Castle is back on the air! After the holiday break, Nathan Fillion and his team have returned to air the remaining half of their season. I couldn't say how many more episodes are left, but there are too many shows around for everything to finish up in May. Having the Olympics airing next month hardly helps. That just happens to be Sweeps month, where shows compete for viewers with huge storylines and incredible shockers. Whether they succeed or not is quantified by the ratings.
So how does ABC ensure viewing on its first new episode in a while? One obvious step is to have a top name guest star. Send in Alyssa Milano, known for roles on Who's the Boss and Melrose Place, among other things. Milano stars as Kira, who has the unfortunate experience of getting married. It wouldn't be so bad except for the dead bridesmaid. Uh-oh! Time to call in the cops.
Det. Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) soon arrives to deal with the crime scene. Lanie (Tamala Jones), the medical examiner, says the woman died from being choked. No kidding. The ligature marks can easily be seen. Which means somebody used a cord or similar variant to cut off the blood supply. Good thing Beckett has Det. Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas) and Det. Kevin Ryan (Seamus Deaver) to help question guests and those in the wedding party.
Castle (Nathan Fillion), meanwhile, is all tied up, literally. He is attempting to mimic Nikki Heat, the main character in his books, who needs to get herself out of a pickle. Fillion has my respect for agreeing to be bound via duct tape. Ouch! The problem is getting it off, without pain. Yeah, right.
This episode is a bit more in depth than the typical mystery fare. Castle is opened up with the discovery of an old flame (Milano) who pretty much breaks his heart. Both of these actors are old pros, and it's evident in their acting. The tenderness mixed with regret is compelling, and viewers easily sit through the entire program just to comprehend the backstory.
Susan Sullivan also does a good turn as Martha, Castle's mother. She reminds him to leave the past in the past. Dredging up old memories tends to bring nothing but trouble. I like her a lot. Sullivan adds the spice and some wicked humor to make this show not the typical fare.
Sooner or later, the focus should come back to Beckett's dead mother. The suggestion has been made it was a homicide, but the storyline has been on the back burner for a good while. Whoever did the deed is assumed a serial killer, although the evidence is a tad thin. Other victims were killed around the same time, but it doesn't mean it is the same person. Big cities will often experience multiple crimes in the same time period.