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First the driving beat, next the joyous piano, then the full orchestra and finally the pounding feet on the beach, who can forget Vangelis’ movie soundtrack as the athletes run “with wings on heels” in “Chariots of Fire.”
So, too, we are inspired by the “Rocky “soundtrack. Trumpets blare their majesty; their driving motivation; we are stirred with the tuba blast and then “Gonna Fly Now,” by Bill Conti. These compositions are embedded in our memories forever; it only takes a few bars to bring us back.
Just a few bars of haunting notes or powerful lyrics may carry a narrative, often conveying more meaning and message than the characters or narrator can provide. This is true in the Robert Duncan soundtrack for “Always,” the “Castle “season four finale, and especially in Duncan’s composition “I Just Want You.”
In the final scene between Rick and Kate, Castle asks harshly: “Beckett, what do you want?”
“You!” Kate intones.
A lone piano heart-beats out a staccato rhythm of eight beats, again and again. Then Kate reaches for Rick and kisses him into listening to her as the piano beats out her heartbreak to a simple melody.
As she apologizes to Rick, the lower-toned viola, in a compelling point and counterpoint, responds to the piano monologue. After Kate cries out: “I just want you,” the viola and piano join together in the now familiar exchange and the driving, heart-beating rhythm.
Silence spreads, thunder roars and then won over, Rick rains kisses upon Kate, the viola breathing harder, the piano holding on, insistent. Pulses beat together; then piano and viola blend into a duet.
As the love scene moves from pent up passion to loving caresses and a slower tempo, the orchestra unites the two instruments, and totally together in tune, Rick and Kate clasp hands united in the crescendo of the full orchestra and the final note, perfectly, harmoniously blended.
Another poignant, pitch-perfect moment takes place just after Rick and Kate’s heart-breaking argument and Rick’s parting words to Kate. Rick begs Kate not to pursue the killer, especially if his love means anything to her, but Kate’s obsession forces her to deny Rick’s love and plea. Unable to convince her or watch her throw her life away, a broken Rick tells an entrenched Kate it is over and he is done.
Kate is lost to him. At home, Rick walks across his loft to touch Alexis’ tassel, hanging there in the study. Alexis is growing up, soon to leave him also. Sorrow, sadness and regret pass through Rick.
Then, majestically the soundtrack picks up the first six nostalgic notes of “Pomp and Circumstance,” the emotional graduation hymn of moving on, of growing up, of parting ways, and of spreading one’s wings, a mournful dirge, known all too well to graduating seniors.
Alexis tells her dad she is afraid of moving on. Holding his daughter for mutual comfort, Rick knows what he is losing, and what he has lost. Indeed, “Pomp and Circumstance” has told its tale of tears and parting.
One of the finest scenes in “To Love and Die in LA” is a mesmerizing metaphor for “Castle.” Will the conflicted and sometimes shy Kate unlock the door, the wall, the barrier between them and choose love, choose Rick?
With hope sinking, Rick waits for Kate to come to him. When she finally opens the door to go to Rick, it is too late. Humbled or shattered, Rick retreats to his room. Kate stares as Rick’s door shuts.
From the soundtrack, a fragment of a song permeates the air as this dance of love and desire unfolds. The lyrics and melody from Josh Ritter’s plaintive, symbolic song “Come and Find Me Now” resound, reflecting Rick’s and Kate’s metaphorical and unspoken words:
“And I keep me in a vacant lot, in the ivy and forget-me-nots, hoping you will come and untangle me one of these days. Come and find me now.”
The image prevails. Alone, a man or woman, stands bereft in a barren lot where a tiny, ivy vine clings for sustenance to a rusted, wire-fence, and for-get-me-nots push their fragile blossoms through the narrow, forbidding concrete cracks. All wait for love to nurture and untangle the delicate petals of life…for the loved one to come and find them. Hearts skip; tears quench; love breathes; hope blooms.
From Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” these words and sad melody also echo through… till the end:
“Oh, I am a lucky man to count on both hands the ones I love…stay with me.”
In “Countdown,” Rick whispers to a freezing Kate, lying sheltered in his arms: “Stay with me, Kate.” Sadly Rick will echo these words again in “Knockout,” as Kate lies dying in his arms after being shot through the heart: “Stay with me, Kate, stay with me.”
Kate struggles with her post traumatic stress, ultimately working on her difficulties with a therapist, on her unresolved grief, fear of loss, trust issues and love for Rick. But it is in “Cuffed,” the last episode broadcast in 2011, that Kate springs to life, arises from the shadows she occupies since her shooting, more secure now in Rick’s care and love.
Rise, Heroes and Villains, Head Case, Kick the Ballistics, Demons, Cops and Robbers and Kill Shot bring her gradually to her happiest moments, despite being handcuffed to Rick in a life threatening situation. In “Cuffed” they have “found their rhythm,” Rick confides to Ryan.
With a revealing repartee about the semantics of “cuffed” and “hitched,” and just exactly who said what, Rick agrees sweetly, triumphantly with Kate’s conclusion: “Next time, let’s do it without the tiger.”
The last few minutes of “Cuffed” show Kate’s new attitude with a bouncy song on the soundtrack that supports, that heralds this renewal: “Give A Little Love,” by Mostar Diving Club. With her motorcycle helmet in hand, a confident Kate, passing a bemused Rick, and sashaying straight out of the precinct, struts her stuff to this lilting refrain:
“Give a little love and it’ll all come back. Throw a little love it’ll make you glad, oh wohoho.”
The remaining words of this song, although unheard at this time, come to mind:
“Can you feel the music beating in your heart? All the little notes were dancing in the stars. How we gonna reach them; it’s easy if you try. Spread your little wings out; start to fly.”
And so Kate does…start to fly again.
The picture of the confident Kate sashaying away from Rick with her come and get me attitude harkens back to their first meeting in “Flowers for your Grave,” while attracted to each other and even then teasing and tantalizing each other with a love at first sight.
The very song title “Stop and Stare” tells the tale and invokes us to do what Rick does in both cases, with Kate very aware of the impact and impression she is making on the charming writer.
Rick realizes that he more than wants this beautiful, challenging woman. But she is wary of him and rebuffs his invitation to “debrief.” “Why Castle, so I could be another one of your conquests?” questions Kate.
“Or I could be one of yours.” Rick’s words seem to be prophetic as time goes on. “It would have been great,” he professes.
“You have no idea,” Kate whispers provocatively into Rick’s ear, leaving him awestruck. And as she saunters off, Rick can only stare after this intriguing woman.
As “Stop and Stare” by One Republic thoughtfully and tantalizingly dominates the sound-scape, of the parting scene in “Flowers for Your Grave,” Rick realizes something about his life and its direction:
“I’m staring down myself, counting up the years,” the song reflects, continuing: “Steady hands just take the wheel; every glance is killing me; time to make one last appeal, for the life I lead.”
Although still the playboy and flamboyant character, Rick, re-evaluating his future, can only stop and stare at her and consider his desire and his life:
“I think I’m moving but I go nowhere. Yeah, I know that everyone gets scared. But I’ve become what I can’t be. Oh do you see what I see?” ends One Republic.
Yes, we see as does everyone around them, Rick and Kate, their poker buddies and friends. Even the Russian mobster in “Deep in Death” describes Rick “like a character in your books… in too deep.”
After losing Kate the previous spring, Rick so desperately wants to be reinstated into her good graces, to be near her again. A protector, trying to fix everything for Kate, Rick pleads: “It’s different this time, and you won’t have to do it alone.”
But Kate wants no part of this fact-finding mission into her mother’s murder case, and, reluctantly, she wants no part of Rick, who is making her face her fears, terrors she has compartmentalized elsewhere in her psyche, for her own sanity. And so she tells him they are through.
At home, writing and contemplating his life, Rick has an epiphany upon hearing Alexis’ words: “Why do boys have to justify everything. Can’t they just say they are sorry?” Rick rushes to Kate’s side. Standing there, humbly, he apologizes.
The sound track begins with a few instrumental measures, chords introducing “My Fault, Your Mistake” by Lex Land, and then these lyrics, that don’t fit exactly, and yet fit exactly:
“You gave me good steps to follow and I wish I could fill your shoes. I wish the apple fell close to the tree.”
The melody is memorable, haunting. And as Rick reveals how sorry he is for overstepping and hurting Kate, he acknowledges that they may never see each other again, but he just wants to let her know:
“And I’m sorry that I hurt you, and I’m sorry that I let you hurt me,” and the lyrics continue sad, slightly off, “but your little girl is gonna change the world.”
Rick walks away, gone now forever, any future together in Kate’s hands.
The singer cries: “You’ll see.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Kate rescinds her dismissal, using Rick’s own word of hope:
“You’ll see,” the singer pleads again, and Rick smiles his pleasure to return to Kate.
In “Fool Me Once,” a tale of duplicity, a grifter and cheat schemes to bilk young children, among others, of their money and regard, until he works another pigeon and falls in love with her.
Rick asks Kate the ultimate question: “You don’t think people can change?” Jaundiced, and world weary, Kate has seen too many unrepentant offenders and replies in the negative. Rick responds: “Pretty bleak attitude.” For Kate her response is “not bleak but realistic.”
Finally, Kate tells the grieving fiancée that her fiancé loved her and “changed his ways because you made him want to be a better man.” The camera lingers on Rick who seems to have his own realization. Later Rick asks his daughter to “be patient with me. I’ve never had a teen aged daughter before.” And somehow these comments in part, seem to include us also, and especially Kate.
For Kate on “her date,” is privately reading Rick’s “Heat Wave,” in the luxury of her candle-lit bath. With wine goblet in hand, and a bubble-bath scent rising, she reads, and the soundtrack wells up with music and lyrics from Mozella: “Can’t Stop.”:
“Speak to me, read my mind; fill your mouth with flesh and wine. And I’ll be yours, just give me time. Give me time. (Cause you have everything I could ever want. You have everything I could ever want. You speak to my soul like you’ve known it before.) And I just can’t stop; Lord, I can’t stop myself. I can’t stop. Lord, I can’t stop myself, now.” Indeed, that is one hot song.
The anchor story in “One Man’s Treasure” is the saga of an environmentalist who is living a double life, until he is murdered and two woman show up to identify him: his wife and his fiancée. In the last scene Kate informs the wife that her husband was honorable and died trying to save the environment that he so loved.
The peripheral story concerns Alexis’ internship with Beckett and her search to find the owner of a very old, brag-book of family photographs left behind in the evidence room. With tenacity and care, Alexis finds the family and Kate tells Alexis: “You know when a person loses someone, this is important.”
Alexis has the pleasure of restoring the treasured book to a family member, and as she presents the book, the lyrics and tune of Mads Langer’s ”Fact Fiction” nostalgically and plaintively fill the air, revealing so much:
”Imagine a world without me-say you’re falling apart. Let’s pretend you’ve missed me for a while. Wouldn’t you say you were lonely and love was breaking your heart? Put on your Sunday best and fake a smile….Remember the night you were with me-fell asleep by my side, strangers together-your hand in mine.”
Alexis speaks to the happy woman examining the treasure, when the final “Fact Fiction” notes drift across the soundtrack:
"I fell in love with her longing- let’s just say that she never found out who it was she never found in me."
And in his true, sometimes self-effacing, self-deprecating mode, an extremely proud of his daughter and slightly nostalgic and nervous Rick, shatters the poignant moment: “Alexis is a chip off the old block.” Kate turns away, making an exaggerated, incredulous look directed at Rick’s braying.
Rick looks over at Kate, studying her face, regretting his missed opportunities, realizing what an ass he is…or something.
When Rick starts a serious conversation with Kate beginning with “I was thinking,” he exposes his inability to articulate his feelings and often his mind- boggling inanities. In “When the Bough Breaks,“ at his Nikki Heat book- signing party, Rick cannot get to Kate’s side fast enough, Kate sexy, stunning in her Herve Leger dress, Rick already half in love with her.
He tells her he meant what he said when he dedicated his book to her, for she is “extraordinary.” The situation becomes intense, and flustered, afraid of intimacy, Rick turns the topic and tries to extricate himself saying: “I’ve been thinking.” Kate waits excitedly. Rick stammers: “What if the wife got on to the affair? “
Even the sound track commiserates with his inarticulate poor timing.
The romantic music stops dead in its tracks replaced with a Boom! Boom! Boom! All of the anticipation, the very air is sucked out of the room. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” Rick compounds his random, ridiculous remark. Da! Da! Da! …the piano tingles.
The bass and piano duel it out, fight for sovereignty. Drum, bass, piano, take turns commenting, underscoring, mocking, mimicking the childish posturing of both and the ensuing battle royal.
Rick, what on earth are you talking about to this beautiful woman who is waiting and giving you every opportunity to say sweet nothings? The soundtrack knows better. It’s like the shark attack music in “Jaws;” now everyone sees it coming and a collective dread or sigh escapes Castledom.
The conversation escalates with Rick’s clueless claim that Kate has never been scorned. “What man has ever turned you away?” Look up, Rick, and see her face. A fight escalates over Nikki Heat, and Kate retaliates, saying that Nikki just needs a better writer.
The music pirouettes, point and counterpoint, battling it out to a louder and louder drum roll, highlighting a total communication breakdown between Rick and Kate.
All that Rick can do is leave, especially with the new contract looming to write on a certain British agent who shall remain nameless.
Their parting in the lobby of the hotel is too painful to watch, their shaking hands, their eyes searching, their feeble attempts to express their feelings, their longing for each other. Will they ever be on the same page?
In “He’s Dead, She’s Dead,” Kate and Rick debate the belief in fairy tales soul-mates, unicorns, fairies and double rainbows, all of which Rick believes in and Kate does not. This episode features a lilting, sometimes melancholy song and lyrics: “The Librarian” by Laura Jane Scott, an appropriately mystical, enchanting love song.
In the course of the story, Penny Merchant, a psychic, has dreams about Kate and confides in her: “You will meet an Alexander, and he will be extremely important to you. At some future date he may save your life.” When Rick reveals his middle name to be Alexander, the song begins:
“I know the distance it takes to sail around the world I’ve done it many times on seas of Van Gogh green, and every night with certainty the stars descend around the hull like fireflies. It’s no surprise I’m here tonight holding out hope for a change in the tide.”
And on this note Rick leaves for the day; Kate remains, staring star-struck after him, knowing he is her magic.
“Painted windows on the skyline sail me off this empty island I’ll be home before you know it I’ll be home before you know I’m gone…”and from another verse “…without the love notes in the bottles at seas; waiting for someone, waiting for someone like me.”
On and off, in various ways throughout the day, Kate asks Rick: “Why is it so important to you that I believe all this stuff about fates and psychics and Santa Claus?”
“If you don’t even believe in the possibility of magic, you’ll never ever find it.” Rick replies.
The final scenes in the season two and season four finales, both pack a powerful punch, each with a dominating song evoking a mood, speaking for the participants, with honest heartfelt lyrics underscoring the context, and…breaking everyone’s heart.
To call Rick and Kate star-crossed lovers is to say the least.
In “A Deadly Game,” Kate chooses Tom Demming’s weekend invitation over Rick’s earlier invitation to the Hamptons, and for Rick, he and Kate will never be on the same page.
Rick cannot leave fast enough after overhearing Tom and Kate make their plans, right in front of him, with Kate’s best excuse and response: “I just didn’t’ want things to be awkward.” Could it get any worse? Rick tells his poker buddies: “You’re right. I’ve got all I can get out of that relationship, anyway.”
And Kate sits and looks at Rick’s empty chair, and crestfallen, she cannot miss the significance of the single cup of coffee he brings in later. Rick begins with his patented “I’ve been thinking.”
Kate ends with the most profound thought she has at the moment: “We got so caught up in the game that we forgot what really matters.”
Now Kate knows what matters. “Into the Blue” by Sara Jackson-Holman fills the air, its melody and lyrics tugging at our heartstrings:
“If only if only I had the luxury of retrospect; sounds like you’re speaking some sort of foreign dialect…I’m grasping at straws and I’m chasing the world, as I fall on my face over and over again.”
Kate breaks up with Tom to go with Rick to the Hamptons; the song echoes her heart:
“Into the blue and faded world of my daydreams, I feel I’m falling deeper every day, melting away down a dark and endless abyss. I’m grasping at straws and I’m chasing the world as I fall on my face over and over again.”
Loving Rick is a high wire act for Kate; it is small wonder that she frequently describes their relationship as complicated. With great, heart-stopping anticipation, Kate prepares to tell Rick that she will go with him to the Hamptons:
“…Oh, so many if onlys running through my mind, what ifs and storybook endings time after time.”
And then heart break, exposure in front of friends and death of a dream. Kate holds back the tears at a great cost to her pride and heart…so hard to recover in front of everyone, for Rick has chosen Gina, his ex-wife. Love of Rick is still a high wire act without a safety net.
“It’s been nice working with you,” Kate manages to say, shutting down her tears, closing her heart. Rick walks off arm in arm with Gina, with little concern for Kate left behind. Begging the issue she calls after him if he will return… in the fall. Casually he says in the fall.
“If only something precious as time had a price instead of endlessly taking its toll on my soul. I’m grasping at straws and I’m chasing the world as I fall on my face over and over again.”
“If only if only you coulda been mine. I’d take you!”
Another finale another chance, with heart break written all over it, “Always” features a most melancholy, intimate and passionate love song: “In My Veins,” by Andrew Belle. Kate and Rick part forever and Kate resigns from the force. It is goodbye for everyone: Rick, Kate, Alexis, Ryan and Esposito.
The sad song underscores the reality:
“Nothing goes as planned. Everything will break….All that you rely on and all that you can fake will leave you in the morning but find you in the day.”
In the misty fog, soaked from the rain storm, Kate, heart-sick, reflects on their past, their love and her future. The swing remains a symbol where once they sat together when love seemed renewed and possible. She finally acknowledges the truth:
“Oh, you’re in my veins and I cannot get you out. Oh, you’re all I taste at night inside of my mouth. Oh you run away cause I am not what you found.”
So star-crossed their love seems:
“Everything will change. Nothin’ stays the same. And nobody here’s perfect. Oh but everyone’s to blame.”
Rick, alone in his loft, reflects on Alexis’ graduation, deflects Kate’s phone call and deletes Kate’s file from his private story board. The lyrics and the melancholy-melody embody Rick’s despondent feelings:
“Everything is dark. It’s more than you can take….Oh, you’re in my veins and I cannot get you out. Oh, you’re all I taste at night inside my mouth. Oh you run away cause I am not what you found. Oh you’re in my veins. No, I cannot get you out.”
“Oh no, I cannot get you.”
And then Kate knocks at Rick’s door. The piano sings her story.
At last... Kate comes to find him…now.