"What happens if you don’t like what you see?” Rick asks Kate, as he is about to reveal a piece of his truth to her.
“What happens if you don’t let me look?” Rick and Kate have this discussion in the end scenes of “The Wild Rover,” Kevin Ryan’s back story about secrets and truths he has been hiding, and a double life, an undercover life he once lived.
A former girl friend from this life, a serious affair, surfaces and adds angst to Kevin’s life as he and his wife Jenny try to get pregnant. Secrets hurt; untruths destroy.
So, too, we learn a little about Rick’s childhood and his earnest bid to be accepted and regarded. This is the governing force in his life, until he meets Kate and loving her makes him strive to be a better man and drop the phony, the self-proclaiming, devil-may-care, the man about town façade.
But with Alexis he always believes in the truth; we see through Rick and we know he deeply cares.
He tells Kate who Jordan was. All the while Kate thinks Jordan is a woman whom Rick dreams about and calls out to in his sleep. It is then that Rick shares a glimpse of the boy he was and subsequently the man he becomes.
Rick pays a fellow student 250.00 dollars to write a paper on an automobile company and car. But the teacher reads the essay to the class as an exhibit of fine writing, leaving Rick mortified with his own actions and the cheat he is.
Confessing to Kate, Rick ends responsibly: “I was a fraud.”From then on he worked hard at his craft, never ceasing to try to improve. Rick explains to Kate: “I’m trying to earn that applause. I’m still trying.” Rick humbles himself, and is vulnerable before Kate, not knowing how she will react.
Accepting his distraught feelings, Kate supports Rick: “It makes me like you just a little bit more.” They tenderly kiss, a beautiful moment, although at this point I wish Kate had told him she loves him, the boy he was and the man he has become.
Contrary to popular opinion, somehow, Rick was always a serious person, a lonely only child with his story-book friends, super heroes and tales, trying hard to be accepted. And that is a bit of an honest revelation to Kate, and self assessment, although we knew this in part even as it surfaced in “The Final Nail” and other episodes, especially those that deal with supporting young children and young adults, the down-trodden trying to find their way.
The sincere exchange, Rick’s and Kate’s words, still haunt, even dictate the theme of the entire season. “What happens if you don’t like what you see?” In the last episodes of season five, either one could be speaking these words; it has come down to this.
“And what happens if you don’t let me look?” into your secrets, your desires that don’t included me? It’s Rick’s turn to speak these words. The irony hits hard given Kate’s secrets and behavior towards Rick in “Watershed,” the secretive plans she makes knowing that Rick is going to be the odd man out.
Do you do this to the man you claim to love, even if you feel neglected at the moment? Speak to him. Are you afraid to let him look, your very own words to him?
“Castle” season one begins with Kate’s first words spoken at the first crime scene: “Who are you?” They are thematic, prophetic words and dictate all of “Castle”: a search, a journey to know who the other person is and who you are yourself. Rick and Kate both struggle in season one in a getting to know you scenario we dedicated fans know so well.
Their story is a dance of discovery, of exposition, going beyond the facade and phony posing to come to like each other and trust each other even in deadly situations. Both mature and Rick learns that the reality of a cop’s life is not quite the same as the reality he writes in his fictional stories.
A cop’s life is hard. Hers is hard, but Kate recognizes that with Rick she finds a little bit of fun and hope.
Rick sees the woman and Kate shares her mother’s murder story, and the ring she wears, her talisman, and her father’s watch to honor him for his struggles. Rick begins to love her and become the man he always was.
He learns about Kate’s mother and Kate’s heartbreak, and her father’s alcoholism and the loneliness of a young woman whose life has changed, stunted for ten years, emotionally alone for five years at least.
Gently and tenderly Rick strives to use all of his talents to ease this beautiful woman’s burdens, only to have it all back fire, because Kate is in a relatively complacent place and cannot bear to go back into the rabbit hole of sadness and depression, even if Rick accompanies her.
Rick profoundly apologizes for being insensitive to her needs, and their relationship begins to grow with trust and affection, leading to heightened awareness and a hope for tomorrow, but Kate at first deflects Rick’s invitation to join him in the Hamptons, accepts another man’s invitation, so fearful of loving a seeming playboy such as Rick Castle.
Reluctant to risk her heart, knowing Rick’s belief that the heart wants what the heart wants, Kate is still so afraid to try, but she does. It ends with the sorrow of Kate’s rejection, her own fault partially, and the end of their blossoming relationship which now lies dormant for half of season three.
Finally, in” Poof! You’re Dead, ” Rick sees no magic in his relationship with his ex wife Gina, so full he is of daily comparisons to what he has with Kate, and his newly recognized love for Kate. He only wants her and will do anything for her. His life has changed its course…forever.
Rick’s growing love for Kate, leads to Rick’s tearful pleas for Kate to stay with him; not to leave him and his pronouncement of love for the fallen, profoundly bleeding nearly dying in his arms….Kate. “I love you Kate.”
The first three seasons are a tentative exploration in to who are you; I deeply care for you; and I don’t want to be without you. I don’t know where I stand and I don’t know what I believe. Acts One, Two and Three end with the climax and Rick’s I love you, Kate and Kate’s recognition, fear and withdrawal from love and all of the commitment love of Rick will take.
As for Rick, his internal dialogue might say: I am so afraid to speak about our relationship, and when I try to, we agree to never speak about our unspoken love. Rick’s “always” to Kate, first declared in “Knockdown” and in “Setup,” is his pledge of being there for her and of his unspoken love. He is faithful while she sees still another man.
Labeled or defined by “Castle” creators as a season of “Secrets,” more than secrets, season four is a tale of partnership despite secrets, with life and love on hold. Rick adores her, but is willing to wait for her to find herself, supporting her always.
The most poignant and beautiful love scene occurs in “Rise” when Rick confirms and validates Kate’s identity and tells her she is who she always was. It is so apparent his love for her and his willingness to come back to her to save her from herself and ultimately to save her from those who would kill her…his secret which could end their partnership. He only wants to be near her.
During her three months’ recovery, Kate leaves Rick totally alone, cut off from her, Rick also grieving and stricken with post traumatic stress. Rick never receives a word of comfort. And still he is hers. They don’t speak their true feelings, needs or beliefs; they talk in subtext, afraid to act; afraid to halt.
It is a bad habit, and they sink deeper and deeper into it as season four progresses. One thing Rick now does. Instead of saying “always,” he claims that they act as true partners.
They see other lovers, frozen together for eternity, hoping the lovers reunite; seeing protagonists of great love stories beat the odds; they hint at being cuffed and hitched, and finding their rhythm so easily, or astounded at how Lanie and Javie do not recognize their own love.
They understand a lover’s struggle and the possibility of love, and friendship with their police partners. Rick has become one of them. Kate has said so.
They learn from Ryan what is commitment and true partnership as shown by Jane in “Kick the Ballistics,” Jane who loved and sacrificed, and of Ryan’s dedication to see the guilty man who used his stolen weapon pay for her murder.
Submerged in their car, in the icy, river water, Rick will do anything to save her and to ease her heart and her burden.
Rick learns the hard way in “Headhunters,” just how vital his relationship with Kate is and just who she is as she supports him.
In “Undead Again” in a most moving moment in time, Rick learns how Kate strives in counseling to bring down the walls and learn who she is and what she believes, as they battle zombies, the undead, trapped in a half life. She believes in tomorrow with him, breathing life back into their deepening relationship.
She is doing the work and wants Rick to be there even in his zombie mask. We hear him say how he will make it work, and we believe him…and so does Kate.
And still her walls remain. Rick waits. Kate still suffers fear of loss, afraid of love and commitment. He continues a bad habit then of keeping it all in, so fearful of rushing her and losing her forever. Secrets and Partners: two warring forces remain.
Ultimately love’s passion cannot be denied. They spend a night of love and need for each other, Kate sorry for doubting his love and trust…his honor. Rick cannot get over her, cannot let her go, and will do anything for her. That is his way. He is a pleaser and a man in love.
Don’t rush her; don’t hold back; subtext and hint. She cannot deal with any more. She is his obsession. But they have learned well the art of subtext and not talking about what is really happening to them.
Season five is not about secrets per se or at least not at first, although sometimes secrets sabotage their further discovery. Rick and Kate both begin to embrace who they are and reveal their beliefs. Ease and intimacy highlight their relationship; they are together most of the time and in love. They believe in each other.
Finally they are pulling off the masks and letting each other in, but still fear of going too fast or making too many demands or even being wrong grip the two them. They have learned very well the art of no comment, no commitment and consequently no risk and no loss.
With life on an up and down swing as in every other week, one, both need more from the other, and neither is always aware of it, still hiding the fear of loss.
We hear Kate tell the murdering Senator that he has no idea what she is capable of doing, a far cry from the words she utters to Rick when they conclude their first case together, until Rick agrees that he had no idea, now that he and she have spent a night of love making.
She also has learned well from Rick his heart warming words of faith that they will get justice for her mother, just not right now.
In “Cloudy with a Chance of Murder,” in love, Rick understands that they cannot address all of their problems, but they must keep on asking and recognizing the questions, always trying to do their best. They are attempting to communicate their needs and beliefs.
A father will do anything for a beloved daughter, and if Alexis needs him and calls out to him, Rick will be right there to check for monsters and destroy them to save his little girl. This is prophetic and heroic, and Kate is supportive and believes in this gallant parent.
To a patient and loving Rick, Kate reveals the secret of her stick man, tucked into her desk drawer, and Kate also confides how she believes in the possibility of joy no matter how dire the day, even the day of her mother’s burial. Believing in Kate, in tomorrow, and in life and his love for her, touching her hands and imagining soulful kisses, Rick cannot wait to be with her.
Owning up to his womanizing past In his palatial Hamptons’ home, Rick allays Kate’s fears and insecurities, comforts and shares with Kate his most loving words to date: “None of them were you.” And they love each other passionately at last. They let each other in, emotionally, Kate recognizing that she is part Nikki and part Kate, his love on and off the paper. Even a shooting star celebrates their love.
Kate’s believes in Rick and will stay with him even under his probable cause arrest and the seemingly insurmountable murder evidence against him. Kate works her way past all of the incriminating evidence; she knows him and comforts Rick’s doubts when he cries out: “You believe me.”
Kate declares: “I never stopped.”
Later Rick confesses to Kate: “Given my reputation, it would have been very easy to doubt me.” Kate remains steadfast, believes in Rick, and their love triumphs. Kate knows “it has never been easy between them.”
“That is what has made it all worthwhile.” Rick concludes.
Kate shares so much about her past and her love of comic cons, television shows, and the opportunity to take on a persona and play with it. She was denied this fun after her mother’s death, when a young girl’s fears hastened the end of girlhood innocence.
Seeing this side of her, Rick only loves her more. He will not make fun. She can be anything she wants to be and he encourages her in “Swan Song “as well. He wants her to show the world just how talented she is at her job. He sees her compassion as he always has and loves her.
In “After Hours” they work through their parent difficulties. Holding him tightly to her, Kate caresses Rick, cherishes him and reveals her fear of losing him, as he affirms he will never leave her.
They agree they don’t live their lives on paper; they can be whatever they want and love each other, always open to the beauty of surprise and happiness.
Later Kate reveals a part of her to Rick and explains why she deliberately takes on Christmas Eve duty. She and her father cannot take down the Christmas tree or put away the unopened Christmas presents. Retreating to his cabin, her father grieves alone during the Christmas season, leaving his daughter to fend for herself.
She then decides to protect, to watch vigil for those at home with family; this is her tradition. Rick did not know and now he understands her tradition, her belief.
Still she is willing to change her tradition to be with Rick. And he is willing to be unselfish and change his tradition for love of Kate. Rick believes in the beauty of the light and the hope for the world, in the shortest day of the year, thus sharing details from his childhood as a lonely, fatherless child with his mother who loves him and puts on their own traditions always with hope.
When he and Alexis are targets for a revenge plot, Rick confides in Kate that there is nothing that he would not do for love of Alexis or other loved ones, including her. And Kate knows this and sees his love shining through. This side of him she has not seen.
Now Rick has told tales to himself and to Alexis, about his father who could be anyone. He has convinced himself and Alexis that he never needed a father he never knew.
This had to contribute to a little boy lost who grows into a man still feeling the sense of loss, a loss he will never own up to until face to face with his father. Rick pleads for just a little more time together. He needs a father’s touch, the boy he was and the man he is.
Alexis learns a father’s love and so does Rick. I believe Rick tells his mother about the hunt for Alexis. I sure hope he told Kate. But I don’t know if he did so. Does he tell them about the hail of bullets he dodges, the terror and horror, the worry for his daughter, the bodies piled up around him?
To protect his image, that nothing bothers him, Rick erects his own walls. But he must still be suffering post traumatic stress after seeing Kate die in the ambulance, in his arms, Sophia’s head blown off before him, and the danger and potential deaths of his father, his daughter and ultimately his own.
In “The Fast and The Furriest,” we see an amusing Rick, but we also see a serious side of him and Kate as they sit in bed confiding to each other what they believe.
A generous and kind, sometimes gullible, magical, innocent soul, Rick believes in so much: “Is there anything you don’t believe in?” Kate asks Rick.
Kate confides that she believes in the flatiron building, a citadel in all of its unique and powerful beauty, at one time framing the majesty of the Twin Towers, Kate, a long time New Yorker would know this; in rebirth, in brave flowers of spring that push their way to life through the lingering storms of early spring snows; and John Coltrane’s cool sax, telling its own story.
Finally Kate tells Rick that she “believes in one inexplicable phenomenon… us.”
Through “Still” we see how their love grew and how it still shines with the devotion they have for each other. Kate does not want him to die with her, even to risk his life to save her, and leave his mother and child alone. This loss she knows first- hand and she believes.
Rick believes in their ability to sort out the story and find a way to safety. He will not leave her to die alone. He believes in their love as they profess their love for each other.
Later we see that Rick believes in humanity; in the capacity to love; he is the man who sees, and believes in the roses. He is the dreamer; he is the human factor who recognizes the roses, signifying life, and the man who will fight to save the innocents and especially those he loves.
This is a rare man, a mature man, not the kind of man you over look or leave.
What then changes? They still don’t know how to communicate. Rick is afraid to rush her after all the waiting; and given his own failed marriages. The status quo is safe and comfortable. They have fallen into the subtext trap again.
She wants to know where they are going, and he says to the bedroom for a message and a sexy one at that. That is not what she wants or needs at this moment.
Speak to each other we want to scream, and not in subtext, avoiding and deflecting their real needs and issues. Jealousies occur. Rick ignores her or side- steps commitment discussions. And she prepares to listen to those who seem to know what she wants and believes.
She has studied law in Stanford; she has expressed a desire to be a Supreme Court judge, and frequently distains the overbearing Federal Agents and their grim, dark duties.
Why now listen to outside influences? Kate loves Rick but seems to think that she is really on her own to decide her life and that Rick is holding her back.
Yes, Kate’s development has been arrested because of her mother’s case, and she truly has not been anywhere but the 12th precinct. And in the greatest paradox, Rick has helped Kate overcome her fears and move on.
She needs a chance to explore, but her hurtful cries that this is her life really ring very selfish, no matter Rick’s failings at this point.
And so it comes to pass. Two roads separate them. Rick searches his soul and realizes that he is losing her and wants her more than anything. Risking the hurt of rejection, unconditionally he will accept whatever she decides, for he now can voice how much he needs her.
Understanding her need to keep secrets, Rick believes this is a part of her, no matter how sorry she is for keeping important information from him. He has scratched and clawed to try to win her and have a small place in her heart.
And so a rather terrified, somewhat saddened and ultimately serious man proposes to the woman he has waited for his whole life. How can they reconcile “I only want you,” and “none of them were you?”
Kate worries about the end of their dance of love, but they have learned the moves, and now can hold each other even closer, move together, and learn new and additional steps; the music, the songs have become harmonious over the years, point and counter point so in sync with the foreplay of solving cases together.
They will learn new harmonies and new songs and styles to sing together.
They have moved from who are you and who am I, through partners, lovers and secrets, to important discoveries and beliefs.
In season six two lovers will find a way. Rick believes in the hope of tomorrow and his pledge of always. “Kate tells Rick not too long ago before the madness of doubt, distrust and fear set in: “I believe in the inexplicable phenomenon…us.”
“I believe in us.” We, too, believe.