As the fifth season draws to a close, we’ve been thinking about the season and the Beckett-Castle relationship.
The funny thing about promos and sneak peeks are that they are geared to generate a response from viewers. They are geared to get people to watch the episode. We’re hypothesizing here at Castle Chronicles that the pair will perhaps go their separate ways while they search out their own feelings and fears relating to the “C” word: commitment.
We’ve have been looking over the fan responses the past few days and we’re scratching our heads. Even more so since the first sneak peek released that revealed that things are about to get incredibly rocky between Beckett and Castle. Most fans are laying the relationship woes at Beckett’s feet. This troubling considering those folks are overlooking Castle’s betrayals, lies and deceits throughout the past five seasons. In some cruel way, these two were meant for each other.
Both Beckett and Castle are troubled souls. Each bring some heavy baggage to their relationship. And that complicates matters for them on a personal level.
For Beckett, it’s about not wanting to hurt like she did when she learned her mother had been brutally murdered in some garbage-filled back alley. She herself said she built wall to keep people from getting close to her. It’s fear of loss.
Along the way, she had a series of failed relationships. We don’t know much about her pre-career relationships but they did exist. Beckett did tell Castle that she once dated a rocker.
The ones that we know about—FBI Agent Will Sorenson started when they worked a kidnapping case together. Sorenson took a job on in Boston and expected Beckett to follow him. She didn’t because that would mean uprooting herself from New York and pretty much starting over with the Boston P.D. That’s not something she wanted to do. Sorenson put his job first. Just as Beckett put her job first. The relationship ended but started to rekindled toward the end of season one with they worked together. At the end of that episode, “A Death in the Family,” Castle tells Beckett what he discovered about her mother’s murder. (Castle’s first betrayal of trust.)
Then there’s the surgeon Tom Demming, the cop from homicide. It seems like a promising romance but Beckett breaks it off at the end of season two. She tells him she’s not what she’s looking for and as she does this she looks over at Castle. (That season ends with Castle going off with Gina to the Hamptons.)
The last of Beckett’s relationships is Josh Davidson, the heart surgeon. This relationship is perhaps the most telling of them all. LIke Sorenson, Josh, gives it to the job including work with Doctors Without Border which sends him off all around the world. This causes great stress on their relationship. Something of which Beckett confides with Castle about. (If Beckett were to take the job with the AG, this would mean she’d be gone all the time,. She’d be doing Castle what Josh did to her.) Later on, Josh helps rescue Beckett and Castle. Beckett forgives him and the relationship seemingly has a chance.
In the fourth season opener, “Rise” Josh is part of the surgery team that saves Beckett’s life after she was shot in the third season finale “Knockout.” He later confronts Castle for encouraging Beckett to investigate her mother’s murder. Later on in that episode, Castle realizes the seriousness of the two’s relationship and backs off. Despite his admission of “love” at the end of the third season. Later on, Beckett tells Castle “I really, really liked him” but he wasn’t enough for her.
Castle’s issues are a bit more complex and a bit less forgivable. Castle’s hurt comes from abandonment. His father gave it all to the job rather than be a father. Kyra, his college sweetheart, left for London. He could have followed and Kyra half-expected him too. She was Castle’s first true love. What followed next was a series of missed up relationships. Among those included two failed marriages.
Meredith, Castle’s first wife and the mother of Alexis, told Beckett in “Significant Others” that Castle knew everything about her—her fears, her dreams, her pain. Enough to write a million a books. But whenever she’d asked him about his absent father or anything else related to his past, he deflected and changed the subject. Meredith grew disinterested in Castle’s lack of emotional engagement (the major reason why most people cheat) and got involved with a director. She later divorced him.
Next up was Gina. This relationship was apparently set up through Martha. Gina is Castle’s ex-agent and current book publisher. At the end of season two, the two reconnected and were heading off to the Hamptons for the summer. Later on, Castle breaks the rekindled romance because he didn’t really love her. (Castle was in love with Beckett by this point but did not/refused to capitalize on that love.)
There’s a series of failed relationships along the way for Castle. All of them empty. And all them go nowhere relationships.
Season four could be best described as the “rift” season for Castle and Beckett. Throughout the season—Beckett hides from Castle that she heard him tell her that he loved her as he cradled her after being shot. She went so far as to lie about it. Castle also has his share of bad deeds. He bargained with her life to keep her safe from the person pulling all the strings and ordered the hit on Johanna Beckett. Castle has a right to be mad at Beckett for lying to him about hearing what he said. In that same light, Beckett has the same right and perhaps even more so, to be angry with him for trying to protect her and going so far as lying to her about her mother’s murder.
In the fourth season finale, “Always,” things come to a head. Beckett’s gunning for the man who shot her and finally bring the people the responsible for her mother’s death to justice. Castle finally confronts Beckett about her lie of knowing that he loved her. She confronted him about meddling in her life and bargaining for it. Both go their separate ways.
In both seasons three and seasons four, Castle walked away from the relationship.
However, after confronting the man who shot her and tried to throw her off the top of a building, Beckett comes to the realization that getting her mother’s killer, the job—none of that mattered. What mattered was life—Beckett comes to realize her feelings for Castle. Rather than be suspended (in the real world, she’d be fired at best brought up on charges at worst), she quit her job. After some rain-soaked reflection she went to Castle.
Make-up sex happened and they’re now a couple.
Since this is a fictional TV show and some level of belief has to be suspended in order to make plots work, we’ll give the show’s creative a staff a pass on how Beckett came to the realization that she’s in love with Castle. However, it has to be mentioned that most relationships started in this manner almost always end badly because they are together for all the wrong reasons.
Is this what is going on? Is Beckett waking up to the fact her relationship with Castle was a moment of weakness? We don’t think so but it certainly explains what is going on as we close out the fifth season.
But before we get to that, we have to address the progression of their relationship.
In “After the Storm” (the fifth season premiere), Beckett and Castle keep their new relationship a secret. Aside from a rather funny moment of Martha coming home unexpectedly, this episode sets up the first level Castle’s mistrustful attitude toward Beckett that will later surface at the end of the season.
Castle fakes being interested in one of the murder suspects to find out who the real killer is—Beckett is not outwardly jealous. She’s concerned. But not jealous. She trusts Castle.
Then there’s the meet the parents episode. It’s the one moment in a couple’s relationship that the dread the most. Both Beckett and Castle have experience and in some cases did not end well. In “After Hours” Beckett and Castle are pulled away from the dinner that was going rather badly between Jim (Papa Beckett) and Martha. That causes Beckett and Castle to fight throughout the episode. In the end, parents and the happy couple come together.
Several people have brought up Beckett’s lie about being forced to work Christmas Eve. Of all the lies that Beckett has said over the years when it comes to Castle, that’s one of the shallowest, most insignificant lies that one could pull out of the proverbial hat to beat Beckett over the head with. Beckett knows how much the holiday means to Castle. And considering Johanna Beckett’s murder happened just a couple of weeks after Christmas, give the woman a break. If anyone should be pissed with Beckett, it’s Karpowski who had come in to cover for Beckett (Beckett took her shift) when she decided it spend it with Castle.
When Beckett’s apartment is being fumigated in “Significant Others” and Meredith shows up to help take care of a six Alexis, Castle invites his ex to stay at the loft. Talk about trouble. Beckett is definitely jealous of Meredith’s presence and makes Castle’s life a living hell to boot for the episode. That aside, however, Meredith’s brief stay provides some insight—the first real insight of where things could be going for the Beckett-Castle relationship.
Meredith’s visit was recon, however. She wanted to check out how serious Castle is about Beckett and how serious the relationship is between them. She invites Beckett out for lunch. Castle is concerned, and he probably should be.
When Beckett asks Meredith what happened between her and Castle, Meredith tells Beckett that he knew everything about her. But she knew barely enough to fill a pamphlet about him.
Meredith summed up Beckett’s and Castle’s relationship: Beckett realized that Castle had enough to write a million Nikki Heat books but she knew little about him. Her expression at the end sells that reality.
As the season starts to draw to a close, two episodes start to move the focus toward the Beckett-Castle relationship.
First up is “Still.” (We’re keeping with the original chronologically because that is how the season should be viewed,) Castle is willing to risk his life for the woman he loves. He goes so far as to call him her “bomb buddy.” In this episode, the two reflect upon the foundations of their relationship as Beckett stands on a bomb. Toward the end, Beckett says the three worlds that fans had been waiting for: “I love you.” Beckett is touched by Castle’s willingness—he’s the real deal. But she also mad at him because this is not his job. She signed up for the risk of being the first through the door. She took an oath to serve and protect the city and people of New York. Castle didn’t. She also doesn’t want Alexis to lose her father—not after what happened in “Target” and “Hunt.” And she also doesn’t want Martha to a lose a sign. Beckett knows that pain all to well. It’s almost reminiscent of Castle’s earlier speeches to Beckett at the end of seasons three and four. At the end of the episode, Gates acknowledges she knew about the relationship for a while.
In “The Squab and the Quail,” the first real challenge to their relationship floats to the top. Since this episode was supposed to follow “Still” (instead of coming before), it’s important to take the developments of “Still” and put them into play with this episode. Many fans are neglecting or outright refusing to do that for whatever reason. Either way, “Squab” provides insight into the relationship troubles ahead. And anyone who’s been in a relationship with a gamer knows this all to well. Beckett tries to lure Castle with a little sexy strip tease and well, he’s too into the game to really care. A sexy and wealthy businessman is the target of an assassin. He’s on Castle’s last supper list—the people who’d you want to have your last meal with. Beckett comes almost as an after thought. Vaughn is attracted to Beckett and asks for her to be assigned to his protection detail. Gate’s reluctantly agrees (since she knows about Beckett and Castle). Beckett doesn’t want the assignment, but she can’t refuse it. Castle is jealous of Vaughn because guys like him aspire to be guys like Vaughn.
During “Squab” Vaughn starts to open Beckett’s eyes on the personal relationship front and on some level a professional front. She hesitates ever so slightly when Vaughn asks if she and Castle were serious. No one can really blame Beckett at this point for questioning the future of her relationship with Castle. Since Gates knows about their relationship and she took a big step forward in that relationship, things have seemingly become routine for her and Castle.
Castle’s jealously in this episode speaks to his trust and abandonment issues. Up until this point, he’d been taking things for granted. And the minute that someone shows interest in Beckett, he gets jealous.
For Beckett’s part, her attraction to Vaughn is surface-based only. Even when he tries to kiss her, she pushes him away. She’s committed to Castle, regardless of where that relationship is at at this point.
At the end of the episode, Castle admits to Beckett that he’s been taking her for granted a symbolically cuts the cord of his Playstation 3. He tells her he’s got a special night planned. Beckett asks him where they’re going in the relationship. Castle tells her “to the bedroom.” That’s the wrong answer. Beckett’s expression matches that of her expression at the end of “Significant Others.” There’s doubt starting creep in.
The penultimate episode “The Human Factor” starts to bring more relationship issues to the front. In almost every episode that involves some sort of relationship aspect (either between Castle and Alexis or Castle and Beckett) is reflected in the main story.
This episode centers on a man known for his anti-government postings and activism. And that has consumed his life and affected his family. When he’s killed by a drone missile the case is taken over by the feds who think one of their drones went rogue and are fearful of that technology getting out into the open. During the case, the team works with a special investigator within the Attorney General’s office who recognizes Beckett’s talents.
At the end, he offers her a chance to interview for a position within the AG’s Special Investigations office. At first, she rebuffs him but when he asks her where she sees herself in five years is when she starts to think about it. She’s uncertain of the future of her relationship with Castle and she’s not sure that she wants to be a detective in five years, either. She wants better things (goes back to Castle’s assessment of her in “Flowers for Your Grave”), bigger things. She considers his offer.
Back at Castle’s loft, they are talking about the case:
Castle: … with people, all decisions are personal. And where one person might see roses. another may see a chance to move on from an old life and on to a new one.
Beckett: The human factor.
Castle: The human factor.
Beckett’s hoping that Castle will finally talk about their future, instead he deflects it to taking a shower and ask her to join him.
He then goes on to ask what the agent wanted and Beckett lies to him. She tells him it was nothing. And the look on her face is the same as it was in “Significant Others” and “The Squab and the Quail.” She’s conflicted… she wants more. She wants bigger and better things. But she’s uncertain of where the personal desires and professional desires lay.
And this brings us, nearly 2,700 words later, into the season finale.
Things are about to come to a head. Castle learns about the interview and he’s hurt by Beckett’s deceit. No on can blame him but his outburst is the exact reason why Beckett didn’t tell him in the first place. He’d be mad.
We know that Beckett and Lanie talk. And we can assume that Beckett goes to her father for advice. Both will give her the advice of following your heart and the path you take affects not only you but those around you. It’s not just about you, it’s about those around you. And if Castle doesn’t figure into that five year plan, then you know the answer. If he does, then you need figure what is more important to you. Royce’s advice from “To LIve and Die in L.A.” will probably come up at some point.
We’re not sure of Alexis’ role in the finale. Though,we can see Martha offering some sound advice about Castle’s past relationships and telling him he needs to come clean with Beckett on a few things regarding his past relationships.
Will they break up? We don’t expect a break-up in the traditional sense. But we suspect a reset of their relationship. This is their first big conflict of their relationship since they’ve became a couple. There are things that these two need to work out. And its probably better that they both reevaluate why they are together and all other relationship issues that come up along the way if they are both in this to win it.
And it won’t be worked out in a single talk on a swing set. Nor a single episode. As in life, it should be a process. In TV land, they’re not afforded the time to take it slow. But it should be a believable process.
That brings us to the “opposite directions.” There’s been a lot of talk about that swing set photo. They are facing opposite directions. That is significant. They’re going opposite directions right now. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be going opposite directions in the future, or they will be going in opposite directions at the end of the episode.
Will Beckett take the job?
She’ll turn down the job. But not because she wants to remain with Castle or the 12th. But because she realizes that it is not right for her. Her strength is to bring closure to those who have no closure. Her strength is bring justice for those who don’t have it. In some strange way, she’s living her mother’s life. And we think she’ll recognize that when she least expects it and that’ll be the deciding factor in her staying at the 12th.
One thing we do believe, however, is that the end discussion is about roses and leaving an old life behind is about the two of them. We believe that it’s about Beckett bringing the roses and Castle leaving an old life behind and on to a new one.
J.Z., T.J. and L.T.