The game most definitely changed on this week’s episode of Castle as Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) packed her bag and walked out on husband Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) to go pursue and take down a conspiracy in the Attorney General’s office. While Kate’s newfound stepmother-in-law Rita (Ann Cusack) may understand her decision, agreeing that this was a way she could protect Castle and those she loves, I was left feeling quite the opposite. As the credits rolled I was angry and confused by Beckett’s decision, but overall saddened that the writers once again had her go off on her own, thus separating the couple that gives the show its spark.
For eight seasons I’ve watched Castle because of the magic that is Castle and Beckett working a case together. From theory building (no matter how ridiculous they may be) to the knowing glances shared between the two, that is what sets Castle apart from so many procedural shows on the air today. It’s been a joy as a viewer to watch Beckett grow from feeling like an exasperated, put upon partner of Castle’s, to now be his wife who not only supports his crazy, far out theories and methods, but also finds them endearing. The chemistry between Fillion and Katic, and what happens when Caskett solves crimes together, is why I watch the show.
So why take that away from us now? If I’m watching a show to see that relationship, it simply doesn’t work for me when they are forced apart. These are two characters that are better together and the whole show works better when they are together. Didn’t we learn that during last season’s private investigator arc? Also, it makes no sense to have characters vow to be “partners in crime and in life,” and then have Beckett walk off to solve this mystery on her own. Yes, Rita said this is what had to be done in order to protect Castle, but it’s no secret they are married. If someone really wanted to get at Beckett it’s not a huge leap for them to figure out they should go after Castle. At least if they are together then she’s still right there to protect him.
Even after Castle and Beckett finally got together as a couple, after four seasons of will-they-or-won’t-they courtship, they have never been boring to watch. Seeing them together, working out how their relationship would be both personally and professionally now that they were sleeping together was still compelling television week after week. Sure, the cases of the week tend to get out of this world at times, but I have always been completely content to watch these two face real couple issues head on. There’s still so much for them to explore, from when or if there will be Caskett babies to how Beckett becoming Captain changes their work dynamic, and so much more. This extra layer was simply not needed.
But I get it, there are viewers out there that simply want and need the angst. And I could get on board with that train of thought if I felt like Caskett needed to get a “spark” back or if viewership had dropped off drastically after Season 5 when they became a couple. But that simply hasn’t happened. New showrunners Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter have alluded to the fact that they want viewers to see Castle and Beckett fall in love all over again, but haven’t we been there, done that? We did that for years and now it’s time for us to be rewarded for that loyalty and see them continue their love story as a couple. Let us see what happens to the couple at the end of the movie after the credits roll because I’m betting with Castle and Beckett that’s still a very interesting story to tell.
There’s also the fact that Beckett’s decision doesn’t feel like angst, it just feels mean and I’ve never thought of Kate Beckett as mean. Sure, she’s lied in the past, just as she is now, and always with the same motive: to protect Castle. There’s just something about this time that feels cruel. As much as I love Beckett’s character there comes a point when we have to ask “how many times can Rick be expected to be lied to and still be there waiting for her when all is said and done?” There must be a breaking point and hopefully this is not it.
So while I do agree it’s a little early to go and hit the panic button on Season 8, seeing as it’s only been two episodes, I still have to express my disappointment and skepticism at the path Hawley and Winter have decided to take. Let’s just hope this arc only lasts a few episodes and we can ride it on out until Caskett is reunited and solving crimes together again before we know it. For therein lies the magic of Castle and something I hope hasn’t disappeared for good.
What did you think of Kate’s decision? Are you upset with it or excited to see where the show goes from here? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.