Castle: Smells Like Teen Spirit review

The Castle team goes back to high school to investigate a telekinetic crime!

In true Castle fashion the show takes the plunge into the most scary underbelly of them all: private high school! While it at first seems like your standard Mean Girls-like scenario, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” mashes up with Stephen King’s classic Carrie in convincing fashion. I was impressed with how they pulled off the narrative while still using some old parlor tricks that make the ruse that much more believable. Either way, teen socialite and spoiled brat Madison Beaumont is dead. Although a senior at an academy that Castle himself was kicked out of, outlandish theories abound as this is the type of case that is right in our hero’s wheelhouse. I mean telekinesis and moving things with your mind? That has Castle written all over it!

While Beckett is the first to throw out any supernatural Ghostbusters type activity, after meeting with the old principal (and Castle’s former nemesis) the crime-fighting duo are scratching their heads on what this could be. But after seeing a damning video that the principal shows them proves that student Jordan Gibbs has got some serious Carrie-like powers allowing her to move things at will the madder she gets. While mean girl Madison is being mourned by peers and staff, it becomes clear that there is something wrong with this young snob’s death. Beckett is sure that it is a hoax but Castle has her thinking that maybe there is something more than just the norm. The key to the case is just who and how someone has the power of an X-Man!

The narrative plays out at an outstanding pace that never takes itself too seriously. Not only was the cafeteria incident with maybe-telekinetic Jordan caught on tape, there is also the creepy Madison FaceTime call that saw the popular girl perish. The gang at the 12th track down Henderson Diagnostics has one of Jordan’s last calls. Upon investigating, Castle and Beckett find a Dr. Rampanel that taught biophysics at MIT…and he is floating around the room like Magneto! Very cool, and I may just have to search Amazon for a telekinesis 101 book to read in my spare time. The doctor is candid in that Jordan does not know yet how to control her powers. But as it turns out Jordan is on site and is ready to Caskett. Since the rest of the Faircroft Academy and the “bitch click” think that she killed Madison, Jordan seeks refuge with Dr. Rampanel. Hmm….Madison can’t be as perfect as she looked, so where’s the rub?

After some leg work by Ryan and Espo it is discovered that the already wealthy Madison has been charging more than just high end footwear. When Jordan had discovered Madison in the Russian lit section of the library, she made a threat to not tell anyone that she was “studying.” After some further digging the team finds $2.3 million in German bearer bonds inside a Russian copy of War and Peace. Looks like Madison has gone the Hans Gruber route and has been spending wildly but just how does this connect to Jordan’s telekinesis?

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While Castle is nostalgic of his old alma mater’s lore and his wild days of missing the prom, it seems that the Fairmont is full of mystery and intrigue. When CSU turns up, thefts of high end jewelry coincide with the nights that Madison snuck out of her family’s place. It turns out that she was using her wealthy lawyer father’s clients as fodder to extort money from. While I would hate to ruin the telekinesis angle of the story, I was impressed with how they wrapped things up. While Madison’s father’s wealthy client is in the wind after a Poltergeist-like incident, Madison is free to move at her own pace to drain the ex-Triad’s bank account. She also has the goods on Jordan and her technically talented friend Lucas, allowing her to move at will while extorting the couple.

While the plot is complex it combines a number of genres in a really fun mix. This is definitely a repeatable episode that I watched twice to get the gist of the plot and it indeed makes sense despite its convolution. In the end, Castle and Beckett get to share a dance at the prom neither of them ever got to go to the first time around, making a sweet finish to one of the best episodes this season. I will say this: God bless special effects and the geeks of the world that can pull off the impossible!

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4 out of 5