Season 3, Episode 9 (43)
Original Air Date - November 15, 2010
After a prominent astrophysicist’s body is found in her car — the victim of explosive decompression – Castle jokingly theorizes that perhaps she was killed in the vacuum of outer space. Yet as they delve deeper into the victim’s life, they’re confronted with a succession of evidence that keeps pointing them back to the impossible: Alien Abduction. Henrickson stars as Benny Stryker, a well-known alien abduction expert, and Lovett plays a mysterious government agent intent on shutting down the investigation.
- Nathan Fillion - Richard Castle
- Stana Katic - Kate Beckett, Detective
- Molly C. Quinn - Alexis Castle (Castle’s Daughter)
- Susan Sullivan - Martha Rodgers (Castle’s Mother)
- Ruben Santiago-Hudson - Roy Montgomery, Captain
- Jon Huertas - Javier Esposito, Detective
- Seamus Dever - Kevin Ryan, Detective
- Tamala Jones - Lanie Parish, Medical Examiner
- Lyle Lovett - Agent Westfield
- Lance Henriksen - Benny Stryker
- Karl T Wright - Dr. Charles Vaughn
- Nicole Bilderback - Joy Harrison
- Jeanette Brox - Ayyana Holder
- Neil Hopkins - Ted Carter
- J. David Krassner - Bob Linden
- James Ellis Lane - Agent Eastman
- Will Leong - Ung Kyu
Castle: I should be timing that phone call. That’s gotta be a record.
Martha: Please. I’ve had relationships that didn’t last this long.
Martha: Would you like me to cook something?
Castle: No. We want to impress them.
Beckett: What do you think’ll happen if you don’t get on with his parents?
Castle: She’ll lose interest in him.
Beckett: Oh, no, the exact opposite. I mean it’ll make their romance feel forbidden and they’ll be off doing God-knows-what. Trust me. I know.
Beckett: That reminds me of the Lego I got stuck up my nose when I was six.
Castle: How deliciously cryptic!
Alexis: I just wanted to make sure that you’ll make a good impression.
Castle: Trust me, so do I.
Beckett: Where did that question come from?
Castle: Trying out conversation starters.
Beckett: Well, we started a conversation so I guess it worked. Kind of.
Castle: What if they don’t take me?
Beckett: Oh c’mon, Castle. They’ll take to you.
Castle: Really? Thanks.
Beckett: Yeah. So long as you don’t act like yourself.
Castle: (to himself) Nice one.
Esposito: Castle, just prove that ET did this, bro, please.
Castle: I’m not asking you to dye your hair red and call me Mulder.
Esposito: Abducted by government agents, huh? C’mon. What were you two really doing?
Beckett: It’s not a hickey, Esposito.
Esposito: You both have one.
Castle: I wish it was a hickey. It’s from the injectors.
Esposito: Is that what the kids are calling it these days?
Ryan: Those hickeys?
Castle: I wish.
Castle: Where are the predator drones? The black helicopters? All those SWAT Teams rappelling down on ropes?
Agent: Budget cuts.
Beckett: (after Castle speaks to Chinese workers in Chinese) Semester abroad?
Castle: No. TV show I used to love.
Castle: Are you gonna tell me or just gonna make me keep guessing?
Beckett: I don’t know. This guessing thing is kinda fun.
Castle: Alright. Was it about what happened at Roswell?
Castle: Area 51?
Castle: Loch Ness Monster is real?
- On November 10, 2010, Stana Katic posted on her facebook page that there were ten X's purposefully hidden throughout the set as an homage to The X-Files and since so many of the crew worked on the show.
- At the end of the episode there is a hidden frame that displays a landscape similar to the one used during the intro of The X-Files when the text "The Truth is out there" is shown.
- This episode contained an Easter egg
- This episode contained a Nathanism
Full Episode Recap
A security guard searches through a deserted rail yard late one night. He suspiciously approaches a lonesome SUV which looks like it has a person in it. He shines his flashlight in the front drivers’ side window and is horrified to find a woman’s bloated body behind the wheel.
The next morning, Richard Castle starts a timer and begins working on a crossword puzzle in his kitchen. His mother, Martha Rodgers, enters and kids her son about how he must be feeling cocky since he is doing the puzzle with an ink pen. His daughter, Alexis, enters and Castle asks her for help on a clue to the puzzle, but she does not answer him. Martha informs him that she is on the phone with her boyfriend, Ashley. Castle muses about how he should be timing the phone call since its length has to be a record for Alexis, and Martha kids back that she has had relationships that didn’t last as long. Finally, Alexis ends the call and Castle asks her if Ashley’s parents agreed to let him join the two of them on a hiking trip the following weekend. Alexis nervously says that Ashley’s parents want to meet Castle first. Castle understands where they are coming from and spins another of his wild tales about how Ashley’s parents want to be sure he isn’t the type to leave their beloved son stranded and badly hurt on a mountainside. Alexis double checks that he is agreeable to meeting them and Castle offers to invite them over to his loft for dinner. Martha offers to cook, only to be shot down by Castle who says the idea is to impress Ashley’s parents. Martha asks what he means and Castle searches for an answer.
Later on, he and Detective Kate Beckett climb out of her squad car at the rail yard. She observes that having Ashley’s parents over to meet Castle is a big step for him and he asks why not for Alexis. Beckett mentions how Ashley is Alexis’ first love, and then asks Castle what he thinks will happen if they don’t like him. Castle guesses that Alexis will lose interest in Ashley, but Beckett disagrees. She goes on to say that if their parents dislike each other it will make her and Ashley’s relationship feel forbidden and make them more likely meet surreptitiously and do “God knows what.” She punctuates her point by saying she knows from personal experience. Castle acknowledges that he didn’t consider that possibility, and Beckett advises that he keep Ashley close, his parents closer.
They approach the SUV and Detective Javier Esposito explains that the crime scene is nothing he’s ever seen. He adds that the victim’s name is Marie Subarao. Beckett asks Medical Examiner Lanie Parish what happened to Marie and Lanie describes that she must be a victim of explosive decompression resulting from exposure to a zero atmosphere environment. Castle asks if she means like in outer space and Lanie agrees. As Beckett asks Lanie for a more logical explanation, of which she says she won’t have one until she gets the body back to the lab, Castle looks through the SUV’s back seat. Castle eventually emerges from the back seat whistling the theme to The X-Files and holding a book on alien abduction written by Benny Stryker. Beckett and Lanie exchange skeptical looks and Beckett asks if Castle thinks Marie was killed then abducted by aliens. Castle guesses that Marie’s abduction didn’t go as planned for the aliens, so they blasted her body outside their space ship. Esposito joins the group, saying that whoever the killer is, they left behind a cigarette which was found by one of the rear tires in its track, meaning it was dropped after the SUV came to a stop. Beckett tells him to have CSU check the cigarette for DNA and to look into what else might cause explosive decompression besides exposure to zero-gravity.
Back at the precinct, Detective Kevin Ryan briefs Beckett on Marie’s background, saying she was an astrophysicist working at a local science center. Castle shoots her a knowing look, which Beckett ignores, instead asking Ryan about what exactly Marie did. Ryan answers that according to the science center’s website, she was recently awarded a grant from the SETI Institute. Castle immediately seizes on this nugget of information as proof of his theory that Marie was abducted by aliens. Beckett interrupts him, saying it doesn’t prove anything, and Castle asks her if she really believes it is just a coincidence. Beckett acknowledges that it is an interesting fact, but insists that aliens were not involved. Ryan, albeit nervously and to both Beckett’s and Castle’s surprise, begs to differ, telling a story about how his father’s cousin left a party once late at night, was hit by a blinding white light in the middle of driving and didn’t awake until the next morning. Beckett confidently chalks the incident up to a hangover then asks about whether Marie had any family. Ryan answers that Marie had no family or husband and that she typically came home from work around 10p.m. Beckett recalls how Lanie estimated the time of death to be around 9p.m., meaning that work was most likely the last place Marie was seen alive.
Beckett and Castle travel to the science center and meet with Marie’s supervisor, Dr. Vaughn, and assistant, Ayyana Holder. Dr. Vaughn says he last saw Marie as he was leaving for the day at 7p.m. and Ayyana said Marie sent her home at around 7:30p.m. Ayyana adds that Marie had been acting anxious since Monday and that all she said was that something life-changing had happened to her. She left work early on Wednesday and didn’t return until Thursday morning. Beckett asks Dr. Vaughn about whether Marie was doing any experiments that involved explosive decompression and he shows them an altitude chamber. Ayyana says that if a person went in the chamber without protective gear then their lungs would rupture and all the liquid in their body would evaporate. Beckett asks if Marie had any problems with any of her colleagues and Ayyana says she did have issues with Ted Carter, her ex-boyfriend, who did not take their break-up well.
Back at the precinct, Esposito and Ryan interview Ted Carter in an interrogation room. Ryan asks him why his key card was swiped at the science center at around 7:40 the night of Marie’s murder and Carter merely says he went to see someone. He becomes visibly upset when Esposito informs him that they are investigating her murder and suspect that someone used an altitude chamber to kill her. When Ryan says her estimated time of death is around 9, not long after he arrived, Carter denies killing Marie. He claims he went to the science center to ask her out for dinner and explains that on Wednesday of the week she died, she called him up suddenly and asked him out for coffee. He assumed it was because she felt bad over how their relationship ended and that she gave him back some of his clothes and music CDs. He suspected she wanted to get back together, so he went to see her at the science center, only she seemed nervous and said she had to be somewhere else, so they only spoke for a few seconds. Esposito tells him to get comfortable since he’ll most likely be there for a while and he and Ryan leave.
Outside, Castle is studying the murder board as Beckett tells him that CSU is going over the altitude chamber and will hopefully find something that will allow them to charge Ted Carter with Marie’s murder. Castle asks Beckett how she thinks Carter got Marie’s body to the car, and Beckett responds that since the chamber is located next to the center’s parking garage, he could have easily moved her body to the car and dumped it at the rail yard to throw them off his trail. Castle holds up the book from Marie’s car as a way of hinting at his alien abduction theory, thereby starting a debate with Beckett who acknowledges his disappointment that his more fantastic theory hasn’t held up. Castle tries to prove his theory by recalling how Marie said she had a life-changing event, which could indicate abduction, how the details she remembers match up with those reported by other abductees. Beckett disproves this by saying that all abductees read the accounts of other abductees, so it makes sense that they all remember the same thing. Castle shows Beckett a picture of what he calls a tracking device implanted in an abductee to track their movements, jogging Beckett’s memory about when she got a Lego stuck up her nose as a child. Before Castle can ask her for more details, Esposito reports that CSU found nothing in the altitude chamber. Beckett is incredulous and, ignoring Castle’s excited pointing at the book, tells Esposito to track down other altitude chambers as well as other devices that could also cause explosive decompression. She wonders aloud what else could have killed Marie if not an altitude chamber. Castle answers by, again, whistling The X-Files theme song. Beckett glares at him as her phone rings.
Castle and Beckett arrive in the morgue and Lanie shows Beckett and Castle an x-ray that shows a rectangular shaped object in Marie’s sinus cavity which she cannot identify. Castle grows excited and, using the book from Marie’s car, he pronounces the mysterious object as one of the aforementioned alien implants.
The next morning, Alexis pulls Castle away from the abduction book to discuss the dinner her father is hosting for Ashley’s parents. Castle assumes that Alexis was unable to convince Martha not to cook and promises to stock up on antacids. Instead, Alexis says that Ashley’s parents are serious people, his father being an economics professor, and that he needs to be more serious when he meets them. He reassures Alexis that he will behave himself and gives her permission to kick him under the table if he breaks his promise. Alexis then informs him, to his chagrin, that she will not be joining him for dinner and that she merely wanted to be sure he’d make a good impression. Castle promises to do so, remembering Beckett’s advice from the day before.
Castle arrives at the precinct with his and Beckett’s usual coffee and asks her for her opinion on deficit spending during difficult economic times. To his surprise, she launches into an explanation of how she agrees with leading economists that deficit spending is acceptable as long as the money is spent on public investments. When he asks where she got her ideas, she says she took a semester of economic theory at NYU, and then asks him what prompted his question. He replies that he was simply looking for conversation starters for his dinner with Ashley’s parents. He then worries that they won’t like him, and Beckett promises that they will, as long as he doesn’t act like himself. Castle recovers from Beckett’s rebuke and asks about the implant found in Marie’s nose. Beckett tells him Lanie is running tests on it as they speak. He asks how it could have gotten up Marie’s nose and Beckett answers that it simply could have been a piece of the altitude chamber. Castle reminds her that they haven’t identified an altitude chamber as the murder weapon, but Beckett remains confident that they will eventually. She adds that Ted Carter’s alibi checked out, eliminating him as a suspect. Ryan arrives and informs them that before Marie left work on the day she was killed, she made a phone call to Benny Stryker, the author of the book Castle found in her car. Ryan goes on to explain that Marie and Stryker worked together on a research project a few years ago, but that Marie had him kicked off the project because of all his UFO talk, and that he has never forgotten the snub.
Castle and Beckett meet Stryker at a meeting for alien abductees he is conducting. After the meeting breaks up, Stryker says he was at a book signing on the evening Marie was killed. Beckett reminds him of the phone call Marie placed to him that night and asks him what they talked about. He is reluctant to answer, assuming that Beckett will not believe him. She insists she will hear him out and, even though his experience has been otherwise, he tells them that Marie called him the week before claiming to have heard some strange signals coming from outer space on the radio telescope she worked with. He goes on to say that he assumed she had made contact with aliens and that she said she studied that section of the galaxy closer, only to experience classic symptoms of an alien abduction. He claims that she told him she was determined to get proof of what she found, despite what he believed was the government’s efforts to stop her. Castle guesses that Men in Black intervened and Stryker cautions both of them that such agents are real.
Back at the precinct, Beckett says Stryker’s alibi checked out, putting them at square one on suspects. Castle points out that Stryker’s account makes their timeline make sense only Beckett disagrees, saying it is possible that Marie’s erratic behavior could be due to drug use or a medical condition. Castle challenges Beckett’s theory by asking why she went looking for proof if she was on drugs or suffering from a mental illness, and Beckett corrects him, saying she thought she was looking for proof. Castle then wonders if she did find proof, where she would have put it.
While walking down the hallway to Marie’s office at the science center, Beckett refuses to believe Castle’s theory that Klingons might be behind Marie’s murder. Castle agrees that the theory is crazy even for him and adds that the government agent theory is also plausible. Beckett says he is crazy and bets that, in the end, Marie’s murder will have nothing to do with government conspiracies. Castle accepts her bet as they both enter Marie’s office and find it completely empty. They ask Ayyana where Marie’s things are and she says that government agents came by earlier in the day with a federal warrant and cleaned the office out. Castle tells a shocked Beckett that he’ll take his payment in small bills.
Back at the precinct, Captain Roy Montgomery tells Beckett and Castle that a contact of his at the Justice Department said that a warrant for Marie’s things was never issued. Beckett tries to come up with another explanation while Castle insists that the mysterious Men in Black are responsible. Captain Montgomery promises to keep checking. Castle is adamant that Stryker’s theory of the government trying to cover up whatever Marie found is the cause of her death and Beckett is just as resolute in her disagreement, refusing to believe any ideas proposed by Stryker. Beckett then has an idea that Marie was working on a classified project, which would account for the agents confiscating her data. Castle points out that that idea doesn’t explain why the agents took not only her data but the furniture in her office.
Beckett decides to focus on the murder weapon and asks Esposito if he has found another altitude chamber yet. He responds that he did and Beckett casts a victorious look at Castle, only to have her bubble burst just as quickly when Esposito adds that CSU found it to be clean. Castle throws her victorious look back, and she avoids him by asking Esposito if he found another device that can kill just like an altitude chamber. He names an industrial vacuum packer and Beckett orders him to look into every one in New York City, then heads back to her desk. Before Castle can follow her, Esposito whispers to him that he hopes his alien abduction theory is correct since he’s tired of trying to track down machines instead of people as suspects. Castle promises to do so, and they do their "feed the birds" handshake. He rejoins Beckett at the murder board, suggesting they look into where Marie went after leaving work on Wednesday. Beckett maintains that following that line of investigation won’t help them solve the crime, but Castle says it will if wherever she visited has an industrial vacuum packer on site. Ryan arrives and says that Marie’s EZ Pass shows that she exited the New Jersey Turnpike on Wednesday afternoon at exit 9. Castle does a quick search on his phone and finds that Marie could have been going to the Plainsboro Observatory which is nearby.
At the observatory, Joy Harrison confirms that Marie was there on Wednesday. She also explains that Marie needed an optical telescope, instead of her own radio telescope, leading Castle to conclude she was looking for something. Joy confirms this saying Marie told her she had picked up some kind of signal and wanted to see where it was coming from. She adds that Marie took an image capture on the telescope and left. Beckett asks for a copy of the image capture, but Joy says Marie erased whatever she found.
In the car on the way back to the precinct, Castle pleads with Beckett to simply accept the possibility that Marie made contact with something outside of the planet that lead to her death. Beckett remains unmoved, saying they will continue their investigation, which will have nothing to do with aliens, and will uncover the truth in Marie’s death. Suddenly in the middle of their drive along a dark road, the squad car’s battery dies, as do both Beckett’s and Castle’s cell phones and Castle’s watch. Castle asks Beckett for a logical explanation of what has happened, but before she can answer, a bright white light illuminates their car. Castle is stunned and exchanges a worried look with Beckett. They both lean forward to try to see the source of the light in the front windshield.
Shortly afterward, Castle finds himself in a pitch black room with a white spotlight being shined right in his eyes. A shadowy figure asks for information Marie found. Castle asks where Beckett is, but the figure ignores him. Elsewhere, Beckett also sits in a pitch black room and has a similar spotlight shone on her face. She demands to know the identity of the person holding her, as well as where Castle is, but her demands fall on deaf ears. She identifies herself as an NYPD detective, and a different shadowy figure asks where the information Marie found is. Beckett claims not to know what the figure is looking for, only he insists that she does know and that the information must not get out. Castle tells his keeper he doesn’t know what Marie found either then begins having fun by asking where the Nazi-style torture devices are. Beckett’s captor tells her that he will stop at nothing to find the information and that she is in over her head while Castle continues teasing the figure watching him. Beckett wants to know who killed Marie, and her agent threatens that if she doesn’t stop asking questions then she’ll end up suffering the same fate. Castle asks his agent about John F. Kennedy’s assassination, but immediately gets serious when he produces what looks like a stun gun. The man fires the gun into his neck and Beckett’s agent does the same. Both wake up back in their squad car, Beckett with her head on Castle’s shoulder, and study each other in confused and stunned silence. Beckett asks Castle if what she remembers really happened and instead of answering, he shows her his neck, asking if there is a bruise there. She confirms that there is and does the same to him, getting the same answer. Castle looks outside the car and finds nothing, while Beckett thinks.
Back at the precinct, Captain Montgomery is outraged and asks who it was that detained Beckett and Castle. Beckett can only answer that it was probably the same agents who cleared out Marie’s office. Montgomery tells them he is glad they are OK and promises to get to the bottom of what happened.
They exit his office and head back to Beckett’s desk, where Esposito meets them, dubious about their story. Beckett denies that the mark is a hickey, but Esposito is insistent. Castle wishes that his bruise was a hickey, eliciting a surprised look from Beckett, and tells Esposito that they were hit with an injector. Esposito keeps up his teasing; asking if that’s a new slang term for hickey, and Beckett redirects the discussion back to the case by asking him if he has found any vacuum packers. He says he found over 100 units in the city and that CSU is going through them as fast as they can. He also says that the cigarette he found at the crime scene did not yield a DNA match, but he learned that it is a Chinese brand only available in Chinatown on the black market. Ryan comes over and picks up where Esposito left off with his teasing, asking if Beckett’s and Castle’s bruises are hickeys. Esposito says yes, Beckett answers no, and Castle wishes they were. Ryan calmly accepts their answers and informs them that their car was hit with an electromagnetic pulse, knocking out the electronics, and presents Beckett with a box of tracers and listening devices found on the car. Castle bets that the object in Marie’s nose was a similar type of tracking device, only Esposito tells him that Lanie found it to be a dense calcification resulting from a sinus infection. Beckett smirks at Castle, who tries to come up with a more fantastic alternate theory, only to have Beckett leave him to go examine the murder board. The guys follow her as she insists that they find whatever Marie was looking for before the agents since it will most likely lead them to her killer. Esposito reminds her that they still don’t know what it is Marie found, and Beckett puts in that at least they know that the agents haven’t found it yet. This leads Castle to conclude that it wasn’t in Marie’s office and Ryan and Esposito to suggest Marie hid it somewhere with someone she trusted. Beckett then remembers that Ted Carter told them Marie gave him some old clothes and CDs when they met for coffee, leading Castle to wonder if she mixed what she found in with those items.
The next day, Ted Carter brings a box with the items Marie gave him into the precinct. Beckett asks him if the cache included anything he didn’t recognize and he insists she only gave him old t-shirts and CDs. Castle pulls out a Jefferson Starship CD that is one of his favorites, since it got him through writer’s block while working on one of his Derrick Storm novels. He opens the CD and a blank unmarked CD falls out of the case. Back at Beckett’s desk, she pops open the CD Rom drive on her computer, but Castle stops her from inserting the disc, saying they should savor the moment of having potentially discovered some earth-shattering information. Beckett grabs the CD back and demands that they “stick it in and get this over with.” Castle tries to respond, but merely bites his tongue. Beckett doubts that they’ll find anything related to the investigation on the CD, only to stop mid-sentence when a picture of what looks to be a UFO in outer space pops up on her screen.
A little later on, Castle dramatically, and much to Beckett’s embarrassment, builds up Ryan and Esposito to hear about his and Beckett’s discovery. He reveals Marie’s lens capture by whisking away a piece of paper that had been covering Beckett’s computer monitor. Both men examine the picture more closely; Ryan concludes it does look like a UFO, but Esposito thinks the photo has been doctored. He asks Beckett and she says she doesn’t know either way. Ryan and Esposito are quite surprised and Beckett acknowledges that the image doesn’t look doctored causing Castle to gloat that she has finally come to agree with his original theory. Ryan and Esposito look on anxiously as Beckett thinks for a bit, finally saying that all she knows is that they found just what the agents were looking for. Castle laments how close he came to convincing Beckett, and she adds that she’s really only interested in how they can use the image as leverage to find out from the agents who killed Marie. Ryan doubts that they can just call the agents on the phone, but Castle picks up the box of bugging equipment taken from Beckett’s squad car and suggests they use them. Beckett is highly skeptical, but eventually concludes that she has no alternative. She grabs the box from Castle and speaks into it while Esposito and Ryan watch smirking. She says they have what they want and they know how to find her then puts it back on her desk as nonchalantly as possible. No sooner does Esposito doubt that her summons will work than Beckett’s desk phone rings.
Later, Captain Montgomery escorts the agent who held Beckett, Agent Westfield, into the precinct conference room where Castle and Beckett are waiting. Westfield asks Beckett for the image and she flatly refuses, asking for the identity of Marie’s killer first. Westfield agrees and Beckett hands over the image capture. Westfield then stands to leave, causing Beckett to protest that they made a deal. Westfield then tells her that the image capture isn’t what he was looking for. Captain Montgomery blocks his exit from the room and says he owes it to Marie reveal her killer. Westfield suggests that Marie isn’t who they think she is, and Beckett asks him why he is making such a fuss over the death of an astrophysicist. It then hits Castle that Marie must have intercepted a classified signal on her telescope and Beckett agrees, remembering how they found a Chinese cigarette at the crime scene and wondering if Marie was working with the Chinese. Agent Westfield keeps quiet, leading Castle to threaten to expose the story to his thousands of Twitter followers as well as dozens of bloggers. Westfield relents and explains how they suspect that Marie was a spy who intercepted coded signals sent from the Pacific Fleet to the Pentagon. Castle now realizes that the image capture wasn’t a UFO, but a spy satellite. Westfield goes on to say that he fears the data Marie downloaded has fallen into the hands of the Chinese and guesses Marie’s handler, an unidentified Chinese spy, killed her and made it look like Ted Carter did it.
That night, Martha and Castle listen to Ashley’s father discuss economics over dinner at the loft. He asks Castle about his writing, commenting how he finds most fiction “crass and tawdry.” Martha casts him a concerned look, but Castle forges ahead explaining how, through his writing, he explores what would make the average person act out of character and commit a heinous crime. Suddenly, he has a thought related to Marie’s case and calls Beckett at the precinct. He speculates as to why, if she was a spy, would she call attention to herself by acting strangely as Ted Carter and Ayyana said she did. Beckett goes on to say that Lanie sent her a report showing that she found truth serum in Marie’s system. Castle then realizes, as Ashley’s parents look on confused, that Marie was actually drugged by agents, but thought she had been abducted by aliens. Both conclude that whoever the real spy was must have had access to Marie’s telescope and agree to meet at the science center.
At the science center, Castle and Beckett review Marie’s request logs of the parts of space she studied and find all were signed by her, meaning that she was the one who intercepted the classified signals. Then Beckett notices that Marie’s signature has been forged on one of the logs and Castle finds that Dr. Vaughn’s signature matches the forgery, meaning he intercepted the signals and framed Marie. Castle and Beckett then build a theory whereby Marie noticed her signature had been forged, requested to look at the same part of the sky, intercepted the signals, and came to believe, with Benny Stryker’s help that she had been abducted by aliens when in reality she had been kidnapped by Dr. Vaughn to find out how much she knew. Beckett then remembers how Dr. Vaughn told them about the altitude chamber in an effort to frame Ted Carter for the crime.
Later that night, Esposito calls Beckett and tells her that he found vials of truth serum at Dr. Vaughn’s apartment, but that he has disappeared. Beckett tells him to inform the TSA so he can be put on a no fly list and ends the call. Castle doubts that they can catch Dr. Vaughn before Chinese agents smuggle him out of the country, and Beckett suggests they enlist Agent Westfield’s help.
Back at the precinct, Beckett brings Agent Westfield up to speed about what she and Castle found. Westfield agrees and explains how they dug deeper into Dr. Vaughn’s background and found that he had agreed to work as a spy for the Chinese to pay off steep gambling debts incurred at a Chinese casino. In the conference room, Westfield triangulates Dr. Vaughn’s location, tracking him to the warehouse district in Chinatown just a few blocks away from where Marie’s body was found. As the three watch a video transmission of the location, they see another man, who Westfield identifies as Chinese spy Ung Kyu, following Dr. Vaughn and smoking a cigarette. They all conclude that he left the cigarette at Marie’s crime scene. Castle reasons that since Dr. Vaughn is meeting his own handler, then he must have the data Marie intercepted. The three leave to pick up Dr. Vaughn.
As Castle, Beckett, Ryan, Esposito, and Westfield don their bullet proof vests outside the building where Dr. Vaughn was last seen, Castle jokingly asks where the hi-tech helicopters and commandos are. Without so much as a grin, Westfield chalks up the lack of special equipment to budget cuts. He explains that Vaughn’s phone has gone dark, meaning he is most likely underground and that their best plan is to try to corner Vaughn and Kyu in a basement since their intelligence says that the buildings have only one entry and exit. Beckett corrects him that the basements are actually interconnected to allow for easy escape in the case of an INS raid. Westfield shakes his head then moves everyone out.
In the basement of one of the buildings, Castle and Beckett find some Chinese workers packing boxes using an industrial vacuum packer and demands to know if the workers have seen Kyu. They raise their hands but seem not to understand English. Castle, speaking in Chinese, tells them they had better fess up with what they know or his partner will shoot them. They immediately point over their shoulders. Beckett asks Castle if he learned his Chinese while studying abroad and he tells her he got it from an old favorite TV show. She compliments him and they resume their search.
Further down in the basement, Ryan and Esposito catch up to Castle and Beckett. The foursome soon hears voices and the sounds of someone being beaten. Beckett directs Ryan and Esposito to an area across from where she and Castle stand watching Kyu holding Dr. Vaughn, who admits to killing Marie, at gunpoint. Beckett signals them to move on her cue and she announces herself, demanding that Kyu drop his gun. Kyu turns to aim at Beckett only to have Ryan tackle him to the ground knocking the gun from his grasp. Dr. Vaughn tries to escape, but Agent Westfield blocks his path with his own gun drawn. As Ryan cuffs Kyu, Castle notices him swallow something and assumes it is a cyanide capsule. He races over and pries the object out of his mouth, finding it is only a wad of gum. Westfield asks for Marie’s data and Dr. Vaughn says it is on a USB drive in Kyu’s breast pocket. Ryan fishes it out and proudly wonders if they’ll all get a medal for their work. Agent Westfield, however, orders them to act like the incident never happened.
Back outside above ground, Agent Westfield tells Beckett and Castle that Dr. Vaughn has already confessed to everything and that he and Kyu will most likely spend the rest of their lives in prison on espionage charges thanks to her. Beckett adds that Castle deserves thanks as well, and Westfield obliges. He then asks to speak to Beckett privately as Castle’s cell phone rings. He answers it to find Alexis on the other end. He apologizes for screwing up dinner with Ashley’s parents, but Alexis reassures him that they found him fascinating and now want to join in the hiking trip. Castle reluctantly agrees and ends the call. Beckett rejoins him and he asks her what Agent Westfield told her. She refuses to say, claiming the information is classified. Castle’s interest is piqued, however, and he begins trying to guess by throwing out suggestions such as the Loch Ness Monster and Area 51 being real. Beckett refuses to budge and admits that the more he guesses, the more fun she is having listening to him try. The two walk off into the night as a flash of lightning crosses the sky.
Who: Marie Subbarao, age 35, astrophysicist
Found: in a Car, in the Drivers Seat, in a Train Yard
Where Killed: Underground in a basement of a factory in the warehouse district of Chinatown
How: Explosive Decompression in an Industrial Vacuum Packing machine
Killer: Dr. Charles Vaughn (blackmailed researcher) and Ung Kyu (spy)
- Dr. Charles Vaughn killed Marie Subbarao. He lost a lot of money at a casino and became a target of Chinese Intelligence.
Motive: Cover up Spying / espionage. Marie was killed because she figured out that she was being framed for spying
- Ung Kyu is a High Level Chinese Intelligence Agent and the "handler" of Dr. Vaughn. He wanted information that Dr. Vaughn could gather with his radio telescopes and ordered Dr. Vaughn to kill Marie