Castle Season 6 Review “Disciple”

Castle Season 6 Episode 9 Disciple (5)

In more recent episodes, “Castle” has finally managed to get the tone of the more comedic shows correct, while stumbling a bit with the more serious ones. Lest we forget, the season did not start out well, with the main team splintered apart from one another, new characters we didn’t really care about thrown into the mix, and scatter-shot writing. Thankfully, the writers have gotten it together, and the whole thing is starting to feel like what it probably was: a failed experiment to shake things up with the show and take it in a new direction. The truth is, though, when it comes to procedural-type shows, most fans don’t care for radical changes, hence the backlash.

I’ve liked the recent spate of episodes more than the early ones this season, but, at the same time, the cases were a bit all over the place in tone, sometimes genuinely funny, sometimes a bit too dark. In “Disciple,” they finally got one of the dark ones right, while including just the right sprinkling of humor, so that it wasn’t completely bleak. For one thing, the case itself was a doozy: victims bearing an uncanny resemblance to members of the team starting cropping up all over town.

It was more than a little unnerving seeing Lanie and Esposito as victims themselves, and made all the more creepy by the fact that it wasn’t actually them. I can only imagine what someone confronted with such a thing in real-life would do, and the whole episode, I was admittedly on edge, waiting for the obvious shoes to drop: victims that looked like Beckett or Castle. Thankfully, they never did, but you just know it’s probably going to happen.

For, as you know, it’s not over yet. This was, in fact, the set up for an ongoing case, and one that was not solved by the end of the episode. I really like multi-part cases on shows like this, at least if they’re well done, and this one was. The hook was properly compelling, and the set-up was clever, and then they delivered the real bombshell: the mastermind was, in fact, either Jerry Tyson himself, aka 3XK, who was presumed dead, or, as the title implied, a “Disciple” of his. Either way, the people involved with the murders were clearly fixated on the 3XK case, as they went to lengths to steal all the relevant files on it.

I thought guest stars William Mapother (“Lost”) and Annie Wersching (“24”) did an effective job of being cagey and more than a little off with their characters. Mapother has always creeped me out a bit, but the real surprise was Wersching, who was one of the good guys- or girls, as it were- on “24.” From the jump on “Castle,” you knew she was a bit on the skeevy side, but I was definitely caught off-guard by the revelation that she was part of what would seem to be a team helping 3XK, and possibly even involved with him. Well played, Wersching. (I have really got to stop crushing on redheads– they are nothing but trouble. Moving on…)

On the more amusing side, that was a cute bit with the fruit at the beginning of the episode, it reminded me of a similar scene on “Twin Peaks” back in the day. I also laughed at the bit about vacationing in New Zealand- Beckett: “Could we go somewhere more romantic and less Hobbit-y?” Castle: “Why does everyone think those two are mutually exclusive?” Granted, this was mostly a straight-forward dramatic episode, but I like it when they sneak some funny stuff in like that.

There were definitely some frission-inducing moments throughout the episode: the way the two bodies of the look-a-likes seem to hover above the ground and Carl’s subsequent description of it; the scene where Lanie revealed the corpse that looked like her even had her freshly-made tattoos, and her realization that she must have been drugged and…gulp…”inspected,” for lack of a better word when she was unconscious; and, of course, the final bit with the empty plastic surgeon’s office and the note reading “Better Luck Next Time,” accompanied by a pen containing a flash drive that played “We’ll Meet Again” when Castle plugged it in. Yikes! I even got some backwards shivers when I recalled some of the things the not-so-good doctor said to Castle and Beckett in retrospect. Pretty freaky stuff all around.

Although I was a bit upset to see that the thread wouldn’t be picked up next week in favor of another case, I suppose the positive aspect of that is that we likely know what the last episode or two of the season are going to be about. If they’re half as good as this episode we’re in for a treat. So, good on ya, “Castle.” You managed to right a sinking ship, just in time. Now if they could just keep it on course…

What did you think of “Castle” this week? Happy (so to speak) to see the return of the 3XK killer? Were you fooled by the doctor? Did you have any idea what was going on before the big reveal? Do you like your breakfast to smile back at you? Which would you choose: Albania or Finland? Let me know and I’ll see you next week!