This week on the season 5 finale of Castle
, Beckett and Castle face their relationship issues thanks to Kate's looming new D.C. job. And the last minute of the episode is an absolute game-changer. Just when you think this show is going to zig, it zags in pretty spectacular fashion.
The lead up to Castle's surprise proposal made it seem like the characters were on the verge of splitting up for good. Kate more or less decided she was going to take the D.C. job, even if it meant the death of her relationship with Castle. And Martha wondered why Castle was hesitating when it came to commitment with Beckett.
These all seemed like the ingredients to a painful breakup (and who knows! a breakup might still be imminent next season) not a wedding proposal. Yet the undercurrent of their issues was the couple's lack of commitment. And what says commitment more than "I do"?
I had guessed the show might be going in the proposal direction towards the end of the episode, but even I thought it might be a bit of a long shot. Yet the moment made sense, especially considering Beckett herself mentioned their murky future in their fight earlier in the episode. Both parties took time apart to think about what they wanted and Castle realized it was to be with Beckett for the rest of his life.
Unfortunately, Beckett had already decided to take the job in D.C. What does this mean for her potential answer to that big question Richard popped? And if she does say yes (she has to right?!) what does that mean for her big opportunity in D.C.?
The show has set up some real tension going into season six and the most disappointing part is that we have to wait all summer to find out what Beckett's answer will be!
Caskett's Biggest Challenge
This season has been amazingly kind to the Castle and Beckett relationship. Realizing that after four seasons desperately wanting these two star-crossed lovers to hook up audiences were in no mood for rough waters, the show wisely made everything smooth sailing on the Caskett front this year.
Which isn't to say that the relationship wasn't interesting or enjoyable to watch this season. In fact, it was often deeply satisfying to watch these two finally tackle normal couple problems (what do I get for Valentine's Day? What dorky sci-fi secrets are they hiding?) instead of pining away like in prior seasons.
But a whole season is a long time for stasis on a TV show, and as the fifth season started winding down it became clear that the writers were getting ready to throw some curve balls Caskett's way. While the job offer is a new ingredient, the main relationship problem is actually a few weeks old: where is their relationship going? With no clear destination in sight, it's hard for Beckett to justify turning down the career opportunity of a lifetime.
In a conversation with her father, Beckett says they've been doing this dance for the last five years. "What happens when the music stops?" It's a good question for the show, and a great overall question for will-they-won't-they couples all over the dial.
What happens when the drama of unresolved sexual tension becomes resolved? Is the dance the only interesting thing? And what happens when that stops? In my opinion, the Castle writers have done a great job of keeping things interesting even with the main couple firmly together and drama-free for most of the season.
Castle and Beckett have always had a flirtatious, familiar dynamic so the transition into a relationship felt pretty seamless. Obviously the dance isn't all they have, and this season is a testament to that. This season looked that old Moonlighting curse in the face and rolled its eyes.
Together Castle and Beckett are just as compelling as they were in the more dramatic pre-couple stage. Potentially more so, since drawing a courtship out too long on TV sees diminishing returns on an audience's investment in the pairing.
Martha tells Castle she understands Beckett's hesitation, because as a couple things are still left undefined. In everything else in his life, Castle might even be a little bit too hasty in making decisions, but when it comes to Beckett he is as slow as molasses. She wonders if its because part of him is afraid things might not ultimately work out.
There's a lot of discussions about the Caskett relationship, and yet the two share only a few scenes together not related to the case. This is obviously meant to highlight how both are separately taking time to think about their relationship, where it's going, and what they want out of it in the big-picture. This is Castle and Beckett's first giant issue and it has the ability to sink them for good.
Although I wondered why it was never brought up that Castle could easily pick up and move to be with Beckett. After all Alexis is off in college and Castle is a rich writer who can do his job literally from anywhere.
Castle wouldn't even have to live in D.C. full time. He could come down for a bit and then go back to New York. Plenty of jet setting rich people live in multiple locations. It seemed weird no one mentioned the possibility of Richard moving, just that long distance would ultimately kill their love.
She's Got The Job
Was there really any chance Beckett was going to go through all this and not get the job in D.C.? The last few episodes have been hitting hard at how good Beckett is at her job, making her the perfect candidate for a career upgrade.
Obviously she was a shoo-in, which is a sentiment even shared by Gates, who gives her a glowing recommendation. As Gates points out, this job is the work Beckett is meant to be doing.
It's amazing to think how much Gates has softened toward the whole team this season. Her conversation with Kate in the finale makes it obvious just how highly she thinks of Beckett.
Throughout the episode, Beckett gets in face time with just about every member of her work family, including Lanie. She explains the job opportunity to Lanie, who wonders (as does the audience!) what that means for Beckett's relationship with Castle.
Meanwhile, Esposito is picking up the weird energy radiating off Beckett. Espo has always been just a bit more connected to Beckett, possibly because they're more than a little alike. While Ryan is often on the side of Castle's outlandish theories (or at least willing to buy into them), Espo shares Beckett's more practical side. He also shares Beckett's wildcard tendencies, while Ryan tends to stick closer to the book. So it makes sense that out of the two, Esposito would be the one to pick up on the fact that something is seriously wrong.
As Beckett comes to her decision, she promises to tell the two just as soon as she talks to Castle first. After the shocking last moments of the episode, I wonder what that means for her new job?
Beckett's Last Case?
With the job in D.C. looming over Beckett's head, she begins delving into what could be her last case in New York. Unfortunately, since there's so much else going on in the episode the case of the week was hardly that interesting.
Despite the fact that quite a bit of screen time was devoted to the case, it really wasn't all that engaging. Perhaps it's because with so much personal and career upheaval in the air for our favorite duo it was hard to concentrate on the John Grisham-esque action.
In the opening moments of the episode, a shower turns into a Psycho experience as what looks like blood starts shooting out of the faucet. Turns out there was a dead girl in the building's water tank, who everyone in the building immediately labels as a prostitute. Except she was also a Harvard student who was supposed to be vacationing in Europe.
What she was really doing was using the cover of the shady motel to do some covert hacking into the files of a big time law office. Specifically she was looking to find out who killed her friend, who had interned at the law firm and died tragically in an car accident Erica had never bought.
Turns out a future political bigwig from a prominent family was responsible for Pamela's death, and Erica was in touch with the lawyer who had helped with the coverup, also conveniently dead.
Thanks to a lot of legwork from Ryan and Espo, they realize the family black sheep Martin was staying at the run down motel. Seeing Beckett break potentially one last perp in the interrogation room, her home, was a big moment.
For Beckett, the precinct really is her home, especially since her career as a detective has always defined her. The sad way she looks at Ryan and Espo's desks underlines just how tough it really will be for her to leave New York and her work family behind.
What did you think of the season finale? Did you see the proposal coming? Will Beckett say yes? Will she still take the job in D.C.? And how can we possibly wait until next fall? Share your theories in the comments!
(Image courtesy of ABC)