Fairy tales seem to be everywhere lately and this week’s episode, “Once Upon a Crime,” had Castle and Beckett venturing into enchanted territory as they investigated murders where the victims were dressed up as fairy tale characters.
Little Red Riding Hood running through what appears to be a forest as she’s being chased by an unknown person or creature started off the episode. As she trips, screams and falls to the ground, a shadow overtakes her and the screen fades to black. When Castle and Beckett are called to the crime scene, the woman has lacerations that resemble claw marks on her face and arms and Castle blames the Big Bad Wolf while Beckett rolls her eyes and reminds him that this is a murder, not a fairy tale. Castle concludes that this is closer to the Grimm version and Beckett points out that the brothers Grimm had it right because fairy tales are nothing more than horror stories.
The victim is identified as Amy Morgan, a 25-year-old attorney. Her sister, Leslie, and Leslie’s husband, Darren Thomas, are called in and questioned about what Amy might have been doing dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. I’d like to point out that Darren was played by Taylor Kinney, who was werewolf Mason Lockwood on The Vampire Diaries and instantly became my number one suspect because of the wolf connection. But neither Darren nor Leslie had any clue what Amy might have been doing. Castle suggested to Beckett that perhaps Amy was into an adult role play thing where people dressed up and acted out fairy tales. Beckett was impressed by his logical thinking but Castle was disappointed in his own theory.
Laney calls them to the lab and explains that wolf hair was found on the victim’s body but it was obviously planted there and the lacerations were made by a singular claw, meaning the killer purposely made it look like a wolf attack. Laney found two needle marks in the victim’s back and she had the club drug Ketamine in her system along with Oxycodone. The detectives discover that Amy withdrew $50,605 from her savings and had missed a meeting at work Friday afternoon. She also hadn’t talked to her sister in a week which was strange behavior for her.
The killer strikes again almost immediately and this time the victim is Snow White. Her real name is Kristina Curtis and like Amy, she was in her twenties and discovered in the park dressed in a costume. Kristina had a poison apple placed in her hand but Laney found the same needle marks on her back along with the club drugs in her system. As Castle and Beckett interviewed Kristina’s husband, played by General Hospital’s Jason Thompson (seriously, that guy is having a bad week for TV wives. First Robin and now this), they discovered that Kristina had also lied about where she was going Friday afternoon and she’d withdrawn the exact same amount of money from her trust.
While Castle and Beckett try to find a connection between the two women, Ryan and Esposito discover that a third costume, Sleeping Beauty, was purchased with the other two and that leads them to the apartment of Jamie Isaacson. There, they discover a ton of creepy dolls and Jamie Isaacson herself, an old woman, who knows nothing about how or why the costumes were purchased on her credit card, which she keeps on her person at all times. But Esposito points out that her building is not that secure so the killer easily could have sent the packages there and stolen them from the lobby without anyone noticing.
Castle and Beckett follow the money trail to find the identity of the third woman as Ryan and Esposito figure out that the three women had met at a café Friday afternoon. The third potential victim is Charlotte Boyd, a real estate broker, who Castle and Beckett find in the Sleeping Beauty costume at her apartment, unconscious, but still alive. The detectives also discover a picture of the three women and an unidentified man dressed in fairy tale costumes with a blackmail note on the back of the photo. The photo was dated 5/06/05, which Castle pointed out was the amount each woman paid the blackmailer.
It doesn’t take long for the detectives to piece together the story. The man in the photo, Owen Thomas, was killed by a hit and run driver the night it was taken and it turns out that the three women had been friends in high school and they had attended a fairy tale rave with Owen where they all consumed club drugs. According to Charlotte, Owen had been hallucinating and Amy made him get out of her car. When they found out he was dead the next morning, they all agreed not to tell anyone what had happened and they were never going to talk to each other again which they didn’t until someone blackmailed them.
Darren was quickly revealed as the blackmailer and he admitted that he found the film when he and his wife were going through some old things in the attic. He wanted the women to pay for what they’d done to his brother but he insisted that he hadn’t murdered them. At this point, I was a little disappointed my Uncle Mason theory wasn’t going to work out because I’ve watched this show enough to know the killer is never the first person they arrest. (I was also expecting Damon Salvatore to pop up and rip out his heart at any moment. That shows how invested I was in the episode). Castle was a little skeptical himself and told Beckett there was something that didn’t add up but Beckett told him they’d done everything except tie it in a bow for the district attorney.
Castle and Beckett headed for his apartment where Martha was putting on a one-woman show based on her fictionalized version of her life and Castle’s birth and childhood. As Castle was helping his mother tie the bow on the back of her dress, he (conveniently) realized what was bothering him about the case and he announced they’d arrested the wrong person. Castle and Beckett returned to the hospital to see Charlotte and pointed out that the bows were tied the same on Amy and Kristina, but hers was messed up because she had obviously tied it herself.
At this point, Charlotte became indignant and told them they couldn’t prove anything, but Beckett quickly set her straight. Charlotte had been driving the car that night, not Amy, and she was the one who had paid for the repairs. Her office had handled a reverse mortgage for Jamie Isaacson and that was how she’d accessed the woman’s credit card. Charlotte was disgusted that the whole thing had fallen apart because of a bow.
This was not my favorite episode of Castle by any means. They really didn’t do much with the actual fairy tale theme which could have been a lot of fun and the plot jumped all over the place only to be (excuse the pun) tied in a neat bow at the end. But it wasn’t a complete loss. Martha put on an encore of her show for Castle, Beckett and Alexis and described being a mother as the greatest role of all. Castle was touched right up until the point she said that he could have done a better job with the son role. Castle rolled his eyes and an amused Beckett reached for his hand as Martha launched into the next act. Shippers everywhere let out a happy sigh.