Friday, October 7, 2011

Castle - Season 4 Episode 3 - Head Case, Recap

Alexis is devastated to learn that despite having already picked her classes, bought t-shirts and badly wanting to go there she has been rejected by Stanford University. 

Team Beckett's newest case involves a body-less crime scene with so much blood Lanie is sure that the person must have died. 

There was a van seen leaving the vicinity of the murder area about 20 minutes after gunshots were heard.  They trace the van to a warehouse registered under the name of PW Storage. 

In the warehouse they find containment units that house frozen people inside.  They hear movement in another room and go in to find technicians loading a body into a vacuumed container.  The technicians explain that they work for a cryonics company called Passageway.  All of their clients have contracts with them to preserve them after they die.  The clients are outfitted with biowatches that have pulse monitors and GPS systems built in.  When someone's pulse stops the technicians go retrieve the body.  The bodies must be frozen as quickly as possible, which is why they took the shooting victim that morning without bothering to inform the police.

Dr. Harry Weiss comes in and introduces himself as the CEO of Passageway.  He identifies the victim as Lester Hamilton, a biology professor at Hudson University and also an old friend.  Lester was doing cutting edge research on developing life extension techniques.  The lawyer that Dr. Weiss has brought with him informs Beckett that if the NYPD tries to take Hamilton's body, Passageway will file a lawsuit. 

Because of murky case laws the D.A. tells Beckett they won't issue a warrant.

Judging by the bullet holes in Hamilton's shirt it is believed that the bullets were of a large caliber.  There has been no luck in recovering a briefcase they think disappeared from the Hamilton's murder scene.  It is also reported that three days ago Hamilton's office at the university was broken into, leaving his computer smashed and there was never any conclusions made on who did it.

After interviewing Hamilton's wife and one of his co-workers (Phillip Boyd) Beckett and Castle find out that the information in the briefcase would've been about The Ambrosia Project.  The Ambrosia Project was something that Hamilton was working on that consisted of putting implants into people so instead of producing aging cells, young cells would be produced.  Hamilton hoped that his research would extend life spans by 10 years.

Hamilton severed a deal he had with one of his biggest funders, Beau Randolph - creator of The College Girls Gone Crazy videos, three days ago. He had decided that he wanted to publish his research online so his peers would have access to it and possibly come up with the missing pieces of the puzzle.  Seeing as how Randolph has a carry permit for a 45 caliber gun, stood to lose billions of dollars because of Hamilton's decision, and was seen at a restaurant arguing with Hamilton that morning, Beckett thinks he is a likely murder suspect.

Beckett and Castle meet him during a shoot for one of his videos and then take him back to the precinct. 

Beckett and Castle interrogate Randolph, trying to get him to confess to murdering Hamilton.  The only thing they do get out of him is a confession to shooting at pigeons that morning with his .45.  Randolph's theory is that after Hamilton got turned down by the NIH to do human testing, he took it upon himself to test junkies.  He thinks one of his test subjects killed him.  He says $100,000 dollars was missing from the fund that he set up for the project and Randolph thinks it was used to get Hamilton's human testing underway.

After Captain Gates threatens Dr. Weiss and his lawyer, saying that the D.A. would be willing to look into issuing a warrant for Hamilton's body now that there was a suspect, Dr. Weiss concedes to let the NYPD have Hamilton's body as long as Passageway could keep his head. 

Lanie tests the slugs in the body and finds out they are not a match to Randolph's gun.  The body had .38 caliber bullets.  While Beckett ponders this and says she is going to call Hamilton's wife, Castle gets a text from Alexis wanting to know where he is.  Beckett tells him to go help Alexis through this rough rejection patch. 

Randolph's pigeon shooting is confirmed when a dead pigeon is found with one of Randolph's .45s in it's gut.  Because of fingerprints found on Hamilton's smashed computer at the school, a young man named Eddie Peck is called in for questioning.  His father is the lead researcher at a company named Smith Breyer Pharmaceuticals, so it seems that Eddie stole Hamilton's research for his dad.  Eddie, however, says that he was only trying to change his failing grade in Hamilton's class.  He destroyed the computer because he got angry when he couldn't get into Hamilton's secure files. 

Shortly thereafter he was following Hamilton and caught him coming out of a room at The 130th Street Inn.  Hamilton changed his grade to an A in exchange for Peck not telling anyone that he had seen him. 

Ryan and Esposito check out the hotel room that the manager says Hamilton rented out for a month straight with cash.  He had left instructions that no one was supposed to go into the room, even for cleaning.  Inside Ryan and Esposito find a makeshift operating room in which Hamilton must have been doing his human testing.

The next morning while Castle makes breakfast for his mother, Alexis brings down a cardboard box with the trophies and awards she collected throughout her life.  She says not getting into Stanford means she's a failure.  Castle tells her she has to accept that she didn't get in and move on.  Later, Beckett assures Castle that he did indeed give Alexis a good childhood and she will be okay, she just needs time.

The tests that Lanie ran on the instruments that were found in Hamilton's hotel room show that the DNA on them was actually his own.  Some of the instruments also had his brain matter on them.  On the headless body she has she was unable to find any marks to indicate that any kind of surgery was done.  She decides she needs to examine Lester Hamilton's head.

Beckett obtains a warrant and they head over to Passageway.  Dr. Weiss follows her into the room that the cryonically frozen heads are stored in.  On the shelf, there is an empty space in the area where Hamilton's head should be.

There was a break in at the Passageway site the night before, and that is when Hamilton's head was taken. 

The surveillance camera reveals the culprit to be Hamilton's co-worker, Phillip Boyd.  Beckett and Castle go to Boyd's apartment, but he escapes out of a window, down the fire escape, with the container that has Hamilton's noggin in it.  Halfway down, he loses his balance and drops the head into a pile of garbage bags.  Beckett tackles him at the bottom of the fire escape and Castle rescues the head from the garbage. 

Later at the police department Boyd tells Beckett that Lester Hamilton had an inoperable brain tumor and Boyd was trying to help his friend by giving him targeted treatments in his brain.  Unfortunately, the treatment wasn't working.  They had to do the procedures at the hotel because Boyd's research was not yet ready for human testing and his entire career would've been at stake if anyone knew what they were doing.  The money that Beau Randolph had noticed was missing was used to buy supplies and set up the hotel operating room. 

Alexis shows up at the precinct questioning Castle how he can stand to have his first rejection letter framed in his office.  He says it provides him with motivation and helps him see how far he's come.  In a great words of wisdom moment he offers, "Rejection isn't failure.  Failure is giving up.  Everybody gets rejected, it's how you handle it that determines where you'll end up."  Alexis doesn't look convinced, but I was.

Boyd's alibi for the time of Hamilton's murder holds up and Lanie also confirms that it is true that if Hamilton had lived his brain would've soon been destroyed.  Castle and Beckett think that perhaps the killer did Hamilton a favor by shooting him before his brain was too battered to eventually be brought back to working order someday when it was unfrozen.  Here, they realize that perhaps the killer knew exactly what the timing of Hamilton's death meant to his being able to be restored in the future.

Beckett and Castle talk to Hamilton's wife, who maintains that she didn't know about her husband's illness.  They tell her they found a Passageway contract termination form that had been downloaded on her husband's computer.  He was willing to work on The Ambrosia Project until his brain could no longer function.  Beckett reveals that Hamilton's briefcase was found hidden in the basement of the building they live in and that it had his blood on it.  At this point the wife confesses to killing him.  He had recently passed out while getting ready for bed, and he finally told her what was wrong with him.  In an effort to minimize damage to his brain so that they could spend eternity together in the future, she shot him. 

As Beckett is releasing Dr. Weiss he gets a signal that one of his client's biowatches is alerting that their pulse has stopped.  The GPS indicates the wearer of the biowatch is actually in the precinct.  They dash off to Mrs. Hamilton's holding cell, and find that she has committed suicide by ingesting a cyanide pill she had hidden in a hollow ring she was wearing.  Beckett consents for Dr. Weiss's crew to come and get her body ASAP.

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