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Castle 4-16 Recap: Linchpin

Last night’s Castle was an exercise in changing opinions. While I was watching it, I enjoyed it. It was lots of fun with great twists. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve been disappointed by it.

The episode started off with Castle and Beckett in the car that was pushed off the dock and into the water in the cliffhanger at the end of part one of this two part saga. As the water rose, they couldn’t get the doors to open, and Beckett’s seatbelt was jammed. Her gun had fallen on the floor, and Castle had to dive down to find it to shoot off her seat belt and then use it to break the windows so they could get out. The water had filled the car before he was able to do that. Honestly, I was thinking that they could have used the car almost full of water as a better cliffhanger than the car just going into the ocean. But that’s a minor issue with the episode.

Anyway, we are next on the dock and Sophia, the CIA agent Castle modeled a character after in his Derek Storm series, shows up to ream them out for letting the smart scientist guy whose theory about how the US can get brought down in a war they are trying to stop get shot instead of taking him directly to her. And she throws them off the case. Not one to get discouraged, Beckett still promises to track down rogue CIA agent Gage since he is the suspect in the original murder. Even better, that night, Sophia shows up at Castle’s and gives him scientist guy’s bank accounts and all but asks him and Beckett to look into those transactions.

So the next day they start in on that as well as trying to track down people who knew scientist guy. Esposito and Ryan check out parks where he might have played chess, and they manage to track down an economics professor who played with him. Through him, they track down his apartment, and in there they find a room with pictures and strings connecting everything. It looks like he was working on something that would start World War III and lead to the defeat of the US. And the domino that starts it all? A little girl.

Just as Castle and Beckett get the picture, Gage shows up. Since someone is shooting through the window at them, they leave with him. They get to their destination, and Beckett insists that Gage explain himself. He’s innocent but being set up, or so he claims. He’s got a plan to stop the true villains, but before he can tell them about it, Sophia shows up and arrests him.

Questioning him back at the CIA base gives them nothing, and the facial recognition software isn’t yielding anything on the picture of the little girl. Sophia goes back in for round two of questioning to find that someone has shot Gage. The cameras were tampered with, and they track that back to Martin Danberg’s computer. The station chief manages to get away instead of get arrested, so now the pressure is really on to figure out who this little girl really is before Martin can finish her off since he is obviously Gage’s partner.

It’s Castle who finds a way to do that – try to match the mountains in the back of the picture and then search the local region for the school insignia and the girl. It’s going to take hours, so everyone settles in for the computer to do its thing.

At one point, Sophia and Beckett talk. Sophia confesses that yes, she and Castle slept together. And that was the beginning of the end of their relationship because once the tension between them was gone, all she noticed was his annoying habits. Are the writers looking for a way to slow things down between Castle and Beckett?

Early the next morning, the computer spits out the location of the picture, China. (I’d already guessed that.) With that narrowed down, they figure out that the girl is the daughter of the man in China most responsible for China buying so much US debt. If the US gets framed for murdering his daughter, then he would stop his influence, we’d go broke, and our enemies would pounce on our weakened state.

Low and behold, he’s in New York with his family that very day. Sophia, Castle, and Beckett rush out to where he is to stop the Martin and whoever his partner might be from killing the girl.

They arrive on site and meet up with someone Sophia has hand-picked to help them. Someone she knows she can trust. Turns out, that’s because they are on the same side – and it’s not ours. Sophia, a left over Soviet double agent, is the one actually responsible for all this. She sends her partner out to kill the girl while she kills Castle and Beckett. Before she does, she lets “slip” that Castle’s father was in the CIA. I’d actually kind of forgotten that he doesn’t know who his father is at all. Does this mean they’ll be playing with that more before the season is over? Just before she kills Castle, Martin shows up and kills her. He’s been tracking them since he figured she had to be the double when he got framed with his computer. They rush out and save the day.

As I said, lots of action. Lots of twists and turns. But some major things never explained.

For starters, who was the man who was killed at the start of the first episode? And why was he killed? Call me crazy, but it seems like we should have learned about that at some point. I don’t remember that ever being discussed last week. Did I miss something? I know he was just the excuse to get this story started, but take one minute to give us a name and how he factors into all of this.

Next, how did Gage escape and who helped him? Who stole the first victim’s body? If Gage really was innocent and being framed, who was helping him get out of his frame? Both of those were huge plot points in the first episode and part of the recap at the beginning of this episode. It was assumed that whoever his evil partners were provided the help. Yet if Sophia was really behind it and Gage was innocent, then who freed him and how did he know he’d be freed?

Yep, I’m looking for logic in my mysteries. Sorry, but that’s kind of a thing with me.

Finally, there was my big pet peeve to end the story. I hate it when the only reason the “detectives” figure out what is going on is because the villain tries to kill them face to face. And that’s the only reason we caught Sophia. Until she pulled the gun, Castle and Beckett completely trusted her. She probably could have gotten away with it if she hadn’t tried to kill them. That’s just lazy writing.

So, from a pure thriller point of view, this was a fun ride that never let up. However, from the mystery side, it was disappointing. The mysteries on this show are never the tightest, but they are usually better plotted and don’t leave nearly as many holes.

Next week looks like a fun one as Castle and Beckett take on a killer who leaves his corpses to look like fairy tale characters. I guess they’re trying to make up for the fact that Once Upon a Time won’t be on next week.

While we wait, stop by and see what I’ve been reviewing.