TAKE TWO SERIES PREMIERE REVIEW
BY GEANNIE BASTIAN
Take Two Has That Old Familiar Feeling
Okay folks, let’s start with the elephant in the room. For the last two years ever since Castle went off the air at ABC, there’ve been at least a half-dozen would-be Castle 2.0’s declared by the media. Here’s the thing though, I think everyone knew the closest contender would be Take Two.
From Castle’s very own creative team of Andrew W. Marlowe and his wife Terri Miller, we suspected that the writers who thrived on being meta and in-joke ready throughout the lifetime of the Castle series would likewise bring that unique to their new series. Add in a few familiar folks around the crew and you’ll definitely notice the similar feel mixed in with the cheeky references. Even the show’s title, while referencing the creators’ second act and the film angle, also manages to insert a sneaky Castle reference: Before the name of the older show’s pilot episode was changed, it was originally titled Chapter One. So yes, expect the meta. Embrace it.
But there are some neat departures here that could make for a really fun, solid series. Before we get to that, though, the case.
The PI, The Actress, and the Fake Father
Actress Sam Swift is straight out of rehab, having pretty much blown her life apart. But she’s got one shot, a potential movie role as a PI. To help her, her agent sets her up on a ride-along with Eddie, a PI who owes her a favor. Okay, we know this set up. PI isn’t thrilled, but yet a favor is a favor so let’s do it. Plus, he’s still living in the shadow of a mistake he made and people aren’t exactly knocking down his door either.
Their case is a missing girl whose father is worried about where his little on all American girl has gone to. Things get weird though when all their leads start directing them to a escort service, and a tough enforcer who has just been murdered by his shadowy employer – a mysterious crime boss who has an iron grip on the city.
With the help of some of what Sam has picked up over the years on TV, but also just some of her bubbly “of course this is how a girl would do it!” personality, they quickly discover that their missing person and their dead street thug were high school sweethearts. When they find their missing charge, Eddie and Sam discover these sweethearts had reconnected and he wanted out of the bad life he found himself in. He just needed evidence on his boss to get out. But plot twist: her dad never sent Eddie to look for, her dad is dead!
That’s right, it was in fact the big bad boss looking for her so he could murder her – just like he did with her boyfriend, and it looks like our team has led the bad guys straight to her. Once they wriggle out of it, the girl wants vengeance and Eddie just wants to turn this over to the police. But Sam, she just wants to help. The financiers dropped her movie, she has nowhere to go but she sees a chance to make a difference and she wants it.
With a few more callbacks, an undercover gig and a cheesy parody of a TV scene to save the day, Sam and Eddie save the girl and catch the bad guy. Then, a familiar moment where the characters say goodbye (complete with cop lights in the distance). But, instead of a proposition Castle fans might have seen coming, there’s a joke. ”Hey wait, you’re my ride!” Sam shouts as Eddie starts to walk away. I admit, I laughed. Loudly.
In the Differences Lies the Magic
Now here’s the part I love the most. Sam’s movie role? Dead. When Eddie calls her, it’s because the clients he’s suddenly getting from the publicity want both of them. And so he needs her. The shift in power dynamic here really interests me.
Eddie is out of the gate a former screw up, and so is Sam. Neither is here just trying to get the girl or the guy. Show will probably go there at some point, many do. But unlike it’s predecessor, Take Two isn’t focusing on a pursuit. Nor is Sam, at this point, in it to revive her career. She’s here to reinvent and redeem herself. Eddie doesn’t, so far, have a great unresolved quest. They both just want to redeem themselves. That even playing field should be interesting ground.
Plus, as a PI team, they’ll get a chance to do a variety of case styles, which should be fun to watch. Those meta references will likely tone down, but the wit and the balance of humor and drama will keep its delightful ring, which this fan has sorely missed since last we saw a MilMar creation on the air. And it feels like just the light, fun story my summer needs.
Who’s with me?