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‘Castle’ Season 7 Episode 10 Recap: “Bad Santa”

It’s another Christmas episode for Castle. This time Kate Beckett is an official member of the Castle family, as Richard Castle’s wife, and she is learning all of the Castle Christmas traditions. One of them involves each Castle family member writing a poem about what they are thankful for this year – and it has to rhyme.

Beckett is stressing because she forgot and tries to ask Martha and Alexis about the poem. Martha admits she has been working on hers since June and Alexis adds it gets highly competitive. Will Beckett be able to find her poet prose gene before the timeline ends in 72 hours?

The murder of the week is an ER doctor who is found shot dead lying in a storefront window. Witnesses say they saw a man dressed as Santa Claus speeding away from the scene in a black Mustang.

Clues lead Castle, Beckett and company to an apparent abandoned building. Inside one of the rooms Castle and Beckett find an operating room. The doctor turns out was a mobster doctor for a local mob family – Dino Scarpella.

Dino is a guy Castle knows, “I know a guy,” who helped him while he was writing one of his Derrick Storm novels. Castle and Beckett meet Dino in his strip club where Castle takes a peek at the woman dancing. Some fans were upset at Castle for him looking at the young women dancing in the strip club with Beckett there with him. Castle may be married but he’s not dead – he’s going to look but will never touch. He is too in love with his wife.

As a side note, it’s still new and fun to hear Castle introduce Beckett as his wife.

Evidence, including finding a black Mustang in his name with a Santa suit in it, leads Castle and Beckett to Dino’s right-hand man Christopher. Beckett arrests him and the case seems to be closed.

Dino calls in Castle and says he knows Christopher didn’t do it and asks for Castle’s help, even slicing his hand and Castle’s for a mobster style blood oath. He wants Castle to investigate because he loved the mob doctor like a son.

And thus begins the tiring Season 7 tradition of splitting up Castle and Beckett in an episode again. Here is Castle doing his own investigation for Dino while Beckett is left at the precinct. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been — Castle at least comes back and checks in with Beckett. And when Castle has enough information they do re-open the case.

But it’s getting tiresome that at every turn the writers are hellbent on having Castle and Beckett parallel to each other and not together. The show may be called Castle but it is about Castle following Beckett and helping her solve cases.

In the end, the case revolves around Dino’s daughter who is in love with a rival mob family’s son. When the rival son, Luca, is shot, Dino’s daughter asks the mob doctor to help him. The mob doctor is killed for helping Luca.

There is a scary moment when Dino pulls a gun on Castle after Castle suggests Dino’s daughter might have had something to do with Luca and the mob doctor’s death. The daughter sets him straight. All is well.

As for Luca, he is alive. The mobster’s daughter was hiding him as he healed.

Who was the killer? One of the first people the audience met in the episode – the organized crime unit detective. Sick and tired of watching the mobsters getting rich, he got in on the deal. He tried to kill Luca and succeeded in killing the mob doctor.

The “C” story was between Lanie and Esposito. Lanie asks Esposito to pretend they are engaged when her parents stop by in town on the way to a trip. They muddle through it in the usual boring diatribe kind of way and of course Lanie’s mom asks how Esposito proposed and we muddle through that. The storyline was all for naught as they send off Lanie’s parents and realize they like each other but don’t love each other and are breaking up. Thank goodness that is over.

It also seems Castle shadowing Beckett is over. During his transfer, the dirty cop who killed the mob doctor was killed himself. Captain Gates corners Castle and says the DA found out Castle’s connections to Dino and he is banned from helping the 12th precinct.

Castle tries to put on a brave face as Beckett bounds toward him, all smiles and proud of herself, reading him a rough draft of her Christmas poem. She ends it by saying how happy she is that they’re partners. He sends her off to enjoy the precinct’s Christmas party as he looks on with sadness darkening his features.

So, Castle is banned from the precinct and the previews for January show him getting his private detective license. Oh, look, even more opportunities for Castle and Beckett to be separated. This does not fill me with joy – this saddens me that a once fun and lighthearted series has turned boring and mundane. The writers don’t realize the series works when their two lead characters are actually on screen together.