vlcsnap-00001

What a year of the spy Castle is having. “Deep Cover” reintroduces Rick’s operative father, hunting a mole by planting bodies in Kate’s jurisdiction and slipping GPS trackers onto everyone he hugs. Father knows best?

The Players

  • Director: Tom Wright
  • Writers: Terrance Paul Winter
  • Cast: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Molly Quinn, Susan Sullivan, James Brolin

Episode Title: “Deep Cover”

The circumstances of a record store clerk’s murder are particularly odd. But it turns out he was a genius hacker who may or may not have been helping entrap a CIA mole. The case isn’t nearly as difficult as setting a date for Castle and Beckett’s wedding, or seeing Castle’s father again. The encryption on the victim’s laptop is intense, but some data leads the two to ‘Anderson Cross,’ and his company of multimillion dollar money transfers. Cross is actually Jackson Hunt, Castle’s dad, tasked with finding the mole. The hacker learned his identity but was murdered before he could tell anyone. Castle is shocked to see his father again, yet is drawn to meet with him. Unfortunately, when Hunt is shot trying to nab the mole, he has to turn to Castle and Martha for a little kitchen surgery. Even more complications arise when Beckett comes over and is told the entire history. Hunt insists he has to go to a drop where the mole, Gemini, is uploading the CIA’s list of deep cover operatives, but Beckett and Castle volunteer to go instead. The plan goes south when Gemini appears and kidnaps Castle at gunpoint. Before anything horrible can happen, Hunt rescues his son and executes Gemini. The fact he didn’t let them get out of pocket only slightly makes up for the fact he knowingly sent them into an ambush. Beckett appears just as Hunt vanishes with the body, and comforts Rick. But he reaffirms that Kate is his real family now, and the two set a rather convenient wedding date: September.

The Good

  • Con-ey Island: Oh, Nathan Fillion, only you can hit on a Weekend At Bernie’s joke with the same conviction to uncover relevant plot points. Castle was in fine form. He was thrilled to be playing spycraft with his dad and enchanted with Beckett, in search of and always disquieted by the truth. Fillion’s always on point, but acting with Brolin clearly gets him to pay that extra bit of attention. It’s awesome to watch Castle squirming, half-knowing he’s being conned and half-wanting it because he wants any interaction with his dad.
  • One of Those Faces: James Brolin, we’d listen to you read some Python or C++ in a room for an hour. Brolin gets away with the par-boiled noir and classic absentee dad dialogue he’s given and then some. We’re even happy to ignore that weird golden ascot he was wearing when he and Castle met in Central Park. Hunt’s such a pro because the actor is a pro.
  • Play It Again: Since we’re talking about actors here, all hail Susan Sullivan, queen of unsolicited advice and stone-cold pragmatism. She and Brolin played off each other beautifully, even when it involved a little latex glove surgery and low blood sugar. But it was really Martha’s end scene that reminds us these people have deeper game than what show often gives them.

The So-So

  • Looks Nothing Like Him: Ryan sure was back fast from paternity leave/almost dying. The “looks like Espo” joke and the runner about Beckett’s flexibility are classic Castle humor. Unfortunately, the couple banter was so excellent that the other stuff comes off as a little easy in comparison.
  • There’s An App For Everything: Including contrivance! Look, it’s hard to get mad at TV technology because it’s not designed to be real. It’s designed to move the plot. Still, Beckett’s ‘wifi tracker’ app was reaching.

The Bad

  • Gemini Falling: The shock of killing Gemini onscreen made up for the transparency of Hunt using Castle as bait. How Brolin moves so damn fast is the real mystery here, from getting himself out of the East River to Castle’s apartment to the library to stealing a body to outside Castle’s apartment again. It’s an exhausting amount of legwork for a guy even without a bullet in his gut and low blood sugar. But although the storyline is resolved as a stand-alone issue, Gemini’s history on the show – suggested only when Hunt mentions “Paris” – is bigger. Where’s Alexis in all of this? Surely she would’ve been perfect to get that juice, now she’s had so much experience with Pi.

Overall

“Deep Cover” was a fine little Tom Clancy thriller of an episode, but it was really the emotional weight of Rick’s dad coming back that upped the caliber of everyone’s game. The episode had a pleasing heft. But Castle would’ve had us with the witty banter. Fillion and Katic’s timing continues to be impeccable. Roll on, Season 7 wedding premiere!

Rating: 8/10

Castle airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Do you think Jackson Hunt will crash Castle’s wedding? Let us know in the comments.