Castle Season 7 Review

  • Series Title: Castle
  • Season: 7
  • Episodes:  23
  • Discs:  5
  • Network:  ABC (US)
  • Cast:  Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Seamus Dever, Jon Huertas, Molly C. Quinn, Susan Sullivan
  • DVD: Widescreen DVD

Season 7 of Castle picks up from where Season 6 left off, with Kate in her wedding dress looking in horror at Castle’s crashed car in flames. Yet another of Kate’s wedding dresses is ruined by water, mud, and smoke, but she, Ryan and Esposito realize that Castle escaped the car and was kidnapped. The 12th precinct crew enlists the help of the FBI and other agencies to find Richard Castle, but all they find is evidence that he intentionally walked away from his life. Kate, Alexis, and Martha Rodgers (his mother) refuse to believe it, even as the other agencies drop the case. After two months, Rick is found in a small fishing boat (what everyone on the show insists on calling a “dingy”) suffering from exposure and with no memory of the last two months. The investigation into what happened to Castle doesn’t turn up any leads, and in the end, Kate is happy to have him back.

Castle travels to Montreal on a lead to find out what happened to him during his disappearance. He discovers videos from himself to Kate, Alexis, and his mother, and a man who tells him that he was made to forget because he said he didn’t want to remember. The man gives Rick a message, and Rick drops it. The season also drops the mystery.

Kate and Rick are married in a small, sunset ceremony with family only (just Alexis, Martha, and Kate’s father). Kate wears a flowing white pantsuit rather than a dress (after having two dresses destroyed, she probably thought they were bad luck for her). After the wedding, they gather together with friends from the 12th and let them know they are now married. When a recent murder leads to a poisoning at a dude ranch in Arizona, Rick and Kate combine business with pleasure, investigating the murder and staying on for a honeymoon. During the rest of the season, Castle introduces Kate as “his wife”, and Kate slowly becomes used to the idea that she is really married to him. The rest of the season also is more “typical Castle“.

After resolving the cliff-hanger from the previous season, getting Kate and Rick married, sending them on a honeymoon, and having them return to New York, the season settles into typical Castle-style mysteries. The stories, though for the most part set in New York City, cover a variety of settings, people, and places. At one point, Castle gets in trouble with 1PP due to a story involving mobsters (it’s basically West Side Story without singing) when the guilty party is murdered in police custody, Castle is partially blamed due to his friendship with one of the mobsters (a friendship that led to the case being solved). For the next few episodes, Castle works as a PI while Kate continues her job as an NYC police detective. However, when Dr. Kelly Nieman and the Triple X killer show up again, in the mid-season two-parter, solving the case ultimately means Castle is welcomed back as a consultant.

The back half of season is even better, as the series returns to its roots, of Kate and Rick solving crimes together, and enjoying it. The rest of the characters: Kevin Ryan, Javier Esposito, Capt. Gates, Dr. Lanie Parish, Alexis, and Martha, all get a bit more to do in the second half of the season. All the actors also seem more comfortable. Again, the stories are set in different locales, which keeps the season from getting too repetitive.

Overall, though season 7 of Castle is definitely showing its age as a long-running TV series, it’s still fun, and I enjoyed it. I really liked seeing Kate Beckett and Richard Castle finally married. In their first case together after the ceremony, as he approaches the body, says, “It’s like we’re Nick and Nora Charles,” which of course he would – referring to Dashiell Hammett’s married detectives. Kate responds with, “Hart to Hart” and then “Turner and Hooch” referring to an earlier joke in a previous season where she had brought up that movie and said Castle reminds her of Hooch (the dog). And this season of the show has that lightness of touch that made the Nick and Nora Charles films (aka “The Thin Man” series) films fun. Season 7 is enjoyable and fun. Recommended.

Read my review of Season 6 of Castle.

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Book Review – Doctor Who: The Anachronauts

  • Title: The Anachronauts
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 2 CDs
  • Author: Simon Guerrier
  • Director: Ken Bentley
  • Characters: Sara Kingdom, Steven Taylor, First Doctor
  • Cast: Jean Marsh, Peter Purves
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/25/2018

**Spoiler Alert** The Anachronauts is a two-disc story in the Big Finish Companion Chronicles line. It features the characters of the First Doctor, Steven, and Sara Kingdom and takes place during “The Daleks Master Plan” aired story. The Doctor, Sara and Steven are in the TARDIS when there is a collision with another vehicle. The TARDIS crash lands on a desert island and meets the crew of the other ship – which has been completely destroyed in the crash. This other ship was an experimental time ship. The TARDIS is nowhere to be seen. The new crew and the Doctor’s crew join together, although the time pilots don’t entirely trust the Doctor and company. They trek through the jungle, in the rain, find a cave, and locate the TARDIS food machine – sitting by itself in the jungle. Sara and Steven are convinced the TARDIS broke apart in the crash. The two groups stay in the cave overnight.

During their stay, however, they are attacked by what can only be described as a Banshee – a wailing figure with long, white hair. The Doctor calls this figure a “Time Sprite” but says it’s a myth, a fairy tale, something that does not exist.

The next morning the Doctor and Steven head out to find the TARDIS. Sara stays behind. The Doctor leads Steven straight to the time pilot’s ship, which he wants to investigate – where they run into the “Time Sprite” again. They return to the cave, only to find Sara missing. Steven confronts the time pilots and gets shot.

Meanwhile, Sara and the female leader of the Time Pilots climb a cliff to get a better view. The Time Pilots leader takes readings to try to determine where they are, then sets a homing beacon. Sara gets hurt climbing back down and Steven gets shot confronting the Time Pilots.

In part 2, after a bit of a review, Sara and the leader of the Time Pilots return to their ship for medical supplies for Steven. When they get back – Steven is fine, it’s as if he was never shot. Sara falls asleep and wakes feeling better than ever, her broken arm healed.

The Doctor tells everyone the Island was an illusion, a dream – and they all wake on the floor of the TARDIS. But the leader of the Time Pilots attacks – trying to pilot the TARDIS and eventually firing a gun – at Steven.

Sara and Steven wake up in the dark and fog in a city devastated by war – and on the run, pursued by armed police, they quickly find shelter. They are in East Berlin in 1966. They hide, and run, but are eventually picked up by the police for having no papers. They are interrogated but can’t say anything – Germans and Russians in 1966 aren’t going to believe they are time travelers. They are jailed but escape. They are captured again. Sara tells Steven they will betray each other, betray the Doctor, just to get the torture to stop. So Steven decides to get ahead of the game and tell the Stasi he and Sara wish to defect. To back up his claim, he hands over a piece of paper with basic scientific information from his own (future) time period.

Sara and Steven are taken by car to a house in the suburbs and told to wait. Sara, meanwhile, every time she and Steven are jailed, is freaked out by hearing a creature and claims to see it outside the house. Steven tells her she’s imagining it. When the Stasi come around, asking questions and offering the two a house and a weekly allowance – Steven suddenly becomes belligerent. He refuses to answer questions. Sara is perplexed.

The two are separated, and when Steven return to Sara, he apologizes and tells her it’s not real – this whole scenario is fake, like the one on the island. And, he tells her – she’s also not real, part of the illusion. Sara screams but fades away. The Doctor, what Sara had seen as a mysterious creature, pulls Steven out of the illusion. They rescue Sara from her dream, which was quite the happy one.

In the TARDIS console room, the Doctor explains they were in cells in the TARDIS – continuing to heal from the collision, and that the time pilots are still in cells. He pilots the TARDIS to the Cobalt Moon, long after all the cobalt is mined, and drops the time pilots off. There is a beautiful pink sea and sky, and a nearby city – the pilots will be fine. The Doctor, Sara, and Steven return to confront the Daleks.

Peter Purves (Steven) and Jean Marsh (Sara) take turns narrating each of the four parts of this adventure, but also play their own characters during the sections that the other is narrating. And Peter also plays the First Doctor. So, this story – with music and sound effects as well, is closer to a full-cast audio drama than the typical, performed, audiobook style of the Companion Chronicles. This is also a good story – plenty of twists and turns, with excellent performances by Peter Purves and Jean Marsh.

Recommended.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com.

Click this link to order The Anachronauts on CD or Download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

Book Review – Red Hood and the Outlaws vol. 3 Bizarro Reborn

  • Title: Red Hood and the Outlaws vol. 3: Bizarro Reborn
  • Author: Scott Lobdell
  • Artist: Dexter Soy, Tyler Kirkham, Joe Bennett, Sean Parsons, Sergio Sandoval, Juan Albarran, Veronica Gandini, Michael Atiyeh, Arif Prianto, Blond, Taylor Esposito
  • Line: Rebirth
  • Characters: Red Hood (Jason Todd), Artemis (of the Amazons), Bizarro (Superman’s clone)
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 5/16/2018

Picking up from where the last volume left off, with Bizarro dying – Red Hood (Jason Todd) and Artemis decide they are willing to try anything in an attempt to save Bizarro – so they take him to Lex Luther. Not only does Luthor save Bizarro but the cure causes Bizarro to become a genius intellect. We eventually learn that not only did Luthor use artificial Kryptonite to cure Bizarro – but Bizarro took some of it and is using it to keep himself fit and to increase his intellect. This reminded me of the original The Outer Limits story, “The Sixth Finger”.

Once he is cured, Bizarro becomes the strategic head of the Outlaws, something Jason and Artemis don’t actually mind, at all. They are at times surprised, such as when Bizarro reveals his secret headquarters above Gotham, or his teleport device (for lack of a better term), but neither Jason or Artemis are great planners, so “smart Bizarro” actually adds to their team. And he doesn’t really seem to have a hidden agenda, so all is going well.

The rest of the book pairs the Outlaws with other groups. Amanda Waller gets the Outlaws hauled in on false charges so she can have them sent to Belle Reve prison. Once there, she immediately sends them out on a mission with the Suicide Squad. The mission confirms Bizarro’s new gifts – and is a rousing success.

Batwoman and the rest of the Batfamily show up for one story in this collection, largely discovering Bizarro’s invisible HQ above Gotham. Since it’s largely a slug-fest, and only sets up the info about the new HQ, the only question I had was why Kate (Kane aka Batwoman) didn’t know that Jason was working with Bruce Wayne’s blessing. Jason has been working undercover to break up Gotham’s gangs (such as Black Mask’s gang) since Issue One of this series. But Batwoman, Batwing, etc. act as if Red Hood really was a criminal. Jason is still staying true to the general Bat vow to not kill – something Kate herself actually breaks, so what’s the deal?

Jason and company also face off against Queen Bee, who is defeated by Bizarro. And Artemis meets Creeper, but he quickly leaves when he fails to join the Outlaws. They face off against The Beast (formerly KGBeast, now a free agent), but that also doesn’t really go anywhere in terms of plot.

Finally, this collection includes the Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #1, at the end of the book. I actually loved the story – a circus blows into town, and Jason, Artemis, Bizarro, and special guest, Dick Grayson, investigate undercover. It’s a sweet story – from Jason admitting he had once seen Dick perform in the circus, to Bizarro falling for the bearded girl, to art and flavor of the panels. They stop the KGB beast. The only problem with the Annual is the placement – the story is set earlier in time so it probably should have come first in the collection, not last. But it’s a stand-alone story, largely, so it still works.

I really enjoyed this collection. It’s a bit more on the tragic and action-oriented side than other volumes, with less humor – but it’s still a great read. Recommended.

Read my review of Red Hood and the Outlaws vol. 1: Dark Trinity.

Read my review of Red Hood and the Outlaws vol. 2: Who is Artemis.