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Castle 5-17: Scared to Death

Among the traditional annual episodes Castle does, one of them is a horror spoof. And every year, Castle thinks whatever they are investigating is real while Beckett looks for the logical explanation. You’d think Castle would get tired of being wrong, and I’d get tired of the same jokes. And yet, I found myself laughing at the episode all over again last night.

The episode starts with a freaked out woman. She calls 911 and says she is in danger. “It” is coming for her. And sure enough, while she is on the phone, the power goes out at her place and she dies.

Our crew shows up and starts processing the crime scene. Castle is immediately taken with the victim’s expression – pure fear. Plus there is no obvious sign of death. She was killed by fear! Beckett, of course, thinks there was something more traditional as the murder weapon.

About that time, her roommate shows up. The roommate says that something spooked her three days ago, but she didn’t know what. Maybe it was the ex-boyfriend she had a restraining order against. They bring him in, and he had been there that night. But she had called him. She wanted to get back together. Still, she was freaked about something she had gotten three days before. She wouldn’t show him or tell him, so he left. And his alibi checks out.

Beckett and Castle head back to find the package the victim had received. Beckett finds the envelop, which was obvious DVD size. Beckett actually finds it in the DVD player and starts watching. It’s a bunch of images, creepy music, and then at the end, a creepy voice says, “Now that you’ve seen this, in three days you will die.”

Castle being Castle, he takes this calmly and rationally and doesn’t think anything of it. Yeah right. He freaks out. He’s not the only one. While officially Ryan and Esposito are rational, neither one of them will watch it for clues. Ryan says it’s because he and Jenny are avoiding any superstitions while trying to get pregnant. Esposito doesn’t want to show his buddy up, so he won’t watch it either. So it is Beckett who takes a look at it. She agrees it is creepy, but that’s about it.

Meanwhile, the cause of death has come in – heart failure. But no clue what might have caused it in a healthy mid-20 year old.

They have tracked down the return address on the DVD the victim got. It came from a PO Box. They have a little trouble there, but eventually they do make a connection with a man in New Jersey. So our crew storms out there only to find him dead. He’s been dead for two days. And he got the same DVD.

Now Castle is really freaking out. It’s the end of the first day, so Beckett sends him home. He can’t sleep, so in the middle of the night, he calls Wes Craven. In a very funny scene, Castle tries to get some help with the horror screenplay he claims to be writing. How do you find and stop the evil spirit that is attacking you? Craven reminds him to learn the spirit’s back story. That’s always the secret to defeating them.

The next morning, the precinct is frustrated since they can’t seem to find any connection between the two. However, Castle has found something. He used some images from the DVD to reach out to his fans online, and one of them has recognized an image – an inn. And our victims had stayed there at the same time. There’s the connection.

Beckett and Castle head out there, much to Castle’s dismay. Bad things happen in horror movies at small inns. And the owner they talk to is creepy enough. It’s from him that they learn the victims were there for the trial of a serial killer. But they weren’t jurors (a common place I’ve seen before). They were witnesses.

Clearly, someone is out for revenge. But the man they helped put away is dead and his only relative is in a psych ward. Still, Beckett and Castle go to visit him, but he’s had no contact with the outside world. How could he have done it? Meanwhile, Ryan and Esposito make an startling discovery – the convicted killer’s grave has been dug up and his coffin is empty.

Of all the witnesses at the trial, only one other one has received the DVD. And he’s run away to a family cabin in the woods. Despite protests, Castle heads out there with Beckett. He does insist on stopping by to pick up a few things like a stake and holy water.

They arrive at the cabin not too long before midnight. The man is alive, but he’s freaked out waiting for his death. They try to get him to talk to them or leave, but he only warns them away. And then the lights go out and they see the movement of someone outside. Beckett tells Castle to stay with the man while she goes outside. Yes, they are splitting up.

Outside, Beckett finds the person walking around. It’s serial killer’s brother’s nurse. Yes, they’ve fallen in love, but she is there to catch the real killer so the brother will be declared sane so they can get married. She truly is a red herring.

Inside the cabin, Castle finally gets the man to confess what is really happening. He and the two victims had initially identified the wrong man. That man had committed suicide after three days in prison by electrocuting himself. And there was one relative – a daughter.

That’s when the killer comes in. And she is…the first victim’s roommate. Yes, she’s also the falsely accused man’s daughter. She snapped, and decided to seek revenge on those who put her father in prison. She gave them three days of terror and then killed them using a modified stun gun that froze their face in fear.

And so everything wraps up nice and neat. Our final scene finds Castle and Beckett just a few minutes before midnight the next day. Castle still wants to get past midnight just to be safe (this is their third day), and meanwhile, Beckett decides that Castle can stop worrying about his bucket list (he’d been talking about trying to do things on it all through the episode). She takes it from him and finds that the number one thing on his list was “Get together with Kate.” And then she teases him with something on her list. She heads into the bedroom. With the midnight deadline past, Castle follows her as the episode ends.

Once again, they pulled a suspect out of thin air it seems at the end, but I didn’t mind because I really wasn’t expecting it to be anyone we knew. It rarely is in a horror movie after all. And frankly, I was enjoying the trip enough as it was that I didn’t care. Still, part of me thinks that the first victim would realize her roommate as the daughter of the man she had falsely accused, but maybe they never met?

I have recently been thinking that they had gotten away from Castle approaching their cases like a story and finding clues that way, and here they go doing just that. I liked seeing that aspect of things again even if finding the two victims’ shared past was what the rest of the crew was already trying to do. Still, he did provide something that moved the case along.

And Wes Craven’s cameo? Brilliant. I was glad to see them acknowledging The Ring. I haven’t seen that movie, but I did recognize what they were ripping off anyway. I don’t watch many horror/slasher films, but I do keep up with the genre.

There were plenty of great one liners here. None are sticking out at the moment, but I did laugh several times. I wasn’t as on the edge of my seat as I normally am during their horror spoof episodes, but I did enjoy it overall.

What did you think?

3 thoughts on “Castle 5-17: Scared to Death”

    1. They always surround their more serious episodes with light episodes like this one. It’s one thing I like about the show. They never forget they are a light mystery show even when they do want to get serious.

  1. Thanks for the recap; I thought this episode was great. I loved Castle’s reaction to the DVD, and how he and Beckett kept things entertaining throughout the show. Hopefully we see a lot more of that type of interaction in the rest of Castle’s season. Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch the rest of the season when it airs because I work at DISH on Monday nights, but I’ll catch it on my DVR. My DISH Hopper always auto-records Castle and everything else on ABC during primetime, so I won’t have to worry about missing the show even if I forget to set a timer for it.

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