'Castle' Recap: Tigers and Handcuffs, Oh My!
'Castle' Recap: Tigers and Handcuffs, Oh My!
This week on Castle, Castle and Beckett work on their circus act, escape a hungry tiger and display some fun sexual tension all while handcuffed together. You know what they say; the couple that's handcuffed together stays together. Wait, they don't say that do they?

In a break from some of the more emotional, character-driven episodes of the season, the midseason finale focuses on humor, fun and sexual tension. It's a great light episode of the show that still packs in a lot of great character beats and some development in our favorite partnership. The ease and comfort with which Caskett adjusts to being handcuffed together is also very telling. Hopefully very soon they'll be "hitched" again, only this time without the tiger.

The Hangover, Animal Tranquilizer-Style

The episode opens with an image Caskett shippers have been waiting to see for four years now: Castle and Beckett waking up together. Before the shippers could even make their celebratory gifs, however, we find out that not only are they waking up in a dank murder basement, but they've been drugged. And that's not all; they've also be handcuffed. It's like the worst night after a bender ever.

They try desperately to remember what happened and Castle immediately remembers a seedy motel and Beckett calling him up to meet her in a room. Before Castle gets too excited about what that could mean Beckett blurts out the one word not usually associated with romance: dead body. Seems they had found a dead body in the seedy motel with his fingerprints burned off and that's the case they were working on before they took a role in the latest Saw movie.

The rest of the investigation is pretty run of the mill Castle, with Castle finding an obscure clue on an envelope (the bar code) and he and Beckett taking off in hot pursuit. Without telling anyone they worked with where they were going. That's pretty much the exact mistake that dude in 127 Hours made and look what happened to him. That's why you always leave a note, Arrested Development taught me that.

When they get to the house they step into a creepy horror movie with a creepy old lady in a cage and bam! Cuffed together in a murder dungeon along with a freezer full of bloody knives and chains. "What if we're in some psycho's lair and we have to kill each other like in Saw?" Castle asks. It'll be a rough walk of shame if one of them has to cut off a foot.

Relationship Tests

Meanwhile Lanie is fuming at Esposito and giving him the stink eye. Lanie is pretty scary when she's mad, I really wouldn't want to be Esposito. Neither would Ryan, which is why he's nervous about driving down to Florida with Jenny for Christmas. Esposito explains that this is a relationship test and implies that Lanie might have made him go canoeing at some point, which just seems mean on Lanie's part. Is there anyone who really wants to go canoeing besides the Winklevoss twins?

Castle and Beckett laugh about how stupid Lanie and Esposito are because they're afraid to admit that they have feelings for each other. Could you imagine that happening on this show? How crazy! Castle and Beckett are the two people least qualified to mock other people's unresolved feelings.

When Castle and Beckett don't come back, Ryan, Esposito and even Gates start to get worried. So Lanie works some of her morgue magic and manages to pull a partial fingerprint, which they use to ID the victim. While Castle and Beckett are locked up, the supporting cast gets a chance to play detective and it's pretty fun to see Ryan and Esposito fly solo on a case.


Meanwhile, Castle and Beckett are still trapped in the murder basement, trying to figure a way out. After using some innuendo filled methods to try to get the freezer open, they decide it's time to use the hatch far, far up on the ceiling to escape. That's easier said than done when handcuffs are involved.

"If we ever get out of here we should seriously think about joining the circus," Castle comments as Beckett rolls around on his shoulders like the least adept Cirque du Soleil performer of all time.

Of course, even after a good shoulder stand they can't escape the creepy basement of horror. Good thing Castle has some beef jerky just in case they get hungry. Voices out in the hall lead them to believe that their captors are involved in human trafficking. This in turn leads Castle to wonder how much he would be worth on the open market. Oh Castle, you know you're priceless.

Beckett talks Castle into helping her break the stucco tile between their room and the room of the helpless girl next door. They use some awesome teamwork to roll around each other and kick the wall. It's probably much hotter than kicking down a wall is intended to be. "I always liked your legs but now I respect them," Castle says appreciatively.

When they finally break through the wall to save the lady next door, they find a surprise. You know that story 'The Lady or the Tiger', where it leaves it open-ended who will emerge? Well this episode of Castle answers that question: it's the tiger.

The Clue is in the Envelope

Ryan and Esposito get a hit on the identity of the victim, a man name Spooner and soon have an agent at their door as well. Turns out he was working for a cartel of some kind and wanted out. The last time the agent talked to him he mentioned things were not as the appeared. These clues lead to an empty truck full of boxes, blood and a furniture store. Finally, Ryan puts the pieces, or the envelope, together and they show up at the abandoned house to find a hidden compartment in the basement. From there they realize that the cartel is using abandoned National bank properties and narrow down the list to 11 houses to search.

Thankfully they manage to make it to the Castle and Beckett torture chamber just in the nick of time. Less fortunately they have to choose between saving their friends and catching the bad guys. It's not exactly all that hard of a choice, especially since Iron Gates is waiting outside with a squadron of police cars. Turns out the Hills Have Eyes hillbilly people were from Texas, where it is legal to breed tigers. They would then traffic the illegal animals to wealthy clients all over the world.

Less Friendly than Tigger

You would think the tiger would be excited to be free of its room and fed beef jerky, but you would not be correct. As it turns out, the tiger was more in the mood for a Castle and Beckett sandwich. After the genius jerky plan fails, Castle briefly considers cutting Beckett's hand off to get them out of the cuffs. Their love is so pure.

Finally they stack the freezer vertically and climb on top, which seems totally improbable considering how heavy the freezer was about ten minutes ago. It would also be a perfect plan if tigers couldn't jump really high. Castle changes his mind about joining the circus and they decide the best plan of action is to scream like little girls. Thankfully, this plan is much more effective than it sounds because it allows Ryan and Esposito to locate them.

"I did not survive a bullet to the heart to die as tiger kibble," Beckett says awesomely. I'm guessing there are not many situations in which a line like that can be used.

The tiger knocks over the freezer but thankfully Castle and Beckett use their newfound circus skills to hang onto the ceiling until rescue arrives. Outside, Gates decides to institute a new calling-in policy or possibly just low-jack the two of them. She should just chip them like a pet shih tzu.

As the episode ends, Castle and Beckett get extra flirty with each other. Castle mentions that she's a pretty great person to get "hitched" to and Beckett questions his use of the word hitched. He says he didn't mean it like that but you know he totally did. He probably has his dream wedding to Kate all planned out in a scrapbook somewhere. "Next time let's do it without the tiger," Beckett says slyly and Castle's brain explodes at the mention of a next time.

What did you think of the midseason finale? Enough Caskett moments for you? Do you think Lanie and Esposito are on their way back together? And will Castle and Beckett have some tiger-free handcuff fun in the future? Sound off in the comments!

Morgan Glennon
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of ABC)