We learned so much about Castle Season 4, Episode “Kill Shot” before even seeing tonight’s episode that we almost felt like we knew what to expect.
But oh! When it comes to life in the 12th precinct, there's always surprises around every corner.
We begin with a horrific murder on the NYC sidewalks: Sarah Vasquez, a soon-to-be-wed young woman, is shot leaving yoga class. One minute she’s chatting about her upcoming nuptials with a friend, and the next she’s face-up on the concrete, dead as a doornail. And bloody. Really freakin’ bloody.
Meanwhile, Castle and Beckett are also meandering down the NYC streets when Beckett gets a phone call from the new man in her life: her physical therapist Roger. Castle scoffs at his dorky name, but Beckett continues raving about him.
“He has the most incredible ...” she pauses, “ ...resistance band.” We see what she did there!
When they reach the crime scene, several things about this shooting look fishy. One, nobody saw a shooter. Two, the bullet entered the victim from front-to-back and directly to the heart.
When Beckett looks at the dead body, she becomes visibly uneasy. Well, yeah. Just a few months back she could’ve easily been in Sarah’s position. That’s gotta be weird.
And three ... Lanie and Esposito are working together as if they weren’t hanging out naked just like, a week ago. OK, so they don’t actually exchange words, but we’re surprised Lanie can even look in his direction without wanting to rip his head off, Praying Mantis style. For that, we give her props.
Later, Esposito calls because Lanie’s figured out that the bullet came from a long-range shooter. Lanie and Esposito dance around using the term “sniper,” until Beckett finally calls them on it.
“You guys, you don’t have to avoid the word on my account,” she says,
Give it up, ya’ll. Beckett claims she’s a “big girl” and can handle it. Hmm. Famous last words? We think yes!
Back at Beckett’s abode, things are not going well for our detective darling. She’s clearly been affected by the day’s events and she’s hearing voices from her own sniper shooting. As she runs her finger across her own scar, she’s finally realizing she can’t keep denying that horrible day.
Next scene, we see the sniper randomly plant his crosshairs on another person and pull the trigger. At the crime scene, Esposito deduces that he shot the victim from a high vantage point. When Beckett hears this, she starts to look up and around her in a panicked daze as if she’s seeing something.
Her team asks her what’s up, but she says she’s just thinking about the case. Yeah. Right.
Anyway, Esposito says this sniper knows what he’s doing and canvassed the area beforehand. As the team is discussing the sniper’s potential wind gauge (a small flag on a street sign), a police car’s quick siren instantly sends Beckett to her knees and everyone sees.
Beckett clearly has some PTSD issues cropping up and we have a feeling they’re about to get worse before they get better.
Back at the precinct, Beckett’s hearing keeps going in and out as she and the team are discussing the case with the Captain. In usual Beckett fashion, she tries to shrug it off like it’s NBD, but Castle is def noticing his partner’s erratic behavior.
He tells her not to worry, that what happened with the siren was just a “startle response” and “could happen to anybody.”
“I’m not anybody,” she says. Touche. As soon as the meeting’s over, Beckett practically runs out of the precinct. Beckett cutting out on a case? This is unheard of!
Cut to Beckett’s therapist’s office. She’s reached a tipping point and is practically begging him for a magic pill or something to stop her PTSD symptoms. Unfortch, the therapist lays it on her pretty hard.
There’s no magical cure and there’s no quick fix. He says the best way for her to recover is to step away from the case. Clearly, this guy has no idea who he’s talking to.
Castle asks Esposito and Ryan for advice on how to act around Beckett, who’s obvi pretty fragile, but they both tell him to back off and focus on the case. Moments later, the team finally find a clue on the surveillance tape: It shows a hooded man sticking the flag on the street sign.
Then, Esposito and Castle head to the building the sniper shot from and find the bullet shell and a suspicious little paper doll left behind by the shooter. They’re able to match the shell’s prints to a man named Marcus Ford.
While interrogating Marcus, a man with 92 confirmed sniper kills under his belt and who just so happens to own a shooting range, Beckett really loses her cool.
“What’s it like to look through the scope? To play God?” she asks bitterly. “How do you feel when you pull that trigger and you destroy someone’s life?”
Unfortch, Marcus’ alibi checks out. Looks like the real shooter is someone who practices at Marcus’ shooting range, which means the killer’s still out there somewhere.
Once again, Beckett flashes back to her sniper shooting. Her flashbacks are becoming increasingly more vivid — and terrifying.
At home that night, she has yet another flashback. This time, she falls off the couch, breaks her glass table and frantically runs around shutting all her blinds. Then, she grabs her gun and hunches in the corner, and we see that her arms are cut up from the broken glass.
This is getting serious. If Beckett doesn’t get some help she’s really gonna hurt herself.
Meanwhile, Castle and team head to the first building the sniper shot from and find another paper doll. Castle shows the paper dolls to his daughter Alexis who easily IDs them as paintings. (But of course.)
And guess what? This isn’t child’s play! According to Castle, each doll tags the location of the next victim.
Just as Castle’s explaining his grand theory, all the phones in the office start to ring at once. Uh oh.
So, Beckett and crew head to the site where another woman was shot by the sniper. Even though this woman survived, all of it proves too much for the detective who goes AWOL and bursts into tears in one of the building’s empty hallways.
We’ve never seen Beckett so, well, emotional. Actually, come to think of it, we’ve never seen her emotional at all.
Worried as ever, Esposito decides to break out the big guns — literally — to help her heal. He pulls out a long range rifle like snipers use and tells her the man behind the gun isn’t some all-powerful God, but a guy whose “damaged goods.”
“So am I,” Beckett says. Esposito tells her that’s OK and that she should turn her weakness into strength. If there’s one thing this girl can do ...
After viewing the surveillance tape for the umpeenth time, the crew ID the coffee cup the hooded sniper is holding. But it’s not the coffee shop that connects the victims — it’s the fact that they all had recent successes. Whoever the killer is overheard the three vics talking their good fortunes and decided to off them.
The crew narrow the perp down to a homeless man named Lee. Castle and Beckett head to the third building he shot from, only to find not one paper doll, but several cut-outs. This dude’s about to take out a party bus!
Beckett and Esposito head out to the sniper’s supposed next location. As he’s gearing up to shoot down the bus, Beckett is there, literally a few steps away from facing her fear. She busts down the door with intent to take out the sniper, but he surprise attacks her from behind the door and knocks her to the ground.
There she is, completely helpless at this sniper’s mercy. Beckett tries to cajole him and shows him her scar and says she wants to help him, but he tells her to turn around so he can shoot her. She refuses and says if he’s going to kill her, he has to look her in the eyes.
Just then, a bullet comes through the window and kills him. From where, you ask? None other than Esposito, who’s perched on top of the adjacent building. What a pal!
Afterward, Beckett thanks Castle for not pushing her. The final scene shows Beckett back in the therapist’s chair. She admits she’s not completely over the sniper issue even though this particular sniper is dead.
She reveals she’s let her mother’s murder define her. “Now, I wanna be more than who I am,” she says. You mean, like, part of a couple, you think? We sure do.
She says she wants to let go, but doesn’t know how and the therapist says he can help her if she’s ready.