Pretty much every television series that I watch is on break until after the holidays. This has given me time to dig through most of my DVR recordings. One of the last shows to air a new episode was ‘Castle’, back on December 6th. Yes, that was two weeks ago, but to be fair, the episode was pre-empted for football in Boston and didn’t air here until the following weekend. In any case, let’s catch up with it now. What, you have something more recent to talk about?
‘Last Call’ begins with a couple of people fishing in the East River, for some godforsaken reason. They’re shocked – SHOCKED, I tell you – to reel in a corpse out of the water. (Seriously, what else were they expecting to catch there?) Castle and Beckett investigate and discover that the victim was a dockworker with ties to a local mobster played by Chris Mulkey. (Where the hell was he during the ‘Twin Peaks’ reunion on ‘Psych’ recently?) This leads to the obvious suspicion that the dockworker must have owed the mobster money and couldn’t pay up. To the contrary, it turns out that he in fact had recently bought a bar from the mobster. This was a dockworker with ambition, and an unexpected source of cash.
The bar, called “The Old Haunt,” was actually one of Castle’s… well, one of his old haunts. He has a lot of affection for the place, which was built in Prohibition days and has a colorful history as a speakeasy. After the usual string of red herrings, Castle and Beckett find in the basement office a secret exit to a long-hidden bootleggers’ tunnel where the victim had located an a supply of exceedingly rare and valuable Scotch. With the help of a snooty auctioneer, he sold one of the bottles for big bucks and was planning to parcel out the rest over time to finance his business.
Castle covets that Scotch even more than he covets the bar. In the episode’s funniest scene, he and Beckett track down the sold bottle to a douchebag internet gaming millionaire – a kid barely legal to drink, if even – who’d bought it just to throw around his money and has no appreciation at all for fine liquor. He was cutting it with Mountain Dew (or something similar, I forget). Castle is mortified.
When they’re done investigating all of the victim’s blue-collar acquaintances and shady mob ties, things come around full circle. We learn that the killer was actually that highbrow auctioneer, who wanted the stash of Scotch all for himself. As usual for the show, the final revelation isn’t all that surprising. Even less surprising is the announcement that Castle has bought the bar himself.
Sure, ‘Castle’ is a very predictable series, and this episode does nothing in particular to stand out from any other. But the cast has good chemistry and the writing is still entertaining.