This week’s episode of Castle, “Disciple,” hit disturbingly close to home for the team and ultimately heralded the return of one of the show’s Big Bads. The victims of the week, Pam Hodges and Daniel Santos, both hanged with fishing line, are a former prostitute and former stripper, respectively, who bore a startling resemblance to Lanie and Esposito – and then were given plastic surgery, tattoos, accent coaching, and more to make them into Lanie and Esposito’s virtual doppelgangers. Both victims are traced to plastic surgeon Kelly Nieman – Hodges as her patient and Santos as her sometime lover who supposedly referred Hodges to her. Nieman confirms that Hodges had brought her a picture of Lanie and asked to be made to look like her (just as Santos had used Esposito’s voice from the documentary about the precinct with his speech therapist), but insists that that’s nothing out of the ordinary, and suggests that she’s being framed because she conveniently has ties to both victims.
Esposito and, especially, Lanie both have strong reactions to this case; they both feel violated, understandably enough, and threatened. (Ryan tries, adorably, to be supportive of his BFF, but Esposito is trying to put on a brave face.) Lanie feels particularly violated because Hodges has a tattoo that Lanie herself has only had for three months, and that can’t be seen when she’s wearing normal clothes – Esposito is the only one who’s seen it. She quickly connects this with a weird night two months ago, when she was at a club with friends and more or less blacked out even though she only had two drinks. And sure enough, the photo Hodges gave the doctor looks like it was taken in a club.
It briefly looks like Dr. Nieman might be telling the truth when the team focuses on Carl Matthews, who was the security guard who found Hodges’s body and whose car Santos got into shortly before his death. But Castle is convinced that Matthews doesn’t fit the story of the murders properly, and suspects that 3XK is somehow involved. Beckett thinks he’s just feeling guilty and tells him not to chase ghosts: “It’s not worth it. Trust me.” And yes, she would know. But it’s soon clear there’s some sort of connection when the team discovers that “Esposito” and “Lanie” signed all 3XK-related files out from the NYPD and the lab. It was, of course, their lookalikes, and I was happy that there was a specific reason like this for going to all the lookalike trouble, rather than it just being a randomly creepy thing.
The team tracks Matthews to the same motel room where they’d put up Tyson, and since Beckett makes Castle stay back when they go into the room, of course he’s the one to see Matthews leaving and tackles him. Matthews confesses to the two murders (as well as other murders) pretty quickly, but insists that Tyson isn’t controlling him. “I know you think you’ve got this all figured out, but you don’t.” Hrm. Prison records show that Nieman worked as a volunteer doctor but only while Tyson was there – is she his girlfriend? By the time they get to her office, it’s cleared out except for a pen and a note saying “Better luck next time.” The team soon discovers that all electronic records related to 3XK have been deleted as well, along with records from 26 unsolved murders. At the end of the episode, Castle realizes that the pen he took from Nieman’s office is actually a flash drive, and it contains a sound file: “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn. Beckett has a huge reaction to this, looking completely terrified, and that left me wondering whether the song had specific meaning to her aside from the obvious message of the lyrics. Not that that’s not creepy enough, of course.
There was one thing I really thought should come up that didn’t: Nieman is a plastic surgeon. She made people look like other people as part of the plot of this episode. And yet no one brought up the fact that she might have changed how Tyson looks to help hide him from the police and give him his fresh start. (Unless I missed it. Did I?)
This otherwise scary and tension-filled episode got some bits of levity as Castle tries to start planning his and Beckett’s honeymoon. He suggests New Zealand, but Beckett sees through this: “Castle, are you using our honeymoon as an excuse to go tour Middle-earth?” They decide they should go somewhere neither has been before – especially somewhere Castle hasn’t been with a previous wife – but the only options that spring to mind for Castle are Albania and Finland, and Beckett is not impressed. (I, for one, would love a trip to Finland. Call me!) Another cute relationship moment: “I love when you get angry. I mean, at other people.” I love that Castle loves how good Beckett is at her job.
(Image courtesy of ABC.)