Castle Season 7 Episode 5 Review: “Meme is Murder”

Castle Season 7 Episode 5 Review: “Meme is Murder”

meme is murder

On this week’s Castle, the team investigates the death of a viral meme star and Castle himself is a victim of the dark side of memes.

Abby Smith, popular web star, gets murdered in her apartment, seconds after the killer texted her a picture of herself. Abby was popular on the site Snappamatic (an ersatz SnapChat that’s more annoying to type out) where she did funny reviews of different places around town. Our first suspect, Edward Han had been threatening her recently because she made fun of his acupuncture business–and he had just the right tools and knowledge to stab her with a rounded object. Han claims he didn’t do it, and he wasn’t the only one stalking her. A postcard was left at her place, saying, “the brightest stars burn quickest.” The only evidence on the note is a wood varnish smudge. Soon after, they discover that the murderer posted pictures of the crime scene (from before the police arrived) to the Snappamatic website under the screen-name Netslayer. “This star’s 15 seconds are over.”

Now the team knows Netslayer is toying with them. Castle and Beckett head to the Snappamatic offices to try to track the user, but they aren’t able to track him via email. While pulling the gruesome photos from the website, the IT guy in the Snappamatic office realizes that one of the photos is still geotagged–leading to a furniture store downtown. Bill Garrett, the store owner, used to be a cyber crimes cop. Jis place has the tools that match the murder weapon, his cellphone has the pictures of the crime scene, which were uploaded using his wi-fi network. Ryan and Esposito take him into the station, but as they’re questioning him, a new Snappamatic photo comes in: Rysposito and Garrett exiting the warehouse. “Wrong suspect NYPD, I’m still here. What will I do next?” His next pictures are a cryptic message; a collage of body parts, grilled sausages, and a date. “The game is on.”

Our killer seems to be a bit Moriarty (of the BBC Sherlock variety), playing games with the investigators as he chooses his next target. Castle tries to figure it out while Garrett alibis out and Gates checks in. With a high-profile case like this one, she’s getting heat from her superiors at 1 Police Plaza: with the big message of Find This Guy. Tory finds the original image the sausages came from: a food blogger (who looks a bit like Anna Gunn) who only has 47 followers. (Aww, welcome back 47.) The numbers come from a photo of milk that expired in November… which leads Castle to an idea: spoiled milk + bratwurst sausages = Spoiled Brats. The Spoiled Brats of Snappamatic was an article about the website and it’s rich stars. The final photo–the body parts–is of one of those Spoiled Brats: Tatiana. She and her boyfriend are big Snappamatic stars. Beckett and the team siren over to save her from Netslayer, but they’re too late: Tatiana’s boyfriend Cam is dead in the backseat of their car.

As Netslayer posts the latest crime photos to his account, he gets more and more followers–feeding his desire for attention. He then posts a picture of Castle and Beckett from that morning, clinking coffee cups, implying that they’re goofing around while on the case. This gets Kate upset, as she and Castle briefly head home. She’s furious that the internet’s anonmity allows “cowards to become bullies”–which gives Castle an idea. Maybe he was a victim of a crime himself? It can’t be a coincidence that Netslayer chose Garrett, so they begin looking into his old cases just as Tory finds a picture of him scanning the first victim’s apartment key. When they show the picture to Garrett, he confirms that he knows the kids: Adam Lane. Adam was bullied in high school and he took it really hard–it changed his life for the worse. Recently, his mother died, and he snapped, killing his high school bully and plotting his cyber crimes. They burst into his den of crazy (complete with stalker walls), but learn that he’s kidnapped the owners of Snappamatic and has created a deadly competition. Whoever’s livestream gets the least likes dies. And people are voting away.

Beckett goes into interrogation to make Adam talk. Adam gets off on becoming a legend, “I’ll be spoken of in the same breath as Manson and Zodiac.” Beckett has a rough time of it, but must play on his insecurities and need for glory and power in order to get him to crack. She points out that his victims were surprised it was him, such a weak and small and worthless. She points out that he’s the same as he always was, not any better than what those bullies thought of him. In his raging back at her, he lets loose tiny details about where they might be, using language that he’s used before back in high school. Without Garrett’s knowledge, they would have never found the Snappamatic owners tucked away in the old high school building locker room, just one second before the ticking time bombs went off.

Castle discovers the downside of social media in other ways as well. He spent his morning shooting a web commercial for his book Raging Heat, and while he thought he was being suave and cool, with a few minor hiccups, the editing team took all those hiccups and made it into an Autotune the News style video, with Castle dropping his own books and messing up his name. Castle is appalled but the girls find it hilarious, he’s got over 1 million hits already! Martha thought he wanted to go viral. “Not like this!”

This case was a really interesting one. Aside from a few weak links in why Adam chose these particular stars (I’m curious if it was too much for these stars to have been bullies at Adam’s school–he’d already axed his high school bully before this–making his Snappamatic choices a bit weak), it’s a scary thought that this could happen somewhere. We already know of crimes committed via introductions on the internet, but if someone were to post awful things like Netslayer did (and they do, somewhere), would the number people outraged and reporting the account be greater than or less than people following the account to… enjoy… the show? It’s been a while since we’ve had a serial killer episode (especially one not in some way connected to 3XK) and I think they did a good job of his choices in teasing the cops (if not in the choosing of his victims). There was equal parts suspense and humor, rare in serial killer themed episodes.

Little Things

TWO WEEKS! A new episode isn’t on until two weeks from now, but it looks like Castle and Beckett are FINALLY getting married! I am so excited! See you then!

[Photo via ABC]

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