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There's been a murder...at Supernovacon. The owner and operator of the Nebula 9 Fan Experience turns up dead on the set. Conveniently, Castle's there to sign copies of his new graphic novel, so he and Beckett are on the case right away. As it turns out, Beckett was a big fan of Nebula 9 when she was in college, and has a total fangirl moment when she meets the show's captain: Gabriel Winters.
|Castle is less impressed.|
It turns out that the dead girl, Anabelle, had bought the rights to Nebula 9 for next to nothing and then set to work rebuilding the brand. Her new webisodes didn't sit well with the fandom, and there were plenty of nerds out there threatening to kill her. There's also a nerd at the convention who recognizes Beckett from their days at Stanford. He blows Kate's cover and shows Castle a picture of her in her Nebula 9 outfit.
|All the best military uniforms have skirts.|
At the ME's office, Perlmutter is on duty, and he has some interesting news: Anabelle was killed by a high-intensity laser blast to the chest. Someone shot her with a phaser at a sci-fi convention.
|Castle is giddy as a schoolgirl.|
|What has been seen cannot be unseen.|
|They should have listened.|
They catch up with the boyfriend, but he says he left her at a party after she said she never wanted to see him again. She was also crying because the guy dating her best friend and business partner tried to kiss her. It didn't go his way and she decided it was time to dissolve the partnership and sell the rights to Nebula 9, which turned out to be worth $2.5 million. Castle and Beckett interview the business, but she's offended by the insinuation that she killed her best friend and clams up.
That leaves them with five suspects and no way of figuring out which one was the murderer. That is, until Castle waves his hand over a UV light on the bridge of the Nebula 9 Fan Experience. When he fired the Thorian blaster, the energy emissions left a superficial burn on his hands that glows under ultraviolet light.
They call everyone to the set and have them wave their hands over the same light Castle did. Winters has the characteristic burns, but he explains them by saying he bought the other blaster from Armin because he's the captain, and if anyone should have a working blaster, it should be him. They're no closer to finding the killer, but as Stephanie tries to sneak off the bridge, her hand glows, and she's intercepted by Ryan and Esposito. With nowhere to run, she takes Winters hostage with his own blaster. She's been trying to become a real actress, and with Anabelle selling the rights, Nebula 9 would've started up again, and the stench of it would have dragged her down once more. Her career's over now, but at least she can have the satisfaction of killing Gabriel. But, before she can fire, he kicks her ass and disarms her.
|Because he's the goddamn Captain.|
With the murder solved, Castle goes back to trying to convince Beckett to wear one of her Nebula 9 uniforms for him. She says yes, but in exchange he has to watch a marathon of the series and he's not allowed to make fun of it. She drives a hard bargain, but he agrees.
|It doesn't quite go the way he'd hoped.|
What I Liked
-The episode's director, Jonathan Frakes, makes a cameo as Castle's biggest fan. He's doing all right considering TNG ended like 20 years ago.
-Ed Quinn does Tim Allen doing William Shatner in Galaxy Quest. It's a really good version of the overly-important, washed up sci-fi actor.
-Castle does impressions of two separate Star Trek captains. His Kirk was funnier, but I think his Picard was more accurate.
-"Thorian blasters don't kill. People do." In the US, energy blasters are constitutionally protected.
-Alexis comes home after her dad spots her at the con and asks if he wants to talk about it. He does not and neither does she. Sometimes it's best to pretend something never happened.
-They end the episode with Shatner's 'Ideal Woman' playing while Beckett romps around in her scary alien mask. If there's a better way to end an episode, I don't know what it is.
What I Hated
-The product placement for the Derrick Storm comic was just a little too blatant this time. Usually, I'm okay with it because I find it hilarious that a fictional character writes real books, but they went a bit overboard.
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I'm not sure I'm comfortable thinking about Molly Quinn as a full-grown woman. Sure, she's 19 now, but I've been watching her on TV since she was a kid, and it just feels a bit weird. Then again, she's pretty cute, and if I were ten years younger, I'd totally be all up ons if I saw her at the local drinking establishment. Honestly, the whole concept has me very conflicted.
|Molly Quinn as Alexis in her cosplay outfit.|
Beyond that, I think I'm probably the perfect demographic for this episode. It had everything: Jonathan Frakes, a scenery-chewing sci-fi captain, sexy outfits, Armin Shimerman selling weapons, an awesome starship bridge, Captain Malcolm Reynolds doing an impersonation of Captain Picard and Captain Kirk, working blaster pistols, and a spoken word song by Bill Shatner. What more could you possibly want?
They've done these sorts of theme episodes before, and they play up Nathan Fillion's history as a sci-fi icon every now and then, but I think this is the first time they've ever shown Castle himself to be a full-on sci-fi geek. Since they decided to make Derrick Storm graphic novels, it makes sense, though; He really is the kind of guy who should be hawking his wares at cons these days.
Personally, I think this is exactly what an episode of Castle should be. There was a murder, and they investigated it, but it was never serious, and they looked like they were having a lot of fun. That's what sets this show apart from all the other police procedurals out there. They may never be able to compete on the serious business end of police work, but when it comes to goofy crime-solving fun, Castle is better than any other show on TV today.
Nevertheless, I vacillated a little bit about this rating because the episode was more or less made for guys just like me, and I'm not sure if it has broad-based appeal. But, you know what? Screw it. It was hands down the most entertaining episode of TV I've seen all season.