Castle: Under the Gun

Treasure maps! Shady priests! Secret pasts! Betrayal! It’s Castle: The Da Vinci Code Edition.

Mystery of the Week: Bail Bondsman Deon Carver is bludgeoned to death when he walks into his office in the middle of a B&E. The team finds a few clues quickly: there’s a partial tasseled loafer shoeprint in blood; the time of death was 10 p.m. but someone called 911 at 11; the place was ransacked, perhaps by someone looking for money; a paper with weird markings is found hidden in Carver’s sock. And interference on the police radios leads Beckett to a bug in a calculator. When they track down Carver’s wife, she tells them that Carver didn’t keep cash in his office and that she doesn’t recognize the paper, but she does tip them off about a confrontation Carver had the day before. A waitress confirms this: Carver was in an argument with ex-con Random Pierce, who said that if Carver didn’t give “it” back, he would take it. Castle and Beckett go after Random, but before they can take him into custody, he’s taken out by a bounty hunter who turns out to be Royce, Beckett’s former training officer. Castle tells Royce about the mysterious paper, but Royce plays it off as insignificant. As for Random, he makes various hilarious excuses, but it turns out that his shoplifting alibi holds up – and the book he was stealing was The Da Vinci Code, which Castle takes as support for his theory that the paper contains some sort of code. Since he’s no longer a murder suspect, Beckett gives Random to Royce to book. Before he leaves, Royce makes plans to get together with Beckett and gets Castle to take a picture of them in front of the murder board.

Meanwhile, Ryan and Esposito discover that fingerprints in Royce’s office lead to Clifford Stuckey, a longtime felon whose apartment Random broke into after he got out of prison. They visit him and find an eccentric, perhaps slightly senile old man in a walker. Stuckey tells the cops that he turned his life around and was trying to give Random the chance to do the same thing. He pretends to look at Random’s picture on the murder board, but he’s actually looking at the mysterious paper. When Lanie finds a cross made from holy oil on Carver’s forehead and realizes that someone gave him last rites, an investigation into the victim’s financial records leads the team to a church headed by Father Arron Roe – who shows up for questioning wearing tasseled loafers. Roe says he was counseling Carver about marital problems, but that Carver was dead when Roe arrived for their appointment, so he administered the sacrament, called 911, and left. Roe claims he doesn’t know what the paper is, but Castle thinks he’s lying and tells Royce so. It turns out that the bug was purchased by Carver’s wife Brooke, and she supports Roe’s story: she bugged the office because she thought her husband was cheating, but when she heard him talking about wanting to save the marriage, she threw the receiver away.

The team soon finds more connections: Roe volunteered at the jail where Random was incarcerated, and Random’s recently-deceased cellmate was Malcolm Lloyd, who was Stuckey’s partner in crime. The duo had stolen $10 million in jewels that were never found, which leads Castle to conclude that the mysterious paper is a treasure map. Roe admits that he administered last rites to Lloyd, who told him about the map and made him promise that he would use the money for the church. But Random took the map from the jail, so Roe teamed up with Carver to make Random split the treasure with them in exchange for bail. Stuckey found out that they were conspiring and started making threats. Carver called Roe and said he’d figured out the map, but by the time Roe got to his office, he was dead, and the solution to the map gone with him. Luckily, Alexis visits her father at the station and notices that the paper is folded like a puzzle, so Castle figures out how to fold it to see the words “UNDER THE GUN.”

Royce and Beckett go out for drinks to catch up, but just as Royce is leaving, Ryan calls Beckett to tell her that Random was never booked – Royce let him go. Royce sees on Beckett’s face that she knows the truth, and vanishes. While Beckett beats herself up about Royce, Castle figures out that Royce had asked him to take the picture in front of the murder board so that he’d have a copy of the map. The team discovers that Royce was part of the original investigation into the jewelry heist, and figures out that he’s now trying to get the jewels himself. When he calls the station, Beckett keeps him on the phone by talking about how she was in love with him when they worked together, and the call is traced to an apartment where Random’s tied up. He tells them that Brooke Carver found out that her husband was going to cut her out of the score, so she killed him and is now trying to recreate the map.

Castle figures out that the map is of a cemetery based on brochures they find on Brooke’s desk, and the team soon finds the headstone of someone named “Gunn.” Before they can dig, Brooke shows up, pulls a gun on them, and confesses to the murder. Stuckey appears and pull his gun on Brooke, and then Royce pulls his on Stuckey, and finally Ryan and Esposito pull theirs on everyone else. Since Castle is the only one without a gun, Beckett tells him to dig; he pretends to find something long enough to distract everyone and throw dirt in their faces so that the cops can take the bad guys into custody. Beckett herself arrests Royce. There’s no treasure under the “Gunn” after all, but Castle figures out that the last step of the map was actually a tattoo on Lloyd’s arm, telling them to go two rows up and six stones over. There Castle and Beckett find the treasure, but as he later tells Alexis, “Unfortunately, when you go treasure hunting with a cop, she makes you return the treasure to its rightful owner.”

Castle and Beckett: Alexis’s Vespa lust (more on that later) brings out stories of Beckett’s own bad girl phase, and her flirtation with Castle is in full force as she explains that she won’t show him pictures of her straddling her Harley in tight black leather because she doesn’t think he can handle it. For his part, Castle tries to bond with Royce and is definitely into his stories about the good old days, but he’s also looking pretty uncertain and vulnerable when the details of Beckett’s past with Royce come up. Royce seems to acknowledge the unspoken connection between Castle and Beckett, at one point joking to Castle that he “promise[s he] won’t keep her out too late.” The most telling moment of the episode, though, is when Castle listen to Beckett confess her love for Royce over the phone: he all but crumples, and his love for her is all over his face. She later tells the team that she was making the whole thing up to keep Royce on the phone, but when she looks away she’s almost crying, so I don’t entirely buy it, and it doesn’t seem that Castle does either.

The Rest of the Force: Ryan and Esposito, along with Castle, quite enjoy Royce’s stories of Beckett’s early years, and they provide some good comic relief throughout this somewhat heavy episode. Castle has a wonderful time teasing them about Stuckey, the old guy in the walker, managing to evade them, and as they walk through the cemetery and discuss how much danger they’d be in if they were in a horror movie, Ryan points out the obvious to Esposito: “Hispanic and cocky – yeah, you’d definitely die first.”

The Castle Family: At the beginning of the episode, Alexis makes her father breakfast in bed, which is a sure sign to Castle that she wants something. In this case, it’s a Vespa. Castle says he’ll think about it, and asks Beckett for her opinion; she thoroughly scares him by suggesting that Alexis is entering her wild child phase and that good girls are the worst. Castle, concerned about affluenza, decides to make Alexis earn the money herself, thinking it will take her forever, but his mother is quick to point out that Alexis has never seen a challenge she hasn’t loved. Sure enough, Alexis quickly finds someone to buy her valuable lightsabers, and her dad is sad at this sign that she’s outgrown a cherished part of her childhood. By the end of the episode, though, Alexis decides to keep the lightsabers, because her memories of playing with her father mean more to her than a new scooter. Castle is thrilled and decides to buy “himself” a scooter and let Alexis “borrow” it. I love how Castle – often dismissed as a silly playboy – is practically the only parent on TV who makes an attempt at real parenting.

Next Week: Steampunk! Oh, this should be delightful.

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