“There’s nothing more dangerous detective, than a killer with a badge.” Ain’t that the truth. But in this case, I don’t think the Big Bad behind Joanna Beckett’s murder is a cop. But we will get to that later. I had high expectations for this episode and it not only met them but exceeded them. What I love about Castle is that as quirky and silly as the show can be, it can pull out an episode like this or 3XK and be cerebral and poignant without being out-of-place. While the writing is terrific, the main reason they can pull off silly and serious is the cast and everyone was on their game last night. Get ready, this is a long one! Not that I ever want someone to not take in every word of this post like it’s the finest piece of writing you will ever see…BUT….if you saw the episode and don’t need a full play-by-play and just want the comments part, scroll to the end.
We start with a different opening to Castle. We get a recap of Kate’s story regarding her mother’s murder and the main pieces up till now that have brought us to this episode. And as a side note, I like Stana Katic so much better with the long hair than the short choppy hair. I just thought I’d put that out there because I know you all couldn’t sleep without knowing which hair style I liked best. We see a man with a gun and lots of bullets and it appears as if he is ready to say goodbye to life. Just then, Beckett gets a call from Det Raglin (while doing chin ups in jeans?) Det Raglin is our gun guy and he is also the guy who investigated her mother’s death 12 years ago. Apparently before meeting St. Peter, there are a few things the detective would like to get off his chest and tell Beckett but he doesn’t want anyone else but her….no cops. Immediately Beckett goes to Castle and he can tell something is wrong when she asks to talk to him about something. I love that of all the people should could have gone to, she went to Castle. They go to see Raglin in the coffee shop and when he scolds Beckett on bringing a cop she tells him “he isn’t a cop, just someone I can trust.” Raglin tells Kate he only has 6 months to live. He also starts to talk about how Jacoby Marley used to scare him to death (he creeped me out too.) “I wear the chains I forged in life. I made it link by link.” I think we are about to hear how Raglin was not such a nice guy or good cop. He starts telling her about hiding sins behind his badge, like hiding the fact that her mother’s death wasn’t a robbery gone bad or gang violence but something more sinister. He tells her he did what he was told to do and that he was scared. When she killed Dick Coonan at the police station last year, certain people noticed. When she asked who hired Dick Coonan to kill her mother, he tells her she needs context first. It actually started 19 years ago (her mother was killed 12 yrs ago) when Raglin made a bad choice that started a domino effect and one of those dominos was her mom. Then BANG! His coffee cup explodes and Raglin is on the ground while panic ensues and Beckett tries to control the situation. Raglin is dead and Beckett tells the dispatcher they have a homicide on their hands.
Roy is now on the scene along with Ryan and Esposito and Roy doesn’t want Beckett involved in the case. She tells him how no one knows the case better than her and he agrees she can stay on but she needs to follow the evidence to the killer and not go off on a personal mission. She agrees. She gives the boys their duties with them looking into the building across the street where the shot came from, while Castle comes out from the bathroom after cleaning himself up. He is visibly shaken. Beckett thinks it’s because Raglin was killed in front of them but it’s because Castle thought she was the one that was shot. After the awkward pause, they decide to go back to the 12th.
Back at the 12th, Ryan tells Beckett he talked to some of Raglin’s neighbors but the only friend or family that they ever see at this place is another retired detective named McAllister. Beckett wants to see him immediately. McAllister comes in and Beckett starts asking about 19 yrs ago and what he was into. McAllister thinks she is asking to tarnish his memory but she tells him she is just trying to get to his killer. McAllister tells him that he got involved with a guy named Vulcan Simmons, who runs most of the drug trade in NYC. Raglin was a gambler and was broke so he started working for Simmons as a drug carrier to make extra money. The investigation shifts to Simmons and we learn that he has a pretty long rap sheet but it’s been cold for a while. Ryan makes the comment about coming along way since Washington Heights and Beckett wants to know what he means. Simmons used to run the drug traffic in WH. Beckett’s mom, who was a Civil Rights Attorney, got a bunch of her colleagues together and started a campaign called “Take Back the Streets.” Where did this take place? You got it…Washington Heights. And a connection forms. So they bring in Simmons.
Vulcan Simmons is a lovely individual (insert sarcasm here.) He is slimy and smug and creepy. He gets smart with Beckett and Castle tells him to back off at which point Simmons tells Beckett that he is “sweet on her.” She starts to interrogate him about Raglin and their connection. Simmons who, for all his thuggery, seems to be a very smart guy, starts a play-by-play on police interrogation of suspects much to Beckett’s displeasure. She brings up her mother’s murder and lays out a scenario in which Simmons is responsible. “Tell me you don’t remember her” Beckett asks as she lays a copy of her mother’s crime scene in front of him. He says he does remember her and stars to castigate Beckett’s mom. After hearing enough, Beckett snaps and throws him into the glass divider and threatens to bring him down. He simply laughs at her while the boys come in to pull her off him. Castle stars him down and Simmons asks if he wants a piece of him as well. When Castle moves towards him the boys back him off and Simmons bursts out into a cackle again. Captain is pretty pissed at this point and scolds Beckett for acting like a rookie in allowing a suspect to get under her skin. He promptly pulls her off the case and tells her to go home. She storms out of the 12th. Castle calls after her and the captain sends him home as well. “I don’t need you playing Nancy Drew on this.” Ouch. He could have a least called him one of the Hardy Boys’ names. He goes to Ryan and Esposito and tells them they are running point. They don’t want to be insubordinate to Beckett so they respectfully decline. Roy tells them that the best way to help her and have her back is to find Raglin’s killer and they are ordered to do so or lose their detective shields. They agree.
My first tearful moment of the episode happens between 2 characters that is usually a source of levity and humor….Castle and his mom. She is really happy he is alright and warns him that this is not one of his books and that he doesn’t know how it will end. He was very lucky yesterday. He starts to chuckle and asks where this is coming from. She is furious at him and says to him “How the hell can you ask me something like that? Think about how much you love Alexis, that is exactly how much I love you and don’t you dare question where this is coming from. You have gotten through life on your wit and your charm and no small amount of talent. But that is the real world out there and you can’t charm your way out of a bullet.” Susan Sullivan was sensational. And the look on Rick’s face was heartbreaking. It finally dawned on him that when he goes out on these cases that he isn’t professionally trained to handle, his family fears for him. Rick asks his mom if he should quit and she tells him that he should ask himself why he is really doing this. “You’ve written 22 novels before you met her and you didn’t need to spend every day in a police station in order to finish them.” He finally admits what we have all been thinking….it’s not about the books anymore.
Back at the 12th, the boys are looking over surveillance video of the building where the shot came from. It’s a secure building and everyone needs a key card to get in. They a guy take down a woman and snag her key card. They decide to track down who she is since he grabbed her with his bare hand and maybe they can get a print. Seems a stretch to me but I’ll go with it. They do find the girl and are able to get a print off her arm. The print matches up to Hal Lockwood but his record is clean and only goes back 2 years. Something tells him Hal isn’t really Hal. They check his credit card and he used it at hotel suite in midtown. And apparently he’s a dumb criminal. They bust into the room and find drugs, weapons, and pictures of Beckett. He has been following her. Meanwhile Castle goes to see Beckett and brings her flowers to cheer her up. I love him! She invites him in and he starts telling her about all the great detectives had plucky side kicks and did their best work after being booted off a case. Captain told them they couldn’t investigate Raglin’s murder but not her mother’s case. Crafty! His plan is to sneak back into the 12th at 15 after the hour when Roy always takes his coffee break and wear a hat and quiet soft soled shoes (ha!) and steal her mother’s case file. Beckett, grinning like the Cheshire Cat at the idea, shows him her homemade “white board” of her mother’s case. “I sometimes forget that you live with this every day” he tells her. He asks if Josh knows about this and she tells him no. Castle gets a slight smile at the fact that she hasn’t shared this with her boyfriend but she has with him. I LOVE IT!!! They start going over the facts and decide to revisit Joanna’s personal papers thinking there may have been something they missed. Castle finds some pictures of Kate and her mom while they are about to go ice skating and he is disappointed there aren’t any of her actually skiing. He grabs the negatives to see if he can find action shots but he finds something else instead. 4 negatives show pictures her mom took of the alley, 3 weeks before she was killed in the exact same spot.
Roy gets the information about Hal and brings it to Beckett. He tells her that this guy has been watching her and he isn’t a rookie, he’s an experienced killer. Her first instinct is to tell Castle and Roy tells her that he already told him…when he caught him in the men’s room looking through case files. I can just imagine how that went down!!! Beckett begs to be brought back into the case and Roy tells her no. Back at the 12th, the boys analyze the drugs they found at Hal’s suite and think they are connected to Simmons. But, apparently, each drug ring has their own logo they brand on the pills and the brand isn’t Simmons but some kid named Chad from SoHo. How marketing savvy of the drug lords!!!! They bring snot nosed Chad in and find out that he doesn’t know Hal but that he did sell the drugs to a blond-haired girl named Jolene who lives in Brooklyn and that’s all he knows. Castle goes to see Beckett again at her place and she asks him to go home and walk away from the case. He declines. “Fear does not exist in this dojo.” Love the Karate Kid reference!!! She tells him that she has the badge so she signed up for this, he didn’t. “It’s not your fight” she tells him. “The hell it isn’t” he responds. The second tear-jerker moment coming up!!! He tells her that he doesn’t ride along with her to annoy her or go to scenes in the middle of the night to get his jollies off. “Then why do you keep coming back Rick?” Ooooh she called him Rick!! Again awkward pause due to the fact that they love each other and won’t admit it. There. I said it. But the way they are looking at one another in this scene, they know and don’t have to say it. Castle then finally says that he may not have a badge (other than the chocolate one Alexis gave him for his birthday…ha) but he is her plucky side kick. “Plucky side kicks always get killed” she says. “Partner then” he replies. They get to work. Castle tells her he found something. 19 yrs ago, another murder was committed in that same alley where he mother was killed. The alley had a back door entrance to a club run by the mafia. An undercover FBI agent named Bob Armond was killed there. He was working undercover to take down the mafia from the inside. A man by the name of Joseph Pulgatti was arrested for the murder. He was a mob enforcer back in the day and he pled guilty to the crime. Guess who the arresting officer was? John Raglin. C&B go to see Pulgatti in prison.
Pulgatti says he didn’t kill Bobby. When Castle asked why he confessed, he admits because he didn’t want to be executed. So they ask if another family may have done this and Pulgatti tells them no. Pulgatti explains to him that back at that time, there was a truce between the heads of the 5 families because there were ghost kidnappings happening that were targeting all 5 families. Joe and Bobby were in the alley that night when a van with 3 ski-masked guys pull up and attempt to take Joe away. Bobby tried to grab one of the guns and ended up getting shot and Joe was framed for the crime. Joe admits to being in the alley but no one else could have known that because it was a blind alley. So the only people who knew who was there, were Bobby, Joe, and the 3 kidnappers. So Raglin, was one of the kidnappers. Beckett starts to ask him about her mom and he tells her how much she looks like her. He says that he sent letters to every lawyer he could find and her mom was the only one who responded. She didn’t care that he was a thug, all she wanted was the truth. She promised to look into Pulgatti’s case and then she was killed. Pulgatti tells Beckett not to get herself killed over this.
Back at the 12th, Roy isn’t pleased about C&B investigating her mother’s murder but is interested in the information they collect. They tell him everything they learned from Pulgatti and her mother’s papers. They inform him that Raglin was one of the kidnappers and when he realized he was dying, went to Beckett to tell her what happened (they had the lawyers, including her mother, killed because they were looking into the case) and he was killed because of it. There are still 2 other conspirators out there. Ryan says that one of them is McAllister and they know that because they pulled the dispatch logs and the only person backing up Raglin on the night of the arrest of Pulgatti was McAllister. Roy wants to see him now. C&B question McAllister and he doesn’t deny his involvement in the kidnappings. He said the mafia families back then ran everything and you couldn’t touch them because they paid everyone to leave them alone. Raglin and McAllister were frustrated because the mafia were bad people who shouldn’t get away with their crimes and started with the kidnapping spree to collect money from the families and try to bankrupt them. When Beckett accuses him of hiring Coonan to kill her mom when she figured out the truth, he tells her that it wasn’t him. It was someone else. Someone she could never touch. Then he tells her “You don’t understand Detective. You woke the Dragon. And this is so much bigger than you realize.” WOW. At that point he shuts up and asks for a lawyer. He’s afraid of someone and it isn’t a cop. Who the hell could it be? The boys find a lead on the shooter. They tracked down Jolene from Brooklyn as 2 possible suspects. They split up and the boys go to one apartment while C&B go to the other. The place C&B show up at, is the right location because she has been killed. When she radios to the boys about their discovery, they go to leave the stairwell of the other Jolene’s apartment but a stink bomb goes off and they are kidnapped by Hal and his people.
Hal dumped the cell phones of the boys and Jolene so C&B look to find a cell phone bill where they can track Hal and hopefully find where he has the boys. Hal has them in some sort of warehouse and tells them that their investigation has gone further than he expected and so he can finish his job, he needs to know exactly what they have on him and his employer. Option 1, tell him what he needs to know and he kills them with a shot to the head. Option 2, if they jerk him around, he will torture them until they finally tell him. They go with Option 2, jerking him around. Love them! The torture begins but luckily C&B have found the warehouse through Jolene’s cell phone bill. C&B are at the warehouse and there is a guard outside the door. Beckett is out of ideas that won’t kill the boys and Castle comes up with a brilliant one. Here comes the moment C&B fans have been waiting for!!!! They pretend to be a drunk couple to lure the guard away from the door, get him to lower his guard, and take him down but Beckett says he isn’t buying it. Just when she goes to grab her gun, Castle grabs her, turns her towards him and kisses her!!!! She pulls away and then sideways glances at the guard and starts kissing him again. It gets pretty hot and heavy (yeah it does!!!) and just when the guard smiles and turns to walk away, she Chuck Norris kicks him and he goes down. Castle says “That was amazing!!” Beckett gives him a look and he fumbles to say, the way you took him down was amazing. AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! That was fantastic!!!! Inside they are still torturing Ryan and Esposito tells them to stop. Ryan tells him not to say anything but he can’t watch it anymore. He has to tell Hal everything he knows….about him and his mom. The boys burst out laughing and Hal tells one his cronies to shoot Ryan in the knee cap. Esposito freaks out and just as Ryan is about to be shot, Beckett kills him. A shoot out begins and Beckett takes out everyone in Hal’s crew but Hal. When she goes to reload, Hal has her in his sights and Castle sees this. When he goes to shoot, Castle jumps him and knocks him out. He actually beats him in the face several times with the passion of a man who was about to witness the love of his life being gunned down. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Beckett!!
Hal is taken into custody and Castle is having his hand tended to by the paramedic. It’s uncomfortable so he unwraps it and guess who comes to gently fix it for him? Roy. I’m kidding. Kate does. The boys are ok and Hal is going to prison. She thanks Castle for having her back and he responds “always.” Later she goes to see Hal in prison and asks who his employer is. He doesn’t answer. Kate has something he needs to know:
“I’ve put a lot of people in this place. Some of them want to kill me. Others have never been treated so fairly in their lives. So they form this attachment to me, it’s like I’m their favorite school teacher. Some of those people might visit you while you’re in here. Like the ghosts who visit Scrooge. And after some time with them you might find yourself a changed man. So I will be back here week after week to ask you who hired you till that miracle occurs.”
She was so good in this episode. If Stana Katic doesn’t receive an Emmy for her performance, something is seriously wrong. She was outstanding. As I mentioned before, everyone was on their game during “Knockdown.” I can’t even give you stand outs because EVERYONE was awesome. But I do want to make a small shout out to Susan Sullivan for making her 5-7 minutes of air time so poignant and impactful. She was remarkable. You forget sometimes (at least I do) that Castle is simply a writer shadowing a detective for a book series. He isn’t a cop or detective. And he is put in dangerous situations all the time and has no training for it. It’s no wonder his family gets so concerned for his well-being. But we all know why he does it. As Martha said, he finished plenty of books before he met Kate so is 2 years of shadowing her plus the continuation of it, really necessary anymore? Well yeah because we want the show on the air 10 more years!!! But besides that, even though her point is valid, this is his life and he is researching for his book. On top of it, because of his intelligence, he has been able to help them as sort of a consultant. A Patrick Jane if you will….but more charming and handsome. The handsome part is debatable, oh Lord I’m digressing here. There is one other thing I want to point out from an acting standpoint in regards to Nathan Fillion. He is perfect at being able to interject buoyancy into a serious episode without it coming across as stupid or completely out of context or ruining the mood. He is a genius at the subtle delivery of lines and facial expressions that exude just the appropriate amount of humor in an otherwise austere scene or episode. And I just had to give him credit for that. He’s another one that deserves an Emmy.
I think this episode also really spoke to the relationships that have been forged over the last 3 seasons, and not just Castle and Beckett. You really see Ryan and Esposito’s connection and loyalty to Beckett in the way they handled being handed her case. You see the strong bond between Ryan and Esposito when they are being tortured and both are more concerned about each other than themselves. We talked about Martha’s relationship with Castle showing a more emotional and touching side. You see Roy and Beckett’s mutual respect and genuine admiration as they discuss her mom’s case and her involvement. Castle and the boys already had a tight bond, but I’m sure it grew tighter when they saw just what Castle would do to protect Beckett. And finally, Castle and Beckett. We all know they love each other even though they can’t admit it right now. But it’s more than that. There is a bond between them so unbreakable that they do things out of character for one another that neither would do for anyone else. It is so powerful to watch on TV and it couldn’t be pulled off without the acting chops of Fillion and Katic. Yes the kiss scene was what we all wanted to see. But you could argue that the scenes in her apartment, the scene at the warehouse taking down Hal, and the final scene between them in the ambulance were even more critical to where their relationship has come over the years.
What does all this mean? Who is the Big Bad behind this whole thing? Who is the Dragon that has arisen? Who is so big, Beckett can’t touch them? Is it someone we have already met? Is someone we have yet to meet? Or is it someone who has been talked about but not seen or heard from yet? The last question is directly related to one person…her father. What do we know about James Beckett? I don’t think we know what he did for a living but we do know their family had money. Joanna was civil rights lawyer but that could mean a modest living or a lucrative one. We know her father was an alcoholic and that Kate was overseas in Russia for a while immediately after her mother’s death. Which is why she feels guilty about her father’s alcoholism. Could it be that her father has something to do with this? I don’t know. If it’s someone she can’t touch, it would have to be either someone high in political office or a wealthy business person or a high-end criminal (like Vulcan Simmons.) Either way, this has been a great running storyline since Season 1 and I can’t wait to watch Beckett take down the bastard that did this to her and her mom. I also like how close it has brought Castle and her together.
So let’s talk about the kiss. What did you think? I thought it was perfect!!!! It was real, first of all, even if it was because of a cover. Anyone who has eyes and a heart knows that kiss was real and passionate between them regardless of why it happened. I think it was a clever way to give the viewers something they have been wanting to see for 3 years but yet still not disrupt the sexual chemistry and tension between the two. There are two other shows out there currently (that I watch) where the leads have this sexual tension and one show has gone there and one still hasn’t….Chuck and Bones. Now I don’t watch House so all you House and Cuddy fans don’t throw things at me. Bones still has Booth and Brennan apart but is it getting to the point where it is bothersome? Not yet for me (but I am still on Season 5) and I still like how much their “will they or won’t they” bring to the show. Chuck decided to put their leads together and it hasn’t effected the chemistry or heat between Chuck and Sarah at all. I mean did you see her in the cat suit get up last night and Chuck’s reaction? Hello!!!! I think if it’s done right and you have the right storyline and cast to pull it off, you can get them together and still work. I think they can do it on Castle. Maybe next season will be the time. But I want to know what you guys think.
Sorry for the length but this episode was a biggie and deserved this type of focus and attention. This truly was a perfect episode and one of the finest hours of TV I have seen in a long time. Sound off below on what you thought about “Knockdown” and who the Big Bad is and our favorite crusaders finally playing some tonsil hockey.