Castle, S4 Ep 18 – A Dance With Death


Since the last episode of this show, I’ve moved to a place where I don’t have regular internet access yet, so I was prepared to skip recapping this ep. But when I watched it, I realized I had to recap it. It’s like the writers took the plot of Ringer and distilled it into a single episode! Too awesomely fitting to pass up.

We open on the beginning of an episode of “Night of Dance”, which is obviously So You Think You Can Dance except with murder thrown in. For this one episode, I mean, although I suppose that would make that kind of show more interesting to a wider audience. Two contestants are competing tonight. Contestant Santino comes out on stage and strikes a sultry pose (while “Copacabana” plays in the background), but contestant Odette does not appear. That’s because she’s dead in her dressing room.

At Castle’s loft, Martha informs her son that she ran into theater critic Una Marconi at the beauty salon today, and invited her to dinner so that she could ask Una to mention Martha’s acting school in her column. Rick is astonished that Martha has apparently forgotten the “blistering” critique Una did of her 1983 performance of Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – which he proceeds to quote at length. Me-ouch. But Martha insists she can rise above it for the sake of her acting school.

Lanie and Odette

I think the bullet wound kind of ruins the look of her costume.

At the crime scene, Lanie informs our duo that the COD was a single GSW to the heart, which would have killed the victim, Odette Morton, instantly. According to those who saw her last and the show’s schedule, she was killed in a nineteen-minute window just as the show was beginning. Lanie thinks it was an inside job, based on Odette being favored to win the show. She describes Odette’s story: a rich girl raised by her grandfather who led a bad lifestyle until a brush with death made her change her ways. She also admits she watches because she wanted to be a ballerina when she was a girl.

Ryan & Esposito find out from Odette’s fellow contestants that Odette left rehearsal for a half hour earlier that day, to meet a friend. Meanwhile, Beckett and Castle are interviewing Odette’s brother, Paul. He gives them more details of Odette’s bad-girl ways: she took it hard when her grandfather died, started partying hard and doing drugs, got arrested several times — but then cleaned up her act after she nearly died in a train derailment. When asked if there was anyone from her old life or the show that she had problems with, Paul tells them about another contestant named Eddie.

Eddie, it turns out, was the most recently eliminated contestant on the show. The judges tell C & B that Eddie was cast on the show to fill the role of the guy from the wrong side of the tracks, and when he was eliminated, he got angry — and threatening. In fact, he blamed Odette in his exit interview and threatened her with murder. Plus, he was seen in the studio the night Odette was murdered. On top of all that, the rules state that when a contestant is unable to perform (say, if they’re dead), the most recently eliminated contestant is asked to come back. My, this would just be the perfect solution, wouldn’t it? So neat and quick. Oh, you say it’s only eight minutes into the show?

Of course, it turns out Eddie has an alibi for the time of death.

Eddie isn't guilty

Yes, he's the perfect suspect! So he's not guilty.

But he also has some information for Castle and Beckett: Odette had been acting strange all last week, and then he saw her meet with a guy in the back alley and give him a large quantity of cash. He says he can give them a description of this mysterious guy, too.

As our team wonders whether Odette had fallen back into drugs or what, Kate has been digging into her financial records. In the last month, her credit card spending shot up for some reason. They talk to the business manager/financial adviser for the Morton family, Mr. Lynchburg. To me, he looks vaguely like a poor man’s (heh, unintentional irony there) Robert Patrick, so I think I’ll call him Doggett. Also, I pegged him right away as the murderer. Spoiler, sorry. But thankfully the rest of the episode is still well worth watching. He tells Beckett that Odette used to go on wild spending sprees when she was in her troubled phase: buying cars, paying for a friend’s nose job, things like that. This time, though, she racked up all those charges buying clothes, mostly from one particular department store.

Beckett and Espo are confused as to why Odette would buy thousands of dollars worth of clothes that weren’t even her size. Castle has the explanation, however: the old “gas card scheme”, where you use an allowance given to you by your parents for necessities, such as gas, to buy it for your friends and then they pay you in cash.

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