This episode is entitled “The Way of the Ninja”…Let that sink in for a moment. This episode is going to be about ninjas. As both a martial artist and fight choreographer I have some pretty high hopes, and while there is a lot of great stuff in episode, unfortunately it misses the mark.
This week’s story revolves around murder victim Jade, a Japanese ballet dancer who was killed by a knife thrown with pinpoint accuracy. At the scene they also find an elevator key. After checking records they talk with her boyfriend, Dean, who is grieving. His father and mother are there, they are both patrons of the arts.
Remember a few recaps ago I said Castle has a habit of showing us the killer within 10 minutes. I made a mental note either saying it was the father or mother….
Anyway the crew trace the elevator key to an abandoned cookie factory. They find a shrine with the blade, Beckett hears a noise and as Castle turns around, a ninja takes the blade from his hands and disappears in a puff of smoke.
Castle’s enthusiasm is awesome! He looks like a kid in a candy store, and who wouldn’t! NINJAS!!!!
An ambassador from the Japan consulate comes in and says Jade caused a riff when coming here to pursue her ballet dream and had not talked with her parents. Beckett shows the consulate photos from the shrine she says it is quiet common and used to honour past relatives. She says there is no such thing as ninjas anymore.
Beckett then says the consulate would know, coming from the land where they created the mythology…
Ok let’s stop for a second. Ninjas are not make-believe. Sure, there is a lot of romancing and fantasy that has surrounded ninjas, but they were very real! They were trained killing machines, often used in Feudal Japan by warlords for spying, espionage, and assassination. While the more fanciful traits of invisibility, walking on water and controlling elements are make believe, the lowing of one’s energy (or Chi as it is known) has been proven to make one less noticeable (hence given the belief of disappearing). Plus, while ninjas would not likely have trained under a single discipline of martial arts, Ninjutsu can and is taught all over the world that teaches all the skills associated with being a ninja.
Ok rant over, on with the recap…
photo courtesy of ABC
Castle is upset with the prospect that there are no ninjas. After some red herrings we find out Jade was making phone calls from a payphone to the Miygo Tea Import Company, which turns out to be a underground hostess bar. Jade was working there and Ryan, Esposito, and Castle go undercover to try to find out information. One of the girls get Castle to ‘buy some time’ with her, and she tells him that Jade was trying to get into a party of one of her dangerous clients known as Mr Saito. Before he can get more information, the club realises they are cops and throw them out.
As they are walking away Castle pulls out this phone and it gets hit with a throwing star, a Ninja appears, disarms the guy and is about to kill Castle when another Ninja stops him. After a brief fight, Ryan and Esposito get back their guns. Ninja 1 says, “Stay away, next time you die” and runs away up the wall, Ninja 2 disappears.
…Ok this is where the problem starts…this is the fantasy ninja, the one that can disappear in a blink of an eye. Real ninjas can’t do that! They can misdirect, they can run parkour style to get away, they can even use a weapon such as a smoke bomb to cover their escape…THEY CAN NOT DISAPPEAR FROM YOUR EYE LINE BETWEEN TWO PILLARS!
Anyway, Satio is part of the Yakuza. Beckett and Esposito go to see him, which yields no results. When they get back to the station they discover the Japanese consulate officer who came in was an imposter. Jade didn’t have any parents, and she had no history. They go to see the coroner and find Jade had scars from shrapnel. After a bit more digging it turns out Jade was part of the Ozu family, who were killed by the Yakuza assassin known as the Green Dragon, who is part of a secret ninja clan of the Yakuza. Jade was hunting down the Green Dragon who she believed was Saito.
After getting told someone has returned to the lair, Castle and Beckett discover the consulate officer who is a cop and Jade’s sister. She tells the story (her cop uncle helped them disappear). The link is that she remembered an American businessman went to see the Green Dragon - Dean’s father, Bedford.
Bedford tells them that Jade’s father and him were partners, but the building they were working on was Yakuza money and that he went over to Jade’s family to warn them.
photo courtesy of ABC
Beckett comes to arrest Satio - saying they found the dagger in his place. He says he has been betrayed, as he is not the Green Dragon. Ninja 1 kills Satio, and takes Beckett’s gun. Suddenly, Ninja 2 appears and we’re treated to a fight scene.
Ninja 2 unmasks the Green Dragon who turns out to be Bedford; other ninja is Saya (Jade’s sister). She wants to kill him and Beckett says she knows she want blood for blood, but it’s not worth it, let him live with who he is. Saya throws the knife away.
They drop the charges against impersonating a consulate and her final line is there are no more ninjas, just a practitioner of the martial arts but that she is just really good.
…Oh this was so close to being a good ending!
The concept was awesome and the fight scenes were outstanding - big props to the fight choreographer for some amazing scenes. The acting, as always, was great and the comedy was pretty funny. However, this was not a perfect episode.
You need to explain how you did magic! That is a pretty big plot hole right there. About 5 episodes ago they did a ‘Time Travel’ story where it was strongly implied that the murderer and helper were time travellers and this was fine because there was no way to not prove it. This on the other hand does not work. You can’t mix fantasy without either explaining properly or making your show in a world where this is possible.
Also the ‘Green Dragon’ ninja- if he can stick a throwing star into a phone while Castle was pulling it out, why didn’t he just kill Ryan, Esposito, and Castle right there? Ninja’s are deadly assassins, there is no point in disarming them, and he should have just killed them. Also, how was he able to change his voice? That was never explained either?
But, the final nail in the coffin was Beckett’s attempt to make Saya not kill him. Beckett’s words were, “I know you want blood for blood, but it’s not worth it, let him live with who he is.” Live with who he is? He is a trained assassin living a double life for the past 20 years, he doesn’t care! She should have killed him and be done with it!
Overall I give this episode a 3/5. It was good for the average watcher, but it could have been great!
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