I liked this one. Unlike a few episodes back when Castle was dying from exposure to poisonous gas, the threat to Castle's life here was much more immediate, and thus more believable. I want to say that this was a stronger episode than the average fare on this show. However, when looking at how the episode fits into a larger whole, I see a lot of problems. Let's take a look.
Beckett is bored without her job, since the FBI firing thing is apparently sticking, and she can't get her job at the precinct again because of a hiring freeze. Then, Captain Gates calls Castle, asking for him to come in. He does, bringing Beckett with him. Apparently a woman who is suspected of murdering her boyfriend is holding people hostage in a dentist's office. The weird part? She's asking to speak to Castle, and only Castle.
And not just on the phone, either. Castle goes in to talk to this crazy girl, Emma, who it turns out is a super fan of Castle's books. She says that she didn't kill her boyfriend, and that she wants Castle's help to prove her innocence. At first it seems tricky. This girl is clearly a piece of work, and there's a very real chance she could have killed her boyfriend while drugged/drunk and be unable to remember it. But throughout the episode, we dig further and further into her past.
She was adopted, accidentally killed a foster brother in an old home, etc. etc. It's a tragic back story, and it all culminates in the discovery that her biological father was a super rich guy, whose son-in-law was afraid that the news of a biological heir would lose him his share of the family fortune. So, he killed the girl's boyfriend, who had just uncovered the adoption paperwork. In the end, Mr. Rich Guy decides to be a real father for his daughter for the first time.
How sweet. While Emma is holding Castle and the others hostage, she gets into a struggle with one of the men and Castle accidentally gets shot. Luckily, his bullet proof vest proves effective. This scene, though of course melodramatic, was still pretty interesting to watch. I'm always happy to see Beckett and Castle being adorable together.
With the real bad guy apprehended, there was only one more loose end. Emma's father pulls some strings and gets Beckett back on the team! The precinct applauds as they officially welcome her back. Then we get a kiss between Beckett and Castle, and all seems well.
As I mentioned, I did like this episode. The plot was interesting for an individual story. Castle's crazy fan, Emma, was an interesting character. It added a personal element to the mystery because Castle was so immediately in danger. There were some typical fun quippy moments between Castle and Beckett.
However, there were also problems. For one, Emma's back story was perhaps just a bit too crazy and enormous. And everything got wrapped up just a touch too neatly. Then there's Beckett's resolution. After an attempt at an interesting divergence with the FBI plot line, we're right back to where we left off. I was hoping for more growth with Beckett's character, but it doesn't look like we're getting that. In future, I hope we see her struggle with the demotion. I'll be very annoyed if we slip back into old habits with no real impact.
So, on its own, a decent enough episode. However, as a part of the larger whole, we are taking steps backwards, and that's not a good thing.