The writers must be tired of doing the same old episode every time because they are really working to find ways to stretch the familiar formula beyond the standard formats of the show. Since these cases have been interesting, I’m behind it. For example, this week the investigative team was Castle and Alexis and the setting was
Through a professor at college, Alexis has gotten involved in The Innocence Project, a group that tries to free those wrong convicted of murder. The case she’s been working involves a man who has spent years in prison on appeal for killing his neighbor. However, he maintains that he heard a scream and went over to find the girl dead. She was a high school student, and he was early 20’s.
When his latest appeal is denied, Alexis turns to Castle for help. They’ve got three days to clear him before his execution. She’s already been asking Ryan and Esposito to go over the physical evidence again, but the lab is so backed up they have got nothing.
Castle goes with Alexis to
Pennsylvania, and he starts the case with
fresh eyes. They interview the accused
again. He sticks with his story. He was at home welding on his car. He’d set off the smoke detector. When he got it turned off, he heard a scream
across the street. The front door was
closed, but the back door was open. He
went inside to find the girl on the floor.
Trying to make sure she was dead, he got blood on him. He heard the police show up and tried to wipe
surfaces down, but before he could leave, they caught him and he was arrested.
Going over the evidence, it’s what wasn’t found on the doorknob that convinces Castle that the accused really is innocent. All the surfaces he wiped down had bits of grease on them. But the doorknob had absolutely nothing on it. He didn’t wipe it down – someone else did.
But it seems the best way to get him off is to prove someone else did it. So Castle and Alexis start combing through her life. They also call in Lanie to run the evidence that the lab was too backed up to run. She finds a weird chemical that hadn’t been found before, and they connect it to an abandoned house on the edge of town. Her boyfriend at the time confirms she’d been out there on the night she was murdered.
But then they figure out that the house was being used to cook meth. She must have discovered that and been debating what to do when someone who was involved killed her to keep her quiet.
The victim was also tutoring chemistry. Among the things found at the crime scene were two books, hers and someone else’s. They are able to track down the owner, and that person was the younger brother of the accused. He’s currently living in
so Beckett interviews him. He clams up
pretty quickly, however, when he realizes where this is going.
That’s when the accused finally confesses that he found his younger brother kneeling over the body. He’s prepared to die for his brother, who he thinks really committed the crime. He was hoping to get off on a technicality but doesn’t want to get off if it means his brother goes to jail.
But the victim was paid by check. While they wait for Ryan and Esposito to track down who paid her, two other things come to light. Castle realizes that in one of the crime scenes in an astronomy clock that had broken at the time of death, setting it before the smoke alarm went off across the street. That part is definitely fixed since the accused called the alarm company to let them know all was well. They also track down the 911 call, which was also made before the accused went across the street.
Then there’s the charm found under the victim’s body. It didn’t match her charm bracelet, which was also broken at the scene. It belonged to someone else. And since neither brother moved the body, it couldn’t be them.
Which brings us to the real killer. It was the cop who warned Castle and Alexis off very early in the episode. His dad is the chief of police, but back then he was indeed cooking meth, getting the chemistry tutoring to help him figure out how. The medallion was his as a member of the high school swim team.
With the real killer found, the accused is released and his record expunged. And, obviously, he’s not executed.
This case is much more like the books I normally read where the heroes are trying to prove someone innocent. I felt right at home in that aspect of the plot, although they aren’t normally up against a deadline that this one.
But I’ve let out the character stuff in the episode. As it begins, Castle and Beckett are talking about going to look for wedding venues. Castle is suggesting they get married in outer space, but Beckett nixes that one completely. Of course, that search gets interrupted by the case.
Then there’s Beckett’s heart to heart with Lanie. Alexis has turned to just about everyone but her with help on this case, and she is worried about what that means for her relationship with her future step-daughter. However, the final scene is of the two of them talking (we don’t hear what, but Alexis had said she had someone else to thank) and then hugging.
Finally, as I expected, this fixes Castle and Alexis’ relationship. While working together, they both realize how much they mean to each other, so they apologize. It’s a very quick scene and I’m not sure it completely pays off all they’ve been dealing with so far this season, but I am hoping this part of the storyline is behind us. I’ve always loved their relationship.
Of course, my favorite moment of the episode wasn’t Castle and Beckett’s argument about getting married in space (BTW, I’m on her side). I was actually when Castle and Alexis started going over evidence, interrupting each other, and then reached the same conclusion at the same time. That was very funny, especially her reaction when Castle pointed out he normally does that with Beckett.
But I’ve rambled on long enough. What did you think? Happy to have Castle and Alexis at least speaking to each other again? Will that last since Pi is still in the picture? Other thoughts?