Castle Season 7 Episode 4 Review: “Child’s Play”

Castle Season 7 Episode 4 Review: “Child’s Play”

castle childs play

In this week’s episode of Castle, Castle accesses his not so inner child to find out who murdered an ice cream truck driver.

Castle, a fan of potato chip fudge ice cream (has he tried Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Snack from  Ben and Jerry’s?) isn’t too keen on ice cream when they find the body of their latest victim, Anton, shot to death in an ice cream truck. Anton, an art student at a community college in the Bronx, worked for his family ice cream business, but the killer wasn’t after any money.His teacher says his portfolio was missing from his school computer and that he got into the car of a strange man the day before he was murdered. When CSU scanned the truck, they discover Anton wasn’t alone at the time of the murder; there was a witness. The witness left a permission slip for a class trip. A second grade class. The kids aren’t spilling to their teacher or police officers, so they task Castle with finding out which student might have been in the ice cream truck at the time of the murder.

Beckett: “So basically, we’re looking for someone who won’t intimidate them. An adult presence in the classroom, that eight-year-olds will consider a peer. someone they will consider their own?”

Principal: “Okay, but where will we find someone like that?”

Castle (putting down a toy): “Easy. Got it.”

“Being 90% kid myself, I have an ability to get into the minds of children.” While Castle learns that a room full of kids is not as easy as he thinks it’s going to be (he is immediately bonked in the head with an eraser, Beckett and the boys learn that a retired cop, Jaffe, was killed 8 hours before Anton with the same gun and was the same man who’s car Anton got into the day before.  Back in the classroom, Castle has the kids write any story they want, hoping they will write about witnessing the murder.

“An experience that powerful is going to find a way to express itself and end up on the page. Even the wildest fantasies have a kernel of truth. As a master storyteller, I am able to separate the makeshift from the tell-tale details of thinly veiled facts.”

I am really loving the ways the cases of the week have been, even in small ways, tying into the larger mystery of Castle’s disappearance and his mysterious childhood encounter. I think more than any other season, it will lead to a large fluidity and connectedness between each episode, even the filler episodes. Castle hints here at whatever he experienced as a child that made him want to become a mystery writer. What powerful experience did he have as young Ricky that changed him so powerfully? What kernels of truth exist among his dozens of novels that hearken back to that night in the woods?

Castle finds a story that involves a giant with a gun and he and Jack head outside the play. Castle and his army men see a giant, ready to shoot! Jack tries not to be scared like he was before… in the truck? No. On the couch watching a movie with his brother. Kate and the boys find that Anton and Jaffe were dropping notes or items through a P.O. Box. When a Russian calls the post office looking for Anton, Anton freaks out and gets in contact with a Bratva enforcer, Dmitri. When Kate, Ryan and Esposito head to Dmitri’s to confront him, they find him dead too. Same MO as Anton and Jaffe.

Back in the classroom, Castle has another tiny witness suspect: Emily. Castle and Emily dress like princesses and have a tea party, where he uses her trust in him to see if she was the ice cream truck witness. They build an ice palace and Castle tells her to “let it [her problems with bully Jason] go” (never forget that ABC is owned by Disney), which she takes to mean punching Jason in the nose. She doesn’t know anything about the ice cream truck. As Castle leaves the classroom, one student slips him a drawing of an ice cream truck and he and Beckett try to figure out which kid left him that clue.

Anton’s parents’ place is ransacked and when Anton’s father finds the mess, he also finds blank passports in Anton’s room. Castle figures out that Jason, the bully, was the one who left him the drawing–he wasn’t in the truck, it was his older sister, the teacher of Anton’s community college class! Anton, Natalie (the sister), and Jaffe were a team who made passports for Russian immigrants trying to get back home. One of their clients, Polkovnik, was someone awful from Anton’s past–the reason he escaped to America. Polkovnik’s picture, needed for the passport, would identify him to the World Court as a war criminal. He tried to get the photo back and killed Jaffe and Anton looking for the photo. Natalie says she put the photo in a camera case, which her little brother took to school for show and tell. Castle and Beckett race to the classroom, but are met by Polkovnik himself, who’d been listening in. After our duo get knocked around the classroom, Castle prevents Polkovnik from escaping with his photo by spilling marbles on the floor, dropping Polkovnik like lead.

Castle brings cupcakes for the class while Kate presents Ms Ruiz, the teacher, with a medal from the police department for putting up with Castle for 2 days. Back at home, Alexis has been waiting on Castle hand and foot since he returned from his absence and it gets a bit overbearing, he has a talk with her and she promises to calm down. “I know you see yourself as the adult of the family…” “For good reason!” They ride scooters into the proverbial sunset, to get ice cream– “How about pizza? I might be off ice cream after this case.”

I think the idea of Castle connecting so easily with kids in this way was perfectly in character and, while we’ve had a few moments here and there, it’s surprising this kind of episode hasn’t come up sooner. As mentioned earlier, I am really enjoying the different ways they’ve made each case tie into Castle’s disappearance so far. Each episode, we get a tidbit of either how a character felt during those two months, new information on what happened, or a peek into Castle past as we did this week. They’re laying the foundations very nicely, without hitting us in the head with the disappearance every week. One of these subtle statements will probably come back to us in a major way later in the season. This was a fun episode and played directly into Castle strengths as a character, but also calls back a classic season 1 line, Beckett’s assertion that Castle was, “like a nine-year old on a sugar rush.” The line wasn’t explicitly mentioned, but longtime Castle fans remember.

Moments and Quotes

  • Castle dressing as a fairy princess at his tea party. “Do you want some sugar?” “No, I’m trying to cut back. DO you have any low-calorie fairy dust?”
  • “Do you wanna build an ice palace?”
  • Emily punching Jason in the face and saying, “It was my inside strength! I let it go, like Mr Castle said!”
  • Emily wondering if Kate she “played princess” with Castle and if they were going to get married, their answer of “someday” and Emily’s little jealousy of Kate.
  • I’m a bit disappointed in Kate for not clearing Natalie’s bedroom before talking about the case with Castle. I think checking under beds should be a “room clearing 101” rule for cops.
  • Castle and Jason putting notes on each other’s backs: ”frogface” and “jerkface.”
  • The Paris incident gets a shout out in this episode, could they be reminding us of Jackson Hunt?

[Photo via ABC]

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