This week’s Castle episode, “Pandora,” continued the show’s February sweeps tradition of two-part episodes filled with a little bit of everything including a major cliffhanger to keep the audience on the edges of their seats until next Monday night.
The First Victim
The episode began with shots being fired before a man was pushed out of a fourth story window, landing on a car below. In addition to being tossed out the window, Lanie told Castle and the detectives that the John Doe had been shot, stabbed, choked and there was a pencil jammed into his neck. Castle quipped, “This gives new meaning to the word overkill.”
Castle and Beckett followed a trail of blood leading away from the crime scene and then found security camera footage of the suspect forcing a woman into a car at gunpoint. They tracked down the woman and when they burst into her apartment, the suspect was calmly eating a meal and didn’t flinch when Beckett held a gun on him. He was identified as Thomas Gage and he basically sat and smirked at Beckett and Castle as he was questioned, calmly (and creepily) telling them that anything they thought they had against him was going away.
His prediction came true when the victim’s body disappeared from the morgue and moments later, Gage was missing from his holding cell. The precinct was put on lockdown, but he was already gone. Gage had put on a policeman’s uniform and walked out the front door after he’d accessed their database to look up someone’s address. Castle suggested that Gage had gotten arrested on purpose just to access the database and the detectives discovered Gage was not his real name and his fingerprints were not in the system.
The Second Victim
Castle and Beckett pay a visit to Tracy McGrath, the woman whose address Gage had looked up. She was a scientist and her boss tells the detectives that she created models that predicted climate change and she’d never done or said anything strange until the day before when she’d disappeared from work for three hours without explaining where she’d been. She’s already dead when Castle and Beckett arrive at her house, a bullet wound in the back of her head. Beckett starts to search the house and as she walks back into the foyer, she finds Castle with a bag over his head and suddenly, she has a gun pressed against hers.
As Castle and Beckett find themselves in an elevator heading fifteen stories below ground, anyone who has ever seen an episode of Alias could guess that this had something to do with the CIA. Sure enough, the elevator doors open into a command center and they are greeted by CIA agent, Sophia Turner, who happens to be an old friend of Castle’s. Much to Beckett’s chagrin, she was also the inspiration for a character in Castle’s first novel. Beckett is all kinds of jealous and the obvious bond Castle and Sophia have and she’s less than thrilled when Sophia asks them to work with the CIA to help track down Gage.
It turns out that Gage himself was a CIA operative who went rogue and has threatened to unleash a catastrophic event that will destroy the country. The code name for the operation is Pandora and they think that Tracy McGrath was working with Gage and someone else on the operation. Since it’s a matter of national security, Castle and Beckett are sworn to secrecy which does not go over well with Ryan, Esposito or the captain. Sophia has their phones programmed with special icons so they can contact her directly. Castle’s icon is a large panic button.
With some help from a disgruntled Ryan and Esposito, Castle and Beckett figure out that when Tracy disappeared from work, she’d gone to a parking garage near Newark to make a phone call. Before they can trace the call, Gage shows up, disarms Beckett and locks Beckett and Castle in a car trunk. Castle was able to press the panic button before Gage smashed his phone, but Beckett does not want to be rescued by his “girlfriend” so she gets them out of the trunk only to see that the CIA is already there with hoods ready to take them back to the top secret headquarters.
Dr. Nelson Blakeley
The CIA uses some very cool software to trace the call that Tracy had made, even though Gage had stolen the phone and they discover the person on the other end was Dr. Nelson Blakeley, a mathematician who has done work for the CIA in the past and who supposedly died in 2002. In his work for the CIA, Blakeley used what he referred to as the Lynch Pin Theory. He predicted how small events would trigger larger events and how only one domino needed to fall as long as it was the right domino. He was setting up a meeting with Tracy for Thursday, speaking in code using chess moves.
To Be Continued
The CIA was concerned with finding Blakeley, but Beckett was more interested in Gage. Castle decoded the chess code and after reminding Beckett that she was his partner, not Sophia (aw!), the two of them intercepted Blakeley in the park where he was supposed to meet with Tracy. He was horrified to learn she was dead and knew they were coming for him next. He agreed to talk as long as Beckett brought him to Pier 32. On the drive, he admitted that playing God for the CIA had taken its toll on him and that was why he’d decided to fake his death. Tracy had been his student at one point and she was the only one who knew he was still alive. He had created a Lynch Pin scenario for what he thought was a think tank, but it turned out the organization didn’t exist. He’d found a weakness in U.S. security that tied to the economy and could cripple it forever.
Blakeley panicked and ran from the car when he saw a flock of pigeons overhead and insisted the enemy was near. (Dude seemed a bit crazy). But he was shot where he stood seconds later and then Beckett’s car was slammed into from behind by an SUV that proceeded to push the car, with Beckett and Castle inside, into the water. As the car was submerged, the screen went black and the three dreaded words filled the screen: to be continued.