle (and us) may have doubts about his sanity, Alexis jumps in to “help” Castle to keep invested in the case by seeing the things he sees and believing in what he believes, and we can say that she is there to making the audience believe in this story, along with Castle, in case someone was starting to go to the non-believers side, so I could say that this episode could be a bit interactive, since we’re seeing through the eyes of Castle, we see what he sees and nothing else, and we get to discover the truth and the final twist at the same time, and that’s why this is one of my favorite episodes of this show.

Did you like this episode? What was your favorite episode of Castle? Start the conversation by sharing your thoughts in the comments section.