This week on the season finale of Castle, the conspiracy around Beckett’s mother reopens, damaging friendships and forcing revelations to the surface. If there’s one thing that can be said about Castle, it’s that the show really knows how to do heart-stopping episodes.

From the opening of Beckett’s near-death experience to the closing shot of Kate’s mysterious benefactor being threatened, this was an episode you couldn’t take your eyes off. Not only was it full of nonstop action, but it was also full of nonstop emotions. The emotions just never stopped! There were hurts feelings, love declarations and shocking resignations.

Let’s be real, though, we’re all pretty excited that Castle and Beckett finally got their feelings out into the open. Much more than that, they finally got with all of the kissing! There was no fake-out; they weren’t pretending as part of a mission. It was just full-out Castle and Beckett sexy times. In an episode that saw Caskett shippers clutching their hearts, this was a moment that was truly swoon-worthy.

On a personal note, I’ve never bought into the Moonlighting curse when it comes to pairing characters together. Since the show’s inception, it was no mystery that Richard Castle and Kate Beckett were on a collision course to love. It didn’t exactly come as a shock that the two would develop feelings for each other. Many a show has floundered under the need to put increasingly ridiculous roadblocks in our favorite couples’ paths to happiness long past when it makes sense.

This season, Castle has been almost straight up with its mission statement: this is the season our crime fighters are getting together. You’re on a road and at the end of the road is Caskett having post-rain sex and what you’re seeing is the journey to that point. On all points, the show delivered this season. Instead of keeping the characters in static banter mode, the show opened up and allowed the characters to grow and to acknowledge their feelings. It’s been a powerful season (my personal favorite) because the show committed to “going there” and kept its promise.

I can’t wait to see what next season holds. For all the fans worried that the chemistry will be off or the show will be different, take a piece of advice from Alexis about change. So strap on your seatbelts, because the Caskett train is leaving the station.

The Murder

The murder of the episode is a former gang member named Orlando found dead in an alley, killed execution style. On the way to the crime scene, Castle and Beckett talk about the hard time Alexis is having composing her valedictorian speech. Castle mentions he’s planning a John Woo movie marathon to cope with Alexis leaving the nest and invites Beckett to join. Beckett agrees in a very flirtatious way. It’s like they just planned a date! Right then, it becomes obvious that something terrible is about to happen.

Of course it does, because the man murdered has ties to Beckett’s own shooting and her mother’s death. Turns out the slain former gang member had gotten in deep with a former military contact and was afraid for his life. He was doing a job for someone, and that job involved breaking into Roy Montgomery’s house and stealing all his files. The final nail in the coffin is when they match a DNA sample to the DNA of Beckett’s shooter. Suddenly, Beckett goes from ready to put the case behind her to “this time it’s personal” in the space of time it takes most people to blink.

Lay Down Your Weapon

Beckett is off on a tear, ready to delve back into the mystery of her shooting and her mother’s death. Ryan, like Castle, thinks that doing so without telling Chief Gates and getting backup is a very bad idea. Esposito disagrees, saying that Beckett will just investigate on her own if they don’t help her. “The least we can do is make sure we have her back,” he reasons. It’s solid reasoning, but then again, so is Ryan’s. Besides being afraid that Gates will take her off the case, Beckett also knows that the last case dealt with dirty cops. No one can be trusted except for our usual team of crime fighters.

The gang member arrested leads them back to Orlando’s girlfriend, who knows more than she lets on. This of course leads them to some video footage of a church, where they find out who Orlando met with. Turns out our big bad is one Tahmoh Penikett, aka Helo from Battlestar Galactica and Paul from Dollhouse. I’m assuming we’ll be seeing more of him next season because a face that chiseled and pretty deserves more than one episode of screen time, murder attempts be damned.

Ryan finally puts his foot down and refuses to go with Beckett and Esposito to the shooter’s hotel without backup. Once there, Kate and Espo find that Maddox was looking through Montgomery’s old wedding photos. But for what exactly? We don’t know just yet as Maddox barrels into the room, knocking Esposito unconscious and leading Kate on a chase to the roof. Once there, he tells her she has no idea what she’s up against. When she attacks him, she tumbles off the roof and only holds on by her fingertips.

It’s the scene that opens the episode and it’s frankly terrifying. The show’s choice to stay on Beckett for what fells like hours as she holds on for dear life, realizing gradually that she’s going to fall to her death, is terrific. It really puts you right there with her and helps you feel Beckett’s terror and desolation. When she begins calling out for Castle, it breaks your heart. Finally someone saves her at just the right moment. It’s not Castle, though, but Ryan.

As Gates lays into Beckett and puts both her and Espo on indefinite leave, Beckett gives up her badge permanently. Ryan tries to apologize to Esposito, but he’ll have none of it. How upsetting is it to see our favorite bromance in tatters?

Coming Clean

As Beckett begins to investigate her mother’s case, Castle gets the usual call from his mysterious friend urging him to throw her off the scent. This time, however, Castle opts for honesty. It’s nice to see all the secrets laid bare, all the baggage unpacked on the table. Castle explains that the files Montgomery sent are keeping Beckett safe, but only if she stopped digging. If you thought that Beckett would see this as a heartwarming gesture of affection on Castle’s part, you’re really off base. Beckett is livid.

“I was just trying to keep you safe,” Castle explains. “By lying to me about the most important thing in my life?” Beckett counters angrily. Then things start to get even more real. Castle tells her he loves her, but that’s something she’s known for months now. Beckett can’t believe he’s bringing this up now, in the middle of their fight about murder and other death-related stuff.

“Everything we’ve been through together. I’m right here. And I’m more than a partner,” Castle says, neatly summing up four years of this show in one sentence. He tells Beckett he thinks she’s the most remarkable, challenging and frustrating person he’s ever met. Beckett is still mad that he took the decision out of her hands, that he handled her like a child. “If they want a war, then I will bring them a war, straight to their doorsteps,” she declares angrily. But Castle has finally had enough. He says he won’t stick around and watch her throw her life away.

It’s looking pretty bad for Castle and Beckett at this point. Thanks to our good friend Mr. Near Death Experience, however, Beckett realizes how important Castle truly is to her. She’s about to die, and all she can think about isn’t solving the case — it is Castle. So she sits out on a swing in the rain and then goes to see Castle just as he’s deleting her from his Wolf Blitzer Situation Room board. He opens the door to a soaked Kate Beckett who somehow, through movie magic, still has absolutely perfect makeup. What fight and rain resistant brand of eyeliner does Kate use? Share your beauty secrets, Beckett!

Soon Beckett and Castle are making out and it is hot and wonderful and, most importantly, actually happening! They’re both on the same page at the same time, emotionally, and all it took was some murder, conspiracies and almost falling off a building. If only all love was that simple!

Next season, Helo from Battlestar Galactica will take his magnificent cheekbones and gun straight for Beckett on a quest for sexy murder. Castle and Beckett will have to deal with the fallout of admitting their feelings and their rain soaked hookup. Esposito and Ryan will need to patch up their friendship, probably through fist bumping. Finally, Alexis will start at Columbia and begin work as a high-level CIA spy, while Martha calls her up to give advice perfectly tailored for every situation. See you all next season!

What did you think of the season finale? Was it everything you hoped it would be? Are you excited that Beckett and Castle finally macked on each other for real? Sound off in the comments!

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Morgan Glennon
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Morgan Glennon

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV