Castle – Sleeper -Review: “Really?”

A boat. The sun. The jungle. A friend. A Trophy. A gun. A bullet. A hand. A man. A camouflaged Castle. And he’s awake.

This week’s “Castle” has the man diving back into the events that interrupted his wedding day and had him missing for two months, when recurring dreams surface his conscious self. “Sleeper” was enjoyable, but I think I loved the idea of this episode more than I loved the episode itself, and I had higher expectations for it and for the entire mythology.

“Babe, it’s not like you were partying in Thailand. You have the best excuse ever. You were saving the world.” -Beckett

Okay, I have to disagree with Beckett on this one, it’s definitely not the best excuse, but at least it’s an excuse or at least an attempt at one. I didn’t mind having to wait 20 episodes, to get some answers; we waited for years to get some about Johanna Beckett. But this mythology, everything surrounding Castle’s disappearance, definitely wasn’t on the same level, as thought out, as the mythology surrounding Beckett mother’s murder. And while some might have thought the development on her story was too slow, I liked that we got to discover it meticulously, piece by piece. We got to discover, Castle’s whereabouts piece by piece alright, but they just shoved everything in this episode. Probably in case the show doesn’t get its eight season.

I think the episode was well thought out, and really enjoyed the plot of Castle trying to find the meaning behind his dream, and piecing it together. The interactions between the characters were great, but I just can’t feel satisfied with “Sleeper” because of the reason for his disappearance. It was just too much crazy to accept. Honestly, I’m still not sure I understand the reason behind it. Terrorists? Al Qaeda? A Russian assassin? I mean, really?

As I’ve mentioned before, I loved the idea of the recurring dream, which had Castle whimpering in his sleep for a week, before a concerned Kate sends him off to get help, from the therapist who had helped her through her issues after the shooting. It’s the therapist that helped her get to Castle, get to where she is, and I found it incredibly fitting. I’m glad they brought back Dr. Burke for it, and not just any therapist.

“I’ve tried to put it behind me, but it haunts me. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder where I was, what I saw, what I did.” – Castle

While Castle was skeptical, at first, about diving back in, about disrupting the balance of his currently perfect life (how long is this going to last? Am I right?), once he starts thinking about it, he can’t stop. He needs answers. Even when Dr. Burke tells him to takes things slow, not to rush anything; even when he tells him not to take everything too literally because sometimes, dreams are just figments of our imagination, and Castle has an incredibly active one, Castle goes at it, head on.

“I was in Thailand, getting shot at, with Chuck Norris?” –Castle

His mind is creating a narrative, but he’s certain that his dreams are actual memories. The team, even though they’re skeptical, and assume he’s picking out plot points from action movies he’s seen, help him out. They chase after his leads, dedicate resources, even if they are only “grasping at straws,” because they’re a team, they love each other, and that’s what they do. They support each other, even if they feel things don’t add up.

“For my money, your story about the missing two months never added up. It still doesn’t.” –Esposito

Even if Esposito is acting somewhat like an *ss, I have to agree with him. It just doesn’t add up. “Sleeper,” for me, just cemented the fact that they had no idea what they were going to do when they had Castle abducted, on his wedding day. Espo feels the need to address how messed up his story is, and honestly who wouldn’t? His delivery was a bit harsh, but he’s still just looking out for Beckett, and despite his reservations, he helps Castle out, helps him to identify the man from his dreams. Compiling a file on the people who have the same military tattoo Castle saw in his dream, Esposito helps Castle in identifying his Chuck Norris lookalike, Jeff Powers. (Jack Bauer anyone?)

Castle and Beckett following up on the lead, and going to the man’s place of residence, leads to this episodes funniest bit. It was simple, yet hilarious.

“Castle, what are you doing?” -Beckett
“It’s okay, he knows me. Jeff Powers? It’s Rick Castle, from Thailand.” -Castle

They find Jeff Powers shot in his own apartment, a bullet in his skull, and missing teeth. He was tortured by a Russian Assassin, who has two dozen assassinations on his belt. The identification of Ilya Golovkin causes Beckett to send her husband home. He was involved in something big and it’s dangerous, so he can’t be investigating anymore. (Now who’s calling the kettle black, Beckett?)

She’s putting his safety before his feelings and no amount of arguing will make her change her mind. Unphased, she’s willing to send him home in with LT in handcuffs, so he indulges her. We were also gifted with a little bit of acting from LT. Don’t think I didn’t see your eyebrows wiggle when Beckett mentioned handcuffs. It was great.

And Castle’s “Just for the record. Extremely bitter.” was perfectly delivered by Nathan Fillion.

“I don’t need you to protect me. I’m not a kid anymore. I’m not afraid to hear the truth. Why not let me in?” – Alexis

“Sleeper” had a family dynamic which I absolutely adored. It felt true to the earlier Castle family moments all while including Kate. The episode included a concerned mother, a supportive wife and a matured daughter.

Martha’s motherly side shone throw this episode and it was great to see a more serious side to her character.. She was concerned about her son’s lack of sleep, concerned when he became too obsessed. She had her concerns when he starting digging into his abduction and she goes to the precinct to speak with Kate, concerned that if he chose to forget, there must have been a reason. But Kate understands Castle, understands the obsession that can drive him. She understands the need for answers and convinces Martha it’s going to be okay, that she’s there for him and that she won’t let him fall.

I loved Alexis (and Molly Quinn) in this episode, always loved the bond she shares with her father. Alexis waking up Beckett, worried her father is becoming a bit obsessive about Thailand, and wanting someone to watch over him was all kinds of cute, and its moments like this one that make me happy she hasn’t moved out of the loft yet.

The episode touched into Castle’s insecurities about what happened during these 2 months, and Alexis wants to be there for him, wants to be seen an adult, as someone he can confide, who doesn’t need to be shielded from the truth because it might hurt. This leads to a touching heart to heart between father and daughter, and I’m not sure I mentioned it but, I love their relationship. It’s easy to see how deeply she cares for her father.

Alone, Castle, following a money trail from Jeff Power’s file, (sloppy guys!) finds himself in an Indian Café, faced by the man shot, bleeding out and dying, from his dreams. Jeff Powers was his handler, but Balal is not a spy. The man, an exchange student and friend of Castle’s from 11th grade, is an Al Qaeda defector, with whom Castle had consulted with about terrorism, for his first Derrick Storm Novel.

The sequence about the Debate Trophy had lead Castle to Philippe Bartlett, instead of Balal, the real person he had shared the trophy with. “Castle” was always on the verge of not being believable, (invisibility cloak, anyone?) but this plot was just beyond ridiculous. They went to the point that they altered his memories, because erasing them wasn’t enough, they had to go in his brain and change his actual memories. Really? What is this a sci-fi movie? This episode was just too out there for me.

The reason they had to interrupt the Caskett wedding was because Balal, after a leak was discovered, needed someone he could trust, someone he knew that was too prominent to sweep under the table and forget about. They were on a ticking time bomb type schedule and needed Balal’s intel, needed Castle, to save tens of thousands of lives.

I loved that Castle punched fake Jenkins for making him miss his wedding day. It unexpected, but still totally called for and it somehow felt satisfying. He has some leverage now that he knows they can’t kill him.

“Still a lot of unanswered questions though. Like how did I get shot? Why was I gone for two months? But I know enough.” – Castle

Castle and Beckett’s end conversation acknowledged the fact that the mythology is still shredded in mystery, and while some questions were answered, many still remain. The main one for me stays: Why did he want to forget the two months? Saving the world doesn’t seem like something he’d want to forget, it feels like something he would like to brag about. This though, I feel, could still only be a narrative the people who abducted him created so he would stop digging around…

“Castle, this is completely different. Whatever happened to you, you already knew the truth and you decided that you didn’t want to remember it anymore. And as much as we want to know what the answers are, if you decided that, then there had to have been a reason.” – Beckett (in Montreal)

I didn’t hate this episode, I liked it, but I would have loved to have loved it. How about you guys?