BANG! BANG! BANG! Someone's shooting at Castle. He races through a room of mirrors as they explode with each passing bullet. Castle barrels into an alley where Detective Kate Beckett is waiting, gun drawn. She screams for him to drop to the ground. But Castle remains standing, pointing a gun in Beckett's direction. BANG! BANG! What just happened?! Let's jump back three days earlier to find out.
Castle promised he'd be back in the fall. Well, it's the autumnal equinox and he's MIA. Maybe he's still working on his book. Nah, Castle's new novel is definitely a done deal. How do we know this? Well, Beckett and her team investigate the murder of a woman named Chloe. The crime scene is near a bookstore where a life-size cutout of Castle advertises the upcoming release of Naked Heat. You can even meet the author at the store this Friday. Guess Castle is back in town. He could have called!
The murder victim's boyfriend, Evan, says Chloe taught chemistry at a prep school. Beckett, Ryan and Esposito check out an address that was written on a cocktail napkin found in Chloe's hand. The team enters the apartment, guns drawn, to find someone standing over the dead body of Maya Santori. This mystery man has a gun. And we're being literal when we call him a mystery man because it's Castle! Beckett has no choice but to arrest him for murder.
Beckett interrogates Castle. Her questions are certainly about the murder, but she also seems to be trying to glean some personal info. Castle is doing the same and is shocked to hear Beckett broke up with Detective Demming. Again, he would have known this tidbit if he would have called, right?!
The victim, Maya, had sculpted a piece of artwork for Castle. She called him because she was in trouble. By the time Castle arrived, she was dead. Castle found the gun on the floor. He's cleared of any wrongdoing and wants in on the case. Beckett says no way. She's still mad at him. Ryan and Esposito are pretty peeved, too.
Both victims share tattoos that were likely drawn by the same person. Additionally, writing appears on Chloe's hand with the number "227." A guy named Todd McCutchin called both women within hours of their death. But McCutchin has been murdered and, once again, Castle is found standing over a dead body.
All right, we all know Castle didn't kill this guy either. He was merely doing some citizen sleuthing. But what's the connection between McCutchin, who ran a vending machine business, and the other two victims? Castle bets Beckett that he'll crack the case before she does. If he wins, she has to take him back as a partner. Deal!
All three victims made big bank deposits of $9,500 on the same date. All their credit cards show charges at an underground burlesque club. Beckett uses the 227 code number found on Chloe's hand to get inside. Castle says, "This place…it's like the circus with alcohol." Beckett responds, "You think this is crazy you should see some of the clubs I've been to." Gotta love the look on Castle's face after that one.
Kitty Canary and her husband, Earl, own the club. Kitty says the three victims were involved with the club, and Kitty gave tattoos to both Chloe and Maya. They claim Chloe's boyfriend, Evan, got in an argument with the three victims and the murder weapon is later found in his apartment. Case closed, right? Nah, Beckett thinks it's all too easy. If Evan was smart enough to wipe his prints off the gun, he would have been bright enough to ditch the murder weapon, too.
Castle finally gets the connection between the chemistry teacher, the sculptor, and the vending machine operator - they were counterfeiting money and each provided their special skills to the process. The one thing they would still need would be the ink. Perhaps they could get it from someone like say…a tattoo artist!
Kitty and Earl attempt a getaway at the burlesque club. That's who was shooting at Castle in the mirror room scene. Out in the alley, Beckett appears to be pointing her gun at Castle and he looks like he's aiming at her. BANG! BANG! Two people are down! The first is Kitty. She was behind Beckett ready to kill her, but Castle fired first. Beckett also saves Castle's life by gunning down Earl, who also had a gun aimed at her partner. Yes, we called Castle her partner. After all, he cracked the case and won the bet. Beckett has no choice but to bring him back into her life. Actually, Esposito guesses that Beckett knew all along that the case was about counterfeiting. Beckett has no response to this theory. That's fine because the knowing look on her face says it all.