Last season’s cliffhanger ending had Kate finding the burning car but no Castle, the season seven premiere picked up where that left off. Once the fire department put out the flames Beckett looks and finds that there is no sign of him anywhere in the wreckage. Telling the local police chief that Rick is “one of our own” she gets more police out to search for her fiance and gets changed into an outfit more appropriate for the task.
Castle’s phone is activated remotely and Esposito, Ryan and Kate chase down the signal to a wrecking yard and track it to a SUV being crushed in a machine. Beckett shouts for the operator to stop and he runs. When he is caught, Kate knocks him to the ground and has to be pulled off the man. After some pretty brutal questioning, Esposito breaks in and tells Beckett that Rick was not in the crushed vehicle.
Captain Gates reassures Kate that she will remain on the case and that she called the FBI in. The agent in charge tells Beckett that the crime feels personal and is most likely connected to a past case. Kate’s told to check over criminals that she and Rick have put behind bars. Alexis looks to be in complete shock.
Ryan finds that there may just be a mob connection. Mobster Vinny Cardano (Don Stark) ordered the SUV to be crushed, but that it has nothing to do with Rick’s abduction. Someone paid for the car to be destroyed and he tells the detectives where the money was left. CCTV at the area shows that the person who dropped off the money was Rick.
The Castle season seven premiere showed that at least the writer was alive although doing something that Beckett may not approve of. It looks as though Rick was the one who paid for the SUV to be destroyed. The money that Castle dropped off in the dumpster is the money he withdrew for his and Beckett’s honeymoon.
The FBI believe that Castle arranged the kidnapping and resulting disappearance himself. Beckett asks Agent Connors to continue looking for her fiance. A montage shows that Kate keeps looking for over two months. A dinghy is found by the Coast Guard and lying inside on the bottom of the small craft is an unconscious, disheveled and shoeless Richard Castle.
Kate goes to see Rick in the hospital, overjoyed that he is still alive. Alexis and Martha also arrive, along with Lanie, whom Beckett asks to see what she can find out. Ryan and Esposito are torn about what to believe about Castle’s abduction. The detectives track down where the dinghy came from and find Henry Jenkins who owns the property where the small fishing boat was moored. Lanie discovers, among other things, that Rick has been shot and that he had a key with a number on it sewn into his jeans.
Once there they find a tent with all of Rick’s things including his wedding clothes and newspaper clippings for the entire time he was missing. Rick wakes up in hospital and tells Kate that he remembers nothing after the crash until he woke up in the hospital and is shocked to find he has been missing for two months. Beckett, based upon the evidence she and Esposito found does not believe him.
At the last moment, Castle is believed when he demands to speak to Henry Jenkins who claimed he saw Rick at the camp on his property. When Kate and Rick go to the trailer, a different Jenkins is there, the one that the detectives spoke to was a phony. Castle cannot remember what happened and even though he is home, things are different between he and Kate.
The Castle season seven premiere finds the writer back with Kate, Martha and Alexis but with no idea of why he was abducted or what happened in the two months he was gone. This was a heavy duty opening to the new season and one which let Stana Katic show an enormous range of emotion. At the end of the episode when Beckett tearfully recounts how she kept her hopes up when Rick was missing is a true tissue grabbing moment. The preview of next week’s episode shows Rick getting another call, one where the caller offers to tell him the truth behind his abduction. Castle airs Mondays on ABC.
By Michael Smith