Home > TV and anime > Castle: Season 6, episode 16. Room 147 (2014)

Castle: Season 6, episode 16. Room 147 (2014)

Castle

Well, thanks to one of my readers, I’ve just watched my first episode of Castle: Season 6, episode 16. Room 147 (2014) — only five seasons and fifteen episodes to go and I’ll have caught up. This is not a show that’s aired on terrestrial channels in my neck of the woods, so this episode comes as a bolt from the blue. On the face of it, this is a very interesting plot idea. Because of the time constraints on “one hour” episodes, it has to compress everything into 43 minutes of screen time but, within that constraint, this manages to muddy the waters and then see through the glass clearly in regulation time. As you’ll gather from the title, there’s a murder in Room 147. A man has been shot twice in the chest. He has a bottle of water in his hand, evidently just removed from the fridge. When he fell, he seems to have pulled over a chair which is lying beside the body. So far, this is a standard murder in hotel bedroom plot. The victim’s girlfriend has no explanation as to why he was in the hotel, but one of her fellow actors remembers an incident in the street when an angry woman accosted him. The police follow this up, identify the woman and, when she walks into the police station, she immediately confesses to the murder. At this stage, there’s just one problem. She has a very credible alibi which puts her miles away at the time of death. Then a man walks into the police station and makes almost word-for-word the same confession. And then a third man appears with the same confession.

In the world of the canned mystery show, there are certain rules to follow. For example, there can’t be any supernatural explanations, there are no science fiction wrinkles with new technology able to allow people to implant memories, e.g. as in Inception (2010). There must be a reasonably credible explanation based on today’s reality. So let’s set up the problem as it first appears.

Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Kate Beckett confront a witness remotely

Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) confront a witness remotely

These people have the same set of memories. They admit being angry with this man and shot him.

This suggests they either had acted out the drama for some reason — the victim was an actor — or the killer wore a camera during the shooting and these three were able to watch a recording.

But even if these three viewed a recording of the event, why would they not only feel guilt, but also come forward to confess?

There’s no obvious link between them and/or the victim, so no motive for the shooting and no motive for a conspiracy to confess and thereby make a prosecution difficult. Had they not come forward, the second and third confessors would not have been identified as suspects.

So back in the real world, there must be a connection between these three and something must have interfered with their memories. I won’t spoil it for you. I’ve seen the basic idea in several other series but this is probably the most elegant version. Why? Let’s take the possibility of a hypnotist as murderer. He or she is able to implant suggestions and manipulate the suggestible individual into committing suicide or acting to his or her detriment in some specific way. If that’s what was going on here, it would mean our hypnotist recorded the shooting and then programed the three individuals to come forward and confess. That would make any subsequent investigation very difficult. In fact, the episode offers a solution that’s rather more devious and less linear. Within the time available, this is a very good example of a murder plot. It’s just unfortunate I have no idea how Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), an author, gets to spend years attached to a homicide unit and ends up sleeping with Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), a homicide detective with big hair. But I’m sure it all makes perfect sense to this who have loyally watched this from the pilot back in 2009. For those of you who missed the episode, Crown’s daughter moves back into her father’s apartment at the end so all’s well with the world again. My sincere thanks go to the reader who recommended I watch this. Castle: Room 147 was an entertaining episode even though, if this was to occur in the real world, I seriously doubt this outcome. People don’t spontaneously confess to murders.

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  1. February 27, 2014 at 3:38 am

    Like I said, sci-fi. One rather loose end was: how many test-subjects were exposed to the “therapeutic technique” and what percentage actually experienced memory-implantation? From what I understand about the phenomena of false memories, it’s not pure fantasy, but what really works here isn’t the mystery so much (Castle is known for its quirky mysteries, and some are carried off better than others), as its dedication to consistency–it established The Rules for the new technology and carried them through consistently: if A, then B.

    Considering how much you like police procedurals and comedy-dramas, I’m surprised you have never even heard of Castle; some seasons and episodes have been stronger than others, but the series has delivered pretty consistently on both the clever writing and character-comedy fronts.

    Mind you it’s all a matter of taste, but if you like the Castle-Beckett chemistry, you’ll enjoy the ride.

    • February 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      My television watching is all a matter of priorities. Since reading and writing my first loves, I rarely move beyond whatever’s showing on my terrestrial channels. Castle has not shown locally. Cable is a Pandora’s Box of temptation with series that look interesting enough to try and sport I might find distracting. So I tend to pick just one or two series, more often than not foreign language, to follow and stay with the reading and writing.

      I’m slightly on the fence as to whether the episode is SFnal in intent. Many groups, both scientific and unscientific, have played around with different mechanisms to modify the behaviour of their patients or followers. The majority use different types of drugs but vary both in the type of conditions under which they are taken or how extreme the treatment, e.g, using pain in aversion therapy. If individuals are suggestible enough, it might be possible to implant memories. However, as you say, there’s nothing approaching the scientific method described in the trial. It just seems to be the more usual “seat of pants” approach to testing on human guinea pigs. I was prepared to suspend disbelief because the the solution is elegant. Most motives come down to sword or shield, i.e. people use death to advance their own selfish purposes or in defence of their interests. That this turned out to vicarious revenge was pleasing.

  2. February 27, 2014 at 3:40 am

    It helps, too, that Fillion and Katic are great actors.

  3. February 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    In the end, the motive was a bit of a hat-rabbit. But for me half the fun of the episode was the oddity of it all; Beckett’s amazement as these confessions came in–even the victim’s bewilderment at the police department’s reaction to their confessions. The show always has an element of humor, even when it is provided only by Castle’s bizarre theories, which is what makes it a fun watch for me.

    • February 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Hey, I’ve just noticed you’ve revamped the website! Looking good!

      There were hints of the motive so it was not completely out-of-the-hat. I thought it was par for the course on many “one-hour” television series. But certainly enjoyable. Thanks for the steer.

      • February 27, 2014 at 10:28 pm

        Thank me again after you are hooked on a new series with five seasons to catch up on…

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