Off With His Head!

Posted on Mar 18 2012 - 12:16pm by Aashay Dalvi

No, these are not the Red Queen’s orders. They are “preservation” techniques used by a cryogenics company! Hmm… Anyway, a rejection from the “Head” of Admissions and a “Head”-less corpse quickly leads to a storage unit filled with “heads”…..Literally!
O.K., So that was strange…
You see how close you are to getting a “Head”-ache, well, I was right there, sitting through the pain with the hope that Caskett will somehow alleviate the pain. And, after a while it did!

Likewise was the latest installment of Castle, Head Case,” dealt with a missing head, rejection for Alexis and lots of screen time for all of our favorite detectives. Let’s dig in.

This week, Gunshots, a fleeing van and a massive blood pool allpoint 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 youth.” Meanwhile, Alexis finds out whether she got into Stanford.

A bright light from outer space comes crashing down into the streets of Manhattan, a van pulls away into the night, and we’re left staring at a big pool of blood … and so begins another twisted episode of Castle!

Cut to Richard Castle’s apartment where Alexis finally gets her much-anticipated letter from “Mr. Stan Ford.” As she tears open the envelope, we can’t help but fear the worst, and the heart-wrenching look of sadness in Alexis’s baby blue eyes is all the confirmation we need — she’s been rejected by Stanford.

This week on Castle, the team nearly fell to pieces trying to solve a murder case without a body. Back at the bloody, body-less crime scene, the only clues left behind are some tire treads, two different sized footprints, and an imprint of a box or case in the blood. That is, until Castle and Beckett found a few too many bodies. Turns out the murder victim was set to be cryogenically frozen, so sometime in the distant future he could party with Walt Disney. Closer to home, Alexis gets a rejection letter from Stanford and spirals into a needy, sweatpants-wearing funk. Personally, I didn’t know anything at all about cryonics prior to “Head Case.” Thanks to the ever trusty Wikipedia, I have to say the controversial subject is pretty, let’s say, different.

Castle and Beckett get called out to a fairly unconventional murder scene. Mostly, it’s unconventional because there is no dead body, just a creepy pool of blood. The only thing they have to go on is a briefcase pattern and the fact that the blood belonged to a male. While Castle rattles off the male/female ratio of New York City, Captain Gates decides she’s voting for anyone else but the current mayor if it means getting rid of Castle.

Their one break in the case is a van spotted nearby which leads them into an abandoned warehouse you’d see in any good torture-porn movie. But before you can say Human Centipede it turns out that where they really are is just the creepiest cryogenics laboratory of all time.

Turns out their murder victim was a client of theirs wearing a watch that sent out a signal when he expired and the lab just picked up his body for freezing. Finally Castle and Beckett have their murder victim’s identity, a professor Lester Hamilton, who was working on extending life by at least ten years with his Ambrosia Project. Sadly, they still don’t have his body because the lab refuses to let them take it. Bummer.

Beckett shows off some impressive lawyer knowledge when the cryo firm threatens to sue if they take the body, but it leaves them without much to work with. Instead of getting information from Lanie they have to investigate the old fashion way, by looking into Hamilton’s life. Hamilton was close to a breakthrough with his life extending project and one of his investors was Beau Randolph, a sleazy pigeon shooter that makes off-brand Girls Gone Wild videos called “College Girls Gone Crazy.”

Castle isn’t into this anymore because Alexis is now almost college-aged so suddenly he wants to alter all the girls’ hemlines. Of course, to be in ‘College Girls Gone Crazy’ I’d assume you’d have to actually be in college, so maybe he doesn’t have to worry. Sorry, low blow!

Clearly Randolph is so sleazy and gross that he’s not the actual culprit, despite the fact that he argued with Hamilton. Neither is a student that trashed Hamilton’s office trying to get a better grade. Both are obvious red herrings but at least the creepy environment of Randolph’s exploitation empire leads to some super cute Caskett flirting.

When Castle asks Beckett if she would get the life extension “implants” she looks down appraisingly at her ample lady business. “I don’t think I’d need them,” she says and Castle agrees sweetly. You kids, just get on with it already! They discuss whether they’d take ten more years, with Beckett on the side of ‘treasure what you have’ and Castle on the side of ‘the more the better’! What WE all can agree on, however, is that they are adorable. 

The team finally gets the green signal to examine Hamilton’s body, as long as they don’t disturb his head. Of course, after another cute Caskett brain storming session Lanie needs to interrupt with a bone saw, it turns out they need the head as well. But not so fast, because Hamilton’s former best friend has absconded with it.

This leads to a hilarious chase scene that involves fire escapes, dropped heads and Castle jumping into a garbage bin for really no good reason. Turns out Hamilton had a stage-five brain tumor he was hiding from everyone.

Or was he? His wife found out and didn’t agree with his decision to work on his research until the very end, which would let the tumor ravage his brain and make it useless for cryogenics storage. Instead, she shot and killed him so they could be together at some point in the distant future, when technology can make whole new bodies and we’re all flying around in spaceships trying to avoid the Alliance and dressing like we’re in a western. Oops, sorry. That’s Firefly. I got Nathan Fillion shows confused again.

After they catch her, Castle and Beckett wonder if it was a crime of love or insanity. Beckett says the two can be pretty close and then gives Castle that “I remember” look that I imagine she’ll be sporting all season. But they don’t have too long to look into each other’s eyes because the cryogenics people get another weird watch buzz … from INSIDE the building. It’s Hamilton’s wife, who used her Lucrezia Borgia ring to poison herself in order to join Hamilton in the future.

Standing for some reason in the cryo lab again, Castle and Beckett wonder if Hamilton and Lady Hamilton will see each other again. It seems like long odds. But Beckett thinks the great love stories are about beating the odds. Caskett shippers, all together now: awww!

Meanwhile, after Alexis gets a rejection letter from Stanford, she starts on a Rory Gilmore-esque downward spiral (pardon the Gilmore Girls reference, couldn’t help it!). Unlike Rory Gilmore, who stole yachts and got arrested, Alexis just boxes up her trophies and wears a lot of sweatpants. It’s still pretty grim. It is the curse of the level-headed, adored by everyone child that when things don’t go their way they completely unravel.

The model teenager faced the dream-crushing realization that she did not get into Stanford. This plot line gave Alexis an arc that is relatable for everyone. Who hasn’t been devastated about not getting something they have worked so hard for? Although it looks like Alexis won’t be leaving us anytime soon, it’s the best move for her. The girl needs to find her own way. Plus, this gave us viewers awesome father/daughter scenes that had me reaching for the phone to talk to my own dad.

Castle is really worried about her, especially when she starts trying to throw out her old spelling bee plaques and baseball trophies, wondering if she ever really earned them. Castle is worried that he created a very smart, sweet, well behaved monster incapable of dealing with rejection.

They finally have a heart to heart where Alexis wonders how Castle dealt with rejection. How does he deal with the framed first rejection letter on his wall? Castle tells her it just makes him want to try even harder. It’s not the rejection but what you do afterwards that counts. Alexis seems to take this advice to heart.

Overall, it’s a very sweet story between the two of them that’s actually very realistic. Alexis is totally the kind of smart over-achiever who is so used to getting what she wants that she would crumple at the first roadblock. But we’ve also seen that Alexis is one tough cookie (You might want to remember the honey badger fighting performance in the première) so it makes sense that she’d be able to pull herself out of it eventually. It’ll be interesting to see what she decides to do next. I’m guessing it involves a school in New York so we can continue seeing her next season. Castle’s home life is a big part of what makes this show so great so it’s nice to think she won’t be jetting off to Stanford midseason.

This was a strong episode, besides the far-fetched plot line. The only thing that I had an issue with was the Alexis storyline. There was no purpose for her storyline besides as a filler which was fairly obvious. She has so much potential to be a major character on the show, but as of this moment I can hardly stand her with rapidly changing attitudes with the snippets that we do get. I want the Alexis that we all know and love to come back.

Addict Verdict: Overall, not the best Castle episode, especially compared to last week’s “Heroes & Villains.” Sometimes there is just one too many twists and this felt like just that. Even though the case wasn’t amazing, there were still plenty of Castle/Alexis and Castle/Beckett scenes to make up for it.

Fix-Your-Eyes-On-Me Scene: The scene where Castle and Beckett bust into Boyd’s apartment and follow the head stealer in a dramatic chase down the fire escape. Beckett tackles him to the ground while Castle does a little dumpster diving. “I got Hamilton’s head!” he exclaims!

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Does the idea of freezing your dead body creep you out, too? Who else jumped when they discovered the people in those shiny space ship like tubes? Not enough Caskett moments? Where will Alexis go to school now that Stanford is out? Sound off in the comments!

About the Author

Television Critic. Loquacious. Ludicrous. and completely loony! Tune in for my telly reviews!