November 11, 2014

Inca artifact in Castle

Last night's episode of Castle, Times of Our Lives (airdate: 11/10/14), featured the long-awaited "Caskett" wedding. This happy event came about because of a mystical Native artifact.

Here's the story with the Native aspects noted:

Castle S7 Ep6–Times of Our LivesThe murder this week is of a courier, found with his hand cut off so that the bad guys could steal the case he was handcuffed to. But when Rick & Kate find the missing case at an abandoned coal factory, it turns out to hold a mysterious Incan artifact that Rick picks up for some reason. Has he never seen Indiana Jones??? The bad guys burst in, and Castle hits his head while still holding onto the artifact–and thus ends up in an alternate universe.Castle Recap–Becket and Castle Say I Do: Season 7 Episode 6 “The Time of Our Lives”Alexis says maybe he’s in alternate universe and they tell him to go lie down. ... He searches for parallel universes and watches videos that describe circumstances similar to his and there’s the artifact he touched! The headline asks if it could be the gateway to another world. In the morning, he shows a print out to his mom and daughter. It’s an article about the Incan artifact that connects to the Incan gateway of the Gods.'Castle' Recap: Castle and Beckett Get MarriedCastle impresses Beckett with his knowledge of the Incan artifact, so she allows him to accompany Ryan and Esposito in their search for armed criminals. Another constant is Castle's inability to follow simple instructions, which leads to him finding the artifact but being held at knifepoint. In the ensuing struggle the artifact is broken.

Beckett decides to let Castle go with a semi-stern talking-to and the team focuses on questioning he woman who held him at knifepoint. Her name is Maria Sanchez, and she and her cousin were trying to return the artifact to the Incan people. She says they had nothing to do with the murder.
Castle: The Time of Our Lives (Recap and Review)On his way to the station Rick is kidnapped by the men who stole the artifact and it turns out that the villain has worked out that Castle is in the wrong world because of the artifact and he wants Rick to tell him how it works. Beckett shows up and after a brief shootout, Rick gets the artifact back and leaps in front of Kate to keep her from getting shot. As he dies, Rick comes back to “my you.”


The mystical Native artifact is a well-worn plot device. It's stereotypical, of course, since real artifacts don't have supernatural powers.

Why don't European artifacts have as much magic as Native ones? Because Native cultures are more fantastical and unreal--at least to us.

At least Castle tried to link the artifact to the Inca religion--claiming it was a portal between universes and not just an evil talisman created by a shaman's curse. And the disk actually resembles the Inca's golden sun disk. As Wikipedia explains:

IntiInti is the ancient Incan sun god. He is revered as the national patron of the Inca state.

Inti is represented as a golden disk with rays and a human face. Many such disks were supposedly held in Cuzco as well as in shrines throughout the empire, especially at Coricancha, where the most significant image of Inti was discovered by anthropologists. This representation, adorned with ear spools, a pectoral, and a royal headband, was known as "punchao," meaning 'day.'
So an actual Inca artifact, more or less, was used in this story. That's almost enough to make the gimmick acceptable.

One article claimed Maria Sanchez was "a notorious stolen-artifact smuggler." Turns out she's stealing artifacts to repatriate them, which is a better cause than stealing them for profit. So the Latina or indigenous criminal is actually a good guy of sorts. Nonstereotypical minority characters aren't uncommon on TV, but it's always good to see another one.

Castle has addressed artifact smuggling--an important topic in indigenous communities--before. Now it's hinting at the subject again. Nice job, Castle.

Anyway, this wedding episode was good if not great. Even though I guessed the bad guy the moment I saw him, as usual.

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