THE CASE | OK, I admit that I had low “Gonna Be Filler” expectations for this episode, being as derivative (as Wes Craven would say) of The Ring as it portended to be. But I was pleasantly surprised. Starting with a gal named Val, people were turning up inexplicably dead with their mouths “frozen” open — “scared to death,” as it were — some three days after watching a super-creepy DVD they got in the mail from persons unknown. Castle, of course, is a “believer” in occult things here, so he buys into the idea that a “resurrected” something is killing these people, while Beckett resolves to find real explanations.
After a consult with his aforementioned horror film pal Craven (“Friendly competition, my ass”), Rick gleans that clues are within the rapid-fire DVD images, and one is an inn that all the victims stayed at — while they were in town testifying at the trial of a serial killer. Said killer died in prison, so he’s not behind it all. And his cuckoo cohort brother is locked up well in an asylum, so his hands are clean. So who’s whacking the witnesses?
While seeking out and safeguarding the next guy on the witness list, Castle and Beckett realize that it’s the daughter of a man who was wrongly testified against by the DVD victims — aka the first target’s off-kilter roommate. Accosted by the young woman and her modified Taser, Castle KO’s her with his flask of holy water (from his “war chest” of charms). (That last bit of the case was a bit sketchy, but we’ll allow it.)
THE QUIPS | Castle noting the first vic’s closet contained more stilettos than Kate’s (which in retrospect was a rather random attribute to give Val)…. When death-fearing Rick suggests he and Kate proactively put their own pics on the murder board, she suggests using the one she took of him in bed — and then she invites him for a sleepover, to take more…. Joss Whedon nod? Castle being afraid to venture to some “cabin in the woods”… Castle breaking out his “bucket list” and ticking one item off by confessing to Kate he broke her vase…. Kate: “I think I’ll be fine with my gun.”
THE CASKETT | File it under “Worth the wait”? In addition to the flirty photo talk above, the very end of the hour had Kate and Rick sharing wine at his place, when she decided to casually skim the rest of his bucket list — and saw that “Be with Kate” is No. 1. “When did you write this…?” Beckett asks. “About three years ago,” Castle answers. He then adds: “Ooh, I can cross that off now.” Visibly touched by his faith in their coming together, Kate invites him to join her in the bedroom and lay witness to some “little trick I do with ice” — just as soon as the clock strikes midnight and he’s “safe.” “Three… two… one….” Grin.