Castle: Kick the Ballistics

This week’s episode of Castle gave Detective Kevin Ryan a chance in the spotlight, and Seamus Dever did an incredible job with the opportunity. This week’s victim is college student and tutor Jane Herzfeld, whose body is found in concrete at a construction site. What’s really interesting about the case, though, is that Jane was shot with Ryan’s old service weapon – the one that serial killer 3XK, also known as Jerry Tyson, took from him. Ryan is understandably upset, and feels responsible: He let someone get the gun away from him, and now a girl is dead. Honestly, I understand why he felt that way, but I’m not sure why no one pointed out that if that weapon hadn’t been available, the killer would have just used a different one. Aside from that point, though, the rest of the team is very supportive, and because of the 3XK connection, they all take this case very personally.

Jane’s story unfolds as follows: Her ex-boyfriend worked for Chinese mob boss Clifford Lee and recommended Jane as a tutor for Lee’s son Ben. A corrupt cop framed Jane on a drugs charge in order to pressure her into informing on the Lees. Meanwhile, Jane and Ben fell in love and were planning to run away together. The ex-boyfriend was afraid that the Lees would blame him, so he called Ben’s older brother Phillip, who in turn killed Jane to keep Ben from leaving. The Lees are well-protected, but Ryan manages to get through to Ben, who then wears a wire while confronting Phillip to get a confession. Ryan eventually gets Ben away from his family and into witness protection, and ends the episode with a toast: “To bravery and commitment. To love and sacrifice. To Jane.”

The connection to 3XK turns out to be almost coincidental. Castle offers to go through prison records to find a connection between Tyson and the Chinese mob, and when Alexis is tricked by a “friend” into a volunteer position she doesn’t want, he realizes that Tyson would have given the gun to an enemy, not a friend. Castle discovers that Phillip Lee fought with Tyson in prison, so Tyson later pretended to make friends with him in order to give him a gun that would get him into trouble. At the end of the episode, Phillip tries to barter with information about Tyson, but Castle thinks any information he had would be fake. He advises Beckett not to make the deal – and she listens to him.

Beckett’s praise of Castle when he advises her about the deal – “Damn, Castle. Look at you, thinking like a real cop.” – is part of the episode’s theme about this case bringing home to Castle that no matter how involved he tries to be, he’s “just been play-acting” and isn’t really a cop. When he tells his mother he feels useless, she says: “Be there for your friends. Stand beside them. Work together. That’s plenty useful.” Beckett’s words at the end make him feel somewhat better, but I’m wondering if this is going to be an ongoing dilemma for him this season.

In other Castle and Beckett news, Beckett is still insisting that she doesn’t remember anything about the shooting, but Castle clearly doesn’t believe this. I have to admit that I don’t like the way they’re handling this development. They haven’t made clear why Castle doesn’t believe her or why he’s not calling her on it. If they wanted him to be so sure she was lying, they should have had her make some sort of major slip-up that showed that. As it is, his suspicion seems unfair and almost cruel. And if he’s not going to bring it up to Beckett, I think a scene in which he discusses his reasoning with his mother would go a long way.

Next episode: Murder at a museum! And there’s a new woman in Castle’s life. Everyone take a deep breath. It will all be okay in the end. I hope.

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