Previously on Castle, Castle and Beckett got married. At some point, Lanie and Esposito started hooking up again, but those two are so exhaustingly on-and-off that I don’t bother to keep track anymore. But their “It’s complicated” relationship status does factor into this week’s episode, “Kill Switch,” so keep it in mind.

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Occupy TV Tropes

Castle and Beckett do a newlywed saunter onto the scene of yet another grisly murder. The victim this time is Paul Reeves, who was shot in the park early that morning. He was an investigator for GAO, which looks into government contracts with places like, for example, pharmaceutical companies that produce vaccines against deadly flu strains. His boss shows up for a minute to give some exposition before disappearing into the obviously suspicious holding area I assume exists off camera.

At this point, I lost a little bit of hope for the episode because we are introduced to the main suspect, Jared Stone. He’s an Occupy Wall Street hacker who’s enough of a stereotype that he rents out apartments from Craigslist and doesn’t appear to wash his hair. Will this be yet another procedural episode ripped from the headlines with one-dimensional caricatures of cultural figures? Surprisingly, no, but we haven’t gotten there yet.

Ryan and Esposito drive to Jared’s apartment. On the way, Ryan continues his strange habit of referring to his daughter by both her first and middle names, and Esposito reveals that his biological clock is ticking and Lanie isn’t interested in taking things further. Their heart-to-heart is interrupted when Jared walks past them. Esposito follows him into onto a train, and before you can say, “That escalated quickly,” Jared pulls out a gun, activates the train’s emergency breaks and takes everyone in the car hostage. Ryan and his guilt hear the whole thing.

He Would Do Anything for Love

The train car is filled with the usual hostage situation cast of characters: a pregnant woman, a rookie cop, a kid with emo hair and an annoying white guy who thinks he knows better than everyone else. Jared, however, does not seem to be the typical criminal mastermind. He has borderline-debilitating asthma and would clearly rather be at home helping Anonymous hack Twitter than putting himself and others in mortal peril. Yet he not only has a gun, but he’s wearing a suicide vest and activates the dead man’s switch. If he stops squeezing it, the bomb activates and everyone dies. And the only way he’ll let everyone go is if someone named Erin Wilson is immediately released from prison.

Back at the precinct, the team is trying to make sense of this turn of events. The train Jared’s in is conveniently one of the few in New York with a security camera, so they can at least see what’s going on. But nothing about Jared suggests that he would do something so rash and violent. They discover that he was on the way to a wealth seminar, which fits with his Occupy stance, but Castle can’t understand how he went from hacking bank information to possibly attempting to kill hundreds of people.

They have a few leads. The first is Erin Wilson. She’s also a hacker and an accomplice of Jared’s. She was sentenced to seven years in prison for a crime they both committed, but there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Jared as well. It makes sense that he would want her released, since he claims that she’s his soulmate. What makes less sense is the fact that Jared didn’t give the hostage negotiator any additional information about Erin. And it’s not until the second time they speak that he requests she be sent to the Maldives, a non-extradition country. 

As all suspicious people do, Ryan finds that Jared has been shredding documents like it’s going out of style. The people who pulled the short straw and got “shredded document reassembly duty” today manage to salvage a few key phrases from the mess. They appear to be detailed directions telling Jared exactly what to do and when to do it. The team thinks Erin may be the mastermind, since it clearly isn’t Jared, but when interviewed in prison she claims to have no knowledge of the plan to free her at all. White Knight, whoever he or she is, is the one giving the instructions.

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At Least It’s Not Ebola

Back on the train, Esposito is stretching the bad-ass muscles that his role as comic relief doesn’t often allow him to use. He also chats up the lady cop, Marissa, because I guess if you might die at any moment, you might as well. Eventually, the team gets him a message through pizza. Since they can see what’s happening on the camera, they’ve decided to risk sending in a team to breach the train. Unfortunately, even in an asthmatic haze, Jared is able to recognize when a dozen people start walking on the ceiling above him. He quickly squashes the attempt by figuring out where the camera is and shooting it into uselessness.

Because the situation isn’t dire enough, Lanie also realizes that Jared is getting sicker and sicker. His symptoms are consistent with the flu, not with asthma. Castle and Beckett remember that Paul Reeves was investigating Lathem Pharmaceuticals, a company that manufactures flu vaccines. A sample of a deadly flu strain was stolen from their lab, and it appears that Jared is infected with it. It looks like he was hoping to start an epidemic, not just blow up a bunch of rich people. Soon, he’ll be too weak to keep the dead man’s switch from activating.

Luckily, Esposito has eyes and can see that Jared isn’t doing very well. He and Marissa decide to chance it and pounce on him when he’s distracted by his inhaler. There’s approximately 20 seconds of celebration and relief before they find out that they may all be infected with a lethal virus. But, oh, what a lovely 20 seconds they were.

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Making the Suicide Bomber Look Good

Esposito is a main character, so the rare and deadly flu is conveniently treatable. He tries to engage Marissa in some post-mortal danger flirting, but she ends up being a plot device to further his relationship with Lanie. Lanie’s pretty pumped about Esposito not being dead or incurably ill, so perhaps their relationship will finally get off the ground.

Castle and Beckett stop by Jared’s hospital bed to question him about White Knight. It becomes clear that Jared is more desperate than criminal and that he was manipulated and set up as a fall guy by White Knight. There isn’t much time left to figure out White Knight’s identity, but thankfully there’s someone waiting in the obviously suspicious wings.

Paul’s boss reappears for “We know you’re guilty” questioning, in which we learn that she never cared about Erin or helping the 99%. Her only goal was to start an epidemic of that particular strain of flu so she could make millions off the sales of vaccines. Let that level of evil sink in for a minute.

Thus ends another episode of Castle. Not much has changed for Castle and Beckett since getting married. They should enjoy it while it lasts because next week Castle is going to be an ’80s action star, and I believe that’s grounds for divorce in all 50 states.

Castle airs Mondays at 10pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Mary Kate Costigan

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV