Castle: Demons

This ghostly episode of Castle starts when Ghost Wranglers star Jack Sinclair is killed while alone in a house filming an episode. His last words are “Mercy. I can see it. Mercy.” Castle is thrilled to get this case because he’s a big fan of the show, and he pushes for a ghostly murderer – especially when it’s discovered that the EMF (electromagnetic fluctuation) meter went off the charts right before Sinclair’s death. Sinclair’s throat was cut, and the complete blood spatter pattern reinforces Castle’s idea that an “Apparition-American” was responsible. The first suspect is a disgruntled former cameraman, Barry, but he has an alibi; he does tell them that Sinclair grew up nearby and had some sort of aversion to doing an episode at this house in particular.

During the investigation, a series of slightly spooky things happen, and Castle researches the history of the McLaren House and discovers that a series of murders had taken place there, with at least one killer claiming a demon was responsible. The team figures out that when Sinclair said “Mercy” before he died, he was not asking for Mercy, but instead talking (on camera) to a somewhat sketchy ghost hunter named Mercy. Mercy tells them that Jack had witnessed a murder in the McLaren House as a boy and repressed the memories, but she was helping him recover them. It seems likely, then, that the perpetrator of the crime he witnessed decided to kill Sinclair before he went public with his recovered memories. The victim of the murder Sinclair witnessed was Melanie Benton, and her husband Matt, who disappeared, was the main suspect. The only contact Matt had with anyone after the murder was a series of postcards he sent from Europe to his brother Pete. Castle and Beckett first suspect that Pete warned Matt about Sinclair, but Pete denies talking to either of them.

Castle realizes that the Scottish architect who built the house put in a traditional hidden alcove that killer used, and when he and Beckett go to the house to find the alcove, the lights and their candle go out – which Castle thinks is a sign of ghostly activity. It does lead them to find the hidden space, where there’s a magnetic field generator that accounts for a lot of the supposedly-supernatural events. But when Castle opens a closet, he gets a bigger surprise – Matt Benton’s skeleton falls out onto him. They realize he was killed around the same time as his wife and framed for her murder. It turns out that Pete was engaged to Melanie before she married Matt, so they suspect him; he denies everything and tells them Matt was convinced Melanie was having an affair.

Meanwhile, Esposito finds a new lightbulb in the alcove, and they track it to the owner of the house, a man named Fuller, which proves that Fuller knew about the alcove and was hiding it from the police. Castle has Beckett tell Fuller that they’ll be going through the wall into the alcove the next day, in hopes of catching him trying to remove Matt’s body. When they stake out the house, though, the person who shows up is actually a Detective Smith, the detective from Melanie’s murder case. It turns out that he’s the one who was having an affair with Melanie, and when she tried to call it off, he got mad and killed her and then her husband.

The episode gives Castle and Beckett plenty of time to talk about the conflict between his belief and her skepticism. Their conversation – “Why are you so determined to find the supernatural in all this?” “Why are you so determined not to?” – echoes their arguments we’ve heard before about things like magic and superheroes, and even Beckett seems to realize they’re being repetitive. After fooling Castle with a fake ghost story from her childhood, Beckett says “How long have you known me, Castle? Of course I don’t believe in ghosts.” Yeah, exactly. I wasn’t entirely sure why this conflict was seen as such a big deal – especially with all the other issues Castle and Beckett have to get over – until the end, when it all clicked into place. More on that later.

Ryan and Esposito get their own subplot this week, but it isn’t exactly a happy one. They plan a double date so Jenny and Laney can get to know each other, but Esposito warns Ryan that Laney’s been in a bad mood so he shouldn’t bring up anything controversial. This goes fine – until Jenny asks when Laney and Esposito are getting married. This leads to a big fight between Laney and Esposito, and they decide to take a “break.” Ohh. Sad.

In keeping with the paranormal theme, Alexis and Castle are watching a movie for Father/Daughter Zombie Time, but Alexis leaves the room in the middle of the movie to Skype with Ashley. Castle tells her that she’s sending a bad signal if she drops everything the moment Ashley calls – but then he immediately drops everything when Beckett calls. Castle asks for Beckett’s take on the Ashley situation – I must admit I love when he gets her involved in parenting decisions – and Beckett thinks that even though Ashley’s older, Alexis is still a teen girl and therefore “holds all the cards.” I’m not sure I agree with her, but it’s interesting to know she thinks that. Later, Alexis decides to get dressed up and go to a party instead of waiting around for Ashley to call, and when she talks to Castle at the end of the episode, she’s clearly questioning whether the relationship is worth it. Castle’s advice:

“Any relationship that lasts longer than a breath mint is going to have challenges, but if a relationship doesn’t work out, usually it’s not because of the challenges. It’s usually because the relationship wasn’t strong enough to begin with.”

Alexis says his words don’t really help – but cuddling with dad always does. Aww. Castle then tells her: “I promise you this: If two people believe in something, really believe, anything, even the impossible, is possible.” And this is where it ties together: when he was arguing with Beckett about the existence of the supernatural, the “impossible” thing he’s really arguing for is their relationship. And given that the episode is called “Demons” – well, the supernatural demons are not actually the ones Castle has to slay.

Photo courtesy of ABC.

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