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Season finales are notorious for delivering epic changes to beloved characters or cataclysmic plot events that rock even the most solid foundations leaving the audience gasping in shock or delight until the next season. Castle is no exception to this rule but Andrew Marlowe and his other scribes masterfully shave away at the expected and create magic year after year.
Shooting Beckett last year was shocking and epic but it created the impetus for the raw and emotional journey that would ensue. I have to admit I was a bit stunned by the one-eighty Castle took this year turning toward serious drama instead of the quirky silliness we knew and loved. After seeing “Always” and comparing it with how season three ended, I understand and applaud the move. This was brilliant storytelling at its finest and I can’t give enough kudos to the amazing cast and the writers here.
When the Pandora's Box of Beckett’s mother's murder was opened, I’m not sure anyone realized just how much trouble this would cause. Castle never intended this but he is responsible and that propels him into protective mode. Beckett is lost when it comes to her mother’s murder and when Castle compares it to falling down the rabbit hole, he is dead on target.
All season we waited for these secrets to come out. And waited. When they did, the world we knew spun on its axis again.
Castle did his part. He kept Beckett off task and gave her time to heal. Business as usual — Castle being Castle and it was enough to keep Beckett focused on life instead of in the past. He made a good choice. Beckett made an easy choice. She wasn’t ready to deal with Castle’s confession, you could see it everything from her clothes to her hair that she was closing off. It was easier to pretend and her lie was more damaging.
A lot of people have discussed “Always” already and I certainly don’t want to bore anyone with a rehash. But some things deserve extra attention and they are a part of the transformation of Beckett and Castle and the new transitions waiting for them next year.
The mark of fantastic writing and characterization is to take characters out of their comfort zone. Thank you, Andrew Marlowe and Terri Edda Miller for ripping of the protective coating that surrounded those two characters and giving Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic an opportunity to rock the house. The performances were stellar and revealed just how skilled the actors are that it takes your breath away.
The scene where Castle unloads on Beckett is probably one of my favorites of the episode. Nathan strips the layers off of his fun-loving, goofy, hot geek and leaves Castle vibrating in anger, disbelief and the realization that Kate is unreachable at that instant. Barbed wire, reinforced walls go up even though the pair stands only feet apart. No matter how hard Castle shoves, willing to leave himself open to all attack, the wall stays firmly in place. He has nothing left to bargain with because she rejected each attempt.
The only indication that Beckett hears him is the slight flinch Stana does as the deliberate barb is launched. Beckett’s betrayal runs deeper and she knows this but she has already committed to the battle. It’s irrational and damaging but it is the easy path.
Admitting she is in love with Castle is hard and this is part of Beckett’s transformation. She has to be willing to engage in life and leave the past and all that baggage behind her. Dangling off the rooftop, we see just how close she is to permanently losing herself down the symbolic rabbit hole until finally, Beckett makes a good choice.
Beckett’s transformation rattles everything she has known. She once asked Castle who she was without the badge. Now, we are going to find out. Is she really a cop? I think she is and I think we’ll see it but for now, she has abandoned what she knows and what is easy for Castle.
I know a lot of people were waiting for those three little words. But when she comes to Castle, she needed more. The apology was a paramount. Castle reaction guarded and for the first time closed toward her which forced Beckett to go “all in” and open up completely. Stana was perfect here with such a lovely expression that it made your heart ache.
The morning after is coming and I can’t wait. These two will have to finalize their transition into a couple and lay some interesting ground rules. They are both such strong characters and now they know they can bend and not break. It’s going to be fun watching them figure this out.