Everyone seems to be “Under the Influence” on Castle when the team investigates the death of a popular DJ. Is this a case of jealousy between musicians? A deal gone wrong? Castle and Beckett must sift through pantsless party-goers, record producers, and a seemingly uninvolved teenager to find out.

The Players:

  • Director: John Terlesky
  • Writer: Elizabeth Bealle
  • Cast:  Nathan FillionStana Katic, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Penny Johnson Gerald, Molly C. Quinn, Tamala Jones, Susan Sullivan, Taylor Cole

Episode Title: “Under the Influence”

The release party of a pop star’s comeback album is spoiled when a DJ is murdered. Castle and Beckett delve into the music industry the victim inhabited to find her killer. When the investigation expands to include a troubled teenager, Esposito makes an extra effort to help the boy get on the right track. After many twists and turns, the group finally finds their killer. Their biggest challenge is finding a way to charge them with no evidence or no witnesses.

The Good:

  • Esposito: Last week he did flying karate kicks. This week, he’s the highlight of the episode, changing the world for the better when he sees the opportunity to do so. We’re touched by his interest in guiding one of the suspects in a better direction while he gathers information about the case. He’s genuine in his intent to help, and we’re glad to see a minor character be the focus of an episode.
  • Bad Cop, Good Cop: It’s an interesting issue to bring up, especially regarding the team we’ve grown to love. But from the mouth of a juvenile delinquent, it’s easy to write off as backtalk. At the same time, we’re sure some of Esposito’s actions aren’t legitimate ways of handling police business. Either way, it helps us understand the motives police departments may have to face. We understand how rules sometimes must be broken.

The So-So:

  • Romance Shift: There’s a change from the usual Caskett relationship development. We actually enjoyed the focus and energy directed towards the case without hints of Castle and Beckett. There were no fiascos, no doubts and second thoughts. Just a focus on the work.

The Bad:

  • Too Easy to Solve?: We totally guessed the culprit long before the real murderer surfaced. We suspect everyone else did as well. Bits of mystery were lacking the punch needed to carry us through to the end.

Overall:

Instead of referring to a drunken episode, “Under the Influence,” was a refreshing view of how influenced we are by those around us. It was a break from the norm, but had a positive message, plenty of action, and a heartwarming but realistic outcome.

Rating: 9/10

Castle airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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How did you like the music industry theme for this case? Let us know in the comments!