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.



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!


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