'Castle' Fan Columnist: Welcome to Hollywood
'Castle' Fan Columnist: Welcome to Hollywood
Nicole Bessette
Nicole Bessette
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Wow, Castle fans. What an episode! After a painfully long two-week break, Castle returned last night with an all-new episode, "To Love and Die in L.A.," in which Castle and Beckett go rogue and travel to Tinsel Town to investigate the murder of Beckett's training officer, Mike Royce.

This was certainly a very unique episode of Castle with some obvious change-ups from the show's normal layout, so if you haven't seen the episode yet, I encourage you to do so before reading this.

Of course, for those of you who did catch it, let's get recapping!

A Sunny Chance of Ass-Kicking

Beckett receives word that her old partner, Mike Royce, has been shot dead in an alley and was found with a plane ticket from L.A. to New York just hours before in his pocket, in addition to a letter addressed to her in the other.

Apparently, Royce moved out to L.A. after he lost his bounty hunter license with the intention of making a fresh start, but the question remains as to why he was back in New York, and why he was killed.

Knowing how much Royce meant to Beckett, Ryan and Esposito kick it into overdrive and find the gun that was used to shoot Royce in addition to evidence that points to the fact that the killer used a silencer.

So, new questions are raised. Was Royce running from something or someone? Did he know he was in danger?

Well, that's just what Beckett intends to find out when she requests to Captain Montgomery to be flown out to L.A., given that a passenger that was on the same flight as Royce who used a brand new ID and who also packed a silencer flew back to L.A. just two hours after he was shot.

Unfortunately for Beckett, however, Captain Montgomery thinks she's too close to the case and lays down the law by saying that she cannot go to L.A. Of course, leave it to Beckett to conveniently choose this time to use her vacation days as she secretly jets off to L.A.

Knowing her all too well, though, Castle accompanies her there, and as much as Beckett does not want him to be a part of what she's doing, she knows she's not going to get rid of him, so she agrees to let him be her backup.

Now, once they arrive, they go to the address listed on Royce's driver's license, which just so happens to be Gene Simmons' house, and learn that he was in the business of helping people get out of trouble. The most recent person he was helping was an aspiring actress named Violet Young.

After breaking into her house, Castle and Beckett learn that Violet flew to New York with Royce and that she was studying a man named Charles Kelvin, the creator of rare bullets that dissolve.

So, Castle surmises that, being the gullible young actress that she was, Violet was tricked into helping Royce's murderer gain access to Kelvin's bullets so he could steal them, and didn't even realize she had committed a crime until after she was prompted to contact Royce.

Thanks to Maurice, a member of the hotel staff that Castle is particularly fond of, Royce's murderer is identified as a man named Russell Ganz, and Beckett goes undercover trying to find out who he will be selling the stolen bullets to and when and where he will be selling them.

It seems, however, that Esposito has more luck back in New York getting the location of the exchange out of Ganz' partner, Donald Mannis, who was also the man going after Violet. Mannis reveals that the meet point is at the Santa Monica Pier at 6:00 p.m.

And sure enough, Castle and Beckett find the bullets in a van there, and after seeing Ganz fleeing the scene, Beckett chases after him and ultimately shoots him to keep him from getting away.

For a moment, it seems like Beckett might shoot him a second time and kill him, but instead, she proclaims that he is under arrest for the murder of Mike Royce. Having Royce know about the stolen bullets and his plan to sell them was too risky for Ganz, so he followed Royce back to New York and killed him, tying up a loose end.

A Few Rockin' Guest Stars

In case you didn't notice, there were quite a few impressive guest stars in this week's episode, the first of which being none other than KISS' Gene Simmons, starring as himself. I just loved how both Castle and Beckett admitted to having previously dressed up as him for Halloween.

Next, there was Dominic Purcell from Prison Break, who played Mike Royce's murderer, Russell Ganz. And then there was D.B. Sweeney, perhaps most commonly remembered for his movie The Cutting Edge, playing L.A. Detective Kyle Seeger.

Off the Map star Jason George played Charles Kelvin, the CFO of the company that manufactured the dissolving bullets.

Also, another fun part about this episode was that Castle and Beckett took time out to visit the Heat Wave set, where, unfortunately, they did not see Natalie Rhodes again because she is apparently in rehab.

However, they did get to meet the actors playing Detectives Raley and Ochoa, the fictional Esposito and Ryan counterparts. Justice Gamble played Ochoa while Ryan Deal played Raley.

Oh, and here's a cool Easter egg for you. Zenith Studios is actually Raleigh Studios, the studio where Castle films, so all they had to do to shoot this was to literally walk outside their soundstages. Crazy, right?

The Return of Esplanie

Finally, after numerous weeks spent waiting, we got to see another ridiculously cute Esplanie moment last night.

With Beckett and Castle gone, Esposito had time to stop by the morgue to say hi to his lovely girlfriend while simultaneously checking on the bullets that were used on Royce.

He says he has a friend in ballistics that will make sure they get processed right away, and after thinking for a moment about this, Lanie hilariously questions Esposito if his friend is "the top-heavy tramp in reception" to which he responds that he only has eyes for her.

I really can't even begin to describe how much I love these two and how much I wish we could see more of them. They have a totally different and unique chemistry than that of Castle and Beckett, and it's really great to see them mix it up and play with that on screen.

And Now for the Hard Part

Obviously, this episode was great for a number of reasons in that we got to see Castle and Beckett both go rogue, go out to L.A. and share the same hotel room, and Castle's dream of seeing Beckett in a swimsuit finally came true.

But what was best about this episode was the different side of Beckett that we were exposed to that we've really never seen before.

Royce was very important to her and his death really affected her, and so, throughout a lot of this episode, we saw her very emotionally vulnerable.

Take, for instance, the scene in which she and Castle are talking while sitting on the couch in their hotel room.

When Castle says he is still amazed by the depths of her strength, her heart and her hotness, and she responds that he's not so bad himself, you can tell there's a moment between them there when she considers crossing that line with him.

Of course, this is just solidified when she goes back to her room, puts her head in her hands, thinks about what she would be doing and then opens the door again, only to find that Castle has gone to his own room.

Clearly, she was ready to give into her feelings for him at that moment, and even though my shipper heart broke into a million pieces when she opened the door and Castle wasn't there, I think it's good that she had this realization, and my sincere hope is that it'll be the wake-up call she needs to end things with Josh.

Also, Beckett was really close to crossing the line again at the end of the episode, but this time in regards to killing Ganz. After what he did to Royce, of course she would have wanted revenge which is why I'm really glad Castle showed up when he did.

Now, remember before when I mentioned that my shipper heart had completely broken after that hotel room scene? Well, let's just say it was quickly put back together when Beckett finally read the rest of Royce's letter to her.

Specifically, Royce says that it's clear that she and Castle have something real and that she's fighting it. However, putting her job ahead of her heart is a mistake, and he says the last thing she wants is to look back on her life and wonder if only.

Obviously, Royce isn't the first one to mention something like this to Beckett, but let's just hope, given the source, that maybe it'll finally stick this time.

And given the way she looks at Castle while he's sleeping, I'd say there's a pretty good chance of her admitting her feelings to him soon. Well, at least I hope.

Next Week's Episode

In the last light-hearted and funny episode of Castle before the intense season finale on May 16, next week's episode, "Pretty Dead," written by Terri Miller, takes Castle and Beckett into the pageant world as they try to solve the murder of a beauty pageant contestant.

Check out the promo below, and as always, be sure to hit the comments with your thoughts on this week's episode!

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(Image and video courtesy of ABC)