Castle 5-7: Swan Song

I do not like the mockumentary/found footage style of story telling. It’s a reason I don’t like The Office. So you can imagine my reaction to last night’s Castle. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the actors did a great job of playing their characters as over actors. But the results made me cringe more than laugh. Plus there’s the shaky camera work, a style I hate. Fortunately, the murder was interesting.

And how did we get this set up? Well, the murder victim was the lead guitarist in a band that was just about to make it big, and a documentary crew had been following them for the last few months. Since our vic was the band in many ways, the director feels no one will be interested in this film, but maybe he can savage something by filming the investigation. (And of everyone on the crew, the director is the only one we see, although a few people do talk to the camera people.)

Castle is the first one to start hamming it up for the cameras while everyone else is more interested in shutting them down. Unfortunately, the PR person for the NYPD feels this will be a boost to the department, so they are given permission to film the investigation. As things continue, the rest of the department begins to get into the act. We’ve got Esposito and Ryan fighting to see who can show off more for the camera. Lanie calls Castle and Beckett down for an only slight revelation while wearing a very low cut top and mugging for the camera. Castle begins to tire of everyone’s antics, and only Beckett never really gives in to them. In fact, she is back to her reserved, annoyed self we saw most in season one.

Oh, you want to hear about the murder?

The victim was killed in his trailer after a show with his own guitar. The rest of the band were in their trailers when it happened, so no one alibis out. But they were just about to hit it big. What motive would they have? The vic had a groupie who was hiding in his closet, but she fell asleep and missed the actual murder. She did hear what sounded like horse hoofs hitting snow before the murder, however.

Someone in a white van had been following the band. Thanks to the footage from the camera crew, they are able to track down the van and the owner. After Esposito forcibly tackles him for the camera and then badgers him in interrogation (really, the cops didn’t come off looking good here at all. And they’re usually so good), we learn he is the groupie’s dad who was afraid his daughter would get in trouble. Plus he alibis out.

The victim had disappeared the afternoon he was killed, even escaping the documentary crew. But thanks to the man in the white van, we learn he withdrew money from his bank account before visiting an apartment.

The apartment belongs to a man who is suing the band for royalties related to a song he claims he wrote. But the victim has come to work on settling things. In fact, not only had he promised to make that right, but he’d offered the guy more work writing more songs, so they were on good terms.

The songs would have taken the band in a new direction. Or was he going solo? Maybe the band did have motive. The vic had talked to their record label, and one member is dating their rep at the label. His shoes make the sound the groupie heard in the vic’s trailer. But he alibis out. He was with a woman at the time, and the camera crew caught it on tape. (The guys watching that in the precinct and Captain Gates catching them and her attitude shift on camera was pretty funny.)

Digging into the victim’s past, they learn that he didn’t have one before he was 17. No record of his birth. And that’s when Lanie’s earlier call about the vic having no immunizations starts to make sense. Turns out he was part of a cult and escaped. The leader of the cult happens to be in town recruiting. Maybe he’s the killer.

Our vic did go see him the afternoon of his death after visiting the song writer. He made a “donation” to the church. Was he buying his freedom?

While the leader of this cult alibis out, we do learn that the victim had helped his best friend from inside escape recently. The money was to buy his freedom.

And that’s when a tape that had played earlier makes sense to Castle. Turns out this friend he had helped escape was a roadie for the band. But he had also taught the vic to play guitar. The vic was taking his music in a new direction, but not trying to go solo. He wanted to bring his friend into the band as the base player. Sure enough, when confronted, the current base player breaks down and confesses, saying it wasn’t fair to replace him after the months they had struggled and starved together to make it big.

As I said, the murder was interesting enough. And I applaud them for trying something new with the format of the show. But on the whole, I just didn’t enjoy this one.

Martha and Alexis weren’t in this one thanks to the camera crew shooting everything, although they could have just “happened” to drop into the precinct. In fact, I’m a bit surprised that Martha didn’t since she loves the spotlight.

Meanwhile, Gates almost finds out about Castle and Beckett’s secret when a camera crew catches what the two think is a private moment. Then Gates wants to review all the footage to make sure the precinct doesn’t look bad. Beckett and Castle beg the director not to give her the footage of them. But at the end of the episode, Gates calls them into her office to explain what she’s found. They start to explain before they see the footage, but it’s an interview with her where Castle and Beckett, well Castle mostly, are clowning around in the background. They are so relieved they quickly apologize, and Beckett asks if that was all she found. A suspicious Gates asks if there is something on the lost tape she should know about, but they quickly tell her no.

And that’s all for this week. Am I just a grump? Did you find the characters hamming it for the camera fun? Let me know in the comments.