Castle: That ’70s Show review

The Castle crew has to pretend it is 1978 in a fun episode. Here's Jarrett's review...

As we get into the homestretch of season six, Castle continues with another solid but uneven episode for our favorite crime solving tandem. This is definitely one of those light hearted episodes of the Castle canon and after some real serious installments earlier in the season, it is a welcome addition. And lets be honest, everybody loves a disco fueled episode that goes back to revisit the groovy 1970s. Mobsters, molls, and disco balls with a hint of Donna Summer makes Castle and company especially fun this week. Can you dig it?

When construction workers find the body of storied mobster Vince Bianchi (of the Bianchi crime family) appropriately buried in concrete, Caskett catches the case. What makes Castle such a great New York character is his knowledge of the city and its people. Right away, Rick is sure that the body found is Vince because he recalls the famed mobster going missing in ’78. There was a turf war between the Carcano and Bianchi crime families in the seventies and Vince was at the center of it. With barely any leverage and very old witnesses, they go to interview ex-mobster Harold Leone (the always great character actor Jon Polito), the consigliere of the Bianchi family. One problem, though: Harold is totally still stuck in 1978. From his car to his clothes to his home nurse, Harold stopped living when his best friend went missing all those years ago.

Since Harold is stuck in ’78, Caskett and company have to make it seem as if time has stood still. Enter Martha Rodgers who is at the ready to redecorate the 12th so that it looks like the late seventies. I like when they employ Martha on assignment, she makes things more fun for everyone. Naturally she goes over the top going as far as hiring actors for authenticity but in her defense, Castle asked her to get involved. With Harold confused and still in the wrong decade, “Captain Castle” gets him to go to the precinct to help the gang in their effort to solve the gangland murder. Oh, the reason I say “Captain Castle” is because Beckett could not pass as a captain back in the “me decade.” The ruse works but not before there is a shootout in the morgue from an unknown assailant. So what exactly does Harold know?

As the episode moves through time, the narrative comes close to falling off the tracks. It was tough for me to buy Harold being so clueless about what time period he was in. If he thought it was really the ’70s, then how did he get to the precinct via police cruiser without noticing 2014 NYC? They try and cover by having the snitch duck down in the cop car but I didn’t really buy it. Still, it was fun, so I turned a blind eye. There are not many shows that I would give a pass to but Castle is simply irresistible fun, plot holes and all. It all plays out with an ending that I did not see coming but it was worth it to see the whole gang from the 12th in crazy ’70s costumes. Espo and Ryan are particularly hysterical as famed NYC cops Snookie Watts and Ray Price. They totally stole their look from a Starsky & Hutch like documentary they watched on the period. Damn funny.

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The final few minutes take place at the Glitterati club and everyone really works hard to sell the act. While we are a little unsure of just when Harold stopped pretending it was 1978 I am not sure. Truth is it didn’t really matter when you look at the episode on the whole. The sum is greater than its parts in this episode. Captain Gates was at some kind of cop conference and it was priceless to see the uptight chief walk in on an episode of Barney Miller in her precinct. Classic. It was a solid fun episode in my opinion but it really got by on its charm. I wish all 10 PM dramas were this fun. Totally groovy…

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3 out of 5