by Michael Seese
Cool, cool episode! And somewhat like "Dead Red," two different shows. Like its glasnost-tinged predecessor, "The Blame Game" began with a humorous scene involving the Castle family, and then became something else. Though "The Blame Game" turned out to be much darker.
Castle: "Guess who's about to have the best day ever!"
Martha: "Could it be the fellow who just interrupted us rather rudely with boo-yah!"
Alexis: "What's going on, Dad?"
Castle: "I'm sorry, I can't tell you. I'm sworn to secrecy."
Alexis: "OK. So anyway, my psych professor said..."
Alexis: "Gram, you know he's going to keep pouting until he gets his way."
Martha: "Darling, if you think you're going to get top billing over Stephen King, you'll need more than luck."
... the trap is sprung, and a groggy Castle awakens in an elementary school classroom. If I may boast (MAJOR SPOILER HERE) I called Brandon as the murderer as soon as the four male hostages awoke from their slumber. Knowing (or being 99% sure) he was behind it did detract somewhat from the drama of the bee sting, the administering of the poison, and the discovery of the antidote. Still, I thought it was very clever writing the way Castle solved the riddle to open the cryptex, and mix the antidote.
I have to admit, were I one of the four people in that room, I would be dead. Because once I found the gun, I would have shot the wall three times to get rid of the bullets, and put to rest any possibility one of us would follow through. I guess it's good Castle isn't me.
As I thought about it, one of the things that made this a cool episode was that once Castle wakes up in the "traproom," the murder of Emma Matthews (remember her?) largely becomes irrelevant. The mass kidnapping turns into the crime. And yet the writers neatly begin weaving the two arcs together once Alexis and Hayley begin comparing notes with Ryan and Esposito.
Quick aside: WHEN are they going to have Espo and Hayley become an item?
Even though I loved it, a few picky asides:
#1. If the death of his twin caused Brandon to snap, he sure managed to research, plot, and implement a really intricate plan mighty quickly. If memory serves, it was mentioned that her funeral was the week before.
#2. And if Brandon were so distraught (and bent on suicide, as he said in the final scene) why not just kill his parents?
#3. Castle reasons that the person behind the plot used his (and ostensibly the others') phones to lure their spouses to 143 Nicholas Street. Come on... the FBI can't crack an iPhone. And Brandon could?
#4. How did he know that Meadow was allergic to peanuts? Perhaps he just made an assumption that someone could have been. Which kind of leads to my final point...
#5. I'm sure a statistical analysis guru could run the numbers, but it seems to me as though killing any of the captives changes the end game. Taken to an extreme, what if both Meadow and Patty (the two female hostages) were allergic to peanuts, and both smoked the cigarettes; then, Beckett used the booby-trapped gun to try and shoot the door? Suddenly, Brandon is down to three men (one of them him) and three levers.
Oh well. I still really enjoyed it.
Please let me know what you thought of "The Blame Game."