As I was watching Monday's installment of "Castle", "Nikki Heat", one thought kept popping into my head: while this may not have been the best episode, I can't remember ever enjoying an episode of this show more than I did this week.
The case of the week involved the death of a high-priced matchmaker and focused on her clients, and it was one of those "Castle" cases where no one is truly innocent -- not the victim, not the cleared suspects and most definitely not the guy who did it, even if it was an accident. Normally I'm bothered by cases where you don't even meet the killer until the very end of the episode, but this week I didn't have a problem with it because the rest of the episode was so strong.
In this episode, Castle's Nikki Heat novel, "Heat Wave", was being turned into a movie and the actress cast to play Nikki -- Laura Prepon as "Natalie Rhodes" -- showed up to shadow Beckett to better understand the character. The increased tension as Beckett realized she was being "Single White Female"'d was great, as was the interplay between Castle, Beckett and Rhodes. I thought having the character show up not even knowing who Castle was nor having read the book on which the screenplay was based was a nice touch, especially given how fame-happy Castle's been portrayed in the past.
I wasn't originally sold as Prepon as the Nikki Heat actress -- just as Castle wasn't sold on Rhodes at the beginning of the episode -- but she won me over. She did a great job not just mimicking Stana Katic's Kate Beckett, but pointing out the characters little habits that we've come to love so much. The episode was also filled with moments that pushed the Castle/Beckett relationship closer to its natural conclusion, first when Rhodes-as-Beckett kissed Castle, then when Rhodes told Beckett that Castle had turned her sexual advances down. And the way the climactic scene tied back into Rhodes's audition tape was just genius.
My favorite random thing about the episode had to be when Alexis, Castle's daughter, would keep pointing out random roles or scenes from Rhodes's acting career, then realizing she shouldn't have mentioned it since they were all Rated R movies. Then again, I love pretty much everything Alexis brings to the table on this show. Also, the Ryan-getting-engaged subplot was a nice sweet touch, and just further evidence that this show is about so much more than the case of the week.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.