Castle season 3 episode 2 review: He’s Dead, She’s Dead

It's not vintage Castle, but there's a lot to love in the latest episode, argues Alyssa...

3.2 He’s Dead, She’s Dead

This review contains spoilers if you haven’t yet seen the episode.

The latest episode of Castle starts, as it always does, with a murder. This time, a young, pretty redhead finds her mother stabbed in the neck and shoved in a couch, in a very gruesome scene.

Then, immediately, we get to see Castle at home with his mother and daughter. And Martha Rodgers comes in sporting a huge diamond ring, the result of a proposal from her boyfriend, Chet (whom we’ve never met). Castle and Alexis are very excited, of course, but Martha says she has to think about it. She claims the spark has gone out of their relationship, so she would probably say “No.”

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Alexis seems distressed about this, clearly wanting to hang on to the idea that they were in love, and neither Castle nor Martha are very understanding. This storyline upsets me a bit, because I am so fond of Alexis’ character and to see her in this situation feels all wrong to me. But Castle gets a phone call from Beckett, and the case goes on.

We learn that the murder victim was a medium, one who could communicate with the dead. Castle believes in psychics and mediums and the like, which we already sort of knew, but he is so fervent in this episode, especially after Beckett firmly rejects the idea that the victim was a real medium. The usual questioning goes on, and the team gets some very strong leads out of their very first line of suspects and witnesses.

I’ll be frank, then: as far as cases go in the Castle world, this one was pretty straightforward. No huge conclusions were jumped to, and the murderer was deeply connected to the victim, so it all moved pretty smoothly. In all honesty, it wasn’t a very interesting case on its own right. What made this episode special, though, was the ongoing debate throughout about the existence of psychics.

Actually, no. What really made this episode stand out for me was the personal storylines in place. The case didn’t drive this episode. Rather, Martha, Alexis, and Castle did.

The Rodgers/Castle family really get emotional and honest in this episode, and it’s brilliant. Alexis expresses her concern about her father and grandmother’s tendencies to fall in and out of love so quickly. She asks about true love and seems to be wondering if it really exists. Castle and Martha, meanwhile, really do their best to keep her hoping, and the love between that little family is palpable. In that scene, we also learn that, yes, Castle is still with Gina, his ex-wife, who hasn’t yet made an appearance this season.

The case goes on, and the debates get funnier. Eventually they decide that they’ll never really know, but Beckett remains sceptical, especially since she was able to counter all of Castle’s theories, save one. The daughter of the victim comes back to tell Beckett something important, her message containing only one word: “Alexander.”

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Castle, upon hearing of this, looks surprised and amused. It isn’t until later that we understand why: Castle’s middle name is Alexander. He walks away and Beckett is left smiling her face off, and Castle/Beckett couple fans all around the world cheer.

But the high point of the episode for me was something really personal, and yet universal. I recently lost someone close to me, and as a result I have been very sensitive to death in television and movies this week. Martha comes home with the news that Chet had died of a stroke the day after proposing. She is heartbroken that she was actually considering breaking his heart, and Castle comforts her, saying that Chet loved her and that he died happy.

This scene was touching and sad and showed us how truly remarkable an actress Susan Sullivan is. We get some great messages about death and dealing with grief in this episode, and I feel that I wasn’t the only one moved to tears during this scene. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Martha tells Castle that she has raised a good man, and his happiness with his mother’s praise is clear on his face.

The case is solved with relative ease, the killer is questioned and confesses in the interrogation room. No big chase, no shooting. I turns out that the psychic had cheated a bit and had done some good old-fashioned sleuthing into the lives of her clients’ love affairs and revenge tactics. The murderer killed the psychic because she believed that her husband had appeared to the psychic in a dream and told her that he had been murdered by his wife, so she was covering up a murder with another murder. Very simple, very expected.

To end this review, I leave you with the best quote of the episode. When Beckett asks Castle why he believes so firmly in the idea of psychics and the like, he replies with, in my opinion, the best line Castle has ever said: “If you don’t believe in even the possibility of magic, you’ll never find it.”

Have a good week, everyone. See you this time next week for the next episode!

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