8x12 Transcript

Transcribed by:
McManda
CASTLE
EPISODE 8x11
"The Blame Game"


EST – NEW YORK CITY, NIGHTTIME

INT – EMMA MATTHEWS’ APARTMENT

EMMA MATTHEWS sits at her vanity. She’s finishing her makeup, almost ready to head out for the night. She caps the lipstick and heads to her closet for her jacket. She slips it on, but when she comes back into the bedroom she pauses. There’s a symbol drawn onto her mirror. She gapes at it for a second, and that’s all it takes for the person behind her to shoot her in the back. Her blood splatters all over the mirror.

INT – RESTAURANT

RICHARD CASTLE
Booya!

He sits down at a table with MARTHA RODGERS and ALEXIS CASTLE.

MARTHA RODGERS
God!

CASTLE
Guess who’s about to have the best day ever?

MARTHA
Could it be the fellow who just interrupted us rather rudely with “booya”?

ALEXIS CASTLE
What’s going on, Dad?

CASTLE
I’m sorry, I can’t tell you. I’m sworn to secrecy.

ALEXIS
Okay. (she turns back to MARTHA) Anyway, so my psych professor said fear is an emotion, which it is, but then I argued –

CASTLE
You’re not even going to try to pry the secret out of me?

ALEXIS smiles.

MARTHA
Darling, we are right in the middle of something here, so if you just wait for a moment we will give you our full attention, okay? Okay. (to ALEXIS) What is it, darling?

ALEXIS
Gram, you know he’s just going to keep pouting until he gets his way. (MARTHA sighs) Dad, just tell us your secret.

CASTLE
Okay. But only because you insisted.

ALEXIS
Okay.

CASTLE
I just got off the phone with the personal assistant of none other than … Stephen King.

MARTHA
Whoa.

CASTLE
He is in town visiting his New York apartment, has called to see if I’m available for a meeting to talk about a, dramatic pause … (he pauses) … collaboration.

MARTHA
Oh.

ALEXIS
Hold on, isn’t he still mad about … the thing?

MARTHA
What thing?

ALEXIS
The baseball thing. See, Stephen King is a huge Red Sox fan and Dad –

MARTHA
Oh, and your father is Yankees fan. Oh no, Richard, what did you do?

CASTLE
It was a silly joke.

ALEXIS
More like a thinly veiled threat.

CASTLE
To-mato, to-mahto. Obviously it’s water under the bridge because he wants to talk about collaborating on a project.

MARTHA
That’s great.

CASTLE
Richard Castle and Stephen King present... Wish me luck, ladies.

He stands to leave. MARTHA grabs his arm.

MARTHA
Darling, if you think you’re going to get top billing over Stephen King you’re going to need more than luck.

Her comment can’t stop his smile. He leaves.

INT – EMMA MATTHEWS’ APARTMENT

CSU is documenting the crime scene.

KATE BECKETT
Good morning.

JAVIER ESPOSITO
Morning.

KEVIN RYAN
Morning, Captain.

BECKETT
Hey Lanie, how’re you doing?

LANIE PARISH
A heck of a lot better than our victim here. Name is Emma Matthews, 34 years old, single GSW to the upper back, through and through. (LANIE points to EMMA’S chest) Here’s the exit wound. Based on lividity I’m placing the time of death between 9 and 11 last night.

BECKETT
And the neighbors didn’t hear a gunshot?

RYAN
No, the music was turned up too loud. But neighbor next door said he saw a rusty white van parked outside near the time of death window. Didn’t get a plate, though.

BECKETT
Does Emma have a roommate?

ESPOSITO
Nope, she lives alone. But we’ve notified next of kin and we’ve got a list of her friends and coworkers.

RYAN
Emma was a television producer at Channel 8 news. Some of her coworkers are going to meet us back at the precinct.

BECKETT nods to the drawing on the mirror.

BECKETT
What’s with the artwork?

ESPOSITO
Not sure yet, but we think that our killer may have drawn it.

BECKETT
All right, check with the FBI. See if the MO or the symbol matches anything in their database.

BECKETT steps forward to take a closer look at the mirror.

EXT – 143 NICHOLAS STREET

CASTLE pulls up outside of an apartment building. He gets out of the car and double checks the address. He’s in the right place, but it doesn’t look like the sort of place Stephen King would live. His phone rings and he pulls it out of his pocket to answer.

CASTLE
Hey, Beckett.

BECKETT
So, how’s the meeting going? Uh, is Stephen still mad at you?

CASTLE
I just got here. And if he’s not still mad at me, he will be when I tell him to fire his real estate agent.

BECKETT
Hey! Be nice.

CASTLE
What, to Stephen or to the … team of rats that came to welcome me at the door? All right, I gotta go. I love you.

He hangs up, pockets his cell phone, and walks inside.

INT – 143 NICHOLAS STREET

CASTLE climbs the stairs. The place is dark and not at all elegant. He triple checks the address and heads down a hallway. He pauses at the end and decides he’s not in the right place. He turns to head back, but just as he does the lights start to shut off.

CASTLE
Stephen? Is that you?

There’s no response. Each light in the hallway starts to shut off one by one.

CASTLE
Oh. (he laughs) I get it. Very funny. Yeah. Yankees are still the best team –

The last light shuts off and leaves CASTLE in darkness.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

RYAN hangs up his phone.

BECKETT
Hey Ryan, anything from the FBI?

RYAN
No. The symbol’s not in their database. Neither is our killer’s MO.

BECKETT
And what about the white, rusty van outside Emma’s apartment? You guys track it down?

RYAN
No traffic cams on her block, so so far it’s not looking good.

ESPOSITO
Hey guys, these are Emma’s coworkers. This is Lila Campo and Jennifer Perez. This is my partner Detective Ryan and our boss, Captain Beckett.

BECKETT
I’m sorry about your loss.

LILA CAMPO
Thank you, Captain. We are still in shock.

ESPOSITO
We’re going to talk over here. Follow me.

ESPOSITO leads them toward the interview room.

BECKETT
Ryan, I’m going to be at the forensic technology seminar all afternoon, so just text me if anything comes up, okay?

RYAN
You got it, Captain.

BECKETT
Thanks.

Her phone beeps and she pulls it out to check the message. It’s from CASTLE: “Urgent! Meet me at 143 Nicholas St ASAP”. She doesn’t hesitate to leave.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERVIEW ROOM

JENNIFER and LILA look at a photo of the drawing on the mirror.

JENNIFER PEREZ
Oh my God, is that Emma’s blood?

RYAN
Yeah, I’m afraid so. Do you recognize the symbol drawn on the mirror?

JENNIFER
I’ve never seen it before.

LILA
Neither have I.

JENNIFER
I mean, I just can’t believe this. Emma was the sweetest person in the world. I mean, she was kind, she was outgoing. Though she had been acting a little strange lately.

ESPOSITO
Strange how?

JENNIFER
Well, Emma had just gotten a promotion to produce the 8 o’clock news –

LILA
Which was a huge deal for her.

JENNIFER
Exactly. Yet, all this week she was acting kind of, I don’t know –

LILA
Off.

JENNIFER
Yeah.

ESPOSITO
Well, any idea why?

JENNIFER
Well, Emma confided in me that she had gotten her hands on some kind of proof.

RYAN
Uh, proof of what?

JENNIFER
She said that she couldn’t tell me, at least not until after the time was right, whatever that meant.

ESPOSITO
Do either of you know if Emma was having personal problems with anyone? Anyone at work, in her personal life?

JENNIFER
(shrugs) Not that I know of.

LILA
Well, there’s Buckley.

JENNIFER
Yeah, but everyone in the newsroom has problems with Buckley.

ESPOSITO
Who’s Buckley?

JENNIFER
Another producer at the station. He has seniority over Emma but she beat him out for that promotion.

LILA
And Buckley was pissed.

JENNIFER
Yeah. I mean, he even claimed she had made up lies about him just to get the job.

LILA
But I can’t imagine he would kill her for that.

RYAN
By any chance does Buckley drive a white van?

LILA
Yeah. He does.

INT – CLASSROOM

CASTLE awakens. He’s drowsy, but he can put together that he’s in a preschool classroom. There is a letter border along the wall and planet pictures on the ceiling.

CASTLE
What am I, in kindergarten again? So where’s Mrs. Finch?

He’s also not alone. Three other men are in the room with him.

CASTLE
You are not Mrs. Finch.

JUDAH
Who are you guys?

CASTLE
Where am I?

Each man is holding his bicep, CASTLE included. They’re all drowsy.

SIMON
I don’t know. Me and this guy just woke up.

TODD
My shoulder’s killing me.

JUDAH
Anyone have a phone? Mine’s gone.

They each check.

CASTLE
No.

SIMON
What the hell is going on? How did we get here?

CASTLE
Last thing I remember I – I went to a rundown building, going to meet Stephen King, and all the lights went out.

JUDAH
Hold on. 143 Nicholas Street?

CASTLE
How did you know that?

JUDAH
A lawyer called, asked me to meet him there. Said I inherited the building from my uncle who passed away a year ago.

SIMON
Yeah, I was told the same thing, except it was supposedly my cousin who died a few months ago.

TODD
Oh my God, we were all lured there.

CASTLE
Yeah, but by whom?

JUDAH goes for the door. He tries to open it, throwing his weight against it when it doesn’t budge. TODD feels his arm.

TODD
There’s a sticky substance on my arms. Do you guys have that?

CASTLE and SIMON check. They’re clean. JUDAH keeps trying to open the door.

JUDAH
This thing’s not budging.

CASTLE opens the blinds. They’re not in an actual classroom. It’s a fake window lit by fluorescent lights.

CASTLE
Okay, um … you know, when I was in that hallway and the lights went out, the last thing I remember was a sharp pain in my shoulder, so we must have been drugged with a syringe or a tranq dart.

SIMON
But why? Who would do that to us?

CASTLE looks around. There’s a camera along the ceiling.

CASTLE
My guess is whoever’s behind that camera.

SIMON
Oh man, it’s a serial killer. I’ve seen stuff like this on Dateline and it never ends well.

JUDAH
Will you please shut the hell up?

SIMON
I’m trying to tell you, this is –

JUDAH
Shut up!

CASTLE
Guys. Whoever is behind this, if they wanted us dead we would be dead. So obviously they want something else, right?

SIMON
Yeah, but what?

CASTLE
I – don’t know. Let’s take a look around. Obviously someone went to a lot of trouble designing this place.

They each start searching through separate parts of the room. CASTLE opens a drawer in the teacher’s desk. There’s a note and a cryptex.

CASTLE
Hey. Guys. (he reads the note) “Salvation lies within.”

SIMON
What is that thing?

CASTLE
It’s a cryptex. It’s kind of a lockbox that requires a password to open it, so we just need the password.

JUDAH takes off his sweater.

JUDAH
We need to bust out of here. Now.

He wraps the sweater around his hand and uses it to break the glass in front of a fire axe. He grabs the axe, but then he pauses. He slips the head of the axe off and squeezes it.

JUDAH
The blade’s rubber.

There’s a buzzing noise.

CASTLE
Whoa. Is that a bee?

TODD
Oh. I’m allergic. I’m very allergic.

TODD swats at the bee.

CASTLE
Okay, well, relax. You’re antagonizing it.

TODD
I think it’s attracted to the substance on my arm.

The bee lands on his arm and TODD swats it.

TODD
Oh no.

TODD starts to gasp.

CASTLE
You all right? Okay, relax, relax. You’re going into anaphylactic shock. Do you have epinephrine?

JUDAH helps TODD into a chair. TODD feels his pockets.

TODD
My injector’s gone! It was in my pocket. Where is it? Where is it?

SIMON starts to look around the room, just in case it’s fallen out. CASTLE looks at the cryptex. There’s a drawing of a bee on the end.

JUDAH
It’s okay, man. It’s okay. We’ll find it.

CASTLE
Guys, there’s a picture of a bee. (to TODD) Maybe your epinephrine’s in here.

TODD’S breathing is getting worse.

SIMON
What should we do?

CASTLE
Um … we need the password.

CASTLE looks around the room.

JUDAH
Just breathe. Just breathe, all right? We’ll figure this out.

There are bees over some of the letters in the alphabet border.

CASTLE
Guys, some of the letters have bees over them. (he writes on the chalkboard) A, D, E, I, L, O, T, R, and Y.

JUDAH
(to TODD) Take it easy. (to CASTLE) What does that mean?

CASTLE
I don’t know. It could be a word. Maybe it’s a phrase. Uh, dairy pole. No. Uh … I play doer. (he shakes his head) A dire ploy.

SIMON
Guys, he’s not looking so good.

CASTLE
Wait a minute. (he starts spinning the letters on the cryptex) Play … or … die.

The top to the cryptex pops off. An epinephrine injector is inside.

SIMON
Oh man, this is so twisted.

TODD
(gasping) Oh, thank you.

JUDAH
Hurry, hurry.

CASTLE
Okay. Ready?

CASTLE takes the injector and stabs it into TODD’S leg. TODD immediately starts to convulse.

JUDAH
Whoa. What did you do to him?

TODD’S mouth starts to foam.

CASTLE
Nothing. I just put –

CASTLE inspects the epinephrine pen. He turns it around and then peels off the label. The real label underneath reads “DANGER! Poison”.

CASTLE
It says it’s poison. That’s not – salvation lies within. Salvation – lies. (he realizes) It was a trick.

JUDAH tries to help TODD.

JUDAH
Okay, okay.

CASTLE
Open his collar so he can breathe.

CASTLE notices the symbol on TODD’S collarbone. It’s the same symbol that was drawn on EMMA’S mirror.

CASTLE
What is that?

SIMON
So what the hell are we supposed to do now?

CASTLE
I don’t know.

INT – CLASSROOM

TODD gasps for breath.

SIMON
You were right. Whoever’s behind this isn’t going to kill us. He wants us to kill each other.

CASTLE
I – (CASTLE peels off more of the label of the injector) – there’s another clue right here. “Time has run out. 2 – will cure. 1 – will kill.” Okay, so that has to mean there’s an antidote around here somewhere. Look around, guys. Look around. Look around.

SIMON
What are we looking for?

CASTLE
Something around here. 2 – will cure. What does that mean?

SIMON
Is it another injector? Is it a needle?

JUDAH grabs a little box. He opens it. Inside are three labeled vials.

JUDAH
Hey guys, found something. Two will cure. Hang in there, buddy. This is number two. We’ve just got to give him number two.

CASTLE
Wait – wait, wait, something not right. Um … that’s too easy. Two, um …

JUDAH
But that’s what the clue said.

CASTLE
2 – will cure. What if that means a combination of two vials makes the antidote?

SIMON
What are you talking about?

CASTLE
Well clearly we can’t take any of these clues for granted. Time has run out. What does that mean? (he looks past them) Okay, the clock. That clock has stopped. Which is time has run out. And the hands are at 1 and 3, so … what if the antidote is the 1 and 3 vials combined?

CASTLE grabs the vials and mixes them.

SIMON
I don’t know.

CASTLE moves to pour the mixture into TODD’S mouth.

JUDAH
Whoa.

CASTLE stops.

JUDAH
You sure about this?

He’s not, but they don’t have much to lose. TODD is dying either way. CASTLE dumps the mixture into TODD’S mouth. TODD goes still and then starts to cough.

SIMON
Oh, thank God.

CASTLE
You all right? (TODD coughs) Just breathe. Breathe.

They’re okay. For now.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

RYAN and ESPOSITO lead BUCKLEY inside.

BUCKLEY
Okay, why the hell am I here?

ESPOSITO
Well, Mr. Buckley, we understand that you had some issues with Emma Matthews.

BUCKLEY
I don’t know what you’re talking about. I liked Emma. It’s a real shame what happened to her.

RYAN
Yeah, we’re sure you’re heartbroken. (RYAN gestures for him to take a seat) Especially after she supposedly lied to beat you out of that big promotion at work.

ESPOSITO
And now that Emma’s dead that new job is yours for the taking.

BUCKLEY
Whoa. Hold on. I may not be shedding tears over Emma’s demise but I didn’t kill her.

RYAN
You own a white Ram 350 van, don’t you, Mr. Buckley.

BUCKLEY
Yeah. So?

RYAN
So a van matching that description was seen outside Emma’s place during the time she was murdered.

ESPOSITO
Where were you between 9 and 11 last night?

BUCKLEY
At O’Malley’s Pub in Brooklyn. And my van was parked right out front. Ask anyone there.

ESPOSITO
We will. And it better check out.

RYAN and ESPOSITO head for the door.

BUCKLEY
And just so you guys know, Emma did lie about me to get that promotion. That chick lied all the time.

ESPOSITO
What are you talking about?

BUCKLEY
Just yesterday I caught her in the edit bay digitizing old VHS tapes. Emma said it was proof for a story. But I know all the stories she was working on and those videos had nothing to do with any of them.

RYAN
(low, to ESPOSITO) Wait, didn’t Emma’s coworkers say she just stumbled on some sort of proof?

ESPOSITO
Buckley, what was on those tapes?

BUCKLEY
They were weird home videos of a couple of kids sitting around wearing these strange medallions.

ESPOSITO
Strange how?

BUCKLEY
I don’t know. They had round symbols.

RYAN opens a folder and shows him a photo of the drawing on EMMA’S mirror.

RYAN
Did they look anything like this?

BUCKLEY
Yeah. Exactly like that.

RYAN
Are there copies of these VHS tapes she was digitizing?

BUCKLEY
Yeah. The system automatically archives the raw footage to the server for backup.

INT – CLASSROOM

TODD is up and walking around.

CASTLE
How are you feeling?

TODD
Better. Thanks for saving me.

CASTLE
(shrugs) Oh.

TODD
Hey, I don’t even know your name.

CASTLE
That’s right, we haven’t done proper introductions. I’m Rick.

TODD
Todd.

SIMON
Yeah, my name’s Simon.

JUDAH
Judah.

CASTLE
Well, gentlemen, um … clearly we were all brought here for a reason. Maybe if we can figure out what it is it’ll be our way out.

TODD
Okay, how do we do that?

CASTLE
Well, we must have some sort of connection to each other.

SIMON
Yeah, but I haven’t seen any of you guys in my life. Ever.

CASTLE
Right. But it may be some connection we’re not yet aware of. Um … I’m a mystery writer. What do you guys do for a living?

SIMON
I’m a third grade teacher.

TODD
I’m a minister.

JUDAH
I own a boxing gym.

CASTLE
Okay. All right, no connection there, but uh … where are you from? I’m born and raised in New York City.

JUDAH
Hey mystery writer, no one cares why we’re here. We only care about getting out.

SIMON
I’m with him.

TODD
Me too. There’s gotta be something in here we can use to escape.

They start to search the room again.

CASTLE
Uh, Judah, the last time we broke something Todd nearly died.

JUDAH
Hey, pal. I’m not the one who injected him with poison, okay?

CASTLE
That’s exactly my point. Rummaging around may inadvertently spring another deadly trap.

They stop.

TODD
We’ve got to do something.

CASTLE
Agreed. So let’s be smart about it. Um … the cryptex. It led us to the poison and the poison led us to the antidote.

SIMON
Yeah, but there was no clue on the antidote.

CASTLE thinks for a moment.

CASTLE
The clock was part of that solution. Maybe it holds the next clue.

CASTLE grabs the clock from the wall. He was right; there’s a clue on the back of the clock.

CASTLE
(reading) “The key will release you.” But what key?

INT – RICHARD CASTLE INVESTIGATIONS

HAYLEY SHIPTON
Alexis? Where is your father?

ALEXIS is working on the computer at CASTLE’S desk when HAYLEY SHIPTON walks in.

ALEXIS
He’s not with you?

HAYLEY
If he were would I be asking you where he is?

ALEXIS
Meow.

HAYLEY
Okay, sorry, sorry. I don’t mean to get so b*tchy, it’s just that your father blew off that meeting I set up with a potential client.

ALEXIS
He had an impromptu get-together this morning with Stephen King. Maybe he’s still there.

HAYLEY
Do you have King’s number?

ALEXIS
No, but his assistant called my dad’s cell which is linked to the office computer. (she switches programs) Okay, here’s his call log. Got it.

ALEXIS picks up the phone and dials. She gets an operator.

ALEXIS
It’s disconnected. I must have misdialed. (she tries to dial again. Again she gets the operator) Something’s wrong.

HAYLEY
There’s a new tweet from Stephen King: “watch me live on Australia, 7PM, project, twenty minutes”.

ALEXIS
If Stephen King is in Australia where’s my dad?

INT – CLASSROOM

SIMON
The key will release you. But what key? Maybe it’s a metaphor.

JUDAH
Maybe you’re an idiot. Now will you please shut up so the grownups can think?

CASTLE
Guys, the bickering is not going to help us.

TODD is examining the door.

TODD
Maybe there’s something in this room that’s shaped like this keyhole.

CASTLE
I know I’ve seen that shape before. (he looks around the room. It’s simple once he sees it: the handle of the axe. He picks it up) Boys, we’re getting out of here.

They’re excited. CASTLE takes the handle to the door and uses it as a key. He turns the lock, but the door doesn’t open. A panel in the door opens. There’s a gun inside.

JUDAH
Oh, come on.

CASTLE grabs the gun and the note.

CASTLE
(reading) “The last one standing will be freed.” (he checks the chamber of the gun) Three bullets, four of us.

SIMON
So what, whoever kills the others goes free?

They’re silent for a long minute.

JUDAH
Give me the gun, Rick.

SIMON
No, no, no. I want the gun.

TODD
Hey.

CASTLE
Both of you stop. Stop it. You do and whoever’s behind this wins. Don’t you see?

TODD
Don’t you see? We’re powerless in here.

CASTLE
No, we’re not. We have the power not to play. (he faces the camera) You hear that? We’re not going to play your sick game anymore. You lose.

The TV toward the front of the room turns on.

CASTLE
It’s another room. It’s identical to this one.

SIMON
Meadow. What’s my wife doing in there?

JUDAH
That’s my girlfriend, Patty.

And the last woman in the room is someone CASTLE knows, too.

CASTLE
Beckett.

INT – CLASSROOM

In the other room the women can see the men.

MEADOW
It’s exactly the same.

PATTY
Everything’s the same.

BECKETT
Castle? Do you hear me? Castle? Castle?

The CASTLE in the video doesn’t respond. The TV feed cuts out.

MEADOW
That was my husband, Simon.

PATTY
And my boyfriend.

BECKETT
Which explains the texts that they used to lure us here. They must have been abducted first and then their phones were used to text us.

PATTY
But why?

BECKETT
And more importantly, who’s that fourth man?

PATTY
What?

MEADOW
Yeah. There were four guys on that screen but only three of us.

PATTY points.

PATTY
What happened to the woman who was supposed to be in that chair?

BECKETT doesn’t have an answer, but she’s distracted by a mark on PATTY’S neck.

BECKETT
What is that on your neck?

PATTY
What?

MEADOW
What is it?

BECKETT checks her own neck. She’s got one, too. Except she recognizes it as the same symbol on the mirror at EMMA’S apartment.

PATTY
You have one, too.

MEADOW
What about me?

She pulls down the neck of her shirt.

PATTY
No.

MEADOW
Well, is that a good thing or bad thing?

BECKETT
I don’t know, but the important thing here is to stay calm.

MEADOW
Screw calm. I say we break that glass and hack our way out of here.

MEADOW heads for the emergency fire axe.

BECKETT
No, that’s not a good idea.

MEADOW
Tough. If this isn’t an emergency I don’t know what is.

BECKETT
Look, whoever is behind this isn’t stupid enough to leave something that we can use to go free, which means that’s a trap. Now, let’s just finish this puzzle and see what happens.

MEADOW
Fine. Knock yourself out.

MEADOW starts to rummage around the room.

PATTY
Something about this feels familiar.

BECKETT
What do you mean?

PATTY
Identical rooms, the tasks. In grad school I read a case study that examined separation anxiety in stressful situations.

MEADOW
Well, this certainly is stressful.

MEADOW continues to rummage. She finds a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.

MEADOW
Oh, thank God.

BECKETT
What are you doing?

MEADOW
Having a smoke. I think I’ve earned it.

BECKETT
No! (she rushes forward and grabs the cigarettes) I told you, you can’t trust anything in this place. This could kill you.

MEADOW
It’s a cigarette. (she reaches for the cigarettes) It’s definitely going to kill me eventually.

BECKETT pulls back and gestures for her to wait. BECKETT studies the cigarettes. They’re covered in a fine powder.

MEADOW
What the hell is that?

BECKETT smells them.

BECKETT
It smells like peanuts.

MEADOW pulls back quickly with a gasp.

MEADOW
I’m allergic.

PATTY
Looks like Captain Beckett just saved your life. So how about you start being a team player?

BECKETT
(to PATTY) I need you to tell me everything you can about this study.

BECKETT adds the cigarettes to the pile of things they’ve started to collect from around the room.

INT – CLASSROOM

SIMON paces the room.

SIMON
What the hell is my wife doing in here? (to CASTLE) And yours?

JUDAH
They must be leverage. To make us follow the rules or else they get hurt.

CASTLE
Or maybe we’re the leverage.

JUDAH
But what about Todd? He didn’t have anyone in that room.

SIMON
He’s a priest. They’re celibate.

TODD
I’m a minister. The rules are different.

SIMON
So is there a Mrs. Minister that’s not in there?

TODD
No. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people I care about. And if something happened to one of them I don’t –

CASTLE
Look, we don’t know enough to be worried about that, okay?

SIMON
Oh, hell, being locked in this room with a loaded gun and instructions to kill one another is plenty to be worried about.

CASTLE
We’re not going to do that. What we should be doing is figuring out why the hell we’re here.

JUDAH
And why are some of us marked with a symbol and others aren’t?

CASTLE
Did you see the symbol on any of the women?

JUDAH
(nods) I saw something on Patricia’s neck, but I don’t have one.

CASTLE
What about your wife?

SIMON
No.

CASTLE
You’re sure?

SIMON
I didn’t take my eyes off of her.

CASTLE
So she doesn’t have one but you do. Following that pattern, Beckett must have one because I don’t.

SIMON
Meaning what?

CASTLE
(shrugs) Well, what if the people with the symbol are the important ones and the rest of us are leverage?

INT – RICHARD CASTLE INVESTIGATIONS

HAYLEY fast-forwards through street cam footage of CASTLE driving up to 143 Nicholas Street. They see CASTLE park and stand outside the building.

HAYLEY
There he is.

They watch him finish his conversation with BECKETT and then walk inside the building. He doesn’t reappear.

ALEXIS
What’s he doing in there? Wait, what’s going on with that van?

There’s a rusty, white van parked to the side of the building. HAYLEY zooms in to see a man shoving an unconscious man into the back.

ALEXIS
Uh, what the hell just happened?

The van drives away.

ALEXIS
Was that my dad?

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT WORK ROOM

RYAN
So Buckley sent over the tapes that Emma was digitizing.

ESPOSITO
And?

RYAN
Well, he’s right. It’s, uh … weird.

RYAN plays the tapes side by side. In one, a GIRL sits at a desk in a classroom and plays with a cryptex. In the other a BOY sits in the same setting, playing with a puzzle ball.

ESPOSITO
What are they doing?

RYAN
(shakes his head) Solving puzzles. For hours. And they’re wearing he symbol, just like Buckley said.

ESPOSITO
Could that little girl be Emma?

RYAN
It’s possible. Based on clothing and picture quality the lab thinks that the tape is at least twenty years old.

ESPOSITO
If it is Emma then who’s that little boy? And what do these videos have to do with her murder?

GIRL
(on video) I’m scared. I don’t want to play this game anymore. Please, let me out.

ESPOSITO’S phone rings.

ESPOSITO
Yo.

ALEXIS
Dad’s missing and we can’t reach Beckett’s cell.

ESPOSITO
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on, hold on. (he puts the call on speaker) Beckett’s at a forensics conference, Alexis.

ALEXIS
No, she never showed.

HAYLEY
Rick was lured to an empty building this morning. I hacked a nearby street camera and got footage of a white van fleeing the scene.

ESPOSITO
(low) Neighbors saw a white van in front of Emma’s building.

ALEXIS
Who’s Emma?

RYAN
(reluctantly) Our murder victim. We think our killer might have been driving a rusty, white van.

HAYLEY sighs. This is bad.

INT – CLASSROOM

BECKETT
If the clue is right this must be the key.

BECKETT tries to put the axe handle into the door, just like the men did. PATTY leaves the foam blade on the desk near the cryptex, the fake epinephrine injector, and the cigarettes.

MEADOW
I take back every bad thing I’ve been thinking about you.

BECKETT
Yeah, well, thank you.

BECKETT turns the handle. Just like in the men’s room, the secret panel pops open.

PATTY
Just another mind game.

BECKETT
(reading) “The last one standing will be freed.”

And just like in the men’s room, there’s a gun. BECKETT checks the chamber; there are two bullets.

BECKETT
Two bullets.

PATTY
And three of us. Clearly our captor’s trying to turn us against each other.

BECKETT puts the gun back where she found it.

PATTY
What kind of sick new test is this?

BECKETT
I don’t know, but it seems a little unsophisticated.

MEADOW makes a move for the gun. She grabs it and points it toward BECKETT and PATTY.

PATTY
Meadow! What are you doing?

MEADOW
It’s called survival of the fittest.

INT – CLASSROOM

JUDAH finishes bashing a hole in one of the walls. CASTLE reaches inside.

CASTLE
(sighs) Just more concrete, which falls into the “to be expected” column.

The TV comes back on. They can see MEADOW with the gun pointed at PATTY and BECKETT.

TODD
Oh no.

SIMON looks from the other guys to the TV. He lunges for the gun and raises it.

SIMON
Sorry, boys. My wife’s got the right idea.

SIMON cocks the gun. The TV shuts off.

INT – CLASSROOM

PATTY
Meadow, you don’t have to do this.

MEADOW
Look, it’s nothing personal.

BECKETT
Give me the gun, Meadow. Shooting us isn’t going to get you out of here any faster.

MEADOW
Sorry, but it’s you or me.

She braces her arm and flinches as she pulls the trigger. Nothing happens. BECKETT takes the opportunity to lunge forward; she grabs the gun out of MEADOW’S hand and with her other hand shows MEADOW the bullets she took out of the barrel. The gun was unloaded.

INT – CLASSROOM

CASTLE
Simon, shooting us is not going to get that door open.

SIMON
You don’t know that. The note says only one will survive. I need to make sure it’s me.

TODD steps between SIMON and the others.

TODD
Don’t go down this path.

SIMON
Sorry, preacher.

SIMON pulls the trigger. The gun fires, but TODD doesn’t fall. SIMON’S eyes grow wide and he falls. TODD steps forward over SIMON’S body. There’s a bullet hole in his chest.

TODD
He’s dead.

CASTLE grabs the gun from the floor and opens the chamber. It’s been stopped up.

CASTLE
The barrel’s been sealed. This gun’s as rigged as this room.

INT – CLASSROOM

BECKETT zip ties MEADOW’S hands behind her back.

BECKETT
This’ll have to do until I get you into real handcuffs.

MEADOW
Come on, can’t we work something out?

PATTY
You tried to kill us. If she hadn’t taken the bullets out you would have.

MEADOW
I wasn’t myself. It was fight or flight. Pure animal instinct.

The TV comes on. They see CASTLE standing over SIMON’s body with the gun.

MEADOW
No. Simon.

The TV turns off. BECKETT doesn’t quite believe what she saw.

BECKETT
I’m so sorry.

MEADOW
Save it. Your husband killed him.

BECKETT
We don’t know that.

MEADOW
Get away from me.

BECKETT is rattled.

PATTY
What are we going to do? This is all a game to our captor. We’re being manipulated.

BECKETT looks at the camera.

BECKETT
We’re going to change the rules.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

ESPOSITO
Just, give me a call whenever you hear something.

He hangs up his phone.

RYAN
Hey. I got something. Vikram scrubbed the footage. He found the name Northcliff written at the bottom of one of the puzzles. Now, when Emma was a teenager she walked dogs for a pair of psychiatrists, Jeffrey and Samantha Northcliff.

ESPOSITO
This is good.

RYAN
Yeah. And it gets better. There was a break in at the Northcliffs' apartment the night before Emma was murdered. According to the police report, only personal property was taken.

ESPOSITO
The VHS tapes. She must have broken in to steal them.

RYAN
But why?

ESPOSITO
Let’s ask the Northcliffs.

RYAN
I can’t find them. But I got their secretary in the box right now.

ESPOSITO
All right.

They head for the interrogation room.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT INTERROGATION ROOM

ROSE
So much tragedy. I hadn’t seem Emma since she was a teenager, and then I ran into her last week at Faye’s funeral.

ESPOSITO
Whose funeral?

ROSE
Faye Northcliff. Jeffrey and Samantha’s daughter.

RYAN
What happened to her?

ROSE
She hung herself. The poor girl.

That’s interesting information. ESPOSITO makes a note.

RYAN
Did she have any siblings?

ROSE
Yes, a twin brother, Brandon.

RYAN
And are these the twins? Right here?

RYAN shows her a photo from the VHS video.

ROSE
Yes.

ESPOSITO
Twenty five years ago the Northcliffs did groundbreaking research on separation anxiety in children.

RYAN
But there were rumors of unethical behavior. And they were involved in some pretty fringe behavioral science.

ESPOSITO
Did the Northcliffs use their own children as test subjects?

ROSE
I wouldn’t know anything about that.

There’s something she’s not telling them.

RYAN
Emma’s dead, Rose. If she broke into the Northcliffs' apartment to steal those tapes then she was planning to expose them. It’s possible the Northcliffs killed her to keep that secret.

ESPOSITO
And if you don’t want to be charged as an accessory then you better come clean. Right now.

ROSE
You have to believe me. I didn’t know the experiments were doing harm to those children. Time has proven otherwise. Brandon fled the country, became a recluse. Poor Faye. You know what happened to her.

RYAN
Do you have any idea where the Northcliffs might be right now?

ROSE
No. I haven’t seen them since yesterday. I swear to you.

INT – TWELFTH PRECINCT BULLPEN

ALEXIS
Guys. Hayley IDed the van.

HAYLEY
It’s registered to a professional corporation owned by somebody named Jeffrey Northcliff.

RYAN
He and his wife are our prime suspects.

ESPOSITO
Did you get an address off the registration?

HAYLEY
Yes, it’s a secluded property outside Hartsdale.

RYAN
That could be where they’re holding Castle and Beckett. Let’s go.

ALEXIS
Yeah.

They head for the elevator.

INT – CLASSROOM

JUDAH tries his best to bust open the lock on the door. TODD covers SIMON’S body with his jacket.

CASTLE
This is not going to happen. We need to work smarter.

JUDAH
How? That door’s the only way out.

CASTLE
If we could find something we could use as a pry bar, we could get it between the lock and the frame, we might be able to pop it open.

JUDAH
Yeah, okay.

They look around for things that might be helpful.

INT – CLASSROOM

BECKETT and PATTY are taking a different approach. They’re using parts of the first aid kit and various school supplies to make an explosive.

BECKETT
So the chemicals in there are explosive. It just needs a catalyst to set it off.

PATTY hands BECKETT the cryptex.

BECKETT
Great. Fuse?

PATTY cuts off a length of yarn and hands it to BECKETT.

PATTY
Here you go.

BECKETT
Perfect.

BECKETT assembles the fuse. PATTY pulls out a piece of clay, stopping to smell it.

PATTY
I always loved the smell of this stuff.

BECKETT
Okay. You two better hide.

PATTY grabs MEADOW and guides her to crouch behind the desk. BECKETT places the explosive against the lock, lights the fuse, and runs for cover behind the desk, too. The lock explodes.

INT – CLASSROOM

JUDAH and CASTLE are using the legs from a desk to try to wedge open the door. The pause when they hear the explosion.

JUDAH
What was that?

CASTLE
I don’t know, but we need to get out of here. Now.

TODD grabs a desk leg and helps them to leverage the door open.

INT – CLASSROOM

BECKETT peeks out the door. She loads the remaining bullet into the gun before she turns back to MEADOW and PATTY.

BECKETT
Just stay close. This could be another trap.

BECKETT slowly makes her way down the hallway. She gestures for MEADOW and PATTY to follow behind her. They make it halfway down the hallway when BECKETT sees a shadow.

BECKETT
(low) Get back!

PATTY and MEADOW stop.

BECKETT
(low) There’s someone there. Stay close, okay?

BECKETT creeps forward. She’s slow, and she cocks the gun when she gets to the corner. She takes a moment, steels herself, and whips around the corner with the gun drawn.

CASTLE
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don’t shoot! It’s rigged to kill the shooter. That’s how Simon died.

BECKETT checks the chamber. Sure enough, the barrel is blocked, just like the gun in the men’s room.

BECKETT
Jesus.

She unloads the gun.

CASTLE
Thank God you’re okay.

He wraps her in a hug.

JUDAH
Patricia.

BECKETT
You okay?

CASTLE
Yeah, good.

TODD
We should keep moving.

CASTLE
He’s right.

BECKETT takes the lead. CASTLE is right behind her. They peer around a corner and can see a door that leads to the outside. It’s open. TODD rushes for it.

CASTLE
It could be a trap.

BECKETT
Yeah, wait, wait!

TODD
It’s fine. We can get out!

PATTY
Let’s go. We can get out of here.

JUDAH
About damn time.

BECKETT is cautious. CASTLE doesn’t hurry forward, either.

TODD
Oh, we’re free!

But as soon as they make it near the door it shuts. The door behind CASTLE and BECKETT shuts, too. They’re trapped.

PATTY
We’re locked in.

BECKETT looks around. The only things in the room are three levers and a digital clock.

CASTLE
Whatever they’re for, we’ve got less than five minutes to figure it out. (he points) That started counting down as soon as the doors closed.

BECKETT
Okay, clearly this room is our captor’s end game. He wanted us to end up here.

PATTY
Why? What does he want from us?

BECKETT notices this room has a camera, too. There’s a piece of paper hanging from it. She grabs it.

CASTLE
Is that another clue?

BECKETT
Last piece of the puzzle: (reading) “Of those who remain only your better half can survive.”

JUDAH
What the hell does that mean?

BECKETT
There are six of us left and three levers. He wants to separate the couples. Make us choose who goes free.

PATTY
And who stays behind to pull the levers. I assume all three need to be pulled at once to open the door.

CASTLE
Unless that’s what he wants us to think. These levers could just as easily blow this room.

JUDAH
How’re we supposed to know?

CASTLE doesn’t answer.

TODD
We have to have faith.

TODD turns to a lever.

JUDAH
Wait! Wait!

TODD doesn’t. He pulls a lever. They wait. Nothing happens.

TODD
See? Faith. Now who’s staying in here with me?

EST – THE NORTHCLIFFS' HOUSE, NIGHTTIME

INT – THE NORTHCLIFFS' HOUSE

SWAT MEMBER
State police! Go, go!

They break down the door to the Northcliffs' house. RYAN and ESPOSITO and HAYLEY bring up the rear.

SWAT MEMBER
We’ve got two hostages!

ESPOSITO
It’s the Northcliffs.

JEFFREY and SAMANTHA NORTHCLIFF are bound and gagged.

ESPOSITO
What the hell is this?

ALEXIS rushes in. The NORTHCLIFFS are tied up and they’ve been forced to watch video feed of what has been happening in the school rooms.

ALEXIS
Dad? (to JEFFREY) Where are they?

RYAN ungags JEFFREY.

JEFFREY NORTHCLIFF
There’s a building hidden in the trees at the bottom of the hill.

ESPOSITO
Who’s behind this? Who left you here?

SAMANTHA NORTHCLIFF
Our son, Brandon.

She gestures to the video feed. To TODD.

INT – ROOM

TODD
We’re out of time. You need to choose which ones of you are staying in here with me.

No one moves. No one volunteers. CASTLE sighs, giving BECKETT a look as he turns toward a lever.

CASTLE
I’ll stay.

BECKETT
Castle –

She doesn’t have time to convince him otherwise before he pulls a lever.

BECKETT
Fine. But I’m not letting you stay here alone. (she takes a moment) Patricia, you stay here with the others.

TODD
But the instructions say your better half. If you both stay that’s breaking the rules.

BECKETT
Screw the rules!

TODD
There could be consequences for all of us!

JUDAH
There were consequences when we followed the rules, too.

BECKETT pulls the last lever. The door opens. MEADOW runs out. JUDAH pulls PATTY toward the door.

PATTY
Thank you. We’ll send help!

BECKETT sighs. Both she and CASTLE are out of ideas.

CASTLE
So what now?

TODD lets go of his lever. He doesn’t make it to the door before it slides shut.

INT – ROOM

TODD
I’m sorry. I thought we could run out the door.

CASTLE
Really? (CASTLE lets go of his lever) So it’s not because we broke your rules?

BECKETT lets her lever go, too.

BECKETT
Though he did say that there would be consequences.

TODD doesn’t say anything.

CASTLE
We know it’s you.

TODD sighs.

TODD
Damnit.

He pulls a remote out of his pocket and clicks it. A compartment opens with a shotgun inside. BECKETT rushes forward, but he’s too close. He pulls the gun out and cocks it, pointing it at her. She stops.

TODD
Don’t. What gave me away?

CASTLE
When you ran into this room, even though we all suspected it would be booby trapped.

BECKETT
And when you pulled that lever you didn’t even hesitate.

CASTLE
Same way you didn’t hesitate when Simon pulled the trigger. You weren’t afraid. And not because you’re a minister with faith, but because you were a mastermind with the knowledge that the gun was rigged to fire backwards.

TODD
Not like this one.

He points it upward and fires. BECKETT ducks and the bullet hits a light. She gapes at him.

TODD
Let’s finish the experiment. One of you has to die. Those are the rules.

BECKETT
Why are you doing this?

TODD
That’s the same question I asked my parents when they would rip me away from twin sister. Testing us, over and over, day after day.

CASTLE
Look, no one should be treated the way you and your sister were.

BECKETT
Let us help you.

TODD
Help me? You? Why? ‘cause you’re a cop? I talked to a cop once. When I was a kid. You know what happened? He sent over two officers from the Twelfth Precinct. Your precinct. They talked to my parents for five minutes, then walked away.

BECKETT
I’m sorry.

TODD
Not as sorry as my sister was. My parents ordered more isolation. More tests.

CASTLE
So you’re holding Beckett responsible? That – she was a child when that happened. Why are you punishing her?

CASTLE moves back to his lever. He uses it like he’s leaning against it.

TODD
This isn’t punishment. This is science.

BECKETT
Patricia is a psychiatrist on the Board of Education. Did someone there let you and your sister down?

TODD
Kate, everyone let us down.

CASTLE slowly twists his lever. The pipe moves.

BECKETT
So we’re all surrogates for people that weren’t able to protect you two.

CASTLE
But you were careful to choose people who love each other. Because you loved your sister. She was your soulmate.

TODD
Now one of you has to feel what I feel.

BECKETT
No, why did you choose Emma?

TODD
She wanted to expose my parents. That’s not enough! Video tapes of some kids doing puzzles? That’s nothing. A blip in the news cycle. But one of you goes free and tells how I killed your one true love and myself. Only then will the world truly understand the monster my parents created. No more talking. Time to solve the final puzzle. Which one of you dies?

He raises the shotgun at them again.

BECKETT
I won’t choose.

CASTLE
Neither will I.

TODD
Decide. Or I’ll start maiming you until someone does.

CASTLE
(quickly) Okay, okay. I’ll choose. I’ll – I’ll decide.

TODD
Good. Who dies, Rick?

CASTLE
No one dies.

CASTLE uses the pipe he detached from the lever to hit TODD in the head. He jerks the gun upward and fires, and it gives BECKETT the time and the angle she needs to grab the gun from his hands. TODD hits the floor, but BECKETT has the gun and the leverage.

BECKETT
Don’t move.

Just as they get the situation under semi-control the SWAT team wedges the door open. They rip TODD off the floor and handcuff him. RYAN, ESPOSITO, and HAYLEY are right behind them.

ESPOSITO
You guys okay?

BECKETT
Yeah. Thanks for rescuing us.

HAYLEY
Yes, because clearly you were helpless without us.

The SWAT team leads TODD away. BECKETT smiles.

CASTLE
How did you guys even find us?

RYAN
Well, we had our best person on it.

ALEXIS runs in.

ALEXIS
I can’t leave you alone for five minutes.

CASTLE
(shrugs) Does this mean no hug?

She steps forward and hugs him.

EST – NEW YORK CITY, NIGHTTIME

INT – RICHARD CASTLE INVESTIGATIONS

ALEXIS is reading a book when HAYLEY comes in.

HAYLEY
Hey, I’m heading out for a bit of fun. Want to come with?

ALEXIS doesn’t really even acknowledge her.

ALEXIS
I’ll pass. Thanks.

HAYLEY
How’re you doing?

ALEXIS gives her a look. HAYLEY nods and then takes a seat in front of ALEXIS.

HAYLEY
You worry a lot about your father.

ALEXIS closes her book.

ALEXIS
You would too, if Richard Castle was your dad. I mean, the guy’s abducted like, what, twice a year? I think that’s a tad above the national average.

HAYLEY
Yet he always comes home. Do you know why that is?

ALEXIS
Yeah. He’s really lucky.

HAYLEY
No. He’s really good at what he does.

ALEXIS sighs.

ALEXIS
Is he as good as you?

HAYLEY
Good heavens, no. Why would you ask such a thing? (ALEXIS laughs) All right, we’re going to get you dolled up. We are going to go out to some clubs, we’re going to get into just a tiny little bit of trouble. Never hurt anyone. Come on.

She pulls ALEXIS out of the room.

EST – CASTLE’S LOFT, NIGHTTIME

INT – CASTLE’S LOFT

BECKETT is in thought on the couch when CASTLE hands her a glass of wine.

BECKETT
Thanks.

CASTLE
You okay?

BECKETT
Yeah. I was just thinking about those little kids. I mean, a lot of people let them down.

CASTLE
And although their parents are finally being exposed, it’s far too little too late.

BECKETT
Mmm. This is not the day I was expecting when I woke up this morning.

CASTLE
Tell me about it. But … at least it’s ending well.

BECKETT
Yeah.

She grabs his hand and they sit in silence for a moment.

BECKETT
What’s wrong?

CASTLE
Nothing. I – I just – I was really looking forward to the prospect of collaborating with Stephen King, you know?

BECKETT
Well, you know Castle, look on the bright side. (off his look) When Stephen King does call at least you’ll have one hell of an icebreaker.

She smiles and laughs. They clink glasses and lean in for a kiss.


THE END

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