Castle, S5 Ep17 – Scared to Death

After several weeks of hiatus, our show is back – and while this ep wasn’t even the slightest bit scary and in fact could’ve used some actual suspense, it was nice to see the Castle family on my screen again.

I feel like this should be the obligatory "reaction shot to discovering fanfiction" screencap.

I feel like this should be the obligatory “reaction shot to discovering fanfiction” screencap.

So the case of the week is two apparently unrelated people who have dropped dead of heart failure with expressions of extreme fear on their faces. They both had received a creepy DVD that told them they’d die three days after watching. (Even I, who has never seen The Ring, knew this was really not an original idea, so I was pleased that Ryan acknowledged the similarities right away). Of course, Castle is the one who discovers the disc, and of course he freaks out. But Scully Beckett suffers no such fear when she watches it back at the precinct, against Castle’s wishes.

The totally non-supernatural solution to the mystery is that the victims were all witnesses who testified in a serial murder case. Those who were targeted also testified against a guy who turned out to be innocent, but who killed himself due to the pressure of the false accusations. That guy’s daughter then went nuts and decided to get revenge.

As much as I appreciated such moments as Castle’s reluctance to go find the third would-be victim out at his secluded Cabin in the Woods, and his bringing along some holy water, I actually found this episode fairly blah. I missed the usual Castle blend of humor and real suspense. Sure, I smiled and laughed a few times, but there was never any sense that anyone was in real danger. Even at the climactic confrontation with crazy Amanda, it didn’t feel tense. Plus, when did Castle actually start believing in these things? He’s always been more than willing to explore the idea of more supernatural solutions to mysteries, but I don’t remember him seeming to believe his crazy theories so much before. He would have joked about it and sought to get as much benefit out of the situation for himself as possible, yes – but that didn’t seem to be what he was doing in this ep. It just seemed over the top.

Holy water

Though I saw no stakes in his evil-fighting weapons bag, we can imagine the priest who blessed the water was named Caleb.

The Wes Craven cameo was well done, though. I enjoy that so many famous writers (and now directors!) are willing to play themselves on this show. It adds a layer of something like legitimacy that a writer as famous as Castle would be able to call up someone like Craven whenever, and that Craven would talk to him.

Finally, I’ll say that the final Castle/Beckett scene was amusing. But I hope next week’s whole episode is more satisfying overall.