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.
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!
The 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.
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.
What 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.