Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Castle - Season 7 Episode 5 - Meme is Murder

The fifth episode of season seven of Castle, Meme is Murder, is another entertaining episode.  I feel like it stands alone better than the first four episodes of the season since there isn’t anything that ties back into previous stories.  While that does mean there is nothing new to the mystery surrounding Rick’s disappearance, I am all right with that. 

As usual, there will be spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution.

Rick, after receiving some last minute coaching from Martha, films his first ever internet commercial for his new book.  As he tells Kate when they are on the way to a new crime scene, the internet and social media is the future and he has decided it is time to make it work for him, at least for publicity for his books.  The victim, Abby Smith, is a young woman who because famous online through posting funny things on social media.  Shortly after the investigation begins, someone going by the user name Netslayer posts pictures of the crime scene and Abby’s body on Snappamatic, a photo sharing site.  The photos aren’t the ones that the cops took, so they decide that Netslayer is the killer.  The investigation leads to a retired police detective, Bill Garrett, who worked in the cyber division who now owns a store that sells vintage furniture.

Ryan and Esposito pick him up, but it soon becomes clear that Bill is being framed.  Netslayer decides to taut the police by posting a picture of Ryan and Esposito picking up Bill along with a message saying that the police are wrong and he’s still out there.  Netslayer then posts a collage of images that seem unrelated.  Rick and Kate decide that it is a clue to who the next victim will be.  Tori discovers where one of the images came from, but the woman who posted it has nothing in common with Abby.  Rick finally figures out that the clue is referring to a recent story about a group of spoiled rich kids who flood Snappamatic with pictures of their lavish lives.  Kate then finds another picture on the site from the collage and it points them to Tatiana Fischer as the next potential victim.

Kate and the guys find Tatiana and try to take her into protective custody, but she refuses, claiming that she has a party to get to and that Netslayer wouldn’t dare to target her.  When she gets to the car, she discovers her boyfriend, Cam Magani, another rich kid who is also popular on Snappamatic.  Almost immediately, pictures of Cam’s body are posted to Snappermatic, along with one of Rick and Kate looking happy while drinking coffee.  That was actually from when they were on the way to the first crime scene, but Netslayer is using the picture to try to make Kate look bad at her job.  While Rick thinks it will blow over, Kate is upset, especially since the higher ups at the police department expressed concern to Gates about the photo, who stands by Kate and won’t take her off the case. 

Ryan shares that they figured out how Netslayer got in Cam’s car.  When Cam got the car, a Rolls Royce, he posted a picture holding the key.  Netslayer was able to use the picture to make a copy of the key with a 3D printer.  Talk about freaky.  Anyway, they figure that Netslayer did the same thing to get a copy of Abby’s apartment key, so footage from surveillance cameras on her street are checked and Tori manages to find a shot of his face.  Kate and the guys decide they need to talk to Bill again to see if maybe Netslayer was connected to one of his old cases. 

Bill recognizes him immediately as Adam Lane.  While still in high school, Lane was severely bullied, including a humiliating video being posted online.  Bill was able to get the video taken down, but the damage had been done and was just made worse when the DA wouldn’t press charges.  Lane seems to have vanished, but they manage to track him to the basement apartment of the house where he use to live with his mother.  Just as Kate arrests him, Esposito calls with the news that something has just popped up online showing the owners of Snappamatic, Kent and Orin, restrained somewhere, hooked up to some kind of electrical device that will kill whoever doesn’t get the most votes by the time the counter gets to zero. 

At the precinct, Kate tries to reason with Lane.  When that doesn’t work, she changes tactics, using insults to get to Lane’s insecurities.  He lets a few clues slip that point to where Kent and Orin are being held.  Ryan and Esposito are able to get them just in time.  Soon after, Rick happily gathers Kate, Alexis and Martha in his office to watch the finished web commercial.  To say that it wasn’t what he expected would be an understatement.  The ad is mostly made up of the bloopers from the filming, with creative editing and a lot of auto tune going on.  It is hilarious.  Rick is upset while the women point out that it has already gotten a lot of hits, which was the point.  Kate tries to reassure him that people will forget since it is just the internet before deciding that they need to watch it again.

This episode is a bit more serious overall than the last two even though there are some funny things here and there.  People who felt that the last two episodes went too silly may like this episode more.  Most of the funny stuff is tied to the commercial.  Yes it is a little silly in spots, but it is very funny and I think it works.  I do wonder if his agent and publisher are a bit ticked at him about something - perhaps being missing for two months - and decided on the blooper commercial as revenge.  I have no idea if something like that would be released as an official commercial for anything.   

The case for Meme is Murder is interesting and it deals with things that are more current and relevant in the world today.  Social media has gotten extremely popular in recent years, and there are people how have huge followings on the various social media sites for basically doing nothing.  Abby becoming famous for posting her silly “reviews” seems believable.  Bullying has taken on a whole new unpleasant angle tied to the internet.  Bullies can now torment their targets around the clock by posting nasty stuff online and to make it worse, other people can, and do join in, adding to the taunting or even just watching things unfold.  As Kate says during a bit of a rant at one point, being anonymous on the internet means people aren’t accountable for their actions and cowards who would never do anything in person become bullies.  Cyberbullying is a very real problem and I think the episode deals with it decently.  Kate also points out how once anything is posted to the internet it is there forever and that people can take things, like the picture of her and Rick, out of context.  During his questioning, Lane shares his belief that the people who started to follow him because of the murders and the ones voting for Kent and Orin are the ones who are really sick.  He may have a valid point on that and it is a bit disturbing to think that people would sit by and watch something like that.  Unfortunately, there probably are people that would do that.  I do think it is believable that someone who had been bullied like Lane with nothing being done to the bully could flip like he did. 

The episode also brings up something else that Lane does in committing his crimes that I think is very unsettling.  Lane is able to create copies of keys just from taking pictures of them and uploading the pictures to a 3D printer.  I’ve heard of 3D printers before and different things they can create, but I guess I didn’t realize that something could be made just from a picture without some sort of design or something.  That is a scary thought.  I know that criminals had ways of getting copies of keys before, using impressions or something like that, but they had to actually get their hands on the key for at least a short period of time.  I do think it isn't as likely for the keys to a newer car to be copied in this way, especially one for a Rolls Royce.  I do know that several car companies have started to put microchips or use special laser cutting for the keys.  When my mother got a new Camry in 2007, she was told that she couldn't just go get a copy of the key made for a spare because it wouldn't work.  A copy would have to come from Toyota.  It seems more believable that taking a picture of a house or apartment key could work.  

Lane’s victims were all popular because they shared a lot online.  Lane was able to track them through the pictures they posted online, which reinforces the idea of how it isn’t safe to put too much on the internet, something Rick himself tried to convince Alexis of back in season five, only to have his concern brushed off.  The pictures may look innocent enough, but there are things in them, included hidden GPS information connected to where they were taken, that people can track.  I actually first heard about how GPS information can be found in pictures taken on smart phones a few months ago.  There are ways that criminals can find that GPS information.  The idea that an innocent picture of a pet or flowers, or whatever would have that sort of information in it does freak me out a bit.  This makes me glad that I have never been comfortable posting pictures online and haven’t jumped on the bandwagon of taking a selfie every time I do anything.  In fact, I have never taken a selfie and have no plans to do ever do so.

It seems like Martha and Alexis have been around a little more this season than they were last season.  That is fine with me since I like them.  Martha tends to be fun, and she is again in this one when she decides that Rick needs to go through some last minute warm up exercises right before filming his commercial.  Her reaction to the finished commercial at the end is fun as well.  Alexis is only in the last scene.  It was fun to see her reaction to the commercial too.  I like that things are back to normal between her and Rick after their issues in season six.  Ryan and Esposito each play important roles in solving the case.  Captain Gates is in a few short scenes.  I really like that she backed up Kate with the higher ups at the department and didn’t pull her off the case after the picture was posted.  I really didn’t like Gates when she first showed up, but she has grown on me. 

Meme is Murder is one of the more serious episodes.  I think it works very well.  It is another entertaining episode that is worth watching.

Rick’s internet commercial has been posted on several websites if anyone would like to watch it again.  Meme is Murder should be up on the ABC website by now.  I think it is also available through other streaming services. 

Unfortunately the next episode will not air until November 10th.  There isn’t even a rerun next week because the time slot is going to some special connected to the music award show that is airing on ABC on Wednesday the 5th.  Going by information that has been online about the episode and from the teaser at the end of this episode, the next one should be good and make a lot of fans happy.

Season 7 Castle Episode Recaps/Reviews
Driven ~ Montreal ~ Clear and Present Danger ~ Child’s Play ~ Meme is Murder ~

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