I 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!