Castle and Beckett wake up in bed together—handcuffed! Okay, they’re not exactly in bed. They’re on a mattress in the middle of a dark cellar. All of their personal items are missing. A needle mark on Beckett’s back suggests they were drugged. The last thing they remember is meeting up at a seedy motel for obvious reasons. You guessed it. They were there to see a dead guy.
We jump back in time to see that a murder victim’s fingerprints were burned away to conceal his identity. Lanie finds a piece of paper with a café address in John Doe’s pocket. The scrap paper has a postal bar code on it. This leads Castle and Beckett to an abandoned house where they make the disturbing discovery of an elderly woman in a cage. That’s the last thing Castle and Beckett remember before everything went black.
We should note the interesting conversation Castle and Beckett have before entering the house. It’s about all the tension between Lanie and Esposito lately. It’s an amusing, ironic back-and-forth exchange that should bring a smile to anyone desperate to see Castle and Beckett get together. Here’s their dialogue, word for word:
Beckett: They both want to be together but neither of them wants to admit to it.
Castle: Why do people do that to themselves?
Beckett: Maybe they just don’t see it.
Castle: How could they not? It’s so obvious.
Castle and Beckett are cuffed together with no escape in a basement prison. They find a big freezer in the center of the room. They need to align the freezer under a hatch opening. Unfortunately, the thing won’t budge. Castle uses his lock-cracking skills to open the freezer. Then they make another disturbing discovery. The freezer is filled with chains and bloody knives. Not good.
Ryan and Esposito learn that their John Doe met with a man with long hair at the café. They run a trace on Beckett’s police unit transponder. Video footage shows two identified men dumping the car in a remote location. Lanie salvages some fingerprint pieces that are matched with prints from that envelope scrap. The victim is Hank Spooner, a trucker from Texas.
The man Spooner met with at the café is DEA Agent Chuck Martinez, who believes the truck driver may have been smuggling drugs from Mexico. The victim’s semi is found with an empty crate with air holes all around it. Ryan also notices the postal bar code on the scrap of paper that led Castle and Beckett into their current predicament. The police storm the house, but it’s not the place where their colleagues are being held captive.
Castle and Beckett engage in a series of unsuccessful escape attempts, including one where they see the face of one of their captors. The woman in the cage was in cahoots with him. They later hear conversations through the walls suggesting the bad guys are into human trafficking. Castle and Beckett break through a wall in order to get to another prisoner. That may not have been the best idea in the world since the other captive is a tiger. Make that a very hungry tiger.
Castle and Beckett stumbled onto the illegal tiger trafficking operation that got Hank Spooner killed. They hop atop the freezer to get away from their toothy new roommate. Esposito and Ryan realize that the bad guys are using a foreclosure list to find new hiding spots. They hear their partners screaming for help as the tiger moves in on its prey. Ryan and Esposito have no choice but to let the bad guys (a mom and her two sons) escape during a guns drawn standoff. That’s cool. Captain Gates is waiting outside with cavalry to take them down.
Castle and Beckett are pulled to safety. They get back all their personal belongings, including those handcuffs that kept them closer than usual. Castle says, “After that experience, if I ever have to be hitched to someone, it would be you.” Notice how he subconsciously used the word “hitched?” Beckett does. She adds that next time they’re handcuffed together, they should do it without the tiger. Did she really say “next time?”