Castle: Get a Clue

This week’s episode of Castle, “Get a Clue,” wasn’t exactly Halloween-themed, but it was definitely spooky enough to feel seasonally appropriate.

Our victim of the week, Susannah Richland, was a young accountant stabbed in the throat with a saber, then posed like she was being crucified, with stigmata-like marks on her hands. Beckett and Castle find medieval history books and a board full of pictures of occult symbols in her apartment, but her cousin Henry Collins, apparently her only relative, tells them that she was into American history, but not the occult – and that she had called him shortly before she died and said they needed to talk about something, but been interrupted and never called back. And another quasi-religious element enters the story when they trace Susannah’s movements and discover on a security camera that she was being followed by a monk shortly before her death. Castle, of course, is delighted, thinking it’s a real-life Da Vinci Code of secrets being protected by a mysterious religious order, but he’s unthrilled when Beckett (jokingly) starts making things up in a similar way, because he’s supposed to do that but when she does it she’s messing with the natural order of things. Ha.

The day before she died, Susannah met with Jason Byford, a professor of ancient languages and symbology, who tells Beckett and Castle that most of the symbols Susannah was asking about were used by the freemasons – and that some freemason symbols were used during the Revolutionary War to hide secrets or treasure from the British. Byford also snuck a picture of a letter Susannah had on her, which was written by mason/spy Theodore Rose in 1798 and had a series of riddles and clues that supposedly led to some sort of big secret somewhere in the city. Castle, of course, is thrilled and immediately starts researching Rose and trying to solve the clues.

Meanwhile, they use his scars to ID the monk as ex-con Benjamin Wade, but he claims he’s innocent and the other monks back him up. Rather than hurting Susannah, he was trying to protect her – he found her praying the monastery chapel, and some guy came in and started asking threatening-sounding questions about her, so Wade followed her until she got into a cab. Wade assumed she was there to pray, but Castle and Beckett realize she was solving the clues, and use the letter to find a symbol in the chapel and then another in an old blacksmith shop. Castle gets into a swordfight with a mysterious masked man, which seems impressive until the man reveals that he’s an actor and the clues are actually just part of a scavenger hunt put on as a fundraiser by the New York Historical Institute.

Historical Institute director Nolan Burns confirms that the letter was part of the game, so the team begins to investigate the other contestants, and finds that one, Tom Stevens, looked like the man Wade described as following Susannah and also used fake information on his entry forms. Meanwhile, Ryan tracks down Susannah’s cab and the cabbie tells him she just had him drive around for a while and bring her back to the chapel, so clearly the key to her death is there. Castle realizes all the symbols fit together – including one in the chapel that Lanie found written on Susannah’s hand and then gouged out by the killer – and make up the shape of a carving in the chapel, with letters that point to the carving’s mouth. And sure enough, Castle finds a lever in the mouth that opens up a hidden room.

That room is the crime scene, and someone had clearly been trying to get inside the sarcophagus there. Once Castle uses the clues to open in, he and Beckett find a trove of 1792 half dimes – the first coins minted by the U.S. Treasury. But when they pick up the coins, it activates a security mechanism that locks them in the secret room. Interestingly, Castle’s the one to panic and think they’re never getting out, while Beckett insists there must be a way – and points out that the killer will come back for the coins. She finally gets a cell signal and calls Esposito to rescue them, and while this was a bit anticlimactic, there was enough going on in this episode that it really didn’t need another long “Castle and Beckett are locked up together and supposedly doomed” scene, especially since the show has done that before.

They suspect Burns, who set everyone on this quest, but while he admits that it wasn’t just a game – he was crowdsourcing the clues he couldn’t solve, hoping to find the treasure – he insists that he’s innocent. He was hiding the fact that he’d met with Susannah three months earlier, because she was direct descendant of Rose and he hoped her family lore would provide him with some more clues. And that, of course, leads them back to her cousin Collins. Once they tell him that DNA at the crime scene shows Susannah’s killer was a relative, he confesses: Susannah had called to tell him she’d found their family treasure, but she wanted to give the coins away, while he wanted to auction them to use the money to support his mother, and they argued and things got out of hand. Several Rose family weddings had been held in that chapel, which was why Susannah was the only contestant to find it – she’d been there before. Since the coins were found in the monastery, though, they wound up belonging to the monks rather than the family, and the monks donated them to the Met.

This episode also features family conflict closer to home, as Castle and Martha go to dinner at Alexis and Pi’s new apartment and Castle barely bothers to hide his hostility toward the whole situation. Later, to Beckett: “It’s as though he’s turned being a charming man-child into a career!” “Well, that doesn’t sound familiar, does it?” Ha. It takes both Beckett and his mother to convince Castle that he’s being unreasonable, and he eventually goes back to apologize to Alexis, but she isn’t completely buying it. She brings up the fact that she heard about his engagement from Martha rather than directly from him, which isn’t quite relevant but is certainly something I can see leading to built-up resentment. Then she insists that she’s accepting his relationship, so he needs to accept hers. He agrees and promises to try, but when he wants to take her out for make-up ice cream, she refuses, saying she needs time. I’m not thrilled with this whole plotline – it really doesn’t seem to be in character for Alexis, and while I get that they wanted to give her something to do, I think there were any number of better options. Of course, the preview made it look like Alexis will be heavily involved in next week’s case, so hopefully that causes her to reconcile with her father and gives her something interesting to do!

(Image courtesy of ABC.)

One thought on “Castle: Get a Clue

  1. I was unbelievably happy that Castle and Alexis FINALLY talked about his engagagement (this discussion has been a looonnnggg time coming and overdue in my opinion!). And although this wasn’t the Alexis we know and love, I think it was in character and that she is hurt and lashing out! Random in the episode but not in the overall scheme of things!

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