Grading the Season Finales 2013: Castle

Title Watershed (5.24)

Written By Andrew Marlowe

What Happens? As the team at the 12th precinct investigates the murder of a Harvard student and computer hacker posing as a prostitute in a seedy motel, they uncover ties between the victim and a political dynasty which was behind the cover-up of a young woman’s death years before. The case also proves to be possibly Beckett’s last homicide as a member of the NYPD, as she takes an interview in Washington for a job with the attorney general—without telling Castle. Although she’s encouraged by Captain Gates, Beckett struggles with the decision after Castle finds the boarding pass for her trip in her coat pocket and gets angry over the fact the she shut him out of such an important decision. While Castle discusses their relationship and its challenges with his mother, Beckett is counseled by Lanie and her father. Both Beckett and Castle seem to be questioning where their relationship is headed, but both are too scared to broach the topic with the other.

After Beckett is officially offered the position, she begins to feel the weight of leaving her home at the precinct bearing down on her. Both Ryan and Esposito can tell that something is wrong, but neither can figure out what it is. Instead, Ryan lets Esposito in on a little secret of his own—he’s going to be a father. Fatherhood also proves to be a challenge for Castle, as he deals with his fear of letting Alexis go on a summer trip to the rainforest by avoiding the situation—until he can’t any longer and simply has to realize that despite his fears and worries, he loves his daughter and wants to do right by her. That same emotion goes into his meeting with Beckett on the swings where they once talked about Beckett’s emotional walls and where Beckett decided to let those walls come down with Castle. Castle tells Beckett that he understands she’s always going to have walls and won’t always let him in easily, but he isn’t going to give her an ultimatum. Whatever she chooses, he wants to be with her—and he proves this on one knee with a ring and question left unanswered until Season Six begins in the fall.

Game-Changing Moment Yes, Beckett being offered the job with the attorney general was a major moment, but it wasn’t the episode’s true game-changer. No, that title belongs to seven little words said by Richard Castle on the swing set that has come to mean so much to these two characters are their relationship:

Katherine Houghton Beckett, will you marry me?

No matter what Beckett answers and no matter what she decides, those seven words have forever changed their relationship and the direction of the show, which we all know has always been first and foremost a love story (with some murder thrown in for good fun). I know some people hated this twist and others loved it (my own feelings are quite complicated), but there’s no denying that this proposal was one of the most shocking moments in Castle’s five-year history. Whether you thought it was romantic or ridiculous, I bet you had a reaction—and that’s what a good finale cliffhanger should do. This was a moment that people will be talking about all summer, from the most passionate fans to the most casual observers. And that’s what season finales are all about.

Finale M.V.P. Stana Katic had to carry much of the episode’s emotional weight, and I thought she did it beautifully (but how else does she ever do anything other than beautifully?). Beckett was going through an intense internal war in this episode, and Katic did a spectacular job of subtly showing the strain this decision was taking on her. From the looks she gave Castle during their theory building to the stiffness in her body language with Ryan and Esposito, Katic superbly showed all of the things left unsaid—and we know a lot of things were left unsaid in this episode. She was especially wonderful in Beckett’s final interrogation room scene. I held my breath when she started talking about how that room was her home, as if I was afraid to break the spell she was casting with the unshed tears in her determined eyes. For most of this season, Katic has been able to play a lighter side to Beckett, but she proved once again that no other actor could bring out the cautious, damaged, broken side of Beckett like she can.

Most Memorable Line “We both deserve more…So whatever happens—whatever you decide—Katherine Houghton Beckett, will you marry me?” (Castle)

What Didn’t Work I never expected that a Castle episode ending in a proposal would leave me so conflicted. My biggest issues with this episode are issues I’ve had with the latter half of this season as a whole (and are issues I had with episodes near the end of last season as well). I actually wasn’t upset with the decision to have Beckett hide her interview from Castle. Yes, it was frustrating to me as a fan of their relationship, but it was almost painfully true to her character. The thing that upset me as a fan of the Castle/Beckett relationship was the way Beckett seemed so unsure of Castle’s commitment to her. If there’s one thing I’ve never doubted as a viewer, it’s the fact that Castle loves and is 100% committed to his relationship with Beckett. The man has almost died for her more times than we can count at this point—if that’s not a sign of how serious their relationship is, then I don’t know what is. The problems between them in this episode that didn’t stem from her interview felt contrived—like we had to be told over and over again about their fears and insecurities because we can’t actually see them. It has never made sense for me when Beckett questions Castle’s commitment to her, so the fact that this was the whole crux of their angst in this episode left me disappointed in the writing. Just because Meredith hinted at some of Castle’s baggage and we had one episode of him acting completely out-of-character in “The Squab and the Quail,” I still don’t believe that Castle was ever keeping one foot out of their relationship.

I’m definitely not as upset by the proposal as many in the fandom seem to be today, but that doesn’t mean I thought it was perfect either. One of my problems with it is a problem I have with these characters that I suppose is just part of who they are at this point: They never talk like adults until one of their lives is in danger (and sometimes not even then). So in a sense, the proposal coming out of nowhere after a huge fight was perfectly in-character for these two, but that doesn’t mean it was the most fulfilling way to end what was a great season. I would have loved for the proposal to come after a real discussion about the issues they both brought up in this episode, but I suppose I just have to come to the realization that this will never be their way. I can only hope this grand gesture from Castle prompts them to have an open and honest talk about everything—and that we get to see it all in the Season Six premiere.

In the end, I think my biggest problem with the proposal was in the direction. I understand wanting to create an element of surprise, but I think a lot of the emotion of the moment was sacrificed for the sake of shock value. I understand Castle and Beckett were both unsure and nervous for different reasons, but the fact that Castle never looked at her until he actually proposed just felt strange to me. It also bothered me that two actors as incredible at showing emotion and chemistry as Katic and Nathan Fillion were obviously directed to hold back on their facial expressions and reactions in this scene. Instead of the warm, articulate, and emotional proposal I’d always imagined for these two characters, we got something that felt cold and strangely impersonal. Yes, I understand that Castle was trying to show Beckett how serious he was about her and about them, but I just thought that when a proposal happened for these characters it would feel so much happier.

That’s what left me so conflicted about the ending. As a fan of a TV relationship, you wait years for a proposal, and you want to be left with a feeling of complete happiness when it finally happens (like my downright giddy crying after Ben proposed to Leslie on Parks and Recreation). But with this proposal, I almost feel like we were robbed of that happiness and excitement for the sake of a big twist. I expected something more from the writers who so carefully executed all the big moments in this relationship—from the first meeting and the first time holding hands to “I just want you” and the beauty that was “Still.” I’ll reserve my judgment until I see how this all plays out in Season Six, but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. Heck, even Ryan and Jenny got a more emotionally satisfying proposal!

What Worked Now here’s where my emotional conflict kicks in. For everything that bothered me about this finale, there were other things I absolutely loved about it—even in the proposal scene. First of all, I loved Kate Beckett throughout this episode. I’ll say it again: Katic’s work in that final interrogation scene was powerful, nuanced, and heartbreaking. In those scenes, she simply is Kate Beckett, and I truly felt the character’s sense of loss upon having to leave the room where she discovered who she was meant to be—the room that made her who she is today, the room where she finally found a home after being so lonely and lost for so many years.

Speaking of Beckett, I thought this episode did a good job reminding us that she’s still a flawed character—because her flaws are what made me love her in the first place. Being in a relationship isn’t like getting a personality transplant; Beckett is always going to be guarded and scared to let people in—even Castle. She doesn’t tell anyone about the job offer at first, so it’s not just Castle she’s leaving out; she’s just not one to be open with anyone about something that means a lot to her. She’s still not used to sharing her life with someone else, and that’s okay. Kate Beckett is damaged, and some damage never goes away—no matter how great a relationship is. She’s never going to be a perfect character who always does the right thing and becomes an open book with the man she loves, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s great. We all have issues; we all have flaws. The trick is to find someone who loves you even with those flaws, who sees you and understands you and accepts you for who you are—even the parts of you that are broken.

That brings me to the best thing about this episode—Castle’s rationale behind the proposal. While it may not have been as romantic or as hopeful as I wanted it to be, there was no denying that it came from a place of real, adult love. I was happy to hear Castle tell Beckett that she shuts him out, that he’s had to work so hard just to get a glimpse of the real Kate. Because that made his proposal mean so much more. He knows she’s flawed; he knows there are parts of her that are never going to change. But he still wants to be with her forever. He knows they both deserve more than a relationship without a clear direction. It’s not just about what he wants; it’s about what they both deserve because theirs has always been a partnership and he’s always wanted her to have the love she deserves. This is him giving her that chance at the happiness she deserves, the happiness they both deserve.

And he’s willing to make her happy as her husband no matter what she decides with her job. I love that it wasn’t an ultimatum; it was Castle’s way of saying that he wants to stand with her wherever she chooses to make her stand. It was a gesture perhaps bigger than it needed to be (or should have been), but that’s Rick Castle in a nutshell. He’s a fan of the grand gesture, and this is perhaps the grandest of them all. He’s not proposing to keep her from taking the job; he’s proposing out of an almost painful need for her to know how much he loves her and is committed to her. It was probably the wrong time for a proposal, but it wasn’t as rushed as some might want to say it was. Think about it: Castle had a ring already, and I don’t think he just bought it that day. They’ve also known each other for five years, and they’ve both been in love with each other in some capacity for the majority of those five years. They know each other better than anyone else, even though they don’t always talk about the big things when they should. And they’ve been promising each other “Always” for years now—a commitment in some ways more sacred to them than any marriage vow could ever be. While I don’t think a proposal was the right way to handle this situation, there’s no denying that—should they sit down an talk like grownups about their insecurities and issues—these two are ready for that next step. Just not in the Season Six premiere.

Final Grade B – . This episode had its frustrating moments, but it also had strong moments. Beckett’s last interrogation was a truly standout moment for me a viewer and a fan of this character. Ryan telling Esposito about Jenny’s pregnancy was a gorgeous moment of happiness for these two characters. And any episode featuring Beckett and her dad having a talk warms my heart in a special way. Did I have problems with the timing and direction of the proposal scene? Yes. However, it still made me cry because it made me think of how much this couple has gone through together to get to the point where Castle can stand in front of her, tell her accepts her flaws for what they are, and still say he wants to be with her forever. I think I ended up crying more because of what I wanted that scene to mean (and what I think it means) more than the actual emotional content presented onscreen, but I still can’t deny that when the tears dried I wanted to jump to September as soon as possible—which not every finale makes me want to do. This may not have been “Always,” but it still found a way to move me, surprise me, and make me think.

 

35 thoughts on “Grading the Season Finales 2013: Castle

  1. My perspective on Rick not looking at Kate until he proposed was that he had so much emotion inside that he couldn’t. The small changes in Kate’s expression during that last scene show what a truly gifted actress Stana Katic is. When Rick says he wants more, I remembered the first swings scene in Rise, and how Kate used that as the reason she broke up with Josh. The small change in Kate’s expression looked to me like she was afraid Rick was leading up to a break up. After 5 years of foreshadowing that moment, it was not all I had hoped for. You would think a world famous writer could come up with a better proposal speech than that. However, I remembered Martha’s comment about marriage proposals: “What a woman wants is a man down on one knee with a ring in his hand.” (I’ll be re-watching past episodes so I can find that moment of the series again.) Whether Kate takes the DC job or not, an engagement would end their working relationship. Gates can’t have plausible deniability if Rick and Kate are engaged. Season 6 is going to be interesting.

    • couldn’t agree more! season 6 will really be interesting. I am always grateful that the characters have remained human, flawed and mature. This is a mature realistic relationship,not some teenage love affair! but we really have to find out what happened to end both of Castle’s marriages. Sure he was hurt she didn’t tell him about the interview, but he is a millionaire with everything, he can move where he wants. Martha understands Kate is a strong ambitious woman who is still unsure how their relationship will go so of course she should go for advancement into a job which would challenge her . Wow, can’t waittill fall!

      • I think we already know what ended his marriages. While Gina and Rick were dating there was the conversation about the doll incident when Alexis was a child. Gina told Rick that he wouldn’t let her into Alexis’s life. Rick commented to Martha and Alexis during one episode that ‘the thrill’ was back with Gina, but it brought it’s friends “high maintenance and shopaholic.” Those are problems that can end any marriage.
        Meredith is a deep fried twinkie. Any marriage would have failed with that woman. Meredith and Rick married very young also.
        I just keep thinking about the clip montage in Still when Kate was remembering Montgomery’s words about “We speak for the Dead….” When Kate was in the interrogation room at the end of Watershed, there was some dialog that brought that to my mind. I wondered if that was to clue us in to Kate’s possible second thoughts.
        I found the episode where Martha tells Rick a woman wants a man to propose “down on one knee, tears in his eyes, ring in his hand.” It was Food to Die For, episode 2×22.

    • I never thought about an engagement ending their working relationship, but you’re right—there’s no plausible deniability with a ring on her finger! It’s just another thing to keep us speculating until Season Six starts—as if there weren’t enough things already! 😉

  2. So much said and so many ideas and opinions. I loved that Castle finally had his Watershed moment and dug deep into his soul to know he wanted more. He realized he had never had that “more” and wants it with Kate. The episode could have easily been 2 hours or certainly less case heavy so more could have been said. So much was squeezed into that episode that it felt too compacted. Castle’s proposal was the most mature thing he had ever done in his life and I commend his maturity.

    • I totally agree about the case taking up too much time that should have been spent on their relationship and character development. And I also agree about the maturity Castle showed in his proposal. It was a man’s proposal—realistic, sincere, and serious. It may not have been how I imagined he’d propose, but there’s no denying it came from a mature place of growth for him as a character.

  3. Great recap, and once again, we have really similar thoughts!

    While overall I enjoyed this episode, my main problem was how insecure/uncertain both Castle and Beckett were about their futures with each other. Maybe it’s just because I had been watching them dance around this huge thing for 4 seasons, but to me, this relationship between Castle and Beckett could never have been anything but a very serious, committed relationship, once we got past the initial attraction both had at the beginning of Season 1. For me, because they were both so scared of entering into this relationship seems to make it obvious that it was going to be a “this is either going to end in a lifelong relationship or end in a catastrophic breakup” type of relationship. A relationship that takes years to build and that means so much to these characters that they hesitate to enter it until they both feel they are ready makes it a serious, very committed one imo. I mean, come on, their friendship seemed to be stronger than they feel their relationship is right now, and that relationship was built on top of that friendship, so why don’t they feel it is just as strong? Some fear and uncertainty I was expecting, but this seems to be a bit extreme for characters who appeared to have known before getting together just how big, just how life-changing this relationship would be and how much they mean to each other. They were willing to die for each other before, for heaven’s sake! I wanted to slap them both in this episode and say “WAKE UP!”.

    I do agree that Beckett hiding the job makes sense, as I definitely think it is in her character to hide something like that because she is scared of what throwing such a big obstacle in their path would do, and maybe because she wanted the job so much but was scared she wouldn’t get it. Personally, on a purely tv plot level, I feel like the job offer is going to be a weird thing to deal with next season, because moving Beckett to DC means losing Ryan and Esposito and Gates and Lanie, all of whom are essential parts of what makes the show what it is and how the show is formatted. I don’t know how they’re going to deal with that, because even though her taking the job offer feels more realistic, it also means completely changing the show. I also totally agree with you that Stana played this internal war beautifully throughout the episode – I could see it even in the little moments in the precinct discussing the case, where you could see her thinking about how this could be her last case with Castle and the precinct family, and it was obvious to the viewers who were looking for it without being so obvious as to make Ryan, Esposito, and Castle completely clued in on her struggle.

    Also, I feel like Castle had every right to be upset she hid it from him. I actually disagreed with Martha in her scene with Castle, because in my opinion those kinds of decisions are ones that couples kind of make together. Yes, ultimately it is Beckett’s life, Beckett’s decision, and she should never make her decision solely based upon Castle. But I feel like he has to be a part of that decision, he is going to be a part of the pro/con list and part of what she considers as a factor in what her decision will ultimately be. To blindly make the decision without considering him at all would be weird, and unrealistic. And I don’t know, maybe Castle made it about him a little bit, but to me it felt like he was more upset that she hid it from him, that she was going to make this decision without even considering his opinion or telling him about it when this would have a huge impact on his life too, than the fact that she was thinking about taking the job. Castle of all people knows just how extraordinary Beckett is and I doubt would try to hold her back from being and doing all she can, and I didn’t feel like Castle was being self-centered at all when he was mad at her in this episode.

    Switching to the proposal scene, I think it was unsatisfying to me because a proposal scene and a breakup scene should not feel the same. I get that they did it to keep the audience (and Beckett) guessing as to where the scene was going and how the episode would end, but to me that set me completely off-balance. A marriage proposal doesn’t seem like it should be so heavily, negatively emotionally weighted like that scene felt, and I’m a bit annoyed with it. (In other words, what you said here is exactly my problem with it – “Instead of the warm, articulate, and emotional proposal I’d always imagined for these two characters, we got something that felt cold and strangely impersonal. Yes, I understand that Castle was trying to show Beckett how serious he was about her and about them, but I just thought that when a proposal happened for these characters it would feel so much happier.”)

    So I feel like the writers could take the proposal in several directions next season, the main ones I can imagine at the moment being: Beckett says yes, S6 is about dealing with being in different places (or Castle moving to DC with her?) and them planning their wedding; Beckett says no and they break up and we spend at least part of S6 in painful agonizing separation; Beckett says no, and they talk about their relationship and feel more sure of their future together even though they are going to be apart. At the moment what I feel like I want to see from Season 6 is Beckett saying no to the proposal, but having it cause a serious discussion of their relationship, and for Beckett to propose to Castle later in the season in her own way. Partially because I disliked this proposal, and partially because I feel like while this relationship is really serious, I don’t know if they’re ready for a wedding yet, especially not with them both seeming to have so much uncertainty about the other’s commitment to the relationship.

    On a more positive note, I did really enjoy seeing Beckett talk to her father about her conflicting thoughts, because I always love seeing her dad show up in an episode and I feel like Beckett is a little different around her father than she is around anyone else (also hearing him call her “Katie” makes something in my heart go all warm and fuzzy and clench-y). The discussion with Lanie was also much appreciated, as I love seeing scenes with Beckett and Lanie being best friends and I feel like there could never be too many of those. I agree that Stana’s acting in the interrogation room at the end was wonderful, and I loved it so much, that might have been my favorite scene in the whole episode.

    Anyways, this episode definitely gave us a lot to think about over the summer for Season 6, and I’m looking forward to talking with you about all our speculation! Sorry this comment is practically as long as your post lol

    • I love when you leave long comments because you always say such thoughtful things!

      First of all, I completely agree with everything you said in your first paragraph. I always saw their relationship as “If we ever do get together, it’s forever.” And that’s why I always thought they were scared to take that leap—because they already knew it was going to be serious and deep. But now I’m wondering if I was supposed to think that way. I’m incredibly confused on how two people who have shown such trust, love, and commitment to each other for almost five years could doubt how serious their relationship is. Maybe it speaks to how insecure both of them are, but to me it just feels like writing angst for the sake of writing angst.

      I also found myself nodding when you wrote that a proposal and a breakup speech should not be so similar. Yes, it led to a great twist and a big shock, but it felt so wrong for these characters who have had a lot of great speeches and lines between them over the years. The guy who gave Beckett that speech about the coffee in “Always” should have found a better way to propose, in my opinion. Yes, it was a genuine proposal done out of love, but I wanted something warmer from the man who has always been one of the warmest characters on TV when the writing allows him to be.

      • I think the two of you have the popular take on this perceived disconnect. The confidence that we as viewers have in the relationship is a testament to the commitment that the writers have built for these two characters. As such the uncertainty seems to not make sense. Yet for me (and my jaded self) it makes perfect sense. They can have implicit confidence in the love they share and yet be completely uncertain of how those feelings play out in day to day life. When push comes to shove even Richard Castle knows love does not in fact conquer all. His life has proved that and to a lesser degree so has Kate’s. I think that is the point of Kate’s fear, that if they move into unchartered territory (the job or marriage) it means living without the dance, giving into each other in a way that forces them to check their ingrained sense of self reliance. It’s why I was so taken with the scenes with their parents. Both showed their kids that the problem wasn’t the relationship, it was making a decision about knowing who they want to be. Rick’s line to Alexis about life for what it is speaks to his watershed moment. Rick landing at the proposal (while it will be contested among us fans forever) works not just for the humility and sobriety of the place he’s landed in (let’s face it, he had a rough year – 3XK, After Hours, Alexis kidnapping) but because he finally tears down the wall he actually had standing between the two of them. As always, I love this discussion. Thanks for the great thoughts.

    • There is two other directions that s6 could go. That Beckett could say no she’s not ready but will put the ring on her necklace along with her mother’s to show how much she loves him and when she is ready she ask him to out the ring her finger. And she tells castle that she decided to turn the job offer down despite the chance of doing something different.

      The other direction is she still says no and still puts the ring on her necklace.
      But instead takes the job, leaving Castle in New York for a couple of episodes but realises that the job wasn’t what she hoped and returns to New York and the 12th

  4. I found this episode so depressing I don’t know how exactly to react. And as a 48 year old (married) woman, I don’t really find their behavior terribly grown up or mature. Griwn ups talk to each other, not at each other. They are both so insecure it’s beginning to not be fun. Castle lets Beckett walk all over him AGAIN. And while I don’t doubt his sincerity, I do think his proposal was born of desperation. I felt certain she was planning to leave him.

    That said, I enjoyed your review, as always, and don’t entirely disagree with all of it. Although I seem to be less enamored with Beckett than a lot of the show’s viewers – her behavior towards Castle in times like these undercuts her otherwise general awesomeness and leaves a bad taste for me.

    Off to read the other comments!

    • hi , I don’t think she was planning to leave him , but I do think there is nothing wrong with her going after an awsome position if it is offered. Castle is a millionaire, he can move and write anywhere, she is a working woman, they are not married and I don’t think she is the kind to just stick with him and let him pay for everything! And remember he is twice divorced, she must really try to find out why that is. I don’t think Beckett walks all over Castle, she is a strong woman and wants to know where she stands and the way ahead. They are both flawed humans who deeply love each other but are afraid of what will happen if they commit completely to one another, each thinks it might fail and are terrified to take that final jump. But they will eventually!! And Beckett won’t leave, that would mean no more Havi & Ryan etc…so perhaps the position will allow her to stay at the 12th and only consult with the feds. finally I don,t think she will say no , but I hope she says they have to really think about it and clear up all the insecurities they both feel before taking that final jump.Hey this relationship is closer to what happens in real life than anything I have seen on tv before.

    • I think the proposal was Castle’s watershed. This man has repelled the idea of marriage for the last 5 years and he has stopped short in a desire to not fail. I thought the proposal was emotional and vulnerable rather than desperate. Not allowing Beckett to speak allows him to establish that the proposal is about them, about the two of them deserving more, deserving to have their love sit on solid ground without heightened circumstances (the dance). As far as Beckett is concerned, I do think that she has pushed in a way that comes across as self-absorbed. However, I think Castle picks and chooses when he forces and issue so while Beckett has a lot of room to push, Castle has his boundaries where he will push back. The watershed is for the two of them to move into the unknown of their relationship, to a level/commitment neither has been before.

    • Thank you for the comment! I can definitely see how you found this episode depressing. I don’t think the proposal was born out of desperation so much as a deep need for her to see how much he loves her and how serious he is about her. I will never find it a terribly romantic or uplifting moment, but I don’t think it was meant to be that way (and that may be a problem in and of itself).

  5. I am still working through this season as a whole so I am going to try to stick to last night. Overall I think it wasn’t a great episode (but really was anything going to top Always?) but it was an episode with great moments. What is it with Marlowe and the 10 minutes after the half hour mark. I am convinced that all significant Castle moments happen between minute 32 and 42. The back 30 was definitely where the meat of the episode certainly was. For me the most pivotal scenes were with their parents. My mom always said as a parent you know your kids – good, bad, ugly. I think both held mirrors up for their children to see that the watershed moment wasn’t this job offer. It was deciding who they want to be moving forward, because that is what will determine the course of Caskett ultimately. I think it read as a throwaway but when Kate mumbles about Rick hating her, Jim is quick to call her to the carpet on the fact that it isn’t the point. Kate has to decide about many facets of her life – work and love. Both at the moment of this episode are at a crossroads and her fear allows her to believe they are at cross purposes. It’s why she doesn’t tell Rick and why she is so defensive when Rick calls her out for not including him in the conversation. Jim strikes a subtle balance of not influencing his daughter whlie helping guide her. Now as for Rick and Martha, she pulls no punches and calls a spade a spade. Rick is no different. She shows him that life is not a novel and he can not write this ending to his satisfaction only. He must be honest about what makes Kate different and by extension question what holds him back, a man who leans into life so deliberately. The parallels to letting Alexis go serve as a nice touch. However I do think that Rick’s actions in Hunt parallel Becketts in this episode. These are two people who have built their lives on self-reliance. Rick from childhood to self made man and Beckett in strong-willed child isolated by the tragedy of her mother’s homicide. They do not invite consideration to major decisions. I think that’s what makes the proposal work – think about what he said – “I’ve made a decision”. He has, he choses Kate. He choses them. He choses to be selfless. A watershed for a man who has built his very successful life on self-centeredness and bravado. It’s a moment of great humility. I think he also realizes is in a lot of ways he is formed. When we met Rick Castle 5 years ago he was bored of the life he had worked for, craved and built. He was looking for more, for ‘something different’. This episode gave us is Castle’s realization that in order to have a life with Kate, he was going to have to be different. We can only change ourselves. He can’t change Kate. But he can accept her and by doing so give them both the more they deserve. Perhaps it’s because I am jaded or that I am a cynic but I kept thinking back to the banter between them regarding Ryan’s proposal to Jenny. Kate talking about women wanting intimate in the face of Castle’s grand ideas. This was simple, it was humble, it was vulnerable, it was somber and earnest. A lot of focus has been paid to Beckett, but how far Rick has come as well. Two adults who share 2 failed marriages, several brushes with death and a child gone missing strips away the need for grand and begs for serious. They aren’t 20, life isn’t new for them. On the contrary life has been very dark and for me this hit the right note of who these people are. After five years of missteps and near misses the sobriety of the moment felt earned and it was a move I didn’t think Marlowe would leave us on so bravo to him for catching me off guard.

    • wow Nicademus11 you have hit the nail on the head!! Nothing more to say..I so completely agree. These are not two teenagers, they are mature humans who have seen life and all the joy and suffering that comes into each situation. Both will have to make room for each others flaws if they are to go forward.

    • Your analysis of the scenes between Martha and Castle and Jim and Beckett were perfect—there’s really nothing else I can say. And while I didn’t love the proposal because of the sobriety of the moment, I think that’s because I’m still very much a young-at-heart, diehard romantic (It’s one of the few ways I relate to Castle more than Beckett). I can definitely see where someone would see that scene as earned and right while I found it lacking.

  6. I must say it took me a lot longer than normal to come and read your review, as well as a second viewing of ‘Watershed’ just because I was so shell shocked by the proposal at the end. Watching the episode I felt like a break up was going to happen, despite my positive thoughts going in so I needed to watch it again to see how I really felt.

    I’m gonna start with my main thought, something that I’m sure most people will disagree with. Stana’s acting in the final interrogation scene was pretty amazing and I honestly feel like in that moment she decided not to take the job in DC, not because of Castle, but because it is her home and her father said she needed to make the decision based on what she wanted and not fear. I felt like something on her face changed halfway through. Frankly, the old Beckett would have accepted this job without a second thought and I felt like she was looking for someone to tell her one way or the other. Shows some of the character growth despite her keeping it from Castle. This is just my opinion.

    Therefore, going in to the swing set scene I think her face registers that she was pretty sure that Castle was breaking up with her. Then he proposes and she is more stunned than anything (like I was frankly). The proposal definitely was for all the right reasons and I loved that Castle wouldn’t let her talk so he could lay it all out that he didn’t care that she keeps secrets or that she may take a job somewhere else, he just wants to be with her forever. His face lacking any happiness or joy or whatever (as most have commented on), I think comes from him being absolutely scared to death because he has no idea what the relationship means to Kate. Clearly they both need to talk things through and I have no clue if she will say yes or no. Such is the sign of a pretty decent finale/cliffhanger though.

    Other thoughts – LOVED the facial expressions of Beckett throughout the episode showing how conflicted she was. The little smiles and pangs of regret during the case were subtle and hard to watch because you could feel her pain. Kudos! The scene after her fight with Castle where she throws out the coffee he gave her the day before and it hits the middle of the sink (hello Watershed). I always pay attention to the coffee because it often speaks volumes to what is happening in the relationship. Last thought, I think the lack of discussion from both Castle and Beckett stems from complete fear and hiding behind their walls. They basically needed their parents to tell them what their issues with relationships and this one in particular are.

    Until September and the yes or no or maybe answer….and the yes or no to the new job…
    Should be interesting!

    • ok great review and I completely agree with your outline…surprize!! I hadn’t thought about her throwing out the coffee!! its these little things that keep me coming back for more!

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts—I love that you brought up the coffee moment because I love the coffee symbolism on this show, and that scene spoke volumes without ever directly addressing their relationship.

      I also think I agree with you about Beckett deciding not to take the job in DC. I’ve watched that interrogation scene so many times, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it really does feel like she has a change of heart when she’s talking about that room being her home. I think Beckett is at her best working homicide cases—that direct contact and personal connection to the families of victims is what makes her so good. And I think she was starting to see that she belongs there, in that room, in her home. While I think she deserves that job in DC, I think she’s meant to be at the 12th for more reasons than just Castle, and I think that scene subtly showed her coming to that realization, too.

      • I believed from jump that she went to the station having decided to take the job and that she has the change of heart in the interogation room. I think her line, “How many years of your own life are you going to sacrifice for someone else’s future? Or are you ready to deal?” said it all. It harkened back to Roy’s “We speak for the dead, but we don’t owe them our lives” and Royce’s “putting the job ahead of your heart is a mistake. Risking our hearts is why we’re alive” But after more viewings than I care to admit to, it also made me think she realized how long can she expect Castle to wait for her? Thus the double meaning of ‘are you ready to deal’. I think that is why she looks absolutely devestated by the fear that he is going to end it when they are on the swings when he doesn’t allow her to speak. Is it September yet?

    • They both have their walls and both need to help each other get other them. As castle has help beckett now beckett has to help castle break down his wall

  7. I’m way late on this (was on vacation, so I just watched the finale!) but I wanted to comment and say how much I loved your review! I completely agree with everything you said, especially regarding your complicated feelings about the proposal. I felt the same way watching it, on the one hand I was ecstatic, but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed about the way it unfolded. I think you’re absolutely right about some of the emotion and joy being sacrificed for sake of the big twist.

    Also, maybe I was disappointed partly because I’d always kind of hoped that he would propose in front of the murder board. That would sound weird to someone who’s never watched the show before, but to me, that place represents their relationship more than any where else. That’s where they’ve teased each other, been there for each other, told each other secrets and ultimately, fallen in love. The swings do represent key moments in their relationship, but they also represent a lot of angst. They don’t represent the joy and completeness that their relationship has the same way that the board and the precinct do.

    And just another random thought…I absolutely loved what Kate said to her dad about the dance. It was something like: “We’ve been doing this dance for five years, but what happens when the music stops? What happens if all we were in love with was the dance?” Heartbreaking, yes. But that line beautifully expressed the fear that both of them have about the relationship.

    All in all, I’m VERY curious to see what happens in September. It’s going to be a looooooong summer!

    • First of all, I hope you had a great vacation! I really love your thoughts about the significance of the murder board to their relationship. Because you’re right about the swings—they are a major setting for these characters, but they’re associated with a lot of angst. Having a proposal in front of the murder board (or in front of the espresso machine—my ideal location) would have been a nice nod to the things that brought them together rather than the things that kept them apart for so long.

      And I agree about Kate’s line about the dance being beautifully written, but I can’t help but think it would have fit better in Season Four. When I think of two characters doing a dance in terms of their relationship, I think of the time before they settled into that relationship—the flirting, the chasing, etc. But I think the music stopped for Castle and Beckett already. They’ve been together for almost (or over, depending on the timeline) a year, so I feel like that should be enough time to decide if they were in love with each other or with the dance. That’s a great and realistic question for their relationship, but I think it made more sense being asked before they actually stopped dancing around each other and settled into a real relationship, which they seem to have done this season.

      • The expresso machine would have been great too! Really anywhere at the precinct would have been nice, but I guess I can see why they went with the swings.

        That’s a really great point about the line fitting in better in season 4. You’re definitely right, by now they should know that they’re in love with each other, not merely the idea of being together. But I guess Castle and Beckett have always taken a little longer than the viewers to catch on lol.

        • As someone who loved the swings. I think the placement works in the context of the theme of the show – watershed. At the beginning of season 4 when Kate and Rick talk and she reveals she’s working her way to being ready for their relationship and Rick accepts it by letting her know he will wait their relationship pivots into a new place. When she goes there before going to Rick’s apartment it’s the moment their relationship forever changes. So for Rick to propose at the swings is a continuation of the symbolic shifts of their relationship happening at that location. What I like about the ‘dance’ line is that it isn’t that they question their love for one another – it’s their abject fear that they can go the distance in a relationship. Rick’s failed twice and as her dad said – this is the moment when Kate usually bails. Both of these people are in uncharted territory and the question isn’t the fidelity of their love – that is proven and true – it is understanding that love doesn’t conquer all and moving forward is going to require something different of them. Thus why for me, Rick’s “I want more, we both deserve more” was so moving and true. She doesn’t open up, so it is up to him to take the lead and step first into the unknown, not with words but with action. Oh September, how far away you are.

          • love your train of thought. I can’t remember when a tv series has kept so many viewers so entranced and perplexed for the hiatus. What oh what will they do!

  8. It’s so not fair apart from seeing bits on the internet. Here in the United Kingdom, we won’t get to see s6 until february 2014 at the earliest.:-((

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