Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC Photo: Rebecca Budig Looking Fierce in Episode 3.18, "One Life To Lose"

“Oh my God, it’s Sarah!” Sarah Cutler, a writer for the soap Temptation Lane, falls out of the set closet with an ax in her back. We know this isn’t part of the show because a.) The injury actually killed her, and b.) She doesn’t rise from the dead. Now obviously...

Martha Used to Work on Temptation Lane: She’s also cleaning out the refrigerator in a paisley blouse because her acting school isn’t ready yet. Castle won’t let her come to the crime scene, which is an absolute abomination. Anyway, here are some deets: Sarah was killed in the studio and shoved in the closet sometime between 7 and 11 p.m. When she first started writing for the show, she killed off one of the main characters with an ax, a decision that left a lot of soap fanatics pretty miffed. Mandy Bronson and Lance Hastings, two stars on the soap who despise each other in real life, insist the writer was beloved on set. Sarah’s husband, Vince Powers, is one of the show’s directors and appears moderately saddened by the loss. Sarah’s mother, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, is in a grief-stricken tizzy. She just reestablished a relationship with Sarah after giving her up for adoption many years ago. All of these people seem really, really shady. Then we find out...

A Shipper Is Sinking Quickly: Reese Harmon worked as Sarah’s assistant and tells Castle and Beckett all about FoxCan Lover/Carrie Edwards, a Temptation Lane “shipper” who blogs about the show and miiiight be mentally disturbed. On a recent visit to the set, Edwards was kicked out when she confronted Sarah about her writing. Edwards’ blog posts give new meaning to the word “incriminating”: “Made it to the set, but didn’t complete the mission.” “It’s time to give her the ax.”  But c’mon...

Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC Photo: Jane Seymour is a Damsel in Distress in Episode 3.18, "One Life To Lose"

“Everybody Talks Tough on the Internet”: Edwards says her reason for confronting Sarah was purely to sway her in terms of relationship development on the show. She organized a protest where fans would send axes to the head of the network to make it clear Sarah was ruining Temptation Lane. So much for strongly worded emails. Anyway, Edwards was too busy obsessing about Sarah in her room all night to actually kill her. Remember the thing about Vince being shady? Well...

Vince Is Very Shady: After Esposito shares that Sarah’s schedule had lots of mystery “M” appointments in it, Ryan rolls in with the news that Vince and Sarah were split up. It gets better. Vince was in a hotel with Mandy Bronson the night of the murder, and he says Mandy ran off after getting an email from Sarah about new script pages. It gets better. Castle and Beckett discover that Sarah was planning to kill off Mandy’s character, giving Miss M a big time motive. Mandy tells them yeah, yeah this was all true, but she didn’t kill Sarah. She just seduced the male writer, Peter Connelly, to stay on the show. Connelly confirms this and continues being a gruff writer-ly type, because 250 scripts per year don’t write themselves. Meanwhile...

Dr. Quinn Is Not the Real Mom: Castle and Beckett head to the coffee shop where Sarah was having her secret appointments. Castle promises to read a script written by the shop’s devastated barista/screenwriter who was hoping Sarah would help advance her career. Then Sarah’s date shows up, a private investigator named — seriously — Johnny Dimes. He reveals that Sarah had been investigating Dr. Quinn, who as it turns out is not her birth mother at all. Not even a little bit. The money hungry drama queen has left many broke husbands in her wake and showed up three years ago claiming to be the mama. Dr. Quinn is brought into the station for questioning, and this looks like the most fun Jane Seymour has ever had in her whole life. Dr. Quinn explains that even though she conned Sarah into believing they were related, and even though she was set to get 300 grand in Sarah’s will, she was at the track during the time of the murder. Probably with Sully. But Dr. Quinn also says her fake daughter had a mystery man in her life, someone who recently bought her diamond earrings. And that mystery man is...

Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC Photo: Sneak Peak of Castle Season 3, Episode 18: "One Life To Lose"

Lance Hastings. Huh? OK: He bought the earrings and paid for a cab ride to the studio the night of the murder. Lance and Martha have a professional and romantic history together, and when Castle and Beckett try to track Lance down, they find the two of them rehearsing a scene with a knife, which is apparently their version of a date. Mass confusion ensues because it just looks so real. Castle says rather soapily, “The knife may be fake, but the ax you put in Sarah’s back was real.” But Lance didn’t do it. He bought those earrings for Sarah to get out of his contract for a film role. Sarah agreed to release him, and Lance went to the studio that night to thank her. He says Sarah was reading a script and mumbling how someone in her life wasn’t who she thought they were. And then...

Things Get Real Shakespearean: Castle takes a quick glance that barista’s script and solves everything. But instead of just confronting the killer on set, he writes a scene for Mandy and Lance to act out on camera to goad a confession. This episode is so fun! Basically, the scene shows that Sarah figured out her assistant Reese plagiarized other people’s work to get a writing fellowship. And so Reese killed Sarah. Fin. Oh, wait. Castle gives secret soap lover Beckett an autographed cast photo, and a call from Josh interrupts the moment. Then he finds Martha and Lance cuddling on the couch, which grosses him out. Fin for real.