Introducing The E in TV/ Richard Castle’s Dramatic Music Vibe

The E in my blog’s title “The E in TV” stands for simply Edit. I will look at different types of editing choices in scenes from different television shows.

I am a huge fan of television. Unlike a two-hour film, television allows the viewer to witness the growth of characters and changes of styles from season to season.

As for my first post, I will be discussing a scene in Castle from the episode “The Time of Our Lives.” If you are not sure what Castle is, visit your favorite search engine and google it or bing it or yahoo it. In this episode, Castle enters into a parallel universe where no one at the police station, not even Beckett, knows who he is.

Click here to watch the clip from Castle. Make sure you listen to the score.

Music is a useful tool in conveying a type of emotion to the viewer. It’s even a better tool when creating an exaggerated comedic moment. If you’ve ever seen Castle, you are familiar with Nathan Fillion’s way of charmingly use of exaggerated speech to get what he wants in solving a case. In the first scene, Detective Esposito is suspicious of Castle for knowing so much information about them and the case. Castle tricks Esposito into thinking that he has a special “gift” similarly to a psychic or mind-reader. I love the use of dramatic music in this scene because it adds a comical element to the scene and Esposito’s face is priceless. Different parts of the score are triggered by certain words Castle says.

“Gift”– Things are getting interesting. A little bit of percussion but not too much. Just enough to get the audience interested.

“Commitment Issues”– Castle hits a nerve. A strong crescendo as Esposito walks closer towards Castle almost as if he is about to kill him. The music suddenly stops as Detective Ryan walks into frame.

As Detective Ryan is briefing everyone on the case, he suddenly stops mid-sentence watching Castle. The music starts again and there is no dialogue. Ryan looks at Castle. Esposito and Beckett look at Castle. Castle looks at Beckett. Beckett moves her glance from Castle to Ryan. Cue percussion! Beckett nods at Ryan to continue briefing about the case.

I chuckled so hard during this scene (if that is even possible). Firstly, you have typical Castle thinking on his feet. Secondly, the use of dramatic music highlights how freaked out Esposito is but also makes the entire scene comedic to the point that it looks a little ridiculous (in a good way). Naturally, Castle pretending to be some kind of mind-reader in order to stay on the case and avoid suspicion would be somewhat believable in this situation especially coming out of the mouth of Nathan Fillion. I also loved the moment of no dialogue between the four characters until Beckett gives the nod. Those seconds of no dialogue scream, “We don’t know why we are letting a writer into the investigation but whatever. He may be useful.” It’s almost like a throwback to when the series began where Castle wasn’t welcomed by Beckett to piggy-back on police investigations until he proved himself useful. We got a taste of what the tension used to be in Season 1 and how far we’ve come in Season 7.

The use of dramatic music that would normally be used for suspense has served to follow a comedic joke that only the viewer and Castle are truly aware of. In the debriefing scene, the music is used as a filler that highlights the elephant (Castle) in the room creating an awkward vibe. The sound of the minor drum roll hinted that a decision was going to be made. Beckett nods. Music changes. Detective Ryan continues. Castle gets to stay.

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Castle, “The Time of Our Lives”