Castle: Clear and Present Danger Review

Castle and Beckett have to press pause on a private moment to investigate a possible invisible murderer.

Normality has been restored between Rick and Kate after an understandably bumpy period for their relationship thanks to his month’s long disappearance. Like any other red-blooded couple aching to fully reconnect after a rough patch, Rick and Kate want to fully reconnect. With their bodies. Sex things.

Unfortunately for them and for the anarchist long-hair with a pool cue through his sternum, romance needs to take a timeout when murder gets in the way. And not just any murder, but a murder that gets stranger and more unbelievable as the episode advances.

Every so often, the producers of Castle like to really play with the latitude given to them by Nathan Fillion’s genre royalty status and fanbase that comes with such a following. The season 3 episode, “Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind” is a prime example and this episode nestles in right beside it because, for a split second, one had to wonder if this show had finally gone full sci-fi.

As you may have guessed, Will, the anarchist with the chest wound, isn’t merely the pool shark that he is said to be. As the episode unravels, clues begin to point to something strange. Has his deal with the devil come due? That’s what the owner of one upscale pool hall seems to think. How about the Invisible Man or some other kind of ghost? Those represent Rick’s theories after a surveillance tape shows Will opening his door and quickly closing it without anyone else going into the locked down apartment.

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As is often the case with any sort of off-kilter story, Rick is always the top advocate for weird theories and a big kid, while Kate is more grounded in reality. Only recently does it seem like she’s at least entertained by Rick’s active imagination, but in this episode, she seems to be open to coming along to his side of things after the pair are attacked by an obviously invisible force inside the victim’s apartment. Honestly, it’s Kate’s hesitancy with the Chief when it comes to revealing what happened in the apartment that makes you believe this might be a time that something truly unbelievable is occurring, but of course, there is a more simple answer: the victim’s scorned lover is wearing a super secret cloaking device to deflect light and appear invisible that the victim had secretly developed under the nose of his shady government employer. The cloaking device is a sci-fi concept to be sure, but it’s not one that is completely out of the realm of possibility one day.

I like the hoops that Rick and Kate have to jump through to unravel the victim’s very complex life and the scenes where they are interacting with the woman in the cloaking suit draw out some outstanding physical comedy/mime skills by Fillion and Stana Katic as they are tossed about like ragdolls. There’s also a smirk worthy moment afterwards when Rick and Kate are in bed trying to finish what they started earlier until they find themselves entirely too freaked out by the invisible person from earlier that they are forced to string up pots in Rick’s bedroom to let them know if something tries to disturb them.

It’s also worth nothing that the couple’s carnal desires seem to be on their mind throughout the episode with the Beckett/Castle flirtation index up past 11.

I will admit, however, that despite the solid resolution and the fun of this case, I am getting a little tired of being led toward the idea that the show is going to go full-nerd, only to be pulled back from the edge. It’s not that I want Castle to be that show, it’s just that after a while it almost feels like the show that cried geek.

By episode’s end, Rick and Kate find themselves back at home once again, their earlier try at re-establishing intimacy now on the way toward becoming a success. Does that mean that we’re officially over the amnesia conspiracy? Not likely, but it seems to be buried way down deep and I don’t know that Rick wants to go digging anytime soon and I don’t think we will. The inclusion of a fun episode that was fully dedicated to re-establishing this dynamic duo and their abundant heat pretty much guarantees us a few lighthearted adventures (like next week’s trip to a school) before things get dark again, lest they want to make us queasy from the back and forth.

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3 out of 5