Castle Recap: Thanks for the Memories

Castle Rick Remembers Vanishing

If you have been wondering why Rick was abducted on his wedding day and not a day sooner or later… and why he ultimately resurfaced with dengue fever antibodies… ABC’s Castle filled in the blanks for you this Monday night.

And you thought Oliver Queen had far-out flashbacks! My head is still spinning from this information download. And while I can see how some may come down against this (partial) reveal, I’m going to give it a qualified thumbs-up, if only because it was just b-a-n-a-n-a-s enough to be entertaining.

I mean, this was a lot to process. You could really tell that in the final scenes, where Bilal is talking a mile-a-minute just to get it all out. Let’s see if I can sum it up succinctly, ha:

Rick’s prep school classmate Bilal Khan, with whom he shared a debate champion trophy, had gone on to join Al-Qaeda and rose up the ranks some before calling it quits and arranging to turn himself over to American intelligence. But when the first hand-off went sideways, Bilal refused to reconvene unless it was to meet someone he could implicitly trust and be of such a stature that someone killing him would be too risky. So he asked for his old pal Rick Castle, now a best-selling author.

Because Bilal had extremely time-sensitive intel to trade about an imminent Al-Qaeda strike, Rick needed to be “recruited” right there and then, wedding day or not. Once in Thailand for the trade-off, Rick and Bilal were targeted by Ilya, a Russian assassin hired by Al-Qaeda to prevent the defection. Ilya failed, but put a non-fatal bullet into Bilal. Now Bilal busses tables at a Pakistani cafe as “penance” for his time with the terrorist organization. (And yet it seemed like a lovely enough eatery!)

After helping Bilal, Rick’s memories of the Thai adventure — and of even ever knowing Bilal — were not just “erased” but replaced, Total Recall-style, with memories of some other prep school pal. With his CIA handler now dead, Bilal headed into hiding, after expressing to Rick his gratitude for what he did (albeit somewhat against his will). Just as Bilal leaves, Ilya shows up to pop Rick, but Not Henry Jenkins emerges from the shadows to rub out the Russian first. NHJ scolds Rick for picking at this scab, as he was warned not to, but Rick responds by popping him in the nose, for making him miss his wedding day. NHJ swears Rick to silence, though Martha and Alexis get an edited account of how groom-to-be Rick helped saved tens of thousands of lives, while Kate gets a fuller version.

All of that said… some questions remain unanswered, including how Rick himself had been shot during his disappearance and why he was missing for two months, since the Bilal thing probably only took a matter of days, maybe a week with “memory modification” at Rekall and such.

A few other thoughts on “Sleeper”:
* I enjoyed how the episode parsed out information as Rick recalled it, thanks to Dr. Burke, in a way that — admit it — had you thinking Rick had gone a bit bonkers, what with the Chuck Norris of it all.
* While I “get” where she was coming from, having to oversee the expenditure of efforts and resources, I was surprised Gates wasn’t sufficiently compelled by this unraveling mystery to give Beckett & Co. more slack.
* While not the most flattering trait, I was glad to see that Espo retained his measured skepticism of Rick’s explanations.
* In case I only said it two or three times above: Good golly, this was a lot of information to process! As such, would have preferred to see it divvied up across two episodes instead of this crash course. And we didn’t even get the entire story! Maybe in Season 8…?