Castle Recap of Season 4, Episode 17: “Once Upon a Crime”
Once upon a crime time, Castle and Beckett solved the mystery of the fairy-tale killer. Or did they? Read on to find out.
It all started when a woman dressed like Little Red Hiding Hood was wandering through the woods. Or maybe running is more like it. Anyway, she was slashed to death by a mysterious shadowy figure, screaming.
Cut to: Martha Rodgers reciting a line about screaming. Perfect, right? Martha’s working on her own play, one-woman-show— in Castle’s writing room, no less. As usual, the case at hand coincides perfectly with something going on in Castle’s home life. How do the writers do it?
Then, it’s off to the crime scene. “I feel like my whole life is being invaded,” Castle tells Beckett. We get it: Alexis is interning for Lanie, Martha is taking over his room. “You’ll get used to it. I did,” Beckett retorts. Good one, girl!
Anyway, their poor victim has claws marks across her face, but no I.D. Castle obviously thinks the key to finding the killer lies in the fairy tales. Beckett? Um, not so much.
Thanks to our trusted sidekicks Ryan and Esposito, the team I.Ds the vic as Amy Morgan, a high-profile attorney. They also find out she recently withdrew an exorbitant, but really odd amount of money. And then, the kicker: Lanie tells the team she found wolf hairs on the victim, along with marks from only one claw.
Lanie’s best guess? The killer wanted them to think it was an animal. Actually, she was drugged, then killed — and it was all premeditated. Creepy!
But to make matters worse? This isn’t just a one-off. Oh no, this is a serial killer. The team also finds a woman named Kristina — dressed as Snow White — all dead and slashed up. But why these women, and why those costumes? We bet we’re about to find out!
Kristina’s husband says she ditched out on a lunch around 1 p.m. the Friday prior, the same time the first victim also missed a meeting. Although their families say they didn’t know each other, they were killed within six hours of one another. Kristina also withdrew the same exact amount of money as Amy. Well, it’s official: This ain't no coincidence!
Back at home, Martha’s rewriting history, as Castle calls it, with her autobiographical play — which is all fun and games until she starts rewriting his history along with it. Gave birth to him on the subway? Get real! Beckett points out that rewriting her story is exactly what he does to her. Aw, snap.
In other (better) news, Ryan and Espo find the address of the person who bought the Snow White and Riding Hood costumes, but when they enter, the room is empty. Well, save for a bunch of creepy dolls, and an old, cheerful little woman. In fact, it’s the old woman who bought the costumes used in the killings. Um, say what? Somehow we just don’t see this salt-haired lady running around killing young girls.
But there’s no time to waste because there’s still a killer on the loose, and according to records, he’s also purchased a Sleeping Beauty costume which means there’s about to be another murder. Sadly, if the killer is staying true to form, Sleeping Beauty will die in her bed, not outside in the woods like the previous two victims.
However, Castle realizes whoever the vic is will probably have withdrawn the same amount as the other women, and the IRS will have a record of it. What can we say? Guy’s a genius.
Thanks to Castle’s sharp sleuthing skills, the team find out the third potential vic is a woman named Charlotte Boyd. They meet at her place, only to discover Charlotte in costume, but alive!
So, they save Charlotte, but they also find a photo of Charlotte with the other two dead women all dressed in the same costumes they were killed in. There’s also an unidentified man in the photo. And this is where it gets weirder: the amount of money the woman all withdrew is the number of the date on the photo seven years prior. Something so happened that day. But what? Just you wait!
Espo comes back with tons of 411. The man in the photo, Owen Thomas, was killed that day in a hit and run. He went to a fairy tale-themed rave, and was drugged with the same drugs the victims were given before their deaths. Seems like someone is trying to avenge Owen’s death. So I Know What You Did Last Summer. And so freaking creepy.
When "Sleeping Beauty" wakes up, she tells them that the women kicked Owen out of their car that night because he was having crazy hallucinations from the mix of drugs they were on, and they heard the next day he’d been killed. She said they made a pact never to talk about that night, and never to see each other again. Somehow, we’re not buying it.
And there’s more: Turns out the first victim’s sister is married to Owen’s brother, Darren. Darren was caught on camera dropping off the photo to get developed. So is he the killer?
And then, seemingly out of nowhere, Castle and Beckett attend Martha’s play opening for a scene or two. Then, it’s the usual: Castle and Beckett think they’ve caught their killer (Darren), but oh no! Martha’s incorrectly tied bow leads Castle to realize they wrongly arrested Darren.
Turns out, the final “victim” wasn’t a victim at all, but the killer the whole time. She hit Owen that first night, killed him, and then killed the other two women involved when the old photo surfaced before trying to stage her own attempted murder. And he figured this all out from looking at the way the bows were tied. What good’s a crime writer if not for noticing all the details, right?
Then, the ep comes to a close with a personal rendition of Martha’s play in Castle’s living room. As she professes her love for her “greatest role” ever (read: being Castle’s mother), the crime writer has tears in his eyes. But then? She continues to say "if only he had embraced the role of son” the same way. Oh, poor Castle.
But then, before the ep fades to black, Beckett tenderly grabs Castle’s hand. And that, our friends, is what we call a happy ending.