Okay, here’s my review for Swan Song. I’m usually not a fan of the whole documentary-style episodes, but Castle managed to pull it off. The facial expressions in the episode were priceless.
We begin the episode with the band Holy Shemp (what kind of a name is that) who are being filmed for a documentary and find one of their band member dead. When Castle, Beckett and the boys arrive Beckett asks Ryan to get rid of the cameras which he fails to do. The cameras are also at the crime scene, much to everyone’s dismay (love how Espo threatened them). Castle on the other hand takes full advantage of the cameras to promote his book (and himself). Beckett is clearly not as eager to be on TV as she tries to hide her face behind her coffee while Lanie explains that the victim is James Swan, the lead guitarist. And when the cameras start to focus on her, Lanie shows us that she doesn’t mind at all. From Castle I expected this, but Lanie? Ryan, who’s not as comfortable with the cameras as Lanie and Castle, finds out from the roadie that there was a white van circling the victim’s trailer. As Castle keeps talking, they hear a noise coming from the closet, which turns out to be a half-naked groupie. Unfortunately she’d partied to hard and doesn’t remember anything but the sound of horse hooves crunching in the snow. When Castle and Beckett are discussing the case, Beckett notices the cameras and tells them to get out. But then the producer shows up with a piece of paper that states that they can in fact film their investigation. Gates is also not happy with this, but since the order came from city hall, they can’t do anything about it. Gates then gives a little speech saying that everyone will be accommodating, but that clearly does not involve Beckett. When Kate later complains to Castle about the cameras, he says he wants them to see what he sees. Aaaw. When they interview the band members, they find out that James had told them that he thought someone was following him and that he also had purposely ditched the cameras the day he died. Espo then shows them footage and photos of the guy (and his white van) who had been following James.
We then see Ryan and Espo in the car on their way to pick up the stalker (pretty sure this is the first time we’ve seen them in a car together) and they are constantly bickering as they’re both trying to look good for the cameras. Esposito is clearly over his resentment for the cameras as he then tackles the guy and gives a speech at the precinct about the stalker not hurting anyone ever again. Castle and Beckett are watching from observation as Espo and Ryan interrogate him, but it turns out that all he wanted was his daughter (the half-naked groupie). Later Ryan and Espo start to bicker as to whether or not picking up the fake-stalker was a bust but Espo then says that since he was following him, he knew that James was at a bank in Soho and then went into a residential building. This convinces Castle that the murder was about drugs. Beckett then gets a text from Lanie and Castle makes her explain who Lanie is (don’t they already know that since she was at the crime scene). In the morgue Lanie, who clearly changed shirts, shatters Castle’s drug theory and tells them that James never got any of the standard immunizations. Espo then tells them that James was at the residential building for Sam Speer who has a lawsuit running against the band. Espo takes Castle with him to pick up the guy which also turns out to be a total bust since Sam and James had made up. James had asked Sam to write music for him, and Castle and Espo suspect that this means that James wanted to go solo.
Later Castle and Beckett go confront the band, who are already trying out new guitarists. Keith is not happy with being accused of murder and storms off. Castle points out that his shoes make the sound of horse hooves crunching in the snow. Castle lets Beckett do the interrogation alone because he wants to give her room to operate (there’s a first). In the interrogation Keith says that James hasn’t been the same since they performed in Ithika and his alibi for the murder is that he was with a girl. He says that he may not remember her name, but he has a sex tape to prove it. When Gates shows up and complains about the fact that watching that sex tape at the office is inappropriate work behavior. She also says that the time stamp on the video could be faked, in which Kate replies that that’s not the only thing being faked. O snap! But Esposito says that he was able to verify the time stamp since the news was playing in the background. Ryan then tells them that James didn’t have medical records or any other papers until he was hospitalized at 17 in Ithika, which happens to be the place where he was born. Turns out that James grew up in a cult. The leader John Campbell flew in the day that James was killed. Coincidence, I don’t think so. Gates asks Espo and Ryan if there’s any leads on Campbell, and after they both try to come off as the smartest of the two, Espo says that Beckett’s following an angle. That angle looks a lot like Castle. The cameras film them in the break room as Castle cups her cheek (don’t forget that Gates isn’t supposed to see you) and Kate holds his hand, but the sweet moment is over when she pulls away as she sees the cameras. This of course makes Kate extra mad at the camera crew, as she tells Ryan and Espo that they can talk to someone else who escaped the cult. The girl who escaped tells them that she heard Campbell swear he’d get revenge on James. Ryan then tells them that James had met with Campbell the day he died, and the girl says it was probably to buy his freedom. She then tells them about a youth hostel where Campbell might be.
When they question him he denies everything and Beckett (almost) gets into a screaming match with him. He then says that if they ever contact him again, he’ll sue them for religious persecution. When they discuss the conversation with Gates, she gets a call from the TV director. Gates explains that she’s going to review all the footage shot at the precinct to make sure it reflects well on the police department. This freaks out Castle and Beckett, because that includes the footage of them close together. We then see a conversation between the couple and the director which I’m sure is about that footage. We then see Espo and Ryan discuss who should tell Beckett a certain piece of information which turns out is the fact that someone disappeared from the cult after the band left Ithika. That person is Buck Cooper, which means that James wasn’t trying to buy his own freedom, but Buck’s. We then find out that that Buck is the roadie who Ryan talked to at the crime scene. When they interview Buck he tells them that Campbell isn’t the killer, since he had promised not to bother them anymore after he got the money. They learn that Buck was the one who taught James how to play the guitar. They figure out that James wanted to bring Buck into the band, which I’m sure didn’t sit well with the guy who was getting the boot. Castle figures that whoever killed James, is the band member who couldn’t play the new sheet music. They then question Zeek, who says he can play the sheet music. But when they hand him a guitar, he has to admit that he in fact cannot. He then goes into a huge rant, in which he admits to the murder.
When Buck thanks them for what they did for James, we see Keith invite Buck to join the band (since they now need to replace two members). Castle and Beckett are then called into Gates’ office, for what they think is a talk about the footage she saw. Which is correct, only it’s not about the footage they were thinking about. Apparently Castle thought it would be funny to jump into the screen when Gates was giving an interview. Gates on the other hand, didn’t find it that funny. Kate then silently thanks the cameras for hiding the tape of her and Castle, and she hilariously high fives him. We then see Keith, Buck an Espo jamming in the precinct. Espo’s voice is not as bad as Castle said. Kate then takes the cameras aside saying that she knows she’s not that easy to get to know, but that she wants to show them something that no one knows about, not even Castle. She ends up showing them the broom closet (I’m sure Castle knows about that place) and locks them in there and thus concluding this very different episode of Castle.