Member Article: Sterner Stuff

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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.

flowers for your grave

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.


  1. Morrison says

    Nicely put Linda. Thank you. I thoroughly enjoy the fact that so many fans are peeling the Castle onion together.

  2. yeoman says

    very interesting outlook!! It is likely that now we will see Beckett start to peel the Castle onion!! that should be very informative. Love your outline of the situation about Rick so far.

  3. Kathy1948 says

    Wonderful article Linda. I love the intelligent and intuitive nature of the contributors to these discussion boards. I look forward to future articles penned by your capable hand.

  4. southerngirl says

    Linda, this excellent discerning article challenges us to seek the underlying reasons that make people ‘who they truly are’ versus the persona they present to the ‘world.’ During the 5 seasons, both Castle and Beckett have been on a journey of self-discovery. It’s when their paths collide and their attraction to each other takes over that they begin to unravel mysteries of what drives each of them. Of note, too, is that both these characters have almost drowned in being totally self-absorbed each in their own circumstance. Almost without forethought, they learn from each other the redeeming power of caring for another person. Though Castle has always unselfishly loved his daughter, he hasn’t found fulfillment in his peers, his talent, or with ill-chosen mates. Beckett knows her mind has been closed to meaningful relationships. Until she met Castle, she lived with a locked mind to anything save righting the injustice that alone defines her. Fortunately, we viewers and lovers of the show have traveled the self-discovery odyssey with them. It has made for extraordinary television.

  5. scottish castle fan says

    Yes Linda I agree with Shena. I am glad you posted this. You really do give us all food for thought, not sure if its a souffle or an onion, but I love it! Thanks.

  6. says

    Thank you for your kind words.

    My opening quote for the article was “sterner stuff than chance” – from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (there referring to ambition) – and thus the title. With respect to the Bard, I chose his powerful words to affirm life, love and redemption. The quote never showed up in the article’s transcription, so I include it here.

  7. Phillip 07 says

    Linda Prime: I smiled to myself as I pictured you laboring away on this essay way out there on Prince Edward Island deep in the heart of a Canadian winter. Like Trueheart you clearly have an appreciation for the classics, Shakespeare in particular, and we are most fortunate to have you both among us. This is an incisive a character study of Richard Castle nee Rogers as I have ever read.

  8. catluver aka Donna says

    Isn’t is wonderful that each of the characters in the show have such back stories that we are just now learning about. It makes the show so much better than any show EVER on tv. Thanks, Linda, for helping us see how Castle’s back story has helped to mold him in to the man he is. But more wonderful is the fact that Rick and Kate together have become so much better. I think the best is yet to come!!
    And all the articles by people like you make it even better.

  9. Jim says

    Well done, Linda. Very well done.
    I am thinking of the scene in which Rick reaches a point of despair and walks away from Kate. “It is over,” he says.
    He, not her, understands the full extent of the peril facing her. He knows with certainty that her choice means she will be killed. He will not stand by and watch her death unfold. It is too much to bear.
    Using your insights into Rick’s life and character, we can fully understand the depths to which her choice has taken him. Jokingly she is his Muse but in reality she is his life reborn. To him, her choice means his life is over, too. Castle, the writer, sees the tragedy being entered on the page. He sees the next letter before it appears on the page. It hurts so much he cannot watch as it is written. He must turn away, drag himself away, hide his pain from Alexis while he throws out the reminders of Kate. He knows he is doomed to re-enter that depressing empty life he had before.
    And then….she is standing at his door. What do you want, Beckett?
    Thank you for adding this element to the story, Linda.
    Castle, the most entertaining show you will ever see about onions.

  10. Heather says

    Excellent article! I so look forward to reading member contributed articles for their depth and discerning. Her layers are noble, ellicit empathy and are acceptable from a societal view point. His layers are unacknowledged, opaque, and do not have a tragic origin. I can’t wait to see how Beckett scales Castle’s walls, or if he’ll finally open of his own accord.