Castle is confronted with something this episode that nearly makes his heart STOP… oh and there was a murder too.

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When a girl gets ritualistically murdered and posed in an alley-way, which will be more accurate, Castle’s wild theories or Beckett’s facts? When the team finds a collection of strange symbols in her apartment and the prime suspect turns out to be a mysterious monk, Castle becomes convinced they’ve stumbled onto a Da Vinci Code style conspiracy. Also, as mentioned, the cardiac event for Castle who tries to come to grips with the fact that Alexis and Pi have moved in together… pulse check on Castle.

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Castle and Beckett begin to to decipher the meaning of the symbols by visiting a professor and expert in symbols, who the victim (a Susannah Richland) visited not too long before her death. Esposito makes a trip to the morgue to visit Dr. Lanie who’s worked out the the murder weapon was a double-edged sabre. The symbols relate to many groups, including the Freemasons the professor mentions. Many of the Founding Fathers were Freemasons, as Castle chimes in. The Professor tells also how these symbols were used during the American Revolution for signalling, codes and are even related to buried treasure. Like the missing gold left by the British after they fled, and missing half-dimes which were the first coins minted by the U.S. Treasury (very valuable. Emphasis on “very”). The professor shows them a letter (1798) by a Theodore Rose, a stone mason. It’s actually a photographed copy of the letter originally brought in by the victim to get his deciphering skills help (he snapped a pic when she wasn’t looking). Castle uses his Latin and works out that the letter’s contents hint at a great treasure.

At a local NYC church, the last place Susannah was seen alive, street camera photos turns up of her walking with a monk following not too far behind. The monk is a Benjamin Wade, ex-con and now a Franciscan Monk. Even though most leads would fit nicely if the monk was guilty, the monk alibis out as his order saw him during the time of the murder. He says he was following her as a man with long hair had been arguing heavily with her and he wanted to make sure she walked away safely. The church and the letter’s clue lead Caskett to a 1700’s forge still in lower Mid-Manhatten called “Enta’s Forge” (possibly giving an origin for the sword which left markings on Susannah’s neck wounds). This blacksmith’s shop gives us a decent size reveal… its all a contest/scavenger hunt with actors and made up clues (or not made up?). The hunt is for a fund-raiser for the New York Historical Institute.  Nolan Burns director of NYHI is then questioned. Caskett wonders if the contest is big enough to kill for, but the prize money is only $2500 (less than most travel costs of the contestants).  The event planners, “Games Ultra,” sends over the list of gamers. The sun-glassed, long-haired and hatted contestant matches the monk’s description of the man following Susannah. Everything from the disguised picture to his cashier’s check point to this contestant wanting to hide his identity.  This guy is in lead to be the perp. Now to track the guy and figure out why he would kill?

More than once, Castle has a major insight while Martha is schooling him on his lack of etiquette- in this case the furiousness of his daughter Alexis at the way he treated Pi and their apartment.  ALL OF THE SYMBOLS ARE PUZZLE PIECES that point back to the church.  So it’s not just a game! At this point, it was nice to see that the Castle and crew aren’t too busy to miss a good nod to the movie Roman Holiday’s hand prank. The actors each pulled off a good scream (one fake and the other real). Castle finds a lever in the mouth of the matching round-star figure in the church and voila… a tomb.

In the tomb, we find the treasure Susannah and her killer were after. We also find her original crime scene, including a bloodied sabre. Castle figures out the trick to opening the stone coffin and the hundreds and hundreds of 1772 half-dime coins are found. Castle notes that recently, just one of these coins went for auction for $1.5 million (you can do the math on the big bag of coins). Through a few mental leaps, Castle and Beckett figure out that the NYHI director used “crowd-sourcing” to solve the hunts real clues. Just before the director would be thrown in jail, the director’s words pin the suspicion onto a different character. The cousin questioned earlier. As it turns out, Susannah and the cousin are direct descendents of the letter writer, Theodore Rose. The director hoped the family connection would help solve the clues he couldn’t figure out on his own, so he bated her into the scavenger hunt of her own family lore.

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Confronted with the mountain of evidence, the cousin breaks down and tells all of his tale of woe (i.e., mother in assisted living, living paycheck to paycheck, “She was going to GIVE all the coins away!!!”).  The monks donate the coins to the NY MET and the killer gets cuffed.

The only loose end of this episode is Castle’s uncharming dinner, where he majorly upset his red-haired daughter. At Alexis’ apartment she doesn’t even let him in the door. She puts him on the spot for his past behavior and drops the major recent upset, which was that she didn’t find out about his engagement to Beckett from him, but instead  from his mother by phone while she was in Costa Rica.

The offer of “make-up ice cream” doesn’t cut it this time. Alexis says it’s gonna take more than ice cream to cool her anger and have Castle be okay with the guys she’s with. Castle is left in the hall realizing the weight of his past actions and his daughter growing up.

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This episode, for me, was like a MINI-MOVIE having so much in it, with the addition of a B-story line of Alexis/Castle learning more about each other. The history of the half-dimes, the mid-Manhattan revolutionary forge and the symbols used during the war got me researching those topics. I felt like this was almost like the old, short-lived  show Voyagers! from the 80’s. A mystery to be solved AND history stories that make you want to know more. (“If you want to learn more about [historical element from the episode], take a voyage down to your public library. It’s all in books!”) Alexis has grown and the arc here I think will pay off well in the next episode as we see Alexis and Castle as partners of necessity to save a man’s life. I’m betting the tension and their communication skills are going to need to be worked out… or a man swings. No pressure though. 

Memorable lines of the show:

“Dumpster Chairs. That’s… Great.” – Castle

“It’s as though he turned being a charming man-child into a career.” -Castle
“Yeah that doesn’t sound familiar, does it?”- Detective Beckett

“Ah, I wouldn’t be too sure of that. Castle might be right about this ‘Da Vinci Code’ thing.” (Castle beginning to excessively grin and point at Beckett). “Don’t… ruin it.” (Castle stops). – Detective Esposito

“Maybe he took a vow of silence (regarding the murder-suspect monk). You know, silent but deadly.” -Castle

Next week, “Like Father, Like Daughter”: Actress Joelle Carter will portray Maggie Ingram, the long-time girlfriend of a death row inmate who is on the verge of being executed. Will Maggie lean on Castle and Beckett to re-investigate her beau’s case before he’s put down?

ABC/Bob D'Amico/Getty Images/Anne Strickland

ABC/Bob D’Amico/Getty Images/Anne Strickland

To catch this episode and/or earlier episodes from this season, visit ABC’s website or app:

What did you think of the this episode? Did you think it was going another way? What did you like most? Let us know in the comments.

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