Castle – S04E14 – “The Blue Butterfly”
A man is found murdered in the remains of an old nightclub and at the center of his death, a sixty-five year old mystery. Castle is on the case, his imaginative mind dreaming up a film noir world in which those closest to him take on the visages of the past. It starts out feeling like high school dinner theatre but ends up as a hilarious trip down a classic trope which has been turned up on its head. However, “Blue Butterfly” ultimately leaves too much unanswered.
Score: 3 ½ of 5 (4 ½ if you can get past the plot holes)
“Blue Butterfly” starts out with a tease. Castle, sporting a horrible 40s New York accent and dressed up in whatever the wardrobe dept could borrow from Boardwalk Empire, is grabbing a drink at a classic nightclub set. He turns, sees Beckett dressed with whatever could be snatched from Mad Men and he utters the line “Where have you been all my life?” Instant groan. My heart literally sank because seriously, that’s where they want to take this?
Flashing to real time, Castle and Beckett arrive in an old building, the same nightclub as it is today, and find Laney over another plain jane murdered body. Some quick exposition and the victim is Stan, an amateur treasure hunter looking for “The Blue Butterfly” with creditors on his back and nothing to show for it. Castle finds an old P.I.’s diary amongst his things and can’t help but want to explore it.
As he reads the journal the images come to life. Castle takes the role of Jerry, a P.I. from 1947 and his mom becomes his secretary. (I love Nathan to death, I really do, but that outfit did nothing for his figure.) A young woman, played by Alexis, comes in and asks for Joe’s help in finding her sister. Jerry agrees and we end up back at the beginning, Castle standing at a bar, seeing Beckett as the beautiful Viola. The scene continues from there and it’s revealed that the “Blue Butterfly” is a necklace.
Instant pop back to the real world where Castle proceeds to explain what is going on and what it all means. He promptly finishes the scene with the words, “And why am I narrating?”
Okay… this I can do.
Taking a page from the right book, “Blue Butterfly” knows what it is and has fun with the trope, lampshading and lampooning it at every turn. Castle asks Ryan to say Irish words since he sees the detective as an Irish gangster who is Lucky Charms incarnate. The writer even accidently calls Viola, Kate, and she calls him on the fact he is imaging her in his head. It’s lots of little moments like this which really pull the episode up into 4-4 ½ territory.
However, the show leaves too many nagging questions that need to be answered:
- What was the daughter/Alexis’ game plan? Did she expect Jerry to fall for Viola and vice versa? You can’t exactly predict that. And as soon as he mentioned a sister Viola would have known something was up like she did when he finally got around to it. Jerry came up with the go-between plan that stalled Viola finding out. Was the daughter going to set Viola up, kill her at a meet? How? Viola would never go because she knows she doesn’t have a sister, so did the daughter not know that? A quick throwaway line explanation would have been nice.
- You’re telling me that it has been suspected for over fifty years that the necklace is in that building and no one thought to check behind the wall panels? Seriously? That would be the second place I’d look right after ripping up all the floor boards. Hello, metal detectors people!
- As far as I could tell there was no door/hatch in the basement to get outside, only the entrance. So if Stan went down and came up with the necklace it must have been in the safe. How did it get there when Jerry stashed it in a very good hiding place and Dempsey died only months later? Why didn’t Castle go back to the alley and look, you know, just to see if the hole was there, just because he could and it’s part of the story? /headdesk
Castle has been doing a lot of this lately, focusing on the theme and forgetting that this is still a detective show. It’s really starting to get on my nerves but my parents found the episode absolutely entertaining and said I think too much into things. They are probably right… but still… I don’t remember it being this bad in the first few seasons. Rose colored glasses? I think a Castle marathon is in order. Don’t mind if I do…