Firefly’s Jewel Staite cameos in this week’s episode of Castle which sees the team face some dangerous drug lords as they attempt to hunt down the person behind the murder of wannabe Oscar winner Zane Cannon. Here’s our Episode 20 review
We all love a good cameo, and Castle’s a brilliant show for that sort of thing, especially when Nathan Fillion gets one of his old Firefly buddies to turn up for a few scenes. We previously reported that Firefly’s Jewel Staite will be a big part of Episode 20, and she certainly was in this week’s episode, titled “Much Ado About Murder”. There’s an obvious Shakespearean theme running through this whole episode. The murder victim, who happens to be a famous actor, Zane Cannon (One Direction reference maybe?) is trying to be taken seriously for a change by appearing in a Broadway production of Hamlet. However, he ends up getting a feather pen through his neck. How dramatic. Read our review of Castle Season 8: Episode 19 for a reminder of what happened previously on Castle.
“Much Ado About Murder” harks back to Castle’s earliest episodes by adopting its unique formula. A bloody, quirky murder: check. A perplexing mystery: check. Castle and Beckett being very flirtatious and cute with one another: check. The use of inappropriate wordplay: check. Pop culture references: check. Castle’s always at its very best when it follows that formula. When they try to mess with it, or bring in new conspiracies that frankly don’t need to be there (LokSat, we’re looking at you), the show immediately becomes a lot less interesting. Having said that, there were recurring conspiracies that were gripping: the conspiracy behind Beckett’s mother’s death for instance. Also, Castle’s multiple run ins with 3XK, a.k.a. Jerry Tyson, were slightly diverting, if a little ludicrous at times.
One of the best parts of this episode, apart from watching Beckett struggling to outdo Castle’s previous date night, was getting to see Firefly’s Jewel Staite acting opposite Nathan Fillion again. Staite played Kaylee Frye in Firefly, who was the ingenious engineer on board the Serenity. She was also Dr. Jennifer Keller in Stargate Atlantis and more recently played Caroline Swift in The Killing. If you were never a fan of Joss Whedon’s cult hit TV show, then the excitement of seeing her share the screen with Fillion once again would have gone straight over your head. However, even the uninitiated in Firefly’s amazingness would have noticed what a fabulous actor Staite is in this episode. She can really do anything, and is perfect as the frustrated director of a Broadway production.
If we were to give this episode one bit of criticism it would be that we’ve seen this sort of thing done many times before on Castle. It’s nothing new and doesn’t really play with pop culture references as much as previous episodes from this season. Having Staite in to cameo presented the writers with the perfect opportunity to add in a few Firefly references, like they did with Adam Baldwin’s memorable appearances as Detective Slaughter. Unfortunately the writers decided to forgo the Firefly references for this episode, much to our disappointment.
However, “Much Ado About Murder” did feature a pretty formidable drug lord, Jorge Zamacona, lovingly referred to as ‘El Oso’ (The Bear in English), who kidnaps Castle and then tries to make him write the script to his biography. El Oso feels that his tale could win an Oscar, even so, we’re not sure that tying Richard up is the best way to convince him to write your story. Jorge very much sees himself as a character from one of Shakespeare’s plays. He likes to think of himself as Hamlet, although Castle jokes that he’s more like Richard III (who was a hunchback). What did you think of Jewel Staite’s cameo in Castle?
“Much Ado About Murder” featured a wonderful cameo from Jewel Staite and saw a welcome return to the Castle formula, but failed to add anything new to the series.
This post was originally published as "Castle Season 8: Episode 20 review, Much Ado About a Firefly cameo" by .