Castle: Head Case

The case of the week starts in an unusual way: there’s blood – so much that the bleeding person couldn’t have survived – but no body. Beckett isn’t sure where to start an investigation with no body and no victim ID, while Castle, of course, concludes that it must have been an assassin squad. Witnesses heard shots at 6:40 a.m. and saw a van driving away at 7:00, and the van is traced to a cryonics storage facility. The victim was Lester Hamilton, a biology professor who researched life extension techniques. He had a contract with the cryonics company, which meant that he wore a biowatch with a pulse monitor and GPS. The van arrived to collect the body 15 minutes after Hamilton’s pulse stopped.

Beckett finds that they can’t legally force the cryonics company to hand over Hamilton’s body, so they have to proceed with less precise information than usual: Hamilton was shot with a large caliber bullet, the cash left in his wallet suggests that it was not a mugging, and the briefcase he was supposedly carrying was not at the scene. A colleague, Philip Boyd, tells them that Hamilton’s office was broken into three days before and his computer smashed. Hamilton’s wife Cynthia won’t release his body either, and says her husband went into the life extension field because they decided one lifetime together wasn’t enough. She tells them that his briefcase had his research for the Ambrosia Project – pharmaceutical implants that would produce young cells and extend life by ten years. The project was improbably funded by porn mogul Beau Randolph, who has a gun and had a falling out with Hamilton three days earlier, about whether to make the research available online. (Hamilton wanted to, Randolph – in it for the profit – didn’t.) And Randolph and Hamilton were seen arguing at a diner ten minutes before the murder.

Castle and Beckett head to Randolph’s studio, where Castle shocks Beckett by disapproving of the college-aged girls appearing in Randolph’s movies. (He points out that “practically naked women” are a very different issue now that they’re not much older than Alexis.) Randolph says he’s innocent and suggests that Hamilton was doing unapproved human testing on addicts. Randolph’s gun was fired that morning, but he says he was shooting pigeons and they find the dead pigeon to back up his story. Gates negotiates with the cryonics company owner, Weiss, about access to the body, and ends up with the body but not the head, because the brain is what Weiss actually needs to keep.

It turns out that the office break-in was actually the fault of a student who was trying to change his grade in Hamilton’s records, but the student points them to a seedy hotel where Ryan and Esposito find a room in Hamilton’s name set up as an operating room. Hamilton’s wife, colleagues, and students all swear that they know nothing about his tests there, and it turns out that all the DNA is Hamilton’s own – and some of it is from brain matter. They eventually get permission to take Hamilton’s head, but it’s gone, and security footage shows that Boyd stole it. Hamilton had a brain tumor and Boyd was doing an experimental treatment on him, but it didn’t work.

Beckett remembers what Cynthia Hamilton said about one lifetime together not being enough, and she and Castle realize that Cynthia killed her husband to cryonically preserve his brain before it was ravaged by the tumor. Cynthia confesses and then kills herself with a cyanide pill, and Beckett allows the cryonics company to take Cynthia’s body to preserve her with her husband. When Castle asks Beckett whether she thinks this was a crime of passion, Beckett says that it was a crime of love. Castle: “Though that would depend on whether Cynthia Hamilton was in love or insane.” Beckett: “Well, sometimes there’s a fine line between the two.” They look at each other a little too long just then, and I know some fans think the relationship anvils are falling a bit too hard and fast this season, I’ve been rather enjoying them.

Castle and Beckett have a few other cute moments throughout the episode, as Castle tries (unsuccessfully) to stand up for Beckett to Gates, and tells Beckett that she’d have to get the life-extension implants because otherwise she would age and he wouldn’t. (Um, has someone been watching Twilight?) At the end of the episode, Castle asks Beckett if she really believes it’s possible that the Hamiltons will be reunited in the future, and she says “That’s what the great love stories are about, right? Beating the odds?” They then agree that they hope “they” make it, and while the “they” is referring to the Hamiltons, it’s not much of a stretch to apply it to Castle and Beckett as well.

Poor Alexis Castle finds out at the beginning of the episode that she didn’t get into Stanford and is extremely upset, going so far as trying to throw out all the awards and trophies she’s gotten for other accomplishments. Castle is sympathetic, and tells her that rejection doesn’t mean failure – only giving up is failure. Again, talking about two different things here, Castle? And Beckett, who is concerned for Alexis as well, tells Castle to give her some time and she’ll find her way. Yet again, Beckett is using other people’s situations to actually talk about herself. And I must point out that while I feel bad for Alexis, of course, I’m happy to have this suggestion that they won’t actually be writing her off the show. There are plenty of good colleges in New York, Alexis! Stay with your dad (and us)!

Next time: Ryan’s gun is the murder weapon. Uh-oh.

Photo Courtesy of ABC

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