“Castle” is at its best when Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) are directly involved in the mystery of the week. So this week’s episode, “After Hours,” presumably inspired by the movie of the same name, which found them trapped in the Bronx while working through issues in their relationship, was a delight.
Castle and Beckett’s relationship is now serious enough that they have decided to introduce their parents to each other. Unfortunately, Martha (Susan Sullivan) and Jim do not get along. Martha’s opinion that baseball is boring does not sit well with Jim, a true fan of the game. So Castle and Beckett are relieved when they get a call about a murder so they can leave. Castle says there have been worse dinners, but all he can come up with is the scene from “Aliens.” Ha!
The victim of the week is a priest, whose body was found in an abandoned building far from his parish. He was shot three times at close range, making it look like a professional hit. A bartender tells him a guy named Leo witnessed the shooting.
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Ryan is terrified to interrogate a nun who worked with the victim because he went to Catholic school. Sister Mary is certain that Michael “Mickey” Dolan, a mobster killed him. They were childhood friends, and the priest was trying to get him to leave organized crime. They argued a couple days before he died. The father left church in the middle of mass because he got a call about Dolan. By the end of the interview, Esposito is also scared of the nun.
As Beckett and Castle head to Leo’s apartment in scary section of the Bronx, they argue about whose parent was at fault for the dinner from hell. In the hallway, two of Dolan’s associates point guns at them and steal their wallets and phones. Beckett shows them her badge, and she and Castle manage to disarm them and run into the apartment. The men bang on the door. Leo’s phone line has been cut. Castle tells Leo they are there to save him. They climb out the window only to find that Beckett’s car has been stolen. They find a payphone, but it’s broken. Leo, a paper salesman, is terrified.
Castle rings a stranger’s doorbell. He pours beer on them and refuses to call the cops, saying they don’t come to this neighborhood anyway. Beckett breaks into a car to steal a cellphone out of the front seat, but it’s password protected so they can’t use it. The trio hide at a playground, trying to avoid the mob henchmen who keep driving by. Leo says they are six blocks from the subway. Castle thinks they will be sitting ducks if the train is late. Finally the phone rings. It’s the owner, who is furious that her phone has been stolen. When they try to tell her what is going on she thinks they are threatening her. She hangs up on the, then uses an app to disable the phone. Beckett sees a cab. They chase after it. Leo falls. The cab driver is off duty and won’t help them. are approaching, so they climb down what appears to be a grate into a basement.
As Castle and Beckett argue more about Jim and Martha, Leo volunteers, based on his years of therapy, that their argument is about them, not their parents. Beckett admits that she has been thinking about how different she and Castle are, and is worried that the bubble will eventually burst on their relationship. Castle reassures her, only to interrupt when he gets a CB radio working. Unfortunately, the mic of the radio does not work, and nobody can hear his calls for help. When the coast seems clear, Castle persuades Beckett that he should make a run for a 24 hour Chinese restaurant alone.
As he reaches the restaurant, the enforcers find him and drag him into their car at gunpoint. Dolan demands to know Leo’s location. He tries to read Castle’s poker-bluff face as he rattles off potential locations.
Back at the station, Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) frantically try to locate Caskett. Martha and Jim show up because they are concerned about their children. Gates (Penny Johnson Jerrald) admits they can’t find them. Martha confides to Jim that she constantly worries about castle. Jim admits he still worries about Beckett. Ryan and Esposito rewatch the footage of the priest and Dolan and realize that after the meeting, the cop talked to the Feds, Gates calls in the Feds. It turns out that Dolan is the potential informant. It was a rival mob family who killed Dolan.
One of the henchmen busts into the basement. Beckett knocks him out. Leo grabs the loose gun and points it at her. She asks him what he’s doing. He says, “My job.” He tells her he is an independent contractor. She realizes he killed the priest and pretended to be a witness to draw out Dolan.
Castle begs Dolan not to kill Beckett. Colan tells Castle that he would never have killed the priest. He just needs to talk to the witness so he can discover who killed the priest. On orders from Leo, Beckett calls Dolan on the hit man’s phone. He offers her Castle in exchange for the witness. She demands to speak to Castle. He tells her he thinks Mickey wants to talk. Beckett says she hopes so. She wants all four of them to go to a baseball game together since it’s something they will all enjoy. Castle knows something is wrong. They have set up a meeting.
Leo tells Beckett it’s a shame she and Castle won’t be able to work out their issues. Leo starts shooting into the car. Beckett runs to it, scared that Castle is dead. It’s empty. Castle and Dolan approach him. Dolan points a gun at Leo. Catle says that the priest wouldn’t want him to kill Leo. Dolan puts down his gun. The cops arrive and arrest Leo.
Beckett tells Castle she thought she lost him. They return to the station. Gates tells them their parents are in the beak room. Castle says it’s okay if their parents don’t get along. They are surprised to find their parents laughing together – and possibly flirting.