I shall always remember this episode of Castle as one of the most momentous of the entire series. Perlmutter has emotions. And not just ‘excessive snark’. Alright, I kid – I kid. Shall we talk Zombies?
That was the focus of this week’s episode, “Undead Again”. The show opens with Monsieur Castle stalking his lovely daughter, armed with a Laser Tag gun and vest. He scares her as she’s reading on her (what is presumably an) iPad. She’s clearly irritated, and has a talk with her dad about growing up, and that she’s having a hard time struggling choosing between her college options.
During a sobering discussion with Martha, Castle finally figures out that he’s been trying to punish Kate for her dishonesty. He decides that instead of continuing at the precinct and making both of their lives miserable, he’s going to make the case he’s called out on – his last case with the 12th.
He catches up with the gang at the crime scene – the victim being murdered in the parking garage of his office. Doc Perlmutter takes great delight (for once) in the fact that the dead man’s arm has not only been mauled, but it seems to be a human bite. They learn about an incident between the dead man and one of his co-workers, so they decide to question him. They find him at his home, chained to his radiator. He excitedly rambles on about emergency services disbelieving his story, and that they should shoot him when he ‘turns’. When Kate asks him what he means, he explains that both he and his co-worker were bitten by a zombie.
Of course, Kate doesn’t believe it could possibly be a ‘real’ zombie – since they don’t exist – but Rick’s imagination goes into overdrive. One of the things I love most about Castle is that his mind is open to almost all possibilities. (by the way, don’t get me started about zombies…) It’s such an endearing quality.
Luckily, Beckett and her team don’t have to believe him when he implies the undead could be responsible – because Kevin sees what appears to be an actual shambling, mind-numbed, rotting zombie in footage of the area near the murder scene. Castle takes great pleasure in this revelation, even going so far as to brandish a telescoping pointer to highlight the figure, and then giving a high five to another detective when exiting the conference room.
Yadda, yadda… leads are followed, and Rick & Kate end up investigating a warehouse. Turns out it’s abandoned, but as they’re leaving, a woman runs past them – screaming for them to run. As they look around, they hear noises – after which they are confronted on all sides by a ‘zombie hoard’.
Rick valiantly tries to protect Kate while also panicking. But Kate isn’t buying it. She firmly tells the shambling group to stop pretending to be zombies, and they do. They’re part of an underground live-action role playing game where they dress and act like undead while chasing ‘normals’. If they catch anyone, those people are turned and have to join the crowd.
The LARPers are pulled into the precinct for questioning – and they’re given the name of the zombie from the video. Rysposito go to his apartment to get him, and find him ‘dead’. Cue another visit to the eternally happy Perlmutter.
While chatting in the morgue with the emergency backup M.E., he sticks the body with a syringe, and the dead undead man gasps as he sits up from the table. Kate runs after him when he leaves the room – gun drawn – and instructs Castle to call for backup. Thanks to that development, we now know that you have to dial 9 for an outside line from the morgue.
While discussing the suspect, who was subsequently taken to the hospital and placed in ICU, Castle reiterates his belief that the man was motivated by his need for ‘tasty brains’. Kevin asks him if he really thinks that’s the case, and Rick confesses that he doesn’t, but he does love driving Beckett crazy.
They identify the man in ICU as Kyle Jennings, and when he awakens, Kate and Rick visit him to get some answers. He remembers nothing about the incident – even though all evidence firmly points towards his guilt. Blood, bite marks, bruising on his hands, and most damning of all, the picture of him taken from the footage.
In a brief aside, Kate and Rick have a veiled conversation about remembering things that are important. Beckett assures him that when a person is ready and feels safe, they might be able to talk about the things they are hiding. Subtext anyone?
Perlmutter arrives to take care of his now living patient, and tells them that a drug called Scopolamine was found in the man’s system. The effects of the drug include hallucinations, suggestible behavior, and somnambulatory unconsciousness. (yeah, that’s right, I know my SAT words) Since the drug was administered at the time of the zombie walk, they determine that someone at the event must have drugged him in order to force him into killing the victim.
They question an attendee that they originally dismissed because he appeared influenced by some sort of mind-altering substance in his first interview. He tells Rick & Kate that he got the drug from a man known as a go-to guy for purchase of the said ‘zombie drug’. He identifies the dealer as a man they’d spoken to earlier. This suspect just so happens to be the boyfriend of a woman who had been persued by her ex – the victim.
They have enough evidence to hold him for 24 hours, but not any that prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that he’s the guilty party. They call the girlfriend back when Rick suggests they approach the man from another angle. She refuses to believe her man could have done this heinous thing, and storms out of the precinct.
The episode ends after they release the suspect, and fearing retaliation from his scapegoat – demands protection. Espo accompanies him to his home, where they are met by the rotting hulk of what appears to be Kyle Jennings. Of course, it was all for show – because after the man confesses in fear for his life, the man pulls off part of the zombie disguise to reveal Castle is the one behind the facade.
When Kyle is released, he thanks Rick & Kate for their dedication to the case, and discovering his innocence. Rick asks only that he be able to keep the outfit for another day, but Kyle gives it to him outright – not wanting to relive his experiences while wearing it.
Rick & Kate have another discussion about her therapy and state of being, including a reference to her ever-present ‘wall’. No subtext needed this time. Rick softens towards her, and decides to continue his work – as he promises to see her tomorrow.
Castle sits in his office while still wearing the outfit. After rethinking her need for maturity, Alexis stalks her father outfitted in her laser tag gear. But Castle is prepared. He jumps up and ‘kills’ her while yelling. He exclaims ‘victory is mine’ and declares himself the winner of their 14-year long game. Alexis lets him know that she’s decided to stay nearby by attending Columbia, because she doesn’t feel right going further away from her family.
She makes her father promise to give her space, and he does… promise to try.
Another really fun episode – which makes two entertaining hours back-to-back. Of course it also means that we’re only days away from “Always”, the Season 4 finale of Castle.
I’ll see you back next week – and hopefully soon thereafter we shall learn of a Season 5 pickup! *fingers crossed*. Please see this post if you’d like to watch a few sneak peeks for next week’s episode.