Castle 5×13 Recoil Recap and Review
Castle 5×13 Recoil Synopsis: While investigating the murder of a young woman, Castle and Beckett find evidence that links her death with Senator William H. Bracken, the man responsible for Beckett’s mother’s murder. Determined to finally bring Bracken to justice, Beckett soon realizes that things are far more complicated than they seem.
Castle 5×13 Guest stars: Jack Coleman as Senator Bracken; Michael Dorn as Dr. Carter Burke; Brett Rickaby as Robert McManus; Erin Krakow as Julie Rogers.
This is an emotional episode for Beckett. She’s tasked with protecting Senator Bracken, the man she knows was involved with killing her mother. She finds evidence of the possible killer, but decides to hide it. Then she confronts the possible killer, had him in her sights, and lets him get away. But it turns out the possible killer is really being framed and they have a lot in common. He blames Bracken for his son’s death. But the bomb vest that the possible killer created was just too slick. She thinks he’s been set up. It could mean the end of her career, but she calls in a bomb threat where Bracken is giving his keynote speech that would could put him on the national stage and make his political career. They don’t find a bomb. Is her career over? Then they hear a familiar sound. The sound of the real killer. She could let Bracken be killed, but then she wouldn’t be doing her job now, would she? It’s a “recoil” all the way around.
Castle 5×13, “Recoil,” begins with a flashback to the episode where Senator Bracken first appeared and Beckett fingered him as the person responsible for her mother’s death. “It’s not who has the gun,” he said. “It’s who has the power.” Then she hit him to leave a scar so he would think of her every time he saw it.
The episode begins with a homeless man warming himself near a burning trash can. He smells something, and when he looks inside the trash can’s flames he finds the burnt remains of a dead body. It looked like burned beef ribs. OMG! Disgusting! Lanie says there was a bullet in the back of head and all her teeth were knocked out of her mouth. Hopefully after she was dead! “So much for dental records,” says Castle. Then Lanie finds a titanium screw from a dental implant.
From the number on the screw they discover the body remains once belonged to Melanie Rogers, 27, an engineer from New Jersey. Well liked and respected. Her phone records indicate she made a number of calls in a 20 minute period to a Washington, DC, number. She made one last call around 4pm, then her phone “went dark.” The 4pm call was to her half sister, Julie, a loan officer.
When Castle and Beckett interview Julie she tells them they weren’t that close but when their dad got sick they “found each other.” She said Melanie had dinner with her two nights ago and Melanie had mentioned meeting a friend afterwards. When she asked who, Melanie told her she couldn’t talk about it for some reason. Until they mention the 4pm phone call, Julie didn’t realize that Melanie had called her because she had been in a meeting. In the message Melanie is frantic and says she thinks somebody is after her. “If anything happens tell them XT3.” Two sets of footsteps are heard and then a gun shot. “She recorded her own murder,” says Beckett.
As they listen further to the tape of the message, Beckett notices a noise on the tape. Some type of clicking. Castle recognizes it as a Zippo cigarette lighter.
Further investigation reveals that Melanie was meeting someone at the Standish hotel at 11pm.
When Becket and Castle question the desk clerk he says Melanie’s been there a few times before. “I’m going to need a name,” Beckett tells him. The desk clerk shows them a newspaper picture of the person she’s been seeing. He shows them a newspaper with Senator Bracken’s picture on it. “You didn’t hear it from me.” Stunned at the thought that Bracken is back in her life because their murder victim was having an affair with him, Beckett theorizes that Melanie became a liability, or she stumbled onto something and became a threat, then had to be gotten rid of. “This is my chance to finally make him pay.” Castle warns her to be careful. But Bracken doesn’t know they’re on to him. But she’ll be thwarted again!
As Esposito and Ryan go to question Senator Bracken, Esposito says the next time they saw him he was hoping it would be down the barrel of his gun. When they question Senator Bracken they tell him that Melanie is missing, and he confesses that they were working together, but he’s evasive about what they were doing together. He says she was helping him with his speech. Then Esposito reveals that the two of them were seen at the Standish hotel together. “You’re trying to take a professional relationship and use it against me.” He recognizes Esposito as working with Beckett. If he has any more questions they can “call my lawyer.”
After they locate the parking garage where Melanie called her sister, Castle, Becket, Esposito, and Ryan head over there and the police comb the garage. The parking garage is five blocks from the Windmark Hotel where Bracken’s ecological conference was being held and where he is scheduled to give his keynote speech. They discover a car with “XT3″ in the plates that was stolen. Inside the car is a duffle bag, a sniper rifle, a notebook, the layout of the Windmark, and pictures of Senator Bracken, one of which is a campaign picture with red devil horns and a big red “X” across his face. Beckett says she doesn’t think Bracken is the killer. “He isn’t,” says Castle. “He’s the target.”
At the precinct, they tell Captain Gates that when Melanie stumbled upon the evidence in the car the killer saw her and killed her. Ryan says somebody saw somebody suspicious at the conference around 3:45, around the time Melanie left the conference. Stringy hair, beard, baseball cap, carrying a duffle bag like the one they found. They get a sketch from the witnesses.
When Senator Bracken shows up at the precinct, Beckett’s not too happy. “I’m now protecting the man who killed my mother,” she tells Castle. Captain Gates advises Bracken to postpone his upcoming conference. Turns out this keynote speech will put him on the national stage so he refuses to not give his speech. She tells him she can’t guarantee his safety. Senator Bracken tells her “I’m not going to run and hide just because some wacko with a notebook made a threat.” Then he finds out that Beckett is leading the investigation. Uh oh! She gives him a little smile but he doesn’t smile back. Beckett, the same person who accosted him and accused him of being the person responsible for her mother’s death. So how safe would Beckett keep him? Probably not much! She smiles knowingly at him as he puts on his overcoat, “Shall we go somewhere private, Detective?”
Inside a private office Senator Bracken tells Beckett he finds it “hard to miss the irony of this situation.” Beckett wants to know who would like to kill him. A better question might be who else would want to kill him! Bracken says he gets threatening letters and emails all the time, “Comes with the office. Most people aren’t crazy enough to want to kill me. Present company excluded.” A shooter on the loose, and him in the cross-hairs, “must be a dream come true for you,” he tells Beckett. “In my dreams I’m the one who gets to pull the trigger,” she tells him. If he’s not comfortable with Beckett leading the investigation he’s free to step outside and tell everybody why. When he doesn’t move, “well then, I guess we’re stuck with each other,” she tells him. Beckett assures him that whoever killed Melanie will be brought to justice, “no matter how long it takes.” She’s hinting that no matter how long it takes she’ll get him for killing her mother.
Esposito tells Ryan that Bracken has whatever it is coming to him. When Captain Gates asks for an update they tell him the serial number on the rifle was traced to a sporting goods store in New Jersey.
Beckett and Castle go over some threatening mail that Senator Bracken has received hoping they’ll find some clue, which she does. She opens a letter and finds a match of the handwriting to that in the notebook. She hides it from Castle. He yawns and she suggests he gets some rest, so he leaves. She opens the letter again and compares the handwriting in the letter to the one in the notebook. They match.
Then she talks to her shrink. Nobody knows about the letter and she intends to keep it that way. She knows this is their big break. Leading straight to him. If they get the killer, Bracken will go free. It’s a dilemma she’s faced before, but this time is different because this time it feels like there’s no right choice. Maybe the right choice is the one she can live with.
Castle asks her if she’s all right. “I need a second,” she says, then goes into a private room. Beckett sees Gates comforting Julie. Beckett looks like she’s going to pass out.
The receipt in the duffle bag has synthetic oil on it so Esposito and Ryan go to some mechanic shops and find a hat like the suspect’s. The guy inside ids the sketch as Robert McMannus, a mechanic who used to work for him.
McMannus spent time in a psych ward, triggered by his son’s death. Thinking they may have found the killer, Beckett and Castle go to an apartment building. Beckett sees McMannus getting out of the elevator. She pulls a gun on him. “Don’t move or I’ll shoot!” He runs away. After he disappears up the stairs she shoots. Castle sees her and knows she’s going through something, but doesn’t know what. She looks like a little lost girl under Castle’s loving, yet somewhat suspicious, gaze.
“I had him in my sites,” she tells Castle, “I didn’t miss.” Then admits to him that she found the letter. Beckett tells Castle that McMannus, their suspect, threatened Senator Bracken because he thought Bracken killed his son. He was 24 and was an intern for Bracken’s re-election campaign. He had a meeting with a reporter and the next day they found him hanged. She almost suppressed evidence. Beckett feels guilty that she didn’t shoot McMannus. “I looked him in the eye and I saw his pain. I couldn’t take that shot. I let him get away.” What if she wanted him to go through with his plan to kill Bracken? Then what does that make her? Captain Gates tells them it looks like McMannus was building a bomb, but it’s either with him or waiting somewhere to go off. After Gates leaves, Beckett tells Castle she has to find the bomb and save Bracken’s life. It’s her job.
Then Esposito and Ryan bring McMannus in. They found him on the roof.
“Hi Robert, I’m Kate,” Beckett tells him when she has McMannus in interrogation. She tells him she knows what it’s like to lose someone you love. She tells him that Senator Bracken killed her mother then tried to kill her. He doesn’t believe her. Thinks it’s just a story to get him to talk. Then McMannus tells her that Senator Bracken killed his son. He needs to pay. “Not with a bomb, Robert,” she tells him. McMannus doesn’t believe her story about Bracken killing her mother. “You and me are on the same side, Robert.” But he gets angry and accuses her of working with Bracken. “He controls everybody. You’re all in his pocket.” Veins pop out on her forehead. She leans in and tells him she can’t live with innocent people getting killed, “and I know that you can’t either.” Then Captain Gates breaks up their interrogation. “It’s over, Detective. They found the bomb.”
They found the bomb vest and McMannus had gotten credentials to the conference. Gates tells Bracken that Beckett deserves the credit. “She led the team.”
Bracken tells Beckett, “Fired two shots at close range and both of them missed. All this talk about justice. Guess I was right about you.”
Although it looks like the case of Melanie’s murder is over, Beckett is still looking at photos of the bomb vest that McMannus supposedly made. She thinks it’s made a little too well. Something’s not right. The Zippo lighter on the voice mail, and McMannus doesn’t smoke so he wouldn’t have a Zippo lighter. Beckett thinks there’s more to the story and that McMannus may have been set up. Castle tells her to “let it go.” Everything traces back to McMannus, but what if they’re framing him? Everybody would think the threat is over while the real assassin is still out there. She always thinks Castle is crazy about coming up with things like this, so she knows she sounds crazy, too. If she’s wrong, “Your career is over. You know that,” Castle tells her. But what if she’s right? She calls to have the Windmark evacuated for a bomb threat.
Beckett tells Senator Bracken her theory but he doesn’t buy it. He’s angry. “You called in a bomb scare on what? A hunch?” They find out no bomb was found but nobody can go back inside because they haven’t finished searching the building. Bracken thinks that she let McMannus get away so he could take Bracken down and when that didn’t work she decided to ruin the most important moment in his career. “You have overplayed your hand and I am going to bury you,” Bracken tells her.
She still thinks there’s a bomb somewhere. She rambles on, finally “Kate! It’s over,” Castle tells her. However, as they wait outside they hear a clicking sound like on the phone message. Looks like they found their killer. The killer put a bomb in Senator Bracken’s limo, and he’s still there. And Bracken is walking toward the limo. Beckett runs after him. “Castle, the driver,” she yells. Charles, the driver, is running away. He detonates the bomb. The limo is blown sky high. Castle tackles Charles and he’s cuffed. So Beckett just saved the life of the man responsible for killing her mother. Very ironic! Senator Bracken doesn’t seem surprised that his driver wanted him dead. Castle asks him why the driver might want him dead. “I assume because someone paid him a great deal of money,” he tells Beckett and Castle. There’s another world out there that most people don’t see, run by money, influence, and power. And the people will do anything they can to stay on top. “But I assume that you already know that,” he tells Castle. “I wouldn’t have done it, you know, what you did,” Castle tells Beckett. “I would have stood and watched.”
Beckett tells them that when they searched the driver’s apartment they found gloves with Melanie’s blood on it and a fake beard and baseball cap just like McMannus’. So Melanie saw Charles and wondered what he was doing and followed him and he killed her. “What a shame,” Bracken says, “she was a sweet kid.” Esposito and Ryan say the driver had large deposits to his checking account. Untraceable no doubt, Bracken tells them. “Just like you would have done,” Castle tells him.
Beckett tells Bracken that she thinks he knows who’s behind all this. He has his suspicions, “Someone who’s gotten rich making powerful people promises that I needed to keep. What does a king maker do when the king no longer follows orders?” She wants a name, but he tells her she’s done enough. She tells him he’s not safe. “I’m touched by your concern,” he tells her. “But I think you’re forgetting who you’re dealing with.” Bracken asks Beckett to walk him out.
As Beckett walks Senator Bracken out of the precinct he reluctantly thanks her for saving his life. “Well, you can’t win ‘em all, can you,” she tells him. Now he guesses that he’s in her debt. She tells him nothing has change between them. “Even so,” he says, “It’s a dangerous world out there. You never know when you might need a friend.” She asks him about McMannus’ son. The unspoken question, did he kill him or arrange to have him killed. He tells her, “If I said no would you really believe me?”
Senator Bracken is surrounded by press asking questions about the threat on his life. He tells them because of the attempt on his life he wasn’t able to present his environmental initiative. It has strengthened his resolve to move forward with “this historic legislation.” Then he thanks the police department who thwarted the plot.
As Beckett and Castle watch the news they hear that federal agents arrested Benjamin Moss, founder of the powerful superpak American Way, after he was connected to payments made to Bracken’s would-be assassin. “My God,” says Castle, “It was Ben Moss.” “Biggest king maker of them all,” responds Beckett. Castle says the way Bracken talked he expected Moss would have died in a plane crash or mysterious car accident. “This is so much better,” says Beckett. “Now Bracken’s a folk hero. A rare politician willing to stand up to special interests and fight for what’s right, even if it costs him his life.” That’s a better story. “The kind of story that could make a guy President,” says Castle. Beckett says he’ll slip up eventually, “and when he does I’ll be ready.”
Can’t wait for the next chapter between Beckett and Bracken! What if one of those king makers had her mother killed and Bracken ends up bringing him to justice? And when’s the next Nikki Heat novel coming out? Do we have to wait until next year? Who has all of them of besides me?!?!?
Cecelia Lawshe is a web developer/programmer and has won two Webby Awards. She can be contacted via Cecelia Lawshe on Facebook.
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