Castle: Once Upon A Crime – A Review And Recap

Castle: Once Upon A Crime

What a difference a week can make. Beckett’s back in charge and she even managed to hold on to her gun for an entire episode. And miracles do happen, she wasn’t kidnapped, not even once.

Espo and Ryan were back at work being detectives. Castle was funny again. Alexis and Mama Castle were…well, I’m not sure what that mess was all about except to serve as a means for Castle to introduce the “bow theory.” And Lanie was back doing what she does best…

So this week’s episode was all about fairy tales and, between you and me, Lanie probably felt very much at home since a good deal of her forensics information comes straight from the pages of Grimm. Well, with the exception of what she gets from the lady above and from this guy…

You know, I was ready to stick a pin in my own eye when Lanie said, “She (the victim) was running from something. She has dirt on her feet.”

Now that was a scientific conclusion if ever there was one. Hmm…make a note, writers and future jurors. Everyone with dirty feet has been running from something.

– Lanie did make one true statement. “…I won’t know exactly what killed her until I get her back to the morgue.” Yes, Lanie, that’s where the process—the autopsy and learning what happened—takes place. In the morgue, not from thin air. Like…knowing the hair found on the victim’s arm was wolf hair. What? To learn this, she’d have to test the hair specifically for wolf using primers to amplify a DNA sequence that’s specific to a wolf. Now, how many times do you think that happens in the real world? “I found a hair on the arm, doctor. I’m pretty sure our New York City victim was killed by a wolf, so that’s what I’m testing for, first.”

– Based on the depth and length of the gashes, looks like the wounds were made from one claw. First of all, how’d she know a claw made the marks?

– Ketamine and Oxycontin were used to sedate/kill the victims in this episode. Now, I understand the reason for using the combination in the first murder. That was explained—Ketamine was injected but didn’t quite do the job so a second injection of Oxycontin was used to finish off Red Riding Hood. That’s all fine and good, but why would you repeat the process a second time knowing it didn’t work?

Of course, you know that when people are attacked they’ll most likely fight back so, wouldn’t you want to eliminate the need of having strategically place a needle directly beside another needle mark while someone is doing their best to bash your brains out of your skull? After all, the fight to survive is fierce. Besides, an injection of either of these drugs wouldn’t render someone unconscious the second the needle hit the flesh. People use these drugs as pain relievers (one for people and the other for animals). They abuse both drugs as a means to get high, not as a sleep aid.

Besides, the victims were fully dressed, in costume, positioned on their backs, when Lanie “predicted” the needle marks on their backs.

– When Lanie was discussing Snow White’s death she said, “Time of death was between five and seven this morning.” Finally! She made her time of death statement without goofing it up by offering some stupid reason as to how she arrived at the conclusion. You know, like, “Time of death was between 4 and 6 based on the chicken driving a race car at right angles to the bowl of sheep fingers and donkey snouts.”

Time of death was between five and seven. That was great, and that was all that’s needed at the time. Stop there Marlowe and you’ll be fine. Otherwise, poor Tamala Jones sounds really goofy. I feel sorry for her at times. I really do.

– Again, Beckett is back! She’s in charge, doling out orders and making decisions without having to bat her eyelashes and wiggle and jiggle to get Castle’s approval before she makes a move. Repeat after me…Castle is a civilian. Beckett is the cop. Castle is a civilian. Beckett is the cop. Anyway, is was good to see the old Beckett back at work this week. Don’t you think she’s more appealing this way than when acting like a gun-losing, high-heel-wearing, insecure, supermodel wannabe?

– The team narrowed down their suspects by eliminating the people who couldn’t be suspects. Now that’s the way it’s really done. Also, they found Charlotte Boyd (who turned out to be the killer—pegged her early on, by the way) by eliminating people who couldn’t/wouldn’t be the next victim. Good, basic police work.

– The entire blackmail case was very weak and not very well thought out by the writer. Why would people pay $50,000 for a crime they didn’t commit, as suggested by the final victim/killer. It was obvious that she was the killer, by the way.

– Don’t you love how security cameras are always, always, always in the right place at the right time with absolutely perfect full face shots of all suspects and witnesses. In real life, we normally see a grainy, black and white shadow where the face is supposed to be, making the guy look like some weird character from a horror movie.

Oh, and this red herring guy, Darren…didn’t work at all. We didn’t hear enough about him to make us believe he was a killer. Besides, the boilerplate script told us he wasn’t the guy.

12 parts to a Castle script:

1. The crime.

2. Lanie provides set up with horrible forensics information.

3. Team splits up to locate clues and witnesses.

4. Espo and Ryan pop in with exactly what Beckett needs to…

5. Kick in a door to the wrong place.

(insert kidnappings and gun-losing, as needed).

6. The red herring is introduced, usually by glaringly shoving him/her in our faces.

7. Beckett and/or team interviews red herring. He didn’t do it.

(insert kidnappings, as needed).

8. Castle magically discovers the identity of the real killer

(lose gun and kidnap Beckett and Castle here)

9. Someone returns Beckett’s gun.

Beckett makes arrest.

10. Everybody smiles and back slaps all around.

11. Sweet, goofy, touching moment.

12. Credits roll.

And – Scenes from next exciting episode of Castle…that airs either two, three, or four weeks from now after two, three, or four reruns.

Anyway, back to this episode.

– Castle notices the bows are tied differently, and he sees the odd one when walking into a room where he thinks the woman on the bed has been murdered and the killer could possibly be inside the home, hiding??? Where are his eyes focused now (above)? Where would his focus be when he first saw the woman on the bed? On the bow? Probably not. Besides, what would have drawn his attention to the bows on the other victims? That’s something that would (maybe) have been noticed later when searching for clues while comparing photos.

But, even with the usual Castle goofiness, this episode was much better than the stuff we were subjected to over the past two weeks. Actually, I’d like to forget about those two episodes. Maybe flush them into the place where bad things go. Things like Christina Aguilara’s rendition of The National Anthem, and Ashley Simpson’s SNL performance.

Yes, the crew was back this week and the episode was fun and quirky. And, of course, after four long years of not even breathing heavy and Marlowe telling us to be patient (I’ve seen human corpses and dead snails move faster than this relationship), there was this…

Yep, the relationship is moving right along…

Melanie, what’d you think of this episode? Better than last week?

Melanie Atkins

Well, after the convoluted fiasco last week, I was thrilled to see the promos for this one. Once Upon a Crime deals with a killer with a nursery rhyme theme — not anything to laugh about, unless you consider the gallows humor — and this episode brimmed with it. A dead Little Red Riding Hood brought out all sorts of Big Bad Wolf jokes… and yes! The banter was back! Not only between Rick and Kate, but also between Rick and Martha, who is putting on a strange one person play, and Ryan and our dynamic duo. This was classic Castle, and I loved it.

Sure, Lanie spouted off a few crazy notions, like claiming lividity had something to do with determining the first victim’s time of death, or that the second victim had received injections like the first one had — while she was still on the ground fully dressed at the crime scene. But the excellent banter allowed me to ignore those glitches.

Even better, Martha called Kate to invite her to her play at the loft, and then Martha told Rick, “You should make a date of it.” Maybe we should call her Matchmaking Martha. Rick’s response to all this? He pulled out the scotch. Hilarious!

We got more Ryan and Esposito this week, too, and they had a priceless scenes in the old lady’s apartment when Ryan freaked out about the dolls. I’ve got to admit, I thought they were creepy, too. So funny.

We also got some movement on the Rick-Kate front. When Kate got mad about the case at one point, Rick said, “You get cute when you get angry.” And unlike in earlier seasons, Kate didn’t get upset at all. She just smiled. Rick backed off anyway, of course, saying, “But not when you’re angry at me.” I love seeing progress in their relationship.

Then we got a bit of foreboding when they discussed the secrets the killer’s victims had been hiding for seven years. Kate said, “Secrets are like time bombs.” And Rick added, “Yeah… they explode.” Yikes! Yes, they are each still keeping secrets from each other — Kate lied to Rick when she said she didn’t remember his I love you after she was shot, and he hasn’t told her he’s still digging into her mother’s case and Kate’s own shooting — and we know that sooner or later those secrets will come out, with explosive results.

I was disappointed when Rick realized they’d arrested the wrong killer and they had to leave Martha’s play to finish solving the case, a simpler puzzle than we’ve had lately, but with a nice twist. A case I actually enjoyed hearing about.

Then they went back to the loft for Martha’s encore performance! Just Rick, Kate, Alexis, and Martha’s boy toy playwrite. How intimate and sweet. Caskett perfection, with Kate sitting on the couch next to Rick — and then she took his hand! Yes, I squeed! After the bones we’ve been thrown lately, this was true progress.

Now, we have a two week hiatus thanks to March Madness… and I know which episode I’ll rewatch during the break. This one! I loved it.

19 replies
  1. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Body of Proof – No way. I tried and couldn’t make it through 5 minutes of that nonsense. Give me Lanie any day. Besides, Delaney almost single-handedly ruined Castle during her two-part appearance.

  2. Raphael Salgado
    Raphael Salgado says:

    I missed watching this episode on Monday night, so I was able to catch up on it on ABC’s own website.

    As always, you’re spot on with the weird nuances that are meant to help the story flow along and tie it all in a bow by the end of the episode (pun intended), but since you are justifiably tearing your eyes out with the dialog that Lanie is given as a M.E., have you checked out “Body of Proof” starring Dana Delaney? I stumbled on it on their website after watching the episode, and think I found another fun show to watch!

    The mood feels different (and more real(?)) and of course, the show is mostly from the M.E.’s point of view. Subtly reminds me of the days when I watched reruns of Quincy, but it has interesting characters which I’m sure I have to catch up on in understanding their relationships. But I jumped in right away and always thought of you guys in the back of my head while watching the show.

  3. lauw
    lauw says:

    Ah! again this was so funny, genuinely laughing out loud. Dirt on feet = running from something, that one cracked me up already during the episode but Lee’s comments made it even better. Anyway, I hate what I’ve become since castle: a flailing fangirl already squealing at a small handholding moment. While at the same time hating all the procedurals they try to fit in this show. I’m torn..

  4. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    The feet comment got me as I walk around my house and outside in good weather with no shoes, but I walk with a cane. Want to know what my feet look like in summer? Sure wish dirty feet was the sign of running, then I wouldn’t have to use the cane all the time. lol I did like the show much better than some of the others. Great reveiw as usual. Thanks, Lee and Melanie.

  5. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    The feet comment got me as I walk around my house and outside in good weather with no shoes, but I walk with a cane. Want to know what my feet look like in summer? Sure wish dirty feet was the sign of running, then I wouldn’t have to use the cane all the time. lol I did like the show much better than some of the others.

  6. Stefanie Ward
    Stefanie Ward says:

    My roommate and I watch Castle on Tuesdays and then run over here to read the review, which we love. Lee has trained us on forensics sufficiently to where we cringe at the misuse of “lividity” (and I suspect Melanie’s hitting that point too, as she mentions it this week!). As an English teacher, I like to critique the writing; roommate is a hospital lab tech, so she has… other critiques.

    This week, the issue is the DNA testing. I was defending the wolf diagnosis on the grounds that, given Red Riding Hood, I’d want to test for wolf once the DNA proved nonhuman. Roommate has pointed out that, from what she knows, it might take a day to eliminate each species, which still makes this far too fast. (Also, I suspect that real cops are less like Castle than I am, and would be more likely to eliminate plausible sources like “dogs” and “cats” and “boring, realistic ideas”.)

    Keep up the good work! And thank you for being willing to go through the pain of ruining good fluff with actual brain cells. As fun as Castle is, I’m not sure it’s possible to enjoy without either vast ignorance or deliberate brain shutdown.

  7. Janet Brigham
    Janet Brigham says:

    Progress on the coffee front — maybe they’re listening, Lee. This time, Castle brought Beckett coffee in a mug, apparently from the break room. No cups to toss or recycle, no wondering why he doesn’t use the coffee machine.

    Thanks again to Lee and Mel for making Tuesday mornings wunnerful.

  8. Kapil Choudhary
    Kapil Choudhary says:

    From the case perspective, I don’t get even why the 3 victims had to be dressed in fairy tale outfits? Its not as if the killer was trying to make it look as if a serial killer did them, but she was all along just trying to make it look like revenge and I feel the Ketamine and Oxycontin was enough to establish a connection as well as the motive of revenge.

    Why then go through the trouble of obtaining 3 fairy tale dresses using a credit card of a person connected with you (which is what sealed the case against her eventually) and then lingering at the crime scene in order to dress up the victims.

    I get it that the writers wanted to have a fairy tale theme but they definitely could have done a much better job than simply dressing the victims up in costumes needlessly.

    Also, Charlotte paid for the repairs to Amy’s car (apparently Amy had no insurance either) but the 3 women somehow decide to each contribute their own share of the ransom rather than just Charlotte forking out ALL the money???? Weird…

  9. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    Better episode by far, but can’t we get poor Martha out of that apartment? She has her own acting studio, so why is she doing all of her theatrical work in Rick’s place? I know, so the producers can avoid having to build and pay for another set.
    I have some serious issues with the third woman as the killer. She’s average build, not muscular, not tall. How did she wrestle down the other two women long enough to inject them with two drugs? Did she use a tranquilizer gun from a distance? And why would Red Riding Hood run from her through Central Park (note to characters–never go in Central Park at night if you want to live). The victim could have easily outrun another woman, unless we establish that the killer was a track star.
    How did the third victim/killer know in advance that the cops were coming to her apartment so she would have time to dress up in the Sleeping Beauty outfit and inject herself with just enough drugs to knock her out but not kill her? How would she know the right amount to inject? Was she a chemistry student or pharmacist? Or should I put my brain on hold while I watch the show?
    And if the killer didn’t want anyone to tie her into the storybook rave seven years ago, why go to the trouble of dressing up the victims as she did? Why not stage the killings as a simple robbery?
    I get the feeling that the writers start with fantastic concepts but founder in the execution. It seems the writers are saying, “the show is five minutes short. We need to find someone else as the killer!” which leads to the slapdash endings.

  10. Leslie Budewitz
    Leslie Budewitz says:

    Much better –yay! The simpler stories really do work best –another lesson for us fiction writers!

    But once again, Kate goes into a space and starts investigating –and letting a civilian wander around — without clearing it first … .

  11. Tom
    Tom says:

    Actually I think you missed the reason for using Ketamine and Oxycontin on the first and subsequent victims. The hit and run victim had both drugs in his system. ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was trying to make the murders look like revenge. A better question to ask might be, how did a realtor know the right dose to kill her victims but to just make hirself unconscious? Also, what happened to the needle she injected hirself with?

  12. Liberty Speidel
    Liberty Speidel says:

    At least you have to admit that the writers sort-of played fair with the viewer this time. The killer wasn’t some obscure character we’d only seen on the sidelines, and the bows WERE in clear view every time.

    Isn’t it sort-of true that it’s the little details that trip up the smarter criminals? As far as stories go, I really thought this one was better. Initially I was pleased with Lanie (won’t know anything until I do the autopsy) but then I had the face-palm moment a little while later. *sigh* Intelligent/stupid. Intelligent/stupid. Ugh…

  13. MigalouchUD
    MigalouchUD says:

    I’m right there with you Nora when she said the dirt on the feet comment I had to pause to laugh, then I had to do it again when she said snow white was killed with the same injections of drugs. You know even though she was still leaning against the tree, completely untouched, but ya she knew the drugs and that the injections where on her back.

    One thing you definitely left out of your 12 steps Lee was the Deus Ex Machina that is usually given to tie a nice bow on the case like last night with the Credit Card information that was her proof that she killed them. I would have preferred the “Hey the bow was tied wierd lets look deeper into her as a suspect” and then them actually finding that through investigation. Instead of just magically pulling it from a hat last minute and not writing the detective work out.

    Another great review Lee!

  14. Maryann Mercer
    Maryann Mercer says:

    Not one mention of the odd amount withdrawn from each of the three accounts…in cash? Granted, Rick FINALLY came up with the caveat “the IRS (make that the Feds, Mr. Castle) requires disclosure of all withdrawals over $10,000”. As a former banker, I cringed when this wasn’t mentioned at the get-go. Not only is it required, but it’s used as a means to do exactly this type of stuff, as well as to prevent the laundering of funds possibly used for terrorist and/or drug deals. And COPS KNOW THIS! Of course, this is fiction…and would have led them to the last ‘victim’before she had a chance to ‘murder’ herself. Sigh. Altogether though, this was so much more like the old Castle…Javi and Ryan “finding something”, no Gates again, and banter (poor Lainie…I think she’s there so we don’t take it too seriously)… that I cheered! I love Martha…and it was good to see Alexis at home being a daughter rather than in scrubs. Think I may re-watch season 3 while the March Madness commences :o)

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