“Dial M for Mayor” was a very tense and emotionally charged episode of Castle. I’m enjoying the wide range of tone in this season of the show. As expected, we were treated to a Castle-centric storyline, without excluding the other cast members.
There was hardly any deviation from the main story. A short sequence at the beginning had Alexis and Rick conversing about her boredom while Martha enacted a stormy scene from ‘King Lear’ in the background. Besides those two minutes, we got A and B plotlines that were interwoven into one large story. Parallels were drawn between this case and the case featured in the Season 3 episode “The Final Nail“, where an old friend of Castle’s was the main suspect in the murder of his wife. Back then, Castle resisted impartiality while fighting to clear his friend despite evidence leaning towards his guilt. This time around, the Mayor of NYC, Robert Weldon who is not only Castle’s good friend, but also the only thing keeping him as Beckett’s partner. Again, the evidence seems to be overwhelmingly against the Mayor as it appears he’s behind this week’s murder and a major embezzlement scandal.
While Rick stays loyal to Weldon, he also shows maturity by staying open-minded when joining Beckett in questioning the Mayor. He and Kate have a very intense talk at City Hall debating two very different scenarios, and they are more honest with each other about his status as her partner as they have been all season. She admits fully that she doesn’t want to do what she has to if it means losing him as a partner. Castle believes the mayor may be the victim of a conspiracy to keep him from attaining a higher office, while Kate has to assume that he has a part in the crimes of which he’s accused. She has a suspicion that Wheldon could be playing on Castle’s penchant to desire controversial and outlandish theories.
There were several scenes between Rick and Martha, where she talks him through some of the tough choices he’s forced to make. He receives a call from the mystery man who advised him to keep Beckett from her mother’s murder investigation, linking the Mayor indirectly to that imbroglio. He meets with the man in a darkened parking structure, a la “All the President’s Men“. It plunges him further into the secret he’s been hiding from Kate all season, and it reveals his angst over keeping the new information from her. Continuing to keep her from further investigation, he essentially keeps them apart – but if he helps her to solve her mother’s murder, he puts her in mortal danger.
Inadvertently, Kate gets closer to learning the true identity of the man behind the case that has driven her throughout her career, and Castle has unwittingly been cast as another pawn in the vast conspiracy. I’ll be anxious to see the ramifications these little developments have in the complicated relationship between the two show leads.
While this was quite a dark hour of television, especially for Castle, the episode was not without its lighter moments. An interaction between Rick and the CSO of ‘Dial-a-Goddess’ was teasingly funny, and the scene between Alexis and her father showing Martha in the background was also quite humorous.
What surprised me most was the softening of Captain Gates, who doesn’t leap at the chance to eject Castle from the precinct. She waits until the case is further established to make any kind of judgement, and even still doesn’t banish him outright. At the conclusion of the episode, she gracefully reveals that justice is her true motivation and no vendetta is held against their unconventional partnership.
Another new episode of Castle entitled “An Embarrassment of Bitches” airs next Monday, January 23.