For five years, “Castle” fans have speculated about the identity of Rick Castle’s (Nathan Fillion) father. Monday, we finally met him, in what was quite possibly the show’s finest episode, “Hunt.” It’s a stylish, emotionally intense tribute to James Bond and other European spy movies. Last week’s episode ended with the kidnapped Alexis (Molly Quinn) realizing that her captors had taken her all the way to Paris. This week we learned the shocking reason why. The whole episode was so good that it’s difficult to single out highlights.
Castle Does his Best Liam Neeson Impression: In Paris, Alexis is dragged back from the roof by the kidnappers. So much for her daring Parkour escape. Well, not that there’s any reason to believe that Alexis knows Parkour. But when in France…
Meanwhile, in New York, Castle and the parents of the other kidnapping victim, Sara, are shown the sketch of an older man that none of them recognize. The Skype signal from Alexis’s call has been traced to Paris, so they know where the girls are. Sara’s parents claim that if they pay the ransom the girls will be freed. The dad’s brother will make the drop. Conveniently, there are security cameras in the area of the Seine where it is happening which, thanks to the unlimited budget of television law enforcement, Castle and Sara’s parents are able to watch from New York. After a few scary moments, the kidnappers take the money and release Sara. Unfortunately, there is no sign of Alexis.
Catch Up on Last Week’s Episode of “Castle”:
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In fact, Sara hasn’t seen Alexis since she attempted to escape. Castle tells Beckett (Stana Katic) he needs to talk to Martha alone, but really he’s headed to the airport to track down Alexis, and the kidnappers, himself. It’s “Taken 3: The Novelist.”
In Paris, Castle meets with his contact, Gaston who gave him technical advice on his mystery novels. Like the song says, no one writes like Gaston. Castle persuades him to introduce him to a sketchy mercenary who knows how to track people down without involving the authorities. Castle has a very spy movie meeting with the fixer, Henri (Christopher Heyerdahl), in a church. The man demands half his payment in advance. He promises to find Alexis but can’t guarantee that she is alive. They walk through a creepy tunnel where a blind guy, the Mole, uses his supersonic hearing to analyze the recording of Alexis’s Skype call and pinpoint her location. It’s preposterous but so so cool. Castle insists on accompanying Henri. The Mole was right about the location. But Alexis is gone and it’s been cleaned out. Henri describes it as “tradecraft.” He thinks Intelligence was involved. He finds a listening device and speaks into the bug telling the kidnappers to be smart and come to him. If they’re stupid, they know who he is and what he will do to them. They agree to meet. Damn, this guy is a bad ass. Suddenly, Henri won’t let him come to the negotiations because he is too emotional. That should have been Castle’s tip off that something was wrong.
Beckett Gets Bad Ass: In New York, Beckett decides to track down the kidnappers legally by investigating the death of the man that they killed, Robert Henson. His girlfriend has no interest in talking to the cops, so Beckett breaks several laws. She kicks the woman’s chair, knocking her to the ground, after she calls Beckett a bitch. Beckett tells her, “My partner’s daughter is missing and you are in in my way… I’m not a cop today honey.” The woman gives up Henson’s most recent address. It’s an apartment that has been trashed. The hard drive on his computer has been wiped. The same wizard who could beam the Seine into the precinct is able to undelete everything. The drive is full of photos of Alexis. She wasn’t in the wrong place. She was the target!
Spy Dad: Henri returns to Castle with a picture of Alexis holding a current newspaper as proof that she is alive. What will kidnappers do when newspapers move entirely to the web? Castle has a day to get the money. He goes to the drop spot with Henri, who no longer finds him too emotional. Castle ignores Beckett’s call. Bad move. Henri puts a gun to Castle’s head, telling him he would have never taken the job if he knew who Alexis was. He has sold Castle out to the kidnappers, who lead him away. It looks like they are about to shoot Castle but then bullets fly through the air, killing them. The guy from the sketch we saw at the beginning of the episode appears. It’s James Brolin! He tells Castle to get in the car with him. Now he answers Beckett’s call. She tells him about Alexis being the target. The man shoots out the phone, saying it will allow Castle’s location to be traced. Castle complains that it was a $200 phone, which is really cheap. Is Castle still using a Blackberry Curve? The man tells Castle he is the good guy. Then he suggests that if Castle is so upset about the $200 phone he might want to brings the $3 million ransom briefcase with him. He calls himself Jackson Hunt, acknowledging that it’s a made up name. Jackson has an untraceable cloned version of Castle’s phone. Alexis’s kidnapper calls and asks Castle to give the phone to Jackson. The kidnapper has been after Jackson for years. He tells him to meet him tomorrow at 6AM. Either Jackson dies or Alexis will. Castle can’t figure out their connection. Jackson blurts out: “Because she’s my granddaughter. Richard, I’m your father!” Best act out ever!
Despite the urgent circumstances, Castle has a lot of questions for the man who, as far as he knows, spent one night with his mom then bailed. As he puts it, “My Dad’s a spy. Does my mom know?” Jackson admits he had to leave town for a job right after his night with Martha (Susan Sullivan). He didn’t know about Castle’s existence for a year. He couldn’t ever communicate with them because of his work. But he kept tabs on them. When Castle was ten, he saw him at the library and handed him a copy of Casino Royale. Castle says the book inspired him to become a writer. Jackson got Castle access to the CIA so he could use their resources for his novels. It’s the most touching deadbeat dad story ever. Couldn’t Jackson have wired Martha some child support? But Brolin is just perfect in this role. He makes Jackson instantly lovable. The world’s scariest KGB operative has taken Alexis because Jackson killed his wife. Sara was kidnapped with Alexis so it would be international news and garner the intelligence community’s attention. I think the kidnapping of a renowned author would have done that on its own. Jackson thinks if he can get into the KGB compound, he can rescue Alexis.
So father and son go on an adventure together. Jackson asks Castle, “You’ve been playing cop for years. You ready to play spy?” Castle attaches a detonator to a conduit in the sewers while talking to his dad on a walkie talkie. Unfortunately, he gets caught. He is taken blindfolded to Alexis, who seems pretty calm about being locked in a cage in the middle of a luxurious room. She is thrilled to see him. He admits he was kidnapped trying to rescue her. Castle asks the kidnapper to free Alexis and take him instead. Mr. KGB uses the walkie talkie to tell Jackson that he has his son. He gives him ten seconds to give him up or he will kill Castle. Jackson says, “You won’t kill Castle, because you’ll be dead. It was all part of the plan.” He gave Castle an exploding watch (awesome! )to use to break Alexis out of the cage and instructions for how to escape while he distracted the kidnappers by attacking them. They are to keep running until they reach the U.S. Embassy. They will get a cover story. Jackson will disappear again if he survives. Castle wants more time with his dad, but Jackson tells him it isn’t possible given his line of work.
Home Sweet Home: Castle and Alexis return home to a delighted Martha and Beckett. Beckett says “Please don’t do anything like that again without me.” Aww. Jackson has sent Castle an envelope with a copy of Casino Royale. That’s just perfect.