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‘Castle’ Season 7 Episode 9 Recap: “Last Action Hero”

What seemed like a routine case on Castle turned out to be a chance for Richard Castle to revel in childhood memories as an aging action hero who just happened to be a childhood screen hero of Richard Castle’s was murdered. But it also turned out to be so much more – an episode that looked at the past — how we see and remember it.

After the opening scene of the murder of the week, the episode switches to Castle and his wife Kate Beckett (still getting used to that manacle) packing up her old apartment as she is FINALLY moving out. It makes you wonder why it took this long. It also makes a viewer lament maybe a missed opportunity for Castle to wonder why she was holding onto her apartment. Either way, Beckett is finally moving all of her belongings to Castle’s loft, now their loft, and giving her apartment to her cousin.

As they are packing up, Castle admits he is glad she is finally leaving the apartment behind as the floors creak and the walls are thin. This throws Beckett a bit that Castle didn’t enjoy her place as much as she did.

The case of the week is the murder, as mentioned above, of an aging 1980s action movie star, Lance DeLorca of the films “Hard Kill”. This gets Castle as giddy as a schoolgirl, as he grew up watching them. It was his chance to get in some bro time, he admits, since he was raised by a single mother.

Castle even gets to go on set as he and Beckett interview the dead action star’s old co-stars reunited for an Expendables style film. Castle shows off the films to Ryan and Esposito, introducing them to all the characters – including the man who played the villain in the big film starring the murder victim.

As he, Beckett, Ryan and Esposito weave their way through the case, Castle has some of his beliefs shattered as the murder victim is revealed to not have as much of a black ops background as he claimed – he was not former Spanish intelligence – he was a goat herder before coming to the U.S. to become a movie star.

The leads bring Castle and Beckett to the actor who played the villain in the murder victim’s films. It seems he got so into his role, when he was done with acting, he bought a club and started selling drugs just like his role. Only problem for New York’s finest narcotics’ cops is they can’t pin anything on him.

But it seems the murder victim wants to pin something on him as he bought a listening device and a USB drive. When Beckett and Castle interview the former movie villain, Beckett shocks Castle when she takes the man for his word he knew nothing about how the former action hero was murdered. Later, Beckett tells Castle she has realized the listening device used by DeLorca was placed in a slot car that was behind the suspect’s desk.

As Beckett tells DeLorca’s friend and former co-star Brock Harmon they can’t get the slot car because she can’t get a warrant he seems upset. But he appears to get over it as he asks Castle to hang out with him and the other old action heroes for a drink.

Castle rushes to tell Beckett who teases him by saying he did tell them he couldn’t go because he is on a case but then smiles and says she couldn’t deny him his boyhood dream. And this leads to a quote that reminds me why I still hang in and watch the show Castle though it frustrates me at times:

“You’re my boyhood dream,” Castle admits to Beckett. And though they are married now if that doesn’t touch a fan’s shipper heart I don’t know what does?

So, Castle is shocked to learn the aging action heroes plan to break into the screen villain’s office and steal the slot car- admitting his wife is a cop and she will kill him. Oh, and Castle has only done it twice since he married Beckett, lifting up his hand and pointing to his ring, but I hope he does it more through the season – I like the gesture.

After obtaining the slot car, Castle presents it to Beckett saying a concerned citizen gave it to him. She is not buying his tale. In fact, when it comes to listening to the device she punishes him by using earphones and not allowing him to listen. Great scene that harkens back to the early years of Castle – proof Castle and Becket may be married but they can still have that little adversarial spark.

Beckett learns more then she bargained for. For a time it even looks like Harmon’s son is the killer, but it isn’t. But Beckett is close – it is Harmon’s wife who killed DeLorca because he was going to tell her son he was his real father. DeLorca got involved in the first place because the former screen villain was threatening the guy whom he had just found out was his son.

To tie it up with the past and what we perceive it is time to deal with Beckett’s apartment. In the middle of the episode Beckett talks to Lanie in her almost barren apartment – she has almost moved out all her stuff. She admits Castle’s flippant comment about her apartment upset her a bit. But Lanie counters that it was just an apartment to Castle but to Beckett it was where she put her life back together, where she fell in love and solved her mother’s murder. It is all about perspective.

After the case is closed Beckett tells Castle she thinks they should watch the movie Hard Kill and for him to open a bottle of wine and she would meet him there.

The closing shot is of Beckett at her old apartment soaking in the place where she used to be. She carvers her initials “KB” in a beam and then walks to the door. She takes one last look, turns out the light and shuts the door.

She has shut the door on a part of her past that defined her. Beyond it lies a future filled with adventure, romance and the unknown. But this time she doesn’t travel that path alone – she has a partner and a friend to make the journey with her.