This week’s Castle is mostly exposition/flashback. I think what was a one and a half episode story needed a few extra minutes so they dumped in a lot of flashbacks to extend the story time. Aside from being a little too flashback heavy for my taste, I really enjoyed this episode and the tension that was spun from the 5th installation of the 3XK storyline.
Things are looking up in the Castle household: Martha’s off with a new role, Alexis is showing Kate affection, and Kate’s thinking about the possibility of maybe someday soon having a kid! So you know that means something bad is about to happen. Kate soon finds out what it is when she’s called to a very familiar crime scene. The victim, Susan Watts, a young blonde, was strangled and put in a dumpster. As Lanie takes a look at her injuries, she keeps getting a deja vu vibe, but her medical instinct is to wait until she’s done more tests before speaking her mind. The pieces begin to fit together in other ways: the victim’s path is very familiar to the team, she had a rough childhood, came into contact with the police a few times, then suddenly got a new job that left her roommate wondering how it could all change so fast. When Kate heads to the work placement center that got Susan the new employment, she quickly finds out why this is all familiar: Dr. Kelly Nieman donates to work placement center.
“I never forget a face, especially if I cut it.”
This episode features a ton of flashbacks to recap the several 3XK episodes we’ve had over the last four season. It felt a bit overdone, but I suppose that’s the hazard with a complicated story like this one. I don’t think the Johanna Beckett episodes returned so many flashbacks, however. Usually the “remember this?” exposition happened in the pre-credits recap and through dialogue. The recap flashbacks remind us of the basics of the 3XK timeline: Back in season 3’s “3XK,” we first learned about the serial killings involving strangled blondes. Jerry Tyson framed his cellmate for several murders before escaping while in Ryan and Castle’s custody. Before Tyson escaped, Castle saw into his soul and guessed that mommy issues were the reason why Tyson killed the types of women he killed. Tyson took Ryan’s gun and later murdered with it in season 4’s “Kick the Baslistics.” In season 5’s “Probable Cause,” Tyson arranges for Castle to be framed for murder, where he taunts Castle in his holding cell, promising that he would take everything away from him. In “Disciple,” (season 6) we learn that Tyson began working with a plastic surgeon, Dr. Kelly Nieman, who could craft his victims to look like anyone he wanted. He used this ability to get Lanie and Esposito dopplegangers to remove his files and evidence from police storage. There is a showdown at a bridge and Castle shoots him into the water. Swinging to the present, there’s been no evidence that Jerry Tyson was alive after that moment, but Castle never believed he was gone for good. Phew! With some of that out of the way, let’s dive in.
“She’s got ice water in her veins.”
With the discovery that Nieman is involved with the case, Beckett requests from Gates that Castle be allowed to work the case with them. She agrees and Castle helps the cops and the audience remember the pieces of the recap above. The problem is that with Nieman’s involvement, they’ve got more than one killer on their hands and someone who can craft people to look alike, causing confusion.
Aside from the overuse of flashbacks, the tension in this episode was fantastic. We learn that there is a second potential victim out there who looks just like Susan Watts. Her name is Amy and she’s spotted getting into a truck with someone who looks just like Jerry Tyson! The owner of the truck is listed as Michael Boudreaux; but when Beckett and the team storm his last known address, it’s Jerry Tyson trying to escape!
Back in interrogation, the man listed as Michael Boudreaux claims that’s who he is. He had work done to look like Tyson, but he has no idea what they’re talking about! This was a wonderfully done twist because it could have been either identity. I definitely waffled back and forth between my surety that it was Tyson or Boudreaux. And, even if it really was Boudreaux, Tyson could still be out there killing people with his own face—or Boudreaux’s! A classic face/off! Without the files in storage to prove he’s Boudreaux, the question, as ‘Boudreaux’ asked himself, “How do you prove I’m not?” Smart-alec comments like that are what tipped the scales towards it being Tyson himself, because of how much fun he was trying to surpress he was having when taunting Castle and Beckett. They try to get DNA evidence from his mother, but she was never his biological mother and the tooth they find to compare DNA didn’t match.
“She remakes them. She grooms them for 3XK.”
Amy calls Beckett from downtown. She rejected Beckett’s help before because ‘Boudreaux’ told her not to talk to the cops, but she saw how poor murdered Susan looked just like her on the news and it freaked her out. Beckett heads down to get her while Castle goes back in to talk to ‘Boudreaux.’ Castle thinks he can break him, get him to admit he’s Tyson. He does for just a second, but then doubles back. Michael Mosley’s acting is really well done here, because it’s so very convincing that he could be either identity. And he never lets the duplicity go, not until Gates has to let him go because of their lack of evidence tying him to anything. When he and Nieman head out of the precinct—hand-in-hand, circumstantial proof that he’s really Tyson—Castle realizes that Beckett is in danger. They call her phone but she’s already been taken. Tyson winks and the elevator doors shut.
TO BE CONTINUED
– With Amy being the second victim presumably (WHY DIDN’T BECKETT TAKE BACKUP? Or at least get a local uniform to watch her as she came downtown to get her), I think that Tyson and Nieman (I think they need a evil killer portmanteau) are going to try to get Beckett to look like those girls: blonde hair and all. They intend for her to be the 3rd victim while taking away everything Castle loves.
– I think this has to be the end of the Tyson arc for good. The stakes are raised so high that it’s hard to see Tyson or Nieman escaping and coming back again. It’s rare for someone to kidnap/hurt Kate and live to tell the tale.
– So far, it seems like 3XK didn’t have anything to do with Castle’s disappearance. There is not a single reference to those two months, not even in the case-less scenes in the beginning. There is another episode of story left to reveal involvement, but I think they’d lead with that rather than wait for the second episode. Though I think something could be revealed about that time, I don’t feel like 3XK is involved at this point…
– So the tooth. I kept screaming that of course he would have taken care of his mother’s connections to him YEARS ago, especially if she was the source of his crazy. That tooth was clearly a plant and I wouldn’t be surprised if it somehow resurfaces next week as a clue to something else.
– The scenes towards the end where Ryan and Esposito were watching Nieman before they had to let Tyson go made me so nervous! Ryan’s jitteriness was definitely in character, but I suspected for a second that it wasn’t really him. Nieman’s already proven that she can sculpt a face to look like anyone, including Esposito himself, so why not Ryan next? There is still time for one of the team to be a doppelganger, but that is a terrifying thought.
– I also think that this could be the end of the Castle P.I. arc as well? I certainly think it will be if they catch/kill Tyson. That will be a Castle success and could put him back in Gates’ and the DAs good graces. At the very least, I think he’ll be allowed to continue with the NYPD, even if he continues to run his Detective Agency on the side.
– “We’ll meet again. Don’t know where, don’t know when…” If I ever hear this song in real life, I’m looking out for a serial killer instantly.
– I wonder if Alexis’ newfound affection for Kate will be present next week (if we see her at all) with the knowledge that she is missing. I wonder where they are leading this distant relationship going forward.
[Photo via ABC]