Little Red Riding Hood runs through the woods. Someone is chasing her. Could it be the Big, Bad Wolf? It seems possible after Little Red’s dead body is found with gruesome claw marks on her face. Since the wolf can talk in the classic story, Castle is optimistic about getting a confession should they catch this fairy tale fiend.
The victim is identified as a high-powered attorney named Amy Morgan. Her sister, Leslie, and brother-in-law, Darren, have no idea why she would be dressed like Little Red Riding Hood. Castle wonders if Amy was involved in an adult role-playing subculture obsessed with fairy tales. Beckett’s face tightens as he reminisces about some research he once did with Little Bo Peep.
Amy recently withdrew $50,605 from her bank account—an odd number in more ways than one. Beckett asks Esposito to check out her bank. He responds, “As you wish.” We’re thinking that was a shout-out a classic little fairy tale flick called The Princess Bride. Love it! As far as the case, things take a turn when another murder victim is found in the park. This woman is dressed as Snow White. Better put out an APB on the Evil Queen!
Snow White’s real name is Kristina Curtis. Just like Amy Morgan, this second woman was drugged before being killed. Kristina’s husband says that his wife was an art gallery worker who skipped a lunch date with him on the same day Amy was unaccounted for. This was just before she was killed. She also withdrew the exact same amount of cash as the first victim.
The fairy tale costumes worn by the two victims came from the same place. A third outfit was also ordered. This one is for Sleeping Beauty. The items are traced to an elderly woman who collects dolls. Ryan is a little freaked out by this lady’s apartment. He’s been afraid of dolls ever since the Chucky movies. The elderly woman receives lots of packages that are left in her lobby, but she never ordered any fairy tale costumes.
Through some fancy detective work, the team learns that the third target of the fairy tale killer is Charlotte Boyd. Beckett and Castle storm her apartment. Charlotte is found on the bed in full Sleeping Beauty attire. She’s still alive. Castle believes they got there just in time just like in the fairy tale. Beckett says, “So, what… you’re Prince Charming now?” Castle responds, “Well, if the shoe fits.”
An old photo featuring all three victims is found at Charlotte’s place. They are all dressed as fairy tale characters. The date stamp on the photo reads 05/06/05 which corresponds with the amount of money they all withdrew. There’s a note on the back of the photo. It reads: Who’s the guiltiest of them all? If you pay you’ll live to see another day.”
A young man is also seen in the photo. His name is Owen Thomas. The guy was killed on the date the photo was taken. He died after a hit-and-run accident. Castle believes the three women were being blackmailed in an I Know What You Did Last Summer way.
When Sleeping Beauty awakens, she talks about the night she and her friends attended a rave. They were all pretty messed up. They left Owen by the side of the road when he started having hallucinations. The three girls made a pact to never say anything about that night when Owen was reported dead the next day.
The team learns that Owen’s older brother is married to Amy Morgan’s sister, Leslie. Darren had the pictures printed after finding an old roll of film. He realized the girls left Owen by the side of the road the night he was killed. He wanted them to pay for what they did. That’s why hatched the blackmail plot, but swears he didn’t kill anyone. Castle has his doubts about Darren being a murderer, too.
Martha is having a staged reading of her new semi-autobiographical one-woman play. We say it’s semi-autobiographical because a lot of it is semi-true. Creative license. It’s called How to Do it All… Without Even Trying. Catchy! As Castle helps Martha with her costume, something about her bow has him thinking they arrested the wrong man.
Castle and Beckett visit Charlotte in the hospital. They get the real story of the night Owen Thomas died. The three girls were in the car that killed him. Charlotte claims Amy was driving, but that’s a lie. Castle knows that the killer tied all three bows on the costumes of the victims. Only Charlotte’s bow looked like it was self-tied. She’s the one who hit Owen and murdered her former friends when the secret looked like it was about to be revealed. Case closed.
Castle and Beckett catch an encore performance of Martha’s staged reading. She tells the story of how she gave up the role of a lifetime on Broadway to fulfill an even greater role as a mother. It’s a sweet moment that doesn’t last long once Martha begins to delve into her son’s story. Castle is, of course, mortified. Thankfully, Beckett is there to playfully grab his hand in support. Sadly, we have no idea how long that hand-holding lasted.