At the beginning of Castle: The Way of the Ninja, a young Japanese woman is murdered with a throwing knife; as Beckett and Rick hunt down her killer, the trail leads to a Yakuza called the Green Dragon and revenge. An item found at the crime scene, turns out to be a “drop key” and Ryan finds out the key goes to an old derelict cookie factory. The murdered woman’s name is Jade Yamata and she had the key on her when she died.
When Castle and Kate go to the warehouse they find a shrine that has a dagger on it. Looking at the handle, Rick says that it looks as though it could be the murder weapon. After hearing a noise, Beckett goes to investigate leaving Rick with the knife. When Kate leaves the room Castle sees a ninja who snatches the murder weapon and disappears in a puff of smoke.
A woman from the Japanese consulate comes to the precinct and Beckett asks about the “shrine” and Castle asks about ninjas. The consulate officer tells them that there are no ninja’s. Castle refuses to believe her because he prefers his theory of warring ninja factions.
Jade turns out to be a ballet dancer in training and she came to the U.S. as part of that training. The crime solving duo question the dead girl’s male ballet partner and Castle is convinced that he is a ninja. After a failed experiment with a coffee cup, the ballet partner reveals that he is not a ninja and he is not even Japanese, he is Korean.
Ryan, Esposito and Castle go to the Mayago tea import company to follow up a lead. The import business turns out to be a Japanese hostess bar and they decide to go in to investigate. Once inside, the three men get a table and three hostesses. Asking about Jade Yamamoto results in Rick getting some private time with a hostess who tells him that the murdered girl had dealings with a Japanese businessman named Saito.
The three men get thrown out of the club. Walking away from the club two ninja’s show up. Later Beckett and Castle learn more about Jade and the they also learn that Mr. Saito is a involved with organised crime. The consulate officer turns out to be Jade’s sister and she reveals that their parents were murdered in Japan by a Yakuza enforcer called the Green Dragon. Castle: The Way of the Ninja, takes a step back and has more of the light heartedness that was apparent in the earlier seasons of the show.
On top of this more humorous episode, the inclusion of not just one, but two ninjas, the door was left wide open for some great action sequences. The first is quite short but ends with one ninja leaping up and through a gap in the roof and the other disappearing almost in plain sight. Later there is a top-notch fight scene. The choreography for this final ninja fight looked flawless and impressive.
There are enough twists and turns to keep things interesting and the show is very different from last week’s thrilling plot that showcased Stana Katic’s acting chops. She takes more of a back seat in this week’s show which allows more time for Nathan Fillion to do what he does best. The subplot of this episode is Kate’s fear that when she and Rick are married their relationship will get boring.
Castle: The Way of the Ninja is all about Yakuza, the Green Dragon, and revenge. It is also about the ever evolving relationship between Rick and Kate. It was nice to see a return to the more comedic turns of all the primary cast members. Penny Johnson even got a chance to play it for laughs, albeit, off camera. The show felt much more like the “old” Castle and was a great followup to the heavy duty plot from the previous week’s episode.
By Michael Smith