Castle Finale – Relationship Cliffhanger Packs Punch!

S5 Finale - Richard Cartwright

Every season, the writers of ABC’s Castle (Mondays, 10:01/9:01C) find ways to leave us fans breathless and chewing our nails. Usually, they do it by placing one or the other (or both) of the show’s lead characters – Rick Castle and Kate Beckett – in some form of deadly danger. This season, they’ve found the perfect way to keep us hanging on even without the threat of imminent physical danger. Sometimes, the possibility of a broken heart is harder to take than a near-fatal shooting.

Following up on the suggestion by Jared Stack (Carlos Bernard) in last week’s episode, Beckett (Stana Katic) interviews with FBI Deputy Director Anthony Freedman (Kyle Secor) for a position as special investigator on an elite task force answering only to the nation’s Attorney-General.

Meanwhile, back in New York, a dead girl turns up in the water tower over a rundown hotel and Castle is avoiding his daughter Alexis’ (Molly C. Quinn) efforts to find out why he hasn’t signed the check for her to go to Costa Rica to study the rainforest.

The dead girl has worked hard to give the impression she was a prostitute, but of course, nothing could be further from the truth. During the course of the case, Javi (Jon Heurtas) notices that Beckett seems to be a bit ‘off.’ Captain Gates (Penny Jerald Johnson) is the first learn of Beckett’s interview – Freedman calls her for a reference. She’s given Beckett her highest recommendation.

Eventually, of course, Castle does find out about the interview and a very wintery frost sets in on both sides of the relationship.

The case is – while decent enough – rather perfunctory. The real meat of the episode is the relationship between Castle and Beckett. The script, by series creator Andrew W. Marlowe, has the usual quota of quips and twists, but really shines on the way Castle and Beckett have to face the fact that neither of them has really addressed where their relationship is going – and one the ep’s cleverest moments comes when Castle’s mother, Martha (Susan Sullivan) is not only the voice of reason, she’s also bang on.

Director John Terlesky does a nice job of giving the case of the week (Beckett’s last?) more weight than it really deserves while hitting exactly the right notes in all the various relationships on the show – Castle/Beckett, Castle/Alexis, Castle Martha, Esposito/Ryan. He nails the most emotional moments as well as he does the banter, too.

Still, while the relationship stuff kills, the season finale doesn’t quite achieve the balance of the best Castle eps – mostly because so little thought went into the week’s case. Still, the ep’s last exchange will be more than enough to keep loyal Castle fans on tenterhooks until fall.

Final Grade: B+

Photo by Richard Cartwright/Courtesy of ABC

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