Castle: He’s Dead, She’s Dead

Do you believe in psychics? Wait, are we watching The Mentalist or Psych? Nope, it’s just psychic week on Castle. The way this plot unraveled was a bit convoluted, so please bear with me …

Mystery of the Week: Psychic Vivian Marchand’s daughter Penny finds her mother’s body folded into a pull-out couch, and the team quickly determines that she was stabbed in the back of the neck with an icepick on the afternoon of the previous day. As usual, Castle has a connection to the victim: he once had a reading done by her. A few early clues lead in various directions: there’s a sighting of a dark-haired tough guy, a “T.J.” in the victim’s calendar, and a mother-daughter pair as her last scheduled clients. In addition, Penny tells the team that her mother helped the police with many cases, so it’s possible that a criminal she helped put away is out and looking for revenge. The police soon receive a letter that was supposedly written by Vivian, predicting her own death. Castle thinks it’s real, but Beckett’s sure the killer wrote it to throw them off. It has a few clues, including a mysterious pounding on the door right before Vivian’s death.

The mother and daughter turn out to be Paula and Marina Casillas, whom Vivian was connecting with Emilio, their recently deceased husband/father. They lead the police to Albert Moreno, the “tough guy,” a mobster to whom Vivian gave bad investment advice. Moreno admits that he was mad but claims that he didn’t hurt Vivian. In fact, from his perspective, she was right that the universe would work itself out, because his financial failings led him to a reunion with his high school sweetheart.

The next suspect is Steve Adams: Vivian’s “vision” put him in prison, but now he’s out and his ankle tracking device shows that he was at Vivian’s home right before she died. Adams tells Castle and Beckett that he’s working with reality TV producer Cody Donnelly (of the show You’ve Ruined My Life) to prove that Vivian was a fraud. He confronted her with a camera crew and she freaked out and left in a cab. Donnelly admits that Vivian tried to trade information about a murder, and sent him an urgent text about a meeting but then didn’t reply. The police trace down the cab and find that Vivian had gone to the apartment of Nick and Toni Johnston – “T.J.” Toni confides that she had had an affair with her husband’s boss, who had then died and told Vivian all the details of their affair in a dream. And who was that boss? Emilio Casillas! It turns out that he died of selenium poisoning, and selenium could be found in a vitamin factory like the one he ran. The detectives’ theory is that Nick poisoned Emilio and then killed Vivian to keep her from telling people. Much to Castle’s chagrin, they also figure out how Vivian could have found out about the affair without any supernatural means. Vivian was planning to confront Nick about the murder in front of the camera crew, but Nick says that he went to Vivian’s apartment, pounded on the door for a while, and left. He claims that although he knew about the affair, he didn’t do anything other than ask Emilio to end it.

Penny tells the police that she had a dream that her mother was murdered by Freemasons, and begs them to “ask the Masons.” Everyone except Castle laughs at this, until they discover that Paula and Marina Casillases’ alibi was that they were at a restaurant called Mason’s. They quickly determine that Paula wasn’t actually at the restaurant the whole time – she supposedly left to buy wine, but her credit card says she bought the wine along with an icepick earlier in the day. She confesses that Emilio told her about his affair and so she poisoned him gradually. She then killed Vivian to cover it up, because she thought Emilio would tell Vivian about the murder from the grave. The one loose end: Castle works out that Paula couldn’t have written the letter, so … did Vivian predict her own death? We’ll never know.

Castle and Beckett: Most of our duo’s banter this episode stems from a clash in their belief systems: Castle is open to the possibility of psychics and other supernatural things, while Beckett, predictably enough, is not. This episode-long discussion is pretty amusing, if only for the fact that it gives Castle a chance to call Beckett “Scully” and to throw in a “double rainbow” reference. It’s clear that Castle is taking it all somewhat seriously, though, when he asks Beckett whether she believes in soulmates and tells her that “If you don’t believe in at least the possibility of magic, you’ll never ever find it.” Penny the psychic’s daughter tells Beckett that she had a dream that a man named Alexander would be extremely important to Beckett and possibly save her life. Beckett scoffs at this until Castle reveals that his real name is actually Richard Alexander Rodgers. (And then I burst out laughing, because – his name is Richard Rodgers? Like Rodgers and Hammerstein? That’s so something Martha would do.)

The Rest of the Force: The other detectives didn’t have much to do this episode, other than to act skeptical of the psychic and generally stand around being cute. It’s a pity. I love the interplay between Castle and Beckett, and the focus on Castle’s family, but I wish the show made better use of these characters.

The Castle Family: Castle’s mother Martha is in a tizzy because her boyfriend Chet proposed; even though she said she had to think about it, he made her keep the ring. She explains to Castle and Alexis that she love Chet, but that the thrill is gone, so she shouldn’t marry him. Alexis worries that her father and grandmother give up on relationships too easily – smart girl! – but Martha is decided. Unfortunately, when she goes to tell Chet of her decision, she finds that he has suddenly died of a stroke. His kids, the wonderfully named Boomer and Lottie, see Martha’s ring and assume they were engaged, so Martha ends up receiving visitors with them and even giving a eulogy at the funeral. Luckily, she has a clever writer son to help her with that part. When Boomer and Lottie tell Martha that she was the love of their father’s life, she feels guilty about her plans to leave him, but Castle convinces her that Chet was “nobody’s fool,” and knew her and loved her for who she was. I don’t think the audience really saw enough of Chet to get very attached to this storyline, except that it set up some good mother/son scenes, including the line of the episode, this time belonging to Martha: “Whatever mistakes I’ve made in my life, I raised a good man.” I think we all agree.

Photo Courtesy of ABC

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