By Mandi Bierly
Updated March 30, 2010 at 04:07 PM EDT


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Image Credit: Danny Feld/ABCWho cares if the kind of massive blaze we saw at the end of Part 1 makes us sure that Beckett’s apartment would’ve been impenetrably engulfed in flames and that there’d be no wayshe would’ve survived the blast by running into her bathroom, closing the door, and jumping into her tub. We’re suckers for serial killer storylines, for Castle breaking down doors (I may actually have yelled “Castle!” at that moment), and for all the banter that followed. “It’s killing you, isn’t it?…. Having to wait this long to tell me how you banged down the door?” “You want me to start from the beginning?”

I thought the show did a great job maneuvering its way through the twists, some more expected than others. Castle, Beckett, and Shaw (guest star Dana Delany) soon realized that if the killer was the man in the window last week but not the man, Ben Conrad, they found on the floor, he must have been hiding in the apartment the whole time they were at that crime scene. They went back to it and found the secret compartment the killer had kept Conrad in as he framed him for the murders. I can’t even allow myself to process that, it’s so horrible. That’s when the killer called Beckett’s cell and told her that because she lived, he’d have to keep killing. Gunshots. Woman’s scream. Now the trio deduced that if he knew Beckett was alive, he must have been watching them at her apartment. He wasn’t in the crowd. He’s a chameleon — he was dressed as one of their own. If he knew enough about Ben Conrad’s life to pin the murders on him, he must have known Ben Conrad. They just had to figure out where they met.

Since Conrad liked to watch Knicks games but didn’t own a TV, they guessed he must have gone to a local bar to watch them. They knew they found the right one when they saw a giant banner that read “Home of New York’s Very Own Serial Killer Ben Conrad!” Oh, New York. We would do that, wouldn’t we? The bartender/owner remembered Ben having a conversation with a guy who she then had to call a cab for during a Knicks overtime. With the drop-off location from the cab company and Jordan’s profile of the killer fed into her fancy board (what magazines he’d subscribe to, what high-IQ organizations he could belong to, possible criminal or psychological records), they found the stolen identity he was living under. I’d love to know how long that would’ve actually taken.

They entered the apartment and found sheets of manuscripts hanging from hooks on the ceiling (not as scary as, say, body parts, but still freaky) and a tribute to Nikki Heat that was actually pretty artistic. Castle found a signed copy of Heat Wave, and a manuscript for “Scott’s” novel, Dead Heat. He writes about his murders. He’s done it before with a book about murdering prostitutes in Seattle. They couldn’t find fingerprints in the apartment because he liked to play with fire and must have burned them off. Shaw told them to UN-ASS the place and wait outside for Scott to return. (Still not sure what that stands for, but Shaw paraphrased it as “get the hell out and don’t take anything” once she saw Castle had taken the Dead Heat novel.)

Anytime Shaw got talking about her personal life and child, I tensed up thinking she was going to die. I mean, she’s a guest star. She’s disposable. I’d say her figuring out that the man positioned on a nearby roof wasn’t actually one of hers — but the killer, who looked a bit like Alex O’Loughlin from a distance — was my third favorite moment of the episode. That meant their cover was blown and Shaw bolted the van. Knowing Scott was about to get away, Beckett took off, slamming the door in Castle’s face. She chased him through a subway station and as he rode away, he pointed a finger gun at her. I wanted him to be more chilling. You?

With a face to go on from the station’s cameras, the cops got his full ID, Scott Dunn. Shaw kicked Beckett off the case, and she resisted, partly because she didn’t have a “home” to go home to. Second favorite moment of the episode!

Castle: Yes you do. It’s a secured building with an extra bedroom, with people who care about you, with a federal detail at the door, it’s the safest place in the city.

Beckett: Thank you, Castle but I couldn’t.

Castle: You can, and you will.

Strong, serious, protective Castle! I like it! They may have been safe, but Shaw wasn’t. Cue her talking to her child (alert! alert!) as she walked to her car. We all knew Scott would be in her backseat. And he was. Beckett and Castle found out the next morning after she cooked a killer breakfast. I hope they took it with them. They found Shaw’s car and traces of Scott’s blood — she’d give him a shot in the nose. Scott called Beckett and said if she didn’t come to meet him alone, he’d kill Shaw. The showdown was between the two of them — Shaw’s just an extra. He sent them a video of Shaw to prove she was still alive, and, naturally left them crumbs on how to find her. I’m always amazed on cop shows when people know the sounds of certain subway lines. They also were able to determine the bridge in the background. With the location, Shaw’s team wanted to go balls-out and grab her before the Nikki-Scott showdown. Castle knew it was a trap, and so did anyone who’s ever seen a movie. Of course Scott had a bomb rigged to go off when the team was in the building. He knew their playbook. Beckett said she knew Castle long enough to know that sometimes his silly theories were right. He told her how he’d write this part of the story. The bomb in the building, killer watching from a building across the street. Beckett took Castle with her this time and handed him a gun — he was her only backup. They found Scott and Shaw, and since he had the detonator in his hand, Beckett couldn’t just shoot him. She bluffed saying her team wasn’t in the building. Why would they be if she knew Scott was here? He bolted, she chased after him, and Castle freed Shaw. Shaw sent Castle after Beckett while she got herself loose. For a second, I thought Beckett would end up shooting Castle in the game of cat and mouse, but this is a serious episode. Scott and Beckett struggled for her gun and he knocked her down. Towering over her, getting ready to shoot, he said, “That’s how all my stories end — with someone else dead.”

“No!,” Castle yelled. And shot the gun out of Scott’s hand. It rolled across the floor and under the stiletto of a gun-toting Shaw. (Were those really the shoes she’d be wearing during a case that had required some running?) Regardless, very badass. With Scott cuffed, it was time for my favorite moment of the episode.

Beckett: Hell of a shot, Castle.

Castle: I was aiming for his head.

That is why I love Castle. He’s not a superhero. He’s just a man who will do his best for you and thank god that it was good enough.

As Shaw pointed out in her final scene, that ending was poetic. Scott did end up facing Nikki Heat — she is, after all, part Beckett and part Castle. Always a profiler, Shaw voiced what we already knew about Castle’s feelings for Beckett: “He cares about you, Kate. You may not see it, you may not be ready to, but he does.” Beckett called their relationship “complicated,” and that was that.

Castle gave Beckett a gift — he’d found her father’s watch in the wreckage of her apartment and had it fixed. Before it got too syrupy, Castle changed the subject. He wants one of the Fed-mobiles that he will stock with his own gadgets and stamp WRITER on the back of. Oh, remember his WRITER vest. I miss it.

With the case closed, Castle went home to find Martha had “cooked” Chinese takeout for Alexis. We were assured that Martha will still be around even though she’d technically moved out of the apartment. Whew. Let me just take this moment to thank the writers for not getting Alexis and Martha involved with the killer. I was worried when they first said the killer dressed as a cop that he would kidnap them. But I guess they don’t exist in Nikki’s world.

Your turn. What did you think of the conclusion to the two-parter? And how psyched are you for next week’s episode when Fillion Castle gets to go all Indiana Jones?

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