Castle 5-15: Target

Every year, Castle has a two parter during February sweeps. (This should not been a shock since I have mentioned it every week for a couple months now. And the first season doesn’t count because they didn’t start until March.) These episodes are always big, involve a major guest star, and leave you with a cliffhanger. They’re usually on the more serious side of things, but this year’s is the most dramatic they’ve had to date. Why? Because the case gets very personal for Castle and by extension the rest of the characters.

It starts out simple enough. Castle is having a conversation with his mom about how much they both miss having Alexis around when he’s called to the scene of another murder. He’s doing his usual freak out thing with Beckett where he tries to be the cool dad but really wants to lock Alexis up to keep her safe and his little girl.

Anyway, the victim was hit by a car – after he emptied his gun into the car. And, as my roommate pointed out (echoing my thoughts) he didn’t even try to get out of the way of the van that hit him. Frankly, that seems rather stupid. Personally, I’d dive out of the way so I could live to fight another day.

Anyway, the victim is enrolled at Columbia, where Alexis goes. And he’d recently had a run in with a TA there. But it wasn’t about grades. The TA flirts with all the women around him, and the victim had told him to back off. Beckett starts going over the list of women the TA had been flirting with, but she can’t get in touch with one of them.

Meanwhile, Ryan has come up with a video showing the van and a young woman trying to get out of the van only to be grabbed and pulled back in. That woman? Sarah, the last woman Beckett needs to get in touch with. Looks like she was kidnapped. And they can use the video to ID at least one of the kidnappers.

Naturally, Sarah’s parents come in, and they are quite distraught. She is their only daughter. They are all from Egypt, and her father had made some enemies there before coming to America, but he won’t elaborate on that. We do learn that he had hired the victim to be a body guard for Sarah without her knowing about it. Even so, why didn’t he dive out of the way of the van? Dead, you don’t have any hope of helping them while alive you can.

Anyway, on the night she was abducted, Sarah was attending a lecture from a global warming scientist. The hotel where this lecture was being held remembers her being there as well as the victim of the accident and a pretty red head who was obviously Sarah’s friend. Castle looks at the list of attendees and sees Alexis’ name. He calls her to find out what she knows, and hears her ring tone coming from across the room. Her phone is in the lost and found – found outside the hotel. And that’s when we find out that Alexis has been kidnapped as well.

Earlier, we’d seen the FBI agent brought in questioning Sarah’s parents. Now we see the same scene but with Castle and Beckett on the wrong side of the table. As the FBI agent leaves, Beckett stands up and hugs Castle. Castle worries that Gates will see them, but Beckett says she doesn’t care.

Castle goes home to help set up wire taps in case the kidnappers call. Meanwhile, Gates tells Beckett to do whatever it takes to get Alexis back.

Following traffic cameras, Ryan has found an area where the van must be. Searching the grid, they find it and tons of blood inside. The blood type is B negative, which doesn’t match either of the girls. Running it with a list of known associates from the man ID’d from the video earlier, and they come up with a possibility. And his sister, a nurse, has called in sick that day. Sure enough, he’s hiding out in the bedroom. He refuses to say anything to Beckett, but when she leaves him alone with Castle, Castle manages to get something from him – a ranch where the young women might be.

Meanwhile, we’ve had a few scenes with Alexis and Sarah. Yes, they are alive. They are being held in a very soundproof room with an attached bathroom. Food is shoved through the door. Sarah’s father had taught her about how to survive a kidnapping, so when the man comes to collect their food tray, they try to befriend him. But he is called away by a voice in Arabic saying “We’ve got company.”

And it’s about this time that the FBI agent and his team are leading an assault on the ranch that Castle learned about. Now I was thinking, “Something’s not right. We’re only 45 minutes into a two parter.” And I was right! The ranch is empty except for a dead body – the man identified in the video.

Now they are out of leads. While Beckett sits down to go over everything again and shake something new loose, she sends Castle home.

Meanwhile, Alexis has decided she and Sarah need to try to escape. Using hair pins, she manages to pick the lock on their door, a trick that Castle taught her when she was ten. They find themselves in a long hallway in what looks like an office building. They agree to split up so hopefully at least one of them will make it out to get help.

We follow Alexis, who finds a cell phone. Calling 911 doesn’t get her anything, but she turns on Skype and calls Castle. The agents at his house immediately start tracing the call. When Alexis hears a noise, she drops and phone and starts running again.

She makes it on the roof of the building and stops in confusion. Meanwhile, the agents have traced the call, only it doesn’t make much sense.

That’s because she’s in Paris.

She recovers enough run to the edge of the roof and shout for help, but she is quickly grabbed from behind by some unknown person and the screen fades to black.

To be continued.

The FBI agent is played by Dylan Walsh. Usually, the guest star for the two parter is someone of his stature, so I’m a bit surprised that he hasn’t done much this time around. Yes, the agent has played a part in the story, but he just doesn’t feel like he’s quite as big a presence as previous big two parter guest stars have been.

Having said that, one thing I really liked about last night was the fact that we didn’t have the usual conflict between our heroes and the people brought in on the case. And I’m not just talking about past episodes of this show but any mystery show or book. Granted, it creates less conflict to have no inter-agency fights, but it’s nice for a change.

Plus there is plenty of conflict. Nathan Fillion is doing a great job of playing the emotions Castle is going through. And the instant bond he has shared with Sarah’s parents is amazing. There’s nothing in words, but the looks they share several times say it all.

The rest of the cast is doing great as well. To go from the comedy of last week to the seriousness of this week without missing a beat is wonderful. Yes, I’m repeating myself, but it takes a lot of talent to pull that off without giving us whiplash, and they are doing it so well.

And I love how Gates doesn’t even hesitate when she tells Beckett to do whatever she needs to do to find Alexis. Gates and Castle may have their differences, but she is treating him a bit more like a friend than she’d probably be willing to admit out loud.

The case itself? Well, I’m trying not to think about it too much since they often leave some plot holes in these two parters. The focus is on big bold action and storytelling, and the details often get missed. But I’m very curious as to why they targeted Sarah. Or did they? We’ve been working under that assumption, and the pieces do fit it. Maybe they were really after Alexis? No idea why. It’s probably not right. But them targeting Alexis would be an interesting twist.

Speaking of whom, I like how they worked her vlog back into things. At one point, Castle is watching her last entry, and she talking about going with Sarah to the lecture where they were grabbed. So obviously someone was watching that and used it to get them. A bit heavy handed, but a good reminder to be careful what we put out on the internet.

So, what did you think of the episode? Any theories on what how it will be resolved next week?

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5 Responses to Castle 5-15: Target

  1. Irene Kautto says:

    I also really liked this episode and the acting all around is great. Liked how Alexis is showing that she is her Father’s daughter and is thinking things through and keeping Sarah from panicking.

    I’m of the opinion that it is Alexis that is the target and Sarah just got caught up in being in the wrong place at the wrong time – not the other way around as we are being led to think. It has something to do with Castle. They (whoever they are) were reading and watching her blog. There is some secret to Castle that we don’t know about that will be revealed next week and that has something to do with Alexis being kidnapped.

    • Mark Baker says:

      Alexis being the target was just something I came up with as I was writing it, but it seems like a worthy twist to the story.

      And I knew she’d be the one leading the charge to get them out/to safety. Not only is she her father’s daughter, but she’s always been the mature one in the family. Everything we’ve seen has been completely in character for her.

  2. Bonnie says:

    Despite the fact that I much prefer the lighter episodes of Castle, I still thought this episode was excellent, Fillion was excellent in his anguish, and it is hands down my favorite “serious” episode they have ever done. Maybe it’s because other serious episodes have often focused on a character we’ve never met and don’t know (Beckett’s mom) and this one hits much closer to home. Or maybe it’s just that Castle/Fillion is so much better at showing his emotions than Beckett/Katic (whether that’s the character, the actors, or a combination thereof).

    • Mark Baker says:

      I hadn’t realized why this one connected with me so much, but you’re right. I love Alexis and her relationship with Castle. It’s something we’ve seen over the course of the show. I do enjoy the serious episodes that revolve around Beckett and her mom’s murder, but this has more of an immediate punch to it those don’t.

  3. Pingback: Castle 5-16: Hunt | The Disney Blog

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