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On his knees in his church, a man prays for truth and direction and is shot through the heart; meanwhile, Kate makes her coffee and Martha appears at the precinct. Thus begins a cautionary tale about the wages of deception and lies, the tangled webs of deceit we weave, in all of their destructive manifestations. WHAT lies beneath? What LIES beneath! What lies BENEATH?
Alone Kate makes her special brew; but it is not the same as Rick’s coffee; perhaps it tastes like monkey pee, in battery acid, bitter without him there. She promptly makes a face and throws it out. Martha walks in to talk to her daughter- in- law and to share with her wisdom and insight.
“As you know, my son is a lot of things, some of them good, some not so good, but he is someone you can always count on. That’s a rare thing.” With the truth before her, Kate takes Martha’s words to heart; and Kate’s face reveals all.
Martha’s claims that couples live together: “It’s complicated,” Kate responds, a cop out for sure. Now we recall her telling FBI Special Agent Jordan Shaw how her relationship with Castle was complicated and Jordan’s equal disbelief. Jordan saw the truth also.
The phone rings and Kate announces her name Beckett.
In one of the most poignant and powerful moments of the episode, Martha hugs Kate, the motherless, young woman whom she loves dearly, and thus Martha proclaims the guiding principle, the theme of this extraordinary and thoroughly entertaining episode, written by newcomer Barry O’Brien and directed by Larry Shaw:
“Look, be honest with yourself and be honest with your husband.”
In the many great Castle episodes, parallel situations echo and enhance the main plot, shed insight and understanding from many points of view. Even the main plot revolves around the thematic impact on our two lovers, Rick and Kate. So too this tale. This is Castle at its structural and story- telling best. It is Rick’s story; and it’s Kate’s.
Now, indeed, Dave Johnson is the murder victim, but he is also a famous writer and one of Rick’s heroes: PJ Moffet, author of the much heralded and quintessential best seller “The Butcherbird’s Song.” He is married and lives privately for the past five years in a cheap apartment, claiming to be doing research for his next book, while working as a janitor.
Rick cannot resist the opportunity to work on the murder case and insinuate himself into the 12th Precinct, to wow Kate with his Sherlockian skills, and representing Wendy Johnson, Rick brings the widow to the precinct. He cannot help but notice how gorgeous his wife looks, bringing a hesitant smile to her face. As it turns out, Dave and Wendy have only been married for eight months. “I felt I’d known him my entire life.” Johnson claims. “I grew up loving that book.”
Kate shares a knowing look with Rick. Does Rick know to what extent Kate has been a fan of his writing and of Derek Storm? In the beginning of their saga, she tells her former boyfriend Will Sorenson that Rick does not know and she does not want to feed his ego, but Derek Storm heartens the very distraught and broken Kate in her grave time of need, when her mother was murdered. The novels were inspiration and lifted her heart. Kate loved Rick’s words before she ever met and loved the man.
Johnson has been extremely troubled while working on and researching the mafia. The detectives learn from Milton Cicero, sanitation, mobbed- up individual that Johnson is in witness protection and is actually Jimmy Two Guns O’Malley.
The path leads to Billy O’Rourke, a new “friend” of Rick’s and the guy who snatches Johnson planning to kill him, of course, hypothetically speaking.
Ultimately it is resolved that Johnson is not PJ Moffet the author and is in fact a con man though it makes little sense to Javi what Johnson stands to prove or reap from this con.
In one insightful and extraordinary scene, Rick, Javi and Ryan interview Eric Logan, a man seen arguing with Johnson, a former scam artist and now counselor in Pathological Liars Anonymous, an AA modeled organization. Behind the people seeking help and sharing their stories appears the motto of the organization.
“Truth hurts for a minute, and lies forever.” Javi tends to dismiss the organization and Rick claims: “Everyone lies.”
People lie to save face; to protect; to self promote; to be kind; to hide; to mask their true nature; to support the greater good; often they tell themselves it’s just a little fib or white lie; it can do no damage, but as Kate and Rick have learned, lies are like time bombs and can explode anytime and destroy a relationship.
Eric has taken a vow not to lie and it is unbelievable to Rick and the guys. He tries to prove the veracity of his vow of honesty.
“Ask me what I think of your books,” and Logan unloads on Rick:”I think you are a Patterson wannabe and I think your last book was a boring retread”
Logan accuses Ryan of “lying about his height and wearing lifts in his shoes to make himself appear taller.”
Ryan retorts that he wears “custom prescribed insoles.” The looks the three give each other as if confirming Eric’s revelations are hysterical.
With Javi’s mocking laugh echoing, Logan informs Javi that he “dyes his hair so that he can lie about his age. “ Ouch! The lines are too funny with writers spoofing their own.
Dave’s lying begins to escalate out of control according to Logan. He becomes scared that as a janitor he has uncovered something and he needs proof before he can go public. Ryan and Javi pursue the line of investigation not informing Kate. What will they do should she find out? Ryan concludes: “We lie our asses off.”
The lies or fibs continue. Because Ryan is constantly worrying about money, Javi suggests they both take the sergeant’s exam as a way to boost their payroll. Behind his back Ryan signs up in the only slot available, lying to his partner and totally dissing his partner and best friend citing his many responsibilities when Javi catches on and is totally annoyed: “I guess looking out for your partner’s back is not one of them.” Interestingly Kate walks into the picture with these pertinent words.
Unbeknownst to his partner, Ryan seals a deal with Rick to observe and report everything he can about the investigation. At first Ryan declines being a rat, but for five hundred dollars a week, Rick wins him over. Quite a few scenes show him calling or texting Rick behind Javi’s back, pretending to be talking to his wife while he gives Rick locations and intentions. The lie continues.
After receiving another call from Ryan, Rick meets Ryan and Esposito at City Hall, only to learn that Dave had an incident at his janitorial job and was reassigned. From Deputy Chief Steven Reed, they learn that Johnson was caught breaking into the accounting office, claiming he was on a mission from God, and in a sense that is true.
After survailing from his bright red Ferrari, Rick and Alexis speak to the blind cleric. Because of Johnson’s accounting background, the blind parish priest asks Dave to fix the books to rid the parish of overdue debt.
To Rick’s consternation the blind cleric dashes off, not blind at all. After a fruitless chase, after the sixty year old man, Rick reports to Kate of his findings, and Kate enjoys a laugh: “Parcoured by a blind priest.”
“Did you call just to bust me?” Rick asks.
“Pretty much,” and Kate looks very happy with the interaction with her husband.
“Say, Speedy got to go; make sure you stretch before bed.” Kate laughs as she awaits the priest’s interview.
Back at his PI office, Rick concludes to himself and Alexis: “Wait. Beckett was having fun with me. Score.” He clings to every inroad, every victory.
Indeed the priest is another liar or fibber, to be honest. He lies about his disabilities to get out of Tampa, for priests with certain disabilities can get special assignments. And he is ready to be more comfortable somewhere else.
According to the priest, Johnson’s lying “torpedoes his accounting career so the priest hopes he will make amends and help him with the church debt by just logging into the computer and marking payments as received. While doing this task, Johnson uncovers evidence of a secret slush fund to the tune of ten million siphoned from social programs.
Now Kate needs help and access to City Hall and enter her husband Rick. It is such a pleasure to see Rick the resourceful, the go to guy, the man with the contacts, sources and knowledge; this is who we all fell in love with from the beginning. Rick knows a guy….everywhere.
“We need to talk to someone with contacts and resources in City Hall.”
“He’s going to be so smug about this.”
And talking on computer Rick informs Kate that only people with access, the Comptroller, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and the Deputy Chief have access. It’s Reed, for the others are out of town.
Rick comes up with a suggestion to capture Deputy Chief Steven Reed, with his hands in the cookie jar, the Midnight Run Strategy. To Rick’s delight, Kate is familiar with the movie and the con. “De Niro tricks the mobster into taking computer discs he thinks contain evidence against them and just by showing up to take them the mobster is committing conspiracy to obstruct justice.” Kate happily explains. Rick has one warning that Kate should not be a party to this because it could all come down on her head if they fail or are wrong. He worries about her and his look tells it all.
Working with the police, the blind priest informs Reed that Dave told him all about the secret accounts and there is proof on a thumb drive which he will leave on the altar of the church behind a chalice. For church debts cancelled he may retrieve this thumb drive and thus remain safe.
Reed comes to the church staked out by Ryan and Esposito Rick and Alexis. When he appears, Alexis pulls the lights and he escapes. Rick’s ultimate plan is to get Reed to be convicted of so much more and he plants a virus onto his computer which will locate the hidden slush fund Just like” exploding dye paint.”
But Reed is not guilty of murder, for he alibis out, namely playing poker with the police commissioner on the night in question.
As Rick and Kate sit there before the murder board they contemplate the real murderer. “Dave was killed over a lie.” Rick explains. “A lie is a betrayal of trust and there is no greater betrayal than a lie in a marriage.” The truth lingers in the air.
Wendy Johnson thought Dave was PJ Moffet and her ticket to wealth and fame. “He insisted we live in poverty even though he had millions. He had to pay for what he cost me. I married a liar who ruined my life.” And so she murders him.
Javi and Ryan mend their relationship when Ryan admits he did wrong and that he wants to make amends; he will give Esposito his seat for the sergeant’s exam. However, Captain Beckett has a surprise for both of them; seats at the examination.
I’m reminded of the “Secret Santa” episode when the Santa, Edmund Smith gives up his riches and affluent life style to right wrongs and atone for his sins and greed. His wife murders him to stop him. How can he leave her with so little financial security; she has to make him pay for the humiliation and poverty. Both women murder their husbands.
With the case concluded, Rick offers Kate a coffee decorated with a heart shaped cream. He has offered her similar confections before, surely with his love a major ingredient. When they both seem at odds for Christmas Eve celebrations, Rick makes her a coffee and listens to her, why she cannot come to him, to his house, how she must dedicate herself to all of the families out there who are depending on her to keep them safe. I
It is her tradition after her mother’s murder, when she could no longer feel like celebrating especially alone, with her father gone, lost in his own grief. Rick did not know and now he understands. Ultimately they both seek each other out and decide to make a new tradition together.
In a profoundly moving love scene in “Still,” Rick makes the heart enriched coffee and cream especially for his love, and serves it to his golden girl who means the world to him, lying there in bed, smiling up at him.
Now, when Kate looks a bit flustered with the special coffee, he assures her:”Relax. Doesn’t’ mean anything, just a little congratulatory coffee after solving a tough case.” But it means so much to both of them, for coffee is their symbol of love, as Rick attempts always to tell her how much he loves her with his coffee offering of love. He wants to see her smile and it has always been the same. It means so much and she knows it. “Wow, I can never make it like you, even though you taught me how.” The sunny man has brought love and hope to Kate.
Rick confesses he lied. “There’s a special ingredient.”
“What is it?”
“If I told you that, you might not need me anymore.”
“Then don’t tell me.”
Surely they are having one of those moments together, a bonding. And honesty. Life and love are made up of so many little moments.
Kate has a confession to make, too. And with little honesties between them, more truths may shine through. “I hated Moffet’s book. I lied.” She only said she liked it to please him.
“Have a good night,” Rick tells his wife as he leaves, no mention of tomorrow or “Until tomorrow,” his most hopeful of all words, his life on hold.
So many times he makes the lonely walk down the hall to the elevator, leaving her. In “Secret Santa” he stands there under the mistletoe, decked in holiday red, hoping she will kiss him, hoping she will come home with him, and then the door closes. In “Linchpin” after nearly dying together and sharing so much, Rick walks away from her, as she hugs her boyfriend Josh while watching Rick make the lonely trek. He stands in the elevator virtually destroyed, leaning back, stricken with love for her. What more can he do to show his love? She watches, confused and then hugs Josh.
In “The Limey,” a discouraged Rick walks off to the lonely elevator, which will take him away from her, while Kate barely sees him, or his questioning face, for she contemplates his shortcomings, the Limey, and perhaps a drink with him or a date of some kind.
Now, once again, leaving Kate at the station, Rick walks alone to the elevator and does not turn around. Her decision is final. She accepts her phone call and tells Vikram: “Let’s get to work.” All Rick wants is for Kate to say, wait for me, or let’s go home, Kitten.
Or “Are you coming, Castle?”