Well, for an episode that felt a lot more like Alias or Chuck for most of its 45 minutes, it was still a good one. Wildly implausible? Sure. But we don’t rely on this show for realism, do we? We watch it for Nathan Fillion, for Castle/Beckett, for the Castle family, and/or for the whole cast family.
So anyway, since the FBI is unable to track down Alexis and Sara in Paris soon enough for Castle’s and the El-Masris’ taste, Sara El-Masri’s parents agree to a ransom demand, to be delivered near the Seine. But once it goes down, there’s still no Alexis. Castle can’t wait to go through proper channels at the French embassy. He takes off to Paris himself. And that’s when we start to figure out (if we hadn’t already) that 1) there are two groups of people involved in the kidnapping, and 2) Sara El-Masri wasn’t the true intended target – it was Alexis.
Beckett, prudently, doesn’t try to follow Castle once he’s run off to Paris; instead she and her team continue to investigate some of the related murders. (And Esposito & Ryan name-check Liam Neeson! We’re obviously thinking along the same lines.) While there’s a nice scene of Beckett getting all bad cop on a reluctant witness, there isn’t much focus on the New York end of things this ep. Instead, the action is centered around Castle’s discovery that Alexis has been kidnapped because she is the granddaughter of a mysterious figure who calls himself Jackson Hunt – Castle’s father. Dun dun dun!
Hunt (or whatever his name actually is) is played by James Brolin. I have to admit I was not kindly disposed to him as a character at first, and it took me a while to realize why: because he played Governor Ritchie, Bartlet’s straw-man Republican opponent, on The West Wing. But it didn’t take too long for me to warm to him. Part of that was because it didn’t turn out as I also feared it might be: that Castle’s dad has been in charge of a criminal organization for Castle’s whole life, and that he’s been waiting almost thirty years for this reunion. No, instead Castle’s dad is some kind of spy, who only had contact (ahem) with Castle’s mom for the one night. But he’s been watching his family from afar this whole time. Aw. How sweet. And highly implausible. Now, Hunt’s old nemesis, former KGB agent Volkov, kidnapped Alexis to draw out Hunt and get his revenge.
Of course, everything turns out well in the end: Volkov gets blown up, Castle & Alexis make it back to NYC just fine, and they’re reunited with their family (including Beckett!). Plus, Castle’s dad makes it out alive, as is evidenced by the sweet gift he mails to his son. I’m positive he’ll pop up again, whenever the show needs a mysterious benefactor/protector type. I’m also hoping that, since it’s pretty clear Castle told Alexis the truth and that he was about to tell his mom, he won’t hold back from telling Beckett. She can keep a secret pretty well, after all.
So what did you think? Did the episode live up to the first part? Was there too much unrealistic stuff, or just enough?