Castle 5-5: Probably Cause

I first fell in love with Castle because of the humorous approach they took to mysteries. I’m not saying they don’t take mystery and murder seriously, but they have fun along the way with the quips and flirting they’ve always had between Castle and Beckett. But along the way, they’ve also developed such real characters that when they do a case that is more serious or personal, I love those just as much. That was certainly the case last night.

The episode started out like any other one. Castle’s at home, he thinks alone, and then hears Alexis in the house. She’s come home to do laundry and grab some snacks before taking off again to meet some friends to study. Castle’s a little perturbed by that, but the murder scene puts all that from his mind.

The victim is a woman named Tessa, and she’s been found by her roommate after her roommate comes back from a weekend away. The creepy part is, she’s been strapped to the ceiling by a bunch of barbed wire and some kind of symbol has been carved in her forehead. They start the normal inquires. They learn that her boss came to see her Friday night, but he was responding to a message from Tessa and alibis out for the actual murder. They also learn from her roommate that she’d started seeing someone a few weeks ago, but the roommate had never met him.

It’s in the middle of all this usual work that they discover something unexpected. While the entire apartment had been wiped clean, they find fingerprints on the door frame and the front doorknob – Castle’s fingerprints.

They ask him about it informally, and of course he denies knowing Tessa at all. But Beckett, Esposito, and Ryan keep investigating him quietly.

And along the way, Esposito finds out about Caskett. First, Ryan fills him in so he’ll know to be cautious as they try to step around the landmines that this could cause. After all, they are working under the theory that Castle was in a relationship with the victim. That’s something that could upset Beckett. But as they begin to dig deeper into his life, including his phone records, Beckett comes clean to both of them. And she’s a bit taken aback that they already knew but had kept quiet. (Their response to how they found out? “Come on, it’s us.”)

With that cat out of the bag, the trio step up their efforts. Going back to the victim’s apartment searching for anything, they find half of a set of earrings. Ryan recognizes them as one of a kind coming from a certain store. The purchase was made with a cashier’s check, but the store has surveillance. And the purchase was made by…Castle. Even worse, he withdrew the $12K they cost in the form of a cashier’s check right before the purchase was made.

Based on that, they get a search warrant and go to the loft where they find one of Castle’s bags filled with more barbed wire and a shirt with the victim’s blood on it. They have no choice but to arrest Castle.

At this point, they even pull Captain Gates into the case. No fan of Castle, she has a hard time believing any of this could really be happening. She finds Castle immature, but she also believes he isn’t a killer. While she questions him, Beckett brings in Alexis and Martha to try to find out if anyone else could have had access to the loft.

But they don’t pull up anything, so Castle has to spend the night in lock up. That’s when he receives a most interesting visitor – 3XK. This was a serial killer we faced off with almost exactly two years ago near the beginning of season 3. He escaped being arrested, but in the process, Castle ruined his perfect escape plan by figuring out how he was faking his death. This entire thing is his revenge on Castle and Beckett. I guess since it’s 3XK and he’s obviously been stalking them for a while, we are supposed to buy that he was able to sneak into the loft to plant stuff and get what he needed as well. I’m certainly not going to argue the point since I didn’t even think about it while I was watching last night.

Anyway, 3XK reveals the rest of his plan. When Castle goes to central the next day, he’s going to be killed. That will be the rest of his revenge, Castle dead and Beckett knowing she couldn’t do anything to stop it.

Beckett, meanwhile, has finally let her resolve and faith in Castle slip just a little. In a scene with Lanie, she confesses while crying that maybe she doesn’t know Castle as well as she thought she did. But it doesn’t last long, and by the end of the scene she’s back on the bandwagon that Castle is being framed. And yes, this means that Gates is the only cast member who now doesn’t know about Caskett.

But Beckett’s faith in Castle is why she doesn’t scoff the next morning when Castle tells her about his late night visitor even though there is no proof that 3XK was really there. It takes a bit more convincing for Gates, but she is willing to ask the DA for more time before official charges are filed against Castle, but the DA won’t give him special treatment. Beckett sends one team back to the loft to search for anything that 3XK might have left behind while Ryan goes to the victim’s office to try to find something.

But before they can turn up anything, the officers come to take Castle. In a tender scene, Castle tells Beckett to keep working and not blame herself for anything that might happen. Then he also mentions the first time she arrested him for not staying off a case. “Remember, it was at the library. I wish I were back there.”

Just moments after Castle steps on the elevator with the two officers transferring him, two officers show up to transfer him. Yep, the first two were fakes. Certain that Castle is now in the hands of 3XK, they go into overdrive mode. But as the DA shows up to ream them out for letting him escape (a bullet that Gates takes), Beckett realizes that Castle set this up (how did they do that from in lock up? Yes, he has resources, but come on!) and the comment about the library was a message (I figured that much out already).

Sure enough, Castle is there waiting for Beckett at the library. While he’s been there, he’s been looking for want ads for people to impersonate him. And he’s found one. Through the casting agency, they were able to track down the actor, who was hired to play Castle for a TV show. Didn’t quite get the premise, but the scene was of “Castle” buying those earrings. He identifies the producer as 3XK, and the check he was paid with came from an account with only one other check – a check to the insurance company where our victim worked. Ryan is still there, and he finds the appointment and the address where 3XK and the victim met.

Everyone arrives at the scene to find an abandoned building where 3XK has been hiding out and all the proof they need to convict him and free Castle. There is still the fact that Castle escaped custody, but Gates is quite willing to let him plead that down to time served and sends he and Beckett back to the precinct to start the paper work.

Along the way, they get stopped at a draw bridge going up. A draw bridge where they are the only ones around. Alarm bells start going off in my head, so I spend the entire scene where they are talking about how nothing seems to come easy in their relationship, but even so that Beckett never doubted Castle’s innocence (and really, except that one scene she never did, and even then it was very briefly). She is mid-thought when they are struck from behind and pushed toward the break in the bridge. I started wondering if we were going to get a cliffhanger, but no, things are resolved in the last few minutes.

Yes, the person behind them is 3XK. Beckett turns the car so that he can’t push them into the water, so he starts firing. She gets out and fires back. Thinking she’s hit him, she approaches the car, but he springs up and grabs her, knocking the gun out of her hands. As 3XK screams he is going to kill Beckett and drags her around so that Castle can watch, Castle sneaks out of the car and grabs Beckett’s gun. He starts shooting at 3XK, and the killer staggers back and drops over the side of the bridge into the water.

Our final scene is of them dragging the river for his body, but they can’t find it. Beckett is convinced that everything is over, but Castle knows what I know. This was his new faked death plan. 3XK is still alive but can now start over with his killing spree with no one looking for him.

The last couple of scenes were fairly predictable, but they felt so good and so right to me. Even with the plot holes I mentioned, I loved this episode. No, it wasn’t as funny as normal, but the character relationships were brilliant. I even loved how they played Gates and Castle because it rang true.

I am surprised at how quickly they’ve let the other characters in on Caskett, however. I really was expecting it to play out over more of the season, yet here we are only 5 episodes in and everyone but Gates knows. I’m wondering how long it will be before she finds out and how she’ll react when she does.

I’m expecting a Firefly reference to two next week as we head to a scifi convention to find a killer. Until then, sound off with your thoughts on this episode.