On this episode of Castle, Beckett and Castle investigate the murder of a bail bondsman. But when they find a coded document at the crime scene, Castle becomes obsessed with unlocking the mystery. Meanwhile, Castle comes to grips with Alexis entering the "wild child phase," which Castle fears greatly after learning about a few of Beckett's choice behaviors when she was a teen. And speaking of Beckett's past, we meet Michael Royce, Beckett's former training officer who may have been more than just a partner.
This episode's case was a twisty mess that honestly didn't hold my attention as much as others in the past have. When bail bondsman Deion Carver ends up dead in his office, the only clues left behind are a partial footprint in blood and a bug that Beckett discovers hidden on Carver's phone. Things really get interesting, however, when a piece of paper covered in symbols is found stuck in the victim's sock. Castle instantly begins trying to break the code while Beckett, as usual, sticks to the evidence.
Soon enough, Beckett is after her fist lead, a career criminal named Random who was seen having fight with Carver. When Beckett and Castle find him climbing down the side of his building, Random runs. But before Castle and Beckett can get to him, Random is mowed down by Michael Royce, Beckett's former training officer-turned-bounty hunter. While Beckett questions Random, Royce regales Castle, Esposito and Ryan with stories from Beckett's past, including one time when she halted a standoff by threatening to show the perp her boobs. Castle's jaw, meet Mr. Floor.
Castle gets to know quite a bit about Beckett in this episode. Castle asks Beckett's advice about whether he should give into Alexis' desire to have a Vespa scooter. Beckett warns that Alexis wanting a bike of some sort indicates that she has entered her "wild child phase." Worse, Beckett says the good girls become the real hellions during this phase. Example: Beckett got a Harley when she was a teen, but she won't show Castle any pictures because he couldn't stand to see her straddling the bike in tight black leather. Castle's jaw and Mr. Floor have a mini reunion.
Back to the case. It turns out that Random has an alibi, but the crime scene investigators find a print for an old man named Stuckey in Carver's office. He claims he was in Carver's office trying to get information on Random, who had tried to rob Stuckey's house. Stuckey wanted to drop the charges and help Random straighten up his life. On his way out, however, Stuckey gives the coded document a very long look, leading Castle to believe it is more important than Beckett suspected.
With their other leads a dead-end, Beckett and Castle learn from Lanie that Carver was read his last rites and has holy oil on head. That leads the duo to Father Aaron Low, who just so happens to wear the outdated "no hassle, no tassel" shoes that match the bloody footprint at the crime scene. Father Low says he showed up to talk to Carver about his ongoing marital troubles, and he was already dead. So, he called 9-1-1 and ran. His alibi puts him at his congregation during the time of the murder.
Carver's wife confirms for Castle and Beckett that she and her husband were having marital issues, and that's why she was the one bugging Carver's office. But rather than catching him in an affair, she says she caught him professing his love for her, so she threw away the receiver and stopped listening.
So, Caste and Beckett are back to Square 1, until a reevaluation of the murder board begins to draw some connections. Father Low worked with inmates at the same correctional facility from which Random was just released. Plus: Random was bunked up with a man named Lloyd, who just so happened to have pulled off a major jewel heist back in the day with Stuckey. Turns out the coded document is actually a map to buried treasure, Castle reveals with boyish delight.
Father Low says Lloyd, on his deathbed, told him to take the map and use the jewels to fund the church. But Random had already taken the map. He broke into Stuckey's home for clues about how to read it, which led the whole crew back to Deion, who held on to the map for safe-keeping until they could figure it out. (And when they did, Carver's wife heard the whole thing on the bugged phone, including the part where the crew planned to cut her out of her share of the cash. Which is why she killed him!)
With all these answers, Beckett wants to again question Random, but there's one problem: Royce never took Random to booking. Turns out Royce was in on the original bust of Lloyd and Stuckey, and was now trying to beat the crew to the money. Beckett, who moments earlier, proudly told her former partner of how she found the guy who killed her mother, is crushed by her former partner's betrayal. She professes her love for him on the phone, laying on the guilt thick: "What you destroyed today was worth a hell of a lot more than money," Beckett says. She claims she only gave the speech to keep Royce on the line long enough for a trace, but her face says otherwise when no one's looking.
Thanks to an assist from Alexis (who eventually decides not to buy the Vespa, or to sell limited edition light sabers that Castle bought her when she was younger), Castle figures out that the coded document is actually an old MAD magazine puzzle. When folded, the document reveals the words "Under the Gun." Cut to a cemetery headstone with the name Gunn on it, and the whole merry gang of misfits turns up looking for the money. A multi-dun standoff ensues, but Castle saves the day with a little bit of dirt to the bad guys' eyes. (It beat showing everyone his boobs, Castle quips.)
Beckett arrests everyone, including her former partner. Taking down Royce, the man who Beckett said understood her obsession with being a cop and finding her mom's killer, had to be difficult. Further, having her faith continually broken can't be good for her ability to trust other men. She clearly cared about Royce, most likely in ways beyond those of the usual partnership. Let's hope that if Beckett and Castle ever do get together, Castle learned a few lessons from Royce about what not to do to your partner.
What did you think of the episode?
On this episode of Castle, Beckett and Castle investigate the murder of a bail bondsman. But when they find a coded document at the crime scene, Castle becomes obsessed with unlocking the mystery. Meanwhile, Castle comes to grips with Alexis entering the "wild child phase," which Castle fears greatly after learning about a few of Beckett's choice behaviors when she was a teen. And speaking of Beckett's past, we meet Michael Royce, Beckett's former training officer who may have been more than just a partner...