Castle S7 Ep16 – The Wrong Stuff

We return to more lighthearted fare this week. An astronaut inside a mission to Mars simulation is killed outside the habitat while doing repairs. Theoretically all of the other astronauts are accounted for at the time of his death, and theoretically no one from the outside can get into the simulation. But things are not that simple.

Wannabe astronaut

I mean, who wouldn’t geek out?

I love how ecstatic Castle is for the chance to “go to space”. He’s especially thrilled to put on the space suit to get to the body. The ‘outside’ atmosphere is full of noxious gas to keep the participants from cheating, you see. (This is the new space race: to see which competing company can run the most successful simulation and, in the near future, actually go to Mars.) Also, this particular simulation is run by a rich, intelligent inventor/entrepreneur who is clearly meant to recall Elon Musk.

At first, it looks like the murderer was a guy who was eliminated as a candidate for the program by Tom the victim. But then it turns out that, while that guy was stealing secrets for one of Not!Musk’s rivals, he isn’t the killer. Neither is it the Russian astronaut (hey, the Russian is kind of evil. Yay stereotypes?), who was the first guy’s inside man. No, a photo reveals– the rover was the killer?? Because the simulation’s intelligent computer, MIRA, has been programmed to protect the mission and its participants at all costs. This, of course, provides a predictable but hilarious homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey and HAL’s refusal to open the pod bay doors: Castle, Beckett, and Not!Musk talk to MIRA in a private section of the habitat, but she won’t talk about the murder because she’s been told that to do so would compromise the mission. Before she tries to gas them to death, she reveals that Tom had been identified as a threat to the mission before he died.

Thankfully, our heroes don’t perish, because MIRA locking the doors doesn’t prevent Beckett from calling Esposito on her phone to come rescue them. And the team deduces that the remaining three astronauts colluded to get MIRA to kill Tom. Tom was unbearable as a potential crewmate for a real mission to Mars. MIRA’s memory has been wiped, erasing evidence of their collusion. But Castle tricks them into confessing by telling them MIRA sent her data to the nearest satellite as a failsafe.

"I'm sorry, Dave..."

Go ahead and talk about your plans to reboot the super-smart computer right in front of her. That always ends well.

The episode’s other plotline: the loft is feeling overcrowded these days, with Alexis and Martha bringing over friends, or *ahem* ‘friends’. But Martha surprises her son and daughter-in-law at the end of the ep by saying she’s going to start looking for a place of her own. She doesn’t want to crowd them, especially since she guesses there may be more little Castles in the near future. Aww. But of course Beckett & Castle find the loft too quiet once everyone else leaves for the evening. Heh.

One gripe: while there were plenty of excellent references to 2001, I feel like the writers missed a perfect chance to throw in more Firefly nods. I mean, maybe they’re worried their audience would be bored of those by now, but I for sure am not. Your thoughts?

So apparently we have to wait until March 16 for the next new ep. I’m calling it now: at the end of the next episode, Beckett takes a pregnancy test.