Castle, S5 Ep11 – Under The Influence

We get a rare Esposito-focused episode this week, as Espo steps up to the plate to try to bond with a teenage thief whose testimony would be key in cracking the murder of a DJ. The wrinkle is that Espo has to get young Joey to turn on his mentor, Shane – and Joey’s nothing if not loyal to the guy who has shown an interest in him and helped him out.

This was my favorite outfit of the ep. And yay for C/B coffee!

This was my favorite outfit of the ep. And yay for C/B coffee!

So, while it was hardly groundbreaking or full of surprise twists, I enjoyed this ep. And even though there wasn’t a whole lot of Castle/Beckett, owing to the focus on Esposito, what there was, was excellent. I laughed out loud at their discussion of how terrible movies require the person in the relationship who chose the terrible movie to “lose a turn.” I’ll have to keep that rule in mind! I also have to say, Beckett had some truly gorgeous outfits this week – and one really bizarre one (that purplish black loose-fitting blouse thing? ugh), to balance it out I suppose.

Another favorite moment: when Castle, Ryan, and Beckett came up with the Oliver Twist scenario to explain how Joey and his DJ friend Holly were making off with the jewelry from the parties where Holly worked. I love how Ryan rolled with the Fagin reference and embellished on it, with Castle’s approval and Espo’s amused scorn. Hee.

I didn’t guess the guilty party right away this time, I will admit. Of course, we were all supposed to be convinced that Shane – who was obviously guilty of being slimy and manipulative – was the murderer. I do hope he won’t show up again. Though it would be satisfying in some ways to see Espo carry out his threat, Shane’s not interesting enough as a bad guy to be recurring. On the other hand, if troubled young Joey doesn’t show up at all in the future, I’ll be a little bit sad. The character itself was not new to crime dramas, but the actor who played him did a very good job of making him compelling. Kudos to him. Also, although it was predictable both that Espo would volunteer to take Joey home for the night and that Joey would would slip out of Espo’s house when our boy took him home, it was still pretty funny to see Joey handcuffed to Espo at the precinct the next day.

Espo & the kid

These two really were compelling together.

Any guesses as to who Regina Cane was supposed to correspond to in the real world? My guess would be Britney Spears – although that’s not to say I hope she would ever think it was a good idea to have a younger competitor sabotaged, or a rogue DJ killed. Heh.

Overall, I’d say I felt about the same regarding this one about as I did the Ryan-centric ep from last season: good, solid acting, a case that wasn’t in the top 10 but serviceable, and a nice break from the usual C/B focus of the show – but not something we need very often.

What do you think? Do you agree, or do you prefer it when the show breaks formula?