castle under fire ryan baby arson death lanie abc 'Castle': Did Ryan die before his baby's birth in 'Under Fire'?

“Castle” returns in 2014 with “Under Fire,” one of the show’s more emotional episodes: Just as Detective Ryan’s wife, Jenny, gives birth to their first child, he and Esposito are fighting for their lives in a raging fire.

Did the detectives make it out of the flames alive? Did the Ryans welcome a boy or a girl? Find out in this recap.

Birth and death

Let’s just get this out of the way in the beginning: Ryan and Esposito do not die in the fire. They escape just in the nick of time, and Ryan survives to be reunited with his wife and their new baby girl.

Yes, it’s a girl! That’s almost too bad, because a blond, Irish boy named Javier would have been very entertaining. Instead, Ryan chooses to name the little girl Grace, after Jenny’s grandmother. Since the couple had been unable to decide until contractions and an inferno cut down on their time, the names were an especially nice touch to the episode.


Other than the birth of Baby Ryan, fire was definitely the theme of the episode. The murder of the week is a man who was shot shortly before an empty building went up in flames. Arson is the obvious cause of the blaze, but it’s not immediately clear why a murder happened too.

Answers begin to arrive when Lieutenant Delia Burton, the arson investigator, realizes that the dead man is actually her partner, Blake McCann. McCann had been investigating a serial arsonist nicknamed The Phantom — because he could slip away from all fires undetected — before the murder. Did McCann’s death mean that he had caught the firebug?

The answer seems to be a yes, but the first suspect is a no-go. Adam Ferguson is a recently released arsonist who had a relationship with McCann. But it was more of a consultant thing, so Ferguson is soon cleared.

An online video of the recent fire soon leads the detectives to a pyrophilia website, (not a real website, sorry). While the site’s owner claims to have no knowledge of his individual users, at least it’s a clue.

Too bad that clue isn’t immediately helpful to Ryan and Esposito.

Abandoned factories: Always dangerous

A search of McCann’s house and car leads Ryan and Esposito to an abandoned shoe factory in Brooklyn. When they notice a brand-new lock out-of-place in a dilapidated building, the detectives find an arsonist’s lab. Unfortunately, they also find an alarm system and an inferno of a booby trap.

The two survive the initial explosion but end up under the flames in a sub-basement. No help seems to be coming, so Ryan somehow MacGyvers an old phone line so that he can call Beckett.

He doesn’t learn much in the way of good news. The firefighters can’t come save the policemen, because a) the fire is too hot and dangerous, and b) the sub-basement isn’t on the building’s official plans.

Other options seemingly exhausted, Ryan just wants to talk to his wife. Jenny has shown up at the fire — totally in the throes of labor, by the way — and the two have a rather heartbreaking conversation as the oxygen begins to get used up in the basement.

Building euthanasia gone bad

There seems to be nothing to go on at this point — not until Castle realizes that there has to be a way out of the basement. After all, the arsonist himself might have been caught in his own alarm system. But they can’t figure out where that exit is until the arsonist is found.

That’s where the Pyrolicious owner comes back in. While he really doesn’t know the identity of the arsonist, he has chatted with the guy online. It seems that this killer and fire lover wants to put “sick and dying buildings” out of their misery.

When it turns out that each of the torched structures had failed building inspections, the inspector becomes the suspect. That man is Mark Kimball, a character seen briefly at the beginning of the episode.

(Note: Did anyone else totally know that this guy did it, from the moment of his otherwise-unnecessary presence onwards? It’s just one small letdown in an otherwise excellent “Castle” though, so we’ll let it slide.)

Castle and Beckett recognize Kimball and soon find him filming the fire.

Happy endings

In this way, firefighters save Ryan and Esposito. And fans get to see all sorts of happy moments outside: Kevin and Jenny Ryan with their new baby, Castle and Beckett smiling, and Lanie and Esposito having a surprisingly excited reunion.

All’s right in the world — until the next episode, when we get to see sleep-deprived Ryan for the first time!

Posted by:Laurel Brown