This week's Castle takes us back to what it does best---Caskett working out a twisty turny mystery that has the audience glued to its seat.
We start out with a woman in her apartment. She goes into the closet and when she comes back out, someone has drawn a weird symbol on her mirror and she's shot and killed.
Cut to Castle interrupting Martha and Alexis at lunch. He spills that Stephen King has reached out and wants to collaborate with him on a book. They're surprised since Castle has a "feud" with Mr. King over their love of differing baseball teams. But Castle is too excited to think anything but that it's all water under the bridge now and he goes to the address he's given. It's a rat-infested run down building. Even going in, the lights start to go out and he thinks it's just Mr. King trying to scare him, but yeah, it's not and he's abducted.
The team is investigating the murder and they don't have much to go on. The co-workers tell them that there was a guy at work who was passed over for a promotion because the murder victim lied about him. And he owns a white van that was seen at the victim's apartment. But he does give them the clue that the victim was digitizing some VHS tapes.
When Castle comes to, he's in an elementary school classroom with three other men. He tries to find out if they have any connection and they don't. They were all lured there and have no idea why. They know they're being taped, though. One guy panics and breaks the glass to get the hatchet out in case of fire. That lets out a bee who stings the one guy allergic to bees. Castle finds a puzzle with the supposed epi-pen inside, but it's really poison and he has to solve more clues to get the antidote. Honestly without Castle there, the guys just would have watched the poor allergic man die. I guess Castle must be used to being kidnapped by this point, I mean, Alexis says later in the episode that her dad is kidnapped twice a year, but it feels like more than that. Anyway, Castle is able to keep his head under kidnapping pressure.
Castle finds another clue behind the clock that leads to a key in the door. When they insert it, the insert in the door opens to reveal a gun with three bullets and a message that the last one standing will be freed. One guy is all, give me the gun and Castle just gives him that are you kidding me look? He talks them out of it, but I would definitely be freaked out if I were stuck in a room with a gun and someone who doesn't mind killing me.
Back at the precinct, the guys have been looking at the video and it's just two kids doing puzzles, wearing necklaces with the symbol that was on the murder victim's mirror. They figure out that the kids in the videos were twins from the Northcliff family and when they bring in someone who worked for the family, she tells them the female twin recently committed suicide and her parents did psychological experiments on the twins relating to separation anxiety. As soon as she said that, I knew who the murderer was, too.
Where is Beckett you might ask? She was also lured to the building and is in a room with the wife and girlfriend of two of the men Castle is stuck with. Every now and then each room gets shown what the other room is doing and it's messing with their psyche. Both Beckett and Castle are working to get them out, but not getting a lot of help from their fellow prisoners. When the ladies open the door to get the gun, one woman takes it and decides she has no problem with it. Of course the men are shown this on the TV feed and her husband is all, welp if my wife is going to murder someone, I will too! When he shoots, though, it backfires and kills him. Meanwhile, Beckett has taken the bullets out of the gun for the women and so her crazy person can't kill anyone. She ties crazy woman's hands behind her back.
By this time Alexis has realized her father is missing and the team is looking for him. They go to the Northcliff's house where they are tied up. The are sitting in front of the feed showing both rooms with Castle and Beckett and their fellow prisoners. But they won't be prisoners for long! Beckett goes all MacGyver and blasts her way out of the room. Castle uses a crowbar to pry it open. Before they can get outside, though, they are trapped in a room once again where the door will only open if three people push down levers. The ones who have been branded with the weird symbol from the mirror are supposed to stay, but Castle and Beckett break the rules and they both stay. The maniac behind it all is exposed as one of the crazies in the room with them. (I called it!) Brandon the other twin is mad his parents were allowed to do the experiments so he gathered people that should have helped him---Beckett from the twelfth (policeman), teachers, some school psychiatrist, you get the picture. He wants them to choose which loved one will die, but Castle refuses. (This whole scene points out how dumb the LokSat storyline is. Some crazed guy can figure out that Castle and Beckett love each other and would do anything for each other, but hey, maybe LokSat is dumber than a box of rocks and will think they're not together. Yeah. Ridiculous.) Anyways, Brandon has lost it, but now he's stuck with Caskett and he has a rifle. Castle and Beckett get him monologuing about his sad life while Castle surreptitiously unscrews a pipe from the lever and goes after the guy with it. Beckett disarms him, just as the team bursts in.
It ends with Hailey coming to take a brooding Alexis out for fun and Caskett getting drinks and being cozy at home. Awww.
So, a fun psychological episode with a lot of tense moments! If you put LokSat out of your mind, this is how the season should have been from the beginning with Castle and Beckett figuring out a mystery and ending the episode with a smile.
Did you watch?