|After the Storm|
|Season 5, Episode 1|
|Air date||September 24, 2012|
|Written by||David Amann|
|Directed by||Rob Bowman|
After four seasons of "will they" or "won't they," Richard Castle and Kate Beckett finally gave in to their feelings for each other in the much anticipated Season 4 finale. Season 5 picks up on the proverbial morning after, with Castle and Beckett facing new questions—Was this a one-time fling, or are they now a couple? But before they find the answers, they must take on the forces responsible for Beckett's mother's murder that now threaten Kate Beckett's life. Also in the episode, Jack Coleman ("Heroes") guest stars as a well-liked U.S. Senator who finds himself in conflict with Beckett.
It's a bright spring morning at Castle's loft, when Castle wakes up to find himself alone in bed. Was last night just a dream? To his relief, Beckett walks in, having made coffee for the two, dressed in one of his shirts. No, this wasn't a dream, and no, it wasn't a one-night thing brought on by the stress of the last case and then quitting her job. The two agree that they are now committed to a serious romantic relationship. But, since she has quit her job, now she's got some free time to enjoy herself.
Before Castle and Beckett can take advantage of this free time, Martha loudly bursts into the apartment. She's back, unexpectedly, from the Hamptons. Alexis had far, far too much to drink at the graduation party the night before, and Castle wasn't answering his phone (for obvious reasons). So she'd gotten her grandmother to pick her up and bring her home, where she was now the proud owner of her first big hangover. Castle listens, but he's preoccupied by the fact that he's distracting them, so Beckett can leave without being seen. He's not ready to go public with their relationship to his mother and daughter.
At the 12th Precinct, Ryan and Gates are trying to piece together the case. Ryan has figured out that Cole Maddox is trying to get to someone in Montgomery's past, but not who or why. Beckett has resigned, Esposito is suspended, and Gates can't give Ryan a new partner while the vice president's visit eats up all the security. Ryan knows that time is of this essence, and just to drive this home completely, we flash now to Mr. Smith's home. He's been tortured by Maddox all night, and things are about to get a lot worse. Smith still refuses to turn over the files.
Castle later circles up with Beckett again, this time at her apartment. She's furious that Castle is keeping their relationship a secret. He explains that this is all very new to him and he wants to keep things between them at first at least for a little while. She's eventually persuaded to let Castle make it up to her. Before he can deliver, however, they're interrupted by a knock on the door from Ryan. Beckett immediately demands that Castle keep their relationship a secret and "act normal".
She told Ryan that she doesn't want to hear about the case, that's she's done once and for all. But Ryan's got news that Beckett needs to hear. He shows her the picture of Mr. Smith, which Castle recognizes immediately. They all understand the implications. If Mr. Smith is the target, then once he's compromised, Maddox can go back to making assassination attempts on Beckett. Now, all they have to do is figure out who he is. Beckett doesn't want to re-open this case yet again, but they both know she has no choice.
Castle notices that the watch Mr. Smith is wearing in the picture is an extremely expensive and very well-known brand. Very, very few people would have bought such a watch in the time between its release and when the photo was taken at Montgomery's marriage five months later. The watch company won't disclose the identities of their customers, but Castle learns enough to discover Mr. Smith's law firm. Meanwhile, Ryan ran Castle's phone records and while Smith's number traces back to a burner phone, a tower glitch reveals that the call was made from a yacht club in Connecticut. Cross-referencing the two, one name pops, Michael Smith.
Meanwhile, Esposito has gone rogue himself. He's standing outside a protest directed against the Vice President and his support of bank bailouts, but Esposito's attention is on a bystander walking down the street in an Army uniform. The two talk intently. Esposito once took a bullet to save this man, and now he wants payback. He wants the man to run Maddox's picture through an Army database to figure out his real identity. It's an incredible risk, but the man owes it to his old friend.
Castle and Beckett burst into Smith's home and find him, tied up, unconscious, and barely alive. Maddox has burned all the blackmail files, but a careful man like Smith had to have kept another copy. With the other copy still unaccounted for, he left Smith alive. Paramedics arrive. Smith is fading in and out of consciousness, but mumbles the number "86" to him before being wheeled away. The two rummage through his files, desperate to figure out what it means. But time isn't on their side. Beckett isn't a cop anymore—when uniforms arrive, the two will be arrested for breaking and entering. They have no idea what they're looking for and they're grasping at straws, but Castle refuses to give up. He will do anything to save Beckett. Then, he finds it... 86 Markwell Street is the location of a building that Smith owns. The two race off, hoping to beat Maddox.
They find the building. It is in the process of being torn down. Ten floors, but the file could be anywhere. Where to start? Beckett hits on a torn-down mailbox, showing Smith's old office was in room 523. Which turns out to be very useful for Cole Maddox. Maddox got the building address out of Smith, and the fact that it was in a floor safe, but not the room number. Thanks to Castle and Beckett, he explains as he ties them up and locks them in a room, his search will be much easier. Once he has the files safely in hand, he can kill Castle, Beckett, and Smith. The two try to escape while he's gone, but it's no use. At least they had last night—they should have done that four years ago. The door pops open, to reveal Esposito. "Did what four years ago?"
Esposito identifies Maddox's real identity as Cedric Marks, a former soldier who now works for Orantis Solutions, a shadowy defense contractor. He gives Beckett his spare gun, pulls his own, and the three go after Marks. At gunpoint, Marks is calm. He's just opened the safe and his gun is on the floor, but he has a spare of his own in his belt. As he's reaching for it, he distracts them by grabbing the files from the safe. This turns out to be a dire mistake; the files were booby trapped. The explosion destroys the files and kills Marks before he has time to let out one last expletive.
We've run out of adjectives to describe an angry Captain Gates. The three claim they were walking down the street when they heard a bomb go off. Rushing inside as concerned citizens, they found Cole Maddox dead. What a shocking stroke of karma! Gates doesn't buy it for a minute, but she's got no evidence and Ryan isn't saying anything. At Beckett's apartment, Castle, Esposito, and Beckett pool what they know. They do have some time now. Whoever sent Maddox won't know that the blackmail files have been destroyed. He will send someone else, but might not make another attempt if he thinks he might still be implicated. Footsteps outside raise the possibility that he won't wait. Beckett and Esposito raise their guns and jump the intruder, who turns out to be Ryan. Beckett and Castle are relieved, but Esposito considers Ryan a traitor and keeps his gun pointed at Ryan's face. Ryan's got nothing to say to Esposito. Instead, he has something for Beckett: the papers from the safe, carefully collected in an evidence bag.
The team dumps out the bag on a table and tries to piece the shreds of paper together. Eventually, Castle and Beckett find what look like bank records, including a money order made out to cash. Esposito has found what looks like the bank account number it was deposited to. The picture comes together for Castle. Raglan, McCallister, and Montgomery had collected ransoms on illegal kidnappings of mafia members in the early 90's. Someone had gotten wind of it and blackmailed them out of the ransoms, then used the money to fuel their rise to power. All the subsequent murders were part of an attempt to cover up this first initial crime. Ryan and Esposito use the same federal banking database they'd used before to identify the account owner. The account has been closed for nineteen years, but the records are still on file. The man behind the entire conspiracy, the target of their investigation, the man whose coverup lead to the deaths of Johanna Beckett and more than a dozen others, was Senator William Bracken.
Bracken was an assistant D.A. at the time that the kidnappings were occurring. He'd used the ransom money to fuel his first congressional campaign. But as his profile rose, he had to eliminate the evidence for his early dirty dealings. Bracken's suddenly intensified efforts against Beckett make sense now as well. Not only because she was getting too close; he's a likely candidate for President and so would be under pressure to put this to rest once and for all. All they need now is hard evidence; the scraps of paper aren't enough. And there is one possible source: Michael Smith has just regained consciousness.
Castle and Beckett interview him, but he's not very cooperative. Smith confirms what they know, but he was only protecting Beckett as a favor to Montgomery, who he owed. He's not about to testify. Beckett points out that he's a target now also, and that his only chance to survive is to testify against Bracken. Smith is having none of it. Even with his testimony, Bracken is protected. Smith and Beckett are both going to die, and so he says that their best chance is to just disappear. He refuses to discuss the matter any further.
The two walk out, stymied. Their only chance is Smith, and he's not talking. Eventually, they decide that Smith has to understand that his only chance is to take down Bracken before he's killed. They start to walk back into the hospital, and bump into the officer who was protecting him, on his way out. Dispatch ordered him to leave. Realizing what this means, the two race back in, but the doctors have just declared Smith dead, of a heart attack. Later, Ryan checked the hospital security cameras... but they were all disabled.
That night, as Castle sleeps, Beckett puts on her mother's wedding ring and her father's watch. She readies her gun, and takes one last look at a picture of her mother, and then at Castle. Then she goes. The next morning, Castle wakes up to find her gone. Esposito and Ryan arrive and they all realize that she's evaded her protective detail. Castle knows where she's going. She's marked for death and has no evidence, so she'll never get her arrest, but she just might get her revenge. Is she going to kill Senator Bracken?
Beckett arrives at Bracken's fundraiser to find security very tight. But manning the checkpoint is someone familiar, Ann Hastings. Beckett feigns being assigned to security as well, and asks if she can jump the line and bypass the metal detector. Hastings seemingly accepts this explanation, but then for some reason seems torn about allowing Beckett in. She makes up her mind, shares a meaningful look with Beckett, and replies, "For you, of course." The Senator is surrounded by his supporters, but Beckett finally gets within arms reach. But instead of killing him, she slips a cell phone into his pocket. Bracken discovers the phone moments later when it rings. It's Beckett.
Meanwhile, Ryan, Esposito, and Castle arrive, expecting to foil an assassination attempt. When they realize that she's with Bracken, Ryan wants to call in Gates, but Castle talks him out of it. She hasn't killed him yet, they don't know what she's planning, and once Ryan makes that accusation, that's a bell he can't unring. Ryan agrees, and they start looking for her.
Beckett and Bracken meet in a back room.She's got him at gunpoint, but he's cool. She tries to get him to admit to the murders, but he's coy. If she knows enough to damage him, then she doesn't actually need him to say anything, does she? He never quite admits to anything. Instead, he weaves a story about a tragedy in his childhood that inspired his tireless efforts to pursue social justice and create jobs in underprivileged neighborhoods. Beckett is outraged, furious that this man who caused her mother to die alone, bleeding out in a pile of garbage in an alley, is trying to talk his way out of all that with a campaign speech.
But that's how Bracken comes to his point. He's a champion of the working class, a decent man. Beckett is a disgraced ex-cop pursuing an obsession about her mother's murder. All that matters is what the public sees, and from here he segues back into a campaign speech about the good he wants to do for everyday Americans. At the end of the day, what matters isn't the gun, it's the power. She simply can't win.
As he walks away, Beckett calls out that Smith had another copy of the file. And so now, she has the file, and the power. He freezes. She rattles off Bracken's old account number as proof, and then makes her play. She could release the file, and ruin him, but she understands that in doing so she's be killed. So instead, she wants to renew the agreement Bracken had with Montgomery, and later Smith: she sits on the evidence, but Bracken takes no further action against her or people close to her. Bracken is beaten, but Beckett demands that he accept or decline, yes or no, out loud. He has no choice, he tersely says, "yes". She seals the deal by pistol-whipping him viciously. It'll leave a nasty scar on his face, and every time he looks in the mirror, he can remember Kate Beckett.
Kate walks out just as the rest of the gang bursts in. They see Bracken with a cloth on his cut, but otherwise unharmed. Bracken leaves, then Beckett explains what happened. She'll get justice for her mother someday. In the meantime, she'll keep working to get justice for other people.
At the precinct, Beckett argues to get her resignation retracted. Gates tries to get more information on the case. Maddox dead, a mystery man under guard at the hospital. All Gates has figured out so far is that the team is clearly protecting Montgomery's memory, that there's something in his past that they're hiding. Gates announces that she'll let whatever happened in Roy's past stay there. She hopes one day Beckett will be that loyal to her. "Does that mean I can show up for duty tomorrow?"
Of course not! This is Captain Gates we're talking about. Castle can't believe it, but while she will let Beckett back, she'll have to serve out her suspension just like Esposito. What will she do until then? Kate is sure she'll "come up with something". As the elevator door closes, it suddenly hits Castle what "something" she has in mind as she makes a sly "grab" at him as the elevator doors close.
- Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle
- Stana Katic as Detective Kate Beckett
- Jon Huertas as Detective Javier Esposito
- Seamus Dever as Detective Kevin Ryan
- Tamala Jones as Dr. Lanie Parish (credit only)
- Penny Johnson Jerald as Captain Victoria Gates
- Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle
- Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers
- Jack Coleman as Senator William Bracken
- Geoff Pierson as Mr. Smith
- Tahmoh Penikett as Cole Maddox
- Valerie Azlynn as Officer Ann Hastings
- Nick Hoffa as Staff Sgt. Cass
- Maurice Warfield as Vice President Russell
- Amy Vorpahl as Paramedic
- Rico Devereaux as Uniformed Officer
- Dan Wells as Uniformed Cop
- Michael Duisenberg as Bodyguard
- Janet Song as Nurse
- Castle: So it wasn't a dream.
- Beckett: No, you definitely... weren't dreaming.
- Beckett (to Senator Bracken): I'm done being afraid. It's your turn now.
- "I Just Want You" (remixed) - Robert Duncan (played in opening when Castle in bed)
- "Countdown" (instrumental) - Robert Duncan
- This is the first time Tamala Jones, who plays Lanie Parish, doesn't appear in the season premiere since Castle began.
- This is the first season premiere that is not written by series creator Andrew Marlowe.
- There is typically a "summer break" in the storyline, so that episodes air in approximately the same time of year that they depict. This episode takes place in the spring of 2012, in the three days following the events of After the Storm. Beckett and Esposito serving out their suspensions suggests that they return to active duty in the fall, allowing the following episodes to be in sync with their air dates.
- Following her valedictory, Alexis appears to have celebrated with a wild, drunken night of partying. While this is uncharacteristic of her, she did call to get a ride home safely from her grandmother.
- Coffee once again is a symbol for affection. Beckett makes coffee for Castle for the first time.
- Esposito still holds a grudge against Ryan, considering him a traitor. Ryan now appears to return the hostility.
- Esposito and Beckett don't appear to have been terribly inconvenienced by their suspensions. They continue to own and carry a variety of guns, despite no longer being active police officers. As Castle pointed out previously, this is almost impossible for a private citizen to do legally in New York City. Esposito even managed to have uniforms watch for Maddox's car.
- "Cole Maddox" (aka Cedric Marks) works at a shadowy defense contractor called "Orantis Solutions". Orantis is Latin for "of oratory/speech", but has an alternate meaning "of pleading/begging". This is ironic considering Maddox's penchant for direct action, but also foreshadows Senator Bracken's encounter with Beckett; he uses oratory to try to confound her.
- After the high-profile rescue of Beckett and Esposito, their suspensions, and the literally explosive incident the next day involving Cole Maddox, it's almost inconceivable that Officer Hastings had not heard that Beckett was off the job. There are three possible reasons for her behavior. First, she simply hadn't heard what happened yet. Second, she may have transferred to a different precinct after the events of Heroes and Villains, where she wouldn't have been in a position to hear gossip about the 12th Precinct. Third, it's possible that she did know, and let Beckett through security anyway, pretending to accept an excuse she knew was bogus.
- Had Beckett really been on security detail, she would have been able to bypass the line and metal detectors as a matter of course. Hastings's knowing look and parting line seem to suggest that she knew the magnitude of the favor that she was doing for Beckett.
- Mr. Smith stated that his best bet to avoid assassination would be to stay silent and simply vanish. Shortly afterward, he died. While the implication is that Senator Bracken had him killed (supported by the removal of his protective detail and the disabled security cameras), it's also possible that he faked his own death to facilitate his escape.
- Previous episodes with faked deaths in Castle include "Ghosts", "Anatomy of a Murder", "Poof! You're Dead", and "The Blue Butterfly". In Anatomy of a Murder, Nurse McClintock uses drugs on his imprisoned girlfriend to fake a cardiac arrest, then smuggles her body away after she is found "dead".
- Against this interpretation is the fact that Smith had been taken by surprise by Maddox. After being tortured, he was left tied up and unconscious. Castle and Beckett showed up shortly after he regained consciousness. Unless he set up his escape the moment he woke up, while Castle and Beckett were still en route, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to set up such an elaborate plan.
- Officer Hastings badge number is seen as 41244 when she talking to Beckett.
- After their night together Castle tells Beckett that she was right 'I(Castle) had no idea', again referring to the previous night. This statement refers to the last thing Beckett tells Castle near the end of the first episode of the series Flowers For Your Grave.