Castle: 4.17 “Once Upon A Crime” Review

Luciana Mangas February 28, 2012 25

Well, I have to say that ‘Once Upon a Crime’was definitely interesting, to say the least. While it wasn’t the most exciting of episodes – I did find it a little dull at times and they really need to innovate a little more on the twists last night’s Castle gave us a curious look into Castle and Beckett’s relationship.

A lot of fans had been complaining that the stalemate that their relationship had come to was robbing the show of its own spark and that things had gotten more than a little frustrating (and not in the good way) lately. Last week’s ‘Linchpin’had nearly been the final straw for a lot of people when, after yet another near death situation, absolutely nothing had happened between our favorite crime fighting duo.

Then fast forward to this week and the fairytale themed episode ‘Once Upon a Crime’ a very obvious homage to ABC’s new hit show Once Upon a Time and we have those subtle looks and touches and smiles that had been driving us all crazy (because they didn’t go anywhere) amplified tenfold. It looks like that the idea of a happy ending appeals to both of them and it seemed like the whole fairytale atmosphere and lessons made both Castle and Beckett a lot bolder than usual.

While it was still subtle, this time we didn’t have to look for it and investigate every little glance they threw each other to understand what the writers meant. This time, it was staring right at us and, honestly, it’s about damn time. Not only did Castle called Kate cute and she didn’t bite his head off for it, but they indirectly talked about the secrets and I hope that little conversation raised a few flags in their systems, because they looked entirely too guilty in that scene.

Even though it wasn’t a stellar episode with a thrilling case, ‘Once Upon a Crime’proved that everything we had been complaining about and suggesting for the past several weeks can, in fact, be done. An extra line, a lingering look for five extra seconds in a scene to show that they actually care about each other, a few quips here and there to throw each other off balance this episode had everything.

I believe this was Kate Sargeant’s debut episode on Castle as an official writer and, really, I just wanted to congratulate her. She did a really good job in bringing back those little elements that I know a lot of fans loved about the show. That ending, with Beckett willingly holding his hand without it being a near death situation was the icing on the cake.

It looks like we’re finally making progress here. Let’s just hope they follow through with what they have started.


  • Cheryl

    Kate Sargeant's second episode, she also did Mistress from season 2.

  • Gianna

    This episode definitely had an old Castle feel to it. The case was far better than the 2 parter and a few other episodes this season. Castle remembering he's a writer, Martha being Martha(LOL), Castle looking for the story behind the story, Castle/Beckett fun flirty banter. For a second I thought I'd popped in my season 2 DVD.

    The hand holding, or touching, was nothing to write home about. Congrats, after 4 and a half years they got two 30+ year olds to second base – just like my 13 yr old cousin. If there isn't any continuity to this moment than, like the I Love You that's been ignored, than what's the point?

    PS: Luciana this was Kate Sargeant’s first episode as an offical writer but she actually wrote season 2×16 "The Mistress Always Spanks Twice"

  • saveCastle

    Your reviews are always something to look forward to, Luciana. There's nothing really to add except an additional WELL DONE to the Castle writers and thank you.

    Ok maybe, one request to add: as we go forward, can we please have some continuity with a side of sizzling chemistry and banter, some angst, tension and normal amounts of character perspective? Zero calories by my count. And heart healthy too.

  • lame

    I saw Once Upon a Crime today on Hulu. Cute, lighthearted are terms used to describe this episode, bringing in all the nuances that had vanished since the shock of Knockout. It was like a small breath of fresh air, hopefully some one was listening.
    That final scene was similar to ep. 3.6, 3XK, and I would have thought that more than a year latter B/C holding hands would have meant more than it did back then, but depressingly it didn't, and it shows the sad state of the lack progress of Caskett, and why fans have complained.
    I guess this is the start of the mad dash to the finish line, trying to tie up all the loose ends and hopefully build on the continuity that is the mirage we've caught glimpses of this season, all the while solidifying empathy for our DD so the indicators we are being shown will have the maximum impact for the on coming emotional train wreck of 4.23.

    • Gianna

      Yes they have held hand before and a year later we're still in the same place. Also technically they didn't hold hands, Beckett grabbed his hand. And we didn't even get to see any reactions anyway, not that it will matter because next eppy it will be ignored anyway.

  • grey

    You know what would really be sad (but not surprising seeing how things have gone this season)? No emotional train wreck in episode 4.23. :-/ I can see them (the writers) potentially missing the mark and messing that up too at this point.

  • Jessie

    I really enjoy your reviews Luciana because you're not afraid to point out the negatives as well as positives of the show. I liked the episode too. The banter was good – the scene with Ryan and Esposito and the old lady with the dolls was really funny, and Castle was funny again too. Hand-holding would have been better if they lingered on the shot a little longer and showed them continuing to hold hands throughout Martha's show. It really is the little things they need to start focusing on – holding hands, him putting his arm around her when they are sitting on a couch, touching each other more. Keep doing this and gradually lead up to becoming a full-blown couple.. As others have said, it will all be lost and everyone will be down on the show again if in the next episode they are back to brother/sister, so I seriously hope they are finally going to address the continuity problems this show has had for years now.

  • Flick

    I loveeddd that doll scene, seamus was just simply brilliant!!! his face when looking at dolls!! hahaha! There could've been more twists I guess but seriously, the castle-ness we all love is back!!! yay!

    • lame

      Yeah that was sorely missed and really refreshing, hope it's not a one and gone situation for this episode only.

      • lame

        Just read the TVGuide synopsis for 4.18 and there will definitely be more Caskett on the horizone.
        My gripe is why was it intensionally avoided till now, when it could have easily been worked into any episode this season.

  • neo

    To the hand holding point. I agree that the gesture was more along her "walkin in the forest, but don't be afraid, I have the gun to protect you" line. It seemed more like consolation than tenderness, and I missed the immediate reactions on their faces.

    I think however that it was more than the reptition of 3×06 finale. It happened at Castle's home, without any imminent life danger and his family was allowed to watch it. IMHO these circumstances made it different. As Luciana said, the previous moments in the episode made it clear what Katie Sargeant wanted to show without elaborate vivisection and reinterpretation.

    The execution could have been better, but I can easily imagine that the same TPTB who considered the dry spell of this season interesting, thought that we don't deserve more at the 3/4 of the season. The coming episodes will tell that it was just another bait dangled in front of us, or the start of something more than a beautiful friendship.

  • @NatrinaLawson

    I love how they dressed Expo as Ryan and vice versa in the first scene. Both looked hot regardless but it was cute to see them switch it up.
    This case was all in the tiny details (bows!!!) So does that mean that Castle is noticing all the little tiny details happening around Kate? ( sidenote: can we get a case where Kate gets the twist before him just once?)

    Also does Kate seem daunted by Castle's sexual appetite? she looks a little green in the gills this season when he says " I was doing research" where in previous seasons she blow it off as typical maleness. She definitely doesn't know Castle hasn't been sleeping with anybody, right? maybe we need Josh back to spice things up.

    It would be nice if continuity at least let them celebrate the years of almost death. last year they were Popsicles can we have some therapy about that?

  • shan

    Ok, so I really really enjoyed this episode of Castle! It brewed with cute Castle/Beckett moments and I totally did not expect the murder case twist in the end. You were very much spot on in your review!!

    I always recall the original show description given to Castle.. A novel mystery writer following an NYC detective (who always seems to be thrown all the odd & outrageous homicide cases) for research. This episode had the suspenseful – though perfectly balanced with lightheartedness – feel (I agree with Det. Ryan, those dolls were creepy!) in the episode, which is what personifies Castle and wonderfully fit its show description.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm one of those fans that enjoys all Castle episodes. I am by no means a critic, just a fan. I just really loved this episode. This 'Once Upon a Crime' stayed true to its pun as we reminisce in delight when we all first fell in love with Castle, 'Once Upon a Time' :)

  • Richard

    I trust Stana Katic's instincts as an actress and major player on Castle. She has said for some time and recently, that they should get on with the relationship already. As for yet another cliff hanger? AWM how about a romantic cliffhanger? A great moment between Castle and Beckett to make heart flutter through the summer? Or maybe they can get lost at sea, end up on an island…oops, that's been done. Well, how about something different for a cliffhanger anyway? Liked this episode and looking forward to seeing what Marlowe & Co. do for the rest of the season.

  • Hylean

    To the people thinking we should be seeing handholding in general, arms across shoulders, etc. what show are you watching?

    I'm sorry. I'm disappointed by the lack of progress in the relationship, but people are talking like they are already together. They're not. Castle got rebuffed, badly, in the first episode of the season. He is holding back. They aren't going to be all touchy like an actual couple because to Castle, they're not. That's why all those movements are made by Beckett, because she's the one who has to cross the chasm. Castle has said what he needs to say and it's up to Beckett to bring them together.

    We won't see couple style touching until they're an actual couple, so stop expecting it. It doesn't happen like that in real life and it's not going to happen in the show.

  • LouliRT

    I really enjoyed the episode too.. It did have the fun and humor of the first two seasons. However, i have two points to add:

    1. The hand holding was not a romantic scene. It could happen between any 2 close friends who show support for each other. Yes it shows progress in Castle/Beckett relationship, but only in the friendship department.

    2. You want the to follow through wht they have started, which means continuity. Well i HIGHLY doubt it. I mean if we want to talk continuity, how about one week ago when Castle found out something new about his father, it didn’t even occur to him to confront his mom about it? If Sophia turner wasn’t bluffing and she know who his father is, wouldn’t his mother also know? wouldn’t he want to ask her why she lied to him all those years and told him she doesn’t know who his father is? Ok the CIA know lots of stuff, but they can’t possibly know someone’s dad if his own mom doesn’t! But instead what do we get? NOTHING. He’s just upset she’s using his loft for her one woman show! Continuity at its best!

    • Flick

      I’m pretty sure martha doesn’t know who’s the father, cause she slept with too many people during that period of time?

      • LouliRT

        So how does the CIA know? If Martha doesn't know, the father also doesn't, unless they made a random DNA test on Castle without him knowing, which is very unlikely and unjustified.

        • Flick

          I guess, but this leaves AWM and CO a great opening for another plot if you know what I mean. Maybe that powerful father thinks he is Castles dad but he actually isn’t. The possibilities are endless!!

  • lame

    If you take the cynical point of view, although KB knows of RC's feelings and is afraid to act on them, she is stringing him along as she did in S3 when she toyed with him while still in a relationship with the Doc. Call it a lack of self esteem or trust issues, it is a character flaw.
    Or you could view it as remnants of the trauma from her mother's murder, compounded by her shooting, that she hasn't fully dealt with.
    In either case, dealing with these issues is long over due, and keeping them unresolved till the last episode is a lack of respect of the fans.
    I would hope this isn't what is in AWM & CO"s plans but I have a sinking feeling that it is.
    Oh well, we'll see.

  • Casologist

    I liked the episode, but my expectations are much lower than last season. I don't look forward to watching Castle the same way I did last season, either. The subtext was cute and I was glad to finally see some progress, but it's too subtle. It's too little, too late. It's getting annoying, boring, the SOS.

    I hope the last shot of her hand on his was telling us that Kate is ready to be a serious part of his personal life. That she is ready to dive in together. The way she went for his hand was very deliberate, forceful and the close up enhanced that effect. Martha invited her and I'm thinking that she is playing Cupid. Questioning his role as a son has to be contrived since he is an exceptional son. I think she is trying to stir the pot and get them together. I hope she is as impatient with the status quo as much as we are.

  • Casologist

    Forgot to add that Castle is expected to be renewed for next season but ABC has not officially renewed it. It's up against very stiff competition – H50 and SMASH. And before SMASH is The Voice., a great lead in. So, my guess is that TPTB are putting the pressure on AM and Company to step up to the competition. Also, keep in mind that Castle has had DWTS and the Bachelor as lead ins. Where would Castle be without them? ….I have to wonder.

    • TMA

      I think Castle actually has better ratings than the Bachelor,so I doubt that The Bachelor,as a lead-in has too much to do with the high number of viewers Castle gets.For instance look at how,every year,the ratings go up by at least 20% when DWTS is the lead-in compared to The Bachelor.Castle has very good ratings for the time slot it's in for the time being.

  • lame

    Look, Castle does well enough to stay afloat. It'll never reach juggernaut status like NCIS where continuity is the prime directive. How else can you reach season 10 as king of the hill and be planning for the landmark episode number 200, so far into the furure, with so much confidence.
    I would hope "TPTB" would take heed, instead of bumping around like a toddler trying to get his footing.
    I would like to see Castle get back to the confidence of season 1 and 2 when AWM & CO knew where they were going and not feel like they'ed lost direction. Back then they were bold and moved the C/B arch along not letting it get bogged down is doubt and vacillation.
    I can only hope.

    • lame

      Saw one of the "Thin Man" movies last night with William Powell and Myrna Loy. They were married had a child and the repartee was as sharpe and witty as always, not letting the other character get away with anything. And these were characters that evolved on the big screen over years. Here again I can only hope.