This week on Castle,
dead doppelgangers turn out to be a blast from the past courtesy of one of Castle and Beckett's scariest foes. Call me naive (or blame my terrible memory), but I truly wasn't expecting the surprise return of 3XK. Turns out the killer might not be as dead as we've all thought, which can only mean bad news for Castle, Beckett and the whole precinct.
From the dead doubles to the haunting song promising a future meeting, this is probably one of the creepiest hours Castle
has produced. Of course, things always swerve from lighthearted to deadly serious whenever Jerry Tyson, aka 3XK, is involved. The episode might have started out with Castle and Beckett making fruit smiley faces and discussing honeymoons, but it ends with the pair in a far more precarious position.
The show has also introduced a potential ongoing story in a season that has, of late, felt like it was missing a bit of an arc. While the season has had plenty of ongoing personal storylines for the characters, from Castle and Alexis' first fights to planning the wedding of the century, from a police perspective it's all been very case-of-the-week focused.
In seasons past, there have been big cases to crack and conspiracies to unravel. The terrifying turn at the end of this episode almost definitely means we'll be seeing 3XK later this season, and that's an exciting prospect. While the show does a great job with lighthearted episodes, the serious cases always result in great work from the show's leads.
This week is no different, and everyone really rises to the task of telling this chilling tale. Even the oft-ignored Lanie is given some good material to work with, which is certainly nice in a season where Lanie's role has been easy to miss.
The episode begins with a very shaken Lanie, after she sees a dead body who looks just like her. Things only get weirder from there, because apparently victim Pam even had the same tattoo as Lanie in the same place.
Speaking to Esposito, we finally get some insight into their relationship. It seems they've been dating for the last few months, but not exclusively. Although Lanie hasn't exactly been with anyone since Espo.
Except there was one night she stayed out late at a work party and can't remember getting home, which must have been when the killer found out about her brand-new tattoo. They don't linger nearly as long over the implications to this as I would have thought, since obviously Lanie had been drugged at some point. Considering what we later learn about the endgame of the doppelgangers, it's even more unsettling that they would take the time to mimic Lanie's tattoo. There was no reason to go that far, except to mess with everyone's head. So things have just gone from creepy to terrifying.
But things get even worse when they find another dead doppelganger, this time a man who looks exactly like Esposito. The look-a-likes Pam and Daniel had both moved to the city recently and turned their lives around for a big opportunity.
Pam had undergone some plastic surgery to look more like Lanie, courtesy of plastic surgeon Kelly Nieman. And Daniel had gone to a speech therapist in order to sound more like Esposito. The question is why these people were put through the ringer in order to emulate Lanie and Espo.
It's no surprise that Castle is the first to put together that the case might have something to do with 3XK. Beckett initially doesn't believe him, since 3XK is dead, and thinks it's just a side effect of Castle's guilt over how that case went down.
While Castle might still feel guilty, it turns out he's not actually wrong. Of course he's not, because in every good horror movie you have to kill the crazed murderer at least five times before he's actually dead. And even then, probably the ghost of 3XK would come back to haunt you.
All of the case files on 3XK are gone, checked out by "Esposito" days before. The same is true of all the medical records and files on 3XK's victims, taken out by "Lanie." The doppelgangers were just ruses in order for 3XK to get access to his own files and take himself off the grid. Without those files in the system, Jerry Tyson basically has a clean slate. It doesn't get much scarier than that.
Gates tells Beckett in no uncertain terms that after losing those important files, there's no way to broach the subject that 3XK might still be alive without iron-clan evidence. Unfortunately, his accomplice Carl Matthews isn't giving up the goods on Tyson and promises to give details on all the murders.
As the episode winds to a close, a prison connection between Kelly Nieman and 3XK is found too late, and the weirdly intense plastic surgeon is in the wind. Now 3XK is out there with all his files, and possibly a new face.
As a parting gift, Nieman leaves a pen from her practice hiding a USB port. When plugged into the computer, the pen plays a song promising "We'll meet again." That's probably not a meeting Castle and Beckett are anticipating.
Elsewhere in the City That Shares Its Feelings...
-- Castle wants to reverse-engineer their wedding date after figuring out their honeymoon destination. The only problem? They both agree the honeymoon should take place in a country neither has ever been before. But it seems like Castle has already been to all the good, warm countries with prior girlfriends and ex-wives. Unless Beckett wants to go on a romantic Hobbit tour of New Zealand!
-- "When will we be able to stop looking at each other and seeing two dead people?" Lanie wonders to Esposito. This is going to make date night really, really weird for the next couple weeks.
-- Ryan demands that Esposito share his feelings, but Espo's feelings are pretty violent. It's like he doesn't know you're supposed to share your feelings using "I" statements.
-- "Tell me what you don't like about yourself." Dr. Kelly Nieman is about 50 different shades of crazy. She tells Beckett she's pretty close to perfection, and with a little plastic surgeon she could get all the way. When it comes to Castle, he only has "amazing potential." Ouch!
What did you think of the episode? Were you seriously creeped out by the dead doppelgangers? Do you think 3XK is back? Sound off in the comments!
Castle airs Monday nights at 10pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)