While Castle usually gives us a pretty good cliffhanger every year in May, they don’t usually give us one for the winter break. Until last night. And I must say, I’m very curious to see just what they intend to do with this one.
But a cliffhanger comes at the end of the episode. And good ones come from what has come before. That’s definitely the case here, so let’s back up to the murder. The episode opens with a man being chased through the streets by a car. Someone shoots out of the car and the person being chased falls through a store display window. The shooter gets out of the car – and he’s dressed as Santa. He fires one last shot to make sure the victim is dead.
The victim is a surgeon at a local ER where he regularly takes time off to help out a sick uncle. However, when they try to track down that uncle, they learn that he doesn’t exist. Instead, they manage to learn that the victim was a secret surgeon for one of the mob families in the area. Even more surprising, the leader of his particular mob family is someone that Castle used for research in a Derek Storm novel.
When Castle and Beckett show up to talk to him (at his strip club), he denies have any knowledge of the murder and is very upset by it. However, Esposito and Ryan have found a bloody Santa suit in the back of the car driven, and the car belongs to the mob boss’s number two. Case closed.
Not so fast, my friend. We are only about 20 minutes in, so it can’t be that easy. And the mob boss calls in Castle and asks him to keep investigating to learn the truth, even if it means going against Beckett. He even takes Castle into the family and promises that everyone will cooperate – with Castle. Castle says he will keep looking into it, but he is going to be up front with Beckett on what he finds.
The first thing he finds is that the suspect has an alibi. He was with the boss conducting “business” while the murder took place.
The victim had some rock salt on him when he died, and Beckett is able to figure out where it might have come from – a yard in the area used to store the stuff for snow and ice in the city. Sure enough, they find a backpack in the area with bloody clothes. A cop who works the mob cases helps them track down the potential owner of those clothes. He’s a member of a rival mob family. So why did the victim have them? And did this rival family kill the doctor?
But here’s where things get interesting. When Esposito, Ryan, and Beckett are able to track down where this other mob’s member was shot, they learn find a piece of jewelry belonging to the daughter of our mob family’s boss. When Castle confronts the boss with this news, he almost gets shot, but fortunately, the daughter shows up in time to reveal the truth. In a Romeo and Juliette/West Side Story twist, she and this other family’s member have fallen in love. When he got shot, they were going to use this to disappear.
You see, he’s still alive and hiding out until she can join him in running away. Beckett and Castle go to talk to him and almost get shot for their efforts. However, they learn he was working on finding out the identity of someone who was moving in on his family’s turf, demanding protection money from people in the area.
Via some electronic wizardry, they figure out who owns the account this encroacher was using. And it was…the mob police officer. After years of watching them making money, he decides to go crooked and make some of his own. And he tried to kill the one man to keep this a secret and killed our victim because he was a loose end.
Meanwhile, we had a fun sub-plot involving Esposito and Lanie. Her parents are coming through town, and they want to meet Esposito, especially since Lanie has lied to them and said they are engaged. The real fun is how Ryan had to come through and share the story of how Esposito proposed since neither Espo nor Lanie were willing to lie like that. However, at the end of the episode, the two realized that they didn’t love each other like Lanie’s parents or Ryan and Jenny or Castle and Beckett love each other. It looks like they are on their way to breaking up again.
But that’s not the cliffhanger. Just as the precinct party is about to start, Gates enters the episode. She pulls Castle aside and tells him that the killer was shot and killed on his way to jail. This looks bad for the department, especially with Castle’s ties to the mob. This has already gone through the mayor, and the mayor has agreed that as a result of this, Castle can no longer be any part of the NYPD.
I must admit, I did not see that coming, so I was shocked when that final scene unfolded. I can’t wait 5 weeks to find out where they are going with this. Although it looks like Castle is going to go the PI route and strike out on his own, which should provide some interesting plots for a few episodes.
Meanwhile, anyone else think that the mob boss’s offer to do anything to help Castle is going to tie in to the mystery of his disappearance somehow?
Oh, and they need to get Lanie and Esposito back together. Why? Because I like them as a couple, therefore they have to make it work. I have spoken.
Seriously, what did you think of the episode? Are you as curious as I am where they are going with this latest snag in the show?
Even though there won’t be any new episodes until January 12th, I do hope you’ll keep coming by the blog to see what else I’m talking about. Either way, I’ll see you in the new year!