Before we get started recapping this Castle episode I just have to say I was super excited to have an episode dedicated to Ryan. It is about time we get to see him as more than Esposito’s partner and sidekick! And this episode did not disappoint at all!
Now, to the story! Our episode opens in a bakery full of lovely and delicious looking treats. Everything seems normal until we round the corner and see a blood trail. We follow the trail and find a body of a man (the baker) face first in a vat of cake batter. It appears he has been shot.
Cut to Castle and Beckett at his place, sending the day together. Castle leans in for a kiss, but Beckett pulls away. Is it his breath? No, it’s something else. Turns out Castle talks in his sleep. And last night he was talking about someone named Jordan. Who is Jordan? But Castle clams up, claiming it is nothing. (“Most of what I say is meaningless, why would it be any different when I’m asleep??”) Beckett isn’t willing to let this go, but at that moment the phone rings and they are off to the bakery!
At the bakery, Jimmy the Baker is out of the vat and Lanie has located some fibers in the victims watch that would seem to indicate a struggle before he was shot. While she is giving them the rundown Castle sneaks a cupcake and pronounces that they can rule out a dissatisfied customer because “these things are insanely good”. Lanie looks a bit disgusted and pops off with “you are eating a dead mans cupcake??” The sign did say free samples though, so I think we can forgive him. Beckett tries to redirect them back to the case by asking for time of death. Before Lanie can respond Espo steps in and says it was between 11:30 and 12. This doesn’t sit well with Lanie, she wants to know when Espo became the M.E. He tries to laugh it off with a “playing doctor” joke that the ladies don’t appreciate (is this a subtle hint that Espo and Lanie are back together?), so then he gets back to business. Jimmy’s assistant gave him the TOD. Jimmy sent him on an errand around 11:30, just after he noticed a black 1968 Charger RT cruising by the shop (Hey, he knows his muscle cars!). He figured Jimmy was trying to get rid of him for a while, so he left. He didn’t see the driver, but he did see them parking around back as he was leaving. When he came back the car was gone and Jimmy was dead.
Esposito found something else interesting. It seems Jimmy kept “a lot of dough” in a briefcase stashed in his office (Well, it is a bakery). There is $50,000 in the case, way too much for a small time baker to have lying around. The assistant knows nothing about the cash, but he has seen the case. Jimmy was real paranoid about it, taking it out twice a week and heading down to Staten Island with it, on business. But what kind of business? And Castle has another question, where’s Ryan?
Ryan is at home with his lovely wife, Jenny.. They are preparing to leave for a doctor’s appointment with a fertility specialist. It seems they are both getting tested to determine why they have not gotten pregnant. Poor Kevin is worried, what if it is him? What if it is his fault they haven’t conceived? But she reassures him, this isn’t about blame. They just need to know what is wrong so they can fix it. This a sweet, mildly risque scene, with veiled references to Jenny helping Kevin to obtain the sperm sample he needs to take to the doctor.
Now we cut to the office where the rest of the team is discussing the case. How does a “master baker” (nice little freudian play on words there) get himself tied up in something involving 50 grand and secret trips to Staten Island? Apparently Castle isn’t the only one with secrets, observes Beckett. He chooses to ignore that statement, and it is at this point that Beckett finds something particular in Jimmy’s finances. According to the purchasing records, Jimmy spent a lot of money on kitchen equipment that he did not even have room for in his shop.And here comes Espo with the news that a check on ’68 Chargers came back with an interesting hit, an Irish mob “shot caller” named Bobby S. What if, Castle speculates, Jimmy the baker was really Jimmy the money launderer for this Bobby S.? And what if they had a falling out and Bobby killed him? They will need more than his car at the scene to make a case for murder. Espo has an answer for that too, phone records show that Jimmy received several calls from a Siobhan O’Doul, a bar owner down on Staten Island. It just so happens that her bar is where Bobby S. does most of his business.
So, let’s have a talk with Siobhan, shall we? She seems really helpful. She should be, since an obstruction charge would get her liquor license pulled and shut her bar down. She claims not to know Jimmy, but when confronted with her calls to him, she changes her story. Now she’s thinking about buying some cupcakes. When Beckett tells her she is too late, that Jimmy is dead she appears shaken. When asked about Bobby S. she stops talking and insists on getting her phone call. As she is being led away to a holding cell, she spots Ryan, who is just coming into work. Jenny has followed him up to drop off his lunch, which he forgot (she is really so sweet). When Siobhan sees Ryan she calls out, but the name she calls isn’t Ryan or Kevin, it’s Fenton. And Ryan responds to that name. She comes rushing across the room and plants a kiss on his lips. Of course, Jenny objects with a “Hey, what the hell are you doing? That’s my husband!” That gets Ryan a slap from Siobhan (You’re married?!?! SMACK!) Castle steps in with “Whoa, lady! You can’t slap a cop!”. This earns Ryan another slap (You’re a COP??? SMACK!!) As she is dragged away by the escorting officers (a little late to the party guys) she is shouting obscenities and calling Ryan a liar. He turns to his shocked wife and says “I can explain”. Yeah, I think you better.
We don’t get to hear his explanation to Jenny but she is not happy when she leaves (can you blame her?). As Ryan looks at the murder board he sees someone else he knows, Bobby S. How does Ryan, sweet, straight laced, boring, Ryan, know a lowlife like Bobby S.? Well, seven years ago Ryan worked 14 months undercover to take down the Irish mob on Staten Island. During that investigation he was involved with Siobhan. Ryan thinks he can use that prior relationship to get her to open up about Jimmy and Bobby S., but Siobhan isn’t interested in sharing her secrets with him. She is pissed, Fenton just disappeared one day, all he left behind was a note. Really, can you blame her for slapping Fenton? Meanwhile, Esposito can’t believe he never knew his best friend had spent time working a deep cover assignment. When Beckett points out that not even his wife knew he has a ready come back: “Yeah, but I’m his best friend, she’s just the wife” Beckett’s retort: “Thus proving why there is no Mrs. Esposito”. Ryan comes back with the news that he got nowhere with Siobhan. Just as they begin to speculate as to what caused Bobby S. to murder Jimmy, another player enters the scene. Special Agent Sam Walker, FBI. Mr Special Agent is impressed to meet Ryan, the only man to get inside the Irish Mob with a wire and take them down. Ryans only response is “well, too bad the weeds grew back” (I don’t think that Kevin is very proud or impressed with his own accomplishments). Turns out that Jimmy was Agent Walker’s informant. Jimmy had borrowed money from Jimmy S and gotten in too deep with the mob to get out. He was working with the FBI to get “the bible”, a book of contacts and transactions going back years. With that, they could shut down Bobby’s operation for good. Without Jimmy, Agent Walker will have to rely upon his other informant, Siobhan. This gets Ryan’s attention. If Siobhan goes back in her life is in danger. If Jimmy was killed for informing, how long will it be before they figure out that Siobhan is working with the FBI too?
Agent Walker sees no other option, Siobhan will have to go back in if she wants to get into Witness Protection. But Ryan can see a play they haven’t considered. He can go back in. His Fenton persona is still intact, he can step right back into it and get the bible. No one is happy about this plan, especially not Jenny. But Ryan knows he can do this. We watch as Ryan transforms himself from mild mannered cop to street tough thug. It is actually a pretty intense transformation,. He IS Fenton O’Connell.
Esposito poses as a cabbie and drops Fenton/Ryan off near Siobhan’s bar. As he enters the bar, he receives some strange looks, but no one seems too interested in him until Draws every eye to him with his loud and boisterous behavior. Siobhan appears surprised and pissed to see him but her friend Maggie seems even more pissed. She walks right up and decks him for hurting her friend. Turns out Maggie is married to Bobby S’s number 2, Liam.
At the station, Espo is worried about Ryan. Can he pull this off? He didn’t seem like himself, which Castle points out is a good thing. He needs to be Fenton, not Ryan. Beckett cuts into the conversation and points out that the best way to help Ryan is to make a case against Bobby S. for Jimmy’s murder. But that is going to be harder than they thought. Bobby’s car has an electronic ez pass and it shows that the car was in Yonkers at the time of Jimmy’s death. How is that possible? Castle suggests that he may have somehow disabled his ez pass, but how do they prove that? Simple, by finding out where in Yonkers Bobby went and then finding evidence that he left during the time of the murder.
Meanwhile, Liam is taking Fenton/Ryan to see Bobby. He makes Fenton put his phone in a lock box and then sweeps him, looking for a wire. Bobby doesn’t seem pleased to see Fenton, this guy is making friends all over. Bobby is angry that Fenton disappeared back in the day and suspicious of his sudden reappearance.Fenton/Ryan claims he didn’t want to come back until he had something to offer Bobby. He has a plan and the contacts Bobby needs to move a lot of product (drugs) into their market. He wonders aloud if he should just have Liam kill Fenton. Liam draws his weapon and points it at Fenton and as he does Fenton pulls so really awesome moves (that I never realized Ryan was capable of!), disarms Liam, puts the gun in Bobby’s hand, cocks it and puts the barrel to his own head. “You think I’m some kind of a rat, that I’m a man without honor, then you pull the trigger. You doubt me Bobby, you do it yourself”. Powerful words and a huge risk. But one that pays off in the end as Bobby opens his arms and accepts Fenton back into the fold. ( I love this scene!)
Back in the bar Bobby toasts the prodigal brother’s return from the “dead” and all seems well. At least as well as can be expected when you are a cop working undercover to bring down a large group of armed and very dangerous men. Maggie and Liam stand to the side watching Fenton and Bobby and Liam says he is going to check out his story. If it doesn’t hold up, he’s gonna kill Fenton…..
Beckett has figured out where Bobby went in Yonkers, he used an ATM at the raceway. Espo is checking to see if there is security footage that they can use. Castle offers Beckett a cup of coffee, which she refuses. He tries to move on, asking is they have heard from Ryan. Beckett takes her opening, saying “I don’t know, and I hate not knowing things”. Castle turns to her and un-willingly gives up the information that Jordan is not a woman. Beyond that he is reluctant to say anything and he is saved by the bell…or rather the phone (ever notice how often that happens on this show?). Lanie has identified the fibers that were caught in Jimmy’s watch. They are wool from an Australian sheep. Does that mean Bobby’s accomplice was a murderous sheep? Maybe but it is more likely that the fibers came from a coat that Bobby is pictured in on the murder board. It has a wool collar. That ties him to the murder, or does it? Espo has found footage of Bobby filling out tax forms to claim his winnings from the track at the exact time that Jimmy was murdered. Someone is setting Bobby up to take the fall for Jimmy’s murder. This is important information.
Esposito meets Ryan in a little coffee shop and gives him the news, Bobby was framed by his own crew. Espo tries to convince Ryan to walk away from this, but Ryan isn’t hearing it. You get the definite impression that he feels a real sense of responsibility to see this through, to protect Siobhan. I would expect no less from him. He has been invited to a pool game at Bobby’s house, this is his chance to get the bible and he is going to take it. Ryan leaves the coffee shop and goes to Siobhan’s place to bring her up to speed. She also tries to talk him out of going, but he tells her that neither of them will get another chance. She gives him the combination to Bobby’s safe, which she knows because she has figured out Bobby’s system for choosing each random set of numbers. On his way out of her place, Ryan notices a stuffed animal that he won for Siobhan a long time ago. It is obvious that Ryan once cared a great deal for Siobhan. For a moment, it seems he might kiss her, but the moment passes unfulfilled (good man Ryan, good man).
A parking lot attendant at the raceway remembers seeing Bobby’s car returning to the lot and the driver walking to the subway. MTS records show that Liam’s credit card was used to purchase a ticket on the subway around the same time. It’s a coupe, Liam is trying to get rid of Bobby S. so he can take over. They need to warn Ryan. But he isn’t answering. He is busy as Fenton, playing pool at Bobby’s. While he rounds the table, Liam takes a call from one of his guys who tells him that he was right, they have a rat in the house. Is Ryan’s cover blown? It may be, so he takes the first chance to grab the bible from Bobby’s wall safe, coming close to being caught by Bobby himself. As he is leaving the house Liam stops him and strong arms him into taking a ride.
At the station the team can’t get Ryan on the phone and while they are discussing what that means Jenny shows up, worried about her husband. Esposito tries to cover and say that everything is okay but Jenny isn’t buying it. Beckett pulls her aside and explains the situation. Jenny asks her why, why did he feel the need to do this? Beckett gives her a very good and honest answer, because he wants to do the right thing, that is the man he is. That is the man you fell in love with. Espo steps in and pulls Beckett out for a private word.
Back in the car, Ryan asks Liam if they are headed to the docks. When Liam says yes, Ryan points out that the only 2 things to do at the docks are fish and kill people and it’s kind of late for fishing. So, is this it for Ryan? What is about to happen here? They pull up at the dock and Liam and Fenton/Ryan get out. Liam tells him that he knew they had a rat amongst them, but he never realized how that rat could hide in plain sight. Bobby pulls up in another car and gets out with another man and Siobhan. Siobhan?? As she comes towards them she apologizes to Fenton. Bobby tells Fenton that Siobhan has betrayed them all and that the only way Fenton can prove himself free of her sin is to kill her. He hands Fenton his gun.
Fenton stands there, gun pointed at Siobhan’s head. She tells him to do it, it’s not his fault. And for a second it almost seems he will. But then he turns the gun on Bobby. But bobby doesn’t seem scared. The gun is empty. Bobby tells Fenton he is disappointed in him. Fenton says “not as disappointed as you’re about to be. My name’s not fenton, it’s Kevin Ryan and I’m a cop”. This catches the three other men by surprise. Then Ryan tells them that he is going to arrest them. But how when they have weapons and he doesn’t. Liam is about to pull the trigger when Ryan tells him to check for his cell phone. Back at the house when they tussled Ryan picked Liam’s pocket, took his phone and dialed Espo’s number. The line has been open all the way to the dock and Espo heard it all. (This is the best scene of the night!) Ryan calls Espo out, then Beckett, and finally Castle. Castle pops around the corner and says “Seriously?? I didn’t bring my vest”. This is a very cool scene, very well played and with just the right mix of drama and humor. As Bobby is being cuffed he learns that Ryan has his bible and he will be going away for a long time.
But the story isn’t over yet. What about Jimmy’s murder? Liam didn’t kill Jimmy. So, who did? The only person with access to Liam’s metrocard, his lovely wife Maggie. She wanted her husband to move up and the only way that was going to happen was if she removed Bobby from the equation. So, case closed.
Now, what about Jordan? What is Jordan? Castle finally wants to confess, but he is afraid that his truth will change how Beckett sees him. What will happen if she doesn’t like what she sees? To which she responds “what will happen if you don’t let me look?”.Jordan is a defunct car company. Way back in Castle’s boarding school days he paid for a paper about this car company. A paper so well written that the teacher read it aloud to the class and praised him. This changed how Rick viewed himself. It was the first time he was celebrated publicly and it was for something he didn’t do. He felt like a fraud and that drove him to learn to write, to make himself worthy of that praise. Does this change how Beckett sees him? Yes, but in a good way. It makes her like him a little more. Frankly, I like him a little more too.
Ryan goes to see Siobhan one last time, to say goodbye. With a kiss on the cheek he walks away and she continues to pack for her new life. Ryan goes home to apologize to his wife. Jenny just needs to know one thing, is that part of Ryan’s life over? Because she needs to know that she can count on him to be there for her. They got the results back from the doctor (did you see it coming?? I did)…..all those tests were a waste of time. She is already pregnant!
And that ends one of my new favorite episodes of Castle! Tune in with me next week when we celebrate our 100th episode, rear window style!