This week’s Christmas episode of “Castle,” “Secret Santa” was sweeter than a candy cane and as funny as a “Christmas Story.” It’s a Wonderful episode.
A dead Santa falls out of the sky in front of a family making snow angels. Hee! Meanwhile Castle (Nathan Fillion) is decorating his trees. He is heartbroken that Alexis (Molly Quinn) wants to spend Christmas Eve with her friends instead of him. She admits she has a date. Beckett (Stana Katic) has decreed that she and Castle will not give each other gifts this year because it’s stressful. On one hand, her lack of materialism is refreshing. On the other, one of the perks of dating a millionaire would be a really nice Christmas gift. Loosen up, Beckett.
Castle is devastated that Santa has died. The victim’s I.D. actually reads Kris Kringle. Castle wonders if he’s the real deal. Beckett thinks he fell out of an airplane. She notices she is wearing custom motorcycle boots that were made in Queens, not the North Pole. There is no flight record. Gates knows that planes that fly under 1300 feet don’t need to file flight plans.
Ryan (Seamus Dever) breaks the news to Espoito (Jon Huertas) that he will be spending Christmas Eve with his wife instead of playing Madden with him.
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Lanie (Tamala Jones) finds a .38 bullet in Santa’s back. Esposito delivers the news that the dead man’s name is Edmund Smith and he lives in the Bronx. He really has come to the morgue to flirt with Lanie. She already has plans, but tells her to call him after the holidays. Aww, poor Esposito.
Edmund’s neighbors, a widow and her teenage son, say he helped the community. The prior week an older man threatened Edmund. The son recognizes a photo of him on Edmund’s wall. It’s an older man with a white beard named David who own a small plane. David turns out to teach people to be department store Santas. David denies killing him. He was upset that Edmund got a print ad that he wanted, but he didn’t do more than yell. He met Edmund five years ago when he was at a low point and convinced him to become a Santa.
It turns out that five years ago his name was James Edmund Smith and he made 500 grand a year in Private Equity. He withdrew 2 grand and called his ex-wife before he died. His wife says Edmund apologized for walking out on her five years ago on Christmas after watching “It’s A Wonderful Life.” He seemed nervous when he left. His cab was followed by a motorcycle. It turns out that Edmund was working on a class action lawsuit against a predatory lender that gave the widow and her son a terrible mortgage. How George Baily of him.
Beckett tells Castle she is stuck working Christmas Eve since Gates doesn’t know she is in a relationship. Esposito reveals that the cabbie took him to an airfield in New Jersey then had the cabbie drive him to Long Island City. It appears Edmund broke into a chopper on the airfield, drove to LIC then was pushed out of the helicopte as he flew back to New Jersey. Edmund crashed a finance firm’s party dressed as Santa where he stole a clock worth 30 grand, enough to pay the lawyer for the lawsuit. They find pipe tobacco at the heilpad and realize David was the pilot. When Esposito goes to arrest him, he attacks him with a giant candy cane. David flew getaway but insists he did not kill him. Edmund wanted to know how much extra weight the helicopter could take. Edmund was shot as he ran into the helicopter. He fell out before he could close the door. They realize the teen neighbor also crashed the party. Edmund was the person who ran the predatory lending company. The teen’s dad died on Christmas Eve six years ago when he crashed his car because he was exhausted from working multiple jobs to pay the mortgage. He admits that Edmund told him what he did last week and asked him to forgive him. He wanted him to sneak into the storage room at the party and steal Sunoco files. They realize the killer was someone who recognized Edmund. The clock turns out to be collateral for a loan that Sunoco collected from the neighbors when the family couldn’t pay. Beckett accuses the financier who used to work with Edmund. He denies it and accuses Edmund’s ex-wife who dropped by the party. The truth is that he visited her to warn that Sunoco was going to get sued and she would lose all her money.
Gates tells Castle that Beckett volunteered to work Christmas Eve earlier that day. When Castle asks her about it, she admits the holidays remind her of her mother’s death. Castle shares his happy childhood memories when Martha always made sure Christmas was special even when they were broke.
Esposito finds the Mrs. Claus lingerie that Ryan has bought for Jennie. Ryan confides that Jennie is ready to have a kid. He isn’t sure. Esposito encourages him to go for it.
Alexis and Martha cancel their plans to be with Castle on Christmas Eve, But he realizes he needs to be with Beckett. Before he can leave for the police station, she surprises him by showing up with a present. She got someone else to cover her shift. They kiss next to Castle’s giant, gorgeous tree. He tells her he didn’t get her anything.
Esposito brings the neighbors the clock that belonged to their family. They invite him to join them for Christmas dinner. Excuse me. Something’s in my eye. Mary Chismukwanzukkah everyone.