This cyber-themed episode really should have been in Season One or Two. A serial killer using an Instagram-like service called Snappamatic to get revenge, because he was bullied isn’t exactly “modern.” It’s like the writers just discovered photo sharing and 3D printers and wanted to show off these cool, “new” technologies, but instead ended up looking like the out of touch, older relative who is still amazed by CDs.
Every technological reveal in this episode is played with wide-eyed amazement. You mean someone can be anonymous on the Internet? Wow! A machine that make objects from a digital file? You don’t say! It’s weird, because Castle usually has super cyber sleuth Tory doing some pretty insane, cutting edge stuff, but in this episode Castle is blown away by a portable 3D printer. Considering he’s a rich, gadget-obsessed nerd, does anyone out there think Rick didn’t already have a 3D printer at home?
Then we get to the plot, itself. The bullied kid who becomes a killer is unfortunately a fact of life in the modern world, as time and time again the perpetrators of school shootings are revealed to be kids who were relentlessly bullied and finally “snapped.” But a bullied kid who becomes a genius serial killer struck me as a little absurd. A school shooting spree is one thing, but a systematic, technologically advanced campaign of revenge against spoiled cyber celebs—the police and tech entrepreneur was pushing it, for me. That said, I’m not a psychologist and I’m not saying it won’t or can’t happen. Just that, as a viewer, it seemed farfetched.
When it became clear that killer Adam Lane was murdering people not only for revenge, but also to create a legacy for himself—an online legend that will live forever—the wheels really came off this bus. While yes, Beckett’s interrogation worked, Lane’s selfish motive was entirely built on a semi-myth about the Internet. He would have a legacy! His crimes would live forever, etc., etc. Well, sort of.
While it’s damn near impossible to scrub oneself from the Web to any degree of completion, the constant stream of new, shiny things to look at means that the general public has the memory span of a goldfish. Combine that with whatever scrubbing law enforcement is able to do, and Lane would likely become just another sad Wikipedia entry.
I also had a problem with using a bullied kid as the model psychopath in an episode of entertainment, without including anything about the potential costs of bullying. Hell, even a PSA at the end of the episode would have been nice. I’m not suggesting some preachy “a very special episode of Castle/after school special” kind of a thing, but bullying is clearly a serious problem, and it’s irresponsible not to address the issue.
This was also pretty much a single plot episode. Very little family, nothing about Ryan or Espo’s lives, and nothing about Castle’s disappearance. Not that I expected anything about the latter. I think the writers are going to let that one sit for a while.
Overall, this played like the “last episode before November Sweeps” that it was. Safe, simple and somewhat dull. Filler, really. It’s more than likely, an episode no one will ever watch again.
• I love David Marciano and am always happy to see him.
• Based on the next episode preview, it looks like the Caskett wedding is finally going to happen, and I hope this isn’t just another tease. With the “Castle is thrust into a world where he and Beckett have never met” storyline for the next episode, the door is open for an imaginary wedding.
• I hope not, because the dude ranch/Wild Wild West honeymoon, looks like fun!
Mark Rabinowitz is a Nashville-based freelance writer, film producer, and regular contributor to Paste. He is the co-founder of Indiewire.com and a former film critic for CNN.com. He worships at the shrine of swine. Praise the lard. You can follow him on Twitter.