Minor spoilers.

Castle Official Site

The Time:
Mondays, 10:00 PM, ABC

The Show:

Castle is a rambunctious and wisecracking best-selling author of crime
fiction who has just killed off his golden goose main character because
he was bored with him.  Now, he’s beset by writer’s block and
is wondering what his next move will be.  That is until the
no-nonsense and driven Detective Kate Beckett pays him a visit and
informs him that his help is needed on a murder case.  The
womanizing and smarmy Castle is instantly smitten with her and throws
every cheap line and innuendo her way and generally makes a nuisance of
himself at every opportunity, which Beckett is forced to tolerate for
the sake of solving the case.  But aside from the hijinks,
Castle also brings a keen insight and plenty of connections with city
government into the case that proves useful.  Once the case is
solved, Castle convinces the mayor to allow him to tag along on
Beckett’s future cases as he researches a new female detective
character for his upcoming book, much to Beckett’s chagrin.

The Stars:

•  Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle
•  Stana Katic as Det. Kate Beckett
•  Susan Sullivan as Martha Heath
•  Monet Mazur as Gina Cowell
•  Ruben Santiago Hudson as Capt. Montgomery
•  Molly Quinn as Alexis Castle

The Episode:A Chill Goes Through Her Veins”

Beckett and Castle come across a woman whose body was frozen and thawing at an active construction site.  The woman had disappeared five years before, so the question isn’t only, who murdered her, but who dumped her body, and why after five years?  The case also brings up painful memories for Beckett, who finally opens up to Castle about the tragedy from her past that led her to becoming a cop.

The Lowdown:

This is hands down the best episode so far in the short run of this series, and had a couple of key things that the show was really needing to take it to the next level.  The first being a truly unique case, like Dave and Maddie used to come across.  The other being that eventual opening up by Beckett to Castle, revealing a new step in their relationship, and also revealing the past tragedy that Castle correctly guessed about her in the pilot episode.  Plus there were some good lighter moments and Castle goes down a path that’s sure going to cause him headaches with Beckett in the future.

The case this episode was that of a woman, Melanie Cavanaugh, a married mother of two and former drug addict who showed up frozen stiff in a construction site.  The site had been active, so she had only been there a couple of hours.  But as it turns out, she had gone missing five years prior and Beckett and Castle discover that her husband, Sam Cavanaugh, had waited a day before reporting her missing.  However, they can’t question him because he had also been murdered a year before, and thus a full four years after his wife had disappeared.  What also made the case unusual is that Melanie had a history of running off for weeks at a time, including right before her wedding. 

Beckett and Castle run the gauntlet of possible suspects and witnesses, not only in Melanie’s murder, but also in her husbands.  These include Cavanaugh’s friend, Charles Wyler (Charles Malik Whitfield), Melanie’s parents, her former boyfriend, the owner of a storage company where the freezer holding the body for five years was discovered, Elizabeth Forte, a woman with whom Cavanaugh had had an affair, the detective who had first worked the case as a missing persons file, and a woman who had been involved in the delivery of the freezer as a red herring by the killer.  

The case affects Beckett because she’s reminded of the loss in her own past of someone close to her that Castle correctly hinted at when he “profiled” her in the first episode.  She’s driven to find the answers to this case because the first detective didn’t care enough to follow it through to the end, nor to think out of the box.  Eventually, Melanie’s killer is discovered, but not exactly how that person got away with getting her body into a freezer at a storage facility.  Beckett, needing to see the case through to the end, goes to Castle’s home when he’s playing laser tag with his daughter to pick his brain.  The circumstances of how Melanie was murdered also lead to who killed her husband and why four years later.  Beckett eventually lets Castle know who it was that was murdered in her own past and why she wears something that reminds her of that someone. 

I deliberately left the details of this episode as blank as I could, because this is a good one to check out if you’re still on the fence about this show.  The murder was original and suitably twisty.  Plus, Katic has settled into her role and she does some nice subtle emoting this episode, as well as her usual annoyance of Castle yet respect for his insight.  Fillion is his usual charming self.  Seeing him in the laser tag get up was fun also.  In the end, Castle starts looking into something that he probably shouldn’t, but will provide the basis for a mythology for the show.  Definitely the best episode so far.

 8.6 out of 10