Recap: Castle Faces a Killer Dilemma

Castle Season 5Monday night’s Castle saw the mystery novelist set up. But this was no blind date. Rather, the 3XK killer had returned and framed Rick for murder.

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The hour begins with the team being called to a crime scene with a twist: The victim is strapped to the ceiling and has a symbol carved into her forehead. Once they begin investigating, CSU finds Castle’s fingerprints on the door knob. Then he’s spotted on video cam footage buying jewelry for the dead woman. While Beckett is hesitant to believe Castle is responsible, a search warrant uncovers a bag at his apartment with the same type of wire used to harness the victim. With all the evidence pointing at  him, Espo is forced to arrest his friend for murder.

In a rare moment of vulnerability, a crying Beckett reveals to Lanie that they found emails on Castle’s computer that expose an affair between him and the deceased, giving him motive. “He is an immature, egotistical, self-centered jackass sometimes, but he’s not this,” Kate says.

As if there was ever any doubt, Castle didn’t do it. The 3XK killer, Tyson, pays him a spooky visit behind bars to explain why he set him up (how considerate!): “I gave up four years of my life planning the perfect vanishing act so that the cops would stop looking for me, so that I could begin killing again. … You ruined it.”

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And for that, he doesn’t want to off Castle. “It’s more fun to destroy you,” he adds. And he’s found the perfect, poetic way to do it that will also break Beckett’s heart. “I’ve got people waiting for you [in central booking]. You will not last the night. And that’ll be her punishment – believing that you were innocent and not being able to stop it. It’ll haunt her for the rest of her life.”

But being the clever man that he is and having somebody handy owe him a favor, Castle manages to orchestrate his escape as he’s being transferred, right after giving Kate a coded message to meet him at the New York Public Library, the spot where she first arrested him. From there, they track down 3XK’s fake Castle from the footage and, ultimately, the serial killer’s “lair.” Unfortunately, he’s not there – he’s outside. While sitting in the car discussing how things have never been easy between them, Becket and Castle are suddenly rear-ended. Tyson grabs Kate, and Rick saves her, shooting him into the waters below. When no body is found, Castle knows this is not the end of the story. It was never about hurting him; orchestrating this entire meticulous charade was the perfect way for Tyson to stop being wanted. Now he’s free.

Castle fans, what did you think of the frame job? Is Castle right about 3XK’s eventual return? And does this episode only solidify Castle and Beckett’s relationship?