“Castle ” is at it’s best when it combines Castle and Beckett working their crime-solving magic with the secondary plots of its quirky but capable characters. In the 7th episode of the season, we miss out on both of those components, but luckily, there is a death row inmate’s race against the clock to keep us interested.
The episode begins with the murder of Kim, a Pennsylvania high school student. It then fast forwards 15 years to the final appeal of the convicted killer, Frank Henson. Frank will be executed in three days. Alexis is in the courtroom with her professor. They have been working on the case on Frank’s behalf, and Alexis refuses to accept that this is the end of the road for him.
Cut to Alexis, in a power suit, doing an all business walk and talk with Esposito back at the station. He explains there isn’t anything else that he and Ryan can do but they suggest she ask dear-old-dad to help her out.
Castle is clearly very busy “writing” but sees this case as an opportunity to get back on Alexis’ good side. After accidentally revealing that he’s secretly been following the case, he agrees to go to Pennsylvania.
(Not a) Road Trip!!
Castle is pumped to get on the road and spend some time with Alexis. She, however, has other plans for their drive to Pennsylvania.
Alexis does not accept any attempts at small talk and continues to give her dad the cold shoulder. She’s definitely been different since returning from Costa Rica. I blame Pi or possibly all of the fruit she’s been eating. Either way, after rejecting Castle’s apology last week, Alexis continues to be upset for much of this episode.
When they arrive at the prison, Castle meets Frank and his fiancé. Frank walks them through what happened the night of the murder and Alexis and Castle leave to pour over the evidence.
At this point, I’d like to point out that any death row case is required to go through several appeals. The idea that there are any unexplored leads or untested evidence left is a little bit of a stretch. But for the sake of the show, we’ll just assume the state of Pennsylvania dropped the ball.
There may however be a reason for the lack of further investigation. Alexis and Castle are approached by a cop at the local diner. He chastises them for stirring up trouble in a closed case. Alexis confesses that they’ve been met with resistance every step of the way.
Meanwhile, back in NY…
Luckily for the Castles and Frank, they have other contacts hard at work on the investigation. Lanie calls with the re-tested lab samples and one chemical turned up that hadn’t been found initially. Since the chemical could be found in fertilizer, they pay a visit to the gardener ex-boyfriend.
Alexis insists on going in by herself but doesn’t get much new information. Castle gets understandably nervous while Alexis is chatting alone with the main suspect and is ready to attack when Alexis comes out of the house. She accuses him of over reacting or not respecting her or something along those lines. She’s upset most of the episode and it’s getting more and more difficult to pinpoint why.
Math not Meth!
Castle and Alexis find out that Kim was a chemistry tutor and discover in the crime scene photos that 2 chemistry books were left at the crime scene. They approach an opportunistic secretary at the local high school and find out that the second book belonged to Frank’s little brother John.
After John chats with Beckett in NY, Castle and Alexis pay Frank another visit. He is outraged that they are pinning it on his brother. He’s always suspected John was the killer but he took the fall to protect him.
It turns out though, that John couldn’t have been the killer. Castle notices a clock that must have fallen in the struggle before Kim was murdered. The clock stopped before John or Frank could have been in Kim’s house. After some quick bank record research, they discover that the grouchy policeman from the diner was one of Kim’s pupils.
With the help of some evidence at the scene, they have enough to get the judge to overturn the conviction and death sentence. Frank is free and Alexis forgoes the celebration to head back to NY to thank one more person. Seeing Alexis give Beckett a big hug almost makes up for the way she’s been acting all season but the jury is still out until next week.
Odds and Ends:
-Is there a required “How to cook meth” unit in every high school chemistry class?
-Beckett is starting on the wedding planning! This episode only touched on venue hunting but it looks like she’ll be getting into more of it on next week’s episode.
What did you think? Do you think all this investigation will lead Alexis will follow in Beckett’s footsteps? Do you secretly think that it would be awesome to get married in space?