Castle Season 7 Episode 15 Review: “Reckoning”

Castle

This week’s Castle explores the lengths Castle will go to in order to get Beckett back. We’ve gotten glimpses of Castle’s darkness and desperation before, but this is the furthest he’s ever gone. I think that if the show had to change its premise to Castle becoming a killer in order to save Kate, it could have been believable. But we’ll get there later.

Following the cliffhanger from last week, Castle, Ryan, Esposito, and the police head to Beckett’s last known location before she went missing. It’s the street where Amy Barrett called her; her car is still there and a note’s been written in the car dust: “Help Her.” With ‘Michael Boudreaux’/Jerry Tyson and Dr. Kelly Nieman at the precinct, the cops can’t pin Beckett’s disappearance on them in any kind of tangible way. Ryan has to prevent Castle from jumping on Boudreaux in his apartment, knowing that Castle’s anger isn’t helpful to them finding any answers.

Captain Gates asks what if Boudreaux is really himself, while Tyson is still out there, but Castle says that he knows it’s him. “He wants to see how close he can get to the flame.” Tyson wants to be watching amongst the action. Just then, Kate calls Castle, frantic, yelling, pleading for Castle to help her. The team immediately traces the call to a payphone and bursts onto the scene, but all that’s waiting for them is a package with Castle’s name on it. Inside? A playback device with Beckett’s vocals spliced together. It was a set up.

“He wants me to suffer.”

In the meantime, someone at the scene of Beckett’s disappearance gives them a lead: she was carted away in a red van. While the cops look into it, Castle decides enough is enough. He heads to Boudreaux’s place and knocks him down. He’s so convinced it’s Tyson, and he really roughs him up in order to make him break. He punches him, throws him against a bookshelf, but Boudreaux never breaks character, even when Castle pulls a gun. Wow. Here’s where Castle’ darkness is most visibly apparent. It is a rarely seen occurrence (Castle beating up Hal Lockwood back in 3.13 “Knockout” comes to mind, but might not be the darkest example), but he taps into it when those he loves are in danger. The scariest thing in this episode was wondering if Castle would really go there. Castle cocked that gun. He was prepared to shoot. With Kate in danger the way she was, it was plausible. Especially since Tyson brings out Castle’s darker nature more than any other villain. Tyson never breaks, but Castle remains sure that it is him, even as the NYPD comes in and arrests Castle for attacking an unarmed civilian.

Boudreaux’s pressing charges, but Gates is actually quite sympathetic. (I wonder if she saw something in Boudreaux to make her doubt his authenticity while taking his statement.) She takes Castle down to holding, but imparts some wisdom upon him. She says she always wondered what Beckett saw in Castle and Kate kept telling her, “It’s because he sees the story.” Castle has been letting Tyson get inside his head, but what’s Tyson’s story? But before Castle fully has time to consider her advice, several things happen at once: reports that both Boudreaux and Nieman have escaped their police details come in, then Castle receives a call from Tyson himself.

“You know what I like best? The pain in your eyes.”

Tyson confirms it’s been him along, close up to watch the action. “If I took you, I’d only get to kill you once. See, this way, I get to kill you over and over again.” I loved, loved, LOVED this shot; Castle in the foreground with Gates and Esposito tracking him in the background through the gates of the precinct. Really visually dynamic. The number he called from was coming from inside the house (well, Castle’s loft). They burst into the apartment, scaring Martha and Alexis, who are fine but alarmed. How many times have they been “sent out of town” because someone was after Castle? More times than I can remember. The thing I wanted from this scene, though, was more concern about Kate. There’s little way they could have not been told that Kate was missing, but neither Martha nor Alexis expresses concern for her return, just about Castle’s safety. This is weird, especially after establishing Alexis smooching Kate’s cheek for the first time last week. It’s never been explicit, but this could be one of the things distancing Alexis from Kate, the fact that working with her puts her father in danger, and I’d love more of an exploration of those feelings, especially in the aftermath of this episode.

The cops find the van, and Kate with it? But as soon as the team crosses the threshold, Kate screams, “It’s a trap!” and guns automatically fire into her body. Castle’s pain as he watches her body flail in that chair, then his subsequent tenderness as he approaches the broken body make up for the lack of tension since we know it’s not her (unless something went very wrong with Stana Katic’s contract). Nathan Fillion did such a fantastic job as he knelt before her. The mixture of relief, pain, and the realization that Tyson will continue doing this swirl in his expressions.

“We need to take the game to him…”

Castle breaks off from the precinct team and does a little digging on his own. He heads to Tyson’s former prison mate, Marcus Gates, to see if Tyson ever left any clues that Castle could use. Gates wants out of prison in return for the information, but Castle has to convince him that revenge will have to be enough. Marcus reluctantly agrees. He leads Castle to a cabin upstate. Castle locks and loads that gun and heads up, alone. He sees Amy Barrett and finds that she’s a part of it, not quite a victim. When she approaches his not so subtle hiding spot, he pulls a gun on her and actually threatens to shoot her! Castle in any other circumstance would stumble or use a lesser threat, but this Castle is deadly serious. Again, I wonder what he would have done had she tempted him into actually shooting her.

Castle makes Amy climb into his Buick trunk (very interesting product placement: has wifi, looks great, fits a whole person in the trunk…) and heads towards the house. Elsewhere (maybe), Kate is strapped to a table where Kelly Nieman examines her face, intending to steal it for her own. When Castle gets inside the house, he spots Kate’s episode of Nip/Tuck, literally watching it on a screen, realizing she’s not at the house. “But I am.” Tyson anticipates Castle going for the gun and tases him, before monologuing that he wants to see the look on Castle’s face as he watches Nieman kill Beckett. “What better way to get you here alone than for you to think it was your idea?” Jerry figured he’d go for Marcus, basically incepting Castle into coming to the house. Castle monologues him right back. “You needed to prove you were smarter than me. […] You needed to prove it, so I let you.” WHAM LINE! Castle anticipated Tyson’s anticipation. In order to lure Jerry out and get a better idea of Kate’s location, he made him think he was playing his game. But Ryan and Esposito were in on the whole thing, and Esposito was in position to take the fatal shot that rids us of 3XK once and for all!

The trio rushes to Kate’s aid, but when they open the door, they find that Kate saved herself (that’s right, she did!). Dr. Nieman lies in a bloody pool on the floor, with a stunned and slightly withered Kate standing over her with a blood scalpel. The aftermath looks like it was a tough battle between them.

Back at the precinct, the shell-shocked team arrives to thunderous applause, with Gates waiting for them at the end of it. She addresses Castle’s charges, saying that the DA will drop them if he consents to 1,000 hours of community service… as a consultant to Detective Beckett! Castle is unbanned from the 12th! He and Beckett head home, where Castle is awed by Kate’s resilience: “How did you do it? Two days I didn’t know where you were and it nearly killed me.” They are both still haunted by Tyson and Nieman, but when the dreams get to be too much, Castle looks to Kate to banish the memories. The two snuggle in, content in the knowledge that the other will come for them “always.”

This was a fantastic two-parter, and I loved the tension from Nieman’s ability to make anyone look like anyone else, how convincing Tyson was as Boudreaux, and Nathan Fillion’s anger, deadly nature, and grief when he thought it was Kate who was shot. Usually at least one episode of a two-parter is a bit of a let-down compared to the other, but this is my favorite two-parter since Season 3. With the end of the 3XK arc, as I’ve said before, it seems like the show is tying up loose ends. Will we get more mysteries to go along with the disappearance arc or are they preparing to wrap things up for good? We’ll know by May, I suppose.

Also:

– So now we officially know that 3XK had nothing to do with Castle’s disappearance. I suppose that leaves his father as our number 1 already established suspect.

– Castle’s back at the 12th! Will he continue his private investigation business or will he drop it to work with Kate again? I could see another couple of stories pulled from the PI storyline, but I’m glad Castle will be able to sit in his chair at Kate’s desk again.

– What would have happened to Castle if he’d gone through with killing Boudreaux? His confidence in it being Tyson doesn’t take away from our tension that it might not be and our concern of what would happen had things gone another way. What would Beckett think about all of this? Him killing a possibly innocent man for her.

– The Harry Potter nerd in me yelled for Castle to not “split his soul,” but then I immediately wondered what he’d choose as a horcrux.

– What if the show had decided to change its premise from a typical police procedural to a revenge show where Castle went around killing people responsible for Kate’s death (Taken-style probably), while Ryan and Esposito “looked for him” while covering up his crimes? This episode could have been the start of that very AMC/FX turn.

– I wondered why Castle pulled the same gun move on Jerry when we know Tyson would anticipate something like that, but knowing Esposito was listening and that they needed enough evidence to prove he was really Tyson before killing him explains the repeat move and the slow reaction time.

– I’m glad it was Tyson in the end and not Boudreaux, because typing Boudreaux repeated is like a typing-tongue-twister. I spelled it wrong on the first try every time. I started to copy it to my clipboard just so I wouldn’t have to type it anymore. You’d have gotten a lot of accidental ‘Boudreauz.”

– There’s a Nieman/Marcus joke to be made somewhere…

[Photo via ABC]


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