Castle: Limelight

Last week’s Castle episode “Limelight” was a thoroughly entertaining look at the hazards of celebrity, both in the case of the week and in Castle and Beckett’s own lives.

The case of the week revolves around a Mandy Sutton, a Miley Cyrus-esque tween star turned tabloid trainwreck. A body initially reported to be Sutton’s is found murdered outside her apartment building, but the victim is soon revealed to be Claire Samuels, a decoy Mandy employed to help her elude the paparazzi. After some red herrings involving the possibility that Mandy was the intended target, the team figures out that Claire was in fact the target, and for very sad reasons. Mandy was getting cleaned up and considering leaving show business in part because of her new boyfriend Zach, so her mother/manager, who couldn’t handle the decrease in money, status, or attention that would bring, drugged her daughter to make her think she was blackout drunk and paid Claire to be photographed kissing Mandy’s bad boy ex Jesse, so that Zach would see and break up with her. Then when Claire had second thoughts and wanted to come clean, Mandy’s mother killed her. She claims to have done it for Mandy’s own good, but no one, including Mandy, is buying that.

Alexis was a fan of Mandy’s as a kid, and due to phone-switching hijinks at the precinct, the two end up spending time together and confiding in each other. The phone thing was completely contrived, but I enjoyed the Alexis/Mandy dynamic so much that I didn’t mind. Mandy opens up to Alexis a bit about how her life wound up where it is: “It happens when you’re not looking, and by the time you realize it, it’s already who you are.” Alexis, showing both her smarts and the investigative skills she has absorbed, helps Mandy figure out what’s going on and tries to keep her safe, and ends up telling the pop star about her own personal problem: She’s starting to realize that her relationship with Pi (for whom Castle is struggling to write a recommendation letter throughout the episode) is not really what she wants. And Mandy, even in the midst of all her own problems, gives Alexis the right advice: “If a situation is bad for you, leave it.” Personally, I would not be sad to see the Pi arc end. For her part, Alexis encourages Mandy to try to change, and at the end of the episode, when the murder has been solved, Alexis tracks down Zach and gets him back together with Mandy. Aww. I hope those crazy kids make it work.

Castle and Beckett are dealing with their own celebrity issues in this episode as well, after Page 6 starts reporting that Castle is getting back together with his ex Gina. He reasonably points out that it would be easier to refute this sort of thing if Beckett let him announce their engagement to the press, but she tries to claim that it doesn’t bother her that much and plays it off as a joke: “It only gives me more material to torture you with.” But after her father calls to find out if she and Castle are still engaged, and Ryan and Esposito spend the whole episode teasing her about Castle’s exes, Beckett herself announces the engagement in the newspaper. “There’s no one I’d rather share a headline with.” Aww. I’m glad she’s starting to come to terms with having to be part of his fame now, rather than waiting for that to be an obstacle after the wedding.

(Image courtesy of ABC.)

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