‘Castle’: Road Trip Reconciliation

Nathan Fillion and Molly Quinn on "Castle" (Photo: ABC)

Last week, Alexis (Molly Quinn) was furious when Castle (Nathan Fillion) insulted her boyfriend, Pi — so furious that she did not accept his apology even when he offered to buy her ice cream. So in this week’s episode of “Castle,” he finally figured out how to make things right with his daughter. He freed a wrongly accused death-row inmate. The girl drove a hard bargain. It was great seeing Castle and Alexis as a father-daughter crime-solving duo, but the light and jaunty family road-trip premise was a little bit at odds with the dark, life-and-death nature of the case.

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Alexis Asks for a Favor

In addition to studying environmental science, Alexis has been taking a criminal law class of the sort normally offered in law school in which she works with the Innocence Project. What an overachiever! Alexis is in court when Frank, the defendant she has been trying to help, loses his final appeal. His execution was set to take place in three days. Convinced that Frank was not a killer, she asked Ryan and Esposito to help investigate. They sent some physical evidence to a crime lab but were unable to get a rush on it. They pointed out the obvious: solving a decades-old murder on a tight timeline was a job for Castle. She reached out to her father, though she made it clear that she was still angry with him. It soon became clear that helicopter parent Castle had been following the case from afar. He agreed to travel to Pennsylvania with her to investigate.

Road Trip

Castle initially treated the case as a father-daughter bonding trip. Alexis refused to joke with him or talk about her boyfriend, which, given the circumstances, was understandable. Frank told Castle how he ended up getting arrested. He was working on his car when his house’s smoke alarm went off. Then he heard screams. He ran across the street to his neighbor Kim’s house and found her body. When he heard sirens, he panicked and tried to remove his fingerprints from the crime scene.  He had a record and the police never considered other suspects. Castle and Alexis investigated myriad possible suspects, including the victim’s ex-boyfriend. Eventually, they realized that Kim was the unwitting Walter White to several teens she tutored in chemistry who were cooking meth. Frank’s brother’s textbook was found at the crime scene. Beckett (Stana Katic) interrogated him in New York and found him evasive. It turned out that Frank found his brother at the crime scene and had been covering for him all these years because he blamed himself for causing a car accident in which his brother was injured. His brother didn’t even remember committing the crime.

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But, in a moment of unlikely inspiration, Castle realized that a wall direction, which broke during the crime, was actually a clock that pinpointed the time of death as a half hour before Frank and his brother arrived. The killer was a local police officer. As anyone who watches “The Good Wife” knows, getting a judge to reconsider a death penalty case after appeals is impossible, but in the “Castle” universe, the flimsy, circumstantial evidence and Castle’s theory was enough to get Frank exonerated.

Alexis, impressed by Castle’s dedication to her cause, forgave him.

Beckett Has Stepmother Issues

Beckett was hurt that Alexis never asked her for help with the case, though if she was mad at Castle, why would she go to his fiancee? She confided to Lainie (Tamala Jones) that she feared that she’ll always be on the outside of Alexis and Castle’s relationship. Given that Alexis has always gotten along with Beckett, and that, now that she is an adult with her own apartment that won’t be much of a factor in their marriage, her concerns seemed like they came out of nowhere. Lainie advised her that all families are imperfect. It’s up to her to make her baggage match Castle and Alexis’s baggage.

“Castle” airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.

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

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