It seems to me that the hilarity of last week’s “Lucky Stiff” has been sandwiched between two more serious episodes: “Knockdown” on one end, and this week’s “The Final Nail” on the other. These serious episodes aren’t a bad thing (much as we all love the levity and wit of regular Castle), especially if they’re handled tastefully and remain consistent with the show’s storyline. At the risk of being sentimental, I felt like “The Final Nail” was all about individual moments of belief. Through these moments, we learned a lot about Castle, Beckett, and their strengthening relationship.
1. The first scene that really struck me involved Castle telling Beckett about his experience as a homesick 14-year-old sent away to boarding school. His fervent belief that Damian is not a killer is based largely on Castle’s memory of him as a supportive mentor and school friend. Castle believes that, without Damian’s encouragement, he would not have become a writer. I was actually really astonished by the depth and impact of this statement on Castle’s part. While we have gotten used to the “heavy emotional angle” (to quote Castle himself) originating from Beckett and her mother’s unresolved murder, it is unexpected and therefore unlooked-for in Castle’s past. To discover the insecurity and vulnerability of this swaggering, charismatic charmer is a great step in the character’s development. I think because Beckett has the aforementioned lingering angst about her mother, Stana Katic normally gets to do more “heavy acting”, but this week Nathan Fillion showed that he really has the chops. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him with tears in his eyes before (correct me if I’m wrong, anyone…Firefly?), and I was surprised by my own reaction: I got a little choked up without expecting it. Very well played, Mr. Fillion!
2. I have to talk about the scene when Beckett gently confronts Castle about his past, because it goes hand in hand with the first scene. In suggesting that Castle has constructed the character of an upstanding Damian just like Derek Storm or Nikki Heat, Beckett demonstrates that she understands Castle, at this point possibly better than he understands himself. There’s no blame in Beckett’s words; I think she realizes that Castle has placed his trust in her and she has to be careful with it. She somehow combines a maternal tone with a best friend’s support with an undercurrent of “I’m madly in love with you”. Castle’s sad looks in response are heart-breaking.
3. We see how much Kate appreciates the gravity of Castle’s confession when she overcomes her loathing for Damian long enough to tell him, “Richard Castle believes in you and I believe in him”. It’s an unostentatious way of showing how much he means to her. Castle believed in Damian and, though that belief was ultimately proven to be misplaced, Beckett shows that she has the same faith in Castle himself. I really like how their relationship since the kiss is getting stronger and stronger without being “romantic” or even discussed. Not that I would object to some romance (wink!), but I think the fact that they aren’t addressing it head-on actually rings true for the characters. FOR NOW. I seriously hope for and expect some more romance before this season is through. Beckett has to break up with Josh some time, right?
H and S, do you guys think they should be addressing the aftermath of the kiss more directly? How did you like the story-telling motif that ran through this episode? What did you think of the last scene when Castle and Beckett go for Valentine’s drinks? And how about Esposito and Ryan in this episode? What are you hoping for in next week’s kick-off of the two-parter?