When a sniper terrorizes New York City, Beckett is haunted by memories of her own shooting, in this week’s gripping episode of “Castle,” “Kill Shot.” Stana Katic, this is your Emmy reel. The actress who often plays straight woman to Nathan Fillion was center stage this week. She portrayed Beckett’s vulnerability without ever making her look weak. The episode’s director, David M. Barrett, cut the sound at the moments when Beckett was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to emphasize how disconnected she was from the other characters.
A woman is talking to her friend when, suddenly, she is fatally shot by a sniper’s bullet. The precinct gingerly dances around the cause of death, but Beckett insists that they can use the word sniper around her. She’s fine. It soon becomes clear that she is anything but. The sniper strikes again. At the crime scene, Beckett dives to the ground when she hears a siren. She sees her therapist, who must be referred to as Dr. Worf, because Michael Dorn will always be a Klingon. He wants her to excuse herself from the case, but she insists that she can handle it.
Esposito (Jon Huertas), who is a sharpshooter from his time in the Special Forces, recognizes that a little flag at the crime scene was set up by the sniper to measure the wind. The find security camera footage of a man, whose face is not visible, setting up the flag. A fingerprint on a shell casing seems to implicate a veteran who runs a shooting range. Since he’s the first suspect there’s not a chance in hell that he is guilty, but Beckett is unaware of procedural structure and rips into him, accusing him of enjoying killing people. He turns out to have an airtight alibi. As Beckett looks at the whiteboard for the case, she flashes back to her own shooting.
The cops find the room that the sniper used for the first shooting. He left behind a handmade paper doll that Castle realizes came from a coffee table book of paintings. Smartypants Alexis (Molly Quinn) is able to identify the painting that was used to make the doll. Castle realizes that the painting’s name is a clue to the sniper’s next location.
At home, Beckett drinks and flashes back to her shooting and her near death experience in the hospital. She falls and accidentally cuts her arm on a glass.
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The sniper strikes again, but this time his victim is only wounded. Beckett does her best to calm the injured woman. Afterward, she runs to the bathroom and has a panic attack. Esposito takes Beckett to the evidence room and makes her hold the rifle that the sniper who shot her used, telling her that the gun is just a tool, and the man who shot her is not omnipotent, just damaged. “So am I,” says Beckett.
They find more surveillance footage, which indicates that the sniper targeted specific victims. Castle realizes that the suspect has a coffee cup from the same cafe that the first victim frequented. Conveniently, it is not a chain so it is easy to find the location. Beckett wonders why the sniper did not shoot from the roof, which would have been a better vantage point. Her own inability to climb the ladder to the top of the building due to her injuries makes her realize that the sniper has a disability.
At the coffeehouse, Castle overhears a bunch of conversations about the customer’s successes. The coffee must be a magic elixir that makes everyone’s dreams come true, because usually coffeehouses are full of starving writers. Castle theorizes that the sniper targeted the customers because he is jealous of their success. Maybe he just needs to drink more so he can be a coffee achiever too. The owner tells them a homeless man with a prosthetic leg frequents the place. Amazing TV police technology enables them to hone in on a former Marine who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident.
They find a string of paper dolls, indicating that the sniper plans to kill a group of people this time. The dolls point to a location in Central Park, where a high school track team plans to celebrate its victory. Beckett finds the sniper before he can act. He knocks her gun out of her hands. He believes that God took things away from him and gave them to other people. Beckett shows him her scar to convince him that everyone has problems. It seems like she might have convinced him to surrender peacefully until he points his gun at her. Esposito, stationed near-by, has no choice but to take him out. It’s good sniper versus evil sniper. How come the SWAT team from the bank robbery episode wasn’t on this case?
Beckett thanks Castle for giving her space. It would be amazing if she told him she remembered him saying he loved her before she was shot, but of course she does not. Instead she asks Dr. Worf for help dealing with not only the shooting, but her mother’s death. He tells her she can make peace with it, but only if she’s ready. She insists that she is. Let’s hope Dr. Worf tells her that she will be a whole, happy person when she gets together with Castle.