Recap: Smells Like Teen Spirit

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2026

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“Smells Like Teen Spirit” – The murder of a high school mean girl draws Castle back to one of his many alma maters, where he is giddy to learn that the evidence points to a surprising perpetrator – a teenage telekinetic, throwing he and Beckett into a real-life “Carrie.”

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A few first thoughts | What a difference two weeks makes. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was a step in the right direction at least for us as it includes just enough wedding talk and enough “oh wow, didn’t know that” bits about our favorite crime-solving duo’s teenage years. In a way, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” made us appreciate that humor and banter that made this show successful in the first place and we were excited to see it return with this episode.

The case | “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is channeling Stephen King this week as the show spoofs on the horror novelist’s book Carrie. A teenage mean girl named Madison is brutally killed in front of her friends as they ride in the back of the cab. The episode is littered with references to King and telekinetic teens, which is not surprising. What is humorous is seeing Beckett trying to logically explain how telekinesis isn’t responsible when all the evidence points toward it. Anyways, turns out Madison has a bit of a secret side—she’s breaking into the homes of her classmates, stealing stuff and then fencing it to get money to cover her expensive shopping tastes. But like most theft crimes, someone finds out and then the cover-up happens. In this case, Madison decides to double cross her partners-in-crime when she gets wind of German Bearer Bonds worth to the tune for $2.3 million. At first, the team thinks the girls’ father may have something to do with the murder followed up by his client having stolen the bonds originally. But it’s a dead end. The team learns Madison’s filmed death was just that, filmed. It was staged but it quickly became an alibi for the real killer, or so they thought. They eventually center on Madison’s friends after Beckett and everyone else learns the murder video was fake. Turns out, there’s no honor among thieves when it comes to millions of dollars.

What is the Caskett wedding song? | Is it Sinatra? The Boss? The Bangles? Def Leppard? Who? Well, just watch “Always” and you’ll have the song. But the process of how they realize that’s there song is part of the comedy of the episode. Castle wants a band, Beckett wants a D.J. and it’s battle of the wills over who wants what. As the two trade their ideal songs, the couple realizes they don’t have a song. Even as Castle tries to pass off a list of the 100 most romantic songs, Beckett’s not having any of it. But it’s at winter formal that the lovebirds find their song—and it’s not new to the fandom. It’s been used many times in music videos when it comes to the couple and it was featured in the season four finale, “Always.” It’s Andrew Belle’s “In Your Veins” and we couldn’t agree more.

[quote_right]“Everything I’ve ever done, every choice I’ve ever made, every terrible and wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me, it’s all led me to right here, to this moment with you,” — Castle[/quote_right]Memorable moments | There’s a few memorable moments in this episode. The return of coffee—seems weird we would focus on that but those coffee scenes have been missed. From Castle’s walk down memory lane at the prep school (where he was kicked out of), Castle trying in earnest to convince Beckett of a real-life Carrie-event and her rejects of said theories, Beckett being rendered speechless, to a very, very close most memorable moment nod at the end of the episode, the most memorable moment goes to the dinner scene. It’s domestic bliss at its finest and we have to admit, it was a little fun to see them talking about the case over dinner just like a couple would do when they talk about their day.

What’s with all the 80s references? | At least three times during this episode some of us here at Castle Chronicles wondered about our age and felt incredibly old at times. The first reference was Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” video that feature Courtney Cox well before her days as Ross’s sister on Friends. That was followed up by the countless 80s song references and to cap it off we had German Bearer Bonds. We expected to see Bruce Willis shouting “yippie ki yay!” before tossing a bad guy off the roof of the 12th. We like to thank Chad and Dara Creasey for making the 80s cool again and making us want to listen to all those cool romance songs and take in a midnight screening of Die Hard.

A few final thoughts | This episode was a nice change of pace. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” brought back memories of Castle coming up with crazy theories and Beckett trying (and failing) to use logic to downplay them while reminding us of why Castle is so darn cool to begin with, and we thank the Creasey’s for that. And the casting in this episode was phenomenal and the costuming was spot on. And oh, is it just us was or the forgoing of traditional a theme that we can expect as Caskett goes ever so more close to their wedding date? We have seen a lot of nuggets over the past several episodes—starting with Martha’s suggestion of going down to City Hall. We are getting an awful lot of information about the wedding that we probably should be getting if there is to be an all-out wedding either at the end of this season or the first part of next.

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A happy-go-lucky Castle fan who has 20 years of web management and 16 years of web publishing experience. In a past fandom, the EIC managed a fan website for a popular show and message board. The EIC is an academic with specialization in media and society and modern history and is a media professional.

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