The episode opens with Castle waking up alone. You can see the dejection on his face when he thinks that his perfect night with Detective Kate Beckett was a dream. But she then walks in, wearing his shirt and holding a mug of coffee. She sits beside him in bed and they look absolutely perfect in the golden glow of the sunrise. If I weren’t so happy to be seeing this scene, I would have probably rolled my eyes at the hackneyed scene. The moment is ruined when Castle hears the front door opening, his mother has arrived from her vacation early. He sends Beckett to hide in the closet while he deals with his intrusive mother and deeply hungover daughter. Castle deals with Alexis as Kate sneaks out the front door. Castle stops by her place to apologize, he isn’t used to the idea of having a real relationship, especially not one with her. But she treats him exactly the same when Ryan shows up unexpectedly. So they agree, unsurprisingly to keep their relationship a secret. How they plan on doing this is beyond me. All of their mutual friends are detectives, and very good ones at that.
Ryan is the only member of the team who still has his job, so he is left to investigate by himself. He, of course, is still going to share any information he unconverd with Castle and Beckett. He may have (As Esposito believes) ratted on them to Gates, but he did it to protect them, not to screw them over. He still cares immensely for them and he knows how important this case is to Kate. Ryan managed to get a hold of a copy of the missing photo from Montgomery’s wedding album (this is news from last season), this is who they believe Maddox is after. And Kate is thrown for a loop when Castle announces that this is who he was secretly meeting with throughout the last year.
Esposito isn’t working with the other three on the case, I’m assuming it is due to his anger at Ryan “betrayal.” Instead, he goes to a friend of his from the army and asks him to hack into the DOD database to get information on Maddox. When he tells Ryan that this isn’t doable, he could lose his job (and be arrested), Espo reminds him that he took a bullet for him. I know that Javi wants to get Maddox desperately, but the fact that he would stoop so low really annoyed me. He has never been by-the-book, not even close to it, but to threaten a friend was far worse than I expected of him.
After hours of searching, Castle and Beckett discover that the man that Castle worked with is named Michael Smith. What an uncommon name… Maddox figured this out before them. Smith was tortured, but he was still alive. As the paramedics wheeled him away, he whispered “86 mmm” to Castle. Castle starts digging through every file he can get his hands on to decipher this code. Beckett tells him that it’s worthless, he’s just grasping at straws. His touching response to this was that as long as there were straws to grasp at, he would grasp at them to save her. And just as they were about to give up, Castle spots a file with an address that begins 86 M. Beckett thanks him, she knows that she never would have gotten this far without him. This kind of blew me away, Beckett has never spoken like this to Castle. Either sleeping with him made it easier for her to express herself, or this was a poorly written line. You pick. And the fact that he found this file was complete blind luck, it was so farfetched that it genuinely detracted from the story.
Maddox followed them to the building, held a gun to their heads, and tied them up. Castle tells Kate “At least we had last night. We should have done that 4 years ago.” And all of the Caskett shippers (me included) felt the desire to throw something at the screen. Yes, they really should have (I’m aware that the show would have sucked if that happened, but just let me have this one, will ya?). Esposito finds the building too (Seriously? By himself?) and unties the two. They catch Maddox before he takes the file out of the safe. Even with two guns pointed at him, he decides to grab the file and make a run for it. He, didn’t know that the safe was rigged to blow. Both Maddox and the file are now forever lost.
When Ryan arrives at Beckett’s house, the three are prepared to attack. When they realize that it’s just him they calm down (besides Esposito, who calls him Judas). He brought the shards of the file that they managed to get. After a couple hours of piecing it together, they realize that Senator William H. Bracken was involved with the dirty cops and the shooting of Kate’s mom.
Since they don’t have any proof and Smith (who lived through the surgery) refuses to testify, Kate decides to take matters into her own hands. During the night, she slips out and we are led to believe that she is going to kill Bracken. This belief is furthered when dramatic music is pounding and there are alternating shots between Kate’s flashbacks and Ryan, Esposito, and Castle running. Rather than killing him, she drops a phone in Bracken’s pocket and convinces him to meet her in the kitchen. She wants the truth, which Bracken insists isn’t something that you often get from a politician. He begins to spew his campaign story, which just angers Kate more. He reminds her that she’s a disgraced cop and he’s a beloved senator, a good guy, people will believe him. And he adds that “It’s not who has the gun, it’s who has the power.”
Kate agrees with that statement, so she lies, telling Bracken that she has the file and she will take it to the public if anything happens to her or her friends. She wants the same deal that he had with Smith (what deal that was is a little unclear). With an evil in her eye that I’ve never seen before, Beckett says “You have no idea what I’m capable of or how far I’ll go.” She hits him with the butt of her gun and walks off to meet Castle.
Gatss, in the first time we hear her say anything kind, says that she admires Kate’s loyalty to Montgomery and that she hopes that maybe one day Kate will feel the same way about her. That seems unlikely. She and Esposito have to serve out the rest of their suspension, but they will be placed back on duty as soon as that ends.
I think that there was far too much going on for a single episode. I’m sure that the writers wanted to capture the audience’s attention in the premiere, but I think that it was just too much. A lot of what Caskett, Ryan, and Espo figured out seemed implausible, but might have been clearer and more realistic if it took longer. This is a frequent issue with procedurals, and I guess Castle shouldn’t be excluded.
I have to say that I’ll miss seeing Tahmoh Penikett (Maddox) playing an incredibly evil character, but it will easily be made up for by Jack Coleman’s portrayal of Senator Bracken. He is an astounding actor, and if you didn’t see that in this week’s episode, you will definitely agree with me within the next few weeks!