This week on ABC’s Castle, it was a race against time as Beckett and McCord scrambled to track down the toxin thief also in possession of the antidote needed to save Rick. In the end, would Castle have any strength to help crack the case?
THE RECAP | “I’m not letting you out of our engagement that easily.” So said Kate, as the clock began ticking on Castle’s mortality — all 10 to 12 hours left of it. For his part, Rick relays the “Dreamworld” clue uttered by the dying Bronson, and that which Espo shared about it — that it’s code for a ghost base in the Middle East. That leads Beckett and McCord to a D.C. reporter (Alphas‘ Warren Christie) who had written an expose on Dreamworld only to have it spiked — by the Defense Secretary himself.
Pressed by Beckett and McCord, Reed ultimately ‘fesses that Bronson worked a mission out of Dreamworld, a strike on Al-Qaeda’s No. 2 guy, Zawari. Was the toxin stolen, and used on Bronson, as some sort of payback?
After chasing a false-ish lead (a D.C.-based cousin of Zawari’s), McCord’s team secures the mission logs, massive chunks of which are redacted, But Castle finds a way to deduce that “Valkyrie,” the other odd thing said by Bronson, is among the blacked-out words. That leads McCord’s computer guy to hack the database where audio recordings of missions are stored, and they realize that Valkyrie was code for a person — namely, a female operative embedded within Zawari’s home. Bronson had warned that she was still inside at the time of the op, but Reed ordered the missile strike regardless.
Against orders, Beckett confronts Reed, suspecting he was looking to cover his tracks with Bronson’s death. When Reed makes a stink with the AG about Beckett’s behavior, it effectively rules him out as a suspect — and it is then gleaned that Valkyrie’s fiance was… Robert Parker, the reporter on the snuffed Dreamworld story.
At first, McCord & Co. think Parker is set to attack Reed at a presser, but Castle theorizes that it’s another false lead (a la the misleading break-in from the premiere), so Beckett spins the car around and makes a beeline to save Reed’s wife. Castle collapses upon their arrival, while Beckett chases down Parker — and with help from McCord, nabs him and the antidote, saving both Castle and Reed’s wife.
Afterward, Beckett’s joy over Castle’s cheating death is tempered when McCord says nothing is “black and white” in “this town,” and that there will be no resulting investigation into Secretary Reed’s morally questionable calls. (Anvil alert! D.C. job not so great!) After registering her disappointment, Beckett thanks McCord for having her back during the chase. “That’s what partners do,” she responds — words that echo for Kate as she looks back toward Rick’s hospital room.
THE REVIEW | Though I missed the light touch that Espo and Ryan bring to a Case of the Week (and we’re now two weeks with zero Lanie), I’ve enjoyed this “Valkyrie” arc for what it was supposed to be. That said, while it’s tempting to ponder a Castle permanently situated in D.C., you just know the Big Important Cases would get to be a bit much, very quickly — kinda like the ever-escalating February two-parters. But these two episodes did what they had to: introduce Kate’s new world and illuminate the problems she and Rick will have trying to be together even when they can’t be together.
That scene toward the very end spoke to that, where they are able to make light of the ramifications of his endeavor to pay an unannounced visit. But when Kate wonders if he imagined “this” would be so difficult, he smartly notes, “The hardest things in life are the things most worth doing.” And: “At least I got to see you.”
I also liked that they covered the base of Rick touching base with Martha and Alexis when he thought he very well might not see them again (sorta makes up for keeping Meredith in the dark about Alexis’ kidnapping), and as ugh as Pi is, his goofy-ass presence at Castle’s bedside made for a funny moment. But still: ugh.
What did you think of this week’s Castle? Next week: It’s “boys against girls,” back at the 12th.