Alexis wanted Castle to respect her choices, even if one of her choices was dating Pi, and Castle thought she was making a huge mistake. When Alexis shut the door in her father's face last week, it didn't seem like she would be opening that door again anytime soon.
Thankfully for Castle's relationship with Alexis, there is a guy on death row she's determined to save and Castle becomes her only hope. Over years of working with Beckett and the whole New York crew, Castle has become a pretty great investigator. So when the last appeal put together by Alexis' professor and the Innocence Review goes south, Alexis heads straight to her dad for some help solving an impossible case.
While Alexis initially tries to keep her distance from Castle, the two soon begin working in tandem to solve the twisty case of the decades-old murder of a high school girl named Kim. We're so used to Castle working with Beckett in order to solve the mystery-of-the-week, but it's a fun change of pace to see the Castle family detective unit.
What with Beckett joining the family, they could pretty much take this show on the road and become a family of detectives. That's basically a young adult novel waiting to happen. You're welcome for the idea, ABC.
Really, though, the episode is about the power of family. Frank spends years covering for the brother he loves because he mistakenly assumes John accidentally killed Kim. While Beckett worries she'll always be on the outside looking in at Castle's relationship with his daughter.
And Castle finally gets to make up for his boorish behavior at Alexis' dinner party by supporting her 100% in proving Frank's innocence. Castle might still not love that Alexis is living with Pi, but at least he's shown he respects her intuition and decisions.
Things looked bleak last week for one of the most healthy father-daughter relationships on television, but they seem to be back on track now. On Castle, there's no relationship problem that can't be solved with a good murder mystery!
A Wasted Guest Star
Let me just take a moment to lament how completely wasted the amazing Joelle Carter is in this week's episode. If you've ever seen a single episode of FX's Justified, you know Carter is a dynamic and incredible performer.
Just watch the Justified pilot where she nonchalantly talks about killing her former husband just days before, all while flirting with the main character. Carter is very good, and having a talent like her guest on your show usually means writing a more meaty part. While this is a really good episode and a departure from the show's usual format, it's not exactly a great showcase for guest stars.
It's even sadder because Castle
is usually pretty great at deploying guest stars smartly. Just look back a few weeks to how well they used Joshua Gomez in the time travel episode
. They really drop the ball here with Carter's Maggie, who's barely given anything to do in the episode.
Breaking Bad: High School Edition
Alexis' stubbornness and tenacity might not be great ingredients for making up after a fight, but they are the perfect combination for getting innocent people off death row. When Frank Henson's appeal is overturned and his execution is scheduled, Alexis knows she has to swallow her pride and turn to her father for help.
While Castle is trying to pack snacks for a road trip, Alexis puts him straight on the fact that a man's life hangs in the balance. Killjoy. Soon, Castle is really feeling the pressure when he meets with Frank and his girlfriend, Maggie, both of them looking at him like he's their only hope.
Meanwhile, Beckett might not be able to directly help, but she does go to Lanie in order to get test results sped up. Those results put them onto a story straight out of Breaking Bad. With Kim tutoring a few boys in chemistry, they realize one of them must have been using an old abandoned house in order to cook meth. After Kim found out she was tutoring a future Walter White, she was killed before she could go to the police.
Soon, all fingers appear to point to Frank's brother John, who doesn't actually have a very good alibi for the night of the murder. It turns out John was dealing with memory loss and behavioral issues at the time after a knock on the head in a car accident. Frank blamed himself, so when he found John kneeling over Kim's lifeless body, he thought the worst. Unwilling to let his brother go to jail in his place, he tells Castle and Alexis to drop the case to save his brother.
Thankfully, Castle has one of his patented brilliant moments when he notices the broken binary clock in the crime scene photos reads a half hour before the 911 call was placed. This means Kim had been dead for a half hour when John and Frank arrived on the scene. A dolphin charm under the body finally points the finger at the real culprit, a mean officer in the local police department.
There are a few important lessons I think we should all take from this episode.
Lesson 1: Cooking meth is never a good idea. If this isn't a lesson you've already taken from Breaking Bad, this episode is definitely also selling that point.
Lesson 2: Castle is super good at solving crimes now, even with very little actual police assistance.
Lesson 3: Never trust guys who wear little dolphin charm necklaces. The only way that necklace could have been worse is if there was also puka shells involved.
Elsewhere in the City That Never Stops Dreaming About Getting Married in Space...
-- Castle doesn't seem very excited about looking at wedding venues with Beckett. Unless it involves getting married in space. Then he's psyched! It's like he didn't even go to see Gravity. Bad things happen in space.
-- Lanie gives Beckett some solid advice, as usual, about how to deal with feeling left out of Castle's relationship with Alexis. "It's up to you to make your own history."
-- Seriously, why doesn't Alexis just go to Lanie directly? Wasn't she an intern with Lanie at one point? This seems like a weird time to take a stand against nepotism.
What did you think of the episode? Did you feel they wasted Joelle Carter? Are you happy Alexis and Castle have made up? Do you think Castle and Beckett should get married in space? Sound off in the comments!