CASTLE 4.13 ‘An Embarrassment of Bitches’

Castle and Beckett take care of a dog after its famous owner is murdered... by a reality TV star?

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "An Embarrassment of Bitches"

Writer: Rob Hanning

Director: Tom Wright

Story:

Outside of a dog show, Reality TV star Kim… I mean, Kay Cappuccio (Hilarie Burton) is accompanied by her boyfriend, Reggie Starr (Justin Hartley) and her little dog Lolita while announcing her new line of perfume. Inside, world famous dog trainer Cesar… er… Francisco Pilar (Ed Francis Martin) shocks the dog world by selecting an underdog winner for the competition. And someone seemingly has taken the loss too hard, as Pilar is found dead with a leash around his neck and his faithful dog, Royal at his side.

That's the cue for Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) to begin their investigation. After a few initial false starts, they discover that Kay was filmed leaving Pilar's dressing room during the time period in which he was killed. Reluctantly, Kay admits to finding Pilar's dead body, but she states that her only relationship with him was professional as she attempted to have Lolita trained by the very best. Instead, Pilar refused and Kay's assistant noted how paranoid he was about Kay potentially spying on him for someone.

Back at the precinct, Castle and Beckett note that Pilar had no family to take in Royal, so they opt to care for the dog themselves in a split-custody agreement until a new owner is found. They are also puzzled by Royal's digging pantomime when he was found by Pilar's body. So Castle consults doggy therapist, Dr. Patty Barker (Nana Visitor), but the woman is clearly nuts. Meanwhile, Detectives Kevin Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Javier Esposito (Jon Huertas) discover that Pilar's paranoia extended into sweeping his own home for electronic listening devices with a special bug detector.

Beckett and Esposito soon follow that lead to a warehouse full of dogs that was owned by Pilar. The caretaker explains that Pilar was developing a new kind of dog and that the suspicious payments in Pilar's bank accounts were preorders from eager clients. The caretaker also suggests that Kay was trying to help steal Pilar's trade secrets. When Kay is brought into the precinct for questioning, Ryan notices that the bug detector from Pilar's home goes off when she walks by. He and Esposito soon realize that someone planted a camera on Lolita's collar to spy on Kay.

Esposito also develops a crush on Kay, who isn't quite as vapid as her Reality TV persona. With her help, he identifies a photographer who used stills from the camera's electronic feed. When questioned, he denies planting the device and claims that he just stumbled upon the frequency. The photographer also leads them to believe that Pilar had drug connections; which brings them back to the warehouse to interrogate the caretaker. However, the caretaker reveals that he is a U.S. Customs agent before telling them that Pilar had been secretly training drug-sniffing dogs so effectively that the Vasquez drug cartel may have targeted Pilar.

Castle and Beckett realize that Royal's digging motion was caused by the smell of poppy seeds… which is also contained within Kay's new perfume. Although the detectives come to believe that Kay is tied to the Vasquez family and may have committed the murder, they soon find that her boyfriend, Reggie was the true culprit and they quickly elicit a confession to both the bugging of Lolita's collar and Pilar's murder. In the aftermath, both Castle and Beckett want to keep Royal for themselves and they try to make the dog choose between them.

Instead, Royal runs over to Kay and her little dog, Lolita; as Beckett and Castle reluctantly allow her to take Royal. And on her way out, Kay flirts with Esposito and hints that they may stay in touch.

Breakdown:

This week's episode of "Castle" had the basic premise of "What if Kim Kardashian had a soul?"

I know… it's fantasy, right?

And to Hilarie Burton's credit, she actually makes Kay Cappuccio sympathetic as she realizes just how empty and lonely her life really is. Burton also seemed to have picked up a lot of the Kardashian body mannerisms, in a nice subtle touch on her part. In other words,  Burton had enough talent to portray someone who completely lacked talent or any real reason for fame.

Esposito's infatuation with Kay had some fun moments, but it was also a head scratcher after his seeming reconciliation with Lanny two episodes ago. Some more clarity would have helped there, even if Lanny had only shown up for a few moments to be jealous. The entire paparazzi angle had some really funny jokes, including Castle's awkward pose while imitating Kay and the photographers' collective disappointment when they realized that Castle wasn't Jason Bateman. Although I would have loved it even more if they had realized that he wasn't the guy from "Firefly."

This was also the episode where Castle and Beckett fell deeply in love… with a dog. And Royal did tend to bring out the best in both of them. Although the way that Castle and Beckett shared custody showed us that while they may make a good couple, they probably wouldn't be very good as divorced parents. Castle settled into the role of "cool dad" pretty quickly by spoiling Royal and Beckett had to adjust accordingly just to keep up. Still, it would have been interesting if they had to keep sharing the dog on a long term basis. It would have just pushed their inevitable relationship that much closer to fruition.

It was good to see Justin Hartley back on TV again, even though I was thinking "take that, Green Arrow!" when the cops surrounded him at the end. Between Hartley and Nathan Fillion (who has voiced several DC characters), it was almost a Green Arrow/Green Lantern team up.

Overall, this was a fairly light but still enjoyable episode of "Castle." Even when the show doesn't exactly swing for the fences, it's still pretty good.

Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.