The episode begins, and budding journalist Leann West is live in Boylan Plaza at an anti-Wall Street rally when a bomb goes off, leaving a horrible, fiery, bloody mess with dozens of bloody victims. Five dead, 28 injured, to be exact. But was any of this related to the protest, or is there something else at play? After perusing the scene, Castle and Beckett head to the precinct to mull over a few woeful tales of several victims, and both are blown away by the severity of the situation. “Their future, their plans, everything is just gone in flash,” Castle muses; visibly disturbed by the whole scene. “It makes you think about those things in your own life that you don't want to put off anymore … “Beckett confesses, equally disturbed.
The FBI has control of this high stakes case, but they’ve given the NYPD a supporting role in the investigation. Gates shows up with an important task from the FBI: They know where the bomb went off, but a cell phone from the scene shows a photo of the bomb’s location 47 seconds before the explosion — with no bomb. So, the task? Find the one person who saw the crafty criminal place the bomb. Several interviews lead to little more than a few half-baked leads. One witness calls out a Middle Eastern man, while one of the city’s well-known homeless men says he saw a Beethoven lookalike give the go ahead; so there is nothing definitive that they seem to be getting. Then, the FBI sends over an e-mail from the bomber, threatening to strike again. Gates is not happy her crew isn’t performing, but like Castle explains, trying to find the one person out of the 97 is like “trying to find Waldo in a sea of Waldos.”
Which in other words means it’s absolutely impossible. But Castle has an idea! The people closest to the bomb are the people who are, well, dead. So, why not check the bodies for clues? Back at the Castle pad, this case has everybody in existential crisis mode. Castle and Martha have a heart-to-heart about how short life is. “So, what are you going to do with this realization?” Martha asks, coyly. And then, the wonderful Miss M says the one thing we all want to know the answer to: “How much longer are you going to drag your heels before you tell Beckett how you feel — and I mean while she is awake, not lying on the ground with a bullet in her chest? … Wouldn’t it be better to tell her when the timing is wrong than never to tell her at all?”
Castle seems to take her advice to heart, but still seems unsure since he assumes Beckett isn’t ready. But if she isn’t? Like Martha says, you forget it and move on. The next day, Castle sits Beckett down and it looks like he’s this close to telling her how he really feels. He says something about missed opportunities and how he doesn’t want that to happen to them, and leans in. “I’ve been meaning to tell you … " he starts, and then someone walks in and ruins the moment. This time, the someone is Ryan with a piece of amazing evidence. So, what was worth breaking up Caskett’s almost life-changing moments? Well, they’ve acquired GPS of all the cell phones that were on in Boylan Square from Homeland Security, and locate the bomber in minutes. Only problem? He’s in the building.
Andrew Haynes, the man closest to the bomb seconds before it went off, claims he was arguing with the protesters — and there’s his motive — and lost his phone. But does Beckett believe him? No. After some more investigation, though, they find out they probably should. The real bomber was 20s and Latino, not some white weirdo named Andrew Haynes. While the rest of the precinct goes in pursuit of the real perpetrator, Gates turns to Castle for help with a special project: speed reading over 100 witness statements. Meanwhile, Beckett and Ryan find a woman who ID’ed the vic, and they show up at this guy “Bobby’s” house, armed and ready. Sadly, there’s nothing in Bobby’s backpack but a bunch of school books.
While Beckett is interrogating the suspected bomber, things really start to heat up. The brunette beauty questions Bobby, who claims he doesn’t remember anything about the bombing, citing trauma. “You don’t get to use that excuse,” she says. And then, Beckett does the unthinkable and blurts out her secret, clear as day: “I was shot in the chest and I remember every second.” Oh, do you? “All this time, you remembered,” Castle says, who just so happens to be listening in from the other side of the glass. Castle feels absolutely horrible. He and Martha check out the bomb memorial, where Castle dejectedly tells his mother what a fool he’s been since Beckett heard his “I love you” and never said anything, and how that means she obviously doesn’t feel the same way.
Martha doesn’t know what to say, but insists he shouldn’t go back to work at the precinct since she lied to him. But Castle says he’s going to back to vindicate the victims, and to do “something real and something that matters.” Martha assures him he can’t just turn off his love switch and not feel anything for her. “Watch me,” he says. When he comes to return to the 12th, the crew has more leads. By interviewing the suspected bomber, they find out he’s actually a pickpocket, who just so happened to snatch the bag with the bomb in it. But when the guy who owned the bag started to chase him, he dropped it and then it went off. The real bomber? Jesse Friedman, a victim and a protestor. Why would he bomb his own kind? Turns out, nobody was supposed to get hurt in this much staged bombing. Here’s the real deal: Jesse and the reporter Leann were behind it the whole time, just to get Leann a better news story.
Jesse — dressed in a Beethoven shirt — called his pal the reporter, to tell her it was safe to ignite the bomb. But then, Bobby the pickpocket stole the bag, dumping it closer to the protesters, and therefore, not so safe to detonate. Before Jesse could tell Leann not to press the bomb button, it was too late. All for the sake of a stupid story! Leann says she initially kept quiet for Jesse. “It’s not smart, it’s not brave, it’s just cowardly,” Castle says with contempt of Leann’s silence, but Beckett can clearly tell he’s not just talking about Leann. And then, it’s time for a new side to Gates! She thanks the entire precinct for their hard work, Castle included.
And with that, Kate invites all the boys out for a celebratory drink, but when Ryan and Esposito decline, she asks Castle if he still wants to talk. Still not very happy with her, he says no, and tells her he’s going home. Kate can definitely feel that she’s getting Castle’s cold shoulder, but it’s obvious she doesn’t know he heard her secret. The episode ends on this note.