Castle: Secret Santa
by Stephen Janes
Every television show feels obligated to take advantage of the Christmas season and produce and episode fitting with the season. This past Monday, viewers were treated to the Christmas special for Castle, where the question was not, “Who kissed Santa Claus,” but rather, “Who killed Santa Claus?” Please don’t cry, Nerds; the real Santa Claus is okay.
The episode opens up with a family of three making snow angels in Central Park. They are interrupted by a figure resembling Santa Claus who falls to the cold earth, thus beginning the mystery of why Santa Claus is dead and why he fell from his sleigh. At least, Richard Castle seems confident that Santa hit some turbulence and plummeted to his doom from his sleigh. Absolutely morbid, yet somehow I seemed to enjoy it.
When I first saw the preview for this episode, the dead Santa angle seemed really cheesy but this episode proved to be quite entertaining. I really thought the story connected fairly well and while it wasn’t completely solid, it was still fun and progressed several character arcs.
This episode featured a lot of different branching paths for character development. For Castle, he was struggling with the fact that he would have to be alone for Christmas Eve, where he, Alexis and Martha would usually open their gifts and enjoy a special dinner. Expected to enjoy his first Christmas with his girlfriend Beckett, he is crushed to find that she is working in order to keep their relationship a secret from the precinct, but we later find she actually volunteered to work. Beckett explains it was due to her mother’s passing around this time, which Castle understands and moves on.
We also catch a glimpse of Detective Javier Esposito and Dr. Lanie Parish possibly reigniting their spark, even if temporarily. They seem to have moved on from their earlier troubles and, at least for the time being, are getting along. It’s nice to see this relationship growing and moving on, although I’m surprised how quickly it came here. Detective Ryan also reveals his holiday plans with his wife, which prompts a hysterical dance number from Esposito. Seriously, my words don’t do this scene justice, go watch it.
Our deceased Santa Claus apparently used to work as an equity manager before a change of heart led him to become a volunteer jolly-man who was a clock thief that owned a helicopter. Bizarre, I know. Even stranger was the group of Santa Clauses that formed a circle pit and started to fist fight Esposito when he tried to arrest a “suspect Santa.” It was easy to watch this and think, “Wow, this is bizarre,” but I honestly felt that bizarre factor made this fun to watch. The only thing that would have made this better would have been if the Santa Clauses were actually a fight club.
I normally find Christmas or Holiday specials to be very cliché, but this one I found to be oddly charming and humorous. The Holiday scheme was tied in nicely with the usual ‘whodunit’ theme of the show, but it was not over-done.
Hopefully you found some satisfaction out of this episode, because it will be the last we see from Castle until January 7th, when new episodes broadcast again. Reruns should air in place until then so if you need to catch up, now would be the time.