Castle S7 Ep10 – Bad Santa

So this was a festive, fun episode – right up until the end. And the end … well, I’ll get to that.

The ep opens with a guy being hunted down and shot to death by a murderous Santa. Castle’s first theory is something along these lines, but it turns out that the victim, Eric Mercer, was the doctor for the Carlucci family. Castle, of course, is friends with the head of the family, Dino, so he thinks they should just go talk to him and figure this out. Dino Carlucci – played by the wonderful Paul Ben-Victor – is not willing to talk. Not with Beckett there, anyway.

A blood oath

If I were Castle, I’d be wearing a bandage on my hand in the next scene. Ouch.

When Castle returns to Dino’s strip club at his invitation, the mob boss ‘invites’ him to find Eric’s murderer, giving him carte blanche to talk to everyone in his organization as long as he doesn’t bring the police along. Castle agrees, and is made an honorary member of the family. This works out well at first: our boy knows what kinds of questions to ask, naturally, and continues to pass on what he’s learned to Beckett, Espo, & Ryan. Eventually Dino’s daughter Jane admits that she’s in love with Luca, the son of a rival family.

All seems to end well: our team discovers the Santa assassin is actually a detective who’s been working Organized Crime for years now (I pegged him as involved as soon as he came in to consult), the Carluccis are grateful for Castle’s help, and it’s time for the precinct’s holiday party. But then, in a move that can only be described as very realistic, Captain Gates sadly announces to Rick that he’s been barred from working with the NYPD henceforth. The dirty cop was killed while he was being transferred, it looks like a mob hit, and therefore Castle’s involvement with the Carluccis looks really bad for the department. Oh dear.

The other major plotline this week involves Lanie begging Espo to pretend they’re engaged. See, her parents have been bothering her about when she’ll get married, so she ‘accidentally’ told them she was engaged to Esposito. This could hardly be more cliched and hackneyed, but both actors pull it off. The characters do, too, which is to say that Lanie’s parents are charmed by their fake prospective son-in-law. But it seems that Espo & Lanie mutually decide to break it off after the holidays, because “they don’t have what Beckett & Castle and Ryan & Jenny have”, even though they are crazy about each other. So they don’t ever want commitment? This saddens me.

Still partners?

But if he can’t solve crimes *with* her, does that mean they’ll have to compete? Not cute, show.

The Castle/Beckett plotline of the week revolves around a Castle family tradition of writing a Christmas poem that captures the essence of the year. Beckett is very nervous that hers won’t measure up. But when she reads it to Castle at the end of the ep, it’s very sweet and heartfelt, and if it isn’t a masterpiece of rhyme and eloquence, Castle clearly doesn’t mind. He’s too busy worrying about the future of the partnership between them that Kate’s poem just celebrated. As am I. I guess the promo suggests Rick becomes a private eye, but that doesn’t solve the partnership problem. Will they be able to work together again? We’ll find out in the new year…