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Review: Always Perfection

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Check-in on GetGlue

Always in one (run-on) sentence: Castle and Beckett ….. *faint*

Sorry folks I can’t play this like a normal episode review because this was just not a normal episode. It was so much more than that. In fact, I don’t know how a review can even do it justice. Even so I will endeavor to try.

Before I get into the really epic bits, I wanted to call attention to the little moments that would have been huge in any other episode, yet here were afterthoughts. Think about it. We had Castle ask Beckett on a date. We had her accept said invitation with a grin. We had hand holding in the precinct. We had brilliant lines about smart phones and requested reassurances. We had emotionally charged interrogations – “Dead! In a gutter! At nineteen!” All those things would have been the highlights in other circumstances. Instead in this brilliant episode they were reduced to secondary thoughts. That speaks to the incredible ride of “Always”. Even the sidebars were top class.

Now onto the meat of the story. In an episode that was all about Castle and Beckett, somehow, some way Ryan and Esposito still managed to shine. It reminded me of “Knockdown”, the way they both struggled with the implications of the case. Except this time there was no making up, there was no middle ground. We saw two friends – partners – pitted against each other and it was heartbreaking. Ryan’s doubt early on was a sign that things would reach a tipping point, one that would force him to choose. The ever-loyal Esposito was always going to follow Beckett down the rabbit hole no matter where she led him. But Ryan has always marched to a slightly different beat, more apt to side with Castle’s line of thinking.

We may not have noticed it at the time, but this conflict has been set up from the beginning. Even “Undead Again” hinted at it with Beckett and Esposito on one side and Castle and Ryan on the other. It’s been the theme of many an episode but only now did it have very big, very real implications. The most heartbreaking part however, was that Ryan didn’t have Castle to fall back on in this case. He was left on an island and he made the tough choice on his own. It was the right choice and it showed a level of growth in the character – he was his own man, making the grown up decision. He paid for that decision though. And the last we saw of him, he was alone. Seamus Dever deserves so much recognition for his work in this episode.

A warning. This review is about to devolve into gushing. So be prepared.

The scene. THE Scene. My heart is racing just thinking about it. Castle laid all the cards on the table. He came clean about his secret. And perfection ensued.

I’m dead serious. That scene was perfect. P-E-R-F-E-C-T. And I’m not just talking about the incredible acting of Nathan Fillion, who did more than knock this one out of the park. That ball is still orbiting the earth because he hit is so perfectly (another warning – I am about to overuse that word, deal with it). The hitch in his voice, the way he had to clear his throat, it took my breath away. The tears in his eyes brought tears to mine. It was heartbreaking. It was raw. It was perfection. Episode writer Terri Miller teed him up with epic material and he did not waste his swing. A bottom of the ninth, two outs, two strikes, bases loaded, Grand Slam.

And I’m not just talking about the marvelous Stana Katic, the master of the subtle facial expression. I didn’t truly appreciate her performance until my second watch through (the first of many), but the way her face moves from excitement to confusion to devastation before hardening back into a mask of defiance – it was genius. The way her voice waivers when she delivers the line “by lying to me?” – it was incredible. The way her jaw clenches and her lip trembles when he walks away – was perfect.

Yes, the writing and the acting were brilliant, but it was the the little things that really blew me away. The lighting. The music. The staging. The way their movements were so carefully choreographed. Castle stepped between Beckett and her make-shift murder board before he urged her to stop. The physical representation of his words, he put himself between her and the case. Then Beckett turned and walked to stand in front of the painting of the woman in the purple coat – which, if you haven’t taken a close look at it, shows a woman on a bridge with planes falling out of the sky behind her, in a chaotic war zone. Again, imagery to show the internal turmoil.

Perfection. If you haven’t watched that scene again, I urge you to do so. Pay attention to the little things. P-E-R-F-E-C-T

And really, the perfection just continued.

When Beckett was hanging from the ledge and she kept saying Castle’s name, even after it was Ryan who came to her rescue, she kept asking for Castle. It was a turning point. This near-death experience was a conscious one for her. It forced her to recognize what was important to her. And when she turned in her badge, it sealed the deal.

Which brings me to the swings and the speech. What a stunning mix of video and audio. The message of Alexis’ wonderfully genuine and understated valedictorian speech about moving on (credit to Molly Quinn for having the chops to deliver it so beautifully), played over the image of Beckett alone on the swings clearly making a decision to move on, but not from Castle – from her mother’s murder. Tired of perfect yet? Because I’m not.

And then. And then! After all that perfection. They hit us with more.

Here I really have to call attention to the brilliance of Robert Duncan, Castle’s music composer. There is a lot I could say about the kiss and everything before and after it. I could gush about the way she answers his question. Or the brilliance of having him pull away at first. Or the absolute necessity of the “I’m sorry.” I could squee over how incredibly hot it is that they literally shut the front door with the kiss. I could swoon over the beauty of her putting his hand on her scar. I could faint at the image of the light glowing between their lips. Or the way her fingers are shaking when she takes his hand.

But I won’t. Instead I urge you to go to pull up that scene – the whole scene. And just listen to it. Don’t watch just listen. Only then will you truly understand what I mean when I say that Robert Duncan’s score for this episode was, say it with me now, perfect. P-E-R-F-E-C-T.

Now where do we go from here? Who knows. But they’ve set up so much to be answered in season 5. The dragon is still after Beckett, and how cruel that is considering her decision to move on. She may be leaving her mother’s case behind, but it won’t let her go easily. Beckett has quite the force, how will they bring her back into the fold? Ryan is on the outs with his partners, the team is broken up. How will they resolve that conflict. Alexis is off to college. How will Castle handle that? And of course, the shipper’s biggest question: Will it be Castle or Beckett who make the pancakes in the premiere? ;)

I know I can’t wait. Can you?

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About PenguinOfTroy

I'm a student at USC, sports lover, and Castle fanatic.

Comments

  1. fooxoo says:

    Bravo! Just that.

  2. A brilliant review of an unforgettable, epic, worth-the-wait episode. Agree on every single point — especially the soaring music that so perfectly and poetically accompanied THE moment. In awe of the brilliant cast and crew who made this — and every episode preceding it — storytelling at its absolutely finest.

    I only had one minor quibble. When Beckett spoke of being betrayed, I would have liked Castle to remind her again of the secret she’d been keeping all of this time. Yes, he pointed it out with “But you already knew that.” I think it bore repeating though.

    The long five month wait to season six begins!

    • I think you skipped season 5… ;)

    • PenguinOfTroy says:

      I hear you, but at the same time I think if they had gone down that road it would have turned into a quibble over who betrayed who more. And really that’s not what the point of that conversation was about.

  3. YES! The music, exactly, thank you!
    During the first viewing, even though I was absorbed by the scene and by everything that’s been happening, I noticed the piano. It’s absolutely… perfect :) The rest of the review pretty much sums up my feelings as well.
    The episode has its weak-ish points (looking at you, conspiracy plot) but all those things you mentioned, yes, those are the ones that made the episode so great.

  4. Excellent review!!! I to, as many other fans, was just waiting for the kiss to happen. But as I watched the episode over I also noticed the supreme acting/directing skills of this episode!!! My poor dvr is gong to be worn out by Sept cause I can’t seem to stop watching this show..Keep the critic’s coming!!!

  5. A review of your review in one word, Penguin… “Perfection”!

    You highlighted all of my favourite little moments:
    1. “That is a smart phone”
    2. Her taking his hand in the precinct
    3. Her disappointment upon discovering Castle was not on the roof
    4. The back of his hand on her scar
    5. The perfect valedictorian speech mixed perfectly with the imagery of the fallout
    6. THE kiss…

    You were right… there is no other word for this episode other than “perfection”
    (except perhaps “epic”)

  6. casubieowner says:

    What a great review for a great episode.

    BTW – Nice reference to the pancakes. I hope that the season 5 premiere will include this

    • In the Season 5 opening, what if Ryan and Esposito, down and out after the fall outs, both show up to talk to Castle the next morning as Rick and Kate are making pancakes together? Why not throw in Alexis around noon, extra sets of the laser tag gear……

      • Castle-lover says:

        honestlly, im hoping the episode will start out a little bit like cuffed, the two of them in bed together, but in jammies and castles arm around beckett, but from there id like castle to make a funny remark to kate (after they wake up, see eachother and smile) then her taking the pillow from behind her head and hit him in the face with it.(playfully) then her rolling out of bed and running away as he chases her towards the kitchen where he pins her down and eventually (after a few lines of epic diolouge) they kiss. after that they could make breakfeast and the writers could go where they want from there.
        I would also definately like to hear an ILY from beckett and perhaps a small pause from castle as he gathers his thoughts…
        i would like them to take care of the ryan and epso issues right away and perhaps have ryan jenny espo lanie castle and beckett go out on a dinner date…that could be interestin
        it would also be nice if castle and beckett had a relationship/ maybe even a little bit of marriage and future plans talk. that could be very fun/ny.
        id also like to see how alexis and martha reacted, i can see alexis slightly worried at first but then happy and hugging kate, afterall she does look up to her, adn martha being all ‘its about time’
        I’d also like some more gates stuff, i feel like we dont know her very well, we know her dad and uncle were cops and she loves cops, but thats about it….
        I am really excited to see what happens to mr. smith adn whether or not hes castles dad…
        speaking of castles dad… id like them to touch up on that more in the premier….
        Any way i feel like the writers have a long way to go and many diffrent routes they could take… im excited to see what they do and know whatever they do do it will be for the best of the show…. goodluck and may the time until season five starts pass quickly :)

  7. Lefluffball says:

    I can describe your magnificent review with one word…..PERFECTION! :D Thank you for putting into words what I’m sure all of us are feeling after that episode. Bravo! :)

  8. Mike Bordewick says:

    I’m looking for more about Castle’s dad in the CIA in season 5 as well!

  9. Outstanding review, as always. This epi was perfect, and as I’ve said in the forum and many times before – Emmy time! They are all so deserving, “cast and crew”, not just for “Always” but for the season.

    One thing that I noticed that had escaped me the first time through, was from the first scene. We see Kate dangling from the wall. She hears Castle’s voice calling for her to hang on, only it turns out that it was Ryan who was there to rescue her. Ryan was calling to her as she called out for Castle. Kate tells Castle that even though she almost died, all she could think about was him. That first scene is our proof of that. She couldn’t hear Ryan’s voice – only Castles.

  10. PenguinOfTroy says:

    Thanks for all the love :)
    If you didn’t look up the music for the kiss. Here it is: http://sspader.tumblr.com/post/22641814959/all-i-could-think-about-was-you-by-the-brilliant

    INCREDIBLE I TELL YOU! Well worth the couple minutes of your time

  11. Michaela says:

    P-E-R-F-E-C-T!!!

  12. Lorraine Cheek says:

    You are so right – they totally knocked the ball out of the park with ‘Always’.
    The music was exceptional especially the moment when the lightning struck and they quite literally ‘shut the front door’
    One of moments that really got me was when Castle spoke those words ” 4 years I’ve been right here, 4 years waiting for you to open your eyes and see that I’m right here. I believe that the entire Castle fandom felt like he was speaking for them.

    Finally when Kate was hanging on the ledge (although slighty spoilt by the continuity error of one moment there being a balcony underneath Kate and the next moment it was gone) when she called out for Castle she could hear his voice calling back, and then for Ryan to pull her to safety but she was still looking for Castle – truly moving.

    This episode bought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. PERFECT !!!

    • TracyLee55 says:

      Actually the balcony was not underneath Kate. It looks like it at first when the camera is looking at her straight down, because I thought , “Kate just drop down, the balcony is right below you”. But then, if you look closely, you can see it is to her right. The long/side shot shows it more clearly.

    • That correct… she looked at a couple of times, and tried to inch her way over moving her hands (when she said “Not like this”), but couldn’t do it.

  13. If it hadn’t been for Ryan, Beckett would be dead. That will be his redemption in Season 5.

    Thank you for your P-E-R-F-E-C-T review!

  14. Honey Apostos says:

    Stupendous season finale. This episode will stay with me for a long time. I was really touched by the visual image of her sitting alone on the swings in the pouring rain.
    In some of my deepest depths of despair (sorry about the triple d), that is the visual I would have chosen. Those moments felt exactly like that. Cold, wet , lonely and dark.
    On the up side, Penguin of Troy, I can answer one question for you. When I visualize the next morning after Castle and Beckett’s first night together, neither made the pancakes. They had to order in! ;)

    • Genelle Powell says:

      Wonderful review – you hit out of the park. I agree with the comment about the music – beautiful, beautiful, it was a perfect match to the scenes. It’s raining here tonight like it was last night on “always” & I can hear the music in my head as I’m typing this.
      I hope that Kate finally tells Rick “i love you” after their night of love, after all, he’s told her 4 times now. I wonder what would happen if they were still in bed after Alexis got home!
      Alexis’ speech really touched my heart esp the part about loved ones being part of our lives no matter what happens. There is a tie that binds whose strength is not bound by the restrictions that the world or death provides – it’s name is Love.

  15. Beautiful Review! It echoes the feelings of Caskett fans everywhere! Everything about ALWAYS is absolute PERFECTION! I agree with Honey Apostos about ordering in lol, but I would also remind Castle and Kate that Alexis will be home about noon. lol

  16. KB12th says:

    You put all my incoherent,babbling,fangirling thoughts into a perfect review.
    The big stuff was beautiful but the moments just moments when they were these characters…Was PURE GENIUS!!!

  17. Beautiful review…thank you. I could not agree more.

  18. Morrison says:

    Such a lovely review, thank you. What I loved about the episode was how it evolved their relationship. They could have easily relied on the tired, old formula of Kate giving in and admitting her feelings for Castle after years of him pursuing her. Rather, he stepped away knowing he had proven his love for her. Now, it was her time to prove it to him; humble herself and take responsibility for the relationship. Now they are equals; he’s no longer the adoring puppy following her around, begging for love.

    • TracyLee55 says:

      I like that Morrison, I agree. I love Kate, but it is time she chased him. And she finally did. Rick did prove his love and he had nothing more to prove. She knew she hurt him deeply and she would have to humble herself and she did. I believe she wants him to be an equal, and now he is.

  19. jennymac says:

    I AGREE with every word you have written, I rewatch all the episodes but this one just seems to have taken me over, I have no idea how often I have watched it now to pick up on all the ‘little things’ if they can be called that. Thanks for a great review.

  20. PauPaulineline says:

    Alexis will be happy for her dad. She wants him to be happy and she know’s how much he loves Kate. She is all grown up and can handle the situation. It will be sweet and fun. and maybe a little awkward, but in a good way. All the elements that make this show what it is.

  21. TracyLee55 says:

    Great review PeguinOfTroy! The “lesser scenes”, were so poignant. You mentioned everything I loved at the beginning. Your mention of Stana’s facial range, and Nathan emotion. ABC should put their names in for Emmys. It is ridiculous, neither have been nominated. I love you reviews. There are so many talented reviewers. Thank you all for your insights.

    Yes props to Robert Duncan and his heart felt music. He knows the two would be lovers well and the theme they carry. Molly Quinn, she was a wonderful child actress, and now as enters Young Adulthood, her talent amazes me more, just her voice over showed brilliance. And it was fitting that it was Alexis who said “Always”

    The first scene with Rick and Kate, her mentioning he was probably the one wearing only boxers under his graduation gown, and he said no he was naked. And then that “Castle Smile” he knew he was back where he belonged, teasing Beckett.

    When Rick ask Kate if she would like to join him for the bloody double feature, when she answers “actually I’d love to”, she turns and he has the same look he had on S 1, episode 1 at the end, when she was walking away. She turns “Are you coming?’ And Rick, does that little back step and the follows her, with a smile and look as though “am I dreaming? Did she just say yes?’

    And the hand holding, Kate not afraid, to be physical with him, in the precinct. And even when she withdraws her hand as Ryan and Esposito approach, Castle does not mind, he knows.

    And the other scenes Shena mentioned. Keep saying it Peguin: “PERFECT”.

    What’s that I hear, I think my television is calling me back to watch ‘Always again”, and again. I must obey.

  22. Phillip says:

    New to the site but wished to offer my thoughts on your (most eloquent) review as well as the episode itself. I write from the perspective of a career police officer (24 years and counting) and as much as I enjoy Castle there are times when I wince at the sight of our warrior princess Kate charging headlong into danger without four or five uniforms for backup or even advising Dispatch of her whereabouts. As much as I despise the character of Gates–but then I guess we’re meant to–she was utterly correct in upbraiding Castle and Beckett toward the end of the “Cuffed” episode for ignoring radio protocol. I’m also bothered at how often Beckett gets relieved of her service weapon. Given that she works in New York City one would hope she’d start carrying a backup gun. Perhaps Castle will surprise her with one for their first Christmas together…
    As to the episode itself, there’s no question Andrew Marlowe & Co. delivered. If we didn’t know from the outset we were in for a bumpy flight, the ominously silent opening titles and the sickly green skies over Manhattan should have been the tipoff. Top-drawer performances from all. The clash between Ryan and Esposito brought back memories of their nearly coming to blows in “Knockout” after discovering Capt. Montgomery’s role in the conspiracy. Espo will always ride to the sound of the guns, whereas Ryan is more the company man. (Something tells me he is third or fourth generation NYPD) As for Fillion and Katic, they rock! My friend and colleague Cindy, who rides the beat adjacent to mine, is a kick-ass street cop and “out” lesbian and even she melts at the sight of Nathan Fillion. As for Stana, she definitely brought it in this installment, conveying Beckett’s strenght, courage and vulnerability. Well done.
    What more is there to be said about The Scene? My heart sank when at first Castle did not return Beckett’s kiss in the entryway. The bewilderment and suspicion on his face spoke volumes (“Hasn’t this woman caused me enough heartache? What sort of head game is she playing now?”) Only when she made her astonishing confession that in the moment when she was convinced her life was ending she could think only of him did he come to his senses. The shot of Beckett not only allowing Castle to touch the scar between her breasts but guiding his hand there is possibly one of the most erotic images ever aired on broadcast television. Brilliant.
    Looking forward to Season 5. Mr. Marlowe has indicated there will be no significant time jump, so I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping for some Morning After nuzzling under the covers, with perhaps Martha’s premature return from the Hamptons for comic relief. I’m impatient to hear that first “I love you” from Kate Beckett as well. There is also the small matter of Cole Maddox. Gonna be a long summer.

    • PenguinOfTroy says:

      I loved reading your perspective on the Cop aspects of the show.
      That is one area in which I think Gates has been a great tool this season, calling out the lack of procedure from our detectives. Of course there’s only so much realism you can throw into a tv show. ;)
      I’d also noticed how often she’s lost her gun this season, although I think we can cut her some slack this time considering the Terminator-esque moves of Maddox.

      • Phillip says:

        Penguin of Troy, I too have a 17 year old daughter wise beyond her years (I like to think there is more than a little “Alexis” in her) and she often takes me to task for critiquing Beckett’s actions as though she was a recruit assigned to me for Field Training. “Dad, it’s only television,” she reminds me. “These people aren’t real.”
        As deeply as I love my daughter, I have to disagree with her on this one. Back in 1940 an essayist named Vincent Starrett wrote a poem about Holmes and Watson that included the line “only those things the heart believes are true.” Nathan and Stana bring such depth and subtlety to their roles that their characters have evolved from mere fictional constructs to fully developed human beings we care for. Our hearts believe in “Caskett” and it is only natural we wish for them to find love, safety and happiness in one another’s arms.
        P.S. my friend Cindy also melts at the sight of a shirtless Donald Driver on “Dancing with the Stars,” but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

        • Genelle says:

          What a beautiful quote you found Phillip! I write & love poetry – I’ll have to look that one up. I wrote a poem based on Kate Beckett, & my some of my family thought it was a bit odd, but now you got me to thinking that maybe it wasn’t.
          My heart too, believes in “caskett” and it always wiill.

          • Phillip says:

            Genelle, my mother is a published poet herself, so I don’t think it odd in the least. It’s certainly no odder than my drawing a cartoon a couple of months back (I’m a forensic artist in addition to my uniform patrol duties) after we dealt with an especially senseless homicide stemming from a dispute over a freshly baked pan of lasagna. (You can’t make this stuff up) I rendered Lanie holding the lasagna up for Castle’s inspection while Beckett rolled her eyes at the idea anyone would murder for it. Yeah I know, cop humor, but it helps us function when confronted by the truly horrific. One of our civilian stenos, Megan, whom we’ve since hired as a police officer, is a devoted ‘shipper and I gave her the drawing. I’d be interested in reading your poem sometime.

  23. Toronto says:

    I hadn’t thought about what you pointed out, Morrison. It was great that the writers didn’t mess around in ways you suggest — in fact, one of the good things about “Castle” is that every once in a while they don’t mess around, they just go straight at things (Beckett-like). They did it once before in “Knockout” (my favourite scene in the whole series). The best thing about Always was they didn’t separate the plots in a miserly fashion, or the revealing of the secrets, or hand them out piecemeal — which is what many people were expecting — they threw them head on at our heroes at the same time. That is one reason why the first big Castle-Beckett scene in Always was so great — they went straight at it. I give the writers (and of course the actors for carrying it out) great credit. If you’re going to save it up all this time to spend it, then when the moment comes, spend it all.

  24. Morrison says:

    I agree Toronto. I’m glad Marlowe, et al, care enough about the show to keep it intelligent and so much fun. We fans are richly rewarded.

  25. Genelle says:

    Thanks for your coment Philip – I needed to hear it! I read the poem on Stanatalk radio’s blog program on Stana’s b-day. Maybe I could post it on one of the forums here if nayone’s interested.
    i’d love it if Castle wrote Beckett a poem of read poetry to her in bed, but that won’t happen on the morning after.
    I have fondnees for police – my cousin is a cop in Illinois – I love the fact that you are cop & watch this show. Be safe & thanks for your service.

    • Genelle says:

      I posted my poem on facebook, please visit my page! :) Tried to do it through chat board, this computer wouldn’t let me. Just printed foxoo article out, great piece!

      • Genelle says:

        Penguin, I printed yours too. I love your work!

        • Phillip says:

          Genelle, I would love to read your Castle & Beckett poem (Penguin’s too, for that matter) but at the risk of sounding like a Philistine I’m not a Facebook subscriber and have no plans to become one. Any suggestions on how I could access it in some other forum would be appreciated.
          Back on duty tomorrow after three RDOs (regular days off). I promised Megan, our steno who is about to become a sworn officer, that I would draw a sketch of her in uniform that she could give her parents. I’m also working on a “Caskett” cartoon for her depicting Rick & Kate standing back to back in their ballistic vests holding a Derek Storm novel and a Glock respectively, her left hand clasped lovingly within his right. With a corpse in the background of course. If Mad Magazine were still worth reading I’d love to see how a truly gifted caricaturist like Mort Drucker would render Nathan & Stana.

          • TracyLee55 says:

            Hi Phillip,

            First Genelle, I would love to read your poem. and like you Phillip, I am not a facebook fan or client. I was on it a very long time ago and for
            various reasons took myself off. I would love to see your drawing. Fooxoo sent one of Rick and Kate to our forum “Trueheart’s Castledom. She too is a talented artist. I would be great to see yours. My late mother, like your mother was an artist. She drew charactetcher, ( I know I spelled that wrong :-} ) but mostly landscapes. I have a few of paintings in my apt. When friends see them they glance at me, & I tell them to not expect that from me for I did not inherit that gene. I write prose and poems like my father.

            Keeps safe and please check out our forum mentioned above.

  26. Morrison says:

    While I agree with every wonderful thing said about Marlowe, the director, the actors and music, etc. consider–the show would be nothing without Nathan Fillion. He owns it everytime he’s on screen. From mischievous little boy, to love-sick adolescent to heartbroken man, he has delivered for 4 seasons.

    • Castle-lover says:

      I do agree with the nathan fillion statement, but i also have to say that without stana katic the show wouldn’t be any good either. its when they work together that i am truely impressed.