“For a man who earns his living with words,” Rick Castle’s mother Martha counsels him, “you sure have a hell of a time finding them when it counts.” And so it is: the paradox of the wordsmith, who cannot find the words to profess his love to his beloved. Oh, how he tries and it is painful to watch. Rick sits across from Kate in the bio hazard tent in “Set Up,” mid season three, listening to Kate tell him about the kind of man she wants, a man to be there for her and someone with whom she can dive into life. Can’t she see Rick and can’t he speak and tell her to open her eyes and see him there. I am here for you always. Can’t he find, then, the words he later says as Kate lay bleeding in his arms and near death: “Stay with me; don’t leave me; I love you Kate.”
The beauty of their unspoken love or perhaps the difficulty of their love is they do talk but not with their voices; they speak with their eyes. Castle creator Andrew Marlowe once explained: “But sometimes they do it with their eyes because, they already know, already know, the words.” Perhaps their eyes do inscribe their love, but sometimes it isn’t enough, especially if one of them is not ready and the other is on a different page.
At first glance, the man who talks all the time, tells stories and enjoys “smart ass not jackass” repartee, theories and witticisms, doesn’t have the words “I love you” until it is almost too late, but I contend that everything he does declares his love for Kate, and I see numerous words or phrases which resound throughout Castle, Rick’s words, words of love, encouragement and praise, in fact, inspiration. Indeed, Rick’s words encompass a personal philosophy and a reflection on life’s emotions and endeavors; they are words to build on, and in fact, the words of encouragement and faith which make me admire Rick Castle, a character from a television show. They are words to live by for anyone…words I now embrace.
Before Rick pledges “always” to Kate or calls himself her “partner,” he calls her “extraordinary,” and she is. Rick defines Kate and her extraordinary qualities. She does not give up on the quest to find the guilty or give up honoring the victims. Trying to help and encourage her when she feels like she has let herself or someone else down, Rick reminds Kate: “Most people come up against a wall, they give up; not you; you don’t let go; you don’t back down.”
Ironically, a few years later we see those walls surface, personal ones, walls she must overcome to allow herself to find survivor’s forgiveness, to seek love again and to find solace after her mother’s murder. Once again she must scale or break down those walls to have the relationship she truly wants with Rick. Bravely, Kate is working with her therapist to overcome her fears and the walls she has erected. As for extraordinary, who can deny the beauty of Rick’s dedication in his first Nikki Heat novel “Heat Wave,” truly a love letter to Kate: To the extraordinary K.B. and all my friends at the 12th
All of us must work on and tackle the walls that disappoint or hurt us, the barriers, walls that prevent us from achieving great things, from facing adversity and from living our lives completely. In the tent scene Rick speaks to Kate regarding her relationship with Josh. If you live your life with “one foot out of the door,” for fear of committing yourself, “it’s hard to know where you stand.” Even more profoundly, Rick once told Kate, “If we don’t believe in magic there is no chance of finding it.” And isn’t this true of every worthwhile endeavor? Living life fully requires risking failure. Taking it one step further, as psychologist Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote, “You’ll see it when you believe it.”
Rick tries to help his daughter recognize her own extraordinary qualities when Alexis’ application to Stanford is rejected and Alexis believes her life to be a lie; all of her efforts are as nothing. She cannot see beyond her failure. “Rejection is not failure; the failure is in giving up,” Rick advises. It is how we handle rejection which sets our course. He does not give up on his daughter, Kate, his mother or himself. Rejection undoubtedly dogs a writer, in Rick’s case twenty times, but Rick is determined, and he tries to impart this message to his daughter.
In season one’s episode five, “A Chill Goes through Her Veins,” I recognized in Rick the most positive and hopeful, hero I have ever encountered. Rick’s sunny outlook radiates throughout the story, in fact throughout four years of Castle, revealing a man who believes in possibilities and second chances, simply in hope. This conversation reveals his outlook but also sheds light on Kate’s lack of hope. On this occasion he and Kate are calling it a night and departing when Rick says, “until tomorrow.”
“You can’t just say goodnight,” Kate returns.
“I am a writer, until tomorrow is more hopeful.”
“I am a cop. Good night.”
Something always pulls me back to this conversation, no matter what I write, for it shines so much light on Rick’s personality and philosophy. Indeed, over the four years of their relationship, Rick, with his love, helps Kate restore her own hope and belief in the promise of tomorrow.
For Rick hope is alive; it springs eternal. A seemingly, shallow playboy-writer presents the most important words of the entire episode, indeed, the entire four seasons. Hope exists if we look for it and believe in it. Hope guides Rick and keeps him steady; hope helps him endure embarrassment, or failure; hope keeps love close even in dark times; hope binds him faithfully to loved ones. Hope remains true and gives us all another chance… and so, “until tomorrow is more hopeful.”
I hold on to and live by this message of hope, and I never forget the man, who said these words or the writer who gave him these words, for they bolster my faith in difficult times and give me hope in my own battles… with cancer.
In an insightful moment a while back, I realized that life often imitates art, especially as I recalled Kate’s former boyfriend Will speaking to Kate about Rick: “You never told him how you stood in line for an hour just to get your book signed. How his novels got you through your mother’s death.” I could relate to Kate and understand because I felt the same way. For me, delighting in the Castle characters, in their love story, gets me through adversity. Most particularly, Rick’s expressions of hope in all possibilities gave me solace while witnessing my son in law’s brave fight with cancer and the battle he lost January 2, 2011, leaving my daughter, and my four year old granddaughter behind.
Rick and his until tomorrow outlook on life became a talisman for me. But in one of life’s ironies, a few short months later, in October 2011, I needed my talisman, my hope more than ever. I prepped for a routine colonoscopy on a Monday in October. Of course, I could not let anything interfere with viewing Castle so I dashed back and forth from the bathroom, trying not to miss a second of my favorite show.
It turns out it was my least favorite episode, anyway, for I could have strangled everyone, especially that poser, femme –fatale Serena Kaye threatening our Kate; the nerve. How appropriate the title of this episode, “Eye of the Beholder,” and this beholder gave the trespasser the stink eye. At least Serena gets it right when she tells Kate: “I don’t steal things that belong to someone else.” But Rick makes an ass out of himself as did everyone, and I guess grumpy me could not see the humor in anything while running to vomit every minute.
It’s the only episode I don’t care to write about or DVR. Well, on second thought, I did laugh when Kate slams the door to the interrogation room in Rick’s face, claiming that he is compromised after the kiss, and Rick making the strangling Kate motions behind said doors and Kate’s back, or his attempt to save face with the guys. How about kissing the information out of Serena…too funny? While I’m at it, I did like Kate’s session with her therapist. By the way, Kate, he is waiting for you? Woman up! But over all…”Meh!” Who am I kidding? I didn’t have writer’s block; it must be some other blockage.
Obviously, something was wrong with me, and into the hospital emergency room I went. I had an obstruction, a large tumor removed on Wednesday, ultimately staying in the hospital for two more weeks, and rehabbing for another week, to boot. But I saw my Castle each Monday, even if I had to mow down the nurse and aids to get them out of the room and my line of vision so I could see the poor- quality picture, with the volume just right, with no silly distractions such as blood work or medicine or anything else while Castle was on. Oh, I guess I made a few friends talking, not writing about my favorite show and sharing with them anything I thought up, making a few converts along the way (if only to humor me and shut me up). Oh, but I am sure you have been there, too…with… the disbelievers.
After sending pathology slides around to every great cancer institute, all saying I was the one to stump the best minds, the pathologists figured it out, and by the end of January they had a course of action to treat my very rare and serious cancer. I am being treated with chemo, now through a first round of six weeks, and beginning a second round in fact, and it is working.
But the cancer did spread and it took labs in Vancouver to determine the nature of this cancer. Of course, Nathan and Stana are Canadian, too. Yes, I know, I have too much time on my hands, but I do love to write, never having had much time to do so as a high school teacher. And so I write and adhere to Rick’s screen saver which I have adopted as my own: “You should be writing.”
Indeed, so much has been written about Rick and Kate and especially the words “always and partners.” Rick and Kate declare their unspoken pledge and devotion to each other with these code words of promise and love. With his “always” promise, Rick protects and guards Kate. He comforts her while trapped in ice, protects her in battle and supports her in her PTSD crisis.
He professes this word to allay her fears and to show that they love unconditionally, especially in “Kill Shot” when she thanks him for not pushing her and giving her space to work out her problems. The one time she says always to him in season three seems incongruous at first. But Kate is responding to Rick’s heartfelt thank you to her.
Remembering the passionate Bon Jovi love song, “Thank You for Loving Me,” I realize this is what Rick and Kate mean this time when Kate responds “always”: “Thank you, for loving me. For being my eyes when I couldn’t see. For parting my lips when I couldn’t breathe. Thank you for loving me. When I couldn’t fly, oh, you gave me wings. You parted my lips when I couldn’t breathe. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving me.”
Being enfolded in this promise of unconditional love for always is such a remarkable message. We fans live for this code word, “always;” I love you no matter what changes. Rick switches to the word “partners,” but this, too, is a word that strengthens their relationship and hints at so much more, partners in so many different ways. When Rick returns to saying “always,” so special in “Kill Shot,” Kate emerges reassured, heartened, ready to open up to her therapist, to confide in him that she wants to be so much more, for herself and for Rick, who is waiting for his partner.
The evolution of the word “enough” is another great word story. Who can forget Kate’s ripping into Rick in “Knockout” telling him she was tired of hanging around with the school’s funniest kid and it wasn’t enough? That had to hurt to the quick, for Rick had done everything a man could do.
But in “Rise” “enough” has changed to become another beloved word in the Rick and Kate lexicon. “It isn’t enough, but it is enough for now.” Kate says this to Rick at the end of “Rise,” and Rick assures his daughter with the same words in his answer to Alexis’ concerned questions: “Does she make you happy,” and “Is it enough”:
“It is enough for now,” Rick humbly reveals to his daughter. I, too, hold on to these words as do Rick and Kate, and I am glad I learned them.
Finally these ultimate Rick Castle words highlight and compliment all of the other passionate and profound words: “Give it time,” and “You will figure it out.” He uses these words to advise Alexis in her moment of rejection, words which mean the following: Don’t try to solve everything at once. Let life unfold a bit, one step at a time. Try your hardest, but fight; don’t expect immediate, one breath solutions. The journey is worth the struggle.
“Give it time.” Rick earnestly utters these words to Kate, in “Rise,” in the scene between them, at her desk after the usual, loving, coffee- offering ritual. Addressing her post traumatic stress, Rick tries with all of his love on display to convince Kate she is not fine and to step away from her mother’s murder investigation.
Just look at his face and his soul-searching eyes; listen to his compassionate voice and know that everything Rick embodies is on display: his love; his hope; his compassion; his fear. Will she listen to him or kick him out as she did when last he tried to tell her she was not fine? Rick earnestly beseeches her: “I’m just saying give it time… I promise you we’ll figure this out. We’re going to find them and we’re going to make them pay; just not today.” This exchange is the heart and soul of “Rise” and the heart and soul, the essence of everything Rick Castle.
“Give it time; we will figure it out, just not today.” Is there any wonder as to the power of Rick’s words when he says to Kate, “Don’t let them rob you of your life.”? Indeed these words speak volumes to me, not yet a cancer survivor but on my way. Kate tells Rick: “If I don’t do this,” (search for my mother’s killer), “I don’t know who I am.” We all search for our identity and our purpose in life. Rick’s answer to Kate is so hopeful, positive and life affirming, indeed, soul proclaiming: “You are who you always were.”
Yes, words have great power to heal, to uplift and to save. We have Rick’s “only words,” from across four seasons, so hard to count them even after examining them, and so encompassing. Amazingly, they are spoken by the man who uses words for a living, but who has a hard time vocalizing specific words of love for his partner Kate.
Still sometimes, it is the words unspoken that pile up inside, that stifle the breath and jam the heart; words that need to be said. Secrets which need to be aired are buried alive and become destructive; as Rick says: “Secrets are like time bombs; eventually they explode.” And so they may as we approach the end of the fourth season.
The fourth season is about rising from the ashes of broken dreams and heartbreak, from death and its horror, and our two lovers make significant strides, with loving smiles, and tender touches, pure joy in each other’s presence; but there are unspoken words and deeds, secrets ready to explode. From the swing set and its chains that bind them, they speak, with words and no words; he will wait for her; she needs him to come back to her. He returns; he cannot help himself; Kate’s swagger returns; she is recovering.
But, when asked by her therapist about her jealousy towards Serena or what Rick means to her, Kate cannot say these true words: I am jealous because he is mine, my love. One tells his mother the relationship is complicated and is mirrored by the other in therapy. Still they wait for each other. They speak to each other about their relationship more honestly than ever before; they are a couple, though never mutually declared.
They work together, and smile together, musing over other lovers with such sub-text, for which Rick is a self-proclaimed master. They cannot deny their need for each other. Rick questions Lanie and Esposito’s relationship: Can’t they see that they need each other; why do they do this to themselves, and we sigh with exasperation. Rick and Kate have reconciled, but those words unspoken may well break their hearts and ours with their star-crossed pain. Some words need to be said.
I return to a discussion Rick and Kate had a few seasons ago. Kate, with such sub text, reveals heartbreak to Rick when she questions love and its risks. He will only disappoint you in the end so why risk it. Rick’s reply still resonates with me: “Because the heart wants what the heart wants.” Both Rick and Kate need to risk all. Kate must tell Rick I love you, but I am so afraid of losing you. And Rick must risk all and say, I love you, and I am so afraid of losing you. Words need to be said.
Thinking about words and their ramifications, I unexpectedly, in one of those aha moments, virtually stumbled upon the perfect expression of the power of words. Reading an article on line, I became attuned again to a lovely song by the Bee Gees, appropriately titled “Words.” I have loved this song forever, but now “Words” and its creators have a renewed significance for me.
Robin Gibb is a cancer survivor. His eighteen month battle with colon and liver cancer has been a success, for he is now in remission. Overjoyed for Robin, I gravitated to this hopeful story. This true drama’s outcome gives me inspiration and reminds me of the hope I have and the hope I feel when watching and writing about Castle. And, of course: “Words.” It all makes sense, this love song.
The following Bee Gee lyrics, so hopeful, seem so in tune with my favorite want to be lovers Kate and Rick: “This world has lost its glory. Let’s start a brand new story now, my love. Right now there’ll be no other time, and I can show you how, my love. Talk in everlasting words and dedicate them all to me. And I will give you all my life; I’m here if you should call to me. You think that I don’t even mean a single word I say. It’s only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away. It’s only words…and words are all I have…to take…your…heart…away. It’s only words….”
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