Season 7, Episode 16
Air Date: Monday, February 23, 2015 at 10/9c on ABC
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
“One small murder for man; one giant mystery for mankind.” – Castle
The mood is definitely lighter in “The Wrong Stuff” after the intensity of the last two episodes, “Resurrection” and “Reckoning.”. While it’s unclear how much time has passed from “Reckoning” to “The Wrong Stuff,” I’m guessing it’s been a few weeks or longer because both Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) seem to be fine despite everything that happened.
Suffice it to say, “The Wrong Stuff” is a much needed departure from the tension and is a fun, entertaining, and Castle-esque episode. When a case arises involving Major Tom Richwood (Yves Bright), a murdered astronaut on a “Mars 2018” space simulation, the only way Beckett, Castle, and Esposito (Jon Huertas) are allowed to question the other astronauts is to don space suits. While Castle thinks this is “the best case ever,” Ryan (Seamus Dever) isn’t as enthusiastic about stepping onto Mars, fake or not, so he stays behind in the command center to conduct other aspects of the investigation.
Internet mogul/billionaire Viggo Jansen (David Clayton Rogers) refuses to let the remaining astronauts out of the simulation because it will jeopardize months of data and work done over the last six months. While the suspect list is lengthy, figuring out who did it is going to be trickier than they all imagine, especially when the artificial intelligence computer system known as “M.I.R.A” decides to obstruct their investigation. As Castle quips, it’s a bit like “2001” as in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
As the case deepens, the suspect pool begins to recede, revealing a possibly conspiracy involving Viggo’s competitor Sir Ian Rasher (Maxwell Caulfield), who’s also in the race to get to Mars first. Think of Sir Rasher as a Sir Richard Branson type – distinguished, wealthy, and aggressively competitive. But Sir Rasher isn’t working alone in his efforts to steal technology from Viggo. With Ryan’s help, Viggo’s team figures out someone breached the firewall on the simulation’s security, and it leads back to Clint Granger (Matthew Marsden) . Granger, a jilted pilot, claims Richwood sabotaged his chances of being the lead on the Mars 2018 mission so he tried to run over Richwood with his car. This history gives Granger motive but he alibis out.
When Beckett and Castle begin to investigate other possibilities, including someone trying to steal Viggo’s technology, they get a lead taking them to tunnels underneath the simulation. Beckett and Castle encounter something in the tunnels that looks alien, but it’s not quite a case of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Instead, it’s someone wearing a strange looking gas mask used for protection from the potential noxious gases from the simulation. Again, all roads point back to Granger but did he murder Richwood out of revenge?
It turns out Granger was working with Mikhail (Konstantin Lavysh), the engineer on the space station, to get details and blueprints of Viggo’s designs to sell to Sir Rasher. But these guys aren’t responsible for Richwood’s death. Although, we do learn Richwood wasn’t a very popular guy on the claustrophobic ship.
When all is said and done, the most unlikely accomplice is revealed. The other astronauts, Commander Kim (Gwendoline Yeo), Angela (Dilshad Vadsaria), and Rasham (Assef Cohen), have consistently made complaints about Richwood being a burden on the mission. Since the computer system is “programmed to learn and adapt,” and to prevent anything from jeopardizing the mission, M.I.R.A. decided to remove the threat permanently. Castle, Beckett, and Viggo discover M.I.R.A.’s part in the murder but before they can shut it down, the super computer implements its own safety measures to prevent further interruptions to the simulation by trapping them in the command module and filling it with the noxious gas. Talk about rise of the machines!
Thankfully, they all make it out safely and the bad guys are put away. Unfortunately, the mission’s data is wiped and Viggo undoubtedly will have to start all over again.
The Crowded Loft
In a secondary and perhaps foretelling story line, Castle and Beckett must deal with a full house as both Castle’s mother Martha (Susan Sullivan) and daughter Alexis (Molly C. Quinn) are home, entertaining their respective boyfriends But when Castle sees Alexis “playing laser tag” without him, and Martha’s new beau sporting his favorite pajamas, things take an interesting turn. During a “family meeting,” Martha announces she’s going to be looking for a place of her own, stating “before too long there’s going to be a few more little Castles creating havoc around here.” Hmm…that would make for a very interesting set up for season eight, right? But will Castle and Beckett be able to handle the “quiet?”
While everything is simulated to look like Mars and mimic the atmosphere, it isn’t an anti-gravity environment. To see Castle in his space suit pretending to be space walking, followed by Beckett walking normally is the typical Castle humor I love.
“The Wrong Stuff” is an engaging, thought provoking, and amusing episode of Castle. While it doesn’t further any of the previous story lines, like Castle’s disappearance, “The Wrong Stuff” gives us a reprieve from the morbidity we faced in last week’s episode. As both a critic and fan, I want answers, and I know other do too. We want to know what happened to Castle when he was 11 years old to compel him to become a mystery writer, as well as all the secrets behind his disappearance.
What did you think of “The Wrong Stuff?” Would you want to go to Mars? 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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