Castle 5-13: Recoil

You can count on two things during February sweeps. We’ll get another development in Beckett’s mother’s murder case and there will be a two parter. Last night, we got the first. It was certainly more serious than some, and I really enjoyed it.

The murder victim’s remains are found in a garbage can burned. In fact, they have a hard time identifying the body until they discover a dental plate they can use. The victim was female, and she called her sister right before she died, leaving her a voicemail of her murder and a partial car license. When they listen to the call, they determine she was killed in a parking garage and someone was flipping a lighter right after she was killed.

While doing the normal background checks on the victim, they make a very startling discovery. This woman has a connection to the Senator. Yes, the Senator who ordered Beckett’s mother killed.

Instead of rushing in, Beckett slows down. She is going to do this right and nail him to the wall. So she sends Ryan and Esposito to question him about his relationship with the victim. They play coy with what they know, and he doesn’t recognize them right away. But he makes the connection and they also learn that his relationship with the victim was completely professional. She was working on a big environmental speech he’s giving in a couple of days.

Meanwhile, they’ve found the car license plate the victim was reading when she was killed. It’s located in a parking garage near where the speech will be given. And in the trunk are all kinds of pictures of the Senator with hateful things on them. He’s not the killer. He’s the target.

Captain Gates explains this to the Senator, who refuses to stop any of his appearances, including the big speech. He does blanch when he learns that Beckett will be in charge of his security. Gates picks up on it, but he refuses to admit it would be a problem at all.

The scenes between the Senator and Beckett are amazing throughout the entire episode. She promises she will be professional, but he seems skeptical. He does send over his hate mail for her to go through.

And at the end of a late night, she finds it – the letter written from the person who must be behind this. His son was going to blow the whistle on the Senator and just before he did, he hung himself. Beckett is alone at the time, and she can’t decide what to do. She even sees her shrink. As we go to commercial, she’s lit a match and is holding it over the letter.

The next morning, she’s actually the last one to arrive in the precinct. Ryan and Esposito have found the same suspect via other means. Beckett is revealed and guilty that she slept on the letter, although Castle tries to tell her that she didn’t destroy the letter, so she is okay.

They track the suspect through his former employer to his residence (where he hasn’t been for a month) to where he is currently staying. He escapes Beckett, but is caught anyway. Beckett questions him with both barrels, trying to win his sympathy by talking about her vendetta against the Senator. Gates catches part of this and asks Castle what it is all about, something that he plays down.

The man never confesses, however, but the Senator is happy because they have their man and he won’t have to worry about his speech that night.

But Beckett isn’t satisfied. True, she still wants to take the Senator down. But she also doesn’t think they have their man. The bomb they found he had built was too complex for a man who couldn’t button his shirt. In fact, it felt like a set up. Or maybe she saw that they still had 15 minutes in the episode. So she calls in a bomb warning to the hotel where the speech is going to happen and then she and Castle head down there.

The Senator is not happy when they arrive because the bomb squad has found nothing. He tells Beckett he’s going to make sure this ruins her career and then stalks off to his car. He passes his driver, who is busy flipping a lighter. And the clues fall into place for Beckett. She races after the Senator and knocks him to the ground just as the driver hits the remote detonator, blowing up the car the Senator was just about to get into. Beckett yells at Castle, who tackles the driver.

While the driver doesn’t talk, they are able to track down who hired him, and the Senator works behind the scenes to get him punished as well. Meanwhile, they figure that our original victim must have recognized the driver even in a disguise he wore to frame the man arrested earlier, and that’s why she was killed.

And the Senator is grateful for Beckett’s saving his life, saying he owes her one. You can tell the thought sickens her.

So I must admit, I wonder why the driver wasn’t looking at the Senator and the car when he hit the detonator. It seems to me that would be pretty standard to make sure you actually kill your target. The Senator wasn’t in the car yet and was still a ways away.

That point aside, I enjoyed the episode. I liked seeing the struggle Beckett went through over the course of the episode. I knew she’d do the right thing in the end, but the internal conflict was really well done.

Looks like next week is going to be a fun Valentine’s themed episode. This being Castle and Beckett’s first Valentine’s Day as a couple, I expect nothing less.