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“I promise you we will figure this out, and we’re going to make them pay; just not today,” Rick pledges.
No "Castle" scene, it seems, not the welcomed new season’s intimacy, not the loving embraces, the soul- searching hugs, not the intense, earth-shattering handshakes, the tender looks or the faithful words, nor the passionate kisses, nothing is more powerful than this heart- wrenching, perfect scene from “Rise,” when love, always there, heart-felt was hidden, yet alive and waiting…waiting, spoken…silent, sometimes heard, palpable.
Kate returns to work edgy, in free fall, frail from the trauma and her near fatal heart shot. At her desk Rick patiently sits down, rests in her presence as he so often does, her cup of coffee offered, his heart stripped bare this time. How can he stop her, make her stand down? How can he save Kate from herself and from her arch- enemies?
Love’s greatest gift, Rick now bestows. “Rise,” love. With all he is, Rick asks her to walk away from her mother’s case; he does this before in “Knockout,” and Kate lashes out then; they are over.
Now, again, anew, a scene so old, so fresh, he cherishes a chance to save her; with eyes face-searching, with voice breaking, anxious with love, needing her, Rick pleads, his words: “I’m not telling you to walk away; I’m just saying give it time...just until you get your bearings.”
He waits; achingly reads her face. Have they come this far, he so in love with her, they so in tune always, and she, once more not hearing…his heart speaking…his words?
But then she asks: “How am I supposed to get my bearings when someone out there wants me dead?” Kate listens; Rick’s hope glimmers, earnest.
“Just not today, “Rick promises and pleads.
“Castle, if I don’t do this… I don’t know who I am?”
“You are who you always were.” Rick promises. “You are the one who honors the victims.”
He knows her, validates her truth. It is hard to think of a more loving, greater gift than this, life- affirming one’s character and one’s existence. Rick urges Kate to live her life, to be herself, to enjoy life’s pleasures, and, as always, to believe in a hopeful new day…in tomorrow. She tries; seeks counseling to heal, to love…him, walls down. And she does…start to believe in tomorrow in herself and in him.
In another beginning, season five’s “After the Storm,” as lovers now, Rick’s words and demeanor mirror the “Rise” scene, only this time urging a flagging Kate on to action, not pleading with her to halt her inquiries. She cries: “I can’t go back again, not now.” Rick realizes they have no choice but go on. “I don’t know how to do this and I’m not even a cop anymore.”
This time Rick spurs her on to action: “I’ll tell you exactly what we do. We figure out who this is. We’ve done it before and with less to go on...” He engages Kate in locating Mr. Smith and unlocking the conspiracy, lifting her sinking spirit: “This is what you’re great at, and I’m not so bad myself.”
Rick and Kate, Ryan and Esposito go on to uncover an all encompassing, high profile, powerful conspiracy and Senator Bracken, the self-serving, diabolical politician responsible for Johanna Beckett’s murder. In a seemingly impossible situation, alone, Kate encounters Bracken, confronts him, and pistol whips him, cleverly striking an unholy bargain with this devil.
Kate pretends to have incriminating evidence and forces Bracken to continue the agreement he had with Smith and Montgomery, thus safe- keeping Kate and those she loves. For now, their match is a stalemate.
Finally, Esposito asks her, “What about your mom?”
Watching Rick, Kate replies: “I’ll get justice for her… just not today.”
With Rick’s proud eyes tracking her, Kate walks off, her head held high: “Till then I’ll get it for others.” And so she does.
Indeed, from the first day they meet, Rick is aware of Kate’s honor, her beauty and her sorrow. Responding to her challenge, he analyzes just why the lovely Kate is a cop and not a lawyer. He reads her; knows she is a cop because she has lost a loved one and wants justice; he sees her face fall and her heartbreak as he comes too close to the truth; a kind man, Rick lets it rest, but not until Kate defends: “Don’t think you know me.”
For the next few years working side by side, risking and saving, death-defying and loving, laughing and crying, disappointing and heartening, Rick and Kate learn who the other is and mature with self- knowledge, too. Always there for each other, they learn about love and their incredible desire to be together, for they are so alike and so different, sometimes so star- crossed and always longing for each other.
From the beginning in some of the most powerful sequences and scenes, the Johanna Beckett mystery and murder arcs, threads its way through five seasons, impacts two strangers, the writer and his muse, two want to be lovers and now at last two lonely people in a loving relationship. Johanna Beckett’s case still lingers, ready to sprout its ugly tentacles to hurt and to destroy.
They meet again, Senator Bracken and Kate Beckett. Bracken lurks and provides the irony of all ironies in “Recoil,” as Kate dutifully proclaims: “I’m protecting the man who murdered my mother.”
Melanie Rogers, a 27 year old environmental engineer is gruesomely murdered; her murder taped or recorded on her phone as she calls her sister to seek help, revealing a partial license plate number. Also picked up in the background on the recording is a clicking sound, the flicking of a Zippo cigarette lighter.
On a different note, for a few incidental but interesting ironies, the murdered woman’s name is Martha’s last name…Rogers, spelled differently. The word Bracken refers to a clump of ferns with coarse fronds and spore cases with extensive stems, slimy and slithery, encroaching enough underground I would imagine.
And, of course, “recoil,” suggesting moving back suddenly and violently after an impact, or reacting in horror, disgust, certainly something returning and bringing its own violence and fear, and, indeed, a change in movement as a result of a collision. The words are certainly suggestive enough, no grasping at straws, I hope.
On the surface Bracken is involved with the young woman in a clandestine affair, but that is not so, for ultimately he is the primary target for an assassination, and Melanie is murdered, a woman in the wrong place at the wrong time, a woman who can identify the culprit.
When analyzing and reading the Senator’s hate mail, Kate identifies one letter and matches it to the hate journal found along with a sniper rifle in drifter, and mentally ill Robert McManus’ car trunk.
But it is the juicy dialogue between Kate and her arch enemy, fraught with ironies and moral ambiguities which make this episode fascinating.
While Kate wrestles with her conscience, she and Rick are close and supportive; Ryan and Esposito would gladly kill Bracken for murdering Johanna Beckett and their captain Roy Montgomery, or at least Espo would, for Ryan fights with the moral implications of the deed and what carrying it through would make them; no better than the scum Bracken.
Leading the investigation Kate questions Bracken: “Is there anyone who would like to kill you?” Oh this is delicious in its implications.
Retaliating, Bracken then goads Kate: “Must be a dream come true for you?” And, yes, it is for Kate to have in her cross hairs, the man responsible for her mother’s murder. And she keeps her cool. Kate has moments of doubt, but she is under control.
“In my dreams I’m the one who gets to pull the trigger.” Kate retorts and Bracken recoils. They spar, and Rick supporting Kate all the way looks daggers at the man, ready to defend Kate if need be. Rick and Kate touch, console and are together on this case and in its aftermath.
Both making biting comments and scoring, Bracken and Kate, however, fence with each other. Finally Kate warns the senator and throws down the ultimate challenge: “When someone commits murder, no matter who he is, I will bring him to justice, no matter how long it takes.”
Holding his ground, the Senator brooks no interference with his plans to give the keynote speech at the environmental conference, for the exposure on the national stage is the cornerstone to his reelection and presidential ambitions.
The hate letters leading to McManus throw Kate into a moral dilemma or crises. Consulting her therapist she confides: “If we find the suspect (McManus), someone worse, much worse is going to escape justice.” Morally conflicted, Kate feels that there is no right choice, and the doctor “helps her realize the choice must be the one she can live with.” And ultimately she chooses wisely.
Still, Kate is so tempted to burn the McManus letter, the evidence, and thus continue to pursue Bracken. She basically lets McManus go when she and her team break down his apartment door to arrest him. Later she confesses to Rick that she didn’t miss hitting him, for she never really fired her gun at him. Kate claims she “looked him in the eye and felt his pain.”
Now Kate questions her own integrity as a cop, for perhaps she wanted the man to escape to aid him in killing Senator Bracken: “What if I wanted him to get away…what does that make me.”
In interrogation Kate finds that the suspect’s son, a Bracken campaign worker, hanged himself and McManus blames the senator for his son’s death. The interrogation has the hallmarks of”47 Seconds” with Kate bonding or pretending to with the suspect. “I know what it’s like to lose someone that you love…to live with that pain, to feel the rage towards the person responsible.” Revealingly Kate cries out. This is powerful.
While Rick observes and feels for Kate, in walks Captain Gates. The charged atmosphere in the interrogation is too personal, too real. Kate yells out to Mc Manus: “He took someone close to me; he killed my mother.”
After her words resound around the room, Rick covers for her, and Gates pulls her out of interrogation. Reluctantly Kate leaves, verifying that she is all right. But it seems that the explosives and C4 were found, and the man is indeed guilty. Case closed.
At Kate’s home, she and Rick decide that just maybe the evidence is planted and suggest that McManus is too dull and an easy patsy to blame. The real bomb rigged to murder the loathsome Senator may still be in place.
Kate concludes she must evacuate the convention, no doubt bringing down the Senator’s wrath, and according to Rick: “If you stop it and you are wrong, your career is over.” She calls it in to evacuate the Widmark Hotel. With Bracken beyond irate, and no bomb surfacing, Kate is stricken with her error.
Seizing the opportunity, Bracken attacks and threatens to bury Kate. At that moment Kate hears the clicking sound, the sound of a Zippo lighter, flicking in the driver’s hand. The Senator moves towards his car and it explodes. Kate tackles Bracken, saving his life, or at least, by her dogged efforts to search for a bomb, she saves his life.
Rick reveals to Bracken that he would not have done what Kate did. However, Rick and Kate both suspect that the Senator knows who is paying the driver to murder him. Sparring and insulting, the moments between Kate and Bracken are tense, meeting each other as equals, with the Senator claiming that he is in her debt.
“It is a dangerous world out there, Detective, he slyly suggests, “You never know when you might need a friend.” These two sworn enemies will meet again and it promises to be some mighty collision. Still the outcome of that fight may be entirely different than expected. We wait in awe.
At home at Kate’s, Rick and Kate, together, learn that another king maker Ben Maas is behind the attempted assassination of Kate’s arch- nemesis.
Indeed, it is the change in Kate that is so profound; she is savvy, and sophisticated, handling herself with aplomb in a morally charged situation with a man she personally despises and holds responsible for her mother’s murder. She is always sophisticated and aware,but she is so much more...so confident, so sure; so in control.
Kate is well; she is whole. She and Rick are together, comfortable and secure. Rick knows her and she knows herself; we know her, too. Indeed, Kate has her moments of doubt, her moral ambiguity and crisis, but she concludes rationally and calmly, especially considering who this Bracken is and what he is capable of doing:
“He’ll slip up eventually. and when he does, I’ll be ready.” Those words sound remarkably like… “Just not today.”