“For all I know they could be out having a cold one”. Understatement of the century, Captain Montgomery. Castle and Beckett were certainly more than a little cold as they huddled together in a locked freezer, anticipating the icy grip of death that seemed inevitable. And so began Countdown, the epic conclusion to the two-parter that kicked off with Setup last week. Like Setup, this episode was chock full of suspense, only intensifying as the narrative progressed toward an explosive (or not) climax. There is so much to say about Countdown, partially because of the expectations fulfilled and unfulfilled from last week’s lead-in.
The freezer scene really set the tone for the entire episode (the theme song was even changed to a more sombre note) as Castle and Beckett steadily lose hope that they will get out alive. Their last conversation, in which Castle apologizes for getting them into the situation, is incredibly sad, heartfelt, and moving. This seems to be a recurring theme in my reviews, but the emotional impact and poignancy of the scene is really owing to the excellent acting skills of Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. There is a nice throwback to both Knockdown and Setup when Beckett thanks Castle for being there, to which he responds “always”. Mirroring Knockdown’s scene in the ambulance, it also refers back to their conversation in the Hazmat tent from last week (see S’s review). Here it seems like Beckett finally realizes that the man who will always be there for her is Castle. And then comes the phrase that undoubtedly left fans cheering, crying, and shouting at the TV: “I just want you to know how much I l—”. Come on, Beckett! Hold on a little longer and just get those words out!
After they are rescued, events take a different turn. For one thing, Dr. Motorcycle Boy shows up unannounced (some people just don’t know when to get on a plane to Haiti) and interrupts the wonderful Castle-Beckett romance that was clearly growing. [As a side note, I love that Castle’s first thoughts and words when he wakes up from a hypothermia haze are about Beckett.] The pressure continues to mount, tensions run high, leads are pursued and abandoned, and Agent Fallon conducts another terrifyingly intense interrogation – [S, thoughts on Fallon?]. But the moment we’re all waiting for, at least since the freezer (near) confession, comes when Castle and Beckett are faced with a dirty bomb set to explode in less than two minutes. The tension is palpable as our heroes anxiously watch the seconds tick away, waiting for Fallon to tell them how to defuse the bomb. I gotta say, it’s a really cautionary tale about reliance on technology: the phone photo-upload from Beckett to Fallon fails and she and Castle are left to their imminent deaths.
So now for my question to you, readers and viewers: did anyone else notice Castle and Beckett’s “I love you” – “I know” moment that was communicated SOLELY WITH THEIR EYES in the five seconds before the bomb went off? Because I did. And it made me want to cry.
Castle’s defusing of the bomb by frantically yanking all the wires was genius. But better yet were Castle and Beckett’s reactions. The huge hug made this viewer’s heart burst just a little bit, and both Castle’s hilarious triumph and Beckett’s tear-filled laugh basically sum up why this show is so good. It has a tasteful and entertaining combination of humour and solemnity, romance and crime, rounded out with fantastic actors.
I found the ending of the episode downright sad. Castle, on the brink of finally confessing his feelings to Beckett, sees Josh out of the corner of his eye and changes what he was going to say, almost exactly replicating what happened to Beckett at the end of season 2. To be honest, I was a bit frustrated by how they left things. Beckett obviously knows that she loves Castle – she nearly told him so herself – and at this point it just seems like an error in judgement to stay with Josh. I guess she’s confused because he came back from Haiti and she’s already been romantically shut down by Castle once. Nevertheless, I’m with Stana on this one, let’s get Castle and Beckett together before the contrivances to keep them apart begin to seem unbelievable. H and S, what are your thoughts on this? Granted, it’s not all Kate’s fault. Castle has had numerous opportunities to tell Beckett he loves her, in Countdown and in previous episodes since he broke up with Gina, and he hasn’t exactly followed through. I know he’s always trying to be the better man, which is admirable. But for once, Castle, be the worse man and tell that girl how you feel!
That being said, I love Nathan and Stana’s chemistry, humour, and acting chops…I guess I’m just too excited to see what happens when their characters do hook up. So, to quote Beckett, “I will be back here, week after week, until that miracle occurs.” (Yes, I’m a big nerd)
Two completely frivolous points in closing:
1. Nathan’s eyes looked even more blue when he was trapped in the freezer, which lends to the frigidity of the scene and also…he is handsome.
2. Who else thought Beckett looked really adorable wrapped in a blanket post-freezer-rescue with her hair in a messy bun?