Castle S8 Ep21 – Hell To Pay

This would’ve been a very appropriate Halloween episode: demons, darkness, power outages, curses, cryptic Latin phrases… Okay, it could’ve been a setup for a decent Buffy episode, too.

It's just a lens flare on your throat in the photo, Castle, not a sinister X. Early J.J. Abrams style!

It’s just a lens flare over your throat in the photo, Castle, not a sinister X. Think J.J. Abrams style!

The episode opens with an axe-wielding psychopath, a recent escapee from an institution for the criminally insane, dropping dead after breaking into Castle’s P.I. office. Alexis and Hayley, who were there during the city-wide blackout, are understandably shaken by this. And that’s even before they all discover that Gabriel Shaw, the victim, had a bunch of super-creepy stuff stored in the old safe at the office. See, he was convinced that the wealthy Crowne family’s son was the Antichrist. So he broke out of the mental hospital to kill Victor Crowne (not an obvious name at all) with a special weapon from the safe, before his ascension to power.

Meanwhile, Castle is pretty sure that an actual demon killed Shaw. The wound that killed him was claw or horn-shaped, and it had sulfur in it. And then Castle starts worrying that he’s “marked for death”, because a creepy X of light has started to appear over his neck in video footage and photos. But of course no one else believes this, or his demon theory, or that Victor Crowne is actually the Antichrist.

It was a nice little character touch to have both Castle and Ryan know Latin: Castle as the well-read, educated writer, and Ryan as the devout Catholic. And as usual, Ryan is the only one of the cast who you can tell kind of believes some of Castle’s crazy theory (although Espo and Alexis are definitely also creeped out by the case).

In the end, the team discovers that Shaw was killed by the wife of the PI whose livelihood he ruined by attempting to kill the Crowne family twenty years ago. She used a garden hook with sulfuric soil on it that she had in her car. So no demon. But then who knocked Castle out in the creepy safe full of creepy artifacts and stole a dagger? Was it the Antichrist???

Well, no. It was Oscar, the crazy/devout guy whose shop Shaw had visited before his murder. Ryan & Espo (Castle in tow) rush to Crowne’s building to try to stop Oscar from assassinating him. But it’s Castle who wrestles the crazy guy away from Crowne. When Crowne thanks him and shakes his hand, Castle wonders if that means he has made a literal deal with the Devil. Heh.

Did we ever find out whether the killer was wearing night vision goggles, or what? Also, Alexis's hair is distractingly pretty.

Did we ever find out whether Castle’s attacker was wearing night vision goggles, or what? Also, Alexis’s hair is distractingly pretty this ep.

Other plotlines: Beckett keeps teasing Castle about his paranoia and crazy theories, and it’s adorable. Plus, she solves the mystery of the X-shaped light in the photos: a zipper on Castle’s jacket that catches the light in a strange way. So he’s not marked for death, after all!

But this show still might be. The season finale is next week, and ABC still hasn’t officially renewed or canceled it, though several cast members are signed on for a possible ninth season. Several non-Beckett, non-Lanie cast members, of course. Regardless of what the official word is, I’m nearly 100% sure I won’t be back if the show is. What about you? Let us know in the comments!