MURDOCH MYSTERIES – Season Finale
Season 6, Episode 13 (The Murdoch Trap)
Definitely too early to break out the champagne, and if you’re Inspector Brackenreid, you even swear off whiskey until Dr. Ogden is proved innocent, surviving off of tea instead.
At the beginning of the episode, Dr. Ogden is facing execution, Brackenreid and Murdoch have been suspended from duty, and Crabtree and Dr. Grace are trying their best to help prove Dr. Ogden’s innocence while still working at the station. Everyone is moonlighting investigating the case. Murdoch thinks he saw a notorious serial killer with a joyful vendetta against Murdoch in the courtroom at the end of the previous episode. This week, they attempt to build a case to prove this serial killer’s guilt and catch him.
However, it is Murdoch who gets caught, and who discovers that the whole mystery is but a game to the killer, who is conducting an experiment to see how far Murdoch will go for true love. The killer is likely sociopathic and the game of killing Dr. Garland, framing Dr. Ogden, and entrapping Murdoch is nothing but amusing and peculiar. However, there is something tragic about how the killer does not understand love and is actually intrigued by whether Murdoch will sacrifice himself for Dr. Ogden. The killer would not do that. Our society has become the sociopath intrigued by the concept of true love and yet not being able to really feel it. Murdoch, however, is a hero.
The outcome of the episode is forewarned, however, by the knowledge that the show has been renewed for another season…that will be five hours longer!
REPUBLIC OF DOYLE
Season 4, Episode 11 (The Devil Inside)
Next week is the two-part season finale. Needless to say, this week’s episode had two choices: build up plot and tension for the finale, or take a break and do a fun-heist episode. The writers took the latter option, but threw in a few hooks for next week, such as whether or not Leslie will accept a promotion away. (I highly doubt it, since the show has been renewed – or if she does, she will find a reason to be back by next year.) The romantic relationship between Des and Tinny also gets some teasing, and I really wonder if that is going to go anywhere before the next season.
But overall, this episode was a standalone heist episode, with a supposed suicide bomber taking a large number of cops and civilians at the police station hostage. Jake, Des, and Tinny are among the hostages, with Jake trying his best to solve the case from the inside and keep everyone from being blown up. Leslie, although initially held hostage, is released and is among the cops trying to solve the crisis and negotiating with the bomber. Malachy and Rose take it upon themselves to help solve the case and find missing clues. Basically, it was a brilliant way to get all of the main characters in on the action without getting too complicated. Everyone was working the one plot. There was humour, romance, action, and plenty of suspense. While last week took a lot of time for character exploration, this week’s story was all about the plot itself. Find the evidence, save the hostages, beat the timer, nab the bad guy, and solve the case. Get in a few wisecracks, jokes, and badly-timed hijinks. Make the bomber interesting. Run through the checklist and we have ourselves a fun hour of television!
In this case, as in most episodes of Republic of Doyle, the checklist is not obvious, nor is it out of place. If some of the above elements were missing, the story would fall flat. Detective stories and thriller heists are especially formulaic. While giving the audience something unexpected can work occasionally, it is very hard to build a reliable show on such a premise.
This week’s episode was about having fun and solving a mystery. Next week, it looks like we’re in for a big finale with lots of recurring characters, drama, and action. Last year’s cliffhanger was painful to wait eight months for a resolution – so can they top that this year? We’ll have to see!
Season 5, Episode 20 (The Fast and the Furriest)
Lots of mythical and paranormal creatures have appeared on Castle over the past five seasons. Off the top of my head, there have been vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, zombies, cursed mummies, time-travellers, and fairy-tale creatures. The common theme in all of these is that Castle is the open-minded romantic, believing in the supernatural and the whimsical explanations (or at least entreating them), while Beckett is the sceptic who brings the team back to reality with their theories. By this point in the series, Beckett is able to gently tease Castle about his theories and their disagreements only seem to be flirty banter. This week’s mythical suspect is the giant ape Bigfoot.
These episodes involving paranormal and mythical creatures are meant to be fun. When Castle falls into a pit in this episode, the audience is not supposed to fear for his life, but rather laugh at him like Beckett does. With only four episodes left until the season finale, this type of episode is to entertain us and keep us interested in the show beyond whatever dramatic cliffhanger gets thrown at us at the finale. Castle’s main draw is its blend of comedy and drama. This week was pure comedy.
However, this week also included two important character-building scenes that kept this episode from being a one-off laugh-fest. The first was Beckett and Castle discussing their beliefs. This scene was less about teasing and more about learning about each other’s worldviews – arguably maybe not the best conversation to be having in bed after being in a relationship for several months, but that aside. Castle admits that he believes in the supernatural and the paranormal, or at least the idea of it, while Beckett admits that she believes in “the good in people” and the magic of everyday moments. These beliefs fit their characters, but this discrepancy might prove to be a stumbling block in their relationship in the future. After all, Castle may appear cute and childish, but his belief is most definitely not childish, but Beckett seems to treat him that way.
The second scene is directly related to the first – Castle and Alexis talk about how they want to help people and see the good in the world. In this conversation, Castle reveals how mature his belief really is and that the belief in the good in the world and the belief in the supernatural are not mutually exclusive.
On the other hand, Castle and Beckett are a good team because of their difference in belief, and also because they will admit the other one is right (or might be right) in order to solve the case.
Still, hunting Bigfoot is the main attraction in this episode. Seeing Castle and Beckett on a forest hike is worth watching!