Minor spoilers.

Castle Official Site

The Time:
Mondays, 10:00 PM, ABC

The Show:

Castle is a rambunctious and wisecracking best-selling author of crime
fiction who has just killed off his golden goose main character because
he was bored with him.  Now, he’s beset by writer’s block and
is wondering what his next move will be.  That is until the
no-nonsense and driven Detective Kate Beckett pays him a visit and
informs him that his help is needed on a murder case.  The
womanizing and smarmy Castle is instantly smitten with her and throws
every cheap line and innuendo her way and generally makes a nuisance of
himself at every opportunity, which Beckett is forced to tolerate for
the sake of solving the case.  But aside from the hijinks,
Castle also brings a keen insight and plenty of connections with city
government into the case that proves useful.  Once the case is
solved, Castle convinces the mayor to allow him to tag along on
Beckett’s future cases as he researches a new female detective
character for his upcoming book, much to Beckett’s chagrin.

The Stars:

•  Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle
•  Stana Katic as Det. Kate Beckett
•  Susan Sullivan as Martha Heath
•  Monet Mazur as Gina Cowell
•  Ruben Santiago Hudson as Capt. Montgomery
•  Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle

The Episode:Always Buy Retail”

Beckett and Castle get a hex put on them by a case involving two ritual killings performed in the the Vudon religion.  Two victims are seemingly unrelated, but one is a West African illegal immigrant, which leads the two to the underground of cheap knockoff merchandise and smuggling.  Meanwhile, Castle has to deal with the uncomfortable situation of his flighty actress first ex-wife and Alexis’ mother, Meredith (Darby Stanchfield), possibly moving back to town and threatening to worm back into their lives.

The Lowdown:

Another fun episode.  Really digging Castle’s and Beckett’s interplay on their cases as both actors have pretty much found their characters and continue to have good chemistry.  The other half of the equation in the unusual murder case is also fulfilled as someone is running around New York committing ritual Vudon killings for seemingly no reason.  Castle continues to surprise his police colleagues with his knowledge of the unusual, in this case, his familiarity with Vudon that he got from research for a book.  When he has to call in a real expert though, I liked Beckett’s reaction when she found out his expert was the lady delivering from a Nigerian restaurant. 

The case takes them into the world of illegal west African immigrants and cheap knockoff handbags.  They eventually discover that the two people that were murdered were due to their direct and indirect involvement in the knockoff bags that a Nigerian criminal was using to smuggle in forged immigration papers.  He killed the two people he did because he’s a big believer in Vudon and is hoping the ritual killings wil guide him to the person who has bought the bag he needs to get his brother’s immigration papers so he can escape Nigeria.  Of course, his getting a camera showing who really bought the bag from a nearby electronics store eventually proved to be a bit more helpful.

Castle proves to be his usual annoying self, first ruining a police bust of the suspect by having his phone ring while they’re sneaking up on him.  Beckett is also annoyed by his wearing a custom-made bulletproof vest with “Writer” on it.  But Beckett gets to throw a little bit of annoyance back at him when she learns that his ex-wife called him “kitten” and he despised it.  So of course she uses it throughout the episode.  When they eventually find the suspect, a scarfaced Nigerian named Baylor (Robert Okumu), Beckett and Castle get involved in a shootout with him that involves a cell phone and a champagne bottle of all things.  Castle saves Beckett’s life and since she owes him, the thing he asks for – her not to ever use “kitten” again – is also funny.

The B-story with the appearance of Castle’s ex, Meredith, is slightly diverting.  She proves to be a shallow, flighty actress who is even less mature than Castle.  Although she does manage to get Castle back in the sack, and make him wonder why they got divorced, until she tells him that she’s moving back to town, and then it all comes flooding back to him.  She does things like take Alexis out of school to go shopping and call him during the bust and ask him to co-sign a loan for a new place.  Although she does provide a clue that take Beckett and Castle in the right direction to finding the killer, Castle realizes that the sooner he can get her back out of his life the better for both him and Alexis. 

Still liking this show so far.  It’s a lot of what I was hoping for when I heard about it and it hasn’t really disappointed yet. 

 8.4 out of 10