The Castle finale last night was one of the most amazing ever, and a perfect example of building psychological and romantic suspense. I don't think my resting heart rate got below 110 or so.
Obviously, to talk about this in any detail, there were be spoilers. So here is your official invitation to stop reading if you haven't seen the finale yet, intend to delve into the show later, etc.
***SPOILER ALERT***SPOILERS BELOW***READ AT YOUR OWN RISK***
Is that enough? I don't want to ever be accused of ruining something for someone. :)
Here's the breakdown:
First Romantic Glimpse: Castle surmises Kate is a John Woo fan when she says she likes them "the bloodier the better." He asked her if she would like to join him, and she says yes. Castle's grinning like a stuck pig, so the viewer is too. [Note: We've hung on for 4 years for them to get on the same page...we'll take any bone we're thrown.]
Investigation Begins: The viewer realizes very quickly that the victim was involved in a robbery gone bad, with lock picks in his shoe and a shoulder injury that didn't kill him. It becomes evident that the victim was at Kate's former captain's house trying to steal all the old police files in his office. The former captain's wife shot him. Kate is suspicious that this breaking-and-entering has something to do with her mother's death (and you'll just have to take my word for that--remember, this is a season 4 finale).
Stakes Rise: Kate is determined to find out who is behind her mother's death, and she knows the victim's death is related. She goes under the radar (doesn't tell her captain) when DNA found at her victim's scene match DNA found at the crime scene when Kate herself was shot at the end of season 3. One of her teammates (Det. Ryan) isn't all that gung-ho about not telling the captain.
Stakes Rise Again: Castle hears from an older, nameless, faceless man who claims to be a friend of Beckett's old boss. He wants to protect her. The friend had received the damning files from Kate's boss, and he said he "made a deal" with the "bad guys" to leave Kate alone if she drops her mother's case (that she's been trying to solve for 13 years). Castle is told once again to get Kate to drop the investigation, or she's going to get killed.
Investigation Break: Kate discovers a church where her victim met with a man prior to his death. She manages to get the killer's face from a hidden camera, and now she has a target. This is likely the man who shot her.
Second Romantic Glimpse: Castle goes to Kate's home to convince her to back away from the investigation, or "the bad guys" will kill her once and for all. He comes clean about his involvement with the older friend of Kate's boss, really upsetting Kate because he kept this from her for almost a year. When she asks him why, he says "Because I love you, but you already know that, don't you?" (audience = swoon) This time, Castle's said it out loud with no bullet to her chest causing Kate to say she didn't remember anything that happened after she was shot (which she revealed a few episodes ago that she remembered everything). Kate's upset that he's bringing it up now, and gets angry that he made this deal to protect her like she was a child.
Stakes Rise Again: Castle tells Beckett that he will not stand by while she throws her life away in search of her mother's killer. He says that their partnership is over and walks out.
Escalating Investigation: Det. Esposito finds out the man's whereabouts based on a particular keychain the man is carrying in the video. Kate and Esposito head out to get him, Ryan stays and feels like they should inform Kate's boss, which is protocol Kate doesn't want to follow because she'd be taken off the case due to her connection to the killer. Once at the killer's apartment, they see all Kate's former captain's files, plus his wedding album with a bunch of X's on every face and one picture removed. The man returns unexpectedly, gets the drop on Esposito, and Kate goes after him alone.
Investigation Climax: Kate is fighting hand-to-hand with her would-be assassin on top of the building. He's winning, and ends up sort of tossing her over theside, but of course she's handing on a ledge, and the killer gets away. Kate is hanging there, telling herself she's not going to go out like this. She says Castle's name softly, and then the viewer hears Castle's voice calling for her. She calls back, yelling for help, and just as she can't hold on anymore, a hand reaches and grabs her. Only it's not Castle, it's Ryan, and Kate's very angry Captain is with him. Her Captain demands her badge and gun, putting her on suspension. Kate resigns instead and cleans out her desk.
Romantic Climax: Castle gets home from his daughter's graduation and is all set to watch his John Woo movies. He rejects an incoming call from Kate, only to get a knock at the door. He's not thrilled when he sees a bedraggled (but still stunning) Kate at his door.
Castle: "Beckett, what do you want?"
[Passionate, surprised kiss]
Kate: "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry, Castle. I'm so sorry." [she's crying]
Castle [stunned]: "What happened?"
Kate: "He got away. And I didn't care. I almost died, and all I could think about was you. I just want you."
Well, ol' Castle doesn't need much more than that. A very passionate kissing scene ensues, ending with Kate taking Castle's hand and seemingly leading him off to explore more comfortable parts of the house. The viewer is literally in raptures.
Sucker Punch/Cliffhanger: We learn that the friend of Kate's boss is named "Smith." He comes home and finds the killer in his home, requesting the files Kate's boss had sent him, because they are damaging to his "employer." The glorified henchman announces that he's going to "put Kate Beckett in the ground once and for all."
My husband sat beside me as I watched this finale with headphones on. I was biting nails, sighing, throwing my blanket off when the love scene came on....I was thoroughly, 100% engaged. I believe the smoke alarm could have gone off and I'd have walked out to safety carrying my lap top, still watching the show.
In fact, I was so into the episode that I had to write a blog post about it just to calm myself down out of my frenzy so I could go to sleep tonight. (So that's why there is a Tuesday post this week. Wasn't planned....just inspired.)
That, my friends, is the kind of book or screen play that we want to produce ourselves. The kind where the reader is so completely entwined with the action that our heart stops and starts to its rhythm.
Let's Analyze: What other season finales have you already seen that you would recommend to others? And for you Castle fans....seriously, is this not the greatest show?