I had initially planned on doing a quick write-up about Castle‘s fourth season finale right after the episode ended last night, but the episode left me pretty much unable to form coherent thoughts so here we are.
I generally try to stay pretty spoiler-free about the shows I watch (there’s a rant-post coming about that eventually), but after the juicy promos ABC ran for this episode, I had a hard time staying away from the sneak peek videos floating around the internet last week. With all of that in mind, I had pretty high expectations for the episode going in, and I was not disappointed. Andrew Marlowe really delivered with this intense, emotional finale episode that has me DYING for season five to start!
What I Liked: Pretty much all of it. I loved the flirty conversation Castle and Beckett had about graduations and the look on Castle’s face when she accepted his offer to join him in his post-Alexis’ graduation plans. I thought the ramp up to the case was really well done, and the fact that Ryan and Castle were on one side (we’re in over our heads and Beckett probably should stay away) and Esposito and Beckett were on the other (dive in head first) was an interesting dynamic. You know the boys mean business when they call each other by their first names.
The best scene in the episode (well, besides THAT scene, but we’ll get there in a minute) came about halfway through, when Castle decided to tell Beckett everything he’d been hiding from her for the past year. Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic were both great in this scene – Fillion especially – as Castle laid everything on the table. “Because I love you, Kate – but you’ve known that for about a year, haven’t you?” BAM. As Kate reeled from the revelation that her partner had pushed her away from the investigation of her mom’s killing, Castle begged her to stay away, afraid she’d wind up dead. When Beckett refused, he bowed out helping with the investigation. Powerful, emotional stuff.
Of course Beckett continued to run straight at the man they’d now identified as her shooter (played by the awesome Tahmoh Penikett). When she and Esposito finally find him, she confronts him in a rooftop scrum that ends with her dangling off the side of the roof by her fingertips. She immediately thinks of Castle and even thinks Ryan, coming to her rescue, is Castle. Cliche? Maybe. But well done nonetheless.
I hate seeing Ryan and Esposito fight. It was heartbreaking seeing Ryan trying to do the smart thing (even going so far as trying to call Castle in for backup), while Esposito ignored his advice, and went along with Kate’s reckless behavior just so someone would “have her back”. Watching Esposito storm out of the office, suspended, without saying a word as a frustrated Ryan tries to apologize just KILLED me.
And then – the awesomeness happened. Beckett showed up at Castle’s door after her epiphany. “What do you want”, he asks? “You”. And all the ‘shippers across the land jumped for joy. I was beside myself by this point – I had hoped the season was building to this point, but I’ve been burned by enough shows in the past to know better. But they actually took the leap and got them together, and that final scene was AMAZING. Completely in character, and exactly what fans have wanted for so long. I am going to be re-watching this episode a LOT.
What Didn’t: I thought the Gates character had come a long way this season – I really hated her at the start, but over the course of the second half of the season, she started to seem a bit more human. Having her literally only be a vessel for suspending Beckett and Esposito – and being pretty nasty about it in the process – took a few giant steps back, and that was a bit disappointing. But even that’s mostly a nitpick – overall I really loved the episode from start to finish.
Bottom Line: An amazing finale for the show that sets up for what should be a great fifth season (hop on that renewal ABC!). How will Castle and Beckett function as a couple – and will they be able to work together if she goes back to the NYPD? Will Beckett’s shooter make good on his threat to “put her in the ground? How will Esposito and Ryan make up? THINGS ARE HAPPENING!