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A Little Background
At the end of their first case together, season one’s “Flowers for Your Grave,” the debonair, best-selling author Richard Castle, flirting, intrigued, self-indulgent, awe-struck, asks the stunning, Detective Kate Beckett to go out to dinner with him to “debrief each other.”
His intention also may be to rattle the dedicated detective, but he finds a little more push-back than he expects. Too aware of the kind of man he appears to be or she thinks he is, perhaps a bit afraid, Kate responds: “Why Castle, so that I can be another one of your conquests?”
As we now know, Rick was close to the truth when he responds: “Or I could become one of yours.” Little does Kate know that in four years, the childish man who exasperates her daily would come to mean everything that matters in her life, the only thing she wants.
So, too, little does this sometimes shallow, immature, bad boy-proud, man-child realize that loving Kate would transform him, he, a basically kind, honorable and compassionate man, into so much more, a deeply caring, often wise, patient and protective man, a better man for his family, for Kate and for himself.
In the beginning, he is content to promote and prove his hedonistic image, (riding a horse while naked…after all it was Spring), the myth that his young daughter is more mature and responsible than he is. (I don’t believe it; it is a role he has assumed.) He is content with a slightly inebriated version of himself, smug, irreverent, dissolute; womanizing.
Everything is a lark, a page in a story until he sees true heart break and pain, part of Kate’s everyday world, police and private. Joking is his defense mechanism he confesses to Kate in season four’s “Cuffed.”
Indeed, under the façade is an often lonely man, who was a lonely child with no father, and an absentee mother, packed off to boarding school, with a clever boy’s writing and make-believe friends, or so he partially confesses to Kate. He jokes it doesn’t hurt.
Kate describes Rick in episode one as a man who “acts like a nine year old on a sugar rush, (he does enjoy his gadgets), totally incapable of taking anything seriously.” But somewhere deep inside, this devoted father and son, Rick is so much more; he wants to be so much more than that self-indulgent child.
For instinctively Rick teaches the lonely, Kate about the heart, magic, and trust, fairy tales and Santa; Rick questions Kate at one point: “If you don’t even believe in the possibility of magic, you will never ever find it.” He believes in the universe and fate, love, tomorrow, hope and always.
In attempting to “fix her” as he fixes her father’s damaged watch, lost in the wreckage, or to love and protect her tomorrow and always, he transforms himself. Somewhere between his magic and her reality, they both grow and change, meeting on common ground and finding love.
When left alone to face Rick’s empty chair, left alone without his jokes, his wild theories, Rick’s laughter, his compassion, his intellect, his courage, and his love and hope in tomorrow, Kate realizes she only wants him. He, in turn, is a broken man when missing and needing her integrity, dignity, love and loyalty.
When Kate rebuffs Rick’s “debriefing date” in episode one, Rick claims: “It would have been great.” Confidently and coolly Kate saunters up to an intrigued, breathless Rick, toying with him, this self-absorbed man, moving in, then veering towards his cheek, out-psyching the playboy.
Indeed, Rick waits in sweet anticipation for her ultimate surrender. In response to his statement of how great it could be, Kate whispers in Rick’s ear, coyly and challengingly: “You have no idea.” Then Kate walks away.
The Night Before
And now, after the storm, after four seasons of prologue, this lovers’ uncharted journey begins, a new path, or course with Season Five’s first entry: “After the Storm.” After a tumultuous death-defying survival battle, this last day in “Always,” Kate resigns from the force, realizing that Rick is really all she wants, and so she runs to him to plea for forgiveness, to heal his hurt heart and her own emptiness.
Mist, fog, thunder, lightning, storms engulf both of them literally and figuratively. Soaked and saddened, Kate turns to Rick to quiet the raging storms without and within, and to sooth his anguish. Rick fears Kate is lost to him like her file he deletes from his story board.
With her kisses and caresses, Kate convinces Rick of her desire and devotion, and unleashes his passionate kisses, which almost overwhelm her. Now, no doubts, only their love, their lips, hearts and hands unite and they walk together back into Rick’s home.
Their love is a storm of passion so long denied. Rick is dedicated to Kate and her alter ego, his heroine Nikki, forgotten for now, another storm; Derek Storm is an afterthought. What will ever- after- the storm have in store for them?
The shattering storm clouds lift, dissipate; two lovers spend the night lost in their mutual love- making. Morning breaks. Was it real, this fairy-tale night, Rick wants to know, as he now sits alone in his bed.
And then he sees Kate, back lit in white lighting, hair soft, tender, sweet, diffident, in love, clothed in her lover’s white shirt, hands reaching out, sharing two permanent, ceramic, white cups of coffee, their daily coffee ritual reversed, she now serving him.
Robert Duncan’s “I Only Want You” intones on the sound track, only this time in softer, gentler, tones than the demanding staccato pounding tones of the powerful “Shut the Front Door” love scene of the previous night.
The piano beats the softened melody of Kate’s heart and answers with the softened dulcet tones of the lower-voiced viola, Rick’s voice, a love duet again, brilliantly linking last night’s reconciliation and pulsating love scene between Kate and Rick with this morning’s afterglow and tenderness, as two lovers speak softly of their night together and all of its passions and intimate meanings, exchanging lover’s sweet talk, in the beautiful morning after.
“So it wasn’t a dream then?” Rick confirms. Was their love-making all that each expected, true, tender and loving? Was their lovemaking for one night only… or for always? Is she on board with this? Kate is there for him as he is for her, both ready to “dive into it together.”
Shyly, sweetly they sit on the bed in the glowing aftermath, and talk, lovers’ suggestive, sweet nothings, so genuinely enthralled with each other, both draped in an innocent white, bathed in a light glow, honesty, love and desire all vulnerably revealed, wanting to please the beloved.
And then Rick, quietly sighs, words so meaningful they will stay with them always: “You were right. I had no idea.” The self-absorbed, (yet generous,) hedonistic man we first met, play-boy Rick Castle acknowledges a different kind of sharing, of giving, not taking: the meaning and power of love.
The Story Unfolds
The next few scenes are quite honestly hilarious, and once again I screamed with laughter at their attempts to hide their love affair from Martha…and Alexis. Rick hastens and hushes Kate into his closet to hide from Mama, a scene that made me think of “Always Buy Retail,” when Kate and Rick are hunkered down behind a kitchen island with a loony shooting at them. Rick is admonishing Kate to stay down so that she doesn’t get her head blown off.
Well, you get the picture and this current scene was too funny as Rick uses his foot to drag Kate’s bra under the bed, to hide from Martha’s eagle eyes. Kate fumes in the closet and tosses a pillow at Rick, at his cowardice. Pick me up off the floor by this time.
Kate’s exit is amazing, sneaking around with half her clothes in her hand and rather disheveled, while Rick distracts a hung over Alexis, not too difficult, and a persistent Mama. Oh, Rick has some “splaining” to do. And later in the safety of her loft, an amused Kate tells a repentant Rick: “It wasn’t your finest hour.”
But Rick has plans to make it up to Kate for the fourth time, maybe more, or maybe less, for it all depends on who is counting, and Rick seems to have a penchant for counting this sort of thing, or maybe every sort of thing. Remember Ryan’s wedding and just how many men Kate has been with, or “Cops and Robbers” and just how many times have I saved you. No matter.
When someone raps on the door at Kate’s abode, Rick suspects it’s his mother, stalking them at Kate’s; it is Rick’s turn to hide in the closet when Ryan appears. Rick refuses his turn in the closet. Why? Well, this time he has his pants on. (And so does Kate, her own that is.) I still shrieked with laughter.
Indeed, the operative words for these two love birds are “act normal,” as Kate admonishes Rick…”as normal if that is even possible.” Oh, we are going to have a lot of fun this season with “acting normal.”
This episode is truly a roller coaster of discovery and tearing off from one clue to another clue and one venue to the next venue. Javie is looking for Maddox via his military connection. Ryan is tracking down Smith’s phone call to Rick on the previous night, and Rick and Kate are trying to locate Smith through pictures and his connection to a yacht club.
Now does Javie suspect the goings on around him? He comes in on a conversation wherein Rick and Kate speak regretfully about not becoming lovers four years ago, but at least they had last night, especially since it looks like they may die. Javie remarks: “Done what four years ago?” Oh Oh.
With the next crack Javier makes, you be the judge as to how much he is all over it. Kate asks for his extra spare weapon, Javie’s extra piece. Whoa, Rick, an excellent man with a gun wants one, too. So Javie snidely answers: “You want an extra, extra piece. “ All Rick can say is a “wow,” shades of his wow when Kate appears on his smart phone in the beginning of “Always.”
So Maddox, the evil one, blows up and that scene in the alcove, we all wondered about is Rick protecting his lady love from the blast.
And all clues, including putting together a million scraps of paper, or at least a few which just happen to be pertinent, lead to Senator Bracken, former Assistant District Attorney, now running for president, a slithery man who was involved with the cops’ shake downs of mobsters.
Oh, I still think that Smith well may be Rick’s daddy for all the many reasons I’ve laid out before on this site and for the fact that when they spoke they sounded alike; in Smith’s younger days they looked alike and just because. I realize we are talking actors, not related people, but I give the casting crew props.
As for Smith, we may think he does die of a heart attack in the hospital, or someone has a hit on him, and he dies some other way, but he is extremely wealthy, and I think his death faked. He so much as says he has to disappear and hide away. A source informed me it would be a neat echo of “Frozen Heat,” by Richard Castle, which I have not finished yet. I do trust my source.
As for the “bromance” between Ryan and Esposito, let us say they work together more or less because of their respect and love for Kate. But when Ryan comes back to Kate’s house, Javie makes a cutting comment: “Well, if it isn’t Judas.”
Later Ryan is too eager to be a goody- goody and summon Gates when they fear Kate has become a loaded cannon, in her attempt to secure personal safety and to kill the Senator, in retribution for her mother.
Out of control Kate, not so; try clever, calculating and brilliant. She holds the gun and the power on the weasel senator. She really has no files, but she has his bank account number, and she tricks him into believing that she will use the files to destroy him.
But not so if she has the same deal as Montgomery and Smith had: She is safe and so are her friends and everyone who means anything to her or this guy is toast. He buys it and she tells him: “You have no idea …what I am capable of or how far I will go.” Now where have we heard that before, the “you have no idea part”?
Finally she tells Rick, beautiful words to this shipper’s heart, the original fan of “Rise”: “I’ll get justice for her, just not today.”
And do I ever hear Rick saying that to Kate, promising her that they will find the men who killed her mother just not today. I’ve said before that was the perfect gift to Kate, his love and support.
Kate makes some amends to Gates and works her way back to the force. We are off and running. This was an amazing, and hilarious episode; the writing is wonderful, exceptional, the cast as handsome and talented as ever, wonderful, well, not poor Alexis who is a little worse for wear with her first hangover and hopefully her last. This episode is a joy to watch.
Ah Love, And a Wrap Up
Seriously, once again, over the years, Rick and Kate have come to a place of love and friendship, growing and changing, following their hearts. At times they have masked parts of their true nature, often afraid to acknowledge their own identity or perhaps in search of an identity.
Rick has hidden behind his playboy façade, the man universally like, exuding bonhomie and jokes, stories and laughter, toys and costume, masking his inner insecurity. As for Kate, we know well her walls and the sources of her barriers to true love, trust and free expression of herself. She plays things close and often is emotionally unavailable.
But she is changing, more confident, less fearful of her emotions, ready to tackle anything with a new confidence. This change is evident throughout this episode and even season four; for she is more secure in Rick’s love and that makes her freer, softer, more smiling, and more understanding. What will she be like in love?
And Rick’s advises his daughter in her most fearful time: “Everything you know, everything you will know is what is true for you.” And he believes this.
Both Rick and Kate are very vulnerable now, for they have let their guard down and have taken a chance on each other and their love. As Alexis says at her graduation: They say “goodbye to everything that is comfortable.”
Rick and Kate now embark on a long journey of self discovery and understanding of themselves and of the person they hold dearest and what it means to be together. It will be a fun road and sometimes a difficult one as is every journey in life.
Together Rick and Kate begin to strip off the masks, and be honest, breaking down the walls, their mutual fear of rejection. In the last scene in their reconciliation in “Undead Again,” Rick’s mask is symbolically more than half off and Kate enjoys the makeup and costume, she accepts Rick for who he is.
And what of Kate’s challenge to Rick in season one: “Oh, so many layers to the Beckett onion. However will you peel them all?” Together Rick and Kate begin to unravel love’s mystery in a deeply personal way.
Neither one will change in total. However, they will need to bend and blend; yet remain true to themselves. Kate will remain as Rick has described her: “Remarkable, maddening, challenging, and frustrating,” good qualities, interesting qualities. She is also honorable, loving, kind, bright, opinionated, and strong.
Still Rick will be Rick, fun-loving, goofy, witty, kind, generous, gadget lover and toucher of all things, loving, clever, heroic, out of his depth sometimes and sometimes profound.
Rick once told Kate, regarding her former boyfriend Will, “Yin needs Yang, not another you. Yin Yang is harmony. Yin Yin is a name for a panda.” Indeed, this was said with humor but truth was speaking. Yin and Yang, Kate and Rick, together equals harmony. The harmony, the chemistry, the breathless attraction will be there always.
The American poet EE Cummings wrote this poetic verse which metaphorically shows the slow opening up of the heart, and the soul, one to the other:
Your slightest look easily will unclose me
Though i have closed myself as fingers,
You open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose
And it will be a joy to see Rick and Kate opening up to each other, in love, delighting in their new revelations and sometimes not; that’s life to its fullest.