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Alone, she stares regretfully at her barren desk, all traces of her identity erased, and then a last lingering glance at Rick’s now empty chair, all so vibrant once before, now just empty; numbed she traces the final steps down the hallway, resigned from the police force she loves and serves so well, now forsaking everything that was comfortable and familiar. Detective Kate Beckett exits the 12th precinct for the last time.
“All the world’s a stage,” William Shakespeare observed so long ago, and “all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances.” And this is Kate’s time to leave.
Superimposed on Kate’s departure scene are two parallel tracks, one a voice-over, Alexis, delivering her farewell, valedictory speech, and the other in counterpoint is Andrew Belle’s poignant, plaintive, bitter-sweet song “In My Veins,” a lyrical message of change and regret, and then the despair of love gone dark and wrong. But somewhere hidden in the song is a faint whisper of hope, just a “glimpse of sun light shining down” on the loved one’s face.
"Endings are inevitable. Leaves fall."
Kate holds back her grief until she reaches the safety of the elevator; the curtain opens to envelop her, this stage prop that elevates and descends with passengers, pilgrims who make their way onto the stage and off, some days to the heights of the cylinder, then deposited on the precinct stage, or today descending with Kate to the depths and the bowels of below.
"Nothing goes as planned. Everything will break. People say goodbye, in their own special way. All that you rely on…"
Kate’s life’s purpose is devoid of meaning now. What does life and love all mean? Where has her stubbornness and obsession led her?
"We close the book; we say goodbye."
The metal curtain closes, down on Kate’s past, on her present, her future so uncertain; now just alone. Her friends are torn asunder as is her life.
The elevator descends.
"And all that you can fake will leave you in the morning but find you in the day."
Only darkness, despair and regret fill her empty heart; the familiar, forsaken. Tucked in the elevator, hidden, harbored safely, alone, Kate rocks to sooth herself, her face drained numb; there is no comfort, no expectations now. Gone is her hope of tomorrow. Everything is fake, worthless, so much time spent obsessed, and wasted, love now lost forever.
"We say goodbye."
All gone now; shared love once heartened the weary pilgrim, but love unnurtured for fear or hubris is love lost and the chance of a life time lost. Oh, Rick.
The elevator, as a major prop on the Castle precinct stage, extricates, elevates and entrusts, lifts and plunks down, harbors safely, or treasures, transfers or descends, presents characters onto the stage and removes them, usually only Kate and Rick, and such a telling instrument; with hearts on display, the elevator reflects the moods, the love, the hurt, the joy, the embarrassment; the honesty.
In “Countdown” Rick relives a similar scene, a parallel or mirror experience to Kate’s final descent in “Always,” curtain closed on everything she knows. The main difference between the two scenes is the dialogue is not interior or voice over in “Countdown,” but spoken before Rick gets onto the lift to descend. “Hell of a day he says to Kate.”
And it truly is, for Rick and Kate suffer near death, freezing in the refrigerator storage, clinging to each other for warmth, physical and emotional, knowing that they could well die, with Rick so protective of Kate, bearing the brunt of the cold. Rick gently caresses Kate’s face, and ever hopeful tells her “we’re not dead yet.”
Kate thanks him “for being there,” her personal mantra, words so important to her, and Rick pledges his love with his word: “Always.” Later they almost die again, defusing the bomb which would destroy them and parts of the city. Rick could never be more in love with Kate.
But planning to suggest a dinner date or something similar just to unwind, Rick spies Kate’s boyfriend, and Rick cannot leave fast enough. “I should go home. Get some rest. Long day! Good night,” so heart breaking for it is not Rick’s always hopeful words:”until tomorrow.”
A hopeful tomorrow with Kate does not exist. From Josh’s embrace, Kate watches Rick leave, puzzled, barely aware of his inner turmoil as Rick so deliberate, so despairing, never turning back, walks away, to the elevator to exit as fast as possible.
The face-saving curtain opens, and harbors him. Slowly, Rick turns around and leans his head against the wall. He sighs and stares so defeated; the curtain closes and he descends.
Parallel, matching-elevator scenes also occur in “Little Girl Lost,” late season one and “A Rose for ever After,” season two. By now it is obvious that Rick’s and Kate’s involvement with each other has reached new heights, and the elevator entrusts them delicately to their destinations.
In both instances Rick and Kate talk about serious, lost loves, each revealing a different aspect of his or her personality. In “Little Girl Lost,” Kate’s former love, Will Sorensen, enlists Kate’s help on a case.
Of course, his presence stirs up conflict between Rick and Will, both vying for Kate’s attention and virtually setting up a ”pissing contest” according to Kate. We see Rick, cool and casual, but becoming aware of Kate on an entirely different level. Kate recognizes Rick’s intense interest and speaks first in the safety of the elevator.
“A Rose for Ever After” mirrors “Little Girl Lost,” and involves Rick’s serious lost love, shared for three years and then through misunderstanding and youth, sadly separated for ever. Rick carries a touch of regret forever after for the “one who got away,” and Kate, Kate may just be that “little girl, still lost.”
But Kate sees Rick in a new light after meeting Kyra; she sees a man who could attract and hold a serious person, and Rick’s longing looks at Kyra suggest sorrow, and change forever after Kate’s opinion about Rick. After a loud silence in both scenes, Kate speaks first:
"We met in college. We were together nearly three years."
"Six months what?"
"I didn’t ask."
"We dated for six months."
"Yes, you were not asking very loudly."
" I didn’t ask."
"She’s different from your ex-wives"
"Yeah, I know you weren’t asking very loudly."
"What do you mean?"
"She’s real. I didn’t think you went for real."
"I know. I’m like a Jedi like that."
"It was a long time ago."
Then, of course, we have Kate’s own elevator ride with the lovely Kyra, the ultimate treasuring and transferring scene, two hearts on display. Kyra tells Kate: “I feel like I know you a little from Nikki Heat, the dedication.” Kyra confides that she, “Still reads all of Rick’s books.
A slightly embarrassed Kate reminds Kyra that “most of the book is just a result of Castle’s overactive imagination.”
“When I knew him he was just Rick, fresh off his first best seller. Well, active imagination or not, I know he only dedicates his books to people he really cares for.” Kyra is real to Kate, and Kate emerges from the elevator ride with many thoughts about Rick to consider and revise.
In “Poof! You’re Dead,” Kate elevates Rick’s spirits when she presents him with magical flowers. That’s all we see in this hearts on display scene, and the curtain closes on the elevator scene with a sparkling-happy Rick and a smiling Kate.
Earlier Rick breaks up with his ex- wife Gina, for magic does not exist between them, and he knows it is over. In one magical poof- moment, mid- sentence, Rick simply stops and stares at Kate; he realizes it is Kate he wants; Kate is his magic, and he is definitely a goner.
When Kate overhears Rick’s break-up conversation with Gina, Kate appears stunned with regret, for Rick is now free and she is not. Why is it always so difficult she seems to be thinking, this growing attraction we share, so star -crossed in love matters and so in sync in everything else?
The curtain opens to carry them down. To lift Rick’s spirits and perhaps her own, Kate suggests they go out and catch the comfort food truck. And relishing in the “macaroni and cheese, hot biscuits and warm chocolate,” (and Kate’s company), Rick responds: “How could I say no.” Indeed.
Who can forget one of the funniest elevator scenes in “Castle”? In “Wrapped in Death” Rick is convinced that he is under a spell or a curse, and shaken mightily after the day’s horrific experiences, Rick rides the get -away elevator. But it is haunted with a mind of its own, out to get Rick. The elevator stops and torments Rick. Now Rick’s reassuring self- talk begins:
“No reason to panic.” The lights go out and panic sets in.
“Small reason to panic.” he whispers. Rick begins to frantically bang the wall panels. He cries, “Huh!”
“There is no curse.” he chants; “there is no curse.” Now Rick is scared, terrified, for the curse madness has him near hysteria.
“What do I do if the elevator falls?” Well, what does one do?
“I think I’m supposed to jump in the air. No!”
And now Rick has the perfect solution. “Lay on the ground.”
The heavy, metal curtain opens, and spews him free. There Rick remains, face down, legs and arms akimbo, and spread out on the floor, on display for Kate and all to see him at his most fearful. And so relieved, Rick doesn’t much care.
After sputtering for a while, words failing him, totally rattled, Rick exits the scene saying: “I think I’ll go and splash some water on my face and throw up a little bit.”
That about says it all!
Every Castle episode seems to hold a favorite elevator scene with Rick and Kate in sync or out of sorts. And every fan has several favorites. Recall the Nikki Heat episode. The clone Natalie/Kate/Nikki attacks, actually pins Rick against the wall in the elevator and kisses a somewhat willing Rick under her guise of doing research for her method acting. Yeah! And the curtain closes on Rick and Natalie with Kate simmering, suspecting the worst.
Then we have the numerous times when Rick and Kate burst out of the elevator proclaiming in sync that they know who the killer is. Or the time they emerge after a discussion as to Rick and Sophia Turner’s relationship and just how long did this “muse” thing go on. The truth will out in the elevator.
Or in “The Limey,” recall a crestfallen Kate sitting at her desk, alone, Rick in a symbolic, long distant shot entering the elevator to descend, his eyes on Kate, leaving her for someone else, the curtain closing on their chances at reconciliation.
Often times arguing, teasing, or flirting, Kate and Rick board the elevator. Other times they descend angry with each other, body language telling all, very far apart, no reassuring curtain for either one.
More often than not, however, they enter the elevator smiling and plainly happy with each other. The elevator seems to be more than a prop, perhaps another character, certainly the vehicle which propels the characters forward or upward, onto the stage, or off, extricated from, embarking on or descending from any difficulties.
A lot gets settled on the elevator, this very basic but very telling prop on the Castle stage, with Rick and Kate either cocooned in a safety net, hidden behind the velvet or iron curtain, or revealed in maximum exposure, all emotions on display, in a sometimes forgiving or sometimes angry atmosphere. Yes, the elevator has its power to lift, to extricate, to provide exit, to elevate to the heights or descend to the depths.
The elevator is a constant; it always awaits, ready for its passengers, its pilgrims, and the next trip.