Week XXII – Descending Into the Bowels of Hell

once-upon-a-time-season-4ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 4, Episode 14 (Enter the Dragon)

once-upon-time-enterthedragonThis was one of those episodes that launches a thousand plotlines and resolves none of them, other than a tightly woven tale as to how Regina and Maleficent met in the past.

In the present, Regina finds herself in the dangerous situation of being undercover as a villain. Much as former drug addicts do not make the best narcotics cops, this operation does not go over well. She is successful in her deception only in that she does not get killed. Only in the final scene does she realise that Rumplestiltskin is back…and she has to deal with a much bigger problem than she realised. Furthermore, her actions lead directly to Pinocchio being turned back into August. The ramifications of that will only be revealed in later episodes.

The other major plotline is that Hook tries to convince Belle to trust him to hide the Dark One’s dagger. Foolishly, Belle goes along with the plan. They are really making her character out to be silly and gullible – beyond book-smart and street-dumb to being just plain stupid. Is she so relieved to have Rumplestiltskin out of her life that she refuses to believe that he could ever come back? She was married to the man! She banished him, but I don’t remember the part where they got divorced. I do not understand why she would ever trust anyone with the dagger. Especially pirates acting suspiciously and using vocabulary much more reminiscent of Rumplestiltskin than Hook.

Finally, Emma is going crazy with the feeling that everyone is lying to her – which is entirely justified. This will likely come back to haunt our heroes, for when you feel that everyone is lying to you, you trust no one, and you begin to question everything and everyone – and most importantly, yourself.

I do not think that this was a weak episode, rather that it was necessary as part of the whole season. On its own, however, it is dismal and unfinished. Descending into Hell is never a happy ending.414Transformation

2013-4 Murdoch Mysteries Season7 castMURDOCH MYSTERIES
Season 8, Episode 16 (Crabtree Mania)

images8Rather upbeat and overall positive, this episode saw Constable Crabtree take the reins of an investigation into the murder of a professional wrestler. At the same time, we got to see his relationship with Edna continue (I really like their pairing) and see him take on a paternal role for Simon. In this, the writers are significantly maturing the character of Crabtree in a way that is realistic and reflective of the character that they have created. At the end of the episode, he is offered a promotion and from his expression, it is unclear whether or not he will take it. Yes, the convention of television dramas would suggest that he would not want to leave Stationhouse No. 4, but we are only two episodes away from the season finale. Anything is possible! Besides which, in keeping with realism, anyone offered a promotion would undoubtedly be thrilled, excited, and sad to leave colleagues behind.

MMS5_WhoIsCrabtree

The world of early twentieth-century professional wrestling is not much different than the present. It was all about the show. Brackenreid and Crabtree bemoan the fact that so much of it is fake; however, like all sports, professionalism wrecks the integrity of the sportsmanship. Once someone is getting a paycheque, it becomes about the money and the show, particularly for individual sports. Sport (or art, for that matter) becomes entertainment. Audiences love the athletes who are charismatic and play to the crowd, whether or not they are the best. It becomes only another facet of the entertainment business – and a dangerous one at that! Athletes can easily fall into drug use (as shown in this episode with the wrestlers chugging back morphine like water) and their entire careers hedge on not getting injured. When they do get injured, the rest of their lives are permanently affected.

And yet, we are willing to pay to be entertained. Despite everything, it is all in good fun…or it should be.

tumblr_n0jgddouMc1rtrs3mo1_500hCASTLE
Season 7, Episode 17 (Hong Kong Hustle)

For once, Castle is on the sidelines as Beckett suffers an emotional crisis. In her mid-thirties, she is at a crossroads in life where she is evaluating her career against others of her age and feeling as though she is coming up short. It is truly a credit to the character, the actress who portrays her, and the writers that we viewers can sympathize with her, despite her being beautiful, financially secure, married to a famous novelist, and a successful police officer.

Her feelings are only aggravated by the consultant on their current case, a Chinese policewoman who seems to have everything together…until it is revealed that she has sacrificed her time with her family for her work and that she has been rushing her work for more accolades. She failed her friend. She is highly unstable. Yes, she is a great cop and very successful on paper, but that is all. On paper.

This was still a highly entertaining episode, albeit somewhat predictable. Of course, the highly successful woman could not have both the career and the family. Of course, Beckett would come to realise that her own life is wonderful. What was fun was to watch the two women unconsciously compete with each other as they tried to solve the case. The show treated this competition respectfully. Castle respected his wife’s fears and insecurities; he did not dismiss them or joke about them. There was little room for jokes about ‘cat fights’ or such. Yet the show maintained its sense of comedy. Go figure!

It is easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others. Nowadays, it is merely a matter of going onto a Facebook profile – rampant with photos of success (and the occasional heartbreak, usually so dramatic that it does not reflect on one’s life nearly as much as the success). We can easily compare careers, families, relationships, homes, holidays, cars, etc. We know how we fall on the line that we expected or have had expected of us. Not measuring up is a personal Hell, no matter how well our lives may seem on paper.

castle-hongkonghustle

Posted in Castle, Katy Pontificates, Katy Rants, Murdoch Mysteries, Once Upon a Time, Reviews, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week XXI – Forgiving Vs. Forgetting

once-upon-a-time-season-4ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 4, Episode 13 (Unforgiven)

queens-of-darkness-once-upon-a-timeAs the plot for the second act thickens, Maleficient is resurrected in the present and we learn about how in the past, Snow White and Prince Charming used (and were used by) the three Queens of Darkness. Some viewers seemed upset that the writers are elaborating on events from the first season and changing them. Rather, I think that the writers are trying to tell a complex and intriguing story and, in so doing, they are giving their characters layers of motivation. They are explaining why or how characters acted in the earlier episodes, not changing what they did. So far, nothing has been introduced that is wildly inconsistent with what has already been shown. The more episodes they have, the more details they can add to the story. When you meet someone for the first time, they tell you a bit about who they are. As you get more acquainted with them, they tell you more about their past, their family, their interests, etc. Sometimes, new stories cast new light on the brief biographical statements you got earlier in the relationship. It is no different with television characters!

Once-Upon-a-Time-Unforgiven2Forgiveness was the big theme of the episode, and not just pertaining to redemption for villains. In this episode, Emma has finally forgiven her parents for what happened to her in her past and thus her parents feel that they could never let her know what awful things they had done in the past – or even in the present. They keep secrets from her ostensibly to protect her. However, such secrets seldom end well. It is one thing to not bring up someone’s past sins in front of their children, particularly in order to shame or insult them, and quite another to purposely lie or hide the truth from one’s children. Snow equates her situation with that of Regina not wanting Henry to find out about all the evil acts that she committed in the Enchanted Forest (apparently forgetting that he has read the book), but it is not the same at all. Emma is an adult while Henry is still a teenager. Henry knows that Regina did evil things in the past, albeit not their full extent; Emma believes that her parents are heroes who always act selflessly and in the best interest of the kingdom.

Speaking of forgiveness, Maleficient is unforgiving of Snow and Charming’s past actions as they resulted in the loss of her child. Maternal love is fierce and strong, but taken to its extreme, it is no longer a virtue but a curse in of itself. Putting your child above all else ultimately destroys you and the child. In this case, I highly doubt Maleficient’s child wants to be avenged. However, I am very much looking forward to finding out more of this storyline. Is Lily, Emma’s supposed non-magical friend, really Maleficient’s long-lost daughter?

I really appreciated this quote from Snow: “Because when you betray the people you love, when you make them see the worst parts of you, what you’ve done changes everything. There’s no going back. You’ve shattered the bonds you worked so hard to forge. And the stronger those bonds once were, the more difficult they are to put back together… If they can be repaired at all.”

Being family means being able to put aside wrongdoing and forgive, but it does not mean to forget. Forgiveness is merely the first step in a long road.LANA PARRILLA

Posted in Katy Pontificates, Once Upon a Time, Reviews, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week XX – The Curtain Rises Again

once-upon-a-time-season-4ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 4, Episode 12 (Darkness On the Edge of Town)

While I am in the mood to rip someone’s heart out and crush it, or have my own ripped out and buried in the dirt so that wild animals could eat it up…(No points for figuring out which character I identify a lot with!)

once-upon-a-time-4x12-sneak-peek-4-'darkness-on-the-edge-of-town'So the opening episode of Season 4, Act Two does a very good job of showing how the characters have adapted since the events of the midseason finale and setting up the new plots points. We are given further background into the new villains for this story arc, we have some interesting drama with a dark creature (Fantasia’s chernabog, to be precise), and Rumplestiltskin weasels his way back into Storybrooke despite being banished. The episode sets up interesting storylines for the future – namely, that the Charmings seem to have a dark secret that overrides their heroic personas and that Maleficient is not quite dead. Also, Regina’s question for the Author takes a new turn when the newly-freed Blue Fairy tells her that the Sorcerer and the Author are not the same individual.

This last point was quite intriguing from the point of view that the “quest for the Author” is an allegory for a quest for God. Really, how many of us have thought of God (or the concept of him, for non-believers) as a punishing, finicky tyrant to decides willy-nilly who is bad or good or who gets a good life and who gets a bad one? The Blue Fairy, as a representative of good magic and church allegory, reminds Regina that looking for the Author is a dangerous path. Why is she looking for him? What is she going to ask him? How is she going to approach him (or her)? For her part, Regina actually hesitates. Earlier in the season, she was much more determined – she wanted him to write her a happy ending. But now she realises that her traditional method of walking in and demanding a happy ending (or even simply asking for one) is not necessarily going to work. Why does she want it, and what does she really think her happy ending is?

once-upon-a-time-episode-12-7-1000x600By contrast, Rumplestiltskin tells Cruella de Vil and Ursula that they are going to demand that the Author write them new endings. He insists that they are not responsible for their own decisions, but the Author is the one controlling everything. All of their bad decisions and bad lots in life are results of the Author’s wishes and writing. He has decided that they are villains and so they cannot make good decisions if their life depended on it. As Cruella herself puts it: “Well, I guess that is better than bad judgement and gin.”

I am looking forward to where the writers of the show take this storyline. From the story so far, I am guessing that they believe that everyone is responsible for their own choices and that whether or not someone is a villain or a hero depends on those choices, not on their circumstances in the story. Also, it seems that they are exploring the fluidity between heroism and villainy. In the realm of fairy tales, it is easy to believe that heroes are always good and they always win, and that villains are always evil and always lose. But whether or not one is a hero depends on one’s point of view and depends on the story itself. It also depends on how you deal with a situation. A hero may not always win, but a hero loses gracefully. Or at least, without senselessly killing anybody.queens-of-darkness-once-upon-a-time

Posted in Katy Pontificates, Once Upon a Time, Reviews, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week XIX – What Seems Impossible

2013-4 Murdoch Mysteries Season7 castMURDOCH MYSTERIES
Season 8, Episode 15 (Shipwreck)

MurdochEp815MainEvery so often, Murdoch Mysteries addresses a controversial topic in a pointed way. This week, the topic of choice was the Catholic priesthood. While Murdoch is quite a modern man, it was refreshing to see him espouse conservative and historically accurate viewpoints. He offered canonically correct answers and sounded very much like the 1902 visionary that he is. His religion is very important to him and is a sticking point in many of his cases. While I have decided to withhold spoilers, what I can say is that this episode addresses the issue of what exactly a priest does. A priest is not a job: it is not about the skills or the devotion to God or the ability to preach. The sacraments are not just rituals – the way they are administered matters because of legalities and spiritual salvation. Also, priests have to be able to be trusted by their parish. All of these things, Murdoch points out, are different than being a doctor or a police officer.

We are treated to insight into Murdoch’s childhood in this episode, which is adapted from a novella by the creator of the book series, Maureen Jennings. In this episode, we meet Fr. Keegan, a priest who once served as the priest at the country parish in coastal Nova Scotia where Murdoch grew up. Fr. Keegan returns in 1902 as a church administrator who consults on the investigation. Murdoch trusts him because of how he handled an investigation thirty years earlier when a ship was wrecked off the coast of the town. At that time, Fr. Keegan taught Murdoch how to investigate and put together clues.

The overall theme of the story is that crime, done for the right reasons, is still crime, and yet sometimes, doing the right thing is more important than doing the legally right thing.

It gives us pause: if a man is beating his wife and another man attacks him to save her, is the second man wrong, even if the first man ends up dead? If a mother kills to protect her child, is she right? Is someone who commits fraud in the name of following God’s will blameless?

This is what Murdoch has to determine…and sometimes, it is not so simple as it seems.

Murdoch_Mysteries_S08E15_2015-02-23_960x540_2500kbps_620x350_2655421407

tumblr_n0jgddouMc1rtrs3mo1_500hCASTLE
Season 7, Episode 16 (The Wrong Stuff)

In contrast, Castle is light-hearted and intriguing – a tribute to hard science fiction and existential space horror films, but fun and filled with comedy. It also centres on a case premise that at the beginning of the show’s run would have seemed very far-fetched, but what seems quite within the realm of possibility now. Namely, private companies are competing to be able to send a viable mission to Mars, and one company has proceeded to the phase of putting astronauts in a simulator. One of the astronauts is killed, and the only suspects initially seem to be the remaining four in the simulator…but are they really alone?

This type of case is right up Castle’s alley, and he is like a little boy in a toy store as he dons a spacesuit and roams the simulated Martian landscape. Castle is at his funniest and most adorable in these moments, so having an episode where he was excited and truly enjoying himself was refreshing after several weeks. After all, he and Beckett are back to solving crimes together (as evidenced by his awesome Star Trek parody quote) and that is the world as it should be. Add being on the cutting edge of technology and you have a happy Castle – and even a happy Beckett.

There were lots of twists and red herrings in this episode, which made for an even more enjoyable viewing experience for the viewers. Just when they thought they had the right suspect for sure, it would turn out that said person would have an alibi…and a couple of those alibis were that the suspects were committing illegal acts at the time. One tends to believe those people!

It is exciting to consider that expeditions to Mars are no longer in the realm of pure science fiction. Thanks to innovation and competition, there are multiple companies and governments who are considering viable Mars expeditions and who are designing and testing prototypes. This episode was entirely believable. Within twenty years, it is quite possible that a mission to Mars may be launched. Still, it would be a one-way ticket and not the most pleasurable way to spend the rest of one’s life. One does have to consider that before long, most of the astronauts would be elderly and require care. I would prefer not to think that a crew would jettison an elderly comrade rather than look after them. That is somewhat scary. While this episode did not directly address that, it did address the fact that small groups of people would be spending the remainder of their lives together. Group dynamics are the most difficult aspect of a mission to Mars. Several experiments in reality have derailed because test crews have been unable to function. Ethnicity, gender, and plain old personality have all caused these crews to fail. Humans were not made to live in tiny capsules.NATHAN FILLION, STANA KATIC

Posted in Castle, Katy Pontificates, Murdoch Mysteries, Reviews, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week XVIII – We Needed More Girls?

2013-4 Murdoch Mysteries Season7 castMURDOCH MYSTERIES
Season 8, Episode 14 (Toronto’s Girl Problem)

Another week, another episode centred around females. Last week, it was mentally ill female inmates/patients; the week before, it was lingerie models. This week, we are drawn into the relatively normal world of petty thieves who happen to be a gang of women. All of these episodes are good on their own, but three in a row does seem to be a bit odd timing. Granted, the male equivalents would not be so odd, nor would this repetition feel somewhat overdone if the show’s setting was modern Toronto. However, seeing as it is set in 1902, the fact that women are featured in three episodes in a row is somewhat jarring. For one thing, the fact that the victims, suspects, and witnesses are females is frequently brought up by the characters.Screenshot-2015-02-17-06.55.28-620x330

This week’s episode of Murdoch Mysteries does bring up some good points that have nothing to do with the suspects’ gender. Namely, it raises the question of police integrity: is it right to fabricate evidence or bear false witness in order to convict a criminal who, though implicated or guilty of other crimes, is not actually guilty of the crime at hand? While it is true that the criminal may have a horrible demeanour and have done many other crimes, they still have not done this one – and they do not deserve to die. Nor is it the job of the police to play judge and jury. In light of many recent police corruption scandals, it is refreshing to have this message reinforced. Everyone would like their police force to be Stationhouse 4!

MM814_promoMainThe other topic is much more controversial – namely, homosexuality and how it directly affects one of the main characters. It is one thing for a case to involve a victim, suspect, or innocent bystander who is homosexual (whether or not their sexuality has anything to do with the case) or for homosexuality to be integral to the plot of the week, but it is another matter to introduce it into the ongoing lives of the main characters. Now it can be a recurring theme and plot point. Will it grow to overwhelm the series? I sure hope not. Will it result in an important and poignant character arc? I hope that it does.

I do not necessarily disagree with Inspector Brackenreid in his words of warning to Dr. Grace. More than the other characters of late, Dr. Grace is haughty and flighty. She likes to have fun and does not always consider the consequences. However, goofing off sexually – particularly with what was considered to be deviant and criminal behaviour at the time – is not acceptable for the city coroner. The Inspector is being kind in his approaching Dr. Grace quietly. She is already in a tenuous position due to being female as it is!

His words do make her realise that the love that she felt was genuine and she decides to act accordingly. This is definitely a maturing realisation on her part. No matter the gender of our loved ones, it is not right to treat them lightly. They are not toys.

tumblr_inline_njxkc4GKRk1rtekcg

tumblr_n0jgddouMc1rtrs3mo1_500hCASTLE
Season 7, Episode 15 (Reckoning)

After viewing this episode, I am torn between sighing with relief and singing “Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead!” The episode was well-paced and suspenseful, but the overall storyline was predictable. Honestly, there was never a minute that I thought that Beckett’s life was in danger (at least plot-wise – it was in danger in-story) or that I thought Castle would be put out of commission permanently through incarceration. Having your name in the title and your face on the poster precludes that, particularly when the season is not over. I could realistically see them killing Castle at the end of the season if they wanted to end the series entirely and do so on a sad note. However, anything short of the series finale and I doubt that either Castle or Beckett would be killed. This show is a dramedy, after all.

That said, the 3XK killer storyline was resolved well. We can “never say never” when it comes to 3XK, but we saw his body fall and land dead this time. That is a definite relief. He and Dr. Niemann took us on a wild and terrifying ride, but it was a good time to resolve their story. There is only so long that such a horrible pair of killers can get away with murder and terror before they get caught. If they had “won”, there would have been little way to make them creepier for another installment of mistaken identity and mind games – plus it would have looked bad on the police.

Castle 715-2What this episode did accomplish, aside from putting an end to 3XK, was to give Castle a taste of what Beckett went through while he was missing. In all the other times that she has been in mortal peril (at least that I can recall), he has either been able to easily find her and ascertain her well-being, or else he has been with her himself. For two days this time, he had no idea if she was alive, if she was safe or maimed, or if she would ever be found at all. He was entirely unable to function properly. Well, now he knows that feeling. They can more easily relate to each other as a couple – although at the moment, Beckett is too traumatized for intimacy. Killing someone at close range in self-defence will do that to you. I am glad that they are sticking to reality on that point.

castle_dr_nieman_diesThen again, I also hope that we can go back to a light-hearted mystery next week.

Posted in Castle, Katy Pontificates, Katy Rants, Murdoch Mysteries, Reviews, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week XVII – In Time for Valentine’s…Let’s Ramp Up the Creep Factor?

2013-4 Murdoch Mysteries Season7 castMURDOCH MYSTERIES
Season 8, Episode 13 (The Incurables)

In an episode more conducive to Hallowe’en than Valentine’s Day, The Incurables takes place almost entirely within the confines of the women’s psychiatric ward where the many murderesses from past episodes have been resigned to living out the rest of their days. Nearly every patient is a returning character whose past crimes (or innocence) is known to the audience – particularly with helpful reminders from the main characters so that we can place their familiar faces.

This episode centres on Dr. Julia Ogden and her concern for her patients and her love for Murdoch. Dr. Ogden hates to see the women suffer – they blame her for their incarceration even as she never treats them nor has she seen them since they were brought in. Naturally, her life and safety are in jeopardy throughout the story – but she remains painfully naïve and oblivious to the true danger they pose to her. Watching her was an exercise in restraint – it was hard not to yell at her through the screen. Why would she go alone, or remain alone, at a prison with only a shady guard after at least one of the women has vowed to kill her? She knows that they have been able to get out of their cells on their own at least once. Moreover, why did Murdoch leave her? Surely he could have stayed as a measure of his investigation.

Honestly, sometimes Dr. Ogden’s insistence that she is independent and capable and thus does not need assistance is simply foolhardy and misguided. There are times when there is safety in numbers. There are times when there is safety in having a trusted man around. There are times when one should not trust a man that one has never met before, particularly when said man is the only safeguard between oneself and a bevy of potentially homicidal women. Dr. Ogden (and her husband Murdoch) needs to recognise this and determine that there are times when she does need help. It does not make her weak or feminine. It makes her smart and alive.

But the main reason that Dr. Ogden underestimates the women is painfully clear: she does not see them as human beings any more than most of the rest of the world does. They are locked up like wild animals. Nothing is done to treat them. They are called the “incurables” and mostly left to their own devices. As Dr. Ogden discovers, no one hears them scream for help or mercy. They are left vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. They are then also left to fend for themselves amid each other, like wild dogs or cats. They have vastly different personalities, backgrounds, and ailments. While everyone jumps when they threaten or kill hospital staff, no one would look the other way if one of them killed another or made the lives of their fellow prisoners miserable. They were in hell.

And ever so briefly, so was Dr. Ogden, and so were we.

MurdochMysteries813Main

 

tumblr_n0jgddouMc1rtrs3mo1_500hCASTLE
Season 7, Episode 14 (Resurrection)

Speaking of hell, Castle, Beckett, and the whole 12th Precinct are run through the wringer as the 3XK killer (and his associate, Dr. Nieman) resurface. Without giving much away, suffice to say that Castle is back at the precinct to consult, albeit on a one-case-only basis, and 3XK is still one step ahead of them every step of the investigation. Furthermore, while 3XK is focused on Castle, Dr. Nieman has her sights on Beckett. As is often the case in the major two-part episodes, the credits role on a cliffhanger wherein a main character is in mortal peril.

Unsurprisingly, the episode starts off in a normal, lighthearted manner. We are treated to a cozy breakfast in the Castle loft. Martha and Alexis, both happy and loving toward our starring couple, make appearances and startle Castle and Beckett with their warmth and cheerfulness. Martha is passably in a good place and thus being her normal self, but Alexis is especially sweet – even kissing Beckett on the cheek. If this had not been the dramatic episode that is was, one would expect that her attitude would mask that she was hiding something or preparing a surprise. Perhaps this will come back next week in the closing scene! At least, one can hope.

My other observation is that once Castle’s mother and daughter leave, Beckett suddenly raises the question of starting a family with him. She clearly startles him with the topic, leaving him rattled as her phone rings about the week’s case. ‘Babies’ isn’t a pre-coffee topic! Naturally, we are left to wonder if this was foreshadowing that one of the main characters would die…except that we are partway through the season and it is a pretty safe bet that the writers are not going to kill off Castle or Beckett.

Castle is right when he says that there is never a “good time” to have children. There will always be trouble in the world. There will always be issues about money – even for those as wealthy as Castle, whose disappearance over the summer undoubtedly damaged his income. There will always be people out to get us, whether or not we have serial killers with personal vendettas against us. Castle is likely approaching 50 while Beckett is in her mid-thirties – if they want a biological child or two, they cannot wait for long, especially if they don’t want them growing up right alongside a niece or nephew. Whatever will happen will happen. Besides which, we have seen Castle and Beckett’s relationship progress for seven seasons: unlikely partners, crushes, admirers, friends, colleagues, lovers, and now spouses. All that we have not seen them as are parents. I doubt that it would wreck the dynamic of the series. It is merely the natural progression of the main relationship of the show.

After all, it is not as though they will stop solving crimes together!

castle-3xk-resurrection

Posted in Castle, Katy Pontificates, Murdoch Mysteries, Reviews, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week XVI – What Just Happened?

tumblr_n0jgddouMc1rtrs3mo1_500hCASTLE

Season 7, Episode 13 (I, Witness)

This week’s episode turned the usual format upside-down. Instead of a murder taking place offscreen and our lead characters trying to piece together what took place, we get a murder that happens onscreen (albeit obscured) in front of our main character. Castle is thus forced to spend the better half of the episode trying to convince Beckett, the NYPD, and the local police of what he saw. Most importantly, he has to convince himself, and he ends up having to review his hypothesis several times until he and Beckett came up with the correct scenario and murderer. What unfolds is a Hitchcockian tale of intrigue and bait-and-switch that makes the audience keep guessing as much as Castle – after all, we are shown what we think is the murder as well. Unlike for Castle, who witnesses the murder of his client and former schoolmate, the guessing game is much more pleasant for us.

-castle---16-moments

The mind games, however, are sadly very real. Eyewitnesses are easily fooled or disbelieved. The brain fills in details. Little things like heightened emotion, shock, and odd circumstances can render a person very unsure of him- or herself. Their doubt is exactly what defense lawyers, judges, juries, the police, and the court of public opinion use to twist their words and memories to let a murderer go free. Castle is assumed to be in his right mind by the audience, but if a witness happens to be under the effects of mind-altering substances, medications, stress, or mental illness, their credibility is even further doubted. We are sympathetic to Castle, as is Beckett, but even the local police in the suburb where the murder occurred are not convinced of his story. If he were not a wealthy white male, depending on his location, his story might have been doubted or discounted altogether. Even still, he was asked multiple times if he was sure that he saw what he thought he had seen. The implication was clear: had he been drinking? Was he overtired? Had he overheard a television instead?

Castle-I-Witness-7-550x366

Witnessing a murder, or any other traumatic event, is not objective. There are reasons that people want to have cameras on cops, why security-camera footage is highly sought after, and why people want to see evidence of the supernatural on film. These things are considered objective, since the camera cannot remember something incorrectly. Sure, anything out of the camera’s frame of reference is obscured, but whatever takes place in front of it will be recorded as plain as day. Humans, on the other hand, remember events out of order, remember minor details disproportionately, forget major details, insist that certain things took place that are difficult to verify (such as insisting that they heard screams), and focus on their emotions. Castle acted stupidly in this episode – he chased after his friend after hearing her scream, even after seeing her supposedly dead body, and failed to call the police (or his wife!). He chased an unknown assailant into the dark and then was attacked. Naturally, his mind filled in the blanks and he initially assumed that the attacker was his client’s husband. Really, all he had to go on was that the attacker was a tall man who was relatively fit and most likely white. However, his mind reacted entirely as expected. Humans don’t like empty spaces, so we fill them in to make complete narratives in our minds.

On the other hand, everything that Castle saw actually took place, albeit not exactly as his mind had interpreted it. This is key when dealing with eyewitness accounts. If a witness has no or little reason to lie, it is very likely that they are telling the truth as they saw it. In order for them to see it, something did have to actually happen. Even if a person is mentally unstable and interpreted two raccoons fighting in a dumpster as someone being murdered, they did see something.

featured_7x13_02History is much the same. Eyewitness accounts, while heavily biased and open to interpretation, are real. People do remember. They know what they saw. Deception, however, is also very real, and very old. Yet just because an eyewitness was deceived doesn’t mean that everything they saw was a lie. Even in lies, there is truth.

Posted in Castle, Katy Pontificates, Reviews, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment