When we last left off a few months ago, Castle’s car had been run off the road and set on fire. Now after several months of waiting, we finally get to experience the aftermath of the incident. Unfortunately, Castle has always been at it’s weakest when it tries to take itself seriously and this episode is no exception.
Fire Down Below
The premiere picks up immediately from where last season left off with Castle’s car in flames with a distraught Beckett looking on in horror. Once the fire has been put out, Castle’s body is no where to be found and it’s not long before Ryan and Esposito figure out that Castle was run off the road by a black SUV and dragged out by an unknown assailant. The investigation quickly takes an unexpected but rather ridiculous turn when the evidence points to Castle staging his own kidnapping. Why Castle would do this is never properly explained, but thanks to some footage of Castle dropping off some money in a dumpster shortly after his kidnapping, the FBI quickly lose interest in finding him and the trail quickly goes cold.
While it’s believable enough why the FBI would be skeptical about Castle’s kidnapping, Esposito is also annoyingly quick to assume that Castle just took off despite the fact that doing so is completely out of character for him (which is something he should know after working with the guy for SIX YEARS). Ryan is understandably irritated by this and quickly points out that there are a number of explanations for the footage especially considering this was also a method that 3XK used a couple seasons back to frame Castle for murder.
Two Months Later
Cut to two months later and Castle’s disappearance has quickly turned into Beckett’s new obsession. Things have gotten bad enough that she has an entire murder board dedicated to him at her apartment similar to the one she kept for her mother. Despite her best efforts, there’s still no sign of Castle and authorities don’t appear to be any closer to finding him. Of course, that quickly proves to be a moot point when he’s found unconscious drifting in a small boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with several bullet dents in it. When Castle is taken to the hospital, it’s determined that he was adrift in the boat for about five days.
The detectives quickly trace the boat Castle was found in to it’s owner who left the boat docked at a pier near his motor home. When they interview the owner, he claims to know nothing about why somebody was found in his boat in the ocean but claims that his boat could have been stolen by a drifter he had seen camping nearby who fits Castle’s description. When they find the alleged campsite, there have been several clues left behind to indicate that Castle had been staying there including the tuxedo he wore for the wedding, his shoes, his watch and several newspaper clippings about his kidnapping. Ryan finds this evidence harder to explain away and even Beckett is beginning to lose faith in him.
Though it should be noted that nobody is able to give a reason as to why he would leave himself in a small boat in the middle of the ocean with no realistic way of knowing he would be rescued. Even more annoying is they still haven’t even found a reason as to why Castle would would fake his kidnapping. They had no problem standing by him two years ago in the same episode 3XK framed him for murder despite the evidence being far more convincing the first time around so I’m truly at a loss to understand why everyone is so quick to believe the worst in him.
Castle Wakes Up
Castle has finally regained consciousness in the hospital and when Beckett comes to visit, he mistakenly opens their meeting by joking about messing up the wedding. Beckett isn’t amused by this and quickly demands to know what happened to him after he was run off the road. Castle claims to have no memory of the last couple of months and that the last thing he remembers was being run off the road.
When Beckett tells him about his stuff being found at the campsite, he asks to be taken there in the hopes that it will refresh his memory. When they arrive at the campsite, he is quick to call shenanigans on the whole thing by saying that he would never camp near the water due to a fear of tsunamis (yes seriously) and says he wants to talk to the witness that identified him. When they arrive at the guy’s motor home however, the door is answered by someone they’ve never seen before. As it turns out the original guy they interviewed was an impostor and basically proving to the detectives that Castle was being set up (to the shock of absolutely no one that has ever seen the show).
Even though Castle more or less patches things up with Beckett and they were able to prove that he wasn’t responsible for his own kidnapping, there’s still a lot of questions that remain unanswered. The most important being who was really behind the kidnapping and why. Personally my money is on this being a 3XK plot since the guy has a history of targeting Castle and Beckett with increasingly convoluted schemes and the writers have been milking the character for years despite the fact that none of his episodes have been very good. Hopefully the show will go back to establishing the status quo next week.