Two-Sentence Summary When Beckett is framed for the murder of Vulcan Simmons, she knows the final showdown with Senator Bracken is looming. With her career and her life on the line, she finds assistance in her quest to finally bring Bracken to justice from two unlikely sources: her mother and Captain Montgomery.
Favorite Line “It’s over.” (Beckett)
My Thoughts It’s over. With two simple words, the world of Castle changed forever. For months now, I’ve been writing about how I wanted to see the end of the Bracken storyline and the culmination of the Johanna Beckett arc this season. It felt like it was time; it would give Beckett closure before marrying Castle; and the combination of that arc ending and the wedding would lead the show into a new era. I wanted it, but I don’t think I even knew how much I wanted it until I watched it happen last night. And the crazy thing is, as I watched Beckett put the man who murdered her mother in handcuffs, I wasn’t thinking about how good this was for the plot or for the show in general. I was thinking of how good this was for Kate Beckett. I wanted this moment for her. And what a moment it was.
I often write about how much I like emotional moments and character development that feel earned. It certainly doesn’t get more earned than this moment. For over six seasons, we watched Kate Beckett continue to come to terms with her mother’s murder. We saw what that murder did to her; we saw the damage firsthand. We were shown rather than just told about how it affected her to such a degree that it consumed her. We went down the rabbit hole with her every time she battled the pain of first not knowing who the killer was and then knowing but not being able to bring him to justice. We saw the scars her mother’s death left behind, and then we saw the new scars that formed as Beckett herself almost died because of that same man. We saw her battle PTSD because of this; we saw her work every day to overcome the demons brought on by both her mother’s death and her shooting. For six years, we were in the emotional trenches right alongside this character, so when the moment finally came for her to arrest the man who caused her so much pain, we completely understood how much this meant to this character.
I’m sure “Veritas” was an episode that could be enjoyed by casual Castle fans, but, really, this was an episode for the diehards. This was for those of us who first fell in love with Kate Beckett when she told Castle why she wore her mother’s ring and her father’s watch. This was for those of us who cried with her when she had to shoot Dick Coonan and lose another lead in her mom’s case. This was for those of us who sat with open mouths and broken hearts after she was shot. And this was for those of us who cried again when she finally decided that her own life and her own happiness was worth more than vengeance.
Kate Beckett is the one who honors the victims, and to see her finally able to honor her mother by getting justice for her was the most cathartic moment this show has ever produced. It was a moment of emotional payoff six years in the making, and that’s what made it so good. The Johanna Beckett arc was a dramatic thread that wove itself through every season of Castle, and it produced my favorite episodes this show has ever aired. It was an arc that took a character who could have just been a love interest and turned her into one of the most compelling women on television. And it was an arc that always meant big moments for the love story that has driven this show forward. I’m interested to see what Castle will be without this arc (although we still have 3XK) because, like the character of Kate Beckett, the show has a new freedom it didn’t have with its dramatic storytelling before Bracken was put into the back of that police car.
As an episode, “Veritas” was a compelling thriller from the start, complete with fantastic action sequences, expert direction, and appropriately stark cinematography. But where “Veritas” excelled wasn’t as a standalone thriller but as a final chapter of an intricate story. It took everything that made all of the other Johanna Beckett episodes so wonderful and added an additional level of importance to all of it because we knew—just as Beckett knew—that this was the “now or never” moment.
I was so happy to see Gates finally included in the immediate family that knew all of the details of the case, including Captain Montgomery’s role in it. This was another excellent episode for Gates as a character. To see her go toe-to-toe with Internal Affairs, which represented who she used to be, to defend Beckett was a phenomenal moment of growth. And to see Esposito and Ryan telling her the story of the case was a lovely nod to the fact that they were the ones whose negative opinion of Gates initially influenced our own back in Season Four’s “Rise.” Look at how far they’ve all come.
That last sentence could be the tagline for this whole episode. It was especially true of Beckett. The opening was such a great way to subvert our expectations when it comes to Beckett. I couldn’t have been the only one who worried that she was out following people without Castle knowing because he was on a book tour. But almost right away, the show reminded us that this Beckett is different from who she once was; she’s a woman with a partner in everything now. I loved that this wasn’t a secret she was keeping from him; this was a lead they were chasing together because that’s what partners do.
That’s what made Beckett’s confrontation with Vulcan Simmons so hard to watch; she was going it alone again. But I’ll admit that it made the scene more powerful to have it just be a faceoff between Beckett and the man who tortured her. Stana Katic can be downright terrifying when she wants to be, and there was a moment when I honestly wondered if she had it in her to kill him (even though I knew she didn’t). I’m sad to lose Vulcan Simmons as a character because he is a powerful screen presence, but it felt right for his death to be the catalyst for the rest of the episode’s breakneck action.
“Veritas” wasn’t an episode for the faint of heart. Its suspense and heightened drama came not from overacting but from subtle, realistic touches that highlighted just how dire this situation was for Beckett. I keep coming back to Lanie’s tangible panic when she called Beckett to tell her the bullets came from her gun. Tamala Jones always makes the most of her small amounts of screen time, but this was a new level of brilliance. Her shaking hand as she held that paper made my own hands start to shake. When an actor can make fear that visceral, it’s a truly transcendent moment.
Nathan Fillion also conveyed so much with just his body as he sat on the swings that have symbolized so many new beginnings for this couple and contemplated the latest turn in their story. The slope of his shoulders and the way he hung his head made physical the weight of so many years spent watching the woman he loves be tormented by this man.
And then there was Stana Katic. First of all, how epic was her takedown of those men in her hotel room? (Answer: EPIC.) When she spit the pill out, I actually started cheering from my couch. It’s been a long time since we’ve watched Beckett kick ass like she did in this scene, and it was a reminder of just how much fun it can be to watch her work her magic.
Katic has always excelled in dramatic episodes, but this one was special. It didn’t call for a big breakdown moment or a poignant monologue. Instead, “Veritas” was also about Katic’s growth as an actress over these last six seasons. And she’s grown into a woman who can speak volumes with just her eyes, and that ability to move audiences effortlessly was why “Veritas” was so emotionally compelling.
I was brought to tears when Beckett and Castle kissed in the precinct when Beckett thought she was going to go to jail for Simmons’s murder. There was something special about that kiss. As much as I love all Castle/Beckett kisses, they do sometimes feel a little paint-by-the-numbers, but this one felt completely spontaneous and unexpected. It was a way for them to express a multitude of complicated emotions, and I was especially moved by Castle initiating it. Castle has stood by her through all of the ups and downs of this case, and that kiss was his way of showing that nothing was going to move him from her side. For so long, Beckett pushed him away because she thought she wasn’t worthy of love until she found her mother’s killer. But this episode showed her finding the strength to finally go after her mother’s killer with Castle by her side, loving her through it all.
I found Castle’s role in actually helping to find the cassette tape a little unnecessary. (It was a little too convenient that he could figure out a code that Beckett never thought to look for over the last decade). Then again, I was actually left unimpressed with most of the cassette-related plot stuff. I suppose no conclusion was going to live up to six years’ worth of hype from a plot level. The fact that the key to putting Bracken away was sitting on Beckett’s desk all along made me roll my eyes a little bit, but all was forgiven because of the surprise we were given that was connected to that cassette.
Okay, let’s get this question out of the way: Who cried when Montgomery showed up in the flashbacks? I loved that character so much, so to see him again made me transition from emotional to emotional wreck. That flashback to Montgomery’s first meeting with young Officer Beckett was perfect. It was a treat for fans who’ve been watching from the start, and it was important to the plot as well. It was the ideal way to bring this story to its conclusion by harkening back to its beginnings, and it really was (at the risk of sounding cliché) everything I never knew I always wanted.
With enough evidence finally in her hands, Beckett could do what we’ve all wanted her to do since Season One’s “A Chill Goes Through Her Veins”: Put her mother’s killer behind bars. It certainly helps that this killer is played by a man who is so easy to hate (and such a good actor since he appears to be quite nice when not in character): Jack Coleman. His particular brand of smooth, charismatic cruelty is the perfect match for this kind of villain. And he is an excellent scene partner for Katic.
Katic has never been better than she was in the scene where Beckett arrested Bracken—not in “Knockout” or “Kill Shot” or even “Always.” This was something new. This was controlled emotional power, a wave of feelings kept just behind those beautiful features. Beckett was both a grieving daughter and a successful detective in this moment, and that balance was achieved with real dexterity. I have never been more impressed with Katic than I was when Beckett told Bracken it was over and read the charges against him with a steady voice but tears in her eyes. That kind of control is truly masterful. And it allowed me to get lost in the character instead of the performance.
I have never been more proud of a fictional character than I am of Kate Beckett after this episode. Her journey has been such an inspiring journey to watch, and to see her finally get the justice she fought so long for was truly cathartic. What made it even better was that Castle was there to hold her when it was done. After all of the ways this case came between them and tested their partnership over the years, it was incredibly moving to see her in his arms after it was finally over.
Katic and Fillion were both beautiful in that final moment. The way she closed her eyes and smiled as she leaned into him spoke of Beckett feeling truly safe and at peace for the first time in over a decade. And she was able to share those feelings with the one person who helped her feel safe and at peace even when this storm was still circling around her. It was like watching someone finally be able to breathe again after a lifetime of carrying an impossible weight on their chest. And Castle’s smile as he held her was the smile of a man who knew exactly what this meant to her because he’s been her partner, her confidant, and her shoulder to lean on as she battled this for as long as he’s known her. But now she’s finally free—they’re finally free—and they can start their life together without the fear and uncertainty Bracken brought into their lives.
This episode needed to happen before next week’s big wedding extravaganza (It’s finally happening!). It gave these characters closure and allowed one arc to end as another is about to start. And it highlighted the importance of their partnership right before celebrating it in the most formal way possible.
In Season Two’s “Sucker Punch,” Beckett told Castle she wanted him to be around when she finally caught her mom’s killer. In “Veritas,” she finally did it, and he wasn’t just around; he was there to hold her when it was all over. We’ve come so far with these characters, and “Veritas” was the perfect way to honor the dramatic journey they’ve taken before celebrating the romantic journey in next week’s season finale.