'Castle': Does al-Qaeda want to kill Rick Castle in 'Dreamworld'?

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You know things are serious in "Castle" when the mystery writer faces death -- possibly at the hands of al-Qaeda terrorists. That's just what happens in "Dreamworld." But does Castle die before the episode ends?

Does Castle die?

Nope.

That's not a huge shock, of course. You don't typically kill off the central character in a successful TV show only two episodes into a new season. But you have to give "Castle" credit for taking the potential for Rick's death awfully far.

It really doesn't sound great for Castle throughout most of the episode. He has only hours to live. Yes, the man is basically fit and healthy until about an hour before he drops dead, but it's still tension-inducing. Despite lying to Martha and Alexis, the ladies are deathly worried. They're right to be.

But seriously, they're not going to kill off Castle right now.

Off to Dreamworld!

While the term "Valkyrie" stays a mystery throughout much of the episode, Dreamworld is quickly explained. A reporter named Brad Parker tried to write about the hidden, black-ops site in northern Afghanistan -- and he used the recently deceased Bronson (the guy in the car with Castle) as a source.

The problem is, Parker's story was suppressed by the Secretary of Defense, General Reed. All Parker has is that he heard about Dreamworld while a soldier back in 2003. Even Parker, however, doesn't know about "Valkyrie."

General Reed is no help there either. The Secretary admits that he commanded Bronson at Dreamworld but only for one mission. In that one instance, Bronson was the man on the ground during an airstrike that killed al-Qaeda's second-in-command.

Could all of this be terrorist payback?

Truth trumps terrorism

It turns out that two relatives of the dead al-Qaeda guy live in Washington, and one of them -- Waqas Rasheed -- is an electrical engineering student spotted following Bronson shortly before the former soldier's death.

Alas, the obvious suspect is rarely the correct one on a show like "Castle." During his interrogation, Rasheed reveals that it was Bronson following **him, not the other way around.

Back in Jalalabad during that airstrike, Rasheed was nearby visiting nicer family members. The airstrike drew the student to the scene where he saw Bronson carrying away the body of a dead woman. Rasheed was warned to never speak of this, on the pain of death.

So it looks like there isn't a terrorism connection.

This is why you never use the "comic sans" font

The leads seem to be drying up, so Beckett and McCord study the heavily redacted mission documents from the al-Qaeda hit. "Valkyrie" appears nowhere visible though. That is, it's nowhere until Castle points out that different letters have different sizes in that particular font. The full size of the word indicates that "Valkyrie" is everywhere.

Richmond, the federal techie, then realizes that he can totally hack into military records to find the audio recording of the mission. That recording finally explains "Valkyrie" -- it's the code name of an American operative named Farrah Usman. Before the airstrike, she was supposed to leave the house for safety.

She didn't, and that was the body Bronson carried away.

Just a cover-up?

Reed's and Bronson's voices are on the recording, so Beckett's mind immediately leaps to a political cover-up. After all, that is her go-to crime.

This one isn't a Senator Bracken situation though. General Reed may have lied about what happened (since it would totally hurt his career), but he didn't steal a toxin and start murdering people.

So who did?

Deadly vengeance

A look at the dead Valkyrie's records points the way to the truth: Farrah Usman had a fiance. His name was Brad Parker.

That would be the reporter whose article seemed to start all of this.

The agents quickly deduce that Parker could have killed Bronson to get revenge and theorize that Reed will be next. Parker even has access -- a press pass for the General's speech. Law enforcement races over to apprehend the would-be poisoner.

Even dying, Castle is good at this stuff

By this point, Castle is starting to show symptoms. It's not good. Still, he does realize that Parker isn't chasing Reed. The reporter is instead going to take out Reed's wife so the General can share in Parker's pain.

Parker almost gets away with this. Leaving Castle passed-out by the car, Beckett rushes inside to find the Secretary's wife on the ground. Parker runs, but Beckett and McCord manage to corner him.

"Just because we haven't figured it out yet doesn't mean we won't."

It's finally time for a much-needed happily ever after. Castle -- along with the Secretary's wife -- recovers in the hospital. With so much trouble, will he and Beckett split up or take a break?
Nope.

As Castle puts it, "Sometimes, the hardest things in life are the things worth doing. Just because we haven't figured it out yet doesn't mean we won't."

Yay!

The problem is, Beckett might not be able to handle the shades of grey that make up Washington politics. Can she deal with a corrupt politician getting away with a horrible act? Or does she have to go back to homicide work to get true satisfaction?

Upcoming episodes will have to deal with this.

Photo/Video credit: ABC
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