This episode begins like most others, with a dead body. This time it’s dragged out of the East River. Oddly, I went to school on the East River and every few years, the cops dragged a body out of the water next to our school. It was significantly grosser than portrayed here, but I digress! It turns out that the body is that of Wallace “Wally” Wiliger, a 40-something toy company CEO that makes one of Alexis’ favorite childhood dolls, the Sunshine Sarah doll.
Meanwhile, Castle is doing an interview about his upcoming two books and the host starts to grill him on his disappearance. Was it, perhaps, a publicity stunt to sell more books (apparently his last book wasn’t that big of a hit)? Castle, of course, denies that he was in on it and instead offers up a $250,000 reward for information about his disappearance, something which infuriates Captain Gates, as Castle gave out the precinct’s phone number and as a result, the NYPD is inundated with crazies trying to cash in on the reward.
Caskett chats with Wally’s widow, who mentions that he had been rather despondent since their dog Annie died, and he seemed to be under a lot under pressure and was staying late at work. She didn’t know the cause of the pressure or what he was doing at the office.
While we’re not sure how much time has elapsed, we do know this is Castle’s first case since his disappearance and he seems a little… off. For one, he kisses Captain Gates full on the mouth when she goes after him about the reward, later quoting Sun Tsu about subduing one’s enemy without fighting, telling Beckett that “a tactical smooch is just one weapon in my arsenal.”
Secondly, he seems even more irresponsible and flip than usual. I, for one, expected a little more of the brooding, thoughtful Castle, given what he had recently been though. Doth he protest too much?
Castle immediately starts to play with the toys in the office, barely listening to Beckett’s questioning of the company’s VP. This actually isn’t that odd. Rick’s always been a bit of a kid, and we can’t expect him to control himself in a room full of things like the Big piano dance mat and a Nerf gun, can we?
It turns out that Wally wasn’t working late and wasn’t under any pressure that his co-workers knew about. In fact, he was leaving early, and no one knew why or where he was going. His assistant Matt mentions that Wally was being secretive about something.
Interestingly, the gang can’t figure out where Wally went between the time he left work and the time he arrived at home, late at night. But Lanie helps them out when she finds a receipt for a coffee shop in Brooklyn in the victim’s pocket, dated the day he died… but he lived and worked in Manhattan!
Meanwhile, Castle gets a call from a voice-scrambled caller who tells him: “I know things, including what happened to you. Are you ready to hear the truth?”
Castle tells Beckett that the caller sounded like a spy, which of course leads her (and the entire audience) to wonder if this has something to do with Castle’s father. At any rate, Caskett head off to meet the mystery guy who claims to have been on the same ship as Castle. Stunned, Castle listens and… the caller goes off the deep end, pointing out how smart their captors were in hiding their ship on the dark side of the moon. Yep… the guy’s loony tunes and got Castle’s cell phone number because he works at the phone company. Well, scratch that lead.
Back at the precinct, the team learns that Wally’s dog Annie was poisoned (the wife doesn’t know that part) and, following a lead, end up at the apartment of a Natalie Medoza. Assuming that she’s “the mistress,” Castle immediately jumps to the “Fatal Attraction” conclusion that she poisoned the dog. When they arrive, they find Mendoza bloody, with her throat slit. Or so it seems. Actually, she’s a makeup artist and had fallen asleep.
Not only was she not dead, but she also wasn’t Wally’s mistress. It turns out Wally had been pretending to be Joe Myers, and had hired her to use theatrical makeup to change his appearance into that of a 70 year-old man.
Back at the precinct, Alexis shows up with a couple who have a photo from their honeymoon which features Castle in the background, talking to ..Dun dun DUNNNN! Fake Jenkins in Montreal! The pair are standing outside of a bank and Alexis astutely points out that perhaps that’s the #38 key that was sewn into Castle’s pants when he was rescued in the dinghy in last week’s episode.
Castle and Alexis decide to head up to Montreal (Beckett has a case to work, after all) and while Beckett is worried about the risk involved, Castle’s attitude is “It’s Canada! How risky could it be?” Spoken like a true Canadian, Nathan Fillion!
I love it when Alexis gets to work with Castle. She’s a smart cookie and is way more reasonable and grounded than he is. There’s a nice give-and-take there. Not that there isn’t with Beckett, but it’s nice to see Castle’s pride when Alexis (repeatedly) turns out to be smarter than he is!
While Castle and Alexis head to Montreal, the rest of the team locate an apartment rented by “Joe Myers” near the coffee shop in Brooklyn, which also happens to be near the toy company’s warehouse. The apartment also happens to have a German Shepherd in the closet! Turns out “Joe” was working undercover as a janitor in his own warehouse and was caught by the foreman snooping around, looking into shipping manifests.
Meanwhile, back in Canada (yes, this episode did got back and forth like an old Super Friends episode “Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice…”) Castle walks into the bank and asks to rent a safety deposit box, thus giving him access to box #38! Not a bad idea, actually. Castle asks the bank employee if he recognized him and while the man says no, he has a very concerned look on his face as Castle walks away to ostensibly put something into his new box.
Castle tells the guard that they are there for box #38 (clever!) and inside they find three envelopes, one each for Beckett, Alexis, and Martha—and inside each one, a memory card. They head back to NYC and play one of the cards for Beckett: Basically a simple, very short video of Castle saying: “I am sorry, I love you, if you are seeing this, I am probably dead.” Of course NYPD super tech Tory starts to analyze them, finding a cityscape outside one of the windows behind Castle’s head. She starts to run it against Google maps and Castle suggests that she run it against Montreal.
While the process is running, the team finds out that the dog in Joe/Wally’s apartment was actually a trained drug-sniffing dog and Beckett, Esposito and Ryan head to the warehouse with the dog.
It’s pretty obvious what’s going on in the A-plot (and has been for a while). Drugs being shipped from China inside the Sunshine Sarah dolls, which Annie (Wally’s dead dog) loved to use as a chew toy. Annie dies of heroin poisoning, Wally found out how, and was killed by the smuggler. It turns out that Wally’s assistant Matt had some connections in China and was the mastermind behind the scheme. The chemical residue?
It’s a standard Scooby Doo, really. Hell, it even has a dog! As murders in Castle go, this one’s pretty straight forward—not all that clever, weird, or exciting. And to be honest, no one watching the episode cares. All we care about is Montreal. Which may be why the episode is called “Montreal.”
Back at the precinct, the computer finds a match (while Tory’s conveniently away from her desk), and Castle starts to call Beckett but stops, instead leaving the precinct, headed for Montreal. Castle arrives at the address (a dark and abandoned building, natch!) enters, and is almost immediately confronted by a gun-toting Fake Jenkins (Matt Letscher).
At this point, I think I’ll let the dialog take it the rest of the way:
Fake Jenkins: “You weren’t supposed to come back. Ever.”
Castle: “It’s you!”
FJ: What do you remember?”
FJ: That’s good.”
C: I know you’re involved. I know you know what happened to me. Who are you?
FJ: “You can’t be doing this. Asking questions, offering rewards. It’s too dangerous.”
C: “Then tell me what happened!”
FJ: You’re not listening, Mr. Castle. You need to stop!
C: “Or what?”
FJ: “Or you’re going to find out the truth and you said you didn’t want to remember. We went to great lengths to make sure you didn’t. But if you keep looking…”
C: “There’s no way in hell I asked for this.”
Fake Jenkins then asks Castle about Hollander’s Woods and a February day when Castle was 11. He says what happened to him that day is the real reason he became a mystery writer.” Castle is stunned. Says he never told anyone about it. “Except me,” says Fake Jenkins. Three weeks ago, so that if this ever happened, he’d have proof that he had asked to forget. “Some mysteries aren’t meant to be solved.”
Castle heads back to NYC and his family, who are generally in agreement. He decided he didn’t want to remember. There has to be a reason.
In bed with Beckett, Castle suggests that they get married the next day, but she points out that they’re both not ready, and that getting married won’t fix things. They need to get some distance from all these crazy events and find some solid ground together. They agree to revisit the discussion in a month.
• There’s absolutely NO WAY that this mystery is done. And what that means for who Castle is, and who he was is intriguing as hell. And if Castle really didn’t want to remember, why was that key—a major clue—sewn into his pants?
• This was half of a good episode. The murder-of-the-week was pretty lame. Not particularly sad or funny, emotional or weird, and all to easy to solve. By far the best part of the A-plot was when Caskett walk into the toy company and Castle realizes where they are, and lights up: “Toys!” Becket’s look of “Oh my god, I am engaged to a nine year-old” is priceless.
• At one point Espo’s phone rings, and it’s Lanie’s voice saying “Hi, sexy!” over and over again. He claims she changed his ring tone, but the others aren’t so sure! Seems that Castle’s disappearance brought them back together, and I wouldn’t be all that surprised if they got married before Caskett. Then again, there are November Sweeps to come….
• The scenes from next week’s show we’re back to the wild and the wacky, which is squarely where I like my Castle!
Mark Rabinowitz is a Nashville-based freelance writer, film producer, and regular contributor to Paste. He is the co-founder of Indiewire.com and really likes cheese. You can follow him on Twitter.