Castle and Beckett Go Head-Hunting: J on Castle 4×03 “Head Case”

Castle-S4Ep3-HeadCase-TamalaJonesAsLanieParishI have to say I was kind of lukewarm about this episode. While the cool sci-fi beginning caught my attention as a departure from usual Castle intros, I felt like the episode itself lacked a certain oomph. Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of great moments (which I’ll talk about), but I don’t think they quite found the right balance of romance, wit, and hidden depth that the show maintained so well in the second and third seasons.

That said, it was still fun to watch and I really enjoyed specific aspects of the episode. One of them was the way Castle continues to talk to Beckett about Alexis. I think this really rings true – they’re co-workers with the added bonus of being in love, so it makes sense that Castle would discuss his family’s issues with her. Whether it’s for counsel, support, or just to vent, Castle confides in Beckett, involving her in his domestic life even though she’s not actually part of the family (yet!). Beckett usually has some good advice to impart about Alexis, but also gives Castle space when he needs it. It’s nice to see that they trust and care about each other enough to engage in this kind of exchange.

Another scene I loved involved Castle and Beckett launching into one of their animated, back- and-forth crime-solving tangents, getting so absorbed in the case and each other that Lanie has to interrupt them with a scary-looking drill (presumably used to cut open dead people). One of the things Castle and Beckett do best is build theory together and finish each other’s sentences. We’ve seen Ryan, Esposito, and Lanie comment on this in the past, and now Lanie has to resort to using medical tools to stop them when they’re on a roll. It’s funny because what Lanie has to say actually kind of disproves everything they’re theorizing about, but they’re too excited and absorbed to even listen. It was a great comedic moment from Tamala Jones, and I loved Castle and Beckett’s sheepish looks after she gently chastises them for being cute but wrong.

I suppose my main problem with “Head Case” was that it lacked that Castle sparkle…and I know that’s a really hard thing to define. I just think the writing for the past two episodes hasn’t sparkled as much as we’re used to. Castle and Beckett now have a kind of understanding in terms of their relationship: Beckett can’t get romantically involved with anyone until she puts her mother’s murder to rest. But in the last two episodes, I feel that this understanding has led to some complacency. They take it for granted that they are interested in each other but can’t act on it; as a result I feel like some of the sexual tension is missing.

I love Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, and I especially love their chemistry together! That’s why I wish the writing would allow for some more sparks between them. Understandably, it’s a fine line to tread when characters admit feelings for each other but don’t act on them. Stana has said that this season she’s looking for private moments to show how much Beckett loves Castle: “She is in love with him. And throughout this season I’m looking for moments for that to shine…private moments, as an actor, where Castle might not be looking but she can at least show [her feelings]”. I’ve definitely seen evidence of this, and I’m a big fan of longing glances! However, I am also in wholehearted agreement with Stana that there could be intriguing and exciting and sexy storylines even after Castle and Beckett get together. (Read her opinions in this article) And I guess I’m just ready for those moments to come, rather than extending this half-together, half-apart relationship.

Now despite all these quibbles, I do trust Andrew Marlowe & Co. They have done a great job so far telling this love story, so we’ll just have to wait and see how they tackle this next phase. There are great opportunities to come, and in “Rise” I was a big fan of how they dealt with Castle and Beckett’s relationship. It’s possible that I just haven’t been a fan of these last two episodes (there were certain sections of season 3 I wasn’t crazy about either). And I’m excited about next week’s episode…could the Triple Killer be back???

I’d love to hear people’s views! Do you think this episode maintained the spark between Castle and Beckett? Is it realistic and/or satisfying to keep Castle and Beckett apart? Did the writing ring true for you? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Don’t forget to check out S’s take on “Head Case” here.
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7 Responses to Castle and Beckett Go Head-Hunting: J on Castle 4×03 “Head Case”

  1. Pingback: Let’s Add Some Spark to this Deep Freeze, S on Castle 4×03 “Head Case” | The Viewing Party

  2. Caroline says:

    I completely agree with your assessment of this episode. You expressed so well what had been nagging me about the Castle/Beckett dynamic in Head Case (and in Heroes and Villians as well). I appreciate the new openness of Beckett, but the caring from Castle and open appreciation from her combined with the fact that both are unwilling or unable to enter a real relationship
    waters down the spark between them a bit for
    me. That effect was only enhanced by the
    heavy-handed parallels drawn between Castle
    and Beckett and couples in love in the past two
    weeks. I’m eager to see more of the tension in
    their differences of opinion and the spark of
    unfulfilled attraction.
    However, like you I do see the possibilities for
    them going forward. I also understand that the
    current dynamic makes sense in light of a
    traumatized Beckett, a Castle who does not
    know the degree to which Beckett shares his
    feelings, and the fact that both are keeping
    secrets.

    • Yes yes yes! I am in complete agreement! The parallels have been really heavy-handed…I think there’s more of a possibility in just maintaining (or fanning) the spark that we know exists between Castle and Beckett. But of course everything is complicated by the fact that the secrets each of them are carrying have a significant bearing on how they progress, or not, in their relationship. Thanks so much for your comments! Glad to know we’re on the same page :)
      - J

  3. Guest says:

    I agree with your thoughts – and I think the problem in last two episodes is that Castle and Beckett are skirting around their emotions and feeling for each other. They are avoiding openly discussing anything that might border on revealing what their thoughts are on each other. Also with so much attempt by the writers to show viewers what some of Beckett/Castle thoughts are by using other couples relationships for them to talk about, but never directly admit that they are talking about each other – nuts really lol. Also they are not interacting with Ryan/Esposito/Lanie etc a much as we are used too, so there isn’t quite that flow. I want Beckett of past 3 seasons back – the fire, passion and punch seems to have disappeared from her character. Did someone decide to give her a personality transplant while she was in hospital?

    • Thank you for replying! I agree that lately C & B never seem to discuss or act on their feelings for each other (which we know they have), and it has a dampening effect. Everything just seems….flat. And you’re so right on about Ryan and Esposito as well. I miss the camaraderie and fooling around that they usually have with Castle and Beckett. And the FUN of solving a murder together. Check out S’s review of “Head Case” here on our blog, she raises a lot of good points about this.

      Haha, I want sassy, feisty, passionate Beckett back too! She can be in love with Castle and still have the old wit and drive.
      -J

  4. Pingback: J on Detective Ryan’s Demons and the 12th Precinct Family: Castle 4×04 “Kick the Ballistics” | The Viewing Party

  5. Pingback: Castle 4×03 ‘Head Case’ Review: We Need a little More Spark to thaw this Deep Freeze

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