Summary: Castle and Alexis are shocked when the air marshal on their flight to London ends up dead, even more so when it falls to the two of them and the flight crew to find the murderer before someone else gets hurt.
Best Scene: Alexis talks the gun-wielding killer down before she can make another deadly mistake.
Best Line: “You’re the closest thing we have to law enforcement on this plane.” “Which in itself is cause for concern.”
My Review: I generally love bottle episodes, and while I’m not sure this one technically qualifies (I think Molly Quinn said on twitter that they shot for the standard eight days, and usually bottle eps only do five), it did have many of the elements that a good bottle episode does: a small cast of characters, one or two sets, and a tight, well-paced plot that makes it feel more like a play than a television episode. Castle‘s most memorable bottle episode is definitely the Caskett-heavy “Cuffed”, which is one of my favorite eps of the entire series. Though I don’t think I’ll be making that declaration about this one, I really did enjoy it, especially because it gave our favorite father-daughter duo a chance to shine.
It was great to see the two of them working together so closely on this case, and my favorite aspect of that was the way that Castle treated Alexis as a worthy crime-solving partner throughout. He had totally believable moments where he made his concern for her safety clear (as a dad should in that situation), but for the most part, he trusted her to handle herself in a stressful environment. I also liked that she had similar moments of worry for him, telling him to careful and that she loved him, which further showed the equality of their relationship. And they made an excellent team here, just like they did in last season’s “Like Father, Like Daughter”, though in this one thankfully minus the angst.
They also each had their own role to play in the investigation, and I loved that Castle was shown here as the extremely competent crime solver he is, even without Beckett by his side. There was a subtle shift in how he approached this crime vs. a normal one; he didn’t make nearly as many jokes or crazy theories in this one, which showed that he recognized the seriousness of the situation. His declaration that he was going to crack the case because his daughter was on the flight also effectively showed why this one was so important.
Speaking of, I loved how Alexis handled herself in this episode. She hasn’t been given much to do this season, making it easy to forget what a great character she is. She played an integral role in the investigation, looking over the body (a nice callback to her internship with Lanie), and especially in the moments just after the killer was discovered. Her compassion has always been one of my favorite of her qualities, and I’m glad that she got to use that here, knowing exactly what to say to the killer to make her put the gun down. That was another moment where Castle treated her as an equal as well; not long ago Castle would have stepped in front of that gun to protect her instead of trusting that she knew what she was doing.
As for the case itself, it was fairly run-of-the-mill (despite taking place in an unusual location), but still entertaining enough. It was fun to see the flight attendants work with Castle and Alexis, all the while trying not to arouse suspicion. I knew one of the attendants had to be the killer, but I was a little disappointed by the motive of the one it ended up being. Didn’t seem quite strong enough to justify (accidental) murder, but maybe that’s just me.
This ep was probably the most Caskett-light of the season, but I actually didn’t mind too much. Even though they were never onscreen together, little things like their phone calls (“Castle…” “I know.”) and Kate nervously watching the plane (even after the killer had already been caught), showed the continued depth of their relationship, which is really all I want from the two of them during any episode.
Next week’s should be fun; nice bit of levity before the finale!