Castle: Undead Again – A Review And Recap

Castle: Undead Again


Zombies on the move in New York City can only mean one thing…fun, and lots of it. Yep, for the first time in a long time, Castle fans and viewers have been treated to two, yes, count ’em, two fun episodes in a row (you know things aren’t going well when an episode featuring zombies—the walking dead—is lighter than what’s normally served to the weekly viewing audience).

Last night, our crime-fighting duo (in this case, Zombie-fighting duo) were on the hunt for the “zombie” who killed David Lock, a rising Wall-Streeter. Of course, the writers delivered the usual number of red herring/suspects, and, of course, Beckett raked them over the coals for the standard 30 seconds before releasing them, as usual. Still, the case was lots of fun, and it was quirky, like the Castle cases from the days of old. Again, a fun and solid 40 minutes (+/-) of TV watching.

Before I get into the police and forensics aspects of this episode, let’s see what Melanie has to say. Hopefully, the zombies didn’t grab her during the night…

Melanie Atkins

Okay, I’m having trouble concentrating on writing this blog after seeing the previews of next week’s season finale. I mean… the title for it is Always. Rick and Kate’s catch word. Need I say more? Squee!

But I digress… back to this week’s episode. Zombies, the “undead”, and murder… oh, my! A classic Castle episode, with laughs, drama, and moments that made me smile. I enjoyed this one, especially for the touching moments between Rick and Kate and Rick and Alexis.

The episode opens with Alexis breaking Rick’s heart by telling him their laser tag days are over. He looked so sad. His little girl has grown up and will soon leave for college. Still smarting from her rejection, Rick talks to Martha but doesn’t get much sympathy. She pretty much reams him out for treating Kate the way he has lately — and I don’t blame her. (Go Martha!)

Still hurt and acting like a kid who’s had his candy stolen, Rick decides to work one last case with Beckett, then say goodbye for good. Please note that he stopped calling her “Kate” a while back. All of that familiarity ended when he overheard her tell the kid in interrogation during the bombing case that she remembers everything from her shooting — and then he failed to confront her or question her or say anything at all about it. Instead, he turned passive aggressive and did his best to hurt her back by bringing a flight attendant to a crime scene, teaming up with a rogue gang task force detective, and just generally being an ass. Way to go, Castle.

Rick and Kate have always said more through subtext than any other way, and their interaction tonight was no different. While discussing a suspect, they hit on Kate’s shooting… and what she does or doesn’t remember about that day. “When a life altering moment occurs, people remember,” Rick says. And Kate comes back with, “Well, maybe it’s too big to deal with. Maybe he can’t face it just yet.” “Do you think he ever will be?” Rick asks, and Kate looks at him. “Hopefully. If he feels safe.” Yes, folks, they’re talking about much more than zombies.

The end of the episode brings this full circle, when again they speak via subtext and Rick learns Kate has been seeing a therapist in an effort to get better after her shooting, to help her deal with everything she does remember — including his desperate I love you. She also tells him the wall around her heart is coming down. “Well, I’d like to be there when it does,” he says, hope finally returning to his eyes. “Without the zombie makeup.”

So… Rick hasn’t worked his last case after all. Did we really think he had? No, of course not. And we have the awesomeness that is Always to look forward to next week. And Alexis hasn’t given up laser tag. After all, it’s a Castle family tradition. She also plans to go to school at Columbia rather than Stanford or Oxford… and she even makes Rick promise not to drop in on her. Yeah, right. Like he’s going to be able to stay away. So… times they are a-changing in Castleland, and I for one am thrilled.

Lee Lofland

This week we were once again treated to a medical examiner we could believe…M.E. Perlmutter. This guy plays the part well, and he delivers his opinions and findings in such a way that makes even the “not-quite-right” seems plausible. His lines last night weren’t loaded with unnecessary and unrealistic babble like what we normally see on this show.

The writers assigned Perlmutter just enough dialog to get a point across, and that’s all that’s needed. For example, when Perlmutter said to Castle and Beckett, “I’ll have answers after I cut him open.” See how easy that was. No crystal ball. No Ouija board. And no pin-stuck dolls.

The Perlmutter actor plays a great part. I wish we’d see more of him and a whole lot less of “the other one.” The M.E. from the last episode played the part quite well, too. Somebody should take the hint…

Again, like the other fun episodes, the criminal case took a back seat last night. However, there are a couple of  things I’d like to point out for the writers out there who read this blog.

– Besides the fact that these people never get search warrants, kicking in a door is not as easy as these guys make it seem. I’ve witnessed officers, really big officers, who’ve planted their size 13’s on doors that absolutely refused to budge. Sometimes, in fact, it can even be difficult to breach a door with a steel battering ram. And, you know, I’ve never worn heels, but I sort of imagine the task of kicking in a heavy wooden door is even more difficult while wearing the shoes Beckett had on last night (image below).

– Finding and identifying a chemical on the bottom a victim’s shoe was pretty remarkable, especially in the short amount of time that we saw last night. But to narrow that chemical down to only three locations in NYC was borderline absurd. Oh, and the right warehouse was one that had been abandoned for a long, long time… Hey, who wrote that stuff…Lanie?

– Beckett worries that this case could be what every cop dreads…the perfect murder. Well, there is no such thing as a perfect murder. In fact, do you remember the old tag line from this blog… “There are no perfect murders, merely imperfect investigations.” The clues and evidence are always there. It’s up to the investigators to find them. However, that’s not always an easy task. And that difficulty (lack of manpower, lack of training, lack of funding, lack of equipment, poorly-equipped or non-existent labs, etc.) makes some cases seem unsolvable. But that’s never the case.

I suppose I should address Scopolamine since its use on the killer was the reason Beckett gave for setting the murderer free without charges (I really don’t see that happening in real life, but stranger things have happened…OJ, Casey Anthony, and PeeWee Herman is back on TV).

Anyway, Scopolamine is a real drug that’s used to treat motion sickness, among other things. The drug is derived from the nightshade family of plants (jimson weed and Angel’s Trumpets (Datura or Brugmansia), and corkwood (Duboisia). If you live in the south you’ve probably seen jimson weed growing wild on the side of the road. And I recall seeing Angel’s Trumpet everywhere in California.

I’ve seen prison inmates who ingested jimson weed seeds to get high, and the results were never pretty. For example, one young man in a youthful offender center was found sitting on a toilet making motorcycle sounds (with his mouth, not as a result of the horrible prison food). He was hallucinating…vividly, thinking he was riding a Harley out on the open road. Then, well, who knows what he encountered during the hallucination because he went absolutely berserk, thrashing about, screaming, crying, and attempting to get away from an invisible demon while violently slamming his own very-real head into the concrete walls.

Scopolamine is made from that same family of hallucination-inducing plants. And people have been known to use the powder form as a date-rape type drug. It’s also been used to render unsuspecting victims to the point of being “out of it” for the purpose of robbing them.

The drug in raw form is a highly toxic poison and its use often results in death.

There are many rumors associated with Scopolamine, including the horror story of the people passing out Scopolamine (burundanga)-laced business cards. The tale, which, by the way, is currently making its way around the internet, describes the victims being rendered unconscious after touching the cards, at which time the crooks steal, rape, and rob to their heart’s content. This story is FALSE. I repeat, it is FALSE.

But that’s enough about the police stuff. The show was Castle 101 and the only thing missing was Michael Connelly and gang at the poker table.

Here are some of the great lines from last night.

– Perlmutter after seeing Castle cringe regarding autopsy details – “We’re all meat, Castle. Get over it.”

– Ryan and Espo discussing zombies:

Ryan – “He does look like a zombie.”

Espo – “A real zombie? I’m embarrassed for you, bro.”

And the best line of the show…

– Castle while dialing 911 after the “dead” zombie bolted from the morgue – “Is there a police code for ‘zombie on the loose?'”

Well, there’s only one episode left this season, and after seeing the previews I fear we’re in store for another dark and heavy, “save-the-world-from-total-destruction type show. I hope not, because that sort of thing is simply not what makes this show work. We’ll see.

Hmm… I wonder if there’s a police code for total world destruction…

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32 replies
  1. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Also I want to point out the bite marks matching is total BS. That’s incorrect science and there’s no way to determine if bite marks match enough to say with certainty he was the killer.

  2. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Just want to point out to everyone that is wondering why Castle and Beckett aren’t getting together and what’s taking so long is every show where the biggest question is if the two main characters will get together, if they do the show invariably goes downhill. So they’re trying not to go there but realizing at this point they don’t have much room to backpedal now. Just my point of view.

  3. he-touches-things
    he-touches-things says:

    Lee: Do you care to comment on the limits of “I want Police Protection” as demanded by the perp in this episode? We had a spirited discussion over on castletv several weeks ago, and it would be good to get some *real* info.

  4. Wendy Dingwall
    Wendy Dingwall says:

    I have to add that this was one of my favorite shows, just for the fun of it, and I too loved the subtext between Castle and Beckett. Hope next week continues the sense of hope and does not let us down. As always, insightful reviews!

  5. lv2bnsb
    lv2bnsb says:

    I really loved this episode. It’s my favorite now after Cops and Robbers and Poof. One flaw I noticed that maybe I’m wrong about I wanted to ask Lee about. How would Castle have been able to wear the murder/Zombie’s costume? Wouldn’t it have had blood on it and be considered evidence? Or can a detective remove evidence during an ongoing investigation?

  6. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    From what I can tell — spoiler alert — and what I’ve gleaned from the fan sites, Castle will try to stop Kate from going after the man who killed her mom — and/or the sniper who shot her — and she does any way and nearly dies. Does she get him? I don’t know. But seeing her at the cemetery in the promo tells me she goes to talk to her mom… To tell her it’s over, maybe. Or that she’s letting it go so she can live her life and be happy. Then it rains, and she goes to Castle’s. Somewhere in there, she resigns. I don’t know if that’s the cliffhanger, or if their coming together is. Lots of speculation all over the place. Sneak peeks usually come out on Thursday or Friday. Can’t wait!

  7. Raphael Salgado
    Raphael Salgado says:

    Great review again, but I guess I’d be asking too much if Melanie would dissect the sneak preview of the season finale. Next Monday cannot arrive soon enough, and I’m just hoping it’s not going to be another crazy cliffhanger that will keep us guessing until the fall. The last few weeks have been a bit torturous since they been spacing it out by a week or two… so aggravating!

  8. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Kapil – No bad day here. Maybe for Lanie fans, but not for me. According to my notes Perlmutter said, “Time of death was about 4 a.m.” And he went on to say, “Cause of death was probably blunt force trauma to the head…”

    Lanie rarely ever offers an “approximate” anything. Normally, she provides definitive answers, such as “cause of death was a puncture wound to the heart,” when she cannot see the heart while still at the crime scene. And that drives me nuts. Perlmutter did not do this in this episode. Instead, he offered an opinion. Same as the M.E. in last week’s episode. How difficult would it be for the writers to do the same for Lanie?

    You are correct about the danger of blasting through that doorway not knowing what, who, or how many was waiting on the other side. Certainly, there was a clear danger. In real life, I believe they’d have called for a special team with special gear and equipment to make the entry. Actually, this would have been the perfect time to send in a robot, a camera, or something not human before breaching the door. There are cameras available that slip beneath a door.

  9. Kapil
    Kapil says:

    And yeah, another thing. Beckett kicked in a door when the guy inside was clearly shouting to her to not come in since it was dangerous. Lee pointed out a couple of clear flaws in that scene but ,to me, it also sounds like a warning whereby opening the door might actually set off some trap which leads to a bomb going off or may be the guy inside getting accidentally hanged or some other weird thing.

    Lee, please comment. Is that a real consideration for you guys or just something which happens only in movies and TV shows (though not this one)?

  10. Kapil
    Kapil says:

    Just wanted to point out another random mistake. The Wall Street trader came to work at 4 am because he supposedly handled the Asian currency markets. Thats ridiculous. I was a currency trader in the past and the Asian markets open around 9 pm New York time. Whats worse is that they could have simply said that he handled European markets which do open around 4 am New York time. I know this is the kinda thing which probably just bugs me but it definitely gets in the way of enjoying the episode when all the producers have to do is the simple math that 4 am in New York equals 5 pm in Japan.

    About Lanie, I do think Lee that you are a little hard on her. Even in this episode, the male ME said very confidently at the crime scene itself that the time of death was 4 am. He then followed it up with a definite cause of death as well. I really came to this review thinking you would be mad at that.

    At least Lanie says stuff like “probably between 3 am and 4 am” which to me sounds like she is not yet sure and would have to actually do the autopsy to be sure but it seems around 4 am from first impressions. I don’t know about you but to me that sounds much more believable than a definite assertion of 4 am (and not even “around 4 am”).

    Anyways, must say that your reviews are, in general, awesome (though I thought you had a bad day this week just due to the glee you felt on realizing Lanie was going to be absent) and I always rush to this site the moment I watch a new castle episode (which I often do at my own time)

  11. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    I think the biggest part of the problem with Lanie is the writing in those episodes. Let’s face it: some of the writers are much better than others, and expediency forces them to do the best they can with what they have in a short period of time.

  12. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Hylean – No need to put anyone in their place – yours or mine. We’re here to discuss the show, good or bad.

    You know, there’s a simple answer to your question. Perlmutter and the woman from last episode get a pass because they deliver extremely believable lines, even when they’re not true science. That’s why and how they can get away with it.

    The show is fiction, as are many others, and we as viewers should expect to be taken into their world (the characters) and see the things they do and say as “realism.”

    Lanie, unfortunately, does not get the job done in this role. She sometimes seems like she knows what she’s saying is bogus, therefore comes across as a bit timid, unlike the normally strong, decisive real-life M.E’s. Lanie’s delivery of the M.E. lines is, well, a notch below horrible. With that said, I think she could be a fantastic fictional attorney, BFF for Beckett, or something…just not this role.

    Examples of good, believable delivery of nonsense police procedure and forensics are shows like Grimm, CSI (some of the time), and American Horror Story. Total fantasy, but the actors and their dialog comes across as believable, for the most part. But Lanie…no way. In fact, I have the same problem with Gates. She’d be a good prosecutor, I think. But as a police captain she’s way off the mark.

    Like you, I am extremely curious about the difference in lines for the different actors. What they write for Lanie definitely starts her out at a disadvantage. And, I’d like to see how Lanie would handle the same type of lines that’re given to the other actors. Still, I’m not convinced it’s all in the writing. Beckett and crew are quite often stuck with some pretty goofy police stuff but they manage to pull it off, and they normally do so quite convincingly, especially Castle.

  13. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    Always love reading your reviews, they’re as much a highlight as the episode (especially some of the ones this year). I just had to chime in to the fact-checking and add that Castle’s fashion “expertise” is about a century off. You can go look at hundreds of Civil War era portraits, you will not see flounced cuffs like that. Absolutely not. It’s somewhat like some of the things that you point out as being wrong–it shouldn’t be that big a deal, except that it’s just so blatantly and unecessarily *wrong* that it really detracts from any other fun the show may be having.

  14. Hylean
    Hylean says:

    I am, once again, back to defend Lanie, because I honestly think your comments in this article were not fair. This is getting to be a habit with me, and I fully expect you to put me in my place, heh.

    We get it, you don’t like the character, but now you’re letting things slide with Perlmutter that you’d rip into her for, and somehow you think that the actress has some sway over her lines? That’s the only inference I can get from your comment over Perlmutter and the M.E. from the previous episode. If not, I’m not really sure how you can justify that remark.

    I enjoyed the review otherwise, but those snarky comments about Lanie just didn’t sit right with me. That said, it would be quite interesting to see why the writers give Perlmutter and Lanie such different dialogue as M.E.

  15. Jonathan Quist
    Jonathan Quist says:


    In some jurisdictions, 10-54 means “Livestock on highway”.

    So maybe 10-54-2 could be “Undeadstock on highway”?

  16. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Not sure, Winter. I don’t see that “effect” at any medical resources, but I have seen it in a couple of unverified places.

    I do know, however, that the people I’ve seen who were under the influence of the drug did not obey a single command to stop hitting me… 🙂 And, believe me, I strongly suggested it several times.

  17. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    A great line from Martha: “If you want to see zombies, check out the red carpet at the Tony Awards.” Ha ha!
    Another good line is where Rick admits he doesn’t believe in zombies but he’s just saying it to annoy Kate. Hee hee!
    Too bad we had to wade through so many mediocre episodes this season to finally get a good one. Fun fun fun!
    If the drug leaves a person suspectible to suggestion, would that person commit murder if they have strong moral/ethical values? I believe a hypnotized person will not commit an action that they would not do on their own volition.
    I think the real reason Alexis is going to Columbia U is so she will be on the show next season.
    Let’s have Rick and Kate play laser tag!
    So in next week’s episode they may finally “do it.” My concern is, where does that leave them for season five? Will they pull apart again as they “figure out where this is going”? Will Alexis get her own apartment and Kate move in? With all that’s gone on this season, I can’t see the two going back to “being friends.”
    Yes, I loved Perlmutter too. Is Lanie being eased out of the show? Since she’s no longer in relationship with Espisito, there’s no reason to keep her on the show.

  18. Winter
    Winter says:

    Lee, is it possible with the scopolamine, as they said in the ep to be used as a means to suggest something to someone? I know that some thought to use it as a “truth serum.”

  19. F8
    F8 says:

    Why, oh, why, can’t Beckett and Castle be adults and say what they mean without using ‘subtext’ all of time except when it comes to a season finale?! And it’s not even good subtext, they always get around to a metaphor involving walls or something.

  20. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Well, I sort of meant that metaphorically – over the top action and non-believability. Besides, I’m really tired of the whole Beckett’s mom thing.

    I know, I know. You love this stuff, Melanie… 🙂 That’s why you’re the good cop.

    Tom – You caught something I didn’t. I guess I was so glad to see Perlmutter that I’d tuned out some of what he was saying.

  21. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    Hey, Lee… next week’s show will contain some darkness, no doubt, but it’s basically a “they finally solve Kate’s mom’s case and get together” kind of thing. Not a save the world plot. Woohoo!

  22. David
    David says:

    I guess there’s a reasons Jimson is called “locoweed”. They were really reaching on the scopolamine, but it was a fun episode. The trick they played on the ‘perp’ is similar to the magicians trick they played in “Poof, You’re Dead”.

  23. Tom
    Tom says:

    How did Perlmutter determine the time of the injection? Wouldn’t he have to know how much of the drug was given?

  24. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Police officers are allowed to lie to suspects, but that’s about as far as it goes. They’re certainly not allowed to threaten someone with physical harm for the purpose of eliciting a confession.

    Hmm… I’ll have to think about the zombie code.

  25. MigalouchUD
    MigalouchUD says:

    Hey Lee great review and really great insight into the drugs. One quick question, the confession they were able to get out of the killer. Now based upon the way they did it how legal/illegal and what is the realism of that holding up in court? I know that a confession under duress or coercion gets pretty iffy and that one looked like it was clearly under duress. So big no no or totally legit?

    Thanks for the great review and the great insight into the police procedural!

    Oh also fun question, if you were Castle what code would you have used as a placeholder for Zombie on the loose?

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