Amazing, isn’t it, how during February sweeps Castle and Beckett manage to find themselves in a case that puts the balance of New York if not the entire world on the line and requires two episodes to complete. It’s now the third year in a row that this has happened. So shall we strap in for part one of the wild ride?
The episode opens with Castle learning that Alexis has taken on a third internship, but no one will tell him what it is. Immediately, bells went off in my head screaming “It has something to do with police work.”
We head out to the murder scene where the victim was shot and stabbed with a knife and pencil before being thrown out the window. As Castle quips, “Talk about overkill.” And it’s at the crime scene that Castle learns Alexis is interning with Lanie. While he puts a good face on it, he’s not happy because he likes to keep his police work separate from his family life. Alexis is loving it and Lanie seems to be enjoying having her there as well.
Thanks to video surveillance, Castle and Beckett quickly learn the identity of the killer – Thomas Gage – the man we saw look out of the window as we witnessed the victim falling from the upper window. Or at least they think they do. Turns out he’s not in the system and neither is the victim. And the victim? He’s vanished from the morgue while Alexis stepped outside to make a phone call. And Tom also vanishes from the precinct.
As the gang tries to track Thomas’ movements escaping from their custody, they learn he looked up something in their computers. They get the information – a woman’s name and address, and head there to find her dead on the floor. While taking a look around, Castle and then Beckett are captured and made to put a black bag over their heads.
When the bags are removed, they find themselves in a covert CIA facility somewhere below New York. I loved the running gag of how disgusted both were as they had to keep puttin the bags over their heads. Anyway, Castle is reunited with Sophia Conrad, a female CIA agent he shadowed for a year and based the female lead in his first Derek Storm book on. Honestly, Beckett’s jealous reaction to finding out she wasn’t his first research shadow was priceless. I especially loved her line later in the episode asking how many other women Castle had pseudo-stalked in the name of research.
The CIA has pulled Castle and Beckett in because they are also looking for Thomas Gage. He’s special forces or some such thing, but he’s gone rogue and is now freelance for the highest bidder, which are always the bad guys. The two of them are tasked with tracking him down so he can be turned over to the CIA immediately. Beckett doesn’t like it, but I can’t tell if that’s the jealousy or the not really being given a choice about this aspect of things. She is territorial, after all and wants to put the bad guy away in her jail.
Going back to the precinct, everyone wants to find out exactly what is happening and aren’t happy when Castle and Beckett refuse to fill them in. Honestly, watching Captain Gates storm off to find someone to force them to spill the beans was pretty funny.
Eventually, the gang tracks down the vintage car that our second victim kept in New Jersey and drove to the day before she died. Castle and Beckett head out there and find a fancy phone in the trunk. Before they can find the last number that was called, Thomas Gage shows up and takes it, locking Castle and Beckett in the trunk before he leaves. They escape only to go back to the CIA.
Using all kinds of fancy computer programs (that I found more a plot device than realistic, but what do I know?), they manage to track down the signal from the victim’s phone and then trace the pay phone she was calling. The recipient is a super smart mathematics theory guy who died a year ago. Obviously, he faked his death, and we learn later it was with the female victim’s help. Using video surveillance in the area, they manage to read his lips and figure out part of what he said. It was a code involving chess pieces.
Castle thinks the code is important and spends the better part of the next day at home working on it until Martha suggests that it mean something other than chess pieces. Sure enough, Castle then figures out it is a code for a park where the mathematician was going to meet the female victim. Castle goes back to the precinct with this and after convincing Beckett that she is his partner, they go there and convince the guy to talk to them. Well, sort of. He insists on going to a pier first.
Okay, at this point, I have to interject. This is one of my pet peeve cliches in mystery stories. “I know something, but I will only tell you at place X at time Y.” Seriously, if you ever find yourself with knowledge of a crime, rush to the nearest phone or police office and blurt out everything you know as fast as possible. It’s the only way you will live. Trust me.
In this case, they do manage to get the scientist to the pier, and he explains that before he faked his death, he worked for the government looking for patterns so the government could bring about change they wanted with little to no involvement of US resources. But when he got tired of starting wars, he “died” and then started using his powers for good.
Before he died, he created Pandora, a program that could bring about the end of the country as we know it at least economically. (Kind of ironic since I saw Live Free or Die Hard for the first time Sunday night. I definitely had a case of déjà vu.) He figures someone is about to put that plan into motion, but before he can tell us what it is, he realizes someone else is already at the pier. In a panic, he jumps out of the car to run and gets shots for his efforts (moral of the story, sticking with the heroes of a series is safer than trying to go out on your own). Before Castle and Beckett can react, a car comes at them and pushes their car with them in it off the pier and into the water.
To be continued
Okay, so this cliffhanger isn’t nearly as bad as the one last year with them locked in a freezer, but I’m definitely ready for next week already. I want to find out exactly what Pandora is and how Castle and Beckett will stop it. Even with the more serious nature of the story, even bordering on thriller territory, I found they left enough time for some fun character interactions.
Plus I’m really curious if they’ll keep Alexis around the morgue and how she’ll redeem herself in her own eyes for letting the corpse be stolen. Then again, that might be dropped if they wind up with too much story for the time allotted. This show is not known for always following up on storylines well. We’ll just have to wait until Monday night to find out.
While we are waiting, feel free to visit me over at Random Ramblings from Southern California.