“Castle” returned tonight for its fifth season on ABC, with “After the Storm.” The episode picks up the morning after Kate arrived at Castle’s apartment and told him that she wanted him and they shared a (hot) first (real) kiss that fans had been impatiently waiting for. But will things be awkward in the light of day? Will Ryan and Esposito’s bromance recover from Ryan going behind his back to Captain Gates? Will Kate get her job back?
The episode starts with Castle waking up alone in bed, but don’t worry; Kate was just in the other room, grabbing some coffee. They dive right into the serious talk, admitting that they’re both on board and it’s not some sort of midlife crisis. Kate points out that she does have the day off, the two start making suggesting of how to spend the day as the clothes come off…and then Martha calls out that she’s home. In a hilarious scene, Rick makes Kate hide in the closet and does his best to hide Kate’s bra while Martha talks to him about Alexis. He asks to put some clothes on and as soon as Martha walks out, Kate whips a pillow at him from the closet. Alexis is hung over and as Kate tries to sneak out, Rick stops Martha from getting Alexis aspirin, making a crazy speech until Kate is able to leave.
Rick shows up at Kate’s and she’s not amused by the whole closet thing. He tells her that he just wants to keep what they have to themselves for awhile. She suggests they go for round two and Castle points out that it’s actually round 4. There’s a knock on the door; Castle thinks Martha is stalking them, but it’s Ryan. Beckett wants Castle to get in the closet, but he points out that he has his pants on and she tells him to act normal. Ryan has some new information on the case, but Beckett isn’t sure she wants to see it. Ryan shows them the picture that was stolen from Montgomery’s wedding album, and Castle recognizes the man as a younger version of his informant.
Ryan tries to trace him through Castle’s cell phone log and Kate is upset. She wanted to put all of this behind her. Castle points out that Maddox is on the trail too and they need to get to the informant before he does. They put their heads together and figure out the man’s name, Martin Smith. Castle and Beckett go to his place, but they find him beaten and tortured; Maddox had already been there and he’d burned the file. But as Mr. Smith is being taken away by ambulance, he tells Castle that there’s another file. Castle and Beckett search the apartment and find an address they think is a storage facility. They get there and find the floor safe, but Maddox arrives and locks them in a room, promising to come back and kill them once he destroys the file.
As Beckett and Castle work to untie themselves, they get frustrated and they’re both upset that they wasted so much time. When they hear footsteps, Castle says at least they had last night and they should have done that four years ago. Esposito is on the other end of the door and wants to know what they’re talking about. He hands Beckett his extra gun and they sneak up on Maddox. He starts to grab the file and when he does, the safe explodes, killing him and scattering pieces of the file everywhere. Gates is not happy to see her suspended detectives and Castle at the scene, but they insist that they were just walking by and Ryan denies knowing what was in the safe.
Back at Kate’s apartment, Castle, Beckett and Esposito are having beers and trying to figure out what to do next when there’s a knock at the door. Everyone grabs a weapon, but it’s just Ryan. Esposito keeps his gun trained on him and calls him, “Judas” (come on, guys, hug it out), but Kate invites him in. Ryan holds up a plastic bag containing the remnants of papers from the file. They dump it out on the table and start sorting through it with tweezers until they’re able to piece together a money order and an account number. They use the federal banking database and trace the account to a man named William Bracken. Kate holds up a political flyer and says, “Do you mean Senator William Bracken?”
Bracken (Jack Coleman) was taking bribes and dirty money and Kate’s mother found out about it, which was why he’d had her and several other people killed. The detectives and Castle realize that he’s cleaning up loose ends so that he can have a shot at the presidency. Beckett and Castle go to the hospital to see Mr. Smith and he confirms their theory, but he also tells them that he owed Montgomery, but he doesn’t owe Kate anything and he’s not going to help. He suggests that she leave town. Kate does not want to spend her life looking over her shoulder. As she and Castle talk, they notice Smith’s security guard and he tells them he got a call, removing him from duty. They race to Smith’s room, but he’s already dead.
The next morning, Kate leaves Castle alone in her bed and heads to the fundraiser the senator is hosting. She has a cop friend get her past security and calls the senator, telling him that she wants to talk to him. Castle, Esposito and Ryan rush to stop her, but Kate already has the senator in the back room. She holds her gun on him and demands that he admit to killing her mother. The senator is calm (Coleman is fantastic in this role) and points out that it’s not about who has the gun, it’s about who has the power. He turns to walk away and Kate calls out that she has the file. That gets his attention. She tells him that she could ruin his life, but then she’d probably have a short life expectancy. Instead, she tells him that she wants the same deal as Smith and nothing can happen to her or anyone she cares about.
Once the senator agrees to the deal, Kate tells him that he has no idea who she is or how far she’s willing to go. She tells him that she’s done being afraid and that it’s his turn now and then she punches him in the face with her gun (BAMF!). She says that will leave a scar and he can think of her every time he sees it. She walks away as Castle and the detectives rush in. They’re relieved that she’s okay and Bracken is alive. Kate tells them she’ll get justice for her mother, just not today.
Kate talks to Captain Gates about getting her job back. Gates is still not happy that she’s been lying so much, but she knows why. She assures Beckett that she’s not interested in digging up the past or tarnishing Montgomery’s name. She hopes that someday Kate might have the same loyalty to her. In the meantime, Kate needs to serve out her suspension as does Esposito. As Beckett and Castle get into the elevator, he asks what she’s going to do with her time and she smirks and says she has an idea (I dare you to try not to smile as the elevator doors close).
There you have it. “Castle” is back and already leaps and bounds better than last season. I think the show is handling Castle and Beckett as a couple perfectly with the right mix of humor and the clear, deep feelings they have for one another. Next week looks hilarious with the two of them going above and beyond to hide the fact that there’s something between them from all their friends. And why exactly is Castle making out with someone else…? Stay tuned.
Quick note: I’m not going to recap “Castle” every week like I did last season, probably just a few special episodes here and there. But TV Source will still have plenty of news, previews and photos all throughout Season 5.
Feel free to hit the comments below and tell us what you loved about the episode!