Season 6, Episode 13 (Dressed to Kill)
While this episode’s subplot involving Castle and Beckett hunting for wedding venues was sweet and entertaining, the main plot of the murder was less than thrilling. A young fashionista is found dead in a dumpster, and as it turns out, her life was destroyed in order to save the careers of everyone else at the fashion magazine where she worked.
Obviously her life was destroyed in the sense that it was physically eliminated, but moreso, the NYPD’s investigation reveals that: a) her designs were stolen by an established designer who wanted to stay on top; b) these designs got chosen for a top honour, thus the youngster was denied credit and if she had said anything, she would have ruined the magazine’s reputation; 3) the designer and magazine staff aimed to discredit her by hacking into her temperamental boss’s schedule, leading to both the youngster and her co-worker being fired; and 4) her boss was regarded as the pinnacle of the New York fashion scene, so the young woman was blacklisted and her own aspirations as a designer would have been severely hampered. In other words, she was “killed” before she was actually killed.
Obviously, the fashion industry is vicious, but this episode was classified as a “fun Castle episode”, so it was over-the-top. The guest actors were hammy, the surveillance was taken to ridiculous lengths, and fashion designs were treated as though they were nuclear arms codes. The main plot was merely an excuse to have Beckett try on a beautiful wedding dress, which turned out not to be so beautiful on her. It was too low-cut for her and the skirt looked more “runway” and less “blushing bride”.
What I did enjoy about this episode was how the writers revisit how preparing for a wedding without her mother is taking an emotional toll on Beckett. Here she was, trying on a wedding dress, and she was alone – her mother only a mental image in the mirror. Even the fashion designer left while she got dressed, and her presence and age would only remind Beckett further of her mother’s absence. Finally, Martha is stepping in to help her son and future daughter-in-law, and while Martha is helpful, she is not Beckett’s mother, and Beckett would have definitely preferred the latter.
Ultimately, it is best when the writers remember that our main characters are human beings with feelings and that the events in their lives would have repercussions beyond the closing credits of whichever episode the event took place. A wedding is a particularly important, family-involved time. Even if they aren’t paying for the event, parents are still crucial.
SPOILER ALERT – Two words: Called it!
Prediction 1 – Jake and Leslie reunion. Absolutely, it totally happened, perhaps not anymore.
Prediction 2 – Sloan was pulling the “long-lost daughter” act to scam off the Doyles. Yes, she was, but she did feel somewhat badly about it. She and her boyfriend seemed to make a clean getaway, if only because while Rose tracked down that the two of them stole the Doyles’ funds, she was soon preoccupied with other matters. However, Sloan left behind a clue that could implicate the Doyles in her final robbery of a loan shark. Icing on the cake…
Prediction 3 – It was indeed Leslie’s turn to be in mortal peril at the season’s end, although she seems to be less “mortal peril” and more “shuffling off the mortal coil” as she is carried off by the police over music about saying good-bye. Poor Jake, who spends the entire episode having his life discredited and ruined, does not seem to be able to save her in time. What they likely won’t show next season is him finding out that Sloan tricked him and robbed his family business. The man just might go off the deep end entirely.
I do applaud this show for having the courage to actually show some of the consequences of being continuously responsible for catching criminals. Most “criminal-of-the-week” shows simply end with the villain’s arrest and the heroes congratulating themselves with a job well done. This pattern continues until the show’s run is over, leaving the heroes more heroic and beloved by the populace every week while filling up the fictional jail. Republic of Doyle is not shy to mention that while he is a hero in that he catches criminals, Jake is a public nuisance and a headache for the police. Furthermore, he makes a lot of enemies, nearly all of whom would get out of jail at some point. In Canada, one does not get a life sentence for anything short of murder or treason. Petty thugs and thieves would have plenty of opportunity to plan their revenge on Jake and the rest of the Doyle clan, and they would have plenty of opportunity to execute those plans once released.
In other words, Jake’s life is quickly spiralling inward as his circle of trust shrinks and his network of contacts disintegrates. He is a known figure who attracts people to harm him. Unsurprisingly, this week’s villain turns out to be a psychopath who is unnaturally fixated on taking down Jake. It looks like he just might have succeeded, even if he does get caught in the ending montage.
Alas, we must wait months to find out whether the show is renewed and even longer to find out the characters’ fates. All I can say is, it would be a dreadful shame if the writers built up five years of sexual tension and relationship development for Jake and Leslie only to have one of them killed off. There would be no way to replace Leslie in Jake’s life, and the hypothetical sixth season would largely be spent with him mourning over her loss. Somehow, this show doesn’t seem that dark. It didn’t seem dark enough to kill Des two years ago and as far as the plot is concerned, Des is expendable comic relief, while Leslie is the major love interest. All in all, killing any of the major characters would be disastrous to the show’s dynamic. Perhaps in the earlier seasons, it could have been done. Now, everyone is integral to the family. The episodes would not be the same.
Finally, I also applaud the concept of a two-part season finale that airs back-to-back on the same night. Like watching a play, this format keeps the audience from forgetting important plot points from the previous week and allows for maximum amount of viewers. It also allows for a more in-depth story to be told. Finales tend to be action-packed and emotional – giving them two hours means the audience has more time to be involved in the episode. The first hour sets up the story, usually starting out normally and building the plot, while the second hour can pack in the action and heavy drama. When these are split over two (or more) weeks, the second half of a finale can seem lost (and then goes by too fast), while the first half seems boring or conversely, the second half can’t live up to the build-up from the first half when viewers have had a week of anticipation. It’s better to get through the whole finale at once. A nice, satisfying meal instead of a bowl of chips.