Last week, I talked about the fact that Castle had switched things up a bit by not having an arc story at the end of this season. In this, the penultimate episode of the year, we came back to the biggest arc of them all — Johanna’s murder — and it was a doozy.
Senator Bracken is a fascinating villain. Like the best of them, he is completely evil, but he believes that what is doing is for the greater good. His conversation with Beckett shows us the dichotomy of his mind — he truly believes that he has helped her and that she should just get over the fact that he killed her mother.
He has seriously underestimated our girl. From the beginning of this series, Beckett has been focused on capturing the man who murdered her mother. Throughout the past six years, through the twists and sometimes ridiculous turns that this story has taken, Beckett has never wavered from her goal.
That the resolution of this story brought us back to the beginning was a real treat. The flashback with Montgomery made me gasp. Although we knew that it was he who brought Beckett into Homicide even before we met her, the fact that it was their very first conversation that held the truth was a delight.
It also changes the Montgomery storyline, for the better. This was a man who was full of contradictions. On the one hand, he did everything he could to protect himself. On the other, he always encouraged Beckett to keep hunting for the guilty party. We now know that that encouragement started from the day they met.
The fact that Montgomery made the tape and gave it to Johanna clears some of this up for me. He did not want to go to jail; he did not want to be seen as a dirty cop. His higher angels, however, would not allow him to live with what he had done. He did everything he could to ensure that at least one of the Becketts would, eventually, be successful in bringing the truth to light.
Where the tape was hidden was another shout out to the fans. That elephant family has sat on Beckett’s desk from the first episode. From time to time, people have commented on it, but I would guess that no one ever thought for a moment that it would hold something so valuable. I cheered when the tape fell out and I cried when Beckett arrested Bracken.
The elephant family not only represents Beckett and her parents, it is a metaphor for the family at the 12th. Each person in the precinct has his or her role to play. Montgomery was Dad; Gates is the older sister; Lanie is the younger sister; the boys are the bratty younger brothers; Castle is the partner, soon to be husband.
Over the years, we have watched Beckett change from a loner, resistant to any help or support, convinced she could make her way on her own. Look at her now. Every member of this family, even Montgomery, steps up to help her or to protect her as this chapter in her life comes to an end.
Other than Castle and Beckett, Gates is the character who has changed the most. Over time, we have learned that she is a powerful ally and that she can be trusted. The transition from removed boss to a member of this team was completed in this episode. She came from Internal Affairs and we learn that she and Donovan “have history.” But, she never wavers in her belief that Beckett is innocent and the scene where she convinces Ryan and Esposito to tell her the truth was powerful. The fact that the boys trust her enough to bring her in was game changing.
I am so accustomed to Beckett hiding anything to do with her mother’s murder that I was surprised to learn that she and Castle have been working together on it. There is nothing that could prove to me more how much of a partnership these two have. Love is one thing; this level of trust, especially from Beckett, is another game changer.
Beckett is fully aware of how her family has had her back, not just now but throughout this story. The fact that she understands this, and thanks Castle for his role in it, made me so proud of her. And, yes, I cried again.
I’m not entirely sure this is the last we will see of Bracken. He is still extremely powerful and I expect him to work his mojo even from his jail cell. What about Smith? Will he come out of hiding now or will he continue to be Caskett’s Deep Throat? Internal Affairs seemed to be almost too involved in this. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Donovan again.
But, for now, Caskett can go to their wedding with no clouds and we, as the viewers, can breathe a little easier. Four out of four elephant families that have held the truth all along.
— The books shown as part of Castle’s book signing tour are Unholy Storm and Wild Storm. Both will be released within the next two weeks.
— The Montgomery flashback with Beckett was a real treat for those of us who have been with this show since the beginning. Interestingly, Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s name never appears in the credits.
— In an episode with so many call backs for the fans, of course Caskett meet at the swings where they got engaged. Also, when Beckett is taunting Bracken to kill her, she says, “I want you.” Those are the words she used when she and Castle finally get together.
— In an episode so clearly about family, there was no Martha or Alexis. Interesting choice, but they didn’t really belong in a story that involves everyone at the precinct to such a degree.
— With this episode tying up Johanna’s murder and next episode happening at the wedding, I’m getting series ending vibes. While every site that predicts renewals predicts that this show will come back next year, it wouldn’t suck if it went out on these two notes.
Beckett: “I love you.”
Castle: “Yeah, well, you better. It’s two weeks to the wedding and it’s too late to return the tux.”
Beckett: “I’m not going to stand by while my mother’s murderer becomes President of the Unites States.”
Vulcan: “Get a girl’s hair wet and they never let it go.”
Castle: “Guys, she wouldn’t want you involved.”
Esposito: “We’re already involved. We’re family, bro.”
Ryan: “Sir, how much do you know about Beckett’s mother’s murder?”
Gates: “It’s a random stabbing. Never solved.”
Esposito: “There’s a lot more to it than that.”
Gates: “Tell me everything.”
Bracken: “We had an agreement. A truce. Live and let live. I held up my end of the bargain. I even saved your life.” Beckett: “And, that makes up for what you took from me?”
Bracken: “What about what I gave to you? Everything you are, everything you’ve accomplished is because of me.”
Beckett: “Is that how you justify murder? It builds character?”
Bracken: “The part of me that admires you is not the part that makes tough decisions.”
Castle: “She’s proud of you. Wherever she is, she’s proud.”
Beckett: “I never could have done this without you.”
ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.