TV Time: Castle 7.06

Title The Time of Our Lives

Two-Sentence Summary While investigating a case involving an ancient Incan artifact, Castle is knocked unconscious and imagines a life where he and Beckett never met. That experience prompts him to not want to waste any more time, leading to a long-awaited sunset wedding in the Hamptons.

Favorite Lines
Beckett: The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary. You taught me to be my best self, to look forward to tomorrow’s adventures. And when I was vulnerable, you were strong. I love you, Richard Castle, and I want to live my life in the warmth of your smile and the strength of your embrace. I promise you I will love you. I will be your friend and your partner in crime and in life. Always.

Castle: The moment we met, my life became extraordinary. You taught me more about myself than I knew there was to learn. You are the joy in my heart. You are the last person I want to see every night before I close my eyes. I love you, Katherine Beckett, and the mystery of you is the one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring. I promise to love you, to be your friend and your partner in crime and life—’til death do us part and for the time of our lives.

My Thoughts It’s hard for an event that’s been as highly-anticipated as Castle and Beckett’s wedding to live up to the hype, but somehow “The Time of Our Lives” succeeded. And I think it was because it was—like the best weddings—about the marriage and not about the ceremony, about the couple and not about all the other shiny things that can wind up taking center stage at a wedding. This was an episode about the fundamentals of a good marriage, wrapped up in a fun, alternate-universe story. And it was told in the way only Terri Miller can tell a love story.

From the start, it was clear that “The Time of Our Lives” was going to focus on the theme of Castle and Beckett bringing out the best in each other. The scene between them in the loft was filled with the kind of easy chemistry that Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic have perfected over the years. They do such a good job of showing the way Castle and Beckett light up in each other’s presence. Their teasing about being bad for each other was adorable, and it reminded me of just how great it’s been to watch their banter develop over the years—from annoyance to intimacy.

That teasing, though, ended up hitting a little too close to home for Castle, just as I’m sure seeing Will’s wedding invitation hit a little too close to home for Beckett. (How awesome was that callback to Season One, by the way?) They’ve both been through so much in the last few months, and it makes sense for both of them to be working through the scars from that. And it was really poignant to see Castle—the one who’s always been so sure of his place by Beckett’s side and the one who said they can’t ever give up—wondering if Beckett would be better off without him, wondering if he was good for her. Castle’s disappearance has made him feel lost and confused about so much, and it was heartbreaking to think that his ability to be what Beckett needs and wants is something that his disappearance has caused him to doubt. His guilt over not being able to give Beckett the wedding she dreamed of broke my heart because he didn’t purposely hurt her. But that doesn’t mean he still doesn’t carry around immense amounts of guilt, which the alternate universe helped him work through.

The entire alternate universe/”What if?” storyline balanced humor and emotional depth in the way Miller has perfected as a Castle writer. It was hilarious to see Ryan and Esposito interact with Castle for the first time all over again. It was great to see Martha at her most theatrical (and to see Ryan clearly loving it). And it was fun to see that Beckett would always be attracted to Castle, no matter the universe. That’s the best part of alternate universe stories—they’re a way to show that if people are meant to be together, they find a way. It’s why I was so excited to see Beckett show up to have Castle’s back in the factory; their partnership was taking roots even in this world where they’d never met and everything had changed.

It was amazing to see the ripple effects of Castle and Beckett not meeting all those years ago; everything truly had changed—and not for the better. Castle hadn’t grown; he’d regressed. Without Beckett, he was still a playboy, getting arrested for doing ridiculous things, and writing without inspiration. He was miserable, and he’d pushed Alexis away by being the worst version of himself. That change broke my heart the most, but it also led to one of my favorite moments in the alternate universe. Watching Castle give Alexis advice again was like watching two people come home after being away for too long.

The precinct was also vastly different without Castle and Beckett’s partnership. Lanie was pregnant (a nice nod to the fact that the original pilot script called for the M.E. to be pregnant), but Esposito was clearly not the father. Ryan and Jenny didn’t get married or even date for very long. (Seamus Dever’s delivery of those lines about remembering Jenny was flawlessly bittersweet.) And Beckett may have been captain, but she clearly wasn’t happy.

This alternate universe was such a great way to prove to Castle—and to remind the audience—that he has been just as good for Beckett as she has been for him. Without Castle to pull her pigtails, Beckett had no one to help make her hard job more fun. And without his support, she was still wearing her mother’s ring, which meant she was still carrying the pain of that unsolved murder around with her every day. The moment she pulled out the ring, I felt the tears starting. To think that this Kate Beckett was living without the peace and closure the real Beckett had found was incredibly sad. And her showing Castle the ring was a really lovely reference to one of my favorite scenes between them in Season One’s “A Chill Goes Through Her Veins.”

Castle and Beckett both suffered without their partnership: He never found inspiration to write anything good without her; she never solved her mother’s case without him. She inspires him; he supports her. They could live without each other; this alternate universe wasn’t some unrealistic portrait of love as something you literally cannot function or live without. But they weren’t their best selves without each other. It reminds me of a quote by Franklin P. Jones that I read a long time ago: “Love isn’t what makes the world go ’round. It’s what makes the ride worthwhile.” Life went on without Castle and Beckett meeting, but it was a life that was decidedly less happy and hopeful than the life they’d built together over the last six years.

That was the biggest thing I took away from the alternate universe: Good love stories spread happiness. Think of how many people were affected by Castle and Beckett not falling in love. The happiness Castle and Beckett found together has been contagious, helping their friends and family to be their best selves, too. And that’s what great weddings (and great wedding episodes of TV shows) celebrate: the way one couple’s love can bring joy and inspiration to others.

The alternate universe was also a fun way to address some important parts of the Castle/Beckett love story before the wedding. Whether it was the nice reminder of Castle knowing Beckett’s coffee order or Castle commenting on Beckett’s “adorable” short hair, there were plenty of little references and callbacks to make longtime viewers smile. And we finally were given the moment I’d been waiting for since Season One: Beckett telling Castle about their real first meeting, when she stood in line at one of his book signings. I always had a suspicion that this confession would happen in their wedding episode, but I had no idea it would be like this. Castle’s face as she told him this secret was beautiful; Fillion did such a great job of showing how much he treasured finding out this new piece of information about her, and I am convinced this moment was what was on his mind when he talked about her being a mystery in his vows. There are still things about her he has yet to learn, and I think he loves that about her. I’m also still looking forward to the day the real Beckett tells him just how important his books were to her after her mother died.

While Beckett telling Castle about their first meeting was a way to give fans something we’d always wanted to see, Castle himself used this alternate universe to do something he’d wanted to do years before. Castle taking a bullet for Beckett was such a painfully perfect parallel to her shooting in Season Three’s “Knockout” that it left me speechless. In Castle’s alternate universe, he finally got to do what he’d tried and failed to do back then: save her. He was too late to push her out of the way on that day in the past, but in his alternate universe, he wasn’t too late. The reversal of their positions, with Beckett over him, begging him to stay with her, was gorgeously executed, with Castle echoing his confession of love from all those years before. To think that his guilt over not being able to save her back then weighed on him so heavily that it became part of the alternate universe his mind created was so sad but so believable. And it was just another reminder that no one on Earth could love Kate Beckett more than Richard Castle.

That alternate universe served its purpose masterfully; it reminded Castle of just how good he and Beckett are for each other: “I’m better off with her, and she’s better off with me.” That line was the most realistically, honestly romantic line I’d heard in a long time. It’s such a simple but profound way to describe the best kinds of love; we’re better off with that person than we are alone. That’s all I think we can ever hope to find in a marriage; someone we’re simply better with than we are without. That kind of honesty is a hallmark of Miller’s writing, and it was one of my favorite lines in an episode full of instant classics.

Knowing that you’re better off with someone and they are with you doesn’t mean things are always going to be perfect, though, and that’s what Castle acknowledged when he asked Beckett to marry him again in front of the murder board (which I might have loved even more than him proposing in front of the swing set). It was incredibly emotional to see him admit that he doesn’t know how she can handle everything that’s happened since they were last supposed to get married. But it was beautiful to see them decide to hope for the future and actually get married this time. Sometimes bad things happen, and if there’s one thing these characters know, it’s that you can’t stop living because of it. You can’t beat yourself up to the point that you refuse to grab happiness with both hands; that’s what Castle helped Beckett discover when it came to her mother’s case. And that’s what he discovered himself now. You have to keep living and you have to keep loving, and that’s what this wedding was all about, what this relationship has always been all about—living and loving together even when things are difficult.

While I would have loved for Esposito, Ryan, and Lanie to be at the wedding, I liked that this was literally as intimate as possible for these two characters who really did fall in love in the quiet moments amid the chaos of their lives. And while I could have done without the very fake sunset background, I loved the other aesthetics of the scene: Beckett’s outfit was gorgeous and so true to her style (and were those Martha’s earrings from the finale?), Castle looked almost unbearably handsome (I love a man in a tux with no tie), and it made me happy to see them get married at his Hamptons house. This place, where Beckett once felt the ghosts of the women he’d loved before, is now the place where his commitment to her and her alone was made as official as it could possibly be. This place, where Castle once ran away to forget about and move on from his feelings about Beckett, is now the place where he stood watching her walk towards him, ready to become his wife.

That moment of Beckett walking down the aisle as Castle looked at her was stunning. I love that this relationship began with her walking away from him in the pilot episode, and it all led to her walking down the aisle towards him, with him wearing the same awestruck expression on his face as he did six years ago. The expression on Fillion’s face as Castle watched Jim Beckett walk his daughter down the aisle made me cry, and Beckett’s answering smile made me cry even harder. Those two looks were the physical embodiment of Castle saying that they’re better off with each other.

I knew that a show with a writer as one of its protagonists and some of the most romantic lines I’ve ever head on television would have killer wedding vows. And I am happy to report that I was right. Both of them starting their vows with “extraordinary” was a perfect touch. That word has come to mean so much to both of them, and it was beautiful to see them acknowledge that their lives are more extraordinary now that they’ve found each other than they were before the day they met.

As Beckett said her vows, all I could think was how well Miller understands this character. When Beckett told Castle that he taught her to be her best self, I lost it—we’re talking embarrassing levels of crying. That’s what I’ve always admired more than anything when I look at this relationship: It taught me at a critical time in my life that the best love is the kind of love that makes us want to be our best selves. And for Beckett, that best self involved finally letting herself be vulnerable when she had to be strong for so long when it came to her mother’s death. It was lovely to see her acknowledge that Castle’s strength helped her when she was vulnerable, because accepting that he could be there for her and she could let her guard down with him was one of the most important ways Beckett grew as a character over the past six seasons. I also loved that Beckett specifically said that Castle taught to her to look forward to tomorrow. That first “Until tomorrow,” moment holds a special spot in my heart because it was all about Castle teaching her how to hope after she lived so much of her life not wanting to let herself hope anymore.

Castle’s vows also spoke to a deep understanding of this character and how he’s developed over the years. Loving Beckett helped Castle to shed his cavalier, playboy armor and discover the best he could be—a man of conviction, strength, courage, and warmth. Castle was a man who made a living creating and solving mysteries, and I will always love that Beckett is his favorite mystery; she’s the mystery he wants to spend the rest of his life solving. Her layers and complexities have never intimidated him; they’ve simply made him appreciate the little things she shows him about who she is every day, the clues she gives him towards this great mystery he first talked about with reverence in Season Three’s “To Love and Die in L.A.” (“You were a mystery I was never gonna solve…”)

In both of their vows, Castle and Beckett promised to be partners in crime and in life, which was a very cute callback to an old season’s (I can’t remember which one) tagline. It was also a great reminder that this relationship has always been and will always be a partnership, as all good marriages are. And I loved that Beckett was the one to promise him “Always.” You couldn’t have Castle wedding vows without an “Always.” Having Beckett say that allowed Castle to promise “for the time of our lives,” which is quite possibly the most in-character and sweetest way to end wedding vows I could have imagined (and was apparently also part of Miller and Andrew Marlowe’s wedding vows). It speaks to the sense of joy Castle brings to Beckett’s life, the same sense of joy that made her hard job more fun all the way back in Season Two. It also speaks to the sense of hope and optimism Castle has always brought to his relationship with Beckett. And the little conspiratorial smile Fillion had as he delivered that line melted my heart.

Both Fillion and Katic were perfect as their characters finally said those vows. Katic’s teary eyes made mine even tearier, if that was possible. And the way Fillion delivered his lines with such soft, tender conviction reminded me that no one can deliver a romantic speech like this man. And his grin when he emphasized “partners in crime” was only matched in cuteness by Katic’s answering smile.

The wedding ended in the only way it really could—with Castle and Beckett dancing to “In My Veins.” That song has come to mean so much to Castle fans, so it was nice to see it reappear to end what was such a rewarding episode for longtime viewers. And was there anything more beautiful than Beckett telling Castle that it was perfect? Castle spent so much time worrying that he’d kept her from having the wedding she really wanted, but it turned out the only thing she really wanted was that moment—to be in her new husband’s arms as their song played in the background. That final shot of Castle’s face after she said those lines was wonderful; you could tell he was thinking the same thing.

“It’s perfect.” There couldn’t have been better closing lines for this episode. We finally got the perfect wedding for Castle and Beckett. And as a fan, I could not be happier.


34 thoughts on “TV Time: Castle 7.06

  1. This is perfect. I love how much you love this show and what it has meant to you and reading this made me emotional about the episode all over again because that love is all over it.

    This was the perfect way for Castle and Beckett to get married. I would have loved to see her precinct family there but I can always pretend they had a party back in New York even if we never see it. What matters is that Castle and Beckett are finally married. I loved that Castle’s answer to solving the problems that arose from his disappearance was to get married and solve them together. They’ve been working together but separately on their feelings about those missing two months, trying to work out their feelings and hope that everything is solved. And while there are still all sorts of questions about the case, the question of their feelings is solved. They chose to step past the guilt and remaining hurt and jump together. They knew they want to spend the rest of their lives together so there was no further reason to wait. They didn’t need to put their life together on hold anymore.

    I had so much fun watching this alternate universe. I’m pretty sure that Ryan fanboying over Martha was my favorite detail and I need this to carry over the the real universe at some point. What I loved the most was that Castle and Beckett’s relationship has made not only their own lives better, but the lives of those around them. No one lives in a vacuum and when something major happens in one person’s life, it ripples out and impacts the lives of those around them and this was a fun reminder of that.

    While there were a lot of sad reveals about how much was different in the alternate universe, none affected me quite as much as Beckett showing Castle her mother’s ring. I like that this was the moment that Castle definitively knew that Beckett wasn’t better off without him. She may have had that captaincy, just like she said she would, but she never got closure. She never went through that enormous period of growth to become the person who later stood up there next to him and married him with that beautiful smile on her face.

    Those vows were perfect. First of all, they were perfect for these two characters and the journey they have undertaken together. They echoed each other while diverging to fit both characters. These two people have grown and changed so much since their first meeting and as we clearly saw, they couldn’t have done it without the other. Second, they were perfect for the fans who have been right there with them for this journey. We’ve gotten to see all of that growth and pain and triumph and there were so many callbacks to moments and words in their lives that we share with these characters. It made the whole wedding even more enjoyable to watch and the whole thing was just beautifully done.

    • It made me smile (and get emotional all over again) to think that my love for this episode, this couple, and this show came through in this post. Writing this post was such a labor of love, and I think it was the most pure fun I’ve had writing about any episode of any of my shows so far this season. I feel like I got to wear my heart on my sleeve even more than usual while writing this, which you know is so important to me.

      Every observation you made about this episode was perfect, and all I want to say is that I completely agree that we need to see Ryan being an unashamed fan of Martha’s at some point (maybe if she gets that role she’s auditioning for?). It was just too adorable not to see again.

    • After reading every one comment on the episode,I just wanted to say that I not disappointed overall..The wedding vows between both characters made me cry.Since Monday I have rewatched ON DEMAND several times having the same reaction……

    • Your comment about Beckett showing Castle her mother’s ring is just perfect, and was one of my favorite moments from that alternate universe too. Nathan did a great job of showing Castle’s sadness over the realization that this version of Beckett is still haunted by her mother’s murder and the closure she never received. It’s beautiful the way this episode gave us so many parallels and such a large range of emotions (aching sadness all the way to ecstatic joy) all in one 45 minute episode.

  2. Gorgeous recap of one of the best TV weddings I’ve ever seen. I, too, cried at the actual wedding, surprising myself, since I’ve been pretty cynical since last year’s season finale. I am SO HAPPY for these characters; it’s been a long 7 years in coming, and the writers did that moment justice. I loved it. I loved all the callbacks to their relationship, and I loved Castle realizing that HE has changed Beckett’s life for the better.

  3. Katie,
    First before I comment on the episode, I would like to tell you that you are an amazing writer. I truly understand that great writing should come from the heart, and I appreciate all of the time and effort you put into all of your reviews and posts.
    I loved this episode! All of the little moments you mentioned from past seasons were genius, and of course the acting by Fillion and Katic was spot-on.
    My favorite alternate reality moment was the nod to “Knockout”, when they reversed Castle and Beckett’s positions during the shooting. It was so powerful and the image reminded me of the journey this couple has been on for 7 seasons.
    I loved the wedding ( except for the green screen). I was happy they went back to the Hamptons. For some reason, I had an idea they might get married at the precinct! Not very romantic!
    I also wanted to tell you how happy I am that you created this site where people can feel safe to share their thoughts and feelings. Life is too short to waste time being negative. Thank you for your great episode reviews!

    • Thank you very much for saying all of those kind things about my writing and this site in general, Mary. It always makes me feel like the time and effort I put into running NGN is worth it when I see enthusiastic and positive comments like yours. Reading this was the perfect way to start my morning. 🙂

  4. Katie, you are a great writer and usually it comes from the heart. As long time Castle fans know, this show has encased itself in our hearts. We care so deeply for this fictional couple and want the best for them. When you think these characters are real, it is a tribute to both the writers and the actors. We have wanted Rick and Kate to end up as man and wife someday and this day finally came. I would change a few things(Ryan, Espo, and Lanie being there), but I am not complaining. Loved all the callbacks and I think I caught all of them!

  5. So definitely cried during the wedding like a total sap and felt super mushy and moved as I read your recap because this is why I tell people I love this show all the time (even as they make fun of me). This show is about these characters making each other better and the alternate universe really showed that was true to form.

    While I agree that Fillion was awesome this episode, I absolutely loved what Katic did to Beckett. That Beckett in the alternate universe was so resigned and sad and simply going through the motions. Her interrogation of Castle (while a nice throw back) showed a detective who was very different and not nearly as fierce. The small moments where she was kind of getting a spark back with investigating were amazing and Katic sold it with her facial expressions.

    The date at the bar was such a highlight because how many times did I wish we could have seen them out for a drink in the early years. The look on Beckett’s face when she realized she wasn’t on a date was crushing and you could tell that work was her life and this was a rare moment out and about. Plus she showed her mom’s ring which….yeah…

    I typically hate TV weddings (I think they are awful) but the simplicity of this wedding with the easy, loving looks and phenomenal vows was super on point. I felt more moved by Beckett’s vows probably because I saw just how unhappy she was in the alternate universe and then she told Castle how he makes her her best self. It was a nice parallel in the episode and the smiles they gave each other were fantastic. For only being 5 minutes it was all I needed after 6+ seasons of build up.

    • I’m so happy to continue to spread the feelings, Katie, and know you are never alone in feeling the way you do about this show. 🙂

      The date at the bar was such a fantastic moment because we’ve never really seen them in that setting. And the look on Beckett’s face when she realized it wasn’t actually a date was such a great acting moment by Stana Katic.

      “For only being 5 minutes it was all I needed after 6+ seasons of build up.” – That’s exactly how I felt.

  6. It’s been a while since the last time I commented on one of your posts, but here I am commenting on one of the memorable moments.

    Ignoring the fact that the ABC crew used a green screen as a backdrop, I absolutely loved the wedding. It felt surreal, intimate, romantic. For the first time, I didn’t have to worry about the ceremony, the venue, the dresses, who was going to be there, who was going to wear what, who is going to be the bridesmaid/best man/maid of honor/groomsmen, what kind of cake we’re going to get, what kind of party they were going to get, what kind of honeymoon they were going to do, and the list goes on. I was actually thankful that we already went through all of that in most part of season 6 as an audience. We get to see Rick and Kate do all of the wedding planning until the season finale. Before I saw season 6 finale, my guts told me that we wouldn’t be able to see the actual wedding and that there was a definite reasons. I ignored my guts-y feeling, and just went with my heart. And that ending took me by shock, truly. I was not expecting the cliffhanger to happen in that exact moment. However, a small part of me when I first saw the grand Hampton wedding told me that, “This doesn’t scream Castle-Beckett to me. As much I loved this, it didn’t feel special.”

    Several months later, my guts told me before watching this episode,”You absolutely going to love this. Just trust me. This is going to be extraordinary.” My guts was right. It screamed EVERYTHING about Castle and Beckett. It felt intimate. Romantic. Inspiring. Adorable. Castle and Beckett’s vows was fabulous. It was so inspiring and yet it was also so meaningful. Each and every word meant something to Castle and Beckett.

    I want to go on and on and on in much detailed format but apparently I am running out of time here. But again, that wedding was so full of symbolic moments, full of wonderful stuff that had me believing, “Wow. I want a love story like Castle and Beckett.”

    This was the first time I truly felt relieved that the writers finally gave two characters a wedding of their dreams – an perfectly imperfect wedding. Not many writers pulled it off. Not even the writers of How I Met Your Mother (forever bitter about the season finale.)

    Anyways, I’m gonna shut up right now.

    • No need to shut up—I could have kept reading your thoughts about this episode for a long time! 🙂

      I had the same gut reactions as you about the big wedding and this one, and I’m so happy my initial feelings about this episode being just perfect for these characters was right.

  7. Great review! This episode was the epitome of everything that is so brilliant about the series: quirky plots, laugh out loud moments, phenomenal writing, characters with depth and backstory, great chemistry between the leads, an amazing supporting cast and meaningful, heart melting romance. It was the perfect culmination of the will-they-won’t-they relationship Castle and Beckett have shared over the last 6 years and a wonderful starting point for wherever these amazing writers, actors and directors take us next. Simply loved it!

  8. And I am a puddle again…

    I spent a great deal of last season believing the build up to a big wedding simply didn’t feel like the couple I’d invested in the previous 5 years. The grandiose nature of it felt more like an expectation than the couple who as you so beautifully wrote “fell in love in the quiet moments amid the chaos of their lives”. What I so deeply love about this show and this relationship is that it has always been grounded in reality. The near misses, the complications, the moments of holding back and the moments of revealing emotions have collectively read sincere and true to life. So to be given the gift of a Terri Miller episode for their wedding provided such great homage to long time fans, echos back to the evolution of this partnership that gave way to a love affair and ultimately an intimate and big wedding moment that hit the very notes of what make this couple special.

    For me that is what made the alternate universe/play on It’s a Wonderful Life work for me from start to finish. The thought and care that when into the echos back to earlier seasons were fantastic, unforced and purposeful. I adored that of all her exes they chose Will Sorenson to create this parallel from because of the fact that we get the pay off in the alternate universe when Beckett tells Castle about going to his book signing, because Will was the only one who knew that particular secret of hers.

    The concept of the alternate universe in my estimation was perfectly used. It gives us a great moment to look inside Castle’s doubts, a different vantage point for this character. It broke my heart to discover in the alternate universe that what caused his insomnia and drove Castle there was doubting that he was right for Beckett. That the pain he’d caused with his disappearance was insurmountable and she’d been happier without him. Castle’s vulnerability is huge because it is one of the few times we’ve seen him doubt his and Kate’s relationship. Castle’s the true believer. He’s the one who can always see the light and that he was having trouble holding onto hope was a great recall to films like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol”. It was also inherently sad to watch in spite of his determination to get back to ‘his world’.

    I love what you wrote about the entire parallel universe being a large statement about how this couple we’ve invested in isn’t fated because of some lofty ideals but because they bring out the best in one another. It is so true when you talk about the fact that Castle and Beckett would have gone on and lived had they never gotten together, they simply would have led less fulfilling lives.

    What worked for me in that parallel was the retracing of key ways Beckett and Castle have interacted and fallen in love. The interrogation between him and Beckett was a great cadence back to not only season 1 but the opening of season 3 when she is angry at him for leaving her and going to the Hamptons with Gina. The banter at the murder board and even the conversation at the jail cell. All of this remind us long term viewers of key moments when these two trusted one another and believed when evidence told them not to believe. Kudos to Stana Katic for giving us a different Beckett in the AU. This Kate was sad and withdrawn because without Rick in her life she embodies what Montgomery told her at the end of season 3 – she wasn’t having any fun until Castle showed up. In this reality, she never does. It makes this Kate less guarded and more shrouded in her sadness. I appreciated in spite of all the callbacks to earlier seasons, this Kate was subtly different than the Kate Castle meets 6 years earlier. I like that she is older and therefore removed from hope and happiness. So when she tells the officer she wants him gone, it’s less an emotional reaction and just a desire to rid herself of someone upsetting the calm, boring, safe world she has built. This Kate lives in the darkness of her mother’s desk, resigned to it being her reality. You so perfectly captured the importance of her sharing that nugget about going to his book signing. I thought what made it so powerful a reveal besides Fillion’s fantastic reaction was how much it meant to Castle to know this about her. I thought it was telling that Beckett was practically emotionless when telling Castle at the bar that she wasn’t meant to be a homicide detective because she wasn’t able to solve her mom’s murder. She is resigned to her life of inadequacy and disappointment. The complete lack of passion about it was a great set up for what I thought was the moment of the night and the piece of the puzzle that made Castle realize just how much Beckett and Castle need each other. That final scene in the precinct when Beckett closes the case without having found the relic or having answers was fantastic. I adored the escalation of Castle’s frustration and outright anger. He’s baffled by the woman who is in front of him. He’s offended that she doesn’t care. So when he goes on the cadence of “The Kate Beckett in my world would never call this a win…she would never compromise.” His anger is so palpable in that moment and my heart broke at his exasperation. It’s what makes the next scene with Alexis pivotal. Again, we see Castle’s hope and belief in the power and magic of people to change what is in front of us. By reconnecting with Alexis he finds the path to dig deep and fight to make Beckett see what he knows – she’s extraordinary and he is a better man for having fought for her. That hug with Alexis shows it all. It shows Castle’s relief about his relationship with Alexis and his relief in gaining back his sense of hope and conviction. Just as it has throughout the series, Castle’s best touchstone, his family serves as the critical piece of him solving the mystery.

    The Ripple effect
    What makes this episode special is the care it takes with showing the ripple effect we have on those around us. Our happiness touches other lives in ways we don’t think of and inspires in ways we can’t imagine. While it was profound with Beckett, the trickle out to Espo and Ryan was profound. Seeing angry Esposito as opposed to arrogant made me sad. And the exchange in the car when we discover Ryan didn’t marry Jenny was beautifully heartbreaking. I loved that Castle had his back and encouraged him to not give up on her. It was a quick moment, but one that spoke very much to the friendship these two share. The same can be said for the reversal of fortune at the Castle loft. It is why I adored that was we went towards the wedding Castle took the moment with Martha to tell her to go after the audition (and seriously, can Susan Sullivan be any more perfect?). His mother is who ultimately taught Castle to have hope and believe, so to see him give that back to her was a small but fantastic moment that was so true to this mother and son. I have to say the only thing I was missing was a moment between Beckett and her father (or even Castle and Jim Beckett).

    The Wedding
    This wedding was everything I had hoped for and wanted. From Castle’s renewed proposal, because they were beginning again. They were choosing not to let what happened rob them of living their lives. For once Castle had the clear vantage point that Beckett held all those years with a missing piece around her mother’s murder. I so deeply adore that this episode brought Castle full circle into his own advice he’d given her at the beginning of season 4. Especially because Castle’s uncertainty and leaving her at the alter robs her momentarily of the certainty it took him so long to earn through her faith and belief, even after he had earned her trust. That makes the new proposal important.

    For me the build up of this relationship was them coming together as a couple – a feat that I thought was perfectly handled. So the wedding, while publicly built up, needed to be reflective and having meaning to who these two characters are as individuals and to each other. For that, the wedding delivered on all cylinders. Castle’s ability to confess to Beckett why he hasn’t been sleeping and own that vulnerable fear he possessed clears the way for his renewed proposal.

    Your breakdown of their vows were perfect. I was so happy it was Kate, not Rick who gave us the always. The use of extraordinary was so important to me because I immediately thought of that moment in season 3 when Rick is talking to Martha about the fact that he and Gina are just ordinary and that isn’t what he wants. My favorite line of the vows has to be when Rick tells her she’s a mystery he wants to spend the rest of his life exploring. Just like Kate’s use of tomorrow, Rick changing that line from a mystery he wanted to solve to one he was going to explore spoke to the open-ended hope of them marrying. I have to say of all the things that were romantic and so in character for this moment, I was thrilled that they both included to commitment to be each other’s friends. To commit to the foundation of their relationship is what led to their chemistry evolving to love – their friendship.

    As for that final shot sequence from Mrs. Castle to In Your Veins, I am never getting over it. Her draped on his shoulder, the beauty of them entwined as a couple, the fact that of course he had the song ready to go on his phone, her telling him it was perfect and that sexy Fillion eyebrow raise as he took her in to dance. A perfect beginning for one of my all time favorite couples on television.

    Random Thoughts:

    – The green screen, oh ABC and their green screens. Yes it was absurd and I just didn’t care. Not when there was such delicious imagery of these two looking more stunning than I thought possible. Aside from Amann hinting in his interviews that there wasn’t budget for an elaborate second wedding. More so I think it was the only way they could keep it under wraps. As the location shoot for the proposal proved if they were anywhere other than a closed set, images would have been released.

    – I laughed so hard and loved that Castle was offended not at being accused of singing Let it Go, but that he would ever consider doing it as a duet.

    – Of the many nods to the earlier season’s especially season 1 I thought it was hilarious when he Captain Beckett is reading him the riot act he interjects “annoy” as though finishing a puzzle piece.

    – Of the many, many wonderful faces we got from Fillion last night the one that made me laugh loudest was his utter bewilderment over realizing that the break room had the crappy coffee from season 1.

    – Was it just me or was the lighting and music in the alternate universe slightly off throughout the episode. Just to further prove that it was slightly off from what was real.

    – And yes! Beckett was wearing Martha’s earrings and the great bracelet from the original wedding day which was suppose to be her mothers. All the important stuff made the real ceremony.

    – Is it wrong that I am already yearning for deleted/extended scenes for the DVD?

    • All of this is perfect. I loved that you mentioned the resignation in the AU Beckett, the anger in AU Esposito, Castle’s perfect reaction to the break room coffee (I actually said, “There’s no espresso machine!” out loud), and the fact that this was one of the first times we ever saw “true believer” Castle in doubt. I wished I could have spent more time diving into all of those points and details in my post, so I’m thrilled that you brought them up in what may be my favorite comment of yours that you’ve ever shared with us. Bravo, friend. 🙂

    • Your comment is absolutely perfect and I enjoyed reading every word of it! Also, it’s not just you – I did notice that at least the lighting was slightly off in the alternate universe, it was sort of a tad faded and a bit more yellow-y than the real universe is, if I’m remembering correctly.

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  10. Brilliant review. There are many shallow viewers out there in the world who don’t see the depth and volume of the writing in the scripts and how the actors bring it to life. They have the skeleton with the story and they give it muscles and organs and flesh and fill it with a soul. We understand and know these characters better than people in our own lives. Miller brought their story full circle. I loved it.

  11. I was finally able to watch this week’s Castle tonight and now I’m a mess of feelings. This episode was perfect, and your review was perfect, and now I’m crying again just reading your thoughts (after crying a bunch during the whole of the wedding scene). I loved all the little parallels and throwbacks this episode had, it was truly a wonderful treat for fans who have been with this story from the very beginning, and it’s made me want to go back and start a whole-series rewatch. Beautifully written and executed episode, and now I’m going to go be a mess over these two on Tumblr as I stare at all the beautiful gifsets.

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