This week's grisly murder is that of Ted Rollins, computer genius-slash-delinquent-slash-underemployed millennial. There are several strange things going on with this murder. First, he was moved from the crime scene and placed in his shower. Second, he had a laptop hidden under his floorboards. Third, he had an Iranian coin in his sock, which was removed by the killer.
The laptop reveals that Rollins had been trying to hack into a company called Universal Banking Solutions. Castle and Beckett visit the company's director, Anderson Cross, and find that he's none other than Jackson Hunt. Beckett has never met him so she doesn't realize that anything's wrong, but Castle has to pretend that nothing's amiss in order to prevent his father from being arrested right then and there. For all his charisma, he is a shockingly bad liar.
Castle and Hunt meet in Central Park. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this episode for me is that there are people riding roller coasters and hanging out in Central Park in New York's January weather. Castle has on nothing but a light jacket! As someone living in the northeast, I can assure you that any attempts at these things would result in frostbite and potentially the loss of one's will to live.
Because Hunt is his father and because of what he did for Alexis (and perhaps because his brain is addled by the all-consuming cold that he is so poorly dressed for), Castle gives Hunt the benefit of the doubt and tells him about the police investigation. Hunt offers very little in return, both in terms of what's happening and in paternal affection.
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Castle's tentative trust is put to the test when security cam footage shows Hunt at the crime scene around the time of Rollins' death. Beckett then realizes that he is the same guy who kept showing up at the scenes of Alexis' kidnapping. When they look into his identity, they find that he was dismissed from the CIA for a crime that garnered him a life sentence and killed three security guards breaking out of jail. On top of all that, Hunt doesn't respond to Castle's requests to meet him again. Castle and Martha have just decided to tell Beckett the truth when Hunt shows up at their apartment, shot and bleeding.
It turns out the realities of espionage are far less fun and glamorous than Castle's books. He and Martha alternate drinking alcohol and using it to sanitize Hunt's wounds while they do some disturbing home surgery. In the middle of this, Beckett arrives and Castle decides to tell her everything. She is characteristically displeased and distrusting. Hunt explains that all the terrible stuff they heard about him is actually a cover and that he works "outside the system." It all sounds vague and very plausibly made up, and I couldn't really blame Beckett if she hauled his ass to jail.
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So the backstory of Rollins' murder is that he was working with Hunt to stop an inside man from selling information about undercover CIA operatives to Iran. Gemini, the mole, killed him when he managed to find out when and where the exchange was taking place. He subsequently got in a shootout with Hunt. Hunt did manage to steal some evidence, though, and finds out that the exchange is going to be electronically done at a library that afternoon. Because of his injuries, Beckett and Castle decide to intercept it themselves.
Beckett clearly still doesn't trust Hunt and thinks that maybe they're being played. The drop begins as scheduled, though, and she leaves Castle to man the computer while she hunts down the Wi-Fi signal. But it was all a trap, and Castle is led away at gunpoint by Gemini while Beckett is doing her thing. Before he can be slowly and painfully murdered, Hunt swoops in to save the day. He then emotionally scars his son more than his absence already had by killing the incapacitated Gemini right in front of him.
His illusions finally shattered, Castle realizes that Hunt had knowingly sent them into a trap because his cover had been blown. The entire thing had been planned, down to planting Rollins' body in Beckett's jurisdiction so Hunt would have inside knowledge of the case. He'd even placed a locator on Castle under the guise of a hug. Ouch! The sting of that one traveled through my TV and slapped me in the face.
By this point, the case has been solved, though Hunt took Gemini's body and disappeared into the night. The crippling psychological trauma of the ordeal, however, still needs to be addressed. Realizing that Beckett is his real family, Castle decides that they will get married in September, and Beckett is adorably girly and happy about this. September, coincidentally, is also the same time as next season's premiere. What a crazy random happenstance!
Martha too has decided to wash her hands of Hunt once and for all. It seems that everyone is well on their way to making peace with the situation when we see Hunt, standing alone in the dark, looking longingly into the window of Castle's apartment. His purpose in life can never allow him to be a part of that family, no matter how much he clearly wants to be. He was a huge jackass in this episode, so I can't feel totally sorry for him, but hopefully he'll show up again. I hear there's a wedding in September that he might like to crash.
Castle airs Mondays at 10pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)