Super Hero? Serial Killer? Super Hero Serial Killer!

Posted on Mar 15 2012 - 7:00pm by Aashay Dalvi

We’ve heard of Super Heroes. We’ve heard of Serial Killers. We’ve also heard of Super Heroes defeating Serial Killers. Can’t say about you, but, I’ve never heard of a Super Hero being a Serial Killer, let alone see one!
No, Dexter Morgan is not a Super Hero, he’s just a blood spatter analyst, with a “hobby”, and we’ll leave it at that!
Nonetheless, when Kate Beckett finds a vengeful superhero, all with costumes and everything,  even Richard Castle, Dr. Sheldon Cooper & Stan Lee are at a loss of words! Read on:

This week on Castle, when an ex-con is mysteriously slain in an alley, Castle and Beckett believe a vigilante is behind the murder. But efforts to identify their suspect are thwarted when they discover that he roams the city in a Superhero costume — and may indeed be a Superhero. Can they capture and unmask the killer before he strikes again? Lets find out..

Heroes & Villains” was particularly gruesome, as well as the source of much geeking out on Castle’s part, as the victim was cut in half with a sword by a masked man, a la Game of Thrones. The episode opens like a scene out of Sin City (incidentally the first comic book Beckett bought!) with a man being cut in two while assaulting a woman. As the victim was attempting to rape a girl down a dark alley when he was murdered, the police assume the crime is some form of vigilante killing: “Dirty Harry with a sword!” One thing I love about Castle is how you can tell the writers  of the show have obviously majored in Critical Studies (they did actually, at USC) because of their extensive witty film references. Whoever wrote this episode should be given some kind of nerd medal, because it’s amazing.

But because the witness can’t describe the attacker to the detectives, they have no idea what he might look like. The almost-victim didn’t want to reveal that the guy who saved her was dressed like a comic character because she didn’t think anybody would believe her. And they wouldn’t have, but Castle and Beckett found someone else (Tony the butcher!) who had witnessed the superhero in action previously and had caught him on surveillance tapes. Tony the butcher dropped his pants to show Beckett and Castle that a comic character had carved an L in his behind.

At any rate, we get the feeling that the victim, Tyler Ferris, wasn’t a nice guy because not only is his mother not upset that he’s dead, she flat out calls her son a “dumbass loser” and is not even slightly surprised by the fate that’s befallen him. Ferris’ mom doesn’t seem too concerned about her son’s death. But she does have some 411 on him: Ferris was recently fighting with the “mobbed up” Tony “The Butcher” Valtini over money. Butcher? Sword? Makes perfect sense! (before you jump to conclusions, he actually does run a meat-packing company in addition to being part of the mob, so the moniker doesn’t necessarily mean he’s guilty).

In the interview room, Castle describes the Tyler’s death to Tony with his usual host of delightfully awful puns: “he’s half the man he used to be; suffering from a split personality; soon starring on Two and a Half Men” (Damn, I love that reference!!). Turns out, Tony was also attacked by a vigilante who accused him of criminal conduct and carved an L in his butt and without warning, he yanks down his pants to expose an L-shaped scar.

Superheroes and comics and swords? This is all right up Castle’s alley. He doesn’t waste any time employing his comic book intellect! It is then that Castle realizes this is the coolest case ever because their killer is a superhero. While it all might sound a little surreal, Castle insists there’s a whole underground subculture of real-life superheroes. He’s sure the superhero in question designed his costume himself drawing from Spiderman, Dead Pool and Black Panther, to name a few.

Castle’s spidey senses are tingling…Only Nathan Fillion could deliver this line in a believable and adorable fashion. Juxtaposing the killer’s outfit with his personal collection of Marvel comics (Beckett once again proves she and Castle are meant for each other by marvel-ling (get it?) at his collection), Castle examines the components that went into the design of the costume and comes to the conclusion that the killer probably has a dead father or loved one and is mild-mannered in real life. What’s more? There’s one part of the vigilante’s costume that came from a very specific limited-edition comic book, only available at one spot in the city. Guess the crew knows where to head next!

Castle and Beckett set out for the comic book store (where she admits to buying her first comic at 14…Beckett – a comic book geek?! Who’d have thought?) to do some hands-on research. They both succinctly define their own characters by revealing what comic book characters they’d most like to be (Beckett: Elektra, a ruthless, emotionally withdrawn assassin and Castle: Bruce Wayne, a millionaire with a house full of cool toys). At the store, they discover that their killer matches the description of an online fringe comic, “The Sword of Lone Vengeance.” We also find out that Beckett has already pre-ordered Castle’s Derek Storm graphic novel. Aww!

Based on Esposito’s findings, they arrest Chad Higney, a guy who appears to fit the bill, as he’s practicing kung fu kicks in his apartment in a Lone Vengeance costume. But this theory quickly falls apart, as it turns out not only that his father is alive, but also that he was the pathetic superhero previously seen in the YouTube video. He is merely a wannabe Lone Vengeance, hoping to work as his partner. Castle astutely points out that the word “Lone” probably means the vigilante doesn’t want a partner.

Back to square one, Castle is going over the comic book itself for clues, when he notices the incident with Tony the Butcher is actually a moment in the comic book. Castle realizes that Lone Vengeance is a real person, and that his nightly street-prowling is the source of inspiration for the comic. However, Lone Vengeance has always stood for stamping out crime, so why did he suddenly commit murder? It must be personal.

They discover that Tyler had recently been talking to a reporter from the crime scene and threatened him saying, “I know who you really are.” Ryan, making his most valiant attempt at a Castle theory, suggests that the reporter, Paul Whittaker, killed Tyler to keep his true identity as Lone Vengeance under wraps. They bring Paul in for questioning…

Everything seems to line up…Paul was mugged last year, but the mugger got the worst of it, so he used his newfound strength to hit the streets and use the comic as a diary. Paul confesses to everything, which sets off alarm bells for Castle, who asks a question about the details of the murder, revealing that Paul is not actually Lone Vengeance. Castle remarks on the similarity of Paul and LV to him and Beckett, which leads to amusing comments about her being scantily clad and wielding a sword.

Finally, because I guess they saw that episode of Criminal Minds with the exact same premise, they start looking into the writer of the comic. Turns out the comic has been getting published AFTER the crimes are taking place, meaning it’s not a copycat. They figure out that the author’s name Sean Elt is really an anagram for iconic comic legend Stan Lee and is the non de plume of local crime writer Paul Whittaker.

Ryan impresses everyone with his Castle impression while imagining why Whittaker might have done it. Beckett gets the reporter to confess, but that’s not enough for Castle. He wants to know how the reporter-slash-superhero broke his superhero code and his answer makes clear to both Beckett and Castle that this guy isn’t the killer. The reporter is actually the writer of the comic, but not the one dressing up like it. And still the real fake superhero is not in custody. It’s a cinch to find Whittaker, who’s trying to sell his comic collection for easy money, which means in Castle tradition that he’s not the killer. But then why is he willing to sign a confession and who is he trying to protect?

Castle and Beckett go back to the crime scene to look for a costume piece that might have fallen off, while Esposito tracks down leads on samurai swords recently purchased. Lone Vengeance shows up, knocks Beckett down, and steals into the night with the only concrete piece of evidence they had. But Esposito calls to say they’ve figured out who the guy is because he bought a sword in a pawn shop. Castle and Beckett go to Lone Vengeance’s lair to ambush him (as Castle remarks, it’s pretty disappointing for a lair). And it turns out that Lone Vengeance is a female! AND a police officer!

“Officer Hastings?!” they yell when she’s uncovered, and I wondered if she was a character I had just never paid attention to. Like all superheroes and flawed TV cops, Anne Hastings has a tragic backstory. This one involves her father’s needless death and the need to change things. Does that sound a bit familiar? She insists that Beckett’s obsession with her mother’s case makes them very alike. However, it turns out the killer was an imposter Lone Vengeance…Hastings had done her own detective work on the button she stole from Beckett in the alley. She wanted to figure out who wanted her and Tyler off the streets. And because Hastings is just like our favorite feelings-phobic lead detective, Beckett knows she didn’t kill the creep in the alley.

That means, if you’re keeping track, there’s a third Lone Vengeance out there! “A criminal who wanted vengeance against Lone Vengeance,” says Castle.

Which brings us all back to Tony the Butcher, who needed Lone Vengeance to stop wrecking havoc on his enterprise and to punish Tyler for ratting on his organization to Lone Vengeance. Turns out Lone Vengeance was bad for business and Ferris, the alley creep, was leaking trade secrets to her. So the businessman decided to frame Lone Vengeance for murder.

Meanwhile, Paul chats with Castle and assumes Castle must be wondering why he tried to take the fall for Hastings. Castle, being in the same position in the writer-subject relationship as Paul, says “No, you’re in love with her.” (And you can kind of see him thinking: No, you poor sap. I’d do the same for Beckett cause I love her, and I can see it written all over your face.)

Beckett then lets Hastings out of jail and tells her, “You’re a good cop and you have someone who cares about you. Don’t be so driven by the past that you forget about your future.” Now if only she could take that advice herself! Castle and Beckett watch Paul and Hastings walk to the elevator, remarking, “A writer and his muse. They’re just like us.” Which is when Paul and Hastings kiss, leading Beckett and Castle to smirk at each other and me to throw things at my television screen in frustration… Castle scurries away in embarrassment and Beckett smiles knowingly. The knowledge that Beckett remembers those three little words from Castle gives that smile quite the added meaning. (reference to the last episode)

Also, we got back to part of what makes Castle such a well-rounded awesome character: his home life. Castle is having a hard time dealing with the fact that Alexis has enrolled in Stanford early admission, While his mother was busy running around sewing costumes for her Shakespeare class. But his bigger concern is that Alexis is putting all her energy into her relationship with boyfriend Ashley and not into picking out her own classes. “Why can’t I just do what I want every once in a while, that’s all you ever do!” Alexis yells at him, finally becoming a teenaged girl four seasons in. Because this is Alexis, most sensible of all teen girls, the freak out doesn’t last long. She and Castle have a sweet heart-to-heart in which she admits she should be taking her own classes. Besides, she’ll see plenty of Ashley because they’ll be living together! Oh, and that sound you just heard was Castle’s brain exploding!

So, what did you think Castle fans? Was “Heroes & Villains” up to Castle standards or just too silly? Do you think it was weird that Beckett and Castle just went about their business and all of the tension from last week’s “she remembered” plot was forgotten? Will Castle and Beckett ever make out in an elevator? And will it be before the end of the season? Is Lone Vengeance a stupid name for a superhero? Take a bite out of the Super Popcorn and comment below.

Addict VerdictCastle was back in top form this week. Though last week was necessary to set up major secrets and tension for the season, the whole atmosphere was so dour it was hard to really enjoy the episode. But this week, the pop culture references, horrible puns about murder victims, and simmering romantic tension were all back in joyful abundance.

Fix-Your-Eyes-On-Me Scene: Lone Vengeance….the comic, the internet sensation, and Lone Vengeance 1, 2 & 3, all make a for a good laugh riot!!

About the Author

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

  • Varad Potnis

    Big fan of Castle… very well written!

  • LK Mahtani

    Loved the attention to detail! Great piece…!

  • anisha

    nice one…..
    i liked d way u wrote it and thnx for changing i title this one is better…..
    well written aashay!!!!