Castle and Beckett’s public reunion is fresh enough that they’re still collecting congratulations, and Castle is already back at it again with another love story. But unlike Caskett’s, this one doesn’t end in French toast kebabs, red wine, and dueling A.I. personalities. Our Javier Esposito is one half of a bona fide star-crossed lover scenario; we’ll have to be satisfied that he and his Juliet made it through their reunion without killing each other.
In “Heartbreaker,” a painful shard of Esposito’s past comes back to haunt him after an armored truck driver is shot and killed in the middle of a robbery. The Castle and Beckett fake breakup is back in the off position, so Castle is on hand to identify a strange goopy material at the crime scene. The substance dripping from the vents is a combination of gelatin and ladies’ perfume (“One Direction body spray, nailed it!”), and Esposito regretfully announces that he’s seen this method in action before. Nine years ago, he brought down one member of a crew who ran a quick-and-dirty heist on an auction house. Sonia Ruiz and her accomplices used the same flowery formula to disable the security systems in that job. Still, Ruiz went down for the crime. Esposito ought to know, since he was the arresting officer — the arresting officer who just happened to be engaged to his perp.
Espo’s work family immediately knows that he’s overstating his comfort level over Sonia reentering his life. (Kate’s silent mortification is A+.) Beckett goes into the interview herself to see if Sonia’s resolve has softened and if Beckett can’t get the names of her crew mates out of her. But that’s information that the convict didn’t give up because she simply didn’t have it. Sonia tells Beckett that she was never given the name of her partner for this exact reason. She was Mako in the exchange; her partner was Hammerhead; and the whole job was the brainchild of a “shotcaller” going by Great White. Finally, a crime boss committed to living every week like it’s Shark Week.
Great White, a.k.a. Jimmy Sanchez, is dead, but Sonia’s partner did let it spill once that Sanchez used to hang out in a certain a bar in Spanish Harlem. Sonia warns Beckett that the clientele there won’t talk to a cop, and Beckett knows she’s right. Beckett gets Sonia, who has three months left on her sentence, a furlough to go into the dive and get a lead on Hammerhead’s whereabouts. Esposito is far from okay with this plan. If even Ryan doesn’t know about this incredibly significant relationship and how it fell magnificently apart, then Esposito definitely hasn’t dealt with it. He’s over Sonia; over the web of lies she created to obscure her illegal activities; and definitely over the fact that he had to slap those cuffs on the woman he was planning to marry and turn her over to the state. Yes, Esposito is well and truly over all of it — until he sees Sonia in a head-turning dress. (“Might want to tell your mouth.”)
Beckett would prefer Espo stay far away from any mission having to do with Sonia; she knows how feelings complicate things. But Sonia refuses to walk into the bar with “St. Paddy” in tow. Ryan is swapped out for Espo, and suddenly the former flames are on a monitored date. Castle and Ryan listen in via Sonia’s ankle bracelet mic and gossip about the ex-lovers’ chemistry. (“It crackles.”) They hear Esposito “five-finger filet” the cagey bartender into giving up some details on Hammerhead and keep surveilling them as they head up the street to pay Hammerhead Joey a visit at his grandma’s house. Joey pulls a gun on Sonia and Espo, and Sonia takes off. She cries self-defense to the boys later, and they reluctantly believe she wouldn’t be so stupid as to risk an increased sentence with just months left to serve.
In interrogation, Joey half-admits to his shark code name but also crows that his firearm is registered and that he did nothing but legally defend the honor of his beloved grandmother. His smile falters when he’s shown the photograph of the victim, but he alibis out thanks to his now-upstanding existence as the proprietor of the fast food phenomenon Chicken Chicken Chicken. Oh, and the Jello mixture? That was a bit of a trade secret, not the intellectual property of one man.
NEXT: Couples therapy