The Holiday season has rolled in tonight on ABC’s Castle and in true Castle fashion this week’s victim is none other than jolly St. Nick.
Christmas apparently is a huge — huge — thing for Castle, and as such he’s crestfallen to learn that both Alexis and Martha have broken tradition by making other plans for Christmas Eve. After venting to Beckett, he confirms that she is still on board to ring in the holiday with him. She tentatively nods, but stresses: “No presents. It’s too stressful for the first year” as a couple.
The pair’s planning is interrupted by their arrival at the crime scene, where a Santa-suited man “named” Kris Kringle took a fatal fall from… the sky?… onto the snowy Central Park lawn. We soon after realize that another 12th precinct duo might break with holiday tradition. “You, me, a six-pack and Madden on the big screen TV?” Esposito asks. But Ryan is detached, muttering that he thinks Jenny has other plans (that we later see may involve a “naughty Santa” outfit). Javy and his cologne then feel out Lanie, but she is going out with some gal pals — and frankly the ritual of a “sad holiday hook-up” makes her sad. But after the 25th, she sweetly offers, “Gimme a call.”
“Santa” is revealed to be Edmond Smith, a onetime private equity firm exec who used to pull a half-mil salary but quit that job, walked out on his wife (24‘s Leslie Hope) and sought a simpler life. Most recently, he tried to help his neighbor Beth (Eureka‘s Tembi Locke) and her son get back a home they lost to a ruthless bank. We proceed to follow several false leads including, as is tradition with Dead Santa storylines, a rival rent-a-Kringle. In the end — and my gift to you is cutting to the chase here, since the case was a bit of a lump of coal — it was the conspicuously guest-cast ex-wife who was at risk of losing her largesse if Edmond’s swindling past came to light.
Back home, Castle beseeches Alexis to not set a “grim precedent” and instead stick with tradition, until he gleans that her plans are not with not friends plural but a friend — and not just a friend. And introducing a new beau to Dad on Christmas Eve is too much pressure. “Besides, you’ll be with Beckett!” she reminds. Or will he? Coming off of Rick’s latest promise of holiday revelry (including “a Christmas movie marathon… or some other kind of marathon that makes life wonderful”), Kate reveals that due to a short-staffed precinct, she pulled Christmas Eve duty. But when Rick later prompts Gates to give Kate the night off, the captain says that Beckett offered to work the holiday.