One of the differences this season with Castle, aside from actually showing the show takes place in New York with cutaway scenes that shows Manhattan, Times Square, etc., is that they’re showing how the victim of the week died. It’s a departure from the detectives just rolling up on the scene. It will take some getting used to because it adds an element of blood and gore that wasn’t there before.
The Case of Week
The episode opens up with Dave Johnson, who we later find out was a con man running a con only to find a slush fund within City Hall, going into a church and praying. He wasn’t killed for the discovery of the hidden account but rather the con itself. This is episode almost feels like season two’s “Fool Me Once.” The set-up is very similar. But instead of getting burned for killing the con like the second season episode, Johnson was murdered for revenge.
There’s no shortage of suspects, all of them would benefit in some way from Johnson’s death. At first, Johnson was posing as a reclusive author who apparently was working on a second book. Turns out, Johnson wasn’t so much a con man as he was a pathological liar which sets up for a fun, but harsh moment for the boys and Castle when they go to an AA style meeting for liars.
The rest of the investigation involves Castle using his mob ties, Alexis and Castle getting the slip by a running blind priest, and Midnight Run style take down of the mayor’s deputy chief. While it appears Johnson was trying to turn over a new leaf, he was ultimately killed by his gold digger wife who realized he wasn’t this rich reclusive author.
Castle continues his quest to get Beckett back
Castle continues to think that the way to win Beckett’s heart is through sticking his nose into the 12th Precinct’s cases. The death of his favorite author (who is not really dead) gets him to seek out the victim’s wife (the real killer) and get her to hire him so he can investigate alongside the police.
The entire set-up is built for comedic purposes but there’s a clear effort on the writer’s part to show how taxing the separation is on Beckett and Castle. The looks and the general awkwardness of the precinct scenes sets up that these two truly do need each other. There’s a spark, a glimmer that Beckett constantly has to suppress because she feels she is doing the right thing in her mind.
The cue comes at the end when Castle makes coffee for Beckett. She could ask him for his special ingredient but refuses, giving hope that a “need” to have him her life is still there.
That’s some shady dealing
The third running story in this episode involves Ryan’s financial situation with the new baby on the way and an earlier discussion about moving up the ranks for the boys. Ryan and Esposito want to take the sergeant’s exam. Only one spot only and Ryan snatches it, leaving Esposito out in the cold, at first. Beckett does secure Esposito a spot at the end of the episode and wishes the both luck.
But the shady business comes from Castle’s willingness to use a mole to get the lowdown on what is happening at the precinct. He offers to pay Ryan (who accepts) $500 a week for information on Beckett and so on. Ryan’s acceptance of the bribe could be a foreshadowing of what may be coming down the pipeline. Sorry, that’s just slimy and reeks of desperation on Castle’s part and it kind of disrupts the clean image of Ryan.
Keep in mind, Ryan was willing to throw his friendship away with Esposito in “Always” by telling Gates about the connection with Beckett’s shooting. Guess it was Ryan’s turn to have that higher moral ground knocked down a peg or two. Shame on him for accepting Castle’s offer
Where are we with LokSat
At the very beginning of the season, Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter said LokSat would not be major focus in the middle episodes. This remains true in “What Lies Beneath.” There’s some movement, including Beckett having Vikram to find a link between heroin used by Simmons’ crew and the dope that’s out on the street now. There’s just enough intel in the episode to move the story forward, as promised, but not so much as to bog down the episode. It’s a nugget of intel.
- Martha’s appearance as the precinct to poke and prod Beckett for what is truly going on was a sweet moment. She loves Beckett like a daughter and truly has the best intentions at heart. She leaves Beckett with a some parting wisdom: “Be honest with yourself and be honest with your husband.” Martha knows that Beckett is lying to herself thinking a separation will work to fix whatever is going on mentally. (Keep in mind, Martha doesn’t know about the whole LokSat business.)
- Beckett rubbing in the fact that the blind priest (who wasn’t really blind) gave Alexis and Castle the slip was a joyful moment that brings in the playfulness that was there in the earlier seasons.
- The coffee scene at the end, as mentioned earlier, offers hope there is a future for the two of them. Castle takes it as a cue, though he is still clueless about what is truly going on with Beckett.