Castle S7 Ep23 – Hollander’s Woods

This is a really solid episode that delves into what makes each one of our duo who they are. It also has a feeling of finality to it; if it had turned out to be the series finale, it would have worked well. But we’re getting an eighth season, whether we wanted it or not.

Ruggedly handsome

Both choices have their attractions, that’s for sure.

The case of the week is that of a young woman named Emma, attacked in the woods before being fatally struck by a car. She had crosses carved into her face, and a witness saw a guy dressed in black chasing her, wearing a white porcelain mask with a black pattern on it. Before he describes the mask in detail, Castle does so. To Beckett’s amazement, he says that this must be the same killer he knows from the first dead body he ever saw in his life – when he was just eleven years old. He got lost in Hollander’s Woods, alone. That’s when he saw a young woman, dead, with the same cross patterns carved into her face. Then the man in the mask held a knife to poor young Rick’s throat, and warned him never to tell anyone what he’d seen. Though young Rick called the police later, they never found a body. That, says Castle, is why he became a mystery writer: because he was never able to solve that mystery.

As our team tries to determine whether this is the same killer, Beckett gets called in for a mysterious ‘performance review’ before she even hears the results of her captain’s exam. Lance Reddick guest-stars as the man in the suit who tears into Kate, bringing up every infraction she’s committed. She’s not even qualified to be a detective, much less a captain, he says. At first, Beckett is so stunned she almost just walks out of the ‘review’. But then she refutes all of Lance Reddick’s arguments, passionately and brilliantly as we expect from our Beckett. And of course it turns out that this was a test that she just passed: they think she’s awesome, and they want her to run for New York State Senate. (She also passed her exam.)

Meanwhile, Rick is highly driven to track down this murderer. It seems they’ve found the killer when they run across a violent, mentally ill man who didn’t report his mother’s death for several years and owns a car like the one Emma saw abduct her friend. But then they talk to his psychiatrist, and Castle is sure he recognizes the doc’s voice as the killer. Naturally, Ryan & Espo are skeptical due to lack of evidence. They should really just believe Castle by now. He’s more hurt that Beckett doesn’t believe him, though. Aw.

But then Beckett finds out the doctor owns a farm with a barn where he could easily hide bodies and/or other evidence linking him to past murders. Since Castle’s not police, he can just trespass to find out. Okay, but aren’t you kind of tanking your political career there, Beckett, if anyone finds out you encouraged your husband to commit a crime?

His real face?

Creepy. Poor young Castle (and adult Castle).

And of course the doctor is the bad guy. He attacks Castle while wearing the creepy mask and while Beckett is locked out of the barn. She’s able to pass her husband her gun just in time to stop his throat from being slit. Intense! Now all that’s left is for Castle to accept an award for his writing achievements, and deliver a heartfelt speech thanking those who have helped him get where he is. And those people are around tables in the audience, cheering him on.

So what did you think? Was it a fitting revelation of Castle’s motivation? Are you interested to see Captain or Senator Beckett next season? Let us know in the comments.