Castle Recap: “Scared to Death”

By March 20, 2013

An eerie DVD, a serial killer’s missing corpse, and death by fright haunt the precinct in this week’s spooktacular episode of Castle.

When Val Butler is found dead, her face frozen in fear, in an apartment full of books on evil spirits, Castle jumps to the obvious conclusion: Val was killed by a ghost! When Castle accidentally watches a creepy DVD that claims its viewer will die at midnight three days later, Beckett alone must debunk his theory, while Ryan and Esposito avoid watching the deadly DVD.

Unfortunately, her task is not easy. Dr. Perlmutter announces that the otherwise healthy Val dropped dead of a heart attack from unknown causes. The DVD itself was sent from a PO Box belonging to a dead man…and a second victim, Jason Bennett, is found dead in his home with the same DVD by his side.

A jittery Castle calls his friend and horror movie mogul Wes Craven for advice. Under the pretense of writing his own horror screenplay, Castle asks how to keep his characters alive in the face of an evil spirit. Craven points Castle toward the spirit’s origin story, and Richard takes to Twitter, asking his followers to help him decipher the clues on the DVD.

@Bedazzlecats39 has the answer! One of the images on the DVD is of the Brunswick Inn…where both Val and Jason stayed at the same time. Esposito and Beckett take a road trip to the nearly abandoned motel, where the owner finally reveals the victims’ connection: they were both witnesses in the trial of serial killer Nigel Malloy…a man who died in prison, but claimed his spirit would live on.

Castle and Beckett pay a visit to Nigel’s brother Leopold, who is currently in an insane asylum, awaiting release. His most recent visitor? Val, who accused him of sending her the DVD. Though Beckett is convinced that Leopold has someone on the outside killing to avenge his brother’s conviction, the asylum records show he had no other visitors and no access to the outside world. Even more disturbing: Nigel Malloy’s grave has been dug up…and his body is missing.

The detectives learn that a third witness, Mark Heller, received a DVD as well. Spooked, Heller fled to a cabin in the woods. Castle stocks up on weapons to fight the supernatural–including holy water blessed by a priest!–and he and Beckett pay a visit to Heller. With no cell reception and the cabin suddenly plunged into darkness, Beckett sneaks out to capture a figure in a dark cloak. The shadowy figure? Leopold’s nurse.

The nurse claims innocence; she was trying to save Heller and clear Leopold’s name. Meanwhile, Heller tells Castle that Malloy’s conviction wasn’t the only thing he and the other victims had in common. Before Malloy was arrested, the three witnesses were pressured into falsely picking another man out of a line up…a mentally ill man who, at midnight on his third day in jail, took his own life.

His daughter, Amanda–Val’s roommate–arrives at the cabin, intent on avenging her father’s wrongful death. Castle and Heller hide, but Amanda uses a taser to blind them. Before she can electrocute Heller in the same manner that she did her other victims (a homage to the way her father killed himself), Beckett arrives. Her voice startles Amanda, and Castle hits their would-be-killer over the head with his bottle of holy water.

With Heller saved and the murders solved, only one mystery remains: Where is Nigel Malloy’s body? Leopold’s nurse dug up the serial killer’s grave, but found it empty; the body had gone missing before the empty casket was ever buried.