A murder at a science fiction convention. Anyone not expecting a Firefly reference or two? I certainly was, yet they still made me laugh.
The fictional show that our murder revolves around is Nebula 9. This cheesy show only lasted 12 episode and that was 10 years ago (Firefly reference in the number of episodes and how long ago it aired). Castle has no use for it, saying he prefers Star Trek, Galatica, and that Joss Whedon show (reference #2). Of course, Beckett turns out to be a fan of Nebula 9, something that Castle can’t stop teasing her about, although he is also begging to see her in the uniform she wore at the time as a fan.
At this convention, there is the “fan experience.” Created by an ubber fan of the show (who bought the rights to it cheaply), this “show” allows fans to pretend they are members of the crew and act out an episode with the original captain, or at least the actor who played him.
And after one such performance, the creator of the fan experience is found dead in a prop on the set.
Naturally, the list of suspects becomes quite long. They include:
The “Captain” – an out of work actor who makes his living off these fan appearances. But they’ve been having problems since he shows up late and drunk.
Her Friends – She and her two best friends have done webisodes based on the series and work hard at these fan expos. Those two friends are dating, but the guy recently came on to our victim. She was so upset, she decided she was going to call an end to the conventions. And the other friend? She inherited the rights to the show when our victim died. Considering the money she gained, that’s motive as well.
The random man she always hooked up with at the con – although he has no known motive.
“Lt. Chloe” – the actress who played the female lead on the show is thankful that it gave her a break into the industry, but she’s spent the last 10 years trying to distance herself from the show now that she’s a serious actress. She was seen talking to the victim not too long before she died, but again no known motive exists.
The wound on the victim was also a little interesting. It turns out to be a lazar wound, but has anyone created a lazar that small? Turns out yes, and we track down the man who has made just two of them. And one was bought as a gift for the victim. It is the murder weapon, and Castle fires it. The inventor of the gun makes a comment about him firing it “without protection”, and Castle spends the rest of the episode worrying that he is losing his hair or some vital body part.
But that turns out to be the clue that solves the case. While on the set of the fan experience, Castle and Beckett discover that the gun leaves behind a residue that black light picks up. So, in a first for the show (or at least something unusual), they round all the suspects up in the room and make them display their hands one at a time. And the killer is…
Lt. Chloe. The victim was just about to sell the rights, which would mean movies and a new TV show. She just wanted it to go away and was hoping by killing the victim, the interest in the show would die down. Something tells me it would just pick up all the more.
Alexis gets a couple of scenes for a brief sub-plot. Castle and Beckett run into her and a couple of friends dressed as scantily clad alien assassins. Castle over reacts to her lack of clothing. Alexis then shows up at the loft, asking if he wants to talk about it. He says no, and the both seem relieved with that.
Beckett also gives a great speech about how certain shows resonate with certain audiences. Yes, she agrees that Nebula 9 was cheesy and poorly acted. Yet the themes and characters meant something to her at the time. I like that, and it certainly explains some passion for short lived shows.
The final scene is of Castle finally getting his wish. In exchange for watching all the episodes of the show, Beckett has agreed to dress up in her replica uniform. But she tricks him by coming out with the villain alien mask from the show on as well. A freaked Castle bumps into some things as he leaves the room.
The geek in me has to make another couple notes. The episode was directed by Jonathan Frakes, who starred as Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation. And the man who created the gun was Armin Shimerman who spent 7 years as Quark, the Ferangi owner of the bar on Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and three years as Buffy’s principal on Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Of course, the episode would have been perfect if they had mentioned Babylon 5, my personal sci-fi TV favorite. It rarely gets the love it deserves, but that’s a topic for another time and place.
I know this recap was a bit different. Anything I missed? Thoughts? It was certainly a fun episode.
And another plug. If you haven’t seen it, go see Wreck-It Ralph, and read my review to find out why.