Castle fans, can I just say….I KNEW IT!! I called it last week, this was never about Sara or the dad’s money. It was all about Alexis! But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning. Alexis was kidnapped with her friend Sara and taken to Paris, France. There she managed to escape briefly and make contact with her dad via a cell phone and Skype.
This episode opens with a tense conversation about what the FBI can do to retrieve the girls. Their hands are effectively tied by bureaucratic red tape, but they are doing all they can. They pass around a sketch of the man who may have tortured and killed one of the kidnappers. No one recognizes him. And for just a moment Castle lets his frustration and desperation show by lashing out at Sara’s dad. But he pulls himself back in quick at the reminder that their daughter is missing too.
Finally there is contact with the kidnappers. They are willing to trade the girls for money and Sara’s dad will pay. The meet is set and we watch the exchange from New York. Things are tense. The money is paid, and Sara is released. But where is Alexis? What have the kidnappers done with her?
Beckett sends Castle home to update Martha and try to rest. When she hasn’t heard from him in several hours she goes to Castle’s house and finds Martha. Martha hasn’t seen him, she thought he was with Beckett. Martha calls Castle and he lies to her, claiming to be with Beckett. When confronted with the truth he tells her he is going to get his daughter back. This is a great scene! Martha realizes almost instantly that Castle must have gone to Paris, she goes straight for his passport before calling him. She knows her son, knows that he won’t stop until he finds Alexis.
Beckett has a choice, she can follow Castle, who is acting like a father; or she can act like a cop and solve the case. She decides the best way she can help Rick is to work the case and try to find out who killed Hanson (the tortured kidnapper).
Meanwhile Castle has made contact with an old friend, a man he consulted with when writing the Derrick Storm series. This man puts him in touch with a pro, a man who can work outside the system to get Alexis back. Jacques Henri is on the case and with the help of a blind man he analyzes the Skype recording and narrows down the location of the building. He and Castle go there and find evidence of the girls, but no Alexis. They do find a bug and Henri uses it to make contact with the kidnappers. They agree to meet to discuss terms, but don’t want Castle there. This doesn’t sit well, but what choice does he really have?
Beckett and the boys are making progress on their end. They have identified the flight that was used to get the girls to France. The more they learn, the more none of this makes sense. The kidnapers stole a plane to transport the girls. Why? Ryan also found someone else. Hanson’s girlfriend. They bring her in for questioning and Beckett pulls out all the stops. This woman is stonewalling, trying to be tough. But Beckett is tougher. She kicks over the woman’s chair and puts real fear into her. She tells Beckett all she knows, which isn’t much. But it does lead them to Hanson’s apartment. It has been tossed. But why? And by who?
The “who” is the same man who was witnessed near the farm house where Hanson died. It seems this guy is a pro. The team had found a computer at the apartment, but it had been professionally wiped. However, they are able to find surveillance pictures of Alexis on the drive, proving that she was the target all along, not Sara.
Henri arranges the exchange for Alexis. It takes place in a forest. As they arrive at the meeting Beckett tries to call Castle, but he doesn’t answer. He has $3 million in a bag and is ready to get his daughter back. But Henri puts a gun to his head. He has been double crossed. Henri tells him that he didn’t realize who Alexis was, who he was. What does that mean? Just as Rick is about to die, shots ring out and the only man left standing (well, kneeling) is Rick.
A man steps out and Castle recognizes him. He is the man in the sketch. Beckett calls again, Castle answers and Beckett begins to tell him that Alexis was the target, but our mystery man, who calls himself Jackson Hunt, takes the phone and shoots it dead. The bad guys are using it to track him. This is another great scene! It has drama and suspense and a small dose of humor in the way the tow men interact with each other. This mystery man is on top of everything, even reminding Rick to get the money before they leave. He takes Rick to his place, where he has photos of Alexis from through out her life. He admits that he knows who has Alexis, his name is Volkov and he will exchange her for Hunt. But why?
The time for truth is upon us. Are you ready? I was. I was basically screaming at the TV, “he is your dad!!!!!!!” for like 5 minutes before Hunt finally admitted to this truth. It was a “Luke, I am your father” moment. Only Rick handles it much better. There is the moment of shock, of course. But after that passes Ricks natural curiosity kick in. His dad’s a spy. He tells Rick a little about the type of life he has led, explaining that he has been around, in the shadows of Rick’s and Alexis’ lives. There is a touching moment when he describes following Rick and his mom to the library when Rick was a child and handing him a book. “Casino Royale” Rick says. He remembers. That book inspired him and set him on the path to becoming an author.
All of this is touching and wonderful, but it doesn’t get Alexis back. Who is Volkov and why did he take Alexis? Hunt explains that 12 years ago he killed Volkov’s wife, a counter intelligence agent, in Paris. Volkov has been looking for a way to draw him out. Somehow he found out about Castle and Alexis, that is why she was taken. Poor Sara was only taken to draw the attention of the media and use them to get Hunt’s attention. But if Hunt goes to the exchange, Volkov will simply kill them both. They need a new plan.
In a very touching moment Rick tells Hunt “if you know me at all, you know I will do anything”. What girl doesn’t want a dad that would literally move mountains for her? A dad who would take on the world to protect her and keep her safe. This aspect of Rick’s character is one of his most appealing qualities in my book! Hunt does have a plan, and Rick is all in. The next scene finds Rick under the street of Paris, attaching an explosive to a conduit that should cut the power to Volkov’s hideout. But he gets caught. Now what??
Father and daughter are reunited. Volkov’s men give him the walkie talkie Rick was using. He uses it to contact Hunt, giving him 10 seconds to turn himself over to Volkov’s men or he will kill Rick. The count down begins. But Volkov won’t live to make good on his threat. The real plan has begun. There are explosives in the walkie, and Volkov is dead before he can release it. In that moment Rick springs into action, using a super spy watch to free Alexis from her prison and then they run. They keep running until they reach the US embassy. But what about Hunt? Did he make it?
Alexis and Castle make it home safe and sound. While Martha hugs her granddaughter Beckett hugs Castle and tells him “just promise me you won’t do anything like that again..without me”. I love that. Just don’t face danger alone, take me with you. That’s love folks! One last thing, there is a package waiting for Rick. It’s a copy of Casino Royale. With a smile Rick turns to his mom and says “Mom, there is something I want to tell you”.
And with that we close what I think may have to be one of the best episodes of Castle yet. I admit, I was worried about how they would handle the cliched story of “my absent dad’s a spy” but I shouldn’t have been. They played it perfectly, never losing the essence of Rick’s character and what makes him great, his compassion, curiosity, and heart. Well played, very well played.
We are taking a short break but new episodes will return in a few weeks. I’ll see you then!