'Castle' Recap: Dial a Conspiracy
'Castle' Recap: Dial a Conspiracy
This week on Castle, the mayor becomes a suspect for murder while the conspiracy surrounding the death of Beckett's mother gets all the more twisted. It was a strong episode that raised more questions than it answered while building on the sense of danger surrounding Beckett from the premiere. Beckett's already gotten shot once for asking too many questions. This week, she doesn't face any bullets, but she also doesn't walk away with any answers either.

Plus, we finally meet Castle's buddy the mayor, but on the downside it's because he's a murder suspect. This puts Castle and Beckett at odds with one another. While there is some definite tension between the two, it's obvious they both sympathize with each other's plight. In the end, the mayor is cleared of wrongdoing, but Castle knows that the conspiracy goes far deeper than city management. What will Beckett do when she knows that Castle is taking mysterious calls and meeting strangers in weird abandoned parking garages to talk about her investigations?

Murdering Mayor?

The mayor becomes the prime suspect after the body of a woman named Laura is found in one of his campaign cars. From the start, Castle can't believe that his buddy Mayor Weldon had anything to do with it. When they go to see him, Weldon confides that he's actually started an exploratory committee to look into becoming governor. So clearly, being the suspect in a murder investigation is not high on his to-do list.

As they look into the victim, things seem weird and weirder. She didn't have a cell phone or a credit card, and when they find her apartment she's missing tons of modern technology and amenities. It turns out she went from being a professor to working a series of low paying jobs. "It's like Good Will Hunting, but in reverse," Castle puns.

They track her back to her latest job, working as a phone sex operator at Dial a Goddess. Seems she heard something disturbing in the middle of all of her other disturbing calls there. When they go to check the conversation hard drives, however, the drive is missing. So they follow her back to a television station, where she's watching B-roll of an event she was attending with Mayor Weldon.

Beckett questions why the mayor would say he'd never met her when they'd been in a room together. Castle defends the mayor and Beckett wonders if he isn't a little too close to the case. She sadly asks Ryan to accompany her because she thinks that Castle is too biased, and poor Castle looks sad.

A stop at the mayor's charity shows that the mayor is under investigation for possibly embezzling millions of dollars. Not looking good for Weldon...or Castle. Soon enough they follow the victim's trail back to her book publisher. It turns out she was basically writing Nickel and Dimed, a story about how hard it is living below the poverty line in America. But recently, she had called her publisher and said she had an even bigger story.

After Mr. X plants the seed to listen carefully, Castle gets one of the phone sex operators to listen to the B-roll tapes. She immediately recognizes the voice of one of Laura's clients: Mayor Weldon's aid, Jordan Norris.

It turns out Norris was helping someone set up Mayor Weldon and his guilty conscience got the better of him. He called Laura and told her everything. And when she confronted him for a story about it, he called his same powerful backers and got her killed. Before Beckett can break him and find out who he's working for, however, a lawyer pops up miraculously and that information is lost. But judging by Castle's worried facial expression, it might be a good thing that Beckett didn't find out.

Open Gates

The episode also had some nice moments for Captain "Iron" Gates. Gates hasn't been everyone's favorite character since her tough-as-nails introduction in the season premiere. Mostly, that's because she's been hard on Beckett and doesn't take kindly to Castle's shenanigans. It seems impossible that anyone would be unaffected by Castle's adorable Nathan Fillion charms, but Gates seems immune.

Once the mayor pops up as a suspect, she advises Kate not to back down just because of who he is. Castle is sure that this is because if the mayor were out of commission, Gates would be free to get rid of him first thing. Which...still seems likely.

But Gates and Beckett do have a really nice moment. Beckett is unsure if she should subpoena the mayor's coat because it would most likely ruin his career. Gates explains that she knows what people say about her behind her back. Just because she came from Internal Affairs, people think that she hates cops. She doesn't, Gates says, because she came from a long line of cops. She just thinks that powerful people need to be held accountable.

It's a nice, humanizing moment for Gates, who sadly hasn't gotten as much development in the first half of the season beyond being the occasional bad guy. While I still miss the old Captain, I hope we see the more human side of Gates come out. Having someone to go up against in the police office has added some dramatic tension to the series, but I do often miss the more lighthearted precinct scenes when everyone was on the same side.

Conspiracy Theories

Things get even more complicated when Castle gets a call from his own X-Files-ish informant. Remember the guy that called him up and told him to keep Beckett away from her mother's murder investigation? That guy. I'm going to call him Mr. X for now, as homage to Mulder. Considering how big a dork Castle is and how much he loves conspiracy theories, I'm sure he wouldn't mind.

Mr. X continues to give Castle a lot of cryptic clues about the case. It seems like it has something to do with the murder of Beckett's mother. He also says a lot of things about chess that sound really deep and scary. But since I don't know much of anything about chess, I'm not sure how well they track. Basically, he might have called Castle a pawn? Or Beckett? He called someone a pawn, I got that much. He wants to keep Castle around, which means keeping around the mayor, to keep Beckett out of the investigation.

I'm puzzled as to why Mr. X cares so much about Beckett's safety, but I'm sure that's a reveal far off down the road. Until then, we'll have plenty of dark parking garage conversations to look forward to. I mostly just want to know how he disappeared so fast after the car passed him. Is he secretly a ninja? Or maybe a magician? Was Beckett's mother killed by a secret society of ninja magicians? The mystery deepens.

Sadly for the mayor, but not for Castle, Weldon has decided in light of the conspiracy to put his governor dreams aside. He'll just be the best mayor for New York City he can be, which means that Castle will be sticking around with Beckett. Somehow, I doubt Beckett minds. Now they can finally start their blog: "An Office and a Gentleman."

What did you think of tonight's episode? What's going on with the conspiracy surrounding the murder of Beckett's mother? Should Castle tell Beckett what's going on? Sound off in the comments!

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Morgan Glennon
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of ABC)