Castle Recap: The Hunt Is (Back) On

Castle Recap Rick's Father ReturnsThis week on ABC’s Castle, Rick reunited with the secret agent father he barely knows, and thus was faced a dire dilemma: Should he introduce his fiance to her future father-in-law?

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THE CASE | When mild-mannered record store clerk Ted Rollins is found murdered in a conspicuously tony apartment, the trail of clues (Thanks, Tory-babes! Back off, Epso!) leads to Ted’s “hobby” as a hacker. And just before he got killed, Ted had accessed the server of a high-powered banking firm headed by Anderson Cross — aka Jackson Hunt, Rick’s father. But just as Caskett arrive at Cross’ office, Hunt phones his son to ask for secrecy when they meet, warning, “Lives are at stake” — and Rick complies.

As Cross confirms that his server was hacked, Kate can’t shake why this guy seems so familiar. Later, Rick sneaks off to rendezvous with his father in the park, where Hunt leans on his boy for intel on the investigation. Rick at first balks, but when Hunt warns that “a storm is coming” and more could die, he shares. Before running off, Hunt reveals that he knows of his son’s engagement, because while he may not be the best dad, he does keep tabs.

Back at the precinct, surveillance cam footage of the amusement park where Ted was killed suggests that Anderson Cross was behind it, sending Rick — who has already been visibly distracted and slow with his usual wise-cracks — into panicky cover-up mode. But when RySpo check out the banking ofifce, it has vanished. It then dawns on Kate why Cross looks familiar — he matches the sketch of the person of interest during Alexis’ kidnapping. She asks Rick if he recognizes the guy from Paris — revealing to us that Rick never read her in on all of that adventure — and he deflects, claiming he’ll run the sketch by Alexis.

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At the loft with his mother, Castle opens up about Hunt’s return and frets that he is being played. Martha urges him to lean on the people he can truly trust — such as Katherine. Their chat is cut short when a gunshot, bleeding Hunt knocks at the door. Hunt walks Rick through the bullet extraction and then sets out to sew himself up when Kate comes a-knocking. But Rick will keep his love in the dark no more, and tells her, “The man in the sketches, there’s something you should know about him — he’s your future father-in-law” — and Kate is gobsmacked-slash-furious to see “Anderson Cross” laid up in the loft.

Kate’s anxious to haul him in, but Hunt warns this “spitfire” that she’ll do no such thing, not if she wants answers about Rollins’ murder. He explains how a mole dubbed Gemini hacked the CIA’s list of deep cover operatives and is poised to sell it to the Iranians (as evidenced by an Iranian coin that had been in CIA asset Rollins’ shoe). The exchange will take place at the public library, but with Hunt in no condition to go, Kate offers to offer backup. So she and Rick hijack the wi-fi signal at the library and grab the file before Gemini can. But while Kate goes to track the wi-fi source, Rick is approached by gun-toting Gemini and led to the basement. That’s when Hunt, having given Martha the slip, stabs and shoots dead Gemini. (“That was the mission,” he explains. “That’s what I do.”) The dead body goes missing, but the gun left behind helps close the NYPD’s case.

After Rick and Kate realize that Hunt moved Rollins’ body to land the case in their jurisdiction and thus pull them into helping him, especially after his cover was blown, Rick second-guesses his father’s intentions yet again. (Even Dad’s embrace was but a plot to plant a GPS tracker on his kin.) “I keep making the mistake, thinking he’s family,” Rick laments. To Kate, he declares: “You are my family.” He then ends their wedding date debate by declaring September as the perfect time, his book tour be damned. Back at the loft, Martha shares that Hunt, for all his faults, gave her two great gifts: first Rick, and now closure. “Think we”ll ever see him again?” And we see Hunt on the street below.

THE CASKETT | Hell, we got a wedding date (or at least month), so the question becomes: Will “September” come early in the May season finale, or might said finale take place in “real time” and somehow leave us wondering if vows will actually be traded come fall? I also audibly LOL’d when Rick failed to launch into a conspiracy theory at Kate’s prompting, instead offering a sane POV. And yes, yes, I’ll say it before one of y’all does: Butt grab. But for the fellas out there: Did you know Beckett is flexible and can lift her…?

THE QUOTABLES | “Pull the slug out, but do me a favor: Try not to make my nose light up”…. “Dont get emotional. Now’s not the time.” “Really? It’s been about 40 years. When is the time?”… “Sounds like a case of Weekend at Bernie’s gone wrong. Wait, that would mean there’s a case of Weekend at Bernie’s gone right”… “Is it me or does [Sarah Grace] look like Esposito?”

What did you think of Papa Castle’s encore?