I recently watched Castle (as I do every week). It’s one of my favorite television shows…it’s smart, witty, funny and it has strong lead actors in the form of Castle, played by Nathan Fillion and Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic. I also happen to love mystery novels and that emotional love spillages over to mystery-themed TV shows and movies. Except for this week. This week, I was disappointed with Castle.
This week’s episode entitled The Dead Pool had 2 storylines. The first involved,well, a pool with a dead person in it and the second was about Castle as a mentor to an up-and-coming writer, character name Alex Conrad. I had no issue with the first storyline – I had no idea how the case would turn out (although that didn’t stop me from guessing) and that satisfies me. But the second storyline irked me so much I decided to write this blog post. The whole storyline revolved around Castle trying to establish his “territory” over Kate when Alex, Castle’s mentee, turns to Kate as a ‘guide’ in his writing of a new book. Okay, here’s my “beef” with this:
1) Castle is portrayed as a malicious character. This is exemplified when he tricks Alex into joining him for a poker game, only to shut down his self-esteem and affirm his own superiority over Alex as a writer. All because he didn’t want Kate to be shared. Superiority, need for control, need for power – why don’t you just take em’ out boys and compare sizes? That would have been a less painful scene to sit through.
Maliciousness and being hyper-masculine (need for control, reaffirmation of power) is not a trait I have noticed in the character of Castle in previous episodes. He is often the creative postulate-r, the one whose charm women can’t resist precisely because he tries so hard, the father who pampers Alexis and wants the best for her, and the son to Martha – the one who puts up with all her crazy antics and loves her all the same.
But for whatever reason, the writers felt the need to establish a malicious side of Castle? The side which tricked a person into submitting to Castle’s wishes – give Kate back to me! Give her! Really? I don’t see any point in this unless it’s to remind viewers that “hey, Castle is still a man and he still has feelings for Kate”. So proof = creepy need to want her all to himself.
2) Kate Beckett’s character was reduced (in this episode) to that of a muse. This was especially evident in the last scene when Alex, who has gotten some sense knocked into him by Castle, turns instead to Ryan and Esposito as his muse(s). To which Esposito, the more hyper-masculine of the pair, proceeds to ask if a “guy muse is weird”. Castle replies ”no” to his face but later says “yes” to Kate. Then, Castle proceeds to tell Kate that he was only acting like a creepy malicious fool because he wanted to have her all to himself. To which she replied “That’s cute.” Really Kate? Really?
First of all, as flattering as it is to think that Kate needs 2 men as muses to replace her, it’s a bit of a stretch.
Secondly, guys are weird as muses because guys are RARELY EVER muses. That ‘honor’ always falls onto women.
For centuries male filmmakers, writers, painters, artists of all kinds have often cited women as the inspiration for their brilliant masterpieces.
So of course, Esposito, the more “masculine” of the Ryan-Esposito pair would question his gender as being a muse. Ryan, apparently, has no issue with it at all.
Thirdly, Kate’s character is much stronger than is portrayed in this episode. She kicks butt, solves mysteries, juggles a personal and work life and above all, is a character in her own right.
Women are not here for men’s inspiration or celebration or whatever else. We are musicians and artists and writers with our own brilliant and creative endeavors.
This episode of Castle was disappointing because it starkly reaffirmed that this whole series revolves around Castle’s apparently huge ego. Please writers, do try to come up with something non-sexist next time. Castle and Kate are a unique pair – simply because both are so alike and equivalent on so many levels. It would be heartbreaking to see that if they ever got together, Kate would simply be shrugging off Castle’s creepy need to protect and defend her (read: his territory) with a “That’s cute” smile.