The term “swan song” refers to an ancient Greek legend, according to which Mute Swans are mute all throughout their life until the moment right before their death, when they finally sing a beautiful and sorrowful song. While the legend has long ago proved to be incorrect, the term stuck and is now used to designate a person’s final performance of their career. Fitting for this episode of Castle? Without a doubt.
With this information in mind, we have no trouble whatsoever figuring out who the murder victim is when the lead guitarist of rock band Holy Shewp, incidentally named James Swan, isn’t around to celebrate the band’s latest success. The band was being filmed for a documentary, so Swan is found dead not only by band mate Keith but also by the camera man following him.
Famous non-last words, indeed.
This episode was very case-focused, with several touches of humor spread throughout but not much (if any) character or relationship development. Still, it was a fun way to spend my Monday night. The documentary director gets permission to follow the murder investigation, which means that there are constantly cameras underfoot. It was hilarious to see basically the entire precinct go out of their way to be caught (favorably) on film. Even Gates was drawn to the publicity. On the other hand, Beckett grows increasingly annoyed with their presence, to the point where she… well… keep reading to find out.
As the suspect-hunt progresses, we are taken into the inner dynamics of an up-and-coming rock band, with all the tension that involves. We’re also taken through a quick detour to the religious cult James had belonged to and escaped. However, when their suspicious of a man in a white van who followed the band constantly, of Keith and of the cult’s leader all come to nothing, a clip of James shortly before dying gives Castle a clue. In this clip, James says that he had a guitar mentor once, a mentor who was a much better musician than he’ll ever be.
This line goes unnoticed by the team at first listen, but when Buck Cooper, one of the roadies and Swan’s best friend back from his days in the cult, mentions that he was the one to teach James to play guitar, Castle figures the whole case out.
It turns out that when the filmmaker asked him about his guitar teacher, James decided to rescue Buck from the cult and give him a place in the band. Initially it was only as a roadie, but James wanted him to be a band member of his own right. Unfortunately, that meant that one of the other members would have to be out.
Who this member is?
Joel, the bass guitar player.
It all unfolds quickly after this. Joel loses his temper and admits to committing the crime. Keith asks Buck to audition for the empty spots. And Holy Shewp plus Espo end up singing together at the precinct. I think most people know this, but Jon Huertas is in fact an amazing singer, and he most definitely proved it in this episode.
There was a little Castle/Beckett in the episode. Once, when he asked her to interrogate Keith on her own so that the filming crew could tell how amazing she is at it (yes, I aww-ed as well), and then, when he cupped her face in his hands and she leaned into the touch, only to pull away quickly when they saw yet another camera man standing there. This last one is particularly problematic because Gates had told them she would be personally reviewing all footage, and she hasn’t as of yet been made privy to their relationship. However, the person who filmed them left this part out, supposedly to help them keep their relationship a secret.
The last scene was hilarious, yet something about it did not feel quite Beckett-y for me. She lured the filming crew to the cleaning room, locked them in and stuck her tongue out at them as a final farewell. I can’t quite point out why it feels off and slightly out of character, after all Beckett has always been a major tease, but this particular trick made me do a double take. Oh, well.
All in all, it was an okay episode. Not one of the best by any means and not one I’m eager to rewatch, but still entertaining. A B rating this time around.