After last week’s episode filled with time traveling, Castle continues to roll with an episode dedicated to codes, ciphers and Freemasons. If there is anything I love more than time travel it’s codes and secret messages from the 18th century hidden around the island of Manhattan! This episode was filled with cues and tributes from The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons and it is a welcome Halloween treat to see Rick and Beckett figure out a two hundred plus years old mystery. After finding a young woman brutally murdered with her body laden with Medieval symbols, the game is afoot for Caskett to solve the bizarre case. What is great is that Castle is at his best when he is genuinely interested in the case they are working on. Nathan Fillion’s enthusiasm comes through giving the episode a lighter, more fun feel. And that is exactly when Castle is at its best; when the gang don’t take themselves too seriously.
While the narrative is fairly boilerplate, the pacing is set up nicely as the gang falls deeper and deeper into a secret world of clues and intrigue. Castle is basically channeling his inner Tom Hanks and he is no slouch when it comes to NYC history, Latin, and puzzle solving. However Beckett is her skeptical self and doesn’t believe any of Rick’s crazy theories. Naturally she comes around by the time the episode is nearing the end. Any other show I would probably complain but Stana Katic makes the tough as nails Beckett affable and downright sweet. One thing I found odd in this episode is that although Castle and Beckett are engaged to be married they are all business when they are on the case. It makes you miss the days when there was that unspoken love and longing for each other. The sexual tension that worked so well for them in the first four seasons is gone and it is definitely missed.
The episode also takes cues from films like National Treasure and Raiders of the Lost Ark in a very tongue in cheek way making things even more fun. As the plot thickens, the legend of the missing half-dimes (you have to see it) make this feel like an episode from the earlier seasons. I do have one gripe and that is the subplot with Alexis and her hippie boyfriend “Pi.” Yes, his name is Pi. He and Alexis moved in together in a dump of an apartment. Castle does not approve of Alexis’ choice and makes sure that she knows it as his daughter hosts her first dinner party.
Alexis has become kind of a drag since being saved in last season’s “Save Alexis” arc. And Pi is just a cliché—a composite of every stoner dude we’ve seen on prime-time TV. Alexis is at that age where everything parents say is wrong and is under the impression that she deserves or has the right to do as she pleases while Daddy foots the bill. I guess I just don’t buy that she would be able to afford any apartment in the city without help from her millionaire best selling father. I’m hoping that this whole Pi thing ends soon because it is becoming really lame.
Still despite my small grievances with the episode, it is a fun romp of an hour with a solid case being investigated. It’s always good to see Rick genuinely interested in the case at hand because it always makes for a more fun episode. His theories and speculations are sometimes hysterical and he truly wants to believe. Like his books, Castle needs a good story and this episode really makes the grade. The combination of drama, thrills and the sprinkling of comedy continue to make Castle one of my favorites.