Castle: For Better or Worse – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

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Well, it finally happened. Melanie ventured over to the dark side this week, resulting in the reversal of our roles. See for yourself, if you dare. Tread lightly, though, because her claws and fangs are showing, and she’s out for blood!

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Melanie Atkins

Last week, I was the good cop. I loved Veritas, while Lee hated it. That actually happens quite often, as many of you know. This week, however, I cannot be the good cop, because I despised For Better or Worse. Except for the delightful scenes at the beginning filled with wedding prep and a stumbling block that should’ve been easily removed, plus the touching scene between Martha and Kate near the end, I want to erase the entire show from my brain.

Andrew Marlowe said in a TV Guide interview I just read that they’re setting up a “new mythology” for season seven. I don’t care. I wanted the wedding they led us to believe would finally happen. We’ve struggled through six years of stumbling blocks, some of them stupid, some of them not… and now to have to endure a season finale filled with more of them — most of which seemed totally contrived — I feel cheated. I’m angry. I want to scream. The horrific way the episode ended was just the icing on my I-hate-you-Andrew-Marlowe cake. If I hadn’t been in a hotel room watching a TV I do not own, I might have thrown something through it.

Marlowe had better fix this ASAP when the new season opens, or he’s going to lose viewers. Kate and Rick might be fictional people, but Castle fans have invested a heck of a lot of time and energy in following this show, and we want a payoff, not a rip-off. That’s happened to me too many times before with other shows, thanks to bad writing and poor story-making decisions. I did not expect such a debacle from Marlowe. He says in the interview that we should trust him, that we’ll eventually get our happy ending, and yet after last night’s tragic fiasco of the wedding that never happened… I’ll believe it when I see it. We, as loyal viewers, deserve better.

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Lee Lofland

Is it safe for me to come inside? Is Melanie gone? Yes?

It’s not that I don’t trust you guys, but I think I’ll draw my weapon and clear the room before I begin.

Okay, she’s definitely gone. So let’s begin my part of this, shall we say, bad cop/bad cop review.

First of all, and I know this will come as a shock, but I liked this episode. Well, I liked parts of it. Sure there were a few goofy things relating to police procedure, like Beckett driving her police car around the countryside for a couple of days while in a jurisdiction other than her own.

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Not to mention the entire trip was unrelated to an NYPD case. Then she parks the car on a dirt road, in plain view, within binocular range of a mobster hideout.

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And no one spots it, even though the mafia dude is supposedly smart enough to elude the local police and FBI for a very long time. Yeah, right.

Still, I thought “Kit Kat” did another nice job of acting this week. She was even convincing when she used a Slim Jim to open a locked door on her husband’s truck. If you’ll recall, Esposito also used one of these devices in an earlier episode—Under Fire.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with breaking into locked vehicles, here’s a quick lesson.

Slim Jims are most effective on older model vehicles, since most modern car doors unlock electronically. Still, a person with lots of practice and skill can use a Slim Jim to gain entry to almost any car.

Slim Jim with rubber grip

Cut-outs are used for hooking various lock parts

In the old days we all carried a Slim Jim in our patrol cars, and we unlocked several cars each week for the unfortunate folks who’d locked their keys inside. Then, when cars moved away from the manual locks to electric, the risk of damaging electrical systems caused most police agencies to abandon the service. Well, that and the number of officers who managed to get the devices firmly stuck inside car doors.

By the way, carrying a Slim Jim around in your car, along with a screwdriver or two could be considered as “possession of burglary tools.”

Got it? Good. Let’s move on to more interesting parts of the show. Like when Castle saw the “head” roll onto the barn floor? His expression? Well, that’s a face only a mother could love, bless his heart.

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Then there was the cameo appearance of the folks from Duck Dynasty.

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Still, as funny as some parts of the show were, it was a bit of a chore to sit through hurdle after hurdle after hurdle that prevented the happy couple from walking down the aisle. It was total BS, and a slap in the face to Castle fans who’ve waiting to see a wedding for what seems like hundred years—a hundred years of stupid excuses, subtle hints, and goofy writing.

Speaking of writing, this episode seemed like it was intended for a kid’s show, not for the gazillion Castle fans who deserve much better than what those behind the Castle keyboards offered this week.

For me, though, I enjoyed the humorous parts of the episode. However, if I learn that 3XK is behind Castle’s apparent abduction/crashed and burning car, well, I’m done. I believe I’ll have to leave the reviews to Melanie.

But, at least Beckett was held hostage again this week. We do have that bit of normalcy to help get us through the tough times.

Anyway, it was a funny episode in part, but a huge disappointment otherwise. And it was kind of cool to see the bad cop side of Melanie. What a beast!

See you next season…maybe.

 

 

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Castle: Veritas – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

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Melanie here. Before I begin my review of this week’s Castle, I feel the need to yell “spoiler alert!” because to do my job properly, I’ll have to give away the ending, and I don’t want any of you to miss out on the total satisfaction and sense of closure I now feel. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, stop reading this recap right now, cue it up on your DVR, and dive in.

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Melanie Atkins

Now, for those of you who did watch… can I get a big Woohoo? Even this morning, I’m still downright giddy. Finally, after six long years, Kate has defeated her worst nemesis. Yes… the scumbag and presidential candidate you and I have grown to despise, Senator William H. Bracken, has gone down in defeat and is now behind bars thanks to Kate’s amazing tenacity and determination. She has found closure for her mother’s murder and can now put the most painful chapter of her life to rest… meaning that after all this time, so can we. Thank goodness. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready to leave this storyline behind.

When the episode first came on Monday night, I was already wound up from watching back-to-back episodes of 24, and Castle picked up right where they left off. I was on the edge of my seat from the moment the episode began, thanks to its fast paced start in medias res — in the middle of things. No build up, no cutesy dialogue, no funny comedic scene to set the tone. Nope. We were simply dropped into the back of a surveillance vehicle with Kate and her camera, where we soon learned she’d been tracking a Bracken associate for some time. Well done, writers.

I bought into all of it, from Kate being accused of Vulcan Simmons’ murder, to the revelation of Smith being alive… until Rick left Kate alone at the hotel to go after a car a mysterious friend promised to lend him. I had trouble believing he would’ve done that, after his many protests about her going out at night by herself while working the case, and that jerked me right out of the story. Why didn’t he call his friend using one of their burner phones and have him bring them the car? Duh. And as for Bracken and his minions bursting into the room as soon as Rick left… well, I found that just a little too convenient. Once Kate escaped and collapsed in the hallway, however, the pace and sense of reality increased again, and that drew me back into the story. Rick picking up Kate so tenderly really got to me. (Yes, I’m a sap.)

Hiding the cassette tape inside the elephants on Kate’s desk at the precinct was genius, IMHO. That meant the evidence to bring down Bracken had been there all along. The scene where Kate suddenly appeared at the senator’s news conference and arrested him was extremely powerful. Stana did a great job — heck, she was trembling all over — and that really got to me. For fifteen long years, Kate has been after the evil monster who ordered her mother’s murder, and now she finally had him. They were in DC, though, so how could she make the arrest? Did the DC cops allow it as a courtesy? What about that, Lee? I’m curious.

Of course, I adored Kate and Rick’s heartfelt hug at the end. Finally free of her burden, Kate let out a deep breath and sank into him as he wrapped her in his arms. Caskett perfection. Now they can get married without Bracken’s threats hanging over their heads. Yay! I’m so glad.

The promo from the finale blew me away. I won’t say anything about it, other than that. Except that… I can’t wait. Woohoo!

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Lee Lofland

Well, Melanie and I are coming from two different galaxies, far, far away. We couldn’t have two more opposing views of a single hour of television viewing. She loved this episode while I thought it was darn near stomach-churning.

I suppose my dislike of this particular episode stems from a distaste of the long and grueling years (yes, years) we’ve had to endure the “he killed my mommy” storyline. Yes, I understand how someone could become obsessed with finding the person who killed a loved one. But this case, with the crooked senator and his ties to a drug kingpin, and the “maybe he’s dead and maybe he’s not” Mr. Smith character are extremely tiresome, not to mention downright ridiculous. And speaking of ridiculous…

Lanie, Lanie, Lanie…

Double tap to the chest. Fatal round to the heart. Don’t you just love how she knows these things while the victim is still fully clothed? Medical science should grab this M.E. and do a study to learn how she can magically see inside a human body without the use of x-ray and/or the slicing and dicing that all other medical examiners and coroners are limited to. You know, that thing called AUTOPSY.

Based on blood patterns. Lanie, I believe you were going for bloodstain patterns. I guess someone spilled coffee on your copy of the script, blurring your lines.

Shooter was careful and picked up all of his rounds. New York City sure got a fantastic deal when they hired Lanie. Not only does she save money with her ability to “see all” at the crime scene, eliminating the need for an autopsy and laboratory testing, she also does the job of the crime scene unit, looking for spent brass and other evidence. Hey, Lanie. How’d you know the shooter didn’t use a revolver, a handgun that DOES NOT eject empty casings. Oh, that’s right, you have the uncanny ability to look at a bullet wound (without removing clothing) and determine the caliber and type of weapon used to fire the rounds.

Enough about Lanie and her nonsense. Let’s move on to Beckett, the fugitive (please know that I rolled my eyes while typing the word “fugitive”).

This episode had something for everyone, didn’t it? A little romance, action, dead men walking, dirty politicians, rogue cops, stereotypical internal affairs detectives, and (drum roll, please)…you guessed it. Beckett was kidnapped, again, for the umpteenth time. Luckily for us, the TV viewing audience, she didn’t have a pistol with her. You know, so the bad guy couldn’t take it from her. Instead…hold on to your hat…Beckett grabbed a pair of scissors to use as weapon, BUT, the bad guys made her drop them, once again disarming her.

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And what’s up with that capsule they supposedly made her swallow, but she kept it inside her mouth for a long, long time. Don’t those things dissolve? Is her saliva as magical as Lanie’s voodoo science?

Of course, in the end Beckett got her man. Maybe now they’ll drop this stupid, never-ending, ridiculous, nerve-grating, eyeball-poking, bamboo under the nails, storyline, and move on.

Please, please, please let this storyline die. Kill it. Drop a boulder on it. Blow it up with a massive pile of C-4. Package it and send it to the person you hate the most. Bury it. I don’t care how you do it. Just. Get. Rid. Of. It.

And take 3XK with it.

This is unusual for me, but the only thing I liked about this episode is that it ended.

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Castle: That ’70s Show – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

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This week Castle borrowed Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and used it to take us on a trip to the 1970’s, when shoes were tall and halter tops were short. The 70’s arrived on the heels of the assassinations of King and Kennedy. It was a time was of festering and changing social issues, Reddy’s song “I Am Woman,” and demonstrations protesting the war in Vietnam. Castle writers, however, chose to take us to the lighter side of the era.

Aside from the episode’s somewhat iffy murder case, the rest of the show was, well, if you were a child of the 70’s you already know that segment of history was, in some respects, almost magical. And that feeling of “goodness” was what flowed from the TV set this week. Well, that was my take. Let’s see what Melanie has to say.

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Melanie Atkins

The long spring hiatus is finally over, but I must say I was a bit disappointed in this episode. I wasn’t happy with the writing or the story line. After all the hype, I expected a better plot. I liked the show okay up until the strange turn in the case involving Harold Leone, the man who was stuck in the ’70s, and his boss—the victim—Vince Bianchi. That was one weird twist out of the blue I did not see coming. Seemed more sensational than possible. Just sayin’.

Not that any of the rest of the show was normal, except for the body-discovery scene at the beginning. Harold believing it was still 1978? Martha providing ’70s set dressing for the precinct? Everyone wearing period dress? All of it was odd, but I was able to suspend my disbelief to go along with most of it… especially the funny parts.

I thought Esposito, Ryan, and Lanie had the best outfits and all of the best lines. I didn’t even recognize Seamus Dever (Ryan) at first. He looked totally different. And Esposito sliding off the hood of the Starsky & Hutch-style car? Priceless.

Martha’s strange, gung-ho ideas about Rick and Kate’s wedding were off-the-wall as well, but believable (for her). I do hope they keep her far away from everything related to their nuptials, or I’m sure they’ll live to regret it.

I really don’t have much else to say about this episode, except that once the big twist took us down the yellow brick road, the whole thing went downhill. The final scene at the disco with Harold dancing alone and paying homage to Vince made me shake my head. Seriously?

If I recall correctly, I panned the last episode written by David Amann as well. Maybe Andrew Marlowe should rethink some of these odd stories. We only have three more episodes left to watch this season. I certainly hope Amann didn’t write any more of them.

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Lee Lofland

As many of you know I’m still homeless, living in a hotel until our new house deal is all said and done. And, as a result, I’m without a DVR (the horror of it all), so please forgive the brevity of my portion of these reviews. Hopefully, I’ll see “normal” in a few weeks. Until then I’ll leave it to Melanie to do all the heavy lifting.

As for this episode—the 70’s Show thing—I thought it was fun. And, for me, it was a refreshing change from the usual routine boilerplate scripts. The scene in the precinct was “groovy and hip,” and it took me back to the “good old days” of 8-track tape players and record albums filled with the music of Led Zeppelin, The Carpenters, Carole King, James Taylor, and The Temptations. Then there was Pink Floyd’s mega hit album “Dark Side of the Moon”. It was also the time when we lost Jimi, Janis, Jim, and, of course, Elvis.

Television in the 70’s introduced us to Fred Sanford, Kid Dyn-O-Mite “JJ” Evans, Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda, and The Bionic Woman. Then the curtain went down, slowly, bringing an end, a sad end I might add, to The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and The Carol Burnette Show.

Anyway, back to Castle. The case of the week was just that…weak. But the rest of the show, well, I enjoyed the hour of memories. As an episode of Castle…not so much.

I almost forgot…Lanie and the rubber mold of the murder victim…puhleeze.

Lastly, as Carol Burnett said so many times,

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“I’m so glad we had this time together

Just to have a laugh or sing a song

Seems we just get started and before you know it

Comes the time we have to say, ‘So long.'”

 

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Castle: The Greater Good – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

Well, this is my last Castle review from Coastal Georgia. By noon tomorrow we should be deep into a new adventure. We’ll also be homeless once again.

We loaded Denene’s Lincoln Hybrid onto a car carrier earlier today. I was a little anxious about sending the car via carrier. The last time we did the truck driver fell asleep and overturned the entire load of expensive vehicles—a Mercedes, Corvette, BMW’s, etc. Every car was totaled, including ours. Fortunately, the driver was not injured.

Anyway, I should be able to post some sort of article each day. We’ll see. For now, though, it’s time to talk Castle. My part will be brief since I’m typing this while standing (no furniture). So let’s kick this off with Melanie’s take on the episode.

Melanie Atkins

This week’s episode wasn’t one of my favorites, but it did have a few wonderful Rick-Kate wedding preparation moments weaved in that made me smile. Comparing invite lists the lengths of theirs can’t be easy, and with Martha involved, I can only imagine the drama.

The show got off on the wrong foot with Lanie spouting another of her magical guesses at the victim’s cause of death, with him still fully clothed at the crime scene. Of course, she also named lividity as what helped her determine time of death. Really? Again? Why do the writers keep getting this particular fact wrong? It’s so irritating.

I found the rest of the case to be a tad boring, although I did enjoy meeting Captain Gates’ sister. Funny how no one knew the woman existed. I was hoping for more of a cat fight between them, to be honest, but still… I was glad to see them reconcile at the end. I guess Gates is more human than I suspected. I like her more than I did when she first arrived on the show.

While Gates and her sister were squaring off, Beckett, Castle, and company meandered through the ho-hum case, knocking off red herrings left and right. I really thought Berman was the killer. I mean, usually it’s just that obvious. I did not suspect Gates’ sister’s partner. Anybody else?

I can’t help but wonder how long Rick and Kate’s guest list will be in the end. Will they invite everyone and his brother, or keep the list manageable? Will they plan a big wedding, only to have to cancel because Bracken, or 3xk, or some other vicious criminal interferes, and end up with a small, intimate affair? I really don’t know, and Andrew Marlowe isn’t saying.

I’m looking forward to more intense, heavy hitting episodes at the end of the season. Episodes that either keep me on the edge of my seat or make me laugh. The Greater Good wasn’t one of them. Not sure about the 70s-themed episode coming up on April 21 (in other words, no new show next week). I hope it’s good and somehow provides Rick and Kate with a wedding venue. They’re ready to mail save-the-date cards and are whittling down their guest list, but they don’t know where or when the ceremony will take place. Seriously?

Bring on more wedding prep. Lately, it’s been the best part of the show!

Lee Lofland

I don’t know if it’s because I’m exhausted from move preparations, or what, but the show this week was a real snooze fest. It was the same tired and old story, but with a few new characters. And to top it all off it was BORING. And then there’s Lanie, who not only provided inaccurate science, she possibly destroyed or altered evidence while curled up on the bed beside the dead guy.

Lanie, Lanie, Lanie…Lividity blah, blah, blah……..

When the heart stops beating, gravity pulls blood to the lowest point in the body. Blood pooling in those low areas stain the surrounding tissue giving the appearance of bruising. This staining of tissue is called livor mortis, or lividity. For example, a victim lying flat on his back when he dies exhibits lividity on his back, buttocks, and the back of his legs. The same is true on the front of the body, if the victim is found lying face down.

In the photo above, taken at the crime scene, it’s nearly impossible to gather any information about lividity because the dead man is still fully clothed AND, the lividity would be present where? That’s right. It’s on the back, back of legs and arms, etc.,  since those are the lowest part of the body.

Again…

Livor Mortis (lividity) The staining of tissue normally begins within the first two hours after death. The process reaches it’s full peak in eight to twelve hours.

If the victim is moved during the first six hours after death the purplish discoloration can shift, causing the new, lowest portion of the body to exhibit lividity.

After a period of six to eight hours after death, lividity becomes totally fixed. Moving the body after eight hours will not change the patterns of discoloration. Therefore, investigators know a body found lying face down with lividity on the back, has been moved.

Rookie officers have often confused lividity with bruising caused by fighting.

Remember, ambient air temperature is always a factor in determining the TOD (time of death). A hot climate can accelerate lividity, while a colder air temperature can slow it down considerably.

– Lanie found a set of numbers written on the victim’s palm. They were written in ink, and they’d started to fade. Lanie miraculously deduced that the victim had written them 3-4 day prior to his death. There is no way she be able to tell when the numbers were written, and by whom. So many factors come into play. Was the victim a palm-sweater? Did he not bathe or wash his hands since he wrote the numbers? Does he not wash his hands?

– Lanie discovered tape adhesive on the victim’s torso. She said, “Looking at the pattern on the adhesive, I’d say he was wearing a wire.” I still say Lanie needs to stop sniffing formalin before wandering outside, because she just may find herself in a “hospital.”

– Officers need search warrants to search someone’s banking record.

– If the victim had been wearing a wire, and he was, why would he wear it while giving ou incriminating evidence over the phone?

 

 

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