Our (and, you know, Rick’s) long Castle nightmare is over.
In an episode that took the novelist/P.I. to Los Angeles and reunited Nathan Fillion with Firefly costar Summer Glau, viewers at long last got final resolution to the season-and-a-half-long mystery of Rick’s missing time. And it… is a doozy. (But we had been forewarned!)
When last touched upon in April 2015, Rick’s disappearance — which famously began just prior to his wedding — was in part explained as being due to an old prep school pal, Bilal Khan, breaking away from Al-Qaeda to turn himself over to U.S. intelligence. Bilal had demanded to surrender himself to trusted classmate-turned-high profile author Rick Castle, whose presence in Thailand was thus needed ASAP. After stepping in (and in doing so thwarting a terrorist attack), Castle’s memories were eventually “erased,” leaving him unable to account for his absence when he was found months later, adrift on a boat.
But what happened to him in the time in between Thailand and being found? One word: LokSat.
And here’s another word: Hayley. As in the investigator who first met Rick not a few months ago but a year-and-a-half ago, when CIA spook Jackson Hunt tasked the MI-6 freelancer with keeping an eye on his son, who had “gone rogue” in L.A. after the Thailand mishegas. Hayley lost track of Rick for a spell, and when next found him learned that he had been shot. He then begged her to lie about ever knowing him.
After that download, Hayley suggests that Rick let go of the issue, not knowing what “hell you might unleash,” and he agrees. For a moment. But at episode’s end, he decides not to let sleeping dogs lie, so Hayley points him toward a “dark net” safe to unlock. And when he does, he is presented with a video… of himself, explaining that he had found a connection between Senator Bracken and a partner dubbed “LokSat.” So inflammatory was this intel (bullet wound and all), Rick says in the video, he decided to have “their” memory erased, to protect Kate.
How he ended up on a boat? We don’t know.
Regardless, just like that, we learn that Rick’s missing time actually ties into the ongoing LokSat mystery, in that he was close to solving it 18 months ago but got spooked (and thus now feels guilt over Kate’s AG buddies getting snuffed). But now he and Hayley have a clue — the airport flights on the night Rick recorded that video to himself — to help Beckett crack this nut once… and… for… all!
Elsewhere, in the seemingly 57 minutes leading up to all of that….
Rick, Hayley and Alexis traveled to L.A. to investigate his recent memory “flashes,” where they quickly caught a case tied to a bi-coastal serial killer. (That allowed for occasional cutaways to RySpo back home, who were pranking Lanie about her new beau’s background check.) At stake for Rick in solving the case was an esteemed seat in the Greatest Detectives Society, provided he (and Hayley) could outwit Summer Glau’s character. Along the way, we learned that Hayley is at the very least bi, before Alexis stumbled across the fact that she was part of Rick’s missing time. (Hayley would later explain that she stuck around NYC because she grew fond of Rick and adored his daughter.) In the end, Rick was offered a place in the GDS, but he deferred — to instead keeping working with the best detective he knows, Kate Beckett.