“Castle” returns from its final hiatus of the season next week and ABC released a screener for the upcoming 70s themed episode on the morning of Apr. 15. I had the opportunity to view the episode in its final air version yesterday and, while I’ve been pretty upfront about the fact that I wasn’t too keen on the 70s theme, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by most of it.
Like every good time period-themed episode, there are a lot of nods to pop culture of the era, such as Foxy Brown and Starsky & Hutch, and Lanie, Ryan and Esposito stepping into the roles of similar characters are a great source of entertainment throughout. The case of the week itself is built around a Jimmy Hoffa-esque mystery with a twist, and it’s actually done rather well and interesting outside of the pathological grief aspect of the plot kicking into overdrive. Things turn a little absurd after that.
The time warp to 1978 is, naturally, our titular character’s idea. It starts small in the morgue, but snowballs from there with Castle allowing his mother to sink her teeth into making a production of the 12th Precinct (because like hell can they let her anywhere near planning their wedding.) Hilarity ensues, but the premise is not without its flaws. Fortunately, the good did seem to outweigh the bad, making for a viewing experience that wasn’t terrible, but not exactly their finest hour, either.
Now to field a few questions from the Twitterverse.
@CMcCord25: favorite c/b moment
When Gates returns from her trip and finds out that they’ve turned her precinct into a disco and calls them into “Captain Castle’s” office for a nice ass-chewing. I found it so satisfying watching them squirm while Gates says everything I was thinking the entire time. Honorable mention goes to the moment Castle convinces Beckett to go through with it all in the first place.
@SmeeLita: Please say Castle 70's is an improvement on Castle Elvis??
“That ‘70s Show” > “Heartbreak Hotel”. I have no fondness for either theme (Nope, not a fan of Elvis, either. Judge away.) but I didn’t find this episode cringe-worthy. I can’t even bring myself to rewatch the latter. I avoid it like the plague.
@Stoli_16: is the case somewhat plausible?
The murder case itself is solid enough, but the pathological grief that necessitates dressing up for the 70s will require a fair share of suspension of disbelief. It’s hilarious at its best, and ridiculously over-the-top at its worst.
@4emma7: how was the dance scene?? :)
Cute, but brief. That disco scene has a lot more going on than just Castle and Beckett.
@Missy520: how much did you laugh?
Quite a bit, actually. I literally slapped a hand to my face at one point because a scene was so ridiculous, but it was still funny. There’s plenty of laughs to be had, and they poke a lot of fun at the 70s, as expected.
Due to the sometimes over-the-top nature of the 70s theme, I gather this episode may be very hit or miss with most viewers. Where “Castle” nailed it revisiting 1947 in season 4’s “The Blue Butterfly”, the era of disco just didn’t hit that same mark for me. If you can look past the flaws in the plot to pull off the 70s premise and see it for the quirky, nostalgia-filled theme episode that it is, you’ll probably have more of an appreciation for this episode than I did. I laughed plenty, the ending was quite touching, and it wasn’t an awful hour of television, just not the best the series has to offer. Tune in on Monday and see how it fares for you.