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'Castle' fan recap: 3XK's cat-and-mouse game ends

Season 7 | Episode 15 | “Reckoning” | Aired Feb 16, 2015

Sometimes you can sit and watch an hour-long television show and feel as though you ran an entire 26-mile marathon. That’s how Castle left viewers with the concluding episode of this season’s 3XK related two-parter, “Reckoning.” There are shows that make you feel things, and then there are shows that make you feel things. “Reckoning” definitely did the latter.

This week’s episode picked up neatly where “Resurrection” left off last week—with Castle, Espo, and Ryan jumping into crisis mode upon discovering that Beckett has been kidnapped. All signs pointing to 3XK and Dr. Kelly Nieman. The boys arrive at the intersection where Beckett was waiting for Amy Barrett, and discover Beckett’s car with the words “help her” scrawled on the rear window.

Castle gets a phone call from a hysterical Beckett, who is screaming his name and begging for help. Tory tracks the call down to a pay phone; when an armed squadron of cops arrive, Ryan discovers a package addressed to Castle with a recorder inside. They’ve been played by 3XK again. Castle dismally goes back to the precinct to learn more about the recording—which was taken from an interview that Beckett gave to the media after Castle was kidnapped months ago. Apparently 3XK has been watching and planning.

Castle decides to pay another visit to 3XK, this time armed with a gun of his own, and threatens to shoot the serial killer if he doesn’t reveal where Beckett is hidden. Throughout the rather intense battle, Castle shows that he truly isn’t messing around. The typical funny, snappy, witty Castle is nowhere in sight, but is replaced with a man on a mission. It was a touching throwback to when Castle went rogue to save Alexis from kidnappers, and showed that behind his mostly goofy exterior, he is fiercely protective. But his intimidation plan isn’t working, as 3XK maintains that he is Boudreau, and even spits out names of his parents and the address of the farm he grew up on in Iowa. But just as Castle is about to pull the trigger, armed NYPD officers barge in and arrest Castle for assault with a deadly weapon.

Back at the precinct, we learn that Boudreau is pressing charges, and the team regrettably books Castle. But in a rather heartfelt moment between two characters we don’t normally see peaceably on-screen together, Captain Gates tells Castle that when she first joined the 12th, she didn’t understand Beckett’s fascination with him or why she kept him on board all these years. Beckett revealed that while she sees the evidence, Castle sees the story, and that’s what matters. Now she instructs Castle to do what he does best and see the story. Why does Tyson care about him? Why is he targeting Castle? Gates is convinced that when he can figure that out, they can find Beckett.

But Castle gets a phone call from 3XK, who taunts the mystery writer some more. When Ryan tracks the call, he determines that it was coming from Castle’s own apartment! A shaken Castle goes home and insists that Alexis and Martha don’t ask questions, but go to Europe until he tells them to come back. With his other two favorite ladies out of the picture and safe, Castle is more determined than ever to bring his wife home.

While Gates briefs the precinct on the turn of events, Castle mumbles to himself that he cannot play this cat-and-mouse game any longer—but he has to do things Tyson’s way if Castle wants to trap him and come out on top once and for all. So he pays a visit to Marcus Gates, Tyson’s former cellmate, whom he controlled like a puppet into committing murders for him. Finally, Castle convinces Gates to reveal where Tyson might be hiding out. Castle arrives to the hidden house in the woods and, finds Amy Barrett smoking outside. He lures her into the woods and holds her at gunpoint, asking where Beckett is. She won’t say, so Castle puts her into the trunk of his car to investigate for himself.

Inside the eerily empty house, Castle sees a video of Beckett, who is being held captive by Nieman … who plans on surgically taking Beckett’s face for her own. But before Castle can fully react, he is tasered by 3XK. When he comes to, he is being held at gunpoint, and 3XK is proud of himself for luring Castle once again. He even calls Nieman to say that he’s got Castle and to hold off on anything for now. But Castle explains that he is wrong. He planned it. Castle got inside the mind of the killer and was one step ahead of him the whole time. He knew that 3XK would assume he would go to his former cellmate and figure out where the house was, and by getting there and thinking that 3XK trapped him, he did what Castle wanted. He even says, “Take the shot.” But not to Tyson. Castle was never alone. Esposito and Ryan were with him and outfitted him with an earpiece so they can hear everything he says. And as Castle instructs him, Esposito puts his military sniper skills to use, shooting the serial killer from outside the window. The shock is clear on Tyson’s face as he falls to his death.

Meanwhile, Neiman is panicking that she hasn’t heard from 3XK yet. She is about to pack up, but then changes her mind and approaches Beckett with a scalpel. Just as it looks like the worst is yet to come, Beckett surprises Neiman by grabbing ahold of her wrist. Yes, that’s right. Beckett is a superhero. She managed to unhinge her hand by prying open metal and then ripping the strings of her cloth tying. And as she grabs her wrist, Beckett’s face says it all. Castle and the team bust in just in time to see Beckett standing over Neiman’s dead body in a pool of blood.

And just like that, the 3XK mythology is over.

It was an exhausting, mentally draining, anxiety-inducing hour that truly exhibited the power of good television and storytelling. Castle is hit with a thousand hours of community service to pay off his debt to society for assaulting 3XK—and Gates arranges for him to consult with Beckett back at the 12t. The ending scene with Beckett and Castle is poignant and touching, and revisits the raw emotions that Beckett dealt with when Castle was missing for months. This also leaves the door open for the series to provide some more clarity about what exactly happened on Castle’s original wedding day. Is this, perhaps, another mythology that the writers can expand on for several seasons to come?

Castle airs Mondays at 10/9C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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