Disciple: Canadian Review

A terrifying string of murders leads Castle and Beckett to a horrifying revelation: Jerry Tyson is still alive and on the hunt.

Castle has long been successful at exploring a wide range of storytelling, seamlessly manoeuvring between comedy, drama, mystery, suspense, romance and everything else in-between, often combining many of these elements into each episode or shifting gears from one to the next week to week. While the show is always captivating regardless of which method of storytelling it relies on for each episode, this reviewer has always been drawn to those that delve into darker subject matter. To me, Castle is truly at its best when it explores that dark side, bringing forth truly compelling and game-changing drama while keeping the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the hour. Sunday’s episode was a stunning and shinning example of that, presenting a dark and dramatic story that brilliantly opened the door to the return of the show’s most chilling murderer, Jerry Tyson.
Two of the Castle team’s most masterful storytellers, writer David Amann and director Rob Bowman, combined their incredible talents in Sunday’s episode, the aptly-titled, “Disciple”, which found Castle and Beckett investigating a serial killer in perhaps the most horrifying case they have ever come across. With two victims who looked identical to Lanie and Esposito, the case immediately hit a tad too close to home for the entire NYPD team, and it was believed that someone was targeting these two specifically. But in a brilliant twist halfway through the hour, it became clear that their victims were used to obtain classified police and medical files by pretending to be Lanie and Esposito themselves. Those classified files were ones pertaining to the murders committed by Jerry Tyson, better known to Castle fans as the incredibly disturbing and remarkably elusive serial killer 3XK.
The stunning episode had the look and feel of a feature film, much the same way that the infamous Castle two-parters always have, with every aspect of the storytelling truly being in a league of its own. Meanwhile, the story itself showcased how incredibly powerful this show can be when it delves into not only those dark elements of storytelling but also into the mythological and looming ongoing mysteries that are so brilliantly woven in and out of each season to remind Castle and Beckett that they still have lingering threats out there in the shadows.
While the case itself was absolutely epic in and of itself, combining some truly disturbing murder scenes with the suspense and mystery surrounding the investigation and the questions revolving around who would target the members of Beckett’s team and why, the moments that always resonate most in even these case-heavy episodes are the personal ones. Sunday’s dramatic and intense episode was no exception.
Fans have long been waiting for Tamala Jones to have an episode focus much more heavily on her character, Lanie, allowing the versatile and uber-talented actress the chance to shine onscreen in more than just a couple scenes each week. While this episode was certainly not centered primarily on Lanie, it rather brilliantly opened the door to achieve the same goal, allowing Jones the opportunity to deliver an outstanding performance throughout the hour as she explored an array of emotions while Lanie dealt with the horrors of investigating the death of someone who looked exactly like her.
As expected, Jones stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park in this episode, stealing each and every scene that she was in, including a heartbreaking and chilling moment of absolute fear and horror when she revealed to a shocked Beckett that their victim had purposely been altered to be her exact double, as well as a beautiful and heartfelt moment between she and Esposito as she painfully asked him how long it would take before they could look at one another and not see the faces of their victims. That, above all else, was truly one of the emotional highlights of the hour and both Jones and co-star Jon Huertas were absolutely incredible.
Of course, with the early indications that a target had been set on the backs of Lanie and Esposito, Ryan’s concern and protectiveness for his partner were also on display. Seamus Dever and Huertas shared a stellar scene together near the end of the first half-hour of the episode and both delivered their A-game as Ryan tried to coax Esposito into talking things through and expressing how he felt about everything that had happened. Not only did this scene cleverly showcase the bond that these two share and how protective they can be of one another, but it also highlighted the stark differences between the two as Ryan’s answer was to talk about how Esposito felt while Esposito’s answer was to bottle it up and then express his anger rather than his fear.
Throughout the hour, there were some subtle yet very significant clues that the case could be tied to the show’s most notorious and still uncaught serial killer, Jerry Tyson. While the victims were clearly not his usual type, he did always have a penchant for using doubles of people as accomplices in his crimes. In this case, they also became his victims. And while 3XK was known for using rope to strangle his victims, he had already changed that M.O. last season when he attempted to frame Castle for murder. Either way, in each and every murder he committed, strangulation was the cause of death, just as it was with each of these two victims. While it seemed as though Castle believed fairly early on that these murders were tied to Tyson and that he was sending a rather horrifying message to them, Beckett was reluctant to believe it, clinging to the hope that Tyson really had died last year even though it was clear that she may have just been trying to convince herself of that more than she was trying to convince Castle of it. After all, she knew what Tyson was capable of and she knew she had never been able to stop him before. Perhaps it was easier to believe that he truly was dead than it was to accept that this monstrous threat to Castle’s life could still be out there.
In the end, it became clear that Tyson was behind the murders and yet another telltale calling card of his proved to come to light; he had a new partner. Annie Wersching turned in a chilling and rather disturbing guest performance as cosmetic surgeon Kelly Nieman, and while she certainly seemed too smug and absolutely creepy to not have been involved somehow, it was not until the end of the episode that it was revealed that she was, in fact, Tyson’s new partner. The revelation came far too late, though, and just as Tyson had eluded them in the past, so too had his accomplice, leaving behind a chilling note that taunted them with their possible return in the future.
With that, Castle and Beckett realized that both Tyson and Nieman were out there, lurking in the shadows until it was time once again to strike. Tyson himself was certainly enough of a looming threat to their lives and their happiness but adding Nieman into the mix added a double dose of that threat, with television’s most captivating power couple now being the ultimate target of a pair of the most ruthless serial killers possible.
The episode concluded with Castle finding a hidden USB drive concealed inside of the pen that Nieman had left behind with her note to them. As he quickly popped it into his laptop with Beckett standing watch, the two were terrified to hear the chilling warning that Nieman and Tyson had left for them to find: they will meet again. With that, the hour came to close in one of the most heart-pounding and devastating conclusions of any single episode in the history of the series, as Castle and Beckett stood frozen in their tracks, the terror of this warning painfully obvious. It was chilling and it was intense, but the ominous warning was also a reminder that this part of the story is far from over and that the final showdown will be nothing short of spectacular.

Captain Founder, Administrator, Editor and Writer

The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary. You taught me to be my best self, to look forward to tomorrow's adventures. And when I was vulnerable, you were strong. I love you, Richard Castle. And I want to live my life in the warmth of your smile and the strength of your embrace. I promise you I will love you. I will be your friend and your partner in crime and in life, always. - Kate Beckett The moment we met, my life became extraordinary. You taught me more about myself than I knew there was to learn. You are the joy in my heart. You're the last person I want to see every night when I close my eyes. I love you, Katherine Beckett. And the mystery of you is the one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring. I promise to love you, to be your friend, and your partner in crime and life, 'till death do us part, and for the time of our lives. - Richard Castle

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