Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Castle vs. Zombies

Wow, am I glad that next week is Castle's season finale. I need a summer off from this show (and I hope it's a summer where the writers and producers take a serious look at what they've been up to this season and figure out what worked and what didn't, because there is a lot that seems broken right now).

I know people who think I've been unduly hard on this show, but this season was pretty brutal. I would argue that the last 12, maybe 13 episodes of this show have been varying degrees of awful, no matter how many decent character moments they had peppered throughout. But the reality for me is that this show used to pop with so much energy and easy charisma that they could introduce the stupidest elements into it--plots involving steampunk, vampires, wine enthusiasts, war over local pizzas, or FBI agents doing extended commercials for touch screen LCD televisions--and they could still build fun, ludicrous, thoroughly enjoyable episodes around them. Now they have to resort to fads like zombies.

A brief aside here: I hate zombies. Zombies are the dumbest fucking thing ever. As of last night, I officially hate zombies more than I hate vampires, because at least there's been the occasional decent vampire story in the last thirty years. Zombies? It's all been done. They are one plot device, repeated to the point of redundancy, and I've yet to understand why they're so fascinating to people. The internet has ruined a lot of things--ninjas, pirates, Chuck Norris (although, really, Chuck Norris was never once cool to begin with)--but its obsession with zombies has infected so much more of pop culture. By the time the flash mob of New York hipsters pretending to be zombies started shuffling up towards Castle and Beckett (complete with pointless suspense builder and commercial break cliffhanger, as if the zombies were ever going to turn out to be authentic, because even this show isn't that silly), I was urging them to just put on the "Thriller" video and get fucking over it. Seriously, it felt like Count Floyd should have hosted the whole thing; at least then it would have been stupid on purpose.

But as much as I hate zombies, this episode--and this last half-season--had so many more problems than a bunch of idiots playing out the latest stupid fad. The episode has been one of a number in the last few months that I had a really hard time paying attention to or even wanting to pay attention to. The premise was so thin that it really had to throw all of the zombie crap in just to move the plot along. Here's something every writer of Castle needs to do from now on: re-read your draft; if there's a point in there where Scooby and Shaggy could easily walk in and get chased by a ghost with zero interruption to the plot, you need to rewrite it.

Seriously, their little plan to get the murderer to confess was not only irritatingly dumb, it also produced a confession totally inadmissible in a court of law (duress, anyone?). And a law student seriously forgets to just refuse to answer without a lawyer present? And the whole plot device was ripped off from The Serpent and the Rainbow. Fuck, come on. Did we really, really have to do zombies? At least they managed to prove me wrong when I said that the holodeck fantasy episode was the worst thing Castle would ever do...

Anyway, at least in the last few seconds they decided to finally have their used-to-be-smart-and-perceptive characters start acting like goddamn grownups about their feelings for each other. Can't wait to see that resolved next week when we see the Conspiracy Theory Contrivance Generator get cranked up again, only to have Beckett turn her back on Castle at the end of the episode because she feels betrayed when she finds out that he's been keeping a secret from her about the conspiracy just to keep her safe. Oh, and it will also manage not to resolve the conspiracy surrounding her mother's murder.

I don't know this for sure; I've just seen television before, and Castle has decided to become just another TV show.


Tallulah Morehead said...

Leave us not forget that also last night, they revealed Castle and his daughter having a relationship like that of Inspector Cleaseau and his Chinese servant, only with laser tagging, that was: A. Not something they've ever done before, so how important to their relationship can it have been?, B. Tiresome beyond belief, and C. Stupid, stupid, stupid! (And gee the suspense: Would she choose a far-away college that would eliminate her from the show's regular cast, or would she choose a nearby college where she would stay on the show? What? She chose the nearby school? Get out!)

I used to use zomies entertainingly though. In Improv I had "Zombie Theater" as a style, where we would present portions of works by Shakespeare as performed by an all-zombie cast. Zombie MacBeth was pretty funny, listening to zombies trying to growl out Shakespearean sililoquys. I also used to play a running character in setches called "Vlad Zombie," who was a zombie but who would appear on talk shows, as red herrings in murder mysteries, do editorials on TV, and run for office. It was funny to play a zombie who was trying to live a normal life, and even achieve things.

But you'd have to pay me to get me to watch The Walking Dead.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I left this one and the Metalist for much the same reasons. I am bored to death. When CSI NY does a 'noir based' theme episode then the shark has been jumped. Castle turned into Scooby Doo - without the dog mind you - and I can't watch a show like the Metalist where I am the one who wants to kill Patrick Jane each episode. Only I can't reach through the TV to strangle him.

Kelly Sedinger said...

I...honestly didn't dislike this episode. The mystery was underwritten, to be sure, but it just didn't bug me much. In fact, it had a few moments that made me laugh, which has been in short supply on this show this season. I'm not giving up on the show yet; I'm just hoping this little 'Castle and Beckett can't get along' arc goes the way of a similar arc they did on Mad About You, which also felt fake and manufactured.