“Under Fire” – Castle

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 14.03.31We really need to stop beginning reviews with this particular idiomatic pun, but Castle certainly returned from hiatus with a bang! A great episode, and a great choice as first out of the Castle gates in 2014.

The plot was neither here nor there. A serial arsonist shouldn’t be (and wasn’t) particularly thrilling. The beauty of this episode came in its human collateral – Ryan and Espo. We can’t remember the last time we were so emotional after watching Castle. The last 10 minutes of “Under Fire” were tense, edge-of-your-seat, make-your-way-through-a-box-of-Kleenex scenes.

There was just so much emotion to get through – Beckett and Castle on the scene, Jenny going into labor and having to give birth without Ryan, the goodbye phonecall, the fact that Lanie didn’t get to say goodbye to Espo (not that she needed to, in the end, but still), the happy and tearful reunion… we’re wrecks.

If we had one complaint (and we do), it would be that Continue reading

“White Lines” – The Mentalist

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 14.29.09

By and large, we thoroughly enjoyed this episode. The case was sufficiently surprising to surprise us doubly – although we did recognise the actor playing the culprit and wonder, the note-perfect red herrings and eventual conclusion left us pondering whether the writers threw away their six-year-established rule book and decided to just shake things up.

That would certainly be backed up by the strange new energy that seems to have come with the change of format, as if the writers are trying to change the show’s intrinsic quaintness and force it, kicking and screaming, if necessary, into the realms of modern police procedurals. A new focus on technology (among other things, Jane has finally abandoned the flip phone and invested in an iPhone) and the new magnitude of scale (placing crime on a national rather than California-based platform) position the show as a rival to faster-paced – and, perhaps, less nuanced – shows like CSI, Bones or Castle. We’re just not sure that’s a good thing. There’s always the danger that, in waving a ‘look at what technology can do’ flag so blatantly, The Mentalist will be stripped of its sedate (if somewhat eccentric and quirky) charm.

And yet, we are still enjoying this new format. We’re still being given the chance to Continue reading