Welcome back Castle fans. Let’s jump right into this episode, shall we?
We begin this episode in a dark alley with a man, a gun, and a van. The man plants himself in the path of the van and fires multiple shots into the windshield, but then the van runs him down; knocking him right out of his shoes and leaving him dead in the street. Cut to breakfast in the Castle home, where Martha has attempted (and failed) to make Castle’s patented funny face pancakes that Rick makes for Alexis, who is away at school. Martha is suffering from the empty nest, but Castle seems to be handling it better. After all, Columbia University is only a cab ride away.
Back to our murder, our victim is Hasim Farouk, a Saudi national who is studying at Columbia. This causes Castle to whip out his cell to check his “email” (code for Alexis), but he puts it away quickly and sets his focus on the case. Hasim is obviously more than he appears, his gun is top of the line and customized to him. Who is this guy? Why would he do what he did?
Castle and Beckett begin to unravel the mystery by chatting with Bram Stoker. Not the (deceased) author, but a TA at Columbia who had filed charges against Hasim for assault. Seems Hasim didn’t like Bram flirting with some of the female students. Bram claims that he does flirt but none of the girls have ever taken offense to his attentions. He doesn’t understand why Hasim suddenly had a problem with it. Beckett gets a list of the female students in Bram’s class and we move on.
Meanwhile, Esposito and Ryan are at Hasim’s very nice apartment, where they find weapons and some every high end surveillance equipment. The guns make you think terrorist, but the surveillance gear? Who was he watching and why? To add to the mystery, he was also receiving a monthly check from a Swiss bank account in the sum of $25,000. What was this guy doing to earn that money?
They are able to determine that the surveillance gear was used to bug the apartment of Sara El-Masri. And guess what? Her name is on the list that Beckett got from Bram Stoker. But she has not been able to make contact with her. Then Ryan finds some traffic camera footage of Sara attempting to escape the van that ran Hasim down. It looks like this is a kidnapping.
An interview with Sara’s wealthy Egyptian parents reveals that her father hired Hasim to discreetly guard Sara since she had refused a body guard. Her parents are willing to pay anything to get her back, though her mother worries that this is not about the money but about the enemies her husband has made back home. He seems convinced that this is not about the anything like that, but you definitely get the sense that he is trying to convince himself more so than the others in the room.
Enter Agent Harris of the FBI. He will be heading up the kidnapping investigation. He goes in to interview the parents and Castle and Beckett get back on the case, trying to track down why Sara was in Lower Manhattan when she was abducted. They finally determine that she attended a lecture on climate change by a Dr. Pozner. Castle recognizes that name. Alexis bought him a book written by Pozner (though he hasn’t read it yet). This lecture sounds like something that Sara would be interested in! Castle and Beckett head to the hotel to question the staff and learn that Sara was there with a pretty redheaded girl. Castle checks the sign in list and sees Alexis’ name. Still not worried he tries to call her to see if she can shed any light on Sara’s movements. But when he does he hears her ring tone and they find her phone in the lost and found box the hotel keeps behind the counter. It was found outside the hotel. This is when the world comes to a halt. Alexis was with Sara. Alexis has been abducted too.
Now Castle is a victim. Everything has changed in the blink of an eye. Agent Harris brings Rick and Beckett up to speed on the case so far, explaining that most likely Alexis was in the wrong place at the wrong time. They have also identified one of the abductors; a mid-level drug dealer names Roger Henson. Everyone is looking for him and the FBI wants to but a trap and trace on Castle’s home phone in case there is a ransom demand. After this meeting, Beckett pulls Castle into an embrace, uncaring of who sees or what they think. This isn’t what moves me to tears though (I’m weird, I know). It is Captain Gates telling Beckett to “do whatever you need to do to get him back his little girl” as Castle leaves the room that gets me. She may not like him, but that doesn’t matter now. Nothing matters but Alexis and Sara.
Castle goes home and has a heart to heart with Martha, who tells him that she knows that Alexis will be okay. She is her father’s daughter and she is strong. But Castle is wondering, how did the kidnapers know where to find Sara and Alexis? He stumbles upon an answer on Alexis’ vlog. She talked about getting tickets to he lecture and planning to attend with Sara. He calls Beckett who contacts the tech team to track all the IP’s that viewed that post. Beckett begins to reassure Castle, perhaps to say that she will find Alexis, but he stops her. “Don’t promise me you will find her unless you can, because I would never forgive you. Anymore than I would forgive myself”. Powerful.
Then Ryan comes in with news on the van and Beckett hangs up after telling Castle she will call with any news. But Castle can’t sit still and Martha sends him to the scene to find out what is going on. They found the van, but there is a lot of blood in it. Castle has to know, is it Alexis’ blood? Lanie asks if he knows her blood type and he tells her A+ and she tests the blood. It isn’t Alexis’ blood. And here is a scene that I find interesting because it speaks so clearly about the depth of character in our hero, Rick Castle. He turns from the van, full of blood and sees Sara’s parents. And for a moment you think, what will he do? Will he confront them in anger? That would certainly be understandable. Most parents would be beyond rational thought at this point – their daughter taken just for being in the wrong place with the wrong friend. But no, he approaches them in shared concern and fear. No anger. Well played writers, well played.
Now we see Alexis for the first time. She is just waking up in a strange place, unsure of what happened. Sara is with her and they begin to work out what has happened to them. They investigate their cell and find a bathroom stocked with clothes and toiletries. A comfort in a way because you don’t provide these things to girls you plan to kill. Do you?
Back at the precinct Beckett has a lead on the vehicle the kidnappers switched to when they dumped the van. But their best lead comes from the van itself. Someone has modified it (like a street racer). Only a pro could have done this, so Espo begins a search of known wheel men with those skills and B- blood. They find him, his name is Douglas Stevens and he is hiding out at his sister’s home; recovering from gunshot wounds. Beckett questions him, but gets nowhere. Then, in another unforgettable moment, Castle asks for a moment alone with Stevens. He shuts the door and then quietly tells Stevens that he is not a cop. He is the father of one of the girls taken. He asks Stevens to tell him where the girls are. Then we are on the other side of the door with Beckett, listening to Stevens scream in pain. Whatever Castle did was effective, he has the information. The girls are being kept at an isolated farm 60 miles outside of the city. This scene was so powerful. It is so obvious that Rick did not want to hurt this man, that he was sickened by what he had to do. But he did it. Not in anger, but simply the deep need to find his daughter. He took not satisfaction from the act, but doesn’t regret it either. As he tells Kate, he will do whatever is necessary to protect the people he loves. And from the look he gives her, that definitely includes her.
We watch as the Feds approach the farm house, and then cut to Sara and Alexis talking about how handle their kidnapers. Sara and Alexis have a visitor in the form of a kidnaper who wants the food tray. Alexis attempts to talk to him, but he isn’t interested. Then he receives orders in Arabic to return to his post. It seems they have company. Could it be the Feds? Gates gets the call from the Feds and it is bad news. Alexis and Sara are not there. They did find Alexis’ coat and the body of Roger Henson. He has been tortured. What does this mean for the girls?
Back to Alexis and Sara, Sara tells Alexis that she is scared. She thought this was about the money, but hearing the man speaking Arabic shook her. Her father has enemies. Alexis decides they need to get out. And Sara has bobby pins in her hair. We cut to Castle and Beckett and she is giving him a pep talk, reminding him that they have solved cases with less. They will find the girls. She tells him to go home and be with Martha. He balks but she insists and he thanks her and goes. Cut back to Alexis and Sara. Alexis is trying to pick the lock of their cell door, proving she is her father’s daughter. Finally she gets it and they find themselves in a hallway of an office building.
Alexis tells Sara they should split up to maximize the chance that one of them will make it out. At the first turn they do and Alexis is on her own. She finds a room with an unattended cell phone and Skype’s her dad. She has only moments, the phone is dying and the kidnapers have discovered they are gone. Castle tells her to run and she does, out the only unlocked door and onto the roof – where she sees a skyline that stops her in her tracks. Meanwhile the Feds have tracked her signal, but think it must be wrong. It seems the call originated in Paris, France. Alexis is staring at the Eiffel Tower. She IS in France. Just as she recovers and begins to scream for help she is captured. And then we see those hated words “to be continued”…..
So, I have to ask, is this really about Sara? In the preview of next week we learn that Castle will meet up with his father who is apparently a spy. Could this all have something to do with him? Could Sara have been the one in the wrong place at the wrong time? At first I thought perhaps Sara’s dad had hired people who found the kidnaper’s farm house and tortured Henson. But maybe there is something we are not seeing here? I am hoping so, because the whole “absent father is a spy” thing has been done. So, we definitely need a twist to keep things interesting! In any case, I am on pins and needles waiting for the next episode. See you then!