Castle 3.11 “Nikki Heat” Review

Castle 3.11 “Nikki Heat” ReviewOh, Castle, how I had missed you so!

An entire month was just way too long a wait for a new episode. The fans were really feeling this hiatus, considering that just a few days before the last episode of 2010 aired, a major spoiler was released. It has probably been the longest hiatus ever for Castle fans and I don’t blame them one bit.

The good news is that it has been definitely worth the wait. We still didn’t get to see the now infamous scene alluded to in a promotional photo released last December — which will go down in episode 13, scheduled to air on January 24th — but we were treated to an excellent episode. In ‘Nikki Heat’we finally met Natalie Rhodes, the actress who was chosen to play Castle’s fictional heroine on the big screen, and it made for an hour of pure and unadulterated entertainment.

That 70s Show alum, Laura Prepon, guest starred as Natalie and she was hysterical as the Hollywood diva. At first, Castle was outraged that the studio had picked her to play Nikki Heat and got even more upset that Beckett didn’t even consult him when Natalie called her and asked if she could shadow her for research. However, as the story progressed, the tables were turned and Natalie started to grow on Castle, while Beckett got increasingly annoyed by the actress. That was because Natalie is a very method actress and she picked on every little mannerism the detective has — disturbingly so.

I am going to be honest, this week’s case didn’t even catch my attention. What made this episode so interesting was the interaction between the characters. Castle is a show that has a very complex duo as lead characters and it has been a joy getting to know them and peeling back all the layers. Last night’s episode showcased the very best part of Castle. What makes the show so great is not the procedural part; it’s the characters.

When they chose to put an outsider in their midst with the sole mission of observing how Detective Beckett interacts with others, they allowed her character to get out of her comfort zone. We got to see Kate Beckett freak out and analyze every little thing she does and thinks because Natalie was spelling it all out to her. While it was creepy and disturbing, it was an excellent character study that gave us a deeper look at who Kate really is.

While Natalie was annoying and creepy with her determination to somewhat become Beckett, it made for great comedy. The entire cast was able to show their impeccable comedic timing, but what really surprised me was Stana Katic. Even though we all know that she is a great actress and that she can knock it out of the park in a dramatic scene, her comedic side was a really pleasant surprise. Being able to watch Beckett going from being a fan to being flattered to annoyed to freaked out was amazing.

Castle 3.11 “Nikki Heat” ReviewWhat was also great to see was that the relationship between Kate and Castle seems to have grown exponentially over the last couple of episodes. We know they are friends, but this episode showed that they have grown a lot closer. Although they are somewhat in denial, those romantic feelings are definitely still there as evidenced by their reactions to Natalie’s transformation — especially Beckett. Of course she was annoyed that the actress was trying to become her, but there was obviously more to it than simple annoyance.

Also, I just need to point out that this episode had such great lines that I wouldn’t even know where to start listing them. My absolute favorite was from a conversation between Natalie and Beckett, in which the actress questions her about her relationship with Castle:

‘I don’t get it. He’s into you, but you’re determined to not give in to these feelings that you obviously have for him. So he fantasizes about it through his writing. It’s literally verbal masturbation!’

Pure gold. It’s also important to note that Beckett did not deny any of Natalie’s arguments.

On a side note, Ryan finally asked his girlfriend Jenny to marry him and it was the sweetest scene yet on the show.

A+, Castle. You make me so proud.

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