[This is a review of Castle Season 6, Episode 13. There will be SPOILERS.]
Tonight's Castle is a story of love and loss and murder and mayhem. Pretty much your standard fare with a little Pi (Myko Olivier) on the side. However, "Limelight" also smells a bit like social commentary on the slippery slope of fame and fortune.
On the one side you've got Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) and on the other are Mandy Sutton (Alexandra Chando of The Lying Game fame) and her mother, Marilyn (Lola Glaudini).
Both pairs live in the spotlight of the press. Mandy on the front page, with cameras dogging her every move while Castle makes it on a sidebar somewhere under the fold with no accompanying photos to speak of.
Castle's fame is enough to make Beckett reticent to go splashing their recent relationship status change all over the papers at first, but by the end she decides that the truth is better than letting the rumor mill call the shots.
The character of Mandy is an amalgam of all the child-stars-gone-wrong of the past 5 years. Spoiled and trying to appear apathetic to as many people as possible, she spends the first part of the episode getting over her hangover and the second proving how willfully ignorant she is of the world around her. There's an attempt at some girl-bonding with Alexis (Molly Quinn), which falls flat as the two of them respectively bemoan the first world problems of the rich and famous.
There's also the parental side of the coin. Castle hems and haws and outright lies about his progress on a letter of recommendation that he's promised to write for Pi for the entire hour. There's still tension between he and Alexis so he's going through the motions in order to appease her.
On the other hand, at least he doesn't take things as far as Mandy's mother. Marilyn Sutton is a sophisticated caricature of Mama Jean and all of the other showbiz moms out there; literally willing to kill to keep her baby girl in the spotlight.
After several strong outings, "Limelight" comes across as only so-so. Of the three sub-plots, the Castle/Beckett sub-plot is the strongest, providing some great one-liners and good-natured banter between Kate and the boys. The mother/daughter plot is bloated and nothing is gained when Alexis is added to the mix.
A bright spot does emerge, however, when one dares to hope that Alexis pocketed her dad's letter and, instead, kicked Pi to the curb once and for all. Also, the whole world now knows that Castle and Beckett are engaged and we are one episode closer to their Big Day.
What did you think?
Castle returns next Monday with "Dressed to Kill" @10pm on ABC.