This week’s episode of Castle was called “Kill Switch,” but it could also be named “Cops and Robbers Lite” – referring to the far superior season four Castle episode in which Richard Castle and his mother Martha were held hostage in a bank. This season seven episode sees supporting character Javier Esposito being held hostage in a subway instead of the bank.
The opening scene has a great moment between newlyweds Castle and his wife Kate Beckett. Castle remarks this is the first time they are rolling up to a crime scene married, stating they are like Nick and Nora Charles from the 1930’s film series “The Thin Man.” Beckett says “or like McMillian and Wife,” and Castle offers up another married crime-solving duo: Hart to Hart. Beckett them comes back with “Turner and Hooch,” doing a little throwback to season two – and even says, “You still remind me a little of Hooch.”
The murder of the week is a man found dead in the park with a bullet in his head. The victim, Paul Reeves, was a federal investigator who looked into big businesses trying to defraud the government. The leads point to a man named Jared Stone and Esposito and Ryan find Stone and follow him. When he heads into the subway, Esposito follows him.
This is where the hostage situation occurs. Stone sees Esposito is a cop and he pulls a gun. He stops the subway train and the hostage situation begins.
The rest of the team begins working on the case as Esposito works on Stone – trying to get him to turn himself in. Tech girl Tory finds a hidden camera feed in the subway car so Beckett, Castle et al can see what is going on.
This begins a case heavy episode with Esposito getting his chance to soak up screen time with his hostage scenario. Stone demands the release of a woman named Erin Wilson, who is serving seven years for hacking, and turns out he was in on it with her but the prosecutor didn’t have enough evidence to indict him. He even produces a bomb he is wearing with a dead-man’s switch.
Near the end of the episode, Lanie notices the man Stone is looking sicker and sicker. This puts Castle and Beckett onto a lead about a pharmaceutical company that was making large doses of vaccine for a deadly strain of the flu.
What does the case all this boil down to? Stone was being used as the fall guy. He was infected with the deadly flu through his inhaler and a mysterious figure was giving him a play-by-play he thought as a way to free his girlfriend Erin.
What was really occurring is the victim at the start of the episode, Paul Reeves, was killed because he got too close to the truth. His boss was working with the pharmaceutical company to release the deadly flu virus because they had just made millions of volumes of the vaccine and each of the parties were poised to make a killing when the flu was released. Stone was just the avenue to do it.
In the end, Esposito takes down Stone and the audience can see what a bad-ass he is. Truthfully the whole affair was kind of anti-climactic.
Beckett and Castle arrest Reeves’ boss who was in on the collusion and had Reeves killed and everything is wrapped up. Esposito, who was exposed to the virus, got a vaccine and didn’t have any lingering effects.
Esposito returns to the precinct with hugs all around and has a moment with Lanie. The group head off to the Old Haunt bar and Castle says he is buying.
Was this an episode worthy of the last two? No. It was just a run of the mill episode that seemed to gleam bits of storyline from past Castle episodes. It was a crutch episode with nothing spectacular in it.
Also, the acting seemed to be sub-par. Besides Castle and Beckett, who were back to their theory building charming selves, only as a married couple, the rest of the cast was just boring. And Tamala Jones was really off in the episode – I felt no real emotion from her with Lanie worrying over Esposito. In fact, it was kind of cringe-worthy.
Can we just get back to Castle and Beckett taking the lead, solving cases? And leave the supporting cast to do what they are supposed to do – support the leads.