SPOILER ALERT: We’re about to talk about the May 16 series finale of ABC’s “Castle.” If you haven’t seen this episode yet, please go watch it and come back later.
Did the cancellation of ABC’s “Castle” save the life of a major character?
And was I the only one who had to watch the last few minutes of the finale more than once?
“Castle” had a nice eight-season run, and if the show had quietly gone away amid the networks’ usual end-of-the-season upheaval, only the truest fans would’ve given it much thought, perhaps petitioning for Hulu or Netflix to pick it up.
But a few weeks ago, word got out that Stana Katic, who plays Beckett, would not be back if the show received a ninth season, due to budgetary reasons. Katic has been at the heart of “Castle” alongside Nathan Fillion, who plays the title character, since Day One. Two endings for the May 16 finale were filmed, to accommodate whether the show was renewed for season 9.
You don’t realize how deeply fans feel about a show until a network makes them wonder how a major character will be written off. Also, this news came just a week or so after Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” killed off Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), one of that show’s two lead characters. “Sleepy Hollow,” which films in metro Atlanta, was renewed for a fourth season despite the fan backlash on social media after Abbie’s death.
LAST CHANCE TO GO AWAY IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE “CASTLE” FINALE YET.
The “Castle” finale, which followed up on the running storyline of the murder of Beckett’s mother, pitted Castle and Beckett against LokSat (a CIA analyst who’s now a big baddie), supposedly the end of the line in the case.
We start with a character I’ll call Mr. Creepy (he lives up to it) burning a car with a bound person locked in the trunk.
Then we see Castle and Beckett at a park with special cellphone they got from Caleb (Kristoffer Polaha), the lawyer who’s been working with LokSat but finally decided to help Beckett. They fail to trace the call but use it for another lead.
Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas), with the help of Lanie (Tamala Jones), investigate the case of the burned car.
Castle lines up Hayley (Toks Olagundoye), the spy turned PI, to protect his mother, Martha (Susan Sullivan), and his daughter, Alexis (Molly C. Quinn), if things go sideways.
Vikram (the tech guy played by Sunkrish Bala) tells Beckett he’s ready for a normal life again. When given a chance to tell Ryan and Esposito the truth, Beckett doesn’t.
While staking out a meeting, Beckett learns that Caleb was the one who was killed in the burned-out car. Castle, Beckett and Hayley wind up in the middle of a major firefight.
Coming to the rescue of Castle and Beckett is Mason (Gerald McRaney), that guy from the Greatest Detectives Roundtable episode. Say what?
Beckett is suspicious but Castle vouches for him.
Mason says it’s a favor to Castle’s stepmother. She’s a spy we’ve seen in a few episodes, and the story sounds a little odd, but do you reject a rescue involving a Korean BBQ taco truck?
Castle and Beckett make plans for their next step and say their “I love yous.”
Back at the police station, Esposito and Ryan realize Caleb etched a clue in the trunk of the car as to who killed him. Vikram finally clues in Esposito and Ryan about LokSat, forcing Beckett to come clean with them.
Castle, Hayley, Martha and Alexis are hiding out at his PI office. He finally has to tell his family what’s going on.
Beckett hunkers down at the precinct with her team. After seeing a security camera video of Caleb being taken, they follow the burned-car suspect’s car with traffic cams. Jack Bauer and CTU would be so proud. Esposito and Ryan insist on going and leaving Beckett at the precinct.
The search of the suspect’s house finds it totally empty. It’s a trick!
Meanwhile, Castle leaves his safe room to be with Beckett.
Uh-oh, Castle got in the wrong cab. Remember Mr. Creepy?
Castle winds up in an interrogation time. Mr. Creepy will drug him to get the truth about who knows what about LokSat.
“Within the hour, you will tell me everything I want to know and then you will die.”
I told you Mr. Creepy earns his name.
Back at the station, Beckett is looking for a miracle.
Mason calls to offer his help again and Beckett insists on meeting him to question his source. She takes off without telling her people.
Then we’re back to Castle and Mr. Creepy, who asks Castle about his love for Beckett. Castle then warms all our hearts by going on about why he abandoned his playboy ways for her, and says he has no regrets.
Mr. Creepy says Beckett will dead by the end of the night.
Vikram tells Ryan and Esposito he had some success tracking Mr. Creepy’s number (and thus him).
But can they move fast enough? It’s time for the big boss to question Castle. We finally meet LokSat, and I wasn’t as surprised as I was supposed to be.
It turns out to be … Mason.
Who’s that again? The character played by Gerald McRaney earlier in the episode. If Mason had been in more episodes, it might have sneaked up on me, but he’s been in what, one other episode, and showed up at just the right time during that gunbattle early in this episode?
Mason wants to know who knows about LokSat. It turns out this was the worst-kept secret ever, putting all of Castle’s loved ones’ lives in jeopardy.
It’s the cops vs. CIA as Esposito and Ryan and the NYPD come to Castle’s rescue. It’s a black site, so cell and radio communications are jammed, which means they can’t warn Beckett. There’s a gunbattle at the black site. (Yes, two in one episode. It is a series finale, after all.)
Now freed, Castle uses the serum on Mr. Creepy.
With no one able to warn Beckett, there’s nothing to stop her from getting in Mason’s car.
No, Beckett, don’t get in that car. Don’t.
Dammit, she got in the car.
Mr. Creepy tells Castle that Mason is bringing her back to the black site to kill her and incinerate the body.
Back in Mason’s car, he asks Beckett if she ever considered just walking away from the investigation.
Her reply: “Every day. I took an oath. People that I cared about were murdered and they deserve justice.”
As the gunbattle rages on, Castle looks for another way out amid the bad odds. He’s going downstairs to save Beckett while their NYPD buddies fend off the bad guys.
Beckett ain’t stupid. She pulls a gun on Mason before he can get to his. But there’s a magnet on the ceiling — nice touch, but bad news for Beckett. Mason tells her that Castle is dead., but he shows up just then and tries to save her. It’s enough to distract Mason, whom Beckett knocks out.
It’s a hell of a hug between Castle and Beckett!
Then we have happy reunions back at the police station.
Back at home, everything seems quiet, but guess again! Just as Castle questions why Caleb’s body was burned in a car instead of the kill room, we learn Caleb, who’s firing at Castle, isn’t really dead. (Does this mean he’s the real LokSat, not Mason? I guess so, and that revelation would make a lot more sense.) Castle and Beckett both take bullets, but the shootout with Beckett kills Caleb.
Castle and Beckett are shown holding hands, and it doesn’t look good.
So the next part had me like WTH (but in a good way).
Voiceover flashbacks from the couple’s early days lead to …
SEVEN YEARS LATER — we see the happy couple with their three kids running around.
“Every writer needs inspiration, and I found mine,” Castle says.
There was plenty of love all around Twitter tonight amid the farewell. The show’s creator, Andrew Marlowe, gave nice shoutouts to the cast. Here are the ones for Fillion and Katic.
And, of course, there was some humor:
Tell us what you think about the “Castle” finale. Was it what you’d hoped for?