When I heard this week’s Castle episode, “Undead Again” was about zombies, I was admittedly unimpressed. I don’t really understand the zombie craze and I thought it was lame that they were doing another theme episode so close to the finale. But I was wrong. This was one of the best episodes the show has done in a long time and it finally felt like Castle again, but the show itself and the man.
The episode opened with Alexis reading and Castle popping out of the shadows to engage her in a laser tag game. They’ve been playing since Alexis was five and the first one to reach 1,000 points was the winner. Alexis was busy fretting over which college to choose and had to pass on the game, something that made Castle sad. As he was complaining to Martha, Beckett called and Castle promptly hit the ignore button (ouch!). Martha said he needs to at least tell Beckett why he’s punishing her. Castle wasn’t about to do that but he did tell his mother that this was going to be his final case with Beckett.
David Locke, a 29-year-old currency trader, was found dead in the parking lot of his office, killed sometime around four a.m. He’s got a nasty bite mark on his arm and there’s a torn shirt that Castle identifies as being from the Civil War era, or at least it’s a replica of one. The detectives talk to the victim’s boss and who says he was well-liked, but he did just beat out another guy, Charlie Coleman, for a promotion. Castle and Beckett head to the coworker’s apartment and find Charlie chained to his radiator as he begs Beckett to shoot him. It turns out he was attacked too, he has the same bite mark, but he’s also able to identify the attacker. He tells them it was a zombie.
They assume Charlie is the killer and just bit himself and Castle is bummed his last case is disappointing. But the evidence shows that Charlie was not the one who bit both men and Ryan finds surveillance footage of a man walking away from the scene. The man is dressed in the Civil War garb and as they zoom in on his face, they clearly see what appears to be a zombie. Castle is thrilled and calls out, “The killer is a zombie!” as he (hilariously) high-fives a random passerby in the squad room.
Next the search leads them to a woman named Greta who had been texting with David. She explains that she’d broken things off with him since she had a fiancé at home. But her fiancé, Tom, was out the night David was murdered. He has an alibi though; he was studying at the law library. Castle and Beckett trace David’s footsteps and discover a group of people (the normals) running away from another group of people dressed like zombies. It’s all part of a role play game and Beckett brings everyone to the station for questioning. One of the zombies identifies the zombie in the photo as Kyle Jennings.
Castle and Beckett go to his apartment to pick him up, but Kyle is already dead. The medical examiner says his teeth match the bite marks on the victims and he had their blood on his clothing. Castle still wants to know if he’s a real zombie and before Beckett and the medical examiner can shoot him dirty looks, Kyle sits up on the table, freaks out and runs for the doors with Beckett chasing him and ordering Castle to call for backup. He asks the medical examiner of there is a police code for zombie on the loose.
When Kyle wakes up in the hospital, he has no memory of the few days before he was in the morgue. He remembers going to the zombie walk and he admits that he’s the man in the photo, but he doesn’t know the victims and he doesn’t remember killing David. As Castle and Beckett discuss whether or not he’s telling the truth, Castle points out that when people have life altering moments, they remember every detail. Beckett counters and says maybe it’s too big to deal with and the person can’t face it just yet. At this point, Castle and Beckett both know they’re not talking about Kyle and Castle hesitated before asking if ‘he’ will ever be ready. Beckett tells him that hopefully ‘he’ will once ‘he’ feels safe. This was a fantastic scene filled with the palpable chemistry that just radiates from these two actors and Castle finally seemed to understand that Beckett wasn’t intentionally trying to shut him out or hurt him. She’s just dealing with her own stuff at the moment.
But the zombie case wasn’t solved quite yet. The medical examiner points out that Kyle had a drug in his system that is commonly used for motion sickness but an altered dose can make the person compliant and open to suggestive behavior. In other words, it’s like the date rape drug except the victim remains conscious. Castle and Beckett realize Kyle was drugged on the zombie walk and turned into a murderer. They bring in one of the zombies for questioning again to find out who the drug dealer is and he identifies Tom. They look into his background a little closer and find out that he doesn’t come from money, he has no job and yet he can afford a prestigious law school.
Tom is not cooperative and becomes downright arrogant with Beckett when he tells her that she has no case other than circumstantial evidence. She can hold him for 24 hours, but that’s it and Beckett tells Castle this might be the perfect murder. She makes a last ditch effort to get Greta to help her, but she stands by her fiancé. Beckett has no choice other than to release Tom, who continues to taunt Beckett as she lets him out of the cell. Esposito appears and tells Beckett that Kyle has been released on bail and Tom demands police protection or he’s going to file a lawsuit. Beckett tells Esposito to get him home safely and that’s it.
When Esposito pulls into the parking garage, Tom is still complaining about his lack of protection and suddenly someone bashes in the windshield of the car with a baseball bat. Esposito gets out and the zombie attacks him with the bat. Once he’s down, he turns on Tom and Tom freaks out and admits that he set the whole thing in motion because he didn’t want David near Greta anymore. Beckett arrests him and the zombie is actually Castle, who continues to freak Esposito out for the fun of it.
Back at the station, Kyle thanks Castle and Beckett for helping to clear his name and Castle asks if he can borrow his costume for another night. Kyle tells him to keep it because he’s done with the zombie crowd. Beckett tells Castle that she’s in therapy and it’s helping her get to a place where she accept everything that happened that day and her wall is finally coming down. Castle tells her that he wants to be there when it does and she tells him that she wants him there. (Aw! It was the best moment). He tells her that he’ll see her tomorrow, which of course means that this wasn’t their last case together after all.
The episode ended on another fantastic moment. Alexis was sneaking up on Castle, ready to win the game and when he turned around, he was wearing the zombie mask, she screamed and he ended up winning the game. Alexis was sad because she knew things wouldn’t be the same once she went off to college. Castle told her to follow her heart and she can’t go wrong. Alexis admitted that she wanted to go to Columbia, but if she did, she needed Castle to promise not to show up all the time. He promised to try and that was good enough. (I love their relationship).
Next week is the season finale and it promises to be a big one. If you haven’t seen the promo yet, stop what you’re doing and run to You Tube. I dare you not to squeal once you see how truly amazing it looks. We all know previews can be deceiving, but this one definitely seems like the episode we’ve all been waiting for.