This is all very exciting for this Castle-ite, as the show has already covered UFO’s, magic, cryogenics, mummies, ghost-busting and Comic-Con. Now, we finally get another conspiracy-oriented episode focusing on none other than the myth of the legendary Sasquatch known as Bigfoot. Castle has continued to flourish in its fifth season and, as we head into the home stretch, there is still no word if we will have a Season 6. Naturally, I am pulling for it being a big Castle-junkie. The oneness of “Caskett” has been a really nice thing to see in a procedural cop dramedy where the relationships have all grown through natural situations. If you go back to Season 1, you can see all of the differences that I am talking about. Beckett was a button-upped, by-the-book detective whose shoulders never came below her ears. She had a strict code that she adhered to and was not used to anyone like Rick Castle. The unshaven, hard-partying bad boy was absolutely not something Kate wanted much a part of. Now as a tandem, it is hard to think of one without the other.
The usual opening setup has a random car dropping off a grossly disfigured woman, bloodied with what looks like claw marks. Primate sanctuary worker Anne Cardinal is the victim this week and the evidence is pointing to one of the animals she worked with in the ape haven. The animals at the preserve were at one point in show business. Now, they live out their golden years in the sanctuary. You’re intrigued, I can tell.
After a cursory visit to the nature preserve, Castle’s “I want to believe” impish attitude kicks in and he tries to think of a mythical answer to the murder of the young woman. Finding giant Bigfoot-like footprints in the city only adds fuel to the fire for Castle’s theory of a giant beast. Detective Ryan usually agrees with some of Castle’s most hackneyed theories and he does so again in this episode. Esposito and Beckett always play the more rational team while Castle and Ryan are usually on the same page of sedition and conspiratorial acts rather than just plain old violence.
Castkett visit Dr. Meekse, a leading crypto-zoologist that specializes in Bigfoot and theories about the great fabled beast. According to the doc, since Anne was a young American Indian, she had seen Bigfoots growing up near her tribe. For her family, Bigfoots were seen as benevolent protectors of the tribe. The mystery only continued to build when a million-dollar reward was offered to bring Bigfoot in to a TV show. Because of her expertise, people began to follow Anne thinking that she would lead them to the giant creature. Shortly after showing a rough sketch to the people at the sanctuary, Anne was last seen arguing with a mysterious figure…Aussie adventurer Chase Diggins. Chase is easy to recognize as he sports a prosthetic hand from an incident in Nepal where a supposed ‘squatch tore off his arm back in ‘08. He followed Anne into the city because word was that she had known the location of another Bigfoot. However, it turns out that when Diggins tracked Anne, he saw that she was faking Sasquatch footprints to throw off her followers. His alibi checks out and none of the lacerations on the deceased’s face match Chase’s arm/hook. Back to square one.
What ensues in the balance of the episode is another quality whodunit with some great dialogue and little moments between Castle and Beckett. A hilarious subplot has Castle trying to figure out who is stealing his leftovers from his home refrigerator. He sets up a bank-like trap with a spraying dye pack. It will kill it to spoil just who the thief is, but I will say that the reveal was damn funny. When a video of Anne on her last night in the woods is uncovered, it shows that she was indeed running from some kind of dark and tall humanoid form. Castle is sticking to his guns that nothing else could have done this but the mythical beast. The continued battle between Castle and Beckett (even while they are dating) really lets the show add a lighter sense of levity and fun. Upon discovering that the kill zone is in a two-square mile area in the woods, Castle hysterically gears up in a ridiculous Elmer Fudd outfit, shaking a stick to arouse interest from any local Bigfoots in the area. When the two fall into a manmade trap for the great beast, it is another entertaining exchange, as they must rely on their wits to get out of the snare. Fillion is at his best playing Castle when he is frightened and trying to act tough in front of his love. He acts exactly the way I would: showing just as much bravado as he while being terrified on the inside.
Thankfully, Beckett is able to retrieve some rope from the car to get Castle out of his 10-foot deep predicament. However, upon getting back to the site, someone is waiting for her: Bigfoot. Beckett pulls a gun on the giant man-beast and he falls into the trap with Castle. The titular hero screams like a little girl for Beckett to shoot the monster. But in a Scooby-Doo like twist, it was Dr. Meekes in the suit all along. However, he is still not the murderer and, as per usual, I refuse to give away who it was because this was a pretty damn funny episode. Seeing Castle try to commiserate with the apes at the primate sanctuary alone is worth the price of admission. His reaction to seeing what he believes is a real-life Bigfoot is also priceless. Castkett really gel in this episode and it was a perfectly pitched light entertainment after an awful episode of The Following (read my review here). In the end, you really do want to believe that there is something out there that we just cannot explain.
Sometimes it is mythical, sometimes magical, but some things cannot be explained. I believe the message they are going for is that a skeptic and a believer can sometimes make the perfect pair.