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.