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That being true, from where does our strength of character come? . Maybe psychologists have better reasons to explain how or why we develop it in life. To view it simplistically, it seems that much of it comes to us via anger, and how we deal with that anger. Particularly if it is a helpless or born-from-injustice anger. It’s like whatever hasn’t killed us yet will make us stronger.
Much of the Castle storyline has been about Kate’s anger. However, what about Rick’s?
The public persona we initially see in the very first episode shows it plainly, and it looks like it has been building for a very long time. Snide remarks towards his mother. Towards his ex-wife. The shallow caricature of himself he presents to his fans, and in the quite desperate complaint he makes to Alexis about for once wanting to hear something new. He is so jaded that he not only has killed off Derrick Storm (his golden goose) but he habitually resorts to oft-repeated womanizing and antics like riding nude on a stolen police horse just to feel anything at all.
Even his writings are no longer cathartic – resulting in writer’s block. Except for the purer love he bears his daughter, he is hopelessly and almost paralytically depressed, and he plays out that part like a sad self-absorbed clown.
Then along comes Kate.
Yes, we have seen her demons repeatedly, but her strengths include that from the beginning she is not one whit impressed with Castle’s wealth or his ability to bedazzle. She instinctively responds to who and what he is as a person, even if she dislikes it. She neither indulges him nor crushes him. If Rick ever experienced this sort of reality-check treatment in the past, it is so far back in his history that Kate becomes his ‘something new.’ His natural ebullience and hopeful heart become reborn – the pretentious posturing reduced.
But not the fun. Never the fun. This becomes not only a salvation for Kate, but a redefinition for Rick as well. The resulting chemistry – creative and sexual – continues to hook us to this very day.
Even so, there is much assumed about Rick under the guise of writer research. For example, why isn’t he questioned more or at all about why he is an excellent marksman? How come he has the connections he does – why does he know so many (sometimes dubious) ‘guys?’ How on earth could he possibly ingratiate himself into the CIA of all places, to shadow the duplicitous Sophia?
More basically, why does he write at all, regardless of the genre?
It is, perhaps, the major way he compensates for his own helpless, born-from-injustice anger – first developed as a fatherless, latch-key child, then as a homesick 14 year old boy away at boarding school. As he grew, he acted out by getting repeatedly kicked out of of NYC’s finest academic institutions – finally exiting high school naked under his graduation gown.
He becomes the master deflector, covering his vulnerabilities with that dramatic flair he inherited from his mom. Yet this talented wordsmith is either afraid to, or unable to communicate spoken words when needed at the right time – as Martha correctly points out to him. Kate worries that she does not know him, so how can she trust him? She has seen the brash high stakes poker player who can also prove to be incredibly naive. That may be cute when he is teasingly played by Kate, but when he easily lets himself be used by other women because of his non-confrontational and generous heart (Ellie Monroe and Meredith jump to mind), she no doubt wonders what happened to the man’s basic self esteem when it comes down to staying true in a committed relationship.
A sense of inadequacy is one thing. However, that also seems intertwined with why he is drawn to death – even Tyson could see that… feed on that. Was the story of discovering the drowned boy really true? What about his recklessness? What might Martha know that she isn’t saying? CIA (?) dad may loom large here – Martha might have been compelled to hide much behind her diva personality to keep her only child safe, who knows? Of course, any undercurrents from that would seriously need Dr. Burke.
Rick has been a continual study in paradox. Self indulgent, yet not spoiled. Needy – at times immature – but noble to the point where he stands ready to take a bullet for the woman he loves. Behold the next phase of onion peeling, Castle version, where we yearn to see his layers blending with Kate’s.
They already have started doing so, through optimistic words like ‘tomorrow’ and ‘always.’ Two words that both of them embrace each for their own reasons, building that most redemptive strength – love.
Love and enablement (not anger and helplessness) are the processes now forming the wondrous alchemy that infuses Castle’s ‘Magic!’ with Kate’s ‘Even on the worst day, there is the possibility for joy.’ This newly-forged love’s strength grants both Rick and Kate the vision to root for frozen lovers – and indeed all lovers – so that they can beat the odds and make it.
Allowing us to capture that too. For them.