Devika Syal ‘18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The fifth episode of Castle’s seventh season aired this week, titled “Meme Is Murder.” No, that wasn’t a typo. The title refers to how the episode took a look into the extremely popular social media culture that has taken over the world in the past few years and continues to expand.
Although an extremely dark episode, “Meme Is Murder” showed Castle returning to it’s usual storylines. Keeping away from the supernatural and the silliness its last few episodes showcased, this week’s main focus was the murder, which carried the plot throughout the episode. While some might complain that there was not enough about the characters personally in this episode, it was a well-needed break from all the chaos going on in the Castle, Beckett, or Ryan (Seamus Dever) households. In addition, this week’s episode carried such a strong message that it would have been a shame to try and divert from that.
The episode began with the murder of an online personality who gained popularity and fame on the fictional social media platform Snapomatic, which mirrors an app like Instagram, since it allowed users to post photos with captions to their followers’ feeds instantaneously. Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) have to follow clues the crazy killer posts on his Snapomatic to lead them to the next victims, so they can potentially save them.
However, these posted pictures included snapshots of Castle and Beckett out on a stroll, drinking coffee, and enjoying their time. The murderer was attempting to use these shots to convince the public that the NYPD didn’t really care about solving the crime. Viewers were reminded of how much they love Captain Gates (Penny Johnson) when she pulled Beckett aside and basically told her to ignore the media backlash and continue with the case. This is an obvious development in character for Gates, who a few seasons ago would have disciplined Beckett instead of encouraging her.
Using social media, various technologies, and the help of outside sources, the group of detectives were able to track down the killer, however they faced the trouble of getting him to reveal where he had imprisoned two popular Snapomatic users who he had already set up to kill through electrocution after a countdown was completed.
Stana Katic really stood out in this week’s episode, especially during the interrogation scene in the final minutes of the episode. Her character is always so calm and collected, and even a bit playful during times, however this episode reminded viewers that when Kate Beckett wants something, she will get it. It has been a while since viewers have seen her in such an intense and desperate situation. Katic’s delivery of her lines in an attempt to get her murderer to reveal information included very sensitive topics regarding bullying and self-worth, and just as she was trying to get under her suspect’s skin, she affected the audience as well. Beckett’s clever use of words ultimately ends up saving two victims.
The episode tackled two serious issues: the use of social media and bullying. It used a clever analogy to compare excessive posting of personal information on social media to letting random strangers rent out one’s home and live in it when one’s not there. While going viral might be exciting and enticing, letting complete strangers all over the world into one’s life via the internet, can lead to some dangerous people getting too close.
In addition, the motives behind the killer’s behavior are revealed to be because he was bullied when he was younger and desired revenge. While the focus of the episode was more towards the internet than bullying, it was important for viewers to see a storyline that illustrated the consequences of treating somebody horribly for personal enjoyment. This week’s episode showcased the tragic situation of the bullied becoming the bully.
Since this week’s episode was so dark and serious, it was ended on an absolutely hilarious note. At the beginning of the episode, Castle was getting ready to shoot a commercial for his new book, however he proved to be very bad on camera. At the end of the episode, he watched it with Martha (Susan Sullivan), Alexis (Molly Quinn), and Beckett and it was revealed that someone had collected all his failed attempts and made them into an autotuned YouTube video which went viral. While he’s ashamed, the episode ends with Beckett ready to watch the clip again and again and again…
Overall Episode Grade: A