'Castle' recap: 3XK kills Lanie and Esposito doubles in 'Disciple'

Could anything be creepier than investigating your own murder? "Castle" makes Lanie and Esposito answer that question when lookalikes are found dead. And the answer is yes: It gets creepier when the shadow of 3XK looms over the investigation in "Disciple."

Not dead yet

If you recall, the last time we saw 3XK, aka Jerry Tyson, Castle had just shot the guy over the edge of a bridge, presumably to his death. But the body was never recovered. On television, that is code for "Of course he's alive, you fools!"

And it seems like Jerry is indeed alive and well and staging elaborate murders in order to creep out the detectives of the 12th Precinct.

Tyson has even managed to recruit some messed-up accomplices/disciples. There's Carl Matthews, the security guard who finds the first body on the docks. He's the guy who almost definitely carried out the killings in this particular episode. And then there's Dr. Kelly Nieman -- someone you definitely don't want carving you up.

You have to admire "Castle" here. Nieman is the classic ice queen, with no emotions and an obsession with perfection. Matthews, meanwhile, is the everyman -- except he isn't really. That's because Matthews is played by William Mapother. No one who ever watched "Lost" could see that face and not be creeped out.

But this is where "Castle" shows its mystery-genre genius: Until he is connected to the murders, the audience **never gets a clear look at Matthews' face. He could be anyone, not a guest star that will immediately make everyone go "He did it!!!"

One more little frightening detail needs to be mentioned here: Who was the homeless guy on the docks? In an episode that was nearly perfect in creating a tight, careful mystery, why is there a loose end?

What are the chances that the homeless guy was Jerry Tyson himself? Think about it.

Lanie and Esposito are dead

Not really, of course. But that's sort of the gist of the murders that occur in "Disciple." The first victim is a former prostitute whose passing resemblance to Lanie has been enhanced. Cheek implants, wardrobe and even a new tattoo make it clear who the deceased Pam Hodges wanted to be.

Then an Esposito lookalike dies. Daniel Santos was a stripper in Atlanta before an unknown benefactor moved him north and paid for speech therapy. The fellow was even supposed to sound like Esposito.

Both victims are connected to Dr. Nieman -- Hodges got her cosmetic surgery done there, while Santos was Nieman's lover. There is not, however, any evidence beyond coincidence (and a serial killer vibe) to tie the plastic surgeon to the deaths.

When in doubt, go with 3XK

The unnecessary complications and targeted nature of the case send Castle's mind in one direction: 3XK. Despite the fact that she does believe Tyson to be dead, Beckett humors her fiance enough to go check the records.

There's one problem with that: Tyson's criminal files are gone. According to the logs, "Esposito" checked them out. The same thing happened to all of the medical evidence on 3XK -- only this time, "Lanie" was responsible for the absence.

Now we know why lookalikes were involved. And it does look that either 3XK or an admirer is somehow involved.

Unfortunately, if Carl Matthews is involved, he's not talking. Matthews isn't talking about 3XK anyway. He is happy to talk about his own murders though. Lots and lots and lots of murders ...

We'll meet again ...

Prison records indicate that Dr. Kelly Nieman was once Tyson's physician in prison. She left the same day Tyson got out of jail and suddenly seems to be the serial killer's girlfriend. They deserve each other.

This doesn't make Castle and Beckett any happier about the situation. All they're left with is a pen -- a pen that's also a USB drive. When that USB is inserted into a computer, the haunting sounds of "We'll Meet Again" fill the room.

The 3XK story isn't over yet!

Photo/Video credit: ABC