The Supernatural in Castle

Title from ABC's Castle

Title from ABC’s Castle

David and I love the show Castle. It is one that we will usually take the time to watch every week and will re-watch past seasons. Nathon Fillion is what initially brought us to the show, but the character of Richard Castle is so much fun to watch and his interaction with Kate are fantastic. Usually what happens is there is a crime, usually a murder, and Castle comes up with a pretty outlandish theory involving the most complex option possible because it is what would make for a good story. In the end the show usually proves Castle completely wrong and we find out that there is a simple explanation for everything that has happened. In the last couple of seasons they have subtly been ramping up some of the intrigue.

In season 5 we got introduced to Castle’s father in an amazing two part episode. We find out that Castle’s dad is apparently the blackest of black ops spies who actually pulls off the crazy antics that Castle dreams about in his stories. It is a great introduction and begins to open the idea of antics that are beyond belief for most people, but still grounded in reality. This season they have amped things up even more. They first introduced the idea of time travel in episode five of this current season and unlike other times they never explained it away. Then in this most recent episode they introduced the idea of telekinetics, they explain away some of the stuff, but there are things that are left open to the possibilities. So what does this mean for future Castle and why did they choose to do it?

Introducing the Supernatural

Playing in to the audiences and Castle’s desire for the supernatural and extraordinary seems really smart. There are only so many times we can have Castle proven completely wrong. We introduce fun new complex ideas, but usually it is turned in to something more simple. They were smart about how they have introduced larger than life ideas. They do them as single shot episodes or wrap the idea up in a single character. It allows the show to introduce the possibilities of something bigger than what we understand or know and as always still questioning the very validity of the larger than life idea.

One of the great parts of the more supernatural or extraordinary situations is that usually you end up with Castle and Ryan on one side of the issue, believing in the possibilities, and Kate and Esposido on the other side. These create great discussions on the show around these supernatural elements, partly because you could see people actually having that sort of conversation. So even though they are introducing supernatural ideas they are keeping them grounded in reality. They are not opening up the possibilities of Zombies, but time travel and telekinesis are a bit more difficult to fully disprove. There is something to the fact that we want to believe in the possibility of something more and time travel is a big one of those.

Why Leave It Open Ended

Part of what they end up doing on Castle is they introduce the idea and prove their case, but at the same time they never definitively disprove that time travel and / or telekinesis are impossible. Those who are skeptics would never believe that time travel or telekinesis is even possible so for them the story is just done. For those who see and wonder about the possibilities it opens up an interesting possibility for the world in general because Castle is meant to be grounded in the real world. It plays in to our desire for there to be more. They never have to bring either of these concepts up again, but they open up the possibility that in any case there could be a little bit more than meets the eye.

This of course plays very nicely into many of Castle’s theories. Some of his theories are better than others, but they are usually outlandish and just a little bit crazy. If we do not open up the possibility that Castle can be at least partially right about something that sounds completely crazy then it could just get old after a while. He is always wrong and the episodes would become overly predictable. Also, it is just a lot of fun.

Where Does It Go

So the show now has a ton of possibilities it could go on to. The problem is that if it goes to outlandish it will not remain grounded, which is part of what makes the show so great. Introducing the idea of something more gives us something to be intrigued about, at the same time somehow making it seem definite that these ideas are true would take the show too far. There is a balance that they need to strike and so far they have done a great job at finding this balance. It has only been a few episodes where they have introduced the idea of the supernatural, but it has worked great. The idea has not so far been brought up again and really does not have to be. The big thing for me is that it changes Castle up just enough to make it different from the many other police procedurals on television.


One response to “The Supernatural in Castle

  1. Pingback: Best of 2014 | Comparative Geeks

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