While this week's Castle - titled 'Reality Star Struck' - focuses mainly on the ins and outs of a pseudo-reality television show, there is a softer undercurrent throughout the hour, only once hinting that Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett's (Stana Katic) relationship is about to change yet again.
The show in question is 'The Wives of Wall $treet' - a cheesy reality show in the vein of The Real Housewives - and the murder victim is Hannah Green, the up and coming star of the show.
The investigation is your standard procedural fare. Friends, co-workers, and, of course, the victim's brother are interviewed, to no avail. Though the weekly cash deposits in Hannah's bank account seem to imply she was hiding something.
What keeps things fresh is the discovery that Captain Gates (Penny Johnson) is a rabid fan whose knowledge of the characters proves helpful to the investigation. Even more amusing is when her homework assignment for the team turns Castle into a fan as well. While Fillion and Johnson have had their share of brilliant moments in the past, the scenes where they are tittering like schoolgirls over the plot twists spilling out into real life are hilarious. These bonding scenes have an even bigger payoff at the end, when Gates chides Castle for trying to hit on her and declares that she is heading home to her own Valentine.
Alas, Castle wasn't hitting on the Captain or even trying to butter the her up; rather, he mistakenly left Kate's Valentine's Day present in the wrong blazer, complete with a tender love note. The latter half of the episode has him alternating between devising a way to recover the misplaced gift and worrying that he'd put Kate's name on the note along with his own. Fortunately, he left out the name of the note's intended recipient, making for an awkward, if easily handled, moment with Gates, as opposed to a suspension of his partnership with Beckett.
Love is definitely in the air at the precinct, and not just for the two leads. Ryan (Seamus Deaver) spends most of the episode dashing between the office and his horny wife whose biological clock is ticking just a tad too loud for him at the moment. This makes him the butt of more than one joke between Castle and Esposito (Jon Huertas), though by the end she eases off and it seems like they might have a happy Valentine's Day after all. Things are also looking up for fans of the Esposito and Lanie (Tamala Jones) pairing, as the two co-workers are heading to a fancy French restaurant for the night, much to Lanie's delight.
However, the final scene belongs to Castle and Beckett. With his gift now in the hands of the Captain, Castle has nothing to offer beyond the promise of a make-up gift in the future. But Beckett is far from perturbed and offers her own gift in the meantime. When she opens a drawer that contains nothing, Castle teases her about not having a gift for him. One quiet, innocent correction from her changes the meaning of the empty drawer entirely. She's giving him a drawer that is empty and at the same time filled with all sorts of possibilities for the future.
Castle airs Mondays @10pm on ABC.