Castle: Under The Influence

Joey: “You’re all right, for a cop.”
Esposito: “I know.”

A change of pace this week. Rather than spend the hour with Caskett’s new relationship or with one of them, we got a very Espo-centric episode. I liked it, but thought it could have been better.

Honestly, I struggled to write this review because there just isn’t anything interesting to say about this episode. Castle, unfortunately, has more than its fair share of filler episodes every year and this one felt like filler to me. A shame, because I love Esposito and think that his backstory could have been really interesting and fun to watch.

Instead, this plot line, the older, wiser cop takes a good kid who is heading for trouble under his wing, has been done to death. In fact, almost every show that features a cop has an episode like this at some point. And, we get yet another homage to a sister ABC show. The whole plot of an aging pop star being supplanted by the latest young up and comer is the main component of and “I’ve been a huge fan ever since I was in grade school” is almost a direct quote from the pilot of Nashville.

I did like the scenes with Esposito and Joey, but they felt like retreads, not something that I would want to watch again. Even the comedy this week seemed off to me. The whole character beat of Ryan running his hands though his hair when he is about to meet someone famous is an example. This is the 92nd episode of this show; have we ever seen Ryan do that? Additionally, in the morgue, Lanie seemed to be really annoyed with Castle. Why?

I liked learning about Esposito’s back story, especially the fact that he has a record. I would love to have seen more about this and more about the teacher who turned him around. This is a character who has an interesting past, one that is worthy of a better story than this.

The title of the episode is an allusion to the influences that affect kids and help to mold them into what they become. We see the social worker talking about “the least bad option,” Castle saying ”you have to let them find their own way” and Esposito trying to pay it forward. But, Joey is loyal to the man who has had the greatest influence on him to date until Esposito shows him, literally, what Shane really thinks of him. The Wire did this story line much, much better.

This episode was just blah. Two out of four throw away guns.


-- Like Beckett, I liked Valentine’s Day. Well, maybe not liked, but it’s not bad enough to lose your turn.

-- I love the way the writers portray Ryan. On the one hand, he is a rabid fanboy, not above getting an autograph for ‘Jenny and Kev.' On the other hand, he can make a joke about Oliver Twist and he made the connection to The French Connection for those Castle fans who haven’t seen that movie. Not to mention Seamus Deaver’s intensely electric blue eyes. Fantastic!

-- There’s a fair amount of stepping over bodies this week. Beckett steps over a passed out party girl and Esposito steps over the bodyguard he has just taken out.

-- Rumor has it that the “lighting guy” M.C. Thug brings with him to the precinct is a Castle crew member.

-- No Gates, Martha or Alexis this week. Did everyone but Huertas and Deaver basically get the week off?


Castle: “In a relationship, if you choose a movie and you choose very, very poorly, do you lose your turn?”
Esposito: “How poorly?”
Beckett: “Valentine’s Day.”
Esposito: “You should lose two turns.” The men bump fists.

Esposito: “Aw, dude! You remember that music video where she was dressed up as a sexy little girl scout?” Castle grins, knowing where this is going. “I don’t care what those cookies cost.” Lanie glares at him. “I would sell my left…”
Ryan: “Anyway…”

M.C. Thug: “I know you ain’t a cop with that fancy shirt and poufy hair.” Castle checks himself out in the mirror.

M.C. Thug: "Or else is usually enough."

Castle: “A Fagin to Joey’s Oliver Twist.”
Ryan: “And, if Holly’s involved, that makes her the Artful Dodger. Or the artful deejay.”
Castle: “Ooh, nicely played.”

Esposito: "Dude, nobody says ‘bling’ anymore. Try ‘shine.’”

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.


CrazyCris said...

I'd only give it one throwaway gun. *sigh* I think I might actually have been bored during this one! *shock!*

You're right, Javi deserved better!

All the fun moments seemed to be concentrated at the beginning. The rest was blah.

And Ryan is definitely my kind of guy! Fanboy, funny, and literate/intellectual enough to joke about Oliver Twist (and this isn't the first example we've had I believe) :o)

Mark said...

Between the comments of the two Chrises, I wonder what this episode would have been like if *Ryan* was the one to take this kid under his wing. (We would still get the reveal during the ep of Esposito's past, but it wouldn't be so obvious.)

CrazyCris said...

Now there's a fun idea! More Ryan please! ;o)

Robert said...

When people say that the funny moment in an episode was the Beckett head slap to Esposito (I don't think it's was funny at all) that tell you a lot about that episode, boring...

Anonymous said...

i thought Beckett's double-take when Javi volunteered to shelter "Monster" was priceless - he just revealed a side of himself that his oldest friend didn't know about. From that, I'd hoped for more. Was a bit of a let-down

sunbunny said...

Like many episodes of Castle, it was just sort of 'meh.' Not bad enough to complain about, not good enough to praise. I can see why you had a hard time writing the review!

Glad to have a respite in the Caskett drama. I miss our boys! Lanie did have a major case of the grumpies. I thought I might have missed something. I guess not. Perhaps she agrees with you and Beckett about Valentine's Day?

nancy namaste said...

I agree that it was boring. The young hood was so surly, smart-ass and realistically played that I had absolutely no sympathy for him. Let him go down the tubes - I have to have some feeling for a character like that to think he deserves saving.

Jon Huertas needs to specifiy better writing and plots for his episodes.

Anonymous said...

So finally an episode for our supporting players and it's a dull one..Poor Esposito..What a bunch of tired cliches for his outing. I'm sure The wire did it better,good acting by the kid but still what a waste..Hopefully next week's episode will be better.

celticmarc said...

Lots oh meh's and sighs and blah's for this one. And plenty of good points here, both in the reviews and the comments.

Clichés or not, Jon Huertas was excellent, despise the writing. You gotta give him that. And eventually, and it happens all over, it gets more and more difficult to re-invent yourself. Especially in a TV show, storywise. Wow, I suddenly feel like Esposito's lawyer !

And I remember fondly Taylor Cole from The Event. It was see her smile !