‘Castle’ Season 5, Episode 9: ‘Secret Santa’ Review – He’s Dead, Jim

Published 2 years ago by

castle season5 ep9 crime scene Castle Season 5, Episode 9: Secret Santa Review   Hes Dead, Jim

The holidays are the time of year when kith and kin gather in cozy bungalows, bedecked with tinsel, lights, and of course, a huge fir tree. It’s also the time of year when television writers of the murder mystery persuasion compete to see who can dazzle their audience best.

Sometimes it’s elves who meet a grisly end, with the occasional cameo by a reindeer. But by and large, this is the most deadly time of year to be the jolliest, most festive guy on the planet: Santa Claus.

This year’s notable entry - Castle, where a dead Santa falls from the air, interrupting a family’s night of playing in the snow. Ol’ Saint Nick’s death is taken especially hard by Castle (Nathan Fillion), whose cup of holiday cheer has been tainted by a family that seems to be outgrowing his boyish love of their Christmas traditions. With Martha (Susan Sullivan) set on spending Christmas Eve with friends and a double batch of 100-proof and Alexis’ (Molly C. Quinn) plans to ice skate with a boy of the non-friend variety, Castle’s last hope for a Merry Christmas Eve is Beckett (Stana Katic), who evades the subject like the Bubonic Plague.

castle season5 episode9 alexis castle Castle Season 5, Episode 9: Secret Santa Review   Hes Dead, Jim

Castle isn’t the only one at the precinct having a blue Christmas. Gates (Penny Johnson) adds to her Grinch-esque demeanor by bemoaning the arrival of her mother-in-law for the holidays. Esposito (Jon Huertas) goes to all lengths not to be alone on Christmas, including a failed proposition to coroner Lanie Parish (Tamala Jones). Meanwhile, Ryan’s (Seamus Deaver) naughty nighty gift for his wife might seem a bit shallow, but it turns out he’s thinking deep thoughts about whether or not they should start a family, given the sad state of the world.

As for James Edmund Smith, the man behind the Santa suit, it’s difficult for the team to decide right off the bat if he’s naughty or nice.  Smith is a Santa for hire who has been helping his neighbors with a class action lawsuit, but all the evidence points to him being involved in a bank heist just before his death. He was hired as the Santa for the company Christmas party, but took off with a $30,000 clock without ever being discovered.

The story takes a sharp left turn when they discover Smith used to be a part of the company he’s now working to sue. He broke into the bank hoping to steal files, but only managed to grab the clock; enough evidence to put his old partner behind bars even if it meant Smith would face charges. The one person who couldn’t live with that was Smith’s ex-wife. She’s the one who shot him in the back as he was boarding his getaway ‘copter, and she’s the one who can’t live with the thought of losing her life of ease by admitting her culpability. Bet she won’t look so hot in prison orange.

castle season5 ep9 beckett castle Castle Season 5, Episode 9: Secret Santa Review   Hes Dead, Jim

On the Castle/Beckett, front it seems the promos for this episode were a bit deceptive, as they indicated she was having cold feet with regard to Castle. Far from it – she simply has her own traditions on Christmas Eve. After her mother died, she and her dad waited into January before packing up their Christmas trappings and putting them away for good. Beckett isn’t taking the night shift to hide from the world; rather, it’s her way of protecting it while allowing her colleagues to be with their families.

When Castle hears this, he doesn’t question any further and supports her decision. On Christmas Eve, he is even prepared to leave his mom and daughter – who took pity on him and stayed home – for the precinct when a knock sounds. The ending between the new couple is like a big, fluffy marshmallow plopped on top of a hot cocoa kind of episode.


Castle airs Mondays at @10pm on ABC. New episodes resume in January 2013.

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  1. Loved it. :) Loved the episode, loved the review. I don’t know if it was the crazy decorations in Castle’s loft, or the bit of Christmas spirit in each of the character’s eyes… but that episode definitely got me into the Christmas Spirit! :)

  2. I love this show – I look forward to it every Monday night.

    Nevertheless, why is ABC putting such a laps between Castle episodes for some programming that amounts to junk. Castle’ 100 episode is coming up in the New Year-2013! Is it possible that we can get more time with Kate and Castle and lose the 1:33 min./sec. solutions that seem to be the standard episode ending – of Caskett coming together? What did Castle give Gates for Christmas? Was it a Gemini doll – that special one? I don’t think any of us fans are surprised that Jenny and Ryan will be the first to have a family – I think we all knew this! What will be interesting is how the birth of their (Jenny and Ryan) child affects/ effects Kate Beckett, and the Caskett relationship.

    One question though? Why does it seem to me like Kate is getting a little watered down with regards to her strength as a detective – a woman can be strong and sexy at the same time- Mr. Marlowe. I love the writing, but I know writers move around, don’t lose the voice of women in the writing process – please. Kate has a back-story with regards to fear of commitment – what is that story, when did it start? Stanford, possibly? Why does she have such poor trust in men, not counting those she works with. Something is up with Kate, and I for one want to know what it is… how can a woman who is so great at her job be led all over the place like Meredith is clearly going to do with her and to her in episode 5 x 10 in the new year!?! Oh, Kate will figure things out near episodes end, but Kate runs hot and cold. Again, I get she’s trying to figure things out, but Castle’s a pretty easy piece even with his own stuff [which he still has to share with Kate - the 2 marriage failure story - some of we may hear in episode 5 x 10]. I will be a loyal Castle fan to the last episode, but more time with the relationship is warranted considering that their are few episodes in Season 5.

    • Cool! You hit the nail on the head… Castanati!

      I think its three fewer episodes, and I have 400 channels so I can watch football – and still have Castle, but there won’t be any more Castle until the new year! I am sad :o(

      See You In Castleland in 2013!

  3. I love Castle.

    • Me too. He is an awesome actor. In the movie, “Serenity,” the T.V. series, “Firefly,” and now in, “Castle,” he is just wonderful.

  4. The murder mystery persuasion compete to see who can dazzle their audience best.

  5. Great review! And agree with most comments especially Castanati. To me it was a great episode, especially about the relationship. Even though you think you may be in the best of relationships. Once you have past issues which you have not come to terms with, it does affect your relationship. I sometimes feel like Kate. I am in a solid relationship and my better half seems to do most of the work – he’s my Castle. He is understanding with all my insecurities and gives me space to work through them.
    Andrew Marlow and his team really capture true feelings and the spirit of Christmas. And who doesn’t like a good mystery during the Christmas season. Poor Santa! However, they captured the bad gal.

  6. I found the episode disappointing. Had hoped for more Caskett. The story line was a bit convoluted and twisty and I had a bit of trouble following it. We need more of Castle and Beckett together and talking about them.

  7. Love the christmas episode but was hoping i see more of beckett and castle together. need to see more of two together more….hopefully in the up coming episode. if you gonna put them as a couple need to see more steamy stuff of them two….. my all time favorite show! keep up the good writing.

    • Caskett – you are correct! What’s the point of putting them together if you dilute Beckett’s power as a detective, and leave Castle as the poor always understanding doop, or should I say ‘dope,’ who no matter how screwed up Kate is … it’s okay. Relationships are give and take – at least the great ones anyway. This is what happens when you get less women writers involved with a positive and strong female character – things return to the female sex object with little substance. Come on Marlowe, you are better then this! You have a great crew, some of the best actors out here today, and good male writers – you just need to get some of your female writers in put in going forward. These characters are golden and the show is without question one of the best on TV, and it has a loyal fan base. So, how about helping us help you.

      A Loyal Caskett Fan Always! :)

      • BL,

        You left out Heat, Passion, Intensity, and Romance! Where is it? It has been like watching two people trying to avoid a relationship instead of having one. I love this show, but where is the romance? Don’t get me wrong I will watch even if I am not happy with an episode two or three, because the characters have substance – I just want the relationship now that you have put them together to have substance-please!



    Here is my Castle Christmas wish list for “Part 2 of Season 5″

    (1.) That Castle opens up about who he is – we haven’t heard much about Castle life – past the brief Christmas story of him and his mom in there tiny apartment.

    (2.) Kate has another back-story that we need to hear, around trust and relationships.

    (3.) 100th episode ‘home run’ with some commitment angle over arching the episode with caskett (maybe a over a piece of jewelry), or maybe you can use Castanti’s – ‘Murder in Paris’ its written well, with murder, romance spy and a possible engagement: read it on ‘Fan.’

    (4.) The senator or Moriaty (3XK) face off near Season 5 end or as cliffhanger to Season 6 opener

    (5.) Jim develops a relationship with Castle mom, which creates drama from Kate {after all she’s had daddy all to herself, since her mom’s death)

    (6.) Alexis and Kate – when will we see them bond, become closer – right?


    (7.) Gates puts Castle through a training program, that is if he wants to stay at the 12th and with Becket as her partner.

    :) Castle – Caskett :)

  9. Why would you shoot a man before throwing him out of a plane?