Going into Castle’s midseason finale episode, “Cuffed,” we really don’t know what to expect. (Of course, knowing Castle and Beckett are going to spend the episode handcuffed together, we have our wishes ... )
As expected, the episode begins in a very good place: Castle and Beckett waking up next to each other … linked by those handcuffs. Not only are the duo locked together (!) in a dark room, they’re also missing some very important stuff — like their wallets, watches, and phones.
Castle’s way to deal? Humor. Beckett knows this situation is no a laughing matter and deduces they were probably drugged. Beckett tells Castle to lift her shirt — to find a needle mark. Yep. Definitely drugged.
(And can we just talk about how we love that Beckett lets Castle’s hand linger on the small of her back for a minute? Um, hot.)
Anyway, all they can remember is that they met up at a seedy hotel to look at a dead body (and much to our dismay, that was all). There, they interrupted an ex-lover’s spat between Esposito and Lanie to get the details on their vic — a male in his 30s who also happens to be sporting a needle mark. But was it an O.D. or something more sinister?
Judging by the torched fingertips, this was definitely a murder. (And judging by the cute, sly look Lanie shoots Espo, we also know these former lovebirds are so not over each other.)
In their cell, Beckett and Castle slowly remember more details: When they were unable to find a match for their fingertip-less vic, they headed to the morgue. Castle tried to get gossip on what Esplanie was fighting about back at the crime scene, but the ladies quickly told him to mind his own business. Darn! We wanna know, too!
Lanie found an address in the victim’s pocket, and Castle realized that it could be traced to a specific post office and sender.
At the sender’s house in Queens, Beckett gave him the scoop on the Esplanie spat, ironically noting, “They both want to be together but neither of them wants to admit to it. Sounds like two someone else we know!
The Queens house appeared empty at first glance, but then a faint voice whisperd, “Help me.” They found an old woman in a cage, who creepily smiled at them. And that’s when their memories went blank.
At the precinct, Ryan tells Esposito about an upcoming road trip he’s planned with fiance Jenny. Esposito says it’s a “relationship road trip test,” where Jenny can attack him about any lingering doubts she might have without him having anywhere to hide. Wow. Esposito’s view of women is so very jaded.
Meanwhile, Castle and Beckett are already grating on each other’s nerves. “Why do you always get to go first?” Castle asks. That’s when they find the light switch and discover a huge freezer. This episode is totally shaping up to look like a less-theatrical version of Saw. (Handcuffs? Ugly lady in a cage? Giant freezer for storing dead bodies? Check, check, check.)
Beckett asks Castle to take her hand — so the cuffs don’t cut them — and Castle gets behind Beckett to help her push the freezer open in a blatantly sexual way. “You better not be enjoying this, Castle,” she says. (Uh-huh. Like that’s possible.)
Eventually Castle gets the freezer open but it’s not full of dead bodies like they were expecting. It’s full of weapons! Dun-dun-dun.
Thank goodness Ryan and Esposito know Castle and Beckett are missing and are hard at work on finding them! Lanie is trying her darndest to get some prints for the guys to work with, but the tension between Esplanie is palpable. Still, after some handiwork, they uncover the prints belong to a man named Spooner, who met up with a DEA agent shortly before he bit the dust.
Meanwhile, Caskett are doing everything they can to get the eff out of this creepy house. “Under normal circumstances, I’d enjoy this,” Castle says as he and Beckett contort themselves into awkward positions in order to hoist themselves up and out of the basement. Unfortunately, they’re not met with freedom, but rather a creepy man who smirks and shuts the door on them. Ugh!
Luckily, Ryan and Esposito discover the post office code and race to the crime scene. Unfortunately, Castle and Beckett are nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, Caskett think they’re being sold into human trafficking and that’s why they’re still alive. We don’t know if that’s supposed to be comforting, but it’s not. At all.
However what is comforting is that thanks to a clue, our two fave sidekicks find the “safe house” Caskett is stuck in.
Castle and Beckett manage to knock a hole in one of the walls — and we’re met with the biggest shocker of the episode: a freakin’ tiger. Um, What the WHAT?
Human trafficking isn’t what’s happening — it’s animal trafficking, and Caskett showed up at the wrong place at the wrong time. The ferocious feline is tearing up the wall to come after them, but Castle and Beckett jump on top of the freezer narrowly escaping doom. Once they realize they’re almost done for, Castle decides screaming for their lives is the only option.
But never fear! Esposito and Ryan are on the scene and find them, but they’re not going to have an easy time getting their friends out of this crazy place. The caged woman from earlier shows up, and she’s got an entire family of tiger traffickers behind her who aren’t gonna let this go down without a fight. Creepy lady gives them an ultimatum: Let them go and save their friends, or die trying to arrest them.
“Let ‘em go,” Esposito says. Then, the tiger knocks over the freezer, and for a moment we think Castle and Beckett have become “tiger kibble.” But not these smart cookies! The handcuffed pair manage to jump up and grab onto some rafters. Yay!
When Esposito and Ryan catch up with Caskett, they say they’re surprised the duo didn’t kill each other. “We found our rhythm,” Castle says. And despite all the tiger drama, Beckett tells Castle she wouldn’t mind spending another night handcuffed to him.
“But next time, let’s do it without the tiger,” she quips.
Oh, Beckett. Don’t be such a tease.