After last week’s season premiere, which was disappointing to say the least, even with the unresolved plot lines concerning Castle’s disappearance I was still hopeful that the show would make a return to basics once he got back to work with Beckett. While the ongoing mystery of Castle’s missing two months overshadows everything else going on this week (like Lanie and Esposito getting back together and Martha finding a new boyfriend) there are at least some traces of the fun that has made the show so enjoyable.
After the standard discovery of a dead body (in the East River naturally) that typically opens up the episode we cut to Castle in a TV interview. While his original intention is to promote his new Nikki Heat and Derrick Storm novels, the reporter is unsurprisingly more interested in talking about his disappearance. While Castle still insists that he has been suffering from amnesia, she basically accuses him of staging the entire thing in order to boost his declining book sales. Since the incident occurred on his wedding day she also accuses him of getting cold feet. In an effort to put these accusations to rest, he offers up a $250,000 reward to anybody that can help him remember his two lost months. Beckett thinks it’s bad idea because it will bring out all kinds of crackpots and take time away from real leads. Castle is quick to point out that they don’t have any real leads so maybe this way he might actually get some answers.
On Castle’s first day back, the victim of the week is a toy company CEO named Wallace Williger. The victim had been missing for about four days and according to Lanie he had been dead for at least two. His wife claims that he didn’t have any enemies but she admits that he had been acting strange over the last few weeks and frequently coming home late after the death of their dog. When Castle and Beckett start talking to employees at the toy company (where Castle naturally starts playing with toys in the office), they tell them that the victim had actually been leaving early for a few weeks, leaving several hours of his days unaccounted for.
After finding a burner cell in the victim’s office the detectives quickly discover that he hired a make up artist to teach him to alter his appearance to make him look like a 70 year-old man. As it turns out he had been working as a janitor at his company’s warehouse in an effort to go undercover boss. His disguise had been so elaborate he also gave himself a fake name, rented an apartment under said fake name, and got his cover identity a new dog. When the dog is revealed to be a drug sniffing dog the rest of the mystery has basically solved itself. Apparently the victim had gotten on to a drug smuggling operation masterminded by his assistant (also the killer) after his dog was accidentally killed using one of the dolls meant to smuggle the drugs as a chew toy. All in all it was pretty anti-climatic but hey the writers have certainly done worse.
Meanwhile in the Castle Disappearance Arc
While at first in appears that the reward has only attracted the nut-jobs that Beckett predicted (including a guy that claims Castle was abducted by aliens) but eventually Alexis shows up at the precinct with a newlywed couple who found him in the background of one of their honeymoon pictures. He is seen talking to the fake witness from last week and it turns out the picture was taken outside a building in Montreal.
They figure out that the building was a bank which makes Alexis think that a key found on Castle when he resurfaced on the boat is actually a key to a safe deposit box and Castle convinces Beckett to let him and Alexis find out what’s in the box by flying out to Montreal. Inside the box are sealed envelopes with memory cards inside addressed to Beckett, Martha and Alexis in Castle’s handwriting. On them are Castle saying the basic “if you’re watching this I’m probably dead” goodbye message.
With some help from tech, the video’s location is traced back to Montreal and in a pretty stupid move on Castle’s part decides to return to the building alone. When he enters he’s quickly confronted by the same fake witness mentioned earlier. He tells him that he shouldn’t have come back and that he’s better off not remembering what happened to him. He claims that Castle asked to not to remember and proves it by alluding to a traumatic experience he had when he was 11 and caused him to be a mystery writer.
While Castle is visibly shaken up by what he’s learned this week but for the time being has decided to let it go. Naturally it will only be a matter of time before this plot-line resurfaces but for now it appears the show will thankfully be returning to the status quo. Admittedly, the Castle mystery has gotten slightly more interesting this week but at the end of the day the show is much better when the show doesn’t take itself so seriously. Here’s hoping next week brings back the fun.