This was it. The “Castle” episode four years in the making. There are few television writing tasks more difficult than the moment when years of sexual tension blossom into actual romance. “Always”, the season four finale, gave viewers what they longed for while keeping the characters true to themselves and without destroying any of the dynamics that make the Caskett relationship so fascinating.
The episode was a mirror image of the third season finale. Last year, Beckett (Stana Katic) was shot when her investigation of her mother’s murder came dangerously close to exposing a conspiracy. Castle (Nathan Fillion) told her he loved her as she lay bleeding on the ground.
This year, a seemingly typical murder investigation turns out to involve the same conspiracy. But this time, fortunately, the outcome is completely different. The episode opens with Beckett clinging to the roof of a building and calling Castle’s name. We then flash back three days to Beckett and Castle at the crime scene of the week, an alley. The victim, Orlando, has lock picks in his socks. He was a gang member as a teenager before joining the military. His girlfriend tells them he had trouble finding a job. He last used his burner cell phone outside Captain Montgomery’s house! The captain’s widow says she caught Orlando stealing files. Beckett tells Castle that she is constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop as far as her shooting and her mother’s death. What if this is it?
Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) learn that a gang member, who happened to be Orlando’s cousin, was in the alley. Years ago, Montgomery busted him. Beckett accuses him of hiring Orlando for the break in. He denies any involvement. He is proven not guilty when the DNA from the skin scrapings in Orlando’s autopsy match those from Beckett’s shooting. Whoever killed Orlando also shot her!
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Beckett decides not to tell Gates because she doesn’t want to get pulled from the case. Ryan wants to keep Gates in the loop, but Esposito thinks Beckett will investigate no matter what. At least this way they will have her back. The Mystery Man calls Castle. He says the break in was a clean up job. If Beckett doesn’t stop investigating, the conspiracy will retaliate.
Beckett learns that Orlando had a wire transfer sent to his bank account the week before he died. His girlfriend cleaned it out. She says someone he knew from the military hired him to steal Montgomery’s files. They met at a church. Beckett and Castle watch the church’s security footage. Orlando was meeting Helo from “Battlestar Gallactica!” Who saw that coming? Actually, it’s an as yet unidentified character played by Tahmoh Penikett.
Castle tells her she has to stop investigating or else she will be killed. In the conversation we have been waiting for all season, he tells her about the package and the Mystery Man, and his attempts to protect her by keeping her from investigating the conspiracy. She is not impressed, saying “I didn’t need protection. I needed a lead, and you sat on it for a year.” She makes the good point that the Mystery Man could be involved in the conspiracy, and wonders how could he do this? He says, “Because I love you.” This time, there’s no doubt about whether she heard him! Beckett frustrates millions of fans by asking how she can trust him instead of running into his arms. In a great speech, he tells her that for four years he’s been waiting for her to notice him. He thinks she is the most wonderful, maddening, frustrating person he’s ever met.
Beckett thinks he cut a deal for life like she was a child. She says “If they want a war, I will bring them a war, straight to their doorsteps.” Castle says he’s not going to watch her throw away her life and walks out, breaking shipper hearts across the nation. Fortunately, the episode is nowhere near over.
Beckett visits her mother’s grave. Then she goes back to the precinct. She has tracked down Not Helo’s location. Ryan says they need back up. Beckett refuses to consider it and Esposito sides with her. They head off on their own. Moments after Esposito and Beckett find Montgomery’s stolen files Not Helo arrives. He knocks out Espsosito. She chases him onto a rooftop. They have a big, action movie fight. Beckett holds her own until he pushes her off the roof. We’re back to the beginning of the episode, as Beckett hangs on to the edge for dear life then, realizing her death seems imminent, whispers Castle’s name. Finally he seemingly answers back. As she loses her grip Ryan and Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald) are the ones who lift her to safety. When Gates suspends Beckett and Espoito, Beckett resigns. It’s an interesting parallel. Montgomery was willing to sacrifice himself for Beckett but ultimately could not save her. Gates hates her disregard for the rules, but rescues her when it counts.
Esposito won’t talk to Ryan. Can’t any couple on this show make things work? Beckett goes back to the swing set where she and Castle talked in the season premiere. As Alexis makes a beautiful speech about people who will always be in her hear, Castle is obviously thinking about Beckett. Yet once he gets home, Castle ignores a call from her. Then he turns on his Beckett investigation screen and coldly deletes the entire file. There’s a knock on the door. It’s Beckett, finally willing to fight for him. He says, “Beckett what do you want?
She says, “You.” She kisses him and apologizes, saying that when she almost died all she thought about was him.Then, the Beckett sex scene everybody has been waiting for. Watch the above clip and enjoy every glorious second. Then watch it again.
Just when it seems like the season will end happily, Not Helo finds the Mystery Man. He demands all the information information in package, and announces his next step will be killing Beckett.
Who cares? Caskett is together. This time, when Beckett was on the verge of disaster, her friends were able to save her before she was critically injured. Beckett and Castle finally talked about their feelings like adults instead of avoiding them. She realized that her relationship with Castle was more important than finding her mother’s killer. It was a lovely, perfectly crafted season finale.