Technology with attitude

“Castle” Recap: It’s All About Mulder, Scully, Klingons and “Firefly”

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Stana Katic as Beckett: A Skeptic
Stana Katic as Beckett: A Skeptic

The most recent episode of “Castle” was grand. With the teaser promising an “X-Files” style murder investigation, the episode had to live up to a fair amount of hype. Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) attend a murder scene revealing a female victim who experienced death by decompression. In the morgue, Lanie (Tamala Jones) explains that this type of ostensibly bloated death occurs in a vacuum like outer space. Also found in the car with the victim is a book about aliens. Castle’s imagination runs wild.

Further investigation reveals that the victim worked as an astrophysicist. She did work with NASA and SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence). Castle begins to whistle the theme from “X-Files,” expressing his belief in aliens.

Beckett and Castle then interview the victim’s coworker and former boyfriend. After producing an alibi, he explains that the victim just wanted to return some stuff to him.

One of the victim’s coworkers explained that the victim seemed upset about something and left early from work on Wednesday, but returned at the normal time on Thursday.

Due to the odd nature of the victim’s death, Beckett asks CSU to sweep the vacuum chamber at the victim’s place of employment–it turns up no forensic evidence. Beckett and Castle learn that the victim did some research at another observatory in New Jersey (this one with a different type of telescopic lens available in the victim’s lab). The data she collected was erased from the hard drive of the telescope.

Castle and Beckett then reference Mulder and Scully, the romantically-involved duo from “X-Files,” an interesting parallel considering the sexual tension present. Beckett also mentions Klingons jokingly being possible abductors–this reveals that Beckett isn’t a fan of Star Trek, as real Trekkies know that Klingons would rather hack and slash at victims than experiment on them, toss them out into space and place them back in a car.

They then interrogate Stryker, author of the alien/UFO book found in the car with the victim. Stryker confirms that the victim talked to him about an abduction experience. Beckett remains skeptical. After gathering some more information, Beckett is driving with Castle.

The car stops. Both phones as well as Castle’s watch cease to function. There’s a light from above. Castle and Beckett are abducted–and it’s not a dream sequence.

A real ‘man in black’ interrogates both Castle and Beckett. Castle gives some silly answers, reminiscent of an episode of “Firefly” in which Captain Reynolds and crew are interrogated by Alliance officials. Beckett gives more serious answers (and demands answers to some of her own questions). Both are given a ‘shot’ in the neck (resembling a hickey) and are released.

Beckett’s police chief is obviously angry over the incident. However, some Chinese cigarettes left at the scene of the crime give the crew a clue

Gillian Anderson as Scully: Also a Skeptic
Gillian Anderson as Scully: Also a Skeptic

that they might be looking for a suspect doing business in Chinatown. The cigarettes can only be acquired on the black market or in China. Talk of espionage arises and the contact from “the agency” arrives at the police station.

Beckett calls the victim’s ex-boyfriend back and searches the box of things she returned to him. It includes a Jefferson Airplane CD case, which contains an extra CD. The extra CD shows a photo and coordinates of what appears to be a UFO. Beckett attempts to trade the information to the agent.

Using the agent’s fancy technology, the suspect is easy to locate. Beckett and Castle put on their bullet proof vests and go in after the suspect. After encountering some scared and confused workers in the Chinatown basement, Castle communicates with them in Mandarin. When asked where he learned it, Castle confesses to learning it from a TV show he used to watch–an obvious and excellent “Firefly” reference. This leads to the capture of the man who is the murder suspect and spy. The photo of the UFO is actually not unidentified at all–it’s an American spy satellite.

Every time this show references “Firefly,” I love it more and more. Referencing “Star Trek” and “X-Files” helps, too. These writers know their fan demographic–lovers of geekdom and all references thereof.