Castle S7 Ep1 – Driven

We’re back! And we pick up literally right where we left off, with Beckett in her wedding dress, looking at Castle’s crashed, flaming car and crying. Everyone is tremendously relieved when it turns out – surprise! – there’s no body. Castle is missing.

At the scene of the fire

Even as I empathized with her, I cringed at the ruining of another wedding dress.

But a straight kidnapping case seems less likely as the episode continues. There’s video footage of Castle himself, in a nice brown coat, dropping off the money to have his friend Vinnie Cardano (from the Hamptons episode a while back) crush the SUV that ran him off the road. This shakes the confidence of Beckett, Espo, and Ryan. During a montage while two months of searching passes, the FBI gives up – but not Beckett! Never Beckett!

It’s not Beckett who finds him, though. Instead, it’s the Coast Guard. They find him unconscious in a dinghy off the coast of Delaware. I was worried that he would wake up in the hospital and that he wouldn’t remember Beckett at all. Which would have probably made me break the TV screen. Thankfully, this is not what happens; he stays unconscious. Lanie’s external examination finds a mysterious key in Castle’s jeans, a healing bullet graze on his ribs, and antibodies against dengue fever (!!) in his blood. Meanwhile, tracking down the dinghy leads our team to a secluded mobile home on the waterfront in Massachusetts. The owner, Henry Jenkins, says he saw Castle camping on the beach, but doesn’t know how he ended up in the boat. But the real shocker is that the tent they find on the beach is full of supplies – as well as the newspaper articles about Castle’s disappearance, his tux from the wedding, and DNA that proves he was there. Oh, Castle.

It’s at this auspicious moment that Castle regains consciousness – and it’s at this point that I am tense, upset, and doubting our boy, similar to what Beckett is obviously feeling. This is only exacerbated when Castle is totally blase, cracking mild jokes about how he’s  put a kink in their wedding plans. But of course it turns out he doesn’t remember anything between the SUV running him off the road and waking up in the hospital. He apparently has no idea he’s been missing for two months. So I was right: there is amnesia – but the much less rage-inducing kind. Just the convenient kind. It seems all too convenient to Kate, too. She doesn’t believe him, and neither do Espo and Ryan … that is, until Rick & Kate go back to see Jenkins and it’s not the same guy. The guy who said Castle was camping on the beach has vanished, and he’s not Jenkins. So someone just made it look like Castle was living on the beach. Again, much relief all around, but many unanswered questions. Who was behind this? Why did they take Castle right before the wedding, why did they make it look like he purposely went off-grid, and why can’t Castle remember the two months? Also, who shot him and how did he get dengue fever? And how are Beckett & Castle going to work through this?

Castle in the dinghy

Another lingering question: does this ep break previous records for how many times “dinghy” is said by how many characters in one episode?

Favorite moments: Beckett’s takedown of the car crusher guy at the beginning. Awww yeah. Also the fact that our team was polite and professional to all the other cops in other jurisdictions they worked with, and that the FBI guy was not evil, smug, or interfering. Also Beckett’s quiet tears at the end, with Castle.

I’ve forgiven the show for the annoyances of the finale. Let’s see how this season goes.