Recap: Reckoning

CASTLE - "Reckoning" - In the second installment of the Castle two-parter, stakes rise as the 12th Precinct matches wits with serial killers Jerry Tyson (3XK) and Dr. Kelly Nieman. With the clock ticking, Castle and the team must crack the case before the killers claim their next victim, on Part 2 of "Castle," MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Colleen Hayes) NATHAN FILLION, SEAMUS DEVER

It’s time to give credit where credit is due. Everyone brought their A-game in this episode. From the set design and music right down to the writing and acting, “Reckoning” had that feel of a season three episode. All the elements needed to make a great episode were clicking and all the cylinders were running in sync.

“Reckoning” picks up almost immediately after where “Resurrection” left off with Castle and the boys arriving where an unknown third party at the behest of Tyson and Nieman snatched Beckett. Castle finds her car with a cryptic “help her” written on the back window. The game is on where the hunted becomes the hunter in an uber game of cat and mouse.

Right off the bat, the team knows who took Beckett. The question isn’t why, at least not yet, but where. And they hit the two most likely targets right off the bat: Boudreau (aka Tyson) and Nieman. Both deny of course, but even the killing duo realize it’s only a matter of time before they have to make their final move. And so far, they’ve proven themselves to be one-step ahead of the NYPD.

Castle goes off the rails and proves you can’t mess with the people he cares about and not expect to get a dose of ass-kicking in the process. But in the heat of the moment, Castle let Tyson dictate the rules of the game. He played right into the psychopath’s hands and is punished for his actions.

The team chases down some false leads, a fake recording and even a fake Beckett killed by a remote controlled gun only adds to the heightened sense of despair and anguish for Castle and the rest of the NYPD.

This is one of those episodes that allows for character growth and the character that grew was Captain Gates. Even though I think she always had a soft spot for Castle, she offers some valuable advice: get Tyson’s story, write Tyson’s story and then you’ll not find Beckett but you’ll also bring him down.

It’s this advice that sets up the rest of the episode. Instead of just wildly running around and looking underneath every rock, Castle unravels Tyson’s story. And he goes to see the person that can provide the biggest nugget: Marcus Gates.

Marcus (Lee Tergesen “3XK” S3E06) knows Tyson the best. They were cellmates for years and Tyson manipulated him into killing. While there’s not much to gain for the guy, Castle puts all out on the table. He’s in jail because of Tyson and Castle can offer him something in return: revenge. Marcus tells him about a house that Tyson used to go to when he was kid and that sets the rest of the episode into motion.

The Castle as a private investigator arc is brought into light because it opens some doors that might be otherwise shut (though, I’m sure the NYPD would have opened those doors as well). He gets information on the house where he spots Amy Barrett, the third party.

Inside the house, Castle and Tyson have one final showdown. As he has done so many times in the past, Castle writes the story with the evidence laid out before him. Even though it seems all hope is loss as Tyson holds Castle at gunpoint it’s check-mate.

Castle’s arrival at the house was all a ruse. They knew what was going to happen. And Tyson meets his end at the barrel of Esposito’s sniper rifle. Now, the attention turns toward Beckett. Where’s Beckett?

Like like with Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, serial killers inevitably screw up which lead to their downfall. Tyson’s was over confidence and not using enough technology to hide cell phone signals which ultimately led everyone to Beckett’s location.

One aspect that makes for a great episode is the editing and filming style. The alternating scenes between cavalry looking for Beckett, and her quest for survival sets it up perfectly she wasn’t at the house.

And Beckett isn’t a damsel in distress. Even though we know her situation is grim with Nieman tying her up and about to carry out a diabolical Face/Off fantasy (check out the 1997 film starring Nicholas Cage and John Travolta). The detective takes matters into her hands when she frees herself and finishes Nieman’s story. It was a fitting end Nieman’s life with her own tools of trade, a scalpel.

Back at the precinct, it’s a triumph return that is reminiscent of Beckett’s return to the precinct in “Rise” with applause. Beckett’s still pretty much out of it but it’s as she walks through that she truly feels safe. After a brief hug from Lanie (who’s scenes I suspect were cut because she just randomly showed up), Gates starts to tear down Castle for his reckless actions but instead thanks him for not only bringing Beckett back home but also for solving one of the NYPD’s biggest cases. And it’s that resolution that allows him back into the precinct to work along side Beckett.

Back at the loft, it’s clear the events of the past few days continue to wear on both Castle and Beckett. I think more so on Beckett who found herself doing something that even shocked her: the brutal killing of Nieman. With this come back to haunt her? I don’t know. I’d like to think so but the show’s writers have proven in the past they’re not long for sticking on big events in the lives of the characters. It’s a weak part of the show’s overall story process. There’s little to no follow through on things like these.

In writing it’s all about making the right choices for the characters at the right time. Too much of something can ruin the mood. The tender scene at the end in the loft is an example of where less is more. In situation like that, jumping on each other would have deflate the scene. But it’s all about a simple touch that makes the difference in the end. A passionate kiss would have ruined it all.

Is this the end of the 3XK storyline? I think so but I think the events may resurface. Especially since I think 3XK and Nieman were training Amy Barrett to be a protégé of sorts. They closed the door on the serial killers but left a crack open with Barrett to return.

This episode isn’t without it’s quips and minor details that tend to get sidelined. Time is a rare commodity in TV series. You can’t fit everything into the entire episode. And the episode itself isn’t without a few open ended questions.

First, who took Beckett? Are we to assume Amy Barrett was able to whisk the detective away to the other location? Maybe. And is she another serial killer in training? Part of me thinks she’s Jerry’s foster-sister or something. If there’s more seasons, we may not have seen the last of her. So even though they may have ended the lives of 3XK and Nieman, the story may very well continue on.


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