C: After gushing so much last week, I think I might have strained my ability to talk at length about Castle. So it’s on you, E & M, if you have a lot of thoughts to share about “Swan Song.”
M: I think this was another solid episode in what has been a very good season so far, but I agree, after last week’s tough act to follow, this gimmicky episode didn’t get me nearly as excited.
E: Sure. I was pleased, but I’m not tripping over myself to extoll every line.
C: This reminded me of their last death-of-a-rockstar episode, featuring Hayley’s favorite rocker Hayley Blue, from a few seasons ago. The big difference, of course, being the “rock-doc” formatting, shaky cam and all. Ugh, how I loathe shaky cam.
E: I know you’re going to be shocked, because I refuse to watch anything in shaky cam, but that didn’t bother me very much this time. I guess it wasn’t terribly shaky?
C: It was at the beginning. I don’t know if it steadied or I got used to it.
M: While I don’t think I’m as opposed to it as you or E are, I’m not a fan either. It’s really just distracting, as was the whole gimmick of the episode. I didn’t like the camera crew following them around, and while it did provide for some very funny moments that were outside the usual Castle format, it also got in the way of things. For example, no Castle family time, and no Caskett time, either.
C: True, and I quite missed both.
M: Plus, the director begging Wonder Twin #1 because “he’s in a tough spot”? Weak. Like that would have any shot of working.
C: Agreed — and not to be a big old pooper on the “suspension of disbelief” party, but I did not for one second buy that the NYPD would consider it “good publicity” to have their as-yet-unsolved murder investigation filmed for an amateur rock documentary. YEAH RIGHT. Letting Castle hang around is nothing compared to giving scandal-mongering civilians with video cameras an all-access pass. We’re not just talking a high risk of bad press; this is potential fodder for lawsuits.
E: Oh yeah. Not even close. No way was this happening. What if a potential suspect doesn’t want the world to know they were considered? I can’t think why that would ever bother anyone…
M: I could see if they let them stay at the crime scene, and maybe going along with them on trips out of the precinct, but inside it? In the interrogation room? Videoing the crime board? There would have had to have been a mountain of legal paperwork before the crew ever stepped foot inside there… but we’re digressing.
E: We are. It’s a preposterous idea, but they did it, so we just have to go with the flow. It’s not like the show deals with strict reality anyway, but we’d just like it noted we think this went over the line.
C: Yes, this was beyond standard Castle implausibility.
E: And now we’ll move on.
C: Yes. I do recognize that the point of doing the “documentary” is for us to enjoy the hilarity of how the regular cast tries to sell themselves on camera. Esposito is by far the biggest ham. “I’m in sick shape,” he tells the video guys. Then Ryan notices his partner’s muscle-emphasizing attire: “What’s with your shirt? It’s really tight. Did you change it?” “…I spilled something on it,” mumbles Javi.
E: Mr. E and I could not stop laughing. That was so fantastic, as was Javi practically turning somersaults to break into a suspect’s house, and constantly making declamations like “we’ve got you now!” and “not on my watch!” Hee!
M: That car scene was pretty hilarious, with one wonder twin trying to come off as Rambo, and the other as Sherlock Holmes, and each getting upset by the other. I loved that.
C: By far the most awkward, though, is Captain Gates mugging for the camera. *shudders*
M: I don’t know. Lanie was pretty bad, too, but really I think Esposito gave Gates a run for her money. “That’s a gift from me to you, you’re welcome, America”? That was as bad as anything Gates did, like the awful “I’m congratulating them, as I do at the end of every case” bit.
C: She was awful in a different way, because Esposito’s act was like a magnification of his personality (silly parts included), while Gates was broadcasting this a hopelessly fake and awkward convivial warmth. It was like a Michael Scott moment for her.
E: You know what? I kind of liked Captain Gates making that comment about congratulating them – it was like she wanted the perception of herself as a leader to be very Star Trek, somehow. On the other hand, I was creeped out by Lanie promoting her cleavage over her other attributes.
C: That was disappointing. Esposito at least gets a chance to redeem himself somewhat, by showing off his musical chops. Someone’s written a new song for the victim, and Javi looks it over. “I do like the vocal line in this,” he comments. Castle’s as surprised as we are.
M: Well, he got ribbed for it at the time, but in the end we got to see him bust out the high notes. I was surprised.
E: Moi aussi.
C: Is that French? I’m not even going to ask why. Anyway… what Castle may lack in sight-reading ability, he makes up for in music trivia references. The best line of the night goes to him when they discover that the victim may have been considering a solo career, prompting his band members to retaliate: “They didn’t want him to play George Michael to their Andrew Ridgeley…”
E: “Andrew who?” Javi asks.
C: “Exactly!” says Castle. “So they pick up a guitar, and WHAM!” Hee hee hee.
E: I take off my hat to you, Richard Castle.
M: That whole scene was brilliant. Loved it. Castle himself got a lot of good lines in this one, which isn’t always the case.
E: He’s such a preposterous ham; I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s like he’s so used to the gang he doesn’t show off for them anymore; now he gets a chance to show off his sparkly wit for the world at large, and he can’t resist it.
M: Things I liked/loved: Castle’s constant building up of Beckett, his repeated “music, fade to black” suggestions, his ever-present giddy-as-a-school-boy grin, his: “he came to town with a few days to kill… see what I did there? Use that! Except the ‘see what I did there’ part.”
C: To be fair, Castle gets in at least one pun like that in every episode.
E: Your brother-in-law was giddy over Castle singing the Castle theme when he wanted the editor to fade to black. So great.
C: What? That happened?? I totally missed it!
M: Amazing. You also have to love: Beckett’s disdain for the camera crew, her coming around to the fun of it and locking them in the closet in the end, the sex tape scene – right down to the “that’s not the only thing being faked” quip, the cult sub-plot – especially when it turned to the roadie being the dead guy’s mentor/friend.
E: The roadie bit brought the cult story around in the nicest way. I liked that a ton. Even though of course the cult leader would sue the crap out of everyone if this documentary ever aired. And it was a bit messy, right – it seems somewhat improbable that the roadie is a guitar genius who prefers to play bass. How often does that happen?
C: I wondered about that too. I’m no music expert, but him becoming the bassist seemed odd. I will say this for “Swan Song” though – once again, I did not guess the killer. Mostly because the band members weren’t differentiated from each other for us (other than the sex tape guy), but still, that’s good writing.
M: I’m not so sure. I think we didn’t guess the killer for two reasons, one good, one not so much. The good was that they didn’t make it obvious and gave us lots of suspects. The second, though, is that people get dumped from bands all the time. Especially if they’re not very good at their instrument, but really even if they are, that’s just the way it is with bands. For someone to kill over it? Pretty far-fetched.
E: Hey, if we’re giving them the premise of the episode itself, I think we can grant a guy killing to stay in a band finally breaking through.
C: And don’t forget this was an unplanned “crime of passion” – they gave us evidence that the bassist had a violent temper. I bought it when he said he didn’t intend to kill.
M: Fair point.
C: Speaking of crimes of passion… next week, Castle and Beckett will apparently be having a “meet the parents” dinner! Can their romance survive, or will someone (possibly Martha) be murdered by someone else (possibly Castle)? We shall see.