'Castle' Season 6: Beckett's past, Senator Bracken and drugs are 'In the Belly of the Beast'

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Whenever Beckett has a dark, personal case on "Castle," you know it has something to do with her mother's death. There is such a vast conspiracy surrounding that one murder that everything seems to be related to it.

"In the Belly of the Beast" proves this yet again when a drug sting leads the detective to both Vulcan Simmons (Keith David) and Senator William Bracken (Jack Coleman).

Wait, Vulcan Simmons?

Diehard "Castle" fans know who Vulcan Simmons is. Others might need a refresher.

In the Season 3 episode, "Knockdown" -- the one in which Beckett got the first real leads into her mother's case (and then she kissed Castle for cover) -- Simmons was the Washington Heights-based gangster implicated in the murder of Joanna Beckett.

He didn't do it. But he knew enough to push Beckett's buttons so that she would lose her temper and thus any case against him. Basically, Simmons is a bad, bad man.

Of course he would be involved in a massive, shady drug organization that keeps bikini-clad women in a dank basement to count money. It's totally the kind of thing this creepy, horrible man would do.

How Simmons and Beckett cross paths again

Beckett gets sucked back into the web of crime surrounding her mother's murder when she gets an undercover assignment. The narcotics division of the NYPD had planned for an informant, Elena Markov, to infiltrate a new and extremely shadowy ring of drug dealers. But Elena went and attempted suicide, so Captain Fowler of narcotics needs a replacement.

Since Beckett is an age-appropriate, female detective who happens to speak Russian (remember that, fans?), it's now her job to connect with the drug dealers.

Naturally, the plan falls apart almost immediately. Beckett is meant to meet the criminals in a hotel room (number 1147, because "Castle" has apparently eschewed all other digits after last week's "Room 147") but is instead kidnapped in the elevator and carted off to a distant compound.

There, she is offered $50,000 per week to do ... something for the drug cartel.

That job becomes painfully clear when Beckett is asked to kill some random guy in order to get a meeting with the head boss, Lazarus. He's a seriously random target too -- a corporate lawyer with zero ties to the drug trade.

Beckett doesn't actually kill the guy, of course. But she does stage a convincing death scene with ketchup and beet juice, thereby earning a visit with Lazarus in his dark, girl-filled cellar of doom.

This would be an incredible win for Beckett if "Lazarus" weren't really Vulcan Simmons. The two recognize each other immediately, and a spate of torture ends with Simmons ordering Beckett killed out in the woods.

It's fortunate that the real Elena Markov -- who has now been unmasked as an assassin -- shows up just in time to prevent Beckett's death. Elena claims to have been sent by Lazarus, the real Lazarus, because he would like Beckett to remain alive.

Who does that make Lazarus then?

Since Simmons wants Beckett dead, he can't be the real Lazarus. Who is it then?

The answer is, as it always must be, Senator Bracken. A whole bunch of circumstantial evidence makes this clear. Much of the drug money is being funneled into a Super PAC called Future Forward (set up by the lawyer Beckett was supposed to kill). Although this makes everything untraceable, thanks to shady election laws and so on, it's more than just a coincidence that Senator Bracken suddenly has enough money to run for President.

Will Beckett have to take down the President of the United States next? Where is the standoff between Beckett and Bracken going to end? And will Castle and Beckett ever settle on a font for their wedding invitations?

A search for the answers to these questions is certain to keep fans returning for more.
Photo/Video credit: ABC