‘Castle’: Ryan Goes Undercover

Seamus Dever as Ryan in "Castle" (ABC)

This week, Ryan (Seamus Dever) takes center stage on “Castle.” It’s a bit of an homage to “Donnie Brasco” as we learn he has a secret past as an undercover cop. While the premise is a little silly, it features some great character development for Ryan, Castle (Nathan Fillion) and some fun relationship developments.

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The Mob Cop: The victim of the  week, Jimmy, died in a bakery. He was shot before falling into a giant bowl of batter. If you’ve got to die, licking the batter seems like the way to go. Jimmy owed money to the Irish Mob. When a  a bar owner, Siobhan, is brought in for questioning, sees Ryan, she plants a kiss on him calling him Fenton. When he says that he is married – and a cop, she slaps hm. It turns out that Ryan used to work undercover, posing as a member of the Irish Mob for a year and a half. Siobhan was his girlfriend, which always seemed like the most screwed up aspect of deep cover.  A FBI agent reveals that Jimmy was an FBI informant who was trying to get the mob’s bible,  a book of all their transactions. Why would they be stupid enough to write them down? He tells Ryan that  Siobhan is his new snitch. She called Jimmy to warn him.Ryan wants her to be sent to witness protection. The FBI agent says she has to earn it. So Ryan volunteers to go back undercover and get the bible. Apparently, the mobsters thought Fenton left town to avoid prosecution. I get that New York City is a big place, and Staten Island is pretty insular, but it’s amazing that nobody discovered him before now.

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Ryan is motivated to take this huge risk because he and Jenny just saw a fertility specialist and he is worried his boys can’t swim. Jenny is the world’s most understanding wife, given that he is risking his life for his ex. He gets Method:  a new haircut, a leather jacket, a lot of looking in the mirror saying, ” I am Fenton O’Connell,”a whole bunch of times. It’s pretty cheesy.  He shows up at Siobhan’s bar and manages to quickly regain Bobby’s confidence by offering to supply him with drugs and disarming his lieutenant, Liam.

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Back at the Precinct, Beckett realizes Bobby didn’t kill Jimmy. Someone set him up. Esposito meets with him in a coffeehouse to let him know. Wouldn’t it have been less dangerous to set up a couple of email accounts so Ryan could stay in communication, since these mobsters seem  like pencil and paper loving luddites? Esposito (Jon Huertas), concerned that his friend will get himself killed, wants Ryan to walk away. But Ryan is determined to risk his life to protect the woman he used pretty terribly. He  does tell Siobhan thst he had real feelings for her.  Liam seems like he has figured out that Ryan is a rat. He gets Ryan to drive him to the docks. It turns out that the rat he found is Siobhan. he wants Fenton to prove he didn’t know by killing her. Ryan points his gun at her, but can’t go through with it. Instead, he announces he’s a cop and that he stole Liam’s phone and called his partner so that everyone at the precinct heard everything. Esposito, Beckett (Stana Katic) and Castle dramatically step out of the shadows.  The Irish Mobsters from “The Town” hang their heads in shame.

Castle Reveals a Deep, Slightly Dark Secret: Beckett tells Castle he said the name Jordan 14 times in his sleep. Castle is cagey about whether Jordan is a man or a woman:  “Most of what I say in meaningless. Why would it be any different when I’m asleep?” At  the end of the episode Castle reveals the secret. Watch the clip to find out whether Castle is thinking about almonds or the Middle East.

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Actually, Jordan was a defunct car company. In boarding school he paid someone to write a term paper about it. The teacher read the paper out loud because he loved it so much. It was the first time he got any recognition.  He became a writer trying to live up to expectations. So much of Castle is about trying to be something that he is not. He feels like an inauthentic writer, and he has chosen to become someone who spends time with cops without joining the force. It’s like he always puts himself in the position of feeling like a fraud.  He still feels guilty about his childhood misdeed, and adorably is worried that Beckett will think less of him because of it. Castle, we would all be in trouble if were were judged by our behavior as a high school freshman.  Beckett assures him that she likes him just a little more now.

Even More Ryan: When Ryan returns home, Jenny tells him that it turns out they didn’t need fertility testing. She is already pregnant! Ryan is going to have the first “Castle” baby. Maybe he should name it Fenton as a tribute to his alter ego.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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