J, I agree with you that this was another episode on the heavy side certainly when we deal with difficult parts of our character’s pasts we come into some serious territory. Although I didn’t find “The Final Nail” to be as similar in tone to “Knockdown” as you did. As you mention in your recap Castle is brilliant at inserting wit into serious situations in a very natural (and funny!) way. With that said, I found “The Final Nail” to be less of a “very serious episode” but instead a case-of-the-week in which we discover, as you put to eloquently many truths about our characters.
I love how we were able to have a really strong case-of-the-week while still covering some serious character storyline by bringing the two together. Unlike Beckett’s mother’s case and her episodes (“Knockdown”, “Suckerpunch”), this case was not as close to the heart for Castle. Yes, having Damien, someone he held in such high esteem, who believed in him and inspired him to become embroiled in murder is deeply personal, but this episode was about more than just that. This case was personal for Castle less because of who was involved, but because it forced him to relive his childhood, before he was the cocky, wealthy successful father, writer, grown up (some of the time). It also tested the bounds of his personal and professional relationship with Beckett.
As for Ryan and Esposito in this episode… as much as I love Esposito he can kind of be a meathead. As J & H both know I was pretty peeved at Esposito this episode. It was actually my absolute least favourite moment of the episode when Esposito told Ryan that he shouldn’t get his fiancée chocolate for Valentine’s Day. His reason being was that since she was planning a wedding she must be on a diet. Jenny deserves all the candy she wants, she’s a beautiful girl and has a wedding to plan! [Disclaimer – I’m not upset with the show for putting in something like that, I just don’t like being mad at Esposito]
As J points out, this episode is one in which we discover truths about Castle and Beckett. Up until this episode it never occurred to be that Castle has ever been anything but the “swaggering, charismatic charmer” that we know. The discovery that this confidence is something that came later was organic and made sense for the character. He has never been a 2-dimensional cartoon character; we’ve seen him be a fantastic family man caring deeply for others as well as his moments of shallow fame. We’ve even seen his vulnerability in his personal relationships and moments of insecurity as well. It was nice to introduce a person from Castle’s childhood, someone who helped shape who he is today to show us the progression. Castle is someone who vests so much of himself in his personal relationships, into the people he cares about and who believe in him. Way to bring the acting tonight Fillion, as usual you shone, in “The Final Nail” we got to see a little something different and we love it.
Speaking of his personal relationships, Castle has put so much of himself into his relationship with Beckett, his connections run deep and their trust in each other is so important. Letting each other in (sans romance) as opposed to the dance where they keep each other at arm’s length in previous seasons has seemed to become a trend in this one. I’m not going to go over all the amazing moments of character development and discovery because J covered these so well in her recap. But the take away is that Beckett and Castle have placed so much trust in each other, but they are still dancing around the “omg we are totally in love/perfect for each other” issue so that trust is so fragile. Thankfully they both make it out of this episode in one piece.
To J’s question about the kiss from so many weeks ago – I don’t feel like it’s being ignored just because it hasn’t been outwardly mentioned. If it was a purely romantic kiss with no excuse as a cover I might feel differently. The way Beckett and Castle have been behaving around each other and getting closer to that point (albeit at a snail’s pace) is enough for me, for now. There should definitely be more kissing soon. I absolutely squeed when Beckett asked Castle out for Valentine’s drinks, he really did need a friend right then. I certainly and not so secretly hoped that she never did make it to that dinner with Josh later that evening.
This review would not be complete without mentioning the absolute awesomeness that is Alexis, of course she would come up with the perfectly adorable Valentine’s gift for Ashley.
I’m looking forward to the two-parter that’s beginning tomorrow night. H & I are planning that shindig already!