They got me last night. I assumed I already knew the final scene of the episode, and I was rolling my eyes from the beginning about how boring and predictable that would be. Yet they didn’t go there.
But we’ll get there in a few minutes.
We’ve had fun episodes so far this month, so that means it is time for a more serious episode. And, as they like to do a couple of times a season, they also focused on one of the supporting characters. This time around, it was Esposito who carried much of the show, and he was great at it.
The episode starts with a murder in a park. Our victim is a man who works for the government investigating health companies that don’t follow guidelines. Obviously, one of his cases must be the cause. His boss seems to agree, although she has no clue what he might have been working on that would cause his death. His brother says that the victim was rarely in the park, and only there because the victim got a phone call.
Going through the victim’s phone records, they learn the call came from a pay phone. There is a camera near the phone, and they are able to identify the caller. Ryan and Esposito head out to talk to him in his apartment, and they find him heading toward the subway. Esposito goes down to follow him while Ryan stays in the car. Before Esposito can get his attention, they both get on the subway.
And then this person realizes he was followed by a cop, and he panics. He takes Esposito’s gun and a subway cop’s gun as well. Then he reveals he is strapped with a bomb and takes hold of the dead man switch. Translation, if he lets go with his left hand, he and everyone else on the subway will blow up. As the situation drags out, they eventually order pizza for everyone, slipping a note in to Esposito’s pizza about an attempt to storm the subway, but the bomber gets wind of the attempt and warns them off. He also realizes there is a hidden camera that the rest of the cast have been using to watch the subway car, and he shoots it.
Obviously, the rest of the cast is working hard trying to learn more about the guy to figure out a way to get to him and stop him. They quickly learn he is a hacker, and when he demands that his girlfriend be released from prison, they think this is the motive behind the attack. Only shredded paper that Ryan got from the guy’s apartment makes it obvious he is follow a script. But what script and why?
That’s when Lanie comes up with a big clue. While watching the video, she’s realized the bomber’s coughing is getting worse and worse – almost like a flu cough. And sure enough, he’s infected with a very bad strain of the flu and only getting worse because it is in the asthma inhaler he keeps using to try to get his cough under control.
Esposito and the other cop use his coughing and inhaler to jump him when he’s distracted and subdue him. Crisis over. Unfortunately, everyone has now been infected with his flu, but there is an antidote. Everyone is given a clean bill of health after some isolation and the antidote, including the bomber, although he takes a little longer to recover.
But when Beckett and Castle go to interrogate him, he claims to know nothing about the murder that started it all. He doesn’t know how he got sick. All he knows is someone contacted him via his website rallying support to free his girlfriend and coached him on what to do and when to do it. So the real killer is still out there.
Returning to the formula we know and love on this show, the real killer was the victim’s boss. She had stock in a company that had developed the vaccine for this particular flu, and they wanted it out there to make money. They were using the bomber to do that without his knowledge. The victim got wind of it and his boss had to silence him.
Which brings us to the part I didn’t think was predictable. Right before he went into the subway, Esposito was talking to Ryan about Ryan’s family and expressing his desire to settle down and start a family, preferably with Lanie since they are back together. I figured that this whole thing would make Lanie, who is the one dragging her heels, rethink her choice and agree to marry Esposito, with a proposal ending the episode. Wrong! While the two were hugging at the end, there was no proposal. Instead, we got a funny scene with Castle making subway jokes even though everyone else said they were too soon.
There were a couple of great lines in the episode (I especially loved Beckett’s line “You still remind me a little of Hooch”), but this was a more serious and suspenseful episode. I never mind those as long as the lighter episodes are still the majority of the season. And since everyone made it out of the subway alive, this wasn’t nearly as dark and grim as it could have been.
Your thoughts? Happy they didn’t end on a cliché or disappointed? I do think an engagement is coming soon for those two, but I’m glad it wasn’t part of this episode. For one thing, we’ve just had the big wedding. Let’s have Castle and Beckett have their moment. Anyway, share your thoughts with me in the comments.