Castle Recap: Gone Girls

STANA KATIC, NATHAN FILLION, DYLAN WASHThis week on ABC’s Castle, Rick’s worst nightmare came true when a murder investigation evolved into the search for a Middle Eastern businessman’s daughter, who, it turns out, was abducted with Alexis.

GONE, BABY, GONE | The episode opens with Rick and Martha missing Alexis, yet knowing they must let the Columbia freshman have “her own time in the world.” Rick is continuing that thought, touting his (measured degree of) selflessness as a father, as he and Kate come upon their case — Hasim, a well-armed Saudi who’d been mowed down by a van after shooting at it. Discovering a trove of weapons and surveillance gear in Hasim’s apartment, the team speculate that he was a spy, or he was stalking the college-aged girl, Sara, whose place he was bugging. Security cam footage shows that Sara was abducted by the van, and Hasim — secretly hired by Sara’s extremely rich father to act as a bodyguard — tried to stop it.

Rick and Kate visit the last place Sara was seen, a hotel where she attended a speech on climate change. When Castle discovers that Alexis was also in attendance, he calls her to see if she knows anything — only to hear her cell phone ring from inside the hotel’s lost-and-found box. “They took Alexis, too,” he worries to Kate.

Rick and Kate review the facts as known with FBI Agent Harris, Castle_0219_hugwho suspects that Alexis was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that Sara’s abduction may have been a politically driven act of revenge. Distraught to see how rough a crowd may be involved in this, Rick is pulled into a hug from Kate. “Gates will see…,” he cautions. “I don’t care,” Kate defers. “We’re going to find her, Castle. We will.”

LOST GIRLS | As RySposito narrow down the getaway van’s location to 20 blocks in Queens, Rick watches Alexis’ website videos, where he realizes that she had revealed where she and Sara were going that night, to the speech. Rick phones Kate to track the IP addresses of whomever accessed that video. Kate starts to say something reassuring, but Rick stops her, barely getting the words out: “Don’t… promise me you’ll find her unless you can do it. Because I’ll never forgive you, anymore than I’d ever forgive myself.”

Rick meets up with the team in Greenpoint, where they’ve found the van — and a lot of blood. But it matches neither Alexis nor Sara. And it looks like the kidnappers switched cars. “What have you brought me into?” a highly concerned Rick asks Sara’s father. His answer: “I wish I knew.”

Somewhere, in a windowless room, Alexis and Sara come to, then take stock of their captivity. Alexis finds a bathroom, with clothes, meaning they’re meant to be kept alive. They also deduce that they’re in an old building, not in a cellar, and not in the city. After failing to “build a relationship” with the Arabic-speaking grunt who slides them food, Alexis grabs Sara’s bobby pins and sets out to pick the lock.

‘MY LIFE’S ABOUT TO CHANGE AGAIN’ | Espo IDs the getaway driver, Stevens, who’s obviously been shot and is probably holed up with his nurse sister. Beckett & Co. find him there, but he’s not talking. “I’d like a minute with him,” Rick says icily. In private, Castle explains, “The girl with the red hair… I’m her father. So it’s just you… and me.” After the desperate dad fails to get Stevens to volunteer info, we cut away and hear Stevens bellowing in anguish.

“Tell me what happened in there,” Kate later asks Rick, as Harris’ team storms the farmhouse address Harris gave up. “I ‘appealed to his humanity,'” Rick responds. When Kate remarks that she didn’t think he had that side to him, Rick specifies, “When it comes to people I love, I do.” (Watching Beckett, I can’t tell if she’s chilled in general or more specifically startled to have uncovered this side of her lover, as Meredith’s warning still bangs around in her bean.)

Rick reflects on when he first held Alexis as a baby and felt that “instant, inexplicable love” you only get with a child. “I knew my life had changed forever… and now it’s about to change again.”

THE FRENCH DISCONNECTION | When the farmhouse invasion only turns up the dead kidnapper, Harris comments that cracking this case “may be more complicated” than previously thought. Back at the precinct, Kate offers to Rick, “There are hopeful signs here” — to which he can only counter, “How? Our main suspect is dead, we have no idea who we’re looking for… We’re back to square one.” Kate responds with a Castle-ism: “We’ve done it before with less to go on.”

Meanwhile, Alexis has picked the lock, and she and Sara split up to search for exits. Alexis finds a cell phone in an office, but it won’t dial 911. So she Skypes her relieved dad briefly, until she hears the guard frantically searching for them. She drops the phone, allowing the FBI team to trace the call to…

“This can’t be right,” the FBI tech observes, before reporting on the girls’ location: “Paris, France” — as a bewildered Alexis bursts out a rooftop door to see the Eiffel Tower in the distance. What the frog?!

What did you think of Part 1 of the February sweeps two-parter? Did Nathan Fillion blow you away with his steely (confronting the driver) and/or anxious (awaiting the blood-type testing) performances? And does anyone else suspect that Alexis was actually the primary target here?

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