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One benefit to my lethargy is that I have consumed boatloads of media, the bulk of it Castle episodes. I finished and published a post I had started working on way back in October to cover the first ten episodes of season 6 ("After a slightly rocky start, this season is ON FIRE! In the metaphorical sense. Except for the scenes with Piebrain, whom I can only dream of being on fire in the literal sense."), so here's the next batch. I figure this should keep me no more than a year behind the current season, so eventually, I will be able to watch it in real time again.

The best part of that will be that I document the Caskett moments in more explicit detail, because in binge-watching, the stupid plots are so stupidly good that I get distracted by remembering the episode as a whole, unless there were super-spectacular standout moments. Good for rewatching, less ideal for rereading when I'm in a reminiscing mood. Quotes, too -- I miss out on recording a lot of funny quotes.

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6x11, Under Fire: To be realistic, the odds of them surviving that and being rescued were so astronomical and utterly reliant on Contract Immortality that I have to believe it caused a timeline split, so now there is at least one universe where they died in the fall, and another where they definitely died after the phone cut out. Both of those things are simultaneously wonderful and terrible to contemplate, especially the latter.

Because I definitely choked up and started crying when he was saying his goodbyes. Especially when there was never even a question of handing the phone over to Esposito, despite Lainie's presence, for obvious yet still heart-twingeing reasons. And for someone who cannot find it in her heart to love Jenny, the way her husband practically threw himself into the ambulance for a kiss at the end sure made my heart shoot the moon.

Boatloads of other great stuff too, from the personable fire inspector, to Castle's eyes lighting up while suggesting Ryan name his baby Cosmo, to Beckett's expressions throughout the long and endless despair of her guys ever getting out alive, to Ryan losing it when Esposito loses consciousness, but the kiss is all I can focus on right now. (edit: ooh, I missed the Esplainie hug in the background of that kiss the first time around, and managed to forget Beckett leaning on Castle's shoulder watching the Ryan Reunion. Bonus win!)

P.S. We're all relieved he ended up with a Sarah Grace, right? I was actually gunning for a boy with them, but not after I heard the name he was planning to saddle such a baby with.

6x12, Deep Cover: My immediate reaction to seeing our guest star's face was basically
you again

But I tried to give the episode the benefit of the doubt because James Brolin is a pretty gifted actor, despite my not knowing him outside Castle. It kind of worked, but mostly I just kept thinking about how I felt about him during the kidnapping episode, and my conclusion is that 1.5 years was not enough time for me to be ready to see him again. I'm still more willing to believe he's a wanted murderer than someone operating ~outside the sytem~ with a clever cover story, even if he didn't entirely double-cross Castle at any point. P. much the best thing about his appearance was a hands-on demonstration of how to remove a bullet without anesthesia or medical training. And maybe a little bit Beckett's reaction to meeting her future father-in-law. I can't fault the plot or the pacing, but it's still low on the totem pole of favorites this year.
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6x13, Limelight, a/k/a That Time We Fantasized About Both Killing Miley Cyrus And Also About The Idea That She Has Good Reasons For Being A Wild Brat: I didn't want this to work, but it did. Everything from the 500 layers of complication regarding which girl had actually been killed and why (though I pegged it was Mandy's mom on the second appearance) to the girl-bonding time with her and Alexis (!) delighted my eyes. Actually, let's just focus on that second one. I loved their impromptu night on the town and kind of hope that Alexis' number goes in and stays in Mandy's phone. They were just so good as totally opposite yet complementary friends!

I also liked that improbably sweet ending. "Once we realized she hadn't actually cheated on him..." You're rewarded by Prince Charming's smiley return! Because this show loves nothing more than love. YAY!

The Page 6 gossip ultimately leading to Beckett sneakily announcing their engagement herself was pretty adorable. Also, I laughed harder than I have laughed in a long time when they started to kiss at the end, and Esposito and Ryan immediately inserted themselves in the scene, grinning to beat the band.

And of course, there's the real reason this episode is amazing: PIEBRAIN THE PLEBIAN PEASANT HAS BEEN KICKED OUT ON HIS ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! REJOICE TO THE HEAVENS that they finally had Alexis wake up and realize he's an annoying moron. Who knows how long she has secretly wanted to throw him out, with nothing stopping her but determination to not let her dad be right? I'm betting about one week after the father/daughter bonding over a case, after she remembered how smart she is.

P.S. Theopratt's excellent macro from the recap made me laugh so hard I nearly choked. That guy is THE BEST. I keep having to remind myself he's not actually theoriginalspy...the text color/screencap quality does not help to dissuade me from this notion.

YOU WON'T WANT TO STRANGLE HIM WITH AN ELECTRIC EEL.
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6x14, Dressed to Kill: BRB DYING. But not in the manner of a victim on this show.

I would have been happy with the Devil Wears Prada plotline alone, mostly because I will watch almost anything featuring the bewitching Frances Fisher, even though Yumi was weird and the final reveal seemed anti-climatic. But then there's the whole beautiful Beckett story. And while I am skeptical about her brand-new modeling backstory (why do young women in fiction always just happen to fall into modeling? It does not seem like an industry hurting for applicants), the (relatively) cordial relationship she has with the fearsome Matilda King made my heart smile. THAT DRESS FITTING.

(not my fave wedding dress, though, tbh. For one thing, silver is for mothers, second weddings and/or people over 50, but even that I could overlook due to its beautifully intricate design, especially over the long, sheer sleeves. It's the giant poufs of white material on the skirt that have me scratching my head. Also, I'm still going to need an explanation for why that is not the dress she's wearing in the finale.)

I also loved the search for a wedding venue, and the walkthrough of the Cordova House. And yes, they scared the pants off me with Kate's somber "we need to talk speech" (and I have literally seen pictures of their wedding, so that's a good fakeout), but that was super-beautifully done. For a moment I thought Castle might have secretly put a deposit down on the place anyway -- he tends to throw money around like that for important causes -- but I guess whatever new venue they come up with will be lovely too. I'm just happy it's neither at the courthouse nor the cheap rush job that the Numb3rs wedding ended up being.

(that said, I honestly expected more like 2 years of engagement. And more to the point, I would have been delighted to stretch this state out, much as I look forward to them being married. And considering the fuss I made about Jim & Pam dragging their heels, you should be very impressed that I think this.)

But there was all kinds of pretty kissing at the end and beautiful, heartfelt declarations of commitment to their relationship/excitement to get hitched asap, so I'm very happy with this ending. Imma borrow from Theo again, mostly because I am too lazy to take my own screencap:

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6x15, Smells Like Teen Spirit WITCHES! WITCHES ALL UP IN THIS JOINT, a/k/a Telekinesis Is Real, And It's Spectacular
The more this show goes into X-Files territory without qualm, the more I love it. Because that teaser was super scary and I find it infinitely hard to believe that it was done with invisible wires/harnesses. Even more so for the cafeteria furniture moving around. So I am most impressed by Beckett's casual mention at the end that neither wires nor magnets were found at the house with the lamp tornado.

Beyond that, I loved the secret reveal that our dead girl was a budding thief -- the dark side of Also Known As, I guess -- and using some very clever tricks to cache her finds. (Although, using cash instead of her credit card on some of those late night jaunts would have been cleverer.)  Loved the old hollowed out book!

And of course, the dance was sweet, even though I'm not a big fan of school dances or the cheesy nature of couples having "a song."
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BONUS TELEVISION

NCIS, 12x09, "Grounded"

I prepared myself for disappointment on Bamber's accent (yup, Not British), but I was surprised by how much I missed the smooth voice of Devlin on Law & Order: UK, as compared to this. That's okay, though, because he made up for it with his general state of face. I can't decide if the glasses helped or hurt -- normally they are a hotness bonus, but here I think I was disappointed they obscured his extra-handsome features -- but it didn't even matter. He & Bishop make the most stunningly attractive couple NCIS has ever seen. I am including Gibbs and Shannon in this, so this was DEFINITELY worth the wait. Now I just have to chant to myself about how I will not get upset by the fact that her joining NCIS meant they lost their 2-way pillow chats about work. You know, a good husband wouldn't let that kind of silly rule stop him because a good wife would never let on what she knew.

Regardless, I was very happy with everything, and I look forward to Ellie being in mortal peril one day so he can dash onto the scene at the end looking panicked and/or desperately relieved. (I'm accustomed to certain things in life, after all.)

Still, I think my very favorite part was being threatened with having to see Tony's father again all episode, only to have them say he missed his flight in the end. It's a Thanksgiving miracle!

Oh, and in the middle there was some kind of airport-terrorist chatter and the Three Amigos did a fairly amusing/entertaining job of chasing would-be killers throughout the airport. That was fun too. Just not as fun as Abby expectantly staring Gibbs down with a plea to make snow angels...and being placated with "You get ONE." Do you know much we would pay to see Gibbs make one snow angel, though? At least 100,000 viewers, probably.


Plus a few quick thoughts about the NCIS: New Orleans Thanksgiving episode

Mentioning it partly because this REALLY drove home how much the team is like family, partly because I loved the dive into Loretta's backstory (both her time as an intern and the current stack of cold case files that haunt her on sleepless nights), and mostly because Pride and daughter -- eternally frustrated by her father's insta-bromaces with any boyfriend of hers he meets -- were so ridiculously cute together. And because the episode ended with happy "hey look, I got your boyfriend to come back" / YAY! kissing.

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A few weeks ago, The Big Bang Theory did a prom episode. I finally watched the relevant parts of it.


And may I just say that the last Sheldon/Amy scene took my breath away? It wasn't even just the "I love you too" -- don't get me wrong, even being spoiled for that could not diminish my cartwheeling joy -- but rather the beginning of that scene. It is like a pure scrapbooking high* to me when he sounds honest and unguarded and scared, and the combination of his body language in fleeing the scene and admitting to worry about the pressure of spending the night together gave that to me in spades. But you know what I like even more? Honest and unguarded expressions of affection, like bolting to the door before she leaves to make sure she hears that he thought she looked pretty.

(And he was not wrong. That's the prettiest she's ever looked on this show, and even her dress was lovely instead of the 80s horrorfest I would expect. She looked better than Penny, frankly, and not just because of the automatic edge her hair gives her.)

*Ryan Howard gets upset when people who've never tried crack say something is "like crack." He reminds us all to use something from "our world." Like scrapbooking.

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