I didn't expect to get through so many, so I started doing individual mini-reviews. They get shorter as I go on and start watching 2 or 3 in a row without writing a single word down.
5x01, After the Storm: I think I actually watched this at some point in 2013, because I remember being either amused or annoyed by the fact that The Senator from The Office retained his general title and awfulness. I had trouble following the plot, per usual, but I know there was a lot of legitimately exciting stuff bewteen the torture, the 'splodey bank file going boom, and Kate having a standoff with the man who ordered her mother's murder (and yet, after two viewings, I still don't know WHY. I finally found some detail on the Castle Wiki and shall preserve it here, though:)
[Police officers were kidnapping mob members and collecting ransom money.] Then-Assistant District Attorney William Bracken had learned about the police officers' crimes years before, but instead of pursuing the case, he blackmailed the officers into turning over their illegally-obtained ransom money. The money had financed his election to the House of Representatives, and began a rise to power that ended in the U.S. Senate. Re-opening and solving the Pulgatti case [as Kate's mother was going to help do, I guess?] would reveal his own corruption and ruin him."]
And of course, Caskett goodies abound. I spoiled myself on all this way back in February 2013, but I like to repeat myself for organization, so: loved the combination sweetness and zany-antics humor involved in SURPRISE MOTHER/DAUGHTER VISIT as Kate is forced to hide, Castle's temporarily unsympathetic response to his daughter's hangover (it's a rite of passage! No? *Kate finishes sneaking out successfully* Okay aspirin it is) -- p.s. ALEXIS WHY -- and probably a million other things I can't even remember at this point. Particularly the "I'll never be safe" hug.
5x02, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"
Plot: I have great fondness for the redhead reporter who just wanted to be recognized for her brains and actual job talent, last seen on The O.C. I also quite loved Ryan & Esposito getting beaten up by a pile driver of a bodyguard, the mockery of Ryan's makeup to cover up his black eye, and the friendship being repaired thanks to cell phone footage of Ryan having his partner's back. (for the record, I enjoyed when they were sniping at each other too, but this is better)
Caskett: Cute, happy morning scene. "You just want me to take my shirt off again, don't you?" (well, I mean, that's fair, you look fantastic and that's a pretty bra), Lanie interrogating Beckett about her new mystery man hookup to Castle's great amusement ("Yeah, Beckett, who's the guy?" / "Nobody that you would know." / "Are you sure? I know a lot of guys."), THE MANEATER + jealous!Beckett, Kate's face upon walking in on them, and their cute ending scene. Which does not include a kiss because "I can't. It's too soon. I just keep seeing her boobs in your face."
5x03, Secret's Safe With Me: I've seen this one before, too, or at least part of it. I distinctly remember being frustrated at them making a big deal of giving Gates one of the dolls from the storage unit, and then repeating over and over and over how they've looked through EVERY SINGLE THING in the storage unit and there is just NOTHING THERE and how can this BE when they have searched EVERYTHING?? Also, I am still in great pain over Castle destroying not one but two rare toys. Not that I don't love Gates anyway, but I will totally stand in solidarity with her to give Castle the stinkeye for a bit.
But I did love Castle casually flaunting his wealth (with Kate's tricky finagling assistance to charm Big Percy) to win the storage unit after all. Also, the ending scene of dropping Alexis off in her brand new room made me cry the first time around, but now warms every inch of my heart.
5x04, Murder She Wrote: a/k/a Caskett in the Hamptons a/k/a the most glorious possible plotline ever and my favorite of the first four episodes. Castle's family haranguing him about having a plan (I love when women gang up on him), the romance (or at least attempts at it), the clashes and then oddly symbiotic partnership with the local police chief, Ryan being all ALSJAKL;SDJKLFASJLDKFJASDF upon finding out they're dating and then smugly hoarding this knowledge for his own amusement, and Kate casually narrating the intro to the next Nikki Heat sex scene she's busy blocking out.
I also like that rare hint of her being unsure about all this as she first looked around the property. Which brings to mind a HIMYM quote: "I know you would've been okay if I were poor and trying to save the world. But will you be okay if I make a lot of money and spend it all on you and spoiling all our kids?" (Minus the "all our kids" part. I feel like I probably won't get my way on this if Castle goes on too much longer, but I still advocate them not having any kids of their own.)
5x05, Probable Cause: Thoroughly spoiled myself on this one too, but I regret nothing because the whole "let's frame Castle" plot-line was epic and took over as my new favorite of the season to date. (Although I shall be forever traumatized by the body strung to the ceiling with barbed wire.)
I loved Kate's staunch and unwavering belief in his innocence (and her visit to the cell to confirm that), the ugly cry with Lanie ("You should have seen him...he looked like a little boy, he was so scared"), the chilling face-off between Castle and 3XK in the cell, how Castle broke himself out unbeknownst to anyone, the fact that without doing that he was absolutely and inevitably dead, the Castle lookalike (real-life double, right?), finding him in the library (EXCELLENT), and just when you think all is taken care of, HELLFIRE AND DAMNATION ON THE DRAWBRIDGE. With a nebulous ending in which, hey, maybe he isn't dead despite being shot several times and knocked off a bridge.
5x06, The Final Frontier: I don't know what's better, the elaborate detail of the nerd con (I'm sticking by that description), or Kate's past as a cosplaying fan of a terrible sci-fi show. Or Castle squawking about Alexis and her lack of suitable public attire. Actually, it's that one. ("Oh, I'm embarrassing YOU? I'm the one who's dressed." Guess whose side I am on this debate? Dear single dads, I will absolutely admonish your daughters with you and not attempt to undermine your authority).
I also sympathized with Stephanie Frye, though I still enjoyed seeing her have her ass handed to her, though. Also, lol forever at Kate's cosplay costume, complete with terrifying mask.
5x07, Swan Song: Worth it for the novelty of the reality show format. Oftentimes this format fails, but today it was excellent, between Beckett's disgust and the fact that literally everyone else was delighted by the chance to preen. Especially Gates. I also really liked Caskett pleading for the Secret Cheek Cupping Footage to become mysteriously lost. Also, Beckett locking the poor hapless camera guy in a closet and sticking her tongue out at him.
I didn't take any screen caps before now, but I'm considering editing this post to add more in the future.
5x08, After Hours: I love how we had a Castle-in-danger episode like two seconds ago, and we're already back to THANK GOD YOU'RE ALIVE! hugs. That is all. This was the first and most exciting thing I found during my Feb. 2013 YouTube tour, and it's still my favorite part of the season. ("I thought I lost you." / "No, never, never.") I just love the fact that he picks her up.
(Okay, and I also rather liked the "witness" and how Castle's conversation in the mob boss's car ended up practically being a friendly conversation.)
5x09, Secret Santa: Awww, what an eventually heartwarming Christmas tale. (Although once again, I'm sympathizing with the murderous abandoned wife because I like her face.) I loved the room full of training Santas, the Castle family Christmas, the minor Caskett squabble, and its unexpected resolution just when I assumed we were meant to make peace with Beckett wanting to work on Christmas. This is just a super pretty kiss/what I will be attempting to emulate from now on.
5x10, Significant Others: I still cannot get over the fact that this show wrote me "Alexis is sick, her awesome mom comes over to take care of her, and Beckett is temporarily staying there too," especially after seeing that it results in cranky!Beckett and doghouse!Castle, then eventually results in the women bonding because Meredith is magical and irresistible like that. I LOVE that this show is so lady-focused, I really do, but an episode like this just emphasizes it in all the best ways. All of Meredith's scenes with her ex-husband, though, almost outshone all the rest. She's so over the top, I love it. I also liked Alexis's wide eyes and subtle head shake of terror at any notion that her mom might stay any longer than she already has.
Also, the scene of the scorned wife smashing/destroying her soon to be ex-husband's valuables (and him doing the same to hers after coming home) was THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN, and I also enjoyed Ryan/Esposito judging Castle's failure to control the situation while enjoying every minute of it. The "falling off a cliff" noises were the best.
The only thing I didn't love about Meredith was the ending comment -- I'm going to assume that, given the events of the season 6 finale and everything that led up to it, that nervewracking comment about how Rick knew everything about her but she didn't know as much about him doesn't come back to bite us in the ass in any significant relationship-affecting way, but I'm glad I didn't know about it before now.
5x11, Under the Influence: Snoozefest clunker unless you are a super big fan of Javier. My favorite part was the ultimately-guilty singer. I really liked her face and hope she gets away scot-free thanks to her "damn good lawyer."
5x12, Death Gone Crazy: Another less than stellar January installment. The only things I liked were Esposito drooling all over the hot bodyguard (Ryan: "Who are you?"), Beckett becoming temporarily distracted by the Guys Gone Nuts show, and Castle having a snit fit about Alexis's vlog* -- plus all its epic foreshadowing for "Target." At least she was able to get in a good point about not vlogging like a College Girl Gone Wild.
I don't want to end on a sour note, so I will say that I have watched the next episode, I just don't have time to discuss it right now. Also, I probably definitely need a new Castle icon soon now that I have 902873423 moments of actual requited romance at my disposal.
Lastly, I have 30 minutes until the next Under the Dome, but I did watch it last week, so let me just throw this in here too:
2x07: I pretty much spent this whole episode listing notes of squee and/or shrieking "WHAT??" Such as:
-Aww, Joe and Norrie are cuddly couch sleepers.
-Awww, super pretty Julia/Barbie goodbye kiss just in case he gets magnetically sucked into a black hole (also, that was a truly impressive scream of "NOOOOO!" from her. Like, 2001 Dana Scully "This Is Not Happening" levels of screaming).
-"I love you, Julia." (still pointedly ignoring how long it's "technically" been since they met. I am on a hot train to Shipperville and need exactly zero motivation to boomerang back to "epic support, I love them like nobody's business, Sam who?")
-HOLY SURPRISE BLACK HOLE TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD TWIST, BATMAN! And woohoo, this means Sam's not dead yet! (I guess I still have to deal with that whole murder business, but in the meantime I get to look at Flack's pretty eyes a whole lot longer than anticipated.)
-Man I love Sherry Stringfield a lot
-Of course Joe is a pint-sized robotics/engineering expert. OF COURSE HE IS.
-Barbie getting the stuffing knocked out of him by a gang of thugs. This seems useful for my daydream purposes.
-WHY HELLO BARBIE'S DAD. Of course you come from money and rejected it to be all noble and foolhardy. I'm not even going to argue against the cliche, because cliches can still be hot. You know what else is hot? Doing stuff to rescue the woman you love and making sure people know that's the reason why.
-OMG THERE'S A DOOR IN THE GROUND I NEED PEOPLE TO DISCOVER THIS DOOR AND EXPLORE WHAT LIES BEHIND IT.