‘Castle’: Dead Ringer

Published 11 months ago by , Updated November 19th, 2013 at 10:43 am,

Castle Season 6 Episode 9 Beckett Top Castle: Dead Ringer

[This is a review of Castle Season 6, Episode 9. There will be SPOILERS.]

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What makes ‘Disciple’ one of the great Castle episodes is that it would have been good even without the links to the beloved/hated 3XK murders. The case plot revolves around two corpses who resemble two members of the 12th precinct team; there are several sharp twists and blind curves along the way, and both of the two possible suspects are deliciously evil. The addition of the 3XK tie-ins just make the experience that much richer.

The opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the episode: dark, mysterious, with a plot twist hiding in plain sight. William Mapother does a superb job playing security guard Carl Matthews. You almost feel bad for the guy, having to chase off homeless men in the middle of the night and then talking to a corpse before realizing she’s swinging from a fishing wire and has been dead for a while.

But as soon as he’s in the interrogation room, a whole new man comes out and the acting talent is ratcheted up a few notches. Forget mister nice guy – this is the predator you fear your kids will one day meet on the internet.

Castle Season 6 Episode 9 Doctor Nieman Castle: Dead Ringer

No less talented but oily as a used car salesman from the get-go is Annie Wershing as Dr. Kelly Nieman. Where Matthews didn’t rate a second glance, you knew from the second Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) sat down at her desk that she was in it up to her pretty little neck.

You could probably also guess that the pen she seems so eager to foist on Castle would mean something, too, and it wouldn’t be shocking if the same ends up true for the business card she gives Beckett. Still, all they can pin her down for is ordering Daniel Santos’ special services from time to time and working her plastic magic on Pam Hodges.

Equally satisfying is the time granted to the ensemble members of the cast. Those pining for more of Ryan (Seamus Dever), Espo (Jon Huertas), and especially Lanie (Tamala Jones) can have their cake and eat it too this time around.

Castle Season 6 Episode 9 Beckett Castle Castle: Dead Ringer

Lanie and Espo are unnerved enough when their respective doppelgängers turn up dead and that tension only compounds as the killer’s true motives come to light. Given that Ryan and Castle have been targeted by Jerry Tyson (Michael Mosley) in the past and now Lanie and Espo, Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald) and Beckett better watch their backs.

Of course, that worry would only be valid should either Gates or Beckett decide that the murders and evidence theft are a direct result of interference from not-so-late, great Tyson and not merely two sick people paying homage to a dead man.

Neither woman seems ready to jump to that conclusion, nor is the NYPD. Yes, all sights are set on reeling in Dr. Nieman and Matthews will serve his time, but Beckett is finally ready to embrace the lessons Castle taught her throughout the years and stop chasing ghosts in favor of living in the present.

Will she come to regret that decision? Is Tyson dead or alive? Would you prefer Matthews or Nieman on your “accessory to murder” list, or both? And more importantly, do you think Castle’s pitch for a honeymoon in Middle Earth should be revisited?

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Castle returns next Monday with, ‘The Good, The Bad & The Baby’ @10pm on ABC.

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  1. Disappointing that they only took this half way and they used it as a lame way to resurrect 3XK. If they had just focused on someone going around and making doppelgangers of the whole gang, not just stopping at Lannie and Espo then it could have been a very memorable and good stand-alone episode. Instead they only focused on the doppelgangers for the first 20 minutes and then it was oh well, that’s done let’s resurrect a guy we’ve killed off twice (I believe twice is correct) so far as the repeating villain.

    • Don’t be surprise if its in three parts(something they have never done before with today TV series – but it was commonly done in the 40′s with mysteries and detective series), and Castle dad could hold the final key to solving the mystery.

      Next, they have to start moving major stories off the board for new ones, and “3XK” is older than Senator Bracken in terms of story lines. Don’t forget also that we are moving toward season 7, marriage, family, complication, career changes, and major changes in story lines – if they are going to make it to “season 10″, which most of us loyal fans, are hoping and praying that they do accomplish. Castle is more TV film cinema then a TV show, and Marlowe and Terri with their mostly great writing team have channeled the 30’s, 40’s, and the 50’s very well. This may also be why it has not done well with awards like the “people choice (although Castle made it this year yea!!!!!).” Many of the 20+ million Castle watchers are also PBS watcher, go figure?

      • Since the next episode at least appears to be unrelated (the plot being that Castle and Beckett take care of a baby) it would have to be a three parter that’s split with victim of the day episodes in-between.

        Either that or the surprise method where his influence somehow shows up in an otherwise unrelated crime. I don’t see 3XK as the type of villain to do that though. He’ll influence other people to commit crimes/kill for him, sure, but he’s no moriarty so there’s only so many times people will believe that.

        • The previous return of 3XK was done rather well but, yes, it can only happen so many times: especially given the methods we’ve seen in other episodes of tracking down hard to find suspects. The episode where the gangster received Ryan’s gun from Tyson was also well done and a very strong episode for the show. I do think we’ll see this crime again, just not sure how soon. That’s kind of the myth of 3XK, he surfaces and then he hides.

        • Namaste:

          Great points! I have one for you – suppose there is not only a tied to 3XK, but a tie as well to senator Bracken. We have all assumed that Beckett’s mother was in fact the woman murdered, but what if there was a doppelganger put in her place, that match her in every way. We do know that senator Bracken has a compassionate side, no matter how sick it may be, and Beckett’s mother has been hold all this time. The plastic surgeon could be involved with both. The fact that this is a song from “World War II that was played to encourage children to be brave,as England was being bombed, does tie back to Beckett’s mother, and the song possibly being used as a lullaby. This just one hypothesis….

          • Alias did body doubles and so have other shows but I’m not sure Castle can get away with it as more than a one-off plot point. Having Beckett’s mother spirited off somewhere and a body double killed in her place would break the suspension of disbelief for many watchers in my opinion and it would come off as cheesy, if not outright poor, screen writing. Also, having Beckett’s mother come back, presumably at the last minute of an episode saying hello to Beckett before a cut to credits, would be predictable and almost a deus ex machina.

            • Hi, Namaste, Jason, and Toothillman:

              Well… My Castle Friends’~
              I had my reasons for putting the worst possible options into play. I hope that it will keep them from using it. If they went to the future (Doyle), which was – cute, but still dumb for a TV cinematic detective drama that has been above the cheap and tawdry theatrics. They might try it with the doppelgängers (Kate’s mom) and think it is a great idea. The original scenario(s) that was shared makes a great deal of sense. The mystery that remains is… who has invaded Kate’s life on such an intimate level to gain insight into a very private and personal piece of Kate Beckett’s past with her mother? Now, that is interesting, and very “Hitchcock” psychologically terror, while adding depth to the murderous mystery surrounding the good doctor and who she really is… sister and/or 3XK’ girlfriend? When they return to the story line (I still feel that this will be 3 part story line, when it is all said and done).

              See You In Castleland (for… Episode 6 x 10)

  2. their are 2 villains who will not it seems just die the senator and the killer who is as clever as casket. this was to get him back into the story for the second arc. Also 3K has in effect neutralized the police by wiping the slate no murder board work next time its really castle vs. 3K.

    While beckett is wary of the senator she has always believed 3K is dead but I believe the killer and his girl(the surgeon) are going after castle and his girl and that will be epic.

    3K has stated in other parts that castle is like him and the surgeon is a twisted as beckett is strong and loyal. If it was just solving easy murders ever week while more worried if beckett was or not wearing the ring it would get boring very quickly.3K is castles nemesis as the senator is kates

    • Hi,Toothillman:

      Great rebuttal…

      I have one for you – suppose there is not only a tie to 3XK, but a tie as well to senator Bracken. We have all assumed that Beckett’s mother was in fact the woman murdered, but what if there was a doppelganger put in her place, that match her in every way. We do know that senator Bracken has a compassionate side, no matter how sick it may be, and Beckett’s mother has been hold all this time. The plastic surgeon could be involved with both. The fact that this is a song from “World War II that was played to encourage little children to be brave,as England was being bombed, does tie back to Beckett’s mother, and the song possibly being used as a lullaby. This just one possible hypothesis…

  3. Aside from the mystery surrounding Beckett’s mother, 3XK has been one of better arcs of the series. I’d put it in the same arena as the Mike Royce episodes and just a step ahead of the 2-parter episodes where they bring in some Washington federal team to try running things. To be honest, the combination of this season and its predecessor needed a return of a nemesis from the series’ better years. It’s lost its edge since the coupling that is Caskett. As much as I adore both characters, they’re the typical TV couple in that they’re more interesting when apart and longing to be together.

    That aside, it felt like an episode that would’ve been fun for the actors, having a chance to mix things up and spin the entire doppelganger idea. Plus, Annie Wersching made a fairly decent (creepy) VOTW. I’ll look forward to the return as, I’d like to think, the writers have left the other four precinct regulars untouched for later in the season. Part of me, however, hopes that they let AW stretch her legs a bit longer as we’ve not had a truly formidable female adversary for Beckett to butt heads with. She charges headlong at male opponents but it seemed that Dr. Nieman could be her white whale now that Castle has 3XK.

    • Hi, Jason:

      It is still I think a Moriarty and Sherlock scenario, if you know anything about the story he had a girl friend who faced the “Black Widow” – 1940′s. I celebrate how you think!

      • I’m not as versed in Sherlock lore as I’d like, but the comparison did spring to mind. Many supposed fans have forgotten that Kate was the youngest woman to make detective, a point Gates brought up when she assumed command of the precinct. People want to give Castle all the credit but Kate’s also an accomplished detective. She deserves an equally accomplished adversary. I’d daresay Dr. Nieman is far more sophisticated than Jerry ’3XK’ Tyson. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she took him out of play.

        • Hi, Jason:

          You are correct, which is why they need to move her character up in status to Lt. Beckett! Kate is brilliant and beautiful! The song has never appeared in any episode, and I have all of the DVD’s and watch them multiple times. This is a maternal and child connection that sent Kate into emotional melt down. The song itself is from World War II, and was played and/ or sung by many English parents to their children, during the bombings.

          Here is one for the books… Suppose there is not only a tie to 3XK, but a tie as well to senator Bracken. We have all assumed that Beckett’s mother was in fact the woman murdered, but what if there was a doppelganger put in her mother’ place – that match her in every way? We do know that senator Bracken has a compassionate side, no matter how sick it may be, and Beckett’s mother has been hold all this time. The plastic surgeon could be involved with both. The fact that this is a song from “World War II that was played to encourage little children to be brave,as England was being bombed, does tie back to Beckett’s mother, and the song possibly being used as a lullaby to early adolescence bound between mother and daughter. This is just one possible hypothesis…

          See All You Guys In Castleland

          • If you step back and look at how many of the episodes and arcs have been miniature novels — the kind a Castle-esque author would spin, it isn’t hard to fathom a doppelganger arc. We all know that 3XK likes the doubles game, as he framed Castle with a similar idea. I’m inclined to wonder if the plastic surgeon didn’t simply expand on his idea and one-up him.

            The series almost lost my attention when they pulled the imitation Taken two-parter w/Alexis’ abduction and James Brolin. If they tried to push the notion of a doppelganger for Kate’s mom, it would seriously undermine the character and the heart of the series. That isn’t to say that someone wouldn’t tinker with the idea of having a doppelganger who looks like Kate’s mom begin popping up just to throw Kate off her game, though.

            As to Lt. Beckett (which sounds awesome) I suspect they’ll hinge that on whether or not Kate has a baby.

            • Well, maybe not… because if they are going to end the series say… with her running for senator, then she is going to have to be in a position of power, a Lt. and/ or Captain. Unless, she decides to get her law degree while a Lt. this would most certainly set Kate up to become senator Beckett. More then half of my friends are mom’s and professionals and they manage it all well, which is to their credit.

              The other piece which is that there is an unplanned pregnancy, which has kind of been a story-line that Stana has wanted them to move towards (more real world), one that I agree professional women face all the time.

    • Agree!

  4. I had to come where the stain folks are…

    I was asked how did I know that Beckett was not responding to Tyson’s message… Here is how and why: Kate’s reaction/ response was a visceral one to “the song” – an emotional trigger to her psyche tied to her intimate past, most likely her past with her mother (watch it closely). It has absolutely nothing to do with 3XK! Kate and Castle in their conversation both acknowledge the possibilities, while on the sofa, with multiple scenarios, between his girlfriend/ sister (possibly) if that is what she is… and that he may very well be alive, along with the acknowledgement of looming danger. How do I know? “Profiling” I cannot go further (read between the lines).

    • Absolutely! That was an emotional trigger and not fear. It was a “how did they know?” moment … and I had to wonder, have we heard this song once before on the show? I want to say we have, but I cannot pinpoint an episode.

  5. Kate has never been a 3XK victim he’s gone for castle or the boys but with the doctor in the mix think Kate is now a target. But that song meant something to beckett and that was a very scared Kate she cannot pretend castle is dreaming and she knows the one she loves is the main target.

    • In “Probable Cause,” (episode 5 x 5) he (3XK) did target Kate, grant it was to punish Castle, by trying to kill Kate in front of Castle on the bridge.