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Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's "Always" Castle

ABC's Castle season finale is called "Always." Why? Is it because that, no matter how big a twist or change the writers throw in, Castle is "Always" going to stay the same? Let's hope not, after a heck of a season finale that throws all sorts of monkey wrenches into the mix!

The plot of "Always" is relatively simple to explain. A clue surfaces about the man who shot Beckett (Stana Katic). Castle (Nathan Fillion) can't convince her to drop her investigation, even though he has been warned that she will be killed if she doesn't stop. When he tells her all of this, she feels betrayed, and refuses to listen. Castle can't bear to stick around and watch her die, so he quits the job and their chemistry-laden friendship. Beckett is soon almost killed, realizes her mistake, drops the case, quits the police force, and runs straight into Castle's arms.

Oh, and the people that want Beckett dead take out the man who has been protecting her, so there's that to worry about next season.

Will any of this stick? Certainly not Beckett's resignation from the NYPD. Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald) has good reason to suspend Beckett after Beckett fails to keep her commanding officer in the loop. Yet, Beckett's reasons for not playing by the book are understandable when there's a conspiracy that would be alerted by any orders run up the chain of command, and she doesn't know Gates well enough to trust her yet. Plus, Beckett's a great detective. So, after the length of her suspension is over, Beckett will probably go back to the police force. Which, judging by the way boring old procedurals work, will be no later than the end of next fall's season premiere.

Why does network television insist on staying inside the box? If Castle was a cable series, Beckett could quit, move to another city, or pursue an entirely different career. Isn't that the more interesting way to go? Instead, Castle is a case of the week police drama, and it will always remain that, no matter how many enticing opportunities there are to go in another direction.

More importantly, though, will Castle and Beckett's new-found romance continue into next year? That is more up in the air. Other will they-won't they duos have gotten together and broken up countless times, trying to hold onto the uncertain tension in their shows. Yet, recent series like Chuck and Bones have shown that there is another way. A series can keep its magic, even after the two leads get together. Yes, things will necessarily have to change, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. Having Castle and Beckett make it as a couple is the bolder choice. Fans will have to wait until fall to find out if this is going to happen.

Of course, Beckett and Castle are not the only twosome in Castle. Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) may be platonic pals, but their non-sexual feelings for each other run just as deep as the leads'. In "Always," Esposito sides with Beckett, while Ryan sides with Castle. Castle is too busy to notice this, of course, and doesn't answer when Ryan calls him to try to save Beckett. Which is why Ryan is forced to find another ally in Captain Gates. He saves Beckett's life, but the result is a pissed off and suspended Esposito.

Esposito will continue to carry this grudge against Ryan into next season, surely, but then it will be resolved. After all, we wouldn't want to mess up the formula, would we? But, at the same time, in any incarnation of Castle, these two men must make up. They mean too much to each other. Eventually, Esposito will have to come around to the idea that Ryan did what he thought was best to protect his friends. After all, Beckett knows this, and will forgive Ryan. Esposito has to do the same.

Castle will return next fall to ABC.

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