Recap: Sleeper

(ABC/Richard Cartwright)
(ABC/Richard Cartwright)

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Castle has meet its Jaws. And in retrospect, Jaws 2, 3, and 4 in the process. I would like say I was surprised by this but I’m not. “Sleeper” feels more like an attempt at sneaking in the Derrick Storm project than a Castle episode. The fact, after looking some of the comments around fandom, even some of the normally happy go-lucky folks were a bit disturb this episode is pretty telling.

Without delaying the “linchpin” ending, we find out from the fake Jenkins the reason Castle was plucked on his wedding was because he was the one guy another guy would trust to meet with him so he could go defect to Western intelligence agencies. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the reason why Castle vanished before his wedding was so that he could play hero.

Prior to his episode, fans were fed a lot of intel about Castle and Beckett. If you watched the episode, it was “hero” Castle and “inept” Beckett trying to figure out the mysteries of Castle’s two month disappearance.

And like any good (read bad) spy caper, bodies start dropping like flies. First the ex-Delta Force guy and then the stripper he was nice to ends up with a bullet to the head for her troubles. Balil has to make a run for it because he’s been compromised, no thanks to Castle. And let’s not forget the mystery author’s rogue style behavior nearly costs him his life. If weren’t for fake-Jenkins, Beckett would be a widow.

The set-up of the episode is this, for the past week Castle has been recurring dreams of his disappearance. It’s making him restless and sleepless. And it’s not going unnoticed by anyone in the loft. The woman who sleeps with him, and probably is getting a few restless nights because of him, tells him he needs to talk it out with someone.

Enter Dr. Burke, Beckett’s old therapist. As the session goes we learn Castle was somewhere where there’s a jungle. He’s trying to help a man who’s been shot and just as Castle thinks he’s a gonner, Chuck Norris (hey, he did kind of look like Chuck Norris from the Missing in Action films) guy jumps into save the day.

Everyone at the 12th has their doubts but Beckett. And Gates kind of warns Beckett about using NYPD resources on a potential goose chase. Esposito, who I think is serving as the audience in this case, says to Castle nothing about anything of this is adding and up explaining his two-month disappearance. But because it’s Beckett and Castle, everyone presses forward.

Castle’s memories lead him to an old friend from prep school who may or may not have anything to do with what happened during the two month disappearance. He’s kind of a dead end but the team is eventually lead to the Chuck Norris guy, Phillip Bartlett. He’s not giving up answers because he’s dead. After talking to the nice stripper, they end up getting her killed.

Because people are dropping dead, Beckett orders a protective detail which is laughable because Castle doesn’t stay put at the loft and he goes rogue later on. Beckett, what did Gates tell you about wasting NYPD resources?

Castle’s continued digging leads him to another friend from prep school, an exchange student who ended up working for Pakistani Intelligence and later joined a terror organization that shall not be referenced in this recap. But tired of the life, he decides to switch sides. But his handler is offed. Acting as the spy who’s too afraid to come in from the cold, Balil seeks out someone he trusts, someone who’s too high profile to kill—enter Rick Castle.

As mentioned before, his reckless abandon puts him directly in the crosshairs of the assassin who killed the CIA operative and everyone else in this episode, Jenkins offs the assassin and in the span of two minutes reveals why Castle just had to miss his wedding day: to save the world. And he can’t tell anyone about it, ever.

Castle punches him and rightly so. That’s probably for the audience who felt cheated by the season six finale and by the utter lack of coherent story construction this season. They literally crammed this disappearance into 42 minutes. And that’s just bad practice and form.

The takeaways from this episode were the loft scenes, Martha showing concern for Castle in the beginning, Beckett telling him to see Burke, Alexis waking Beckett up to tell her she’s worried about dad, and the conclusion loft seasons. It’s almost sad, the scenes that usually find the most tedious ended up being the bright spots of the episode. Beckett being supportive was truly the bright spot of the episode.

There are questions left completely unanswered. What was presented in “Driven” almost seems like a waste in terms of what transpired because we don’t get answers to the cash drop, we don’t get a reason to dispose of the car, we don’t get a reason for the crash that could have left Castle with serious bodily injury… Keep in mind, all these happened before he went to Thailand. Even then, there’s the two month absence. If it was indeed to save the world then why all the work before hand if time was truly of the essence.

Another issue I have with this episode is the utter lack of respect the Castle writers show to our men and women who are deep in the trenches preventing evil people carrying out their intentions was appalling in this episode. There’s no creative license that allows that. None. Why sometimes it may come down to a single person making a difference… I don’t.

Castle has jumped the shark. There’s not trying to sugar-coat this. They tried to re-invent the show this season and they got caught. Now, they’re having to answer for it. When the network throws up a secondary poll asking people about this episode, it means they know it didn’t work and now the rebuilding process have to begin with season eight.

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A happy-go-lucky Castle fan who has 20 years of web management and 16 years of web publishing experience. In a past fandom, the EIC managed a fan website for a popular show and message board. The EIC is an academic with specialization in media and society and modern history and is a media professional.


  1. It is sad to say that this episode brilliantly penned by David Amann was so brilliant that it went over the heads of many fans including yours. Granted the writers tried to cram too much information into a single episode that would have been better served in small doses only a small but significant part of Castles disappearance was shown. It helps being a fan of 50’s and 60’s cold war espionage novels to understand what was happening. I would suggest rewatching “Sleeper” with these thoughts in mind.

    Dr. Burke is correct.
    A phone call to the school confirmed that Castle did not share the award with anyone.
    Who is the “Sleeper” (hint it’s not Castle)
    It took Beckett 3 months to recover from her bullet wound.
    The tent sight from Montreal = bait

    • You don’t know me Jmorg, so I’m going to enlighten you. I’m currently working on my MA in American Cultural History, so when it comes to understanding “culture” as it relates to film, television, artwork, literary works and music relating to American history (from 1914 forward), I can run circles around most fans in the Castle fandom, including you.

      I have written well over 100 papers relating to American cultural history in film and literature. And I have read dozens of novels, including some of the dime-store spy novels all the way to John Le Carre and Ian Fleming to even some of the off-beat obscure spy novels.

      And as an undergraduate, I successfully argued and defended a position counter to a professor who is considered an expert when it comes to the cold war and american cultural history. I did that not once, but several times over the course of several classes. I impressed him so much, he recommended me for a full-time position as a tutor and assistant for the department.

      I work in the media by day. I have to limit my episode commentaries to an elementary education level. If I went full-academic, I’d bore all my readers.

      Now you and everyone else knows my academic background. I hope in the future before you come out slinging and call me an “idiot” (not directly), you’ll think twice. Because you know never know the educational background behind someone who’s writing what you are reading.


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