I’ll be honest: I am probably not the most qualified person to recap this week’s episode of Castle. My viewing habits in the ’80s were more Thomas the Tank Engine than Terminator. I do, however, know a thing or two about sarcasm and unsubtle references, so bring on the cheese-fest!

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A Not-So-Hard Kill

“Last Action Hero” begins with a murder, but there’s a greater travesty at hand. Despite the fact that she’s been living with Castle more or less full-time since last season, Beckett is only just now giving up her apartment. Her pretty decent, multi-floor, New York City apartment, which she’s probably had to sell organs just to afford on a cop’s salary in the first place. Castle is an inherently ridiculous show, which is part of what makes it fun. But this I cannot accept. Rent decisions have not been so implausibly poor since Friends

Anyway, Beckett has a financially unsound attachment to her apartment, yada yada. On to the murder. The victim is Lance Delorca, an ’80s action star famous for playing Rico Cruz in the Hard Kill series. He was also the love of Castle’s life. After he is found strangled to death with a garrote, the team gets the basic facts about his post-’80s years. According to Castle, he was an assassin with the CNI (Spain’s CIA) before becoming a movie star. He hadn’t acted in a while, partly because of substance abuse issues and (I assume) partly because of a lack of talent, but after overcoming leukemia he had begun to get his life and career back on track. He was still married to his former costar Kat Kingsley, though they were in the process of “amicably” divorcing. And he was rebooting his career by costarring in The Expendables Indestructibles.

Ah, The Indestructibles. They’re like a farmers market of action tropes. We have the Mensa member, the token woman who is blatantly 30 years younger than everyone else and Brock Herman. Brock rose from the ashes of a porn career to the heights of middle-aged steroid abuse like an untalented phoenix. He was Lance’s partner in the Hard Kill movies and also happened to marry a love interest. From Brock, Castle and Beckett learn that Lance was supposed to have left town already. Instead, he checked into a seedy hotel under the name of Rico Cruz. The fact that no one cared speaks volumes about the depth of his irrelevancy. 

He’s in a Glass Case of Emotion

As all seedy hotel rooms do, this one provides important clues. Ryan and Esposito discover that Lance was building something electrical that involved the numbers five and two. They also find out that he made a few calls in the days before his death. One was to Trey, a club promoter and Brock’s son. Trey only appears here to indicate that he will be relevant later on. The second call was to Enrique Gomez, another CNI agent.

Gomez’s main function in this episode is to break Castle’s heart. He reveals that while he really was a CNI agent, Lance was not. He was a goat herder. While Castle is trying to crawl out of the existential spiral this information brings on, Tori uses her Computer of Plot Devices to move the case forward. They have a photo of a woman following Lance around the time of his murder, and fancy ear science reveals her to be Kat Kingsley, Lance’s soon-to-be ex-wife.

Turns out the divorce was less amicable than Kat initially indicated. Eight million dollar houses will do that to the best of couples. But Kat maintains her innocence, and since we’re only halfway through this episode, it’s easy to believe her. She met with Lance to give him $200K in cash in exchange for his half of the house, a ridiculously generous offer on his part that speaks of desperation. He told Kat that he needed to make something right, and his redemption arc couldn’t be completed without fast cash. He later called her for help, but by the time she arrived, he was already dead.

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Daniel Day-Lewis Would Be Proud

Second half of the episode, second set of suspects. Tori finds footage of Lance eviscerating a group of guys who cornered him in an alley the day that he died. They identify one of the attackers as an extra from The Indestructibles, and now that Castle has regained his will to live, he and Beckett visit the set. The guy ends up being innocent, but the team is soon pointed in the direction of Henry Alan Booth. Booth is yet another actor from the Hard Kill series. He played the villain, El Jefe, a drug dealer. Since retiring from acting, Booth bought a club and became a real life drug dealer. So method.

It takes about two seconds for Castle and Beckett to realize that this guy is a shady liar. Luckily, they may not need him to tell the truth. Beckett notices that one of cars in Booth’s extensive model collection bears the number 52 and realizes that Lance made a bug. Whatever happened in the meeting between him and Booth will be recorded on it. Unfortunately, they have no warrant. Fortunately, they have washed-up action stars.

Brock and his team invite Castle out for a drink, which nearly causes him to have a stroke. But they really intend to steal the car. Don’t worry, it’s somehow not illegal. Using a dramatic split screen and voiceover, we watch them barely manage to execute the simplest plan ever. Castle returns to Beckett, with both the car and the scent of glory on his person, and she decides that she no longer even cares and accepts this ridiculous person in front of her and the evidence he brings.

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For Real, Though, What is a Club Promoter?

The tape reveals that Booth didn’t actually kill Lance, but ordered Trey to do it instead. Trey had discovered that Booth was selling drugs within the club, something that would be harmful to Trey’s career as a promoter. I think. I don’t really know what any of these people actually do, so this is just a deduction. Trey didn’t have the money to buy Booth out of the club, so Lance tried to fix the situation. Booth then ordered his demise.

Yet it’s not Trey, but another briefly introduced character who shoulders the guilt. When asked to kill another human being, Trey did what anyone would do and called his mom. She quickly realized why Lance was so keen to help her son; the bone marrow screening Trey had done when Lance was sick revealed that they were father and son. Trey’s mother had had an affair with Lance while was married to Brock, and she killed Lance to prevent her husband from learning the truth. 

With the case closed, Beckett returns to her apartment to say goodbye. After carving her initials into a wall, and perhaps pouring one out for all the money she needlessly spent on the place in the last year, she leaves for the last time. Thank goodness she married a rich guy.

Castle airs Mondays at 10pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Mary Kate Costigan

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV