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Countdown
Season 3, Episode 17
Countdown
Air date February 28, 2011
Written by Andrew W. Marlowe
Directed by Bill Roe
Episode guide
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Countdown is the seventeenth episode of the third season of Castle.

Summary

With time running out, Castle and Beckett must put aside their differences with Agent Fallon to avert a city-wide catastrophe.

Recap

The episode picks up right after the ending of the last episode, with Castle and Beckett trapped in a freezer after trying to track down a dirty bomb that's threatening to destroy much of the city. The pair nearly shares their true feelings for each other, but the cold finally overcomes them.

Meanwhile, Alexis and Martha return from the spiritual retreat early but are surprised that Castle isn't around. When they're unable to contact him, they contact the precinct. Ryan and Esposito can't contact Beckett either. The pair is eventually found, and Castle wakes up to Josh treating him for hypothermia, meaning he (Josh) never left for Haiti.

Castle and Beckett share their suspicions about a taxi driver named Kevin McCann to Federal Agent Mark Fallon. McCann was a war hero who was in the special forces in the army. However, McCann died a few years ago and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The team must figure out who has taken McCann's identity.

McCann's sister recognizes the man who's stolen her brother's identity as Radford Hayes, who was a part of McCann's unit. They track down Hayes, and Fallon is eager to interrogate him, using any means necessary to get the information they need. When Fallon pulls a gun on Hayes, Beckett pulls her gun on Fallon. The standoff ends with no useful information gained.

Castle works out that Hayes isn't working alone and that the rest of them would want to put the blame on a patsy. They assume that it might be Nazihah Alhabi, Amir's wife. But they find her missing and the FBI agent assigned to protect her dead.

The clock is ticking as the team struggle to track down the bomb. Information leads them to where Hayes' accomplices were keeping Nazihah's baby, which they were holding hostage in order to make her do what they want. The van with the dirty bomb is headed for Times Square. Castle and Beckett find the van before the bomb squad does, but it doesn't look like the professionals be able to get there in time to defuse the bomb. In a moment of desperation, Castle grabs all the wires on the bomb and rips them off at once. The bomb deactivates.

Back at headquarters, Fallon says farewell to Castle and Beckett, and they all hope that they don't have to work with each other ever again. Castle seems to want to say something to Beckett, but that moment is lost when Josh arrives. Castle leaves the pair alone, keeping his message to his partner a secret.

Promo

Castle - 3x17- Promo - Countdown00:30

Castle - 3x17- Promo - Countdown

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Cast

Main Cast

Guest Stars

Quotes

Beckett: I always thought being a cop, I’d take a bullet. I never thought I’d freeze to death.
Castle: Hey, we’re not dead yet.
Beckett: I just wish this was one of your books and you could re-write the ending.
Castle: I’m s-sorry.
Beckett: For what?
Castle: F-for being m-me, going rogue, getting you into this. If we hadn’t gone on our own...
Beckett: Shhhh, Castle. OK, shhhh. You were right. We found the bomb. We were just too late, OK? (Beckett turns towards Castle) Castle ..thank you...for being there.
Castle: Always.
Beckett: I just want you to know how much I…(Beckett passes out on Castle)
Castle: Kate…Stay with me. Kate? Stay with me.

Trivia

  • Radford Hayes's accomplices are identified by Esposito as being Evan Bauer and Jack Cochran. Jack Bauer is the main character of the television show 24, which focuses on war on terror issues. This episode serves to some extent as a rejoinder to many recurrent themes of that show.
    • Jack Bauer often resorts to torture and threats in "ticking time bomb" scenarios to save lives. Each time these methods were used in this episode, they failed to produce any results. Fallon's one breakthrough in interrogation came when he used deception-- a standard and perfectly legal police tactic.
    • Racial profiling, allegedly used by the Department of Homeland Security in real life, led the investigators down a time-wasting blind alley in this episode. Only Castle and Beckett "going rogue" produced the lead that enabled the investigation to continue.
    • US soldiers are cast in 24 as dedicated public servants. In this episode, the conspirators were all former US soldiers. Even Esposito (like the conspirators, a former Green Beret) approved of the use of racial profiling and violation of civil liberties by Agent Fallon.
    • Undiplomatic outbursts from Jack Bauer in 24 and Agent Fallon in this episode were directed against agents of unfriendly countries. In this case, they nearly cost the investigators vital knowledge that enabled them to save New York City. Only Castle's friendliness and cooperation with the Syrian agent secures his assistance.
    • The episode follows the broad outlines of 24's second season arc. There as well, a weapon of mass destruction attack on a major American city is stopped, and it is revealed that the real enemies are not hostile middle eastern countries, but radical American conservatives (business leaders in 24 and military veterans in this episode).
  • Agent Mark Fallon is from the Department of Homeland Security. However, this department isn't an investigative unit like the FBI. Instead, it is an umbrella agency that covers dozens of agencies including the Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Coast Guard, FEMA, and the TSA. Fallon would have been identified as an agent from one of the DHS agencies.
  • After rescuing Castle and Beckett from the freezer, Agent Fallon asks them if they are always so stubborn. Castle replies that they're only stubborn when they are trying to "save the world". In Adrian Pasdar's previous show, Heroes, the phrase was one of the show's major themes.
  • Whatever agency Fallon does work for, they evidently do not have the budget or equipment carried by Agent Shaw to catch serial killers in Tick, Tick, Tick… and Boom!, which might have greatly sped up the investigation.
  • The timer on the van and the note left in her home suggest that Nazihah was intended to die in the explosion. With only 18 minutes left, she was still far from Times Square and the bomb would have gone off en route. In Ghosts, the death of domestic terrorist Susan Mailer was explained at the time as a timer glitch that caused the bomb to go off too soon. As in this episode, it turned out that the bombing's story was not so simple.
  • By defusing the bomb, Castle has saved New York. He frequently reminds people of this in subsequent episodes.
  • In the close of this episode, the gang celebrates over beer until Castle and Beckett are pulled aside by Agent Fallon. Afterwards, Castle appears to start confessing his feelings for Beckett, only for him to stop and abruptly leave when he sees Josh coming. This mirrors the season two finale, where Beckett was about to confess her feelings to Castle, but stopped when she saw Gina approaching.

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