TV Recaps

Castle Recap: "An Embarrassment of Bitches"

The best episodes of Castle are the ones where the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is something the writers had forgotten earlier this season when each episode was bogged down by boring cases, too much angst and not enough humor.

But lately the show has started to return to classic form with lots of snarky one-liners, silly, easy to solve from the comfort of your couch mysteries and the slow buildup to Castle and Beckett’s next epic romantic moment. The proven formula has made show much more enjoyable and this week’s installment, “An Embarrassment of Bitches” was no exception.

The case centered on the murder of well-known show dog judge, Francisco Pillar, who was also secretly working with a drug task force to train dogs to sniff out drugs. Francisco was found in his dressing room after awarding Best in Show with a dog leash wrapped around his neck. Ouch. His dog, Royal, was by his side and he kept digging his paws into the floor and whimpering which led Castle to believe that perhaps the dog had information on the case. Beckett was quick to ask if he wanted to bring the dog in for questioning (ha!) but Castle had a valid point, maybe the dog tried to defend his owner and might have traces of the killer’s DNA in his mouth. He didn’t, but Royal would turn out to play a pivotal role in the case and even more importantly, a pivotal role in a Caskett shipper moment (more on that later).

A (human) witness’s cell phone video led Castle and Beckett to Kay Cappuccio, a Kim Kardashian-type reality star who is famous simply for being famous, played by Hilarie Burton. I was never really a fan of Burton’s work on One Tree Hill nor did I understand people’s obsession with her and her character. But after seeing her in this role, I’m starting to get it. Burton flawlessly hit all the right notes as Kay from the squeaky, breathy voice and wide eyes to the almost childlike innocence when she basically incriminated herself after Royal responded to her perfume (it was made from poppies, like drugs). Beckett told her that someone wearing her new signature perfume was the murderer and she said she was the only one who it could be since it wasn’t available in stores yet. The detectives practically slapped their heads wondering how she could be so stupid, but Burton sold me on her vulnerability and I wanted to hug her and tell her it would be all right.

Detective Esposito was on Kay’s side from the beginning and volunteered to basically babysit her while they tried to figure out which paparazzo was responsible for the creepy spy camera the police had discovered in Kay’s dog’s collar. Burton’s best moment came in this scene. Without dropping the persona completely, she admitted that pictures didn’t always tell the truth about her life and she asked Esposito if he really thought someone had murdered Francisco just to be able to keep taking pictures of her. While I didn’t love the subplot of him flirting with her (I’m an Esposito/Lanie fan), it was a poignant moment and Burton nailed it.

Since anyone who has ever watched TV before knew from the moment Kay topped the suspect list that she wasn’t the killer, it wasn’t too hard to figure out that Kay’s boyfriend, Reggie, played by Justin Hartley, was the guilty party. I may be (totally) biased when it comes to him, but I felt like Hartley should have had more to do in this episode other than more or less stand in the background until he was revealed as the killer. Bias aside, Hartley did a great job with the material he was given in his final scene. As Reggie sipped his drink, realization set in that the cops were watching him and he was busted. He tried to make a run for it and even threw a punch at Esposito, but the detective was not having that. Reggie ended up flat on the floor in handcuffs and his face visibly deflated, knowing it was all over. (Yes, I wanted to hug him too).

I’m still not really clear on Reggie’s motives for murder. There was something about ties to a drug cartel and he thought Francisco had found the cameras in Kay’s dog’s collar so he wanted to shut him up before he told Kay? It’s possible I stopped paying attention after Reggie was taken down but that’s the beauty of Castle. With the exception of the ongoing mystery of Beckett’s mom’s killer, the cases can be forgotten before the end of the episode and it’s still a fantastic episode because the characters are what matter.

On that note, I have to go back to Royal, and the moment that made all Caskett shippers squee with delight. Since they didn’t want to send Royal to a shelter, Castle and Beckett took shared custody of him. After his turn was up, Castle brought Royal to Beckett’s place where they playfully argued about how Castle was the fun one and Beckett was the mean one who wouldn’t let the dog play on the furniture. Castle mentioned the dog liked having his head rubbed and then took Beckett’s hand and started rubbing circles there to demonstrate as they stared at each other, not saying anything. That sound you hear is the fandom exploding with happiness.

But my absolute favorite tongue-in-cheek moment of the episode came early on when the paparazzi outside of Kay’s place took pictures of Castle. He was smiling and getting into it, right up until one of the photographers shouted, “You’re not Jason Bateman!” Beckett was cracking up as Castle’s smile disappeared and he muttered, “That’s really getting old.”

Well played, show.

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.

  • This review was awesome and it actually made me want to start watching the show. I’m amused by the way you describe the relationship between Castle and Beckett. I will be Marathoning this soon. Thanks! :)