A Dose of Realism for Castle in ‘Head Case’

Posted on October 9, 2011


The gang's latest case has Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) a bit stumped.

Gunshots, a fleeing van and a massive blood pool all point to murder, but when Castle & Beckett arrive at the crime scene, they discover that it lacks something – the victim! The investigation leads to the cutting-edge world of life-extension science, a cunning high-tech researcher, and a sleazy porn mogul who invested in a modern-day “fountain of yo uth.” Meanwhile, Alexis finds out whether she got into Stanford. (Synopsis from IMDB)


Castle continues to perform strongly this season with a solid ‘crime of the week’ episode in ‘Head Case’. Taking on a tried and tested plot of cryogenics and slightly more developed Dorian Gray types, the gang look at the idea of prolonging life and, ironically, dying to do so.


The best part of the episode for me though was the stuff going on in the background. Alexis’ rejection from Stanford – who saw that one coming? And Holy Moly but the teenager has landed in a big way, that often quiet vulnerability that Molly C Quinn sometimes portrays coming to a bubbling head in an outburst of anger and a demoralising examination of self –worth. We’ve all been there.


What was more impressive was the way it was dealt with. Nathan Fillion was excellent and the scripting of his scenes with Alexis was perfectly written. The realism of such a disappointment was perfect. He’s a best selling novelist so he could probably make a call and get her in even though it’s what no one would want. But instead, he gives her a valuable lesson in rejection.


Castle’s admitting to Beckett that he fears the childhood he gave his daughter may have made her incapable of dealing with rejection is done with Fillion’s own perfectly realised vulnerability. It’s probably a question every parent asks themselves at some stage – Have I ruined my son or daughter? His worry was brilliantly portrayed and Beckett’s reassurance equally so. I’ve said it before but these moments between Castle & Beckett where they have grown up conversations are really, really good.


The crime itself this week was another dose of fun, following on from last week. There are never enough jokes to be made about a stolen, disembodied head. There wasn’t a lot going on in it as such but it was solid and entertaining.


This was also probably the first week we got to see Gates in action, cracking the whip so to speak. Her ribbing of Beckett at the beginning drew one of the funniest facial expressions from Stana Katic that I’ve seen on a TV screen for a while.


It was at Gates’ line “Men? You’ve narrowed the victim pool down to ‘men’?” Beckett clearly tries to come up with some response, fails and just looks at her as much as if to say ‘Step off bitch’. She’s so affronted by Gates. It’s one thing that Katic is really good at – her face gives away so much more than a long monologue or biting comeback could.


What I think will be interesting now is where Alexis goes from here. Her world has, as she put herself, been shattered. She spent all of her childhood making sure she could get into the best schools but now discovers or should I say believes that it didn’t make a blind bit of difference. What will she do now? How do teenagers react when they’ve had the rug pulled out from under them?


Castle’s comments toward the end of the episode are a nice moral to dish out. He keeps his rejection letter framed because it drives him and reminds him of how far he’s come. I suspect Alexis doesn’t quite appreciate the symbolism of that yet.


One other thing: we’re three weeks in, nearly four and this therapist that Beckett is seeing hasn’t technically been seen yet. I wonder, with the return of 3XK, will we see Beckett thrashing out some issues with her mind-man? Her worry for Castle in that case might justify such a visit seeing as the killer’s return will almost certainly stir up some jitters in Castle after how the last time ended. Looking forward to it immensely.


Bromancing the Stone

Ryan’s “Think they can put me under until the wedding?” line cracked me up.


But the Ryan-Espo moment was definitely the animal cruelty conversation at Esposito’s desk and Ryan’s look of disgust at its presence. Ryan’s “There’s still time to cryonically freeze the little guy” was great, as was his forgetting the reason why he came to the desk in the first place. The Hudson campus cops look forward to welcoming the two boys.


Caskett Watch

Once again, a clear cut winner here with the closing scene summing up most viewers wishes. “I hope they make it” – “Me too.” It’s a little obvious perhaps that neither character is talking about the two dead bodies in the tanks but it’s gotten to a stage with them now that they don’t even seem coy about the idea of being together anymore. Castle is chipping away at the stone that he thought he had knocked down with his declaration of love at the end of Season 3. Beckett, it seems, is allowing herself to consider the idea of her and Castle is almost openly encouraging it – see the implants comment. It’s all building nicely. But as previously stated, expect a bomb to go off around episode 13 when she finds out about Castle’s secret investigation.


Line of the Night

“One thing I’ve learned is you never know how much time you have and if I thought I had more I just might end up wasting it.” Nice moralising from Beckett.