Season 7, Episode 20
Air Date: Monday, April 20, 2015 at 10/9c on ABC
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
“I was in Thailand, getting shot at with Chuck Norris?” – Castle
After a long three week hiatus, Castle returns with what is supposed to be an exciting episode highlighting the events leading to Castle’s (Nathan Fillion) disappearance and what transpired in the two months he was gone. While we do get a lot of answers in “Sleeper,” I’m left wanting. Perhaps I’m having a weird dream like Castle’s and this episode isn’t real. Unfortunately, it is.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some intriguing turns of events in “Sleeper” that have me questioning exactly where the story goes from Castle’s involvement with a terrorist Al-Qaida threat. But we still don’t know what the reference to “Hollander’s Woods” means and what happened to Castle when he was young that transformed him into the renowned mystery author he is today.
Because he needs a change of scenery from his loft, Castle visits the local coffee shop to get some writing done. While there, he experiences ringing in his ears. Since going to the coffee shop, Castle begins having a recurring dream about being in the jungle somewhere. In the dream, he’s in the back of a moving truck helping a man who’s been shot. Out of the blue, there is a flash of a trophy and a former classmate named Phillip Bartlett (guest star Mackenzie Astin). Meanwhile, a guy, who looks a lot like Chuck Norris, fires at another truck chasing them. Castle is wearing military garb and has camo paint on his face. Has Castle’s mind concocted this crazy dream or are these actual memories of the two months he lost?
Beckett (Stana Katic) believes him but only to an extent. She knows her husband has a vivid imagination and suggests he work with a therapist to sort through the various scenarios in his dream. During therapy, Castle is able to hone in on the license plate of the truck chasing the vehicle he’s in and recognizes the muscular blond guy giving orders. But what does it all mean?
Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) aren’t so easily convinced, especially Esposito. He’s finding it very difficult to get on board the Castle-dream/memory-train. It’s understandable as Esposito is still a bit cautious about Castle’s recollection of his disappearance, but after working on so many cases over the last few months (19 episodes), why is Esposito acting so anti-Castle? That part doesn’t make sense.
As the investigation continues, the Chuck Norris look-alike is actually Jeff Powers (Mark Sivertsen), an ex-Delta Force soldier. He could probably play Norris’ stunt double. What’s interesting is that Lanie (Tamala Jones) finds “antibodies for Dengue fever,” during Powers autopsy; the same antibodies Castle had when he was found floating on the boat in the season premiere, “Driven.” Weird coincidence or do Powers and Castle really know each other?
The muscle-bound blond guy is Ilya Golovkin (Max E. Williams), a hired Russian contract killer who has taken out politicians, world leaders, and government liaisons, and now he’s gunning for everyone in Castle’s dream. Powers is the first victim to be murdered, along with Amber (Agnes Olech), a young stripper friend who identifies Golovkin as the man who came looking for Powers at the club she works at “Exotica.”
As the story progresses, Castle begins looking for the one man he knows has the answers, the mysterious Henry Jenkins (guest star Matt Letscher). In “Montreal,” Jenkins told Castle not to go in search of answers and now, with people dropping dead just when Castle begins digging into the mystery, maybe Castle should stop looking. But that wouldn’t be Castle, now would it?
The mystery of Castle’s disappearance, or at least part of it, is solved when Castle finds Bilal (Usman Ally), a waiter at “Sunil’s Café.” He is the same guy Castle was helping inside the truck who had been shot. Turns out they were actually in Thailand. Bilal was an exchange student and used to go to school with Castle at “Faircroft Prep.” Bilal worked for the CIA but lost his way and joined Al-Qaida. After realizing his error, he offered up valuable information for a second chance. Bilal knew about a major terrorist attack in the United States that was happening on the same day as Beckett and Castle’s wedding; the day Castle went missing at the end of season six.
When Bilal’s CIA handler was killed before he was extracted, Bilal asked for someone who was influential, wealthy, and would be too hard to kill without drawing much attention – enter Castle being taken just moments from his betrothal.
“Sleeper” is slightly disappointing. While some resolution and answers to Castle’s whereabouts when he disappeared are provided, I know I’m not alone when I say I’m upset over not learning more about Hollander’s Woods or even the safe deposit box in Montreal. The whole mission to Thailand to subvert a terrorist act is exciting, but the way the story unfolds comes across almost like a punchline. It also doesn’t explain where Castle got his own bullet wound. Castle having a strange dream with a Chuck Norris look-alike detracts from the severity of the actual seriousness of the situation. With only a couple of episodes remaining in season seven and no real confirmation of season eight, I hope Castle’s writers are able to come up with something compelling for the season seven finale. I have a feeling season eight (whenever ABC confirms) will be the season of Martha (Susan Sullivan) moving out, Alexis (Molly C. Quinn) graduating from college, and perhaps the pitter-patter of tiny feet running around the loft. Of course, there will be murder, mayhem, and crazy theories floating around; otherwise, it wouldn’t be Castle.
What did you think of “Sleeper?” Were you disappointed or were all your questions sufficiently answered? Leave me a comment below and/or tweet me @judybopp.
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Photos ©2015 American Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
© 2015, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.
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