This week’s “Castle” episode was particularly memorable as it touched on a lot of cyber issues that aren’t discussed as much as they should be. It’s always nice to see TV networks attempting to instigate important discussions, so I enjoyed healthy dose of reality combined with a chilling murder mystery this week on “Castle.”
1. The dangers of the Internet The episode opens with a sneak peek of the victim just moments before her death as her killer taunts her with pictures on her phone before…you know. It turns out that the victim, Abby, was the “Castle” equivalent of “instafamous,” as her snappy reviews on Snappomatic (basically Instagram) garnered her half a million followers. The evidence initially points to a negatively reviewed acupuncturist, but of course that would be too easy, so he’s quickly ruled out. Suddenly, images of the victim at the crime scene show up on the Internet, but they’re not the official crime scene photos—the killer took them himself before the cops showed up, and posted them under the name Netslayer.
2. Expired milk, bratwursts, and hands The owners of Snappomatic are able to give Beckett and Castle the location where the photos were uploaded, which leads the pair to an ex–cop named Bill Garrett, who used to work cyber crimes. It all seems wrapped–up until more photos appear on the Netslayer account with a hint to the killer’s next victim—Castle quickly figures it out, but they’re too late. They find the next victim with his throat slashed in his car.
3. When the past comes back to haunt you Following a conversation about the nature of social media and whether its power is a good or a bad thing, Castle suggests that the killer may have previously been a victim of a cyber crime that Garrett worked on. When Tory obtains a photo of the killer, Castle’s proved right. Garrett identifies him as Adam Lane, who was unable to prosecute some boys who leaked a video they had made of Lane naked in high school locker room. They posted it on MySpace—not that anyone even still uses MySpace, but hey, this was supposed to have happened years ago. The team figures out his hiding spot and quickly moves to arrest him.
4. Who’s really the messed–up one? Adam seems smug even as he is arrested, and we soon find out that custody doesn’t mean he can’t commit a crime. He’s holding the two heads of Snappomatic hostage, with a video camera that updates a site with photos of them every five seconds. The site encourages people to vote, and in an hour, whichever one of them has more “likes” will get to live while the other will be electrocuted. For a long time, it really seems like the team might not stop it in time, but Beckett finally manages to pull a confession. They rescue the Snappomatic guys from the locker room of Adam’s old high school.
5. Important messages brought to light The confession scene is compelling: when Beckett calls him sick, he responds that people don’t have to vote, but they are. Who’s really messed up, then? It’s disturbing because it rings true. There’s something about the power of the Internet and the sense of unaccountability that allows for a lot of ambiguities. The power of social media isn’t always a good thing. That being said, it’s important that an episode is able to bring such questions to light and spark some interesting debates. This was a very strong episode and proves once again why Castle has such a strong following. Hopefully the next episode will be able to live up to the high bar set by this one.
Missed our other “Castle” season 7 recaps? Read them now.
"Child's Play" (Aired on 10.20.2014)
"Clear & Present Danger" (Aired on 10.13.2014)
"Montreal" (Aired on 10.06.2014)
"Driven" (Aired on 9.29.2014)