Castle Season 7 Episode 18 Review: “At Close Range”


On this week’s Castle, Detective Kevin Ryan is at the center of an investigation that includes political intrigue, his own brother-in-law, and an assassination attempt that may have hit the wrong target.

Earlier in the season, the show established that in order for Ryan to bring in more income now that he and Jenny have had Sarah Grace, he’s been moonlighting doing security jobs around the city. He’s been working with his sister Gwen’s husband, Frank, and tonight needs big security detail. They’re looking after Congressman Alex Lopez, who is speaking at Carolyn Decker‘s clean water event that night. Kevin is ever the watchful detective, stopping a protester from spilling blood on the congressman, but soon all of that is overshadowed when Lopez and Carolyn are each shot while backstage. Ryan spots the shooter and runs after him but is blocked by his own NYPD comrades.

Lopez is alright, but Carolyn Decker dies after surgery. Ryan is beating himself up, but Kate catches the case, meaning they can work it until the end. Frank and Ryan realize that the shooter somehow gained access to a press pass, which is how he got backstage. Lopez had a good view of the shooter, leading to an arrest of Eric Chambers, a political blogger who doesn’t support Lopez’ political ideas and that he’d “get what all traitors deserve.” They catch up to Chambers, who doesn’t admit to being involved in the assassination attempt, but between the stolen press pass and a gun dumped on his way home, the evidence is stacked against him. He’s paranoid and doesn’t trust the cops or any other authority figures. Turns out, his conspiracy theories (on the deep end of the spectrum compared to Castle’s typical theories) aren’t far off. Tory the Tech Queen tags Chambers in a bunch of photos, tracking him around the venue. Chambers and billionaire industrialist Carl Shelton were having a chat in a closet. The team figures that Shelton, no fan on Lopez, hired Chambers to shoot him that night. Shelton stonewalls, but something doesn’t feel right to Ryan.

The next morning, Beckett wakes to find Castle has met up with Ryan and the two of them are, as is typical of the duo, working out a conspiracy theory together. “When you have a crazy theory, you don’t call the voice of reason.”

Castle and Ryan don’t think Chambers was the shooter. The trajectory of the bullets is off compared to where Lopez and Carolyn were standing. Ryan chats with Chambers, who tells him once again that he’s innocent and that he got his press pass handed to him in a mailbox; he doesn’t know by who. When Espo comes in with the official ballistics report, it looks like Lopez wasn’t the target at all. It was Decker. Then Tory comes in with the security footage of the press pass drop off. The man in the video? Frank, Ryan’s brother-in-law!

Espo wants to go with Ryan to confront Frank, who has bolted from his apartment, but Ryan tells him “this is family. I have to go alone.” I shouted at the screen “BUT ESPOSITO IS MORE FAMILY THAN FRANK EVER WILL BE.” But he didn’t hear me. We finally meet one of Ryan’s sisters, Gwen, who says they fell on hard times and needed some extra cash. When Frank came home with it, she tried not to think too much about it. Ryan finds Frank, who routinely makes extra money by getting people in back doors at various events where he works security. Frank doesn’t want to help, so Ryan pulls his gun on him…

Back at the precinct, Castle and Beckett have learned that Carolyn and Lopez were having an affair (shown subtly in the beginning, they were so touchy-feely!). They confront his wife, who insists that she had nothing to do with it; she and Alex have an “agreement” of sorts. She also reveals that the envelope with the press pass came from the congressional office, where Megan, Lopez’ chief of staff works. She withdrew the money that paid Frank for the press pass, and killed Carolyn in order to eliminate her influence and boost Frank’s sympathy in the polls.

Megan is arrested, Frank goes home to his family, and Castle learns that Beckett is taking the Captain’s exam. She’s just trying to figure out what she wants to do next. (But remember in Castle’s alternate reality earlier in the season, she WAS captain of the 12th precinct.)

I don’t have too much to say about this episode. As much as I love, Ryan, there’s something about his non-Jenny centric episodes that don’t draw me in. I think his character has too much light and cheer, though I do appreciate that he has darker depths. It’s nice that we got to meet his sister, but I would love more knowledge about his actual family, rather than focusing on the brother-in-law. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, I wish they’d allowed for more Ryan/Esposito brotherly love as well.  A Ryan-centric episode with all of the Ryan parents and siblings? Now that would be an episode! I wonder if we will see Lopez or that State Party Leader sometime in the future; they keep hinting at political leanings for Beckett (something that a time traveler once hinted at as well in a previous episode). A decent episode for learning more about Ryan, but not too overly memorable.

Until next week!

[Photo via ABC]

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