J Dives into the Developments and Discoveries of Castle 3×22 “To Love and Die in L.A.”

Maybe the weather is always sunny in California (at least when Castle and Beckett are there), but this episode was a definite mix of light and dark.  “To Love and Die in L.A.” had a different feel from most other episodes, and yet it was an excellent example of the characteristic Castle combination of comedy and gravity.  There is so much to say about this episode, and much as I would enjoy composing a novel-length review, I’ve decided to limit myself to some of the major Castle and Beckett developments (and there were many!).

One of the first significant things I noticed was a line from Beckett after she demands to see Royce’s dead body.  Castle tentatively asks her if she really wants to remember him like that, and Beckett responds, “Castle, if it was me lying there, would you just walk away?”  This was delivered and received almost as a throwaway line, but I think it shows that deep down Beckett understands Castle’s feelings for her, even if she hasn’t consciously identified or accepted them.  In equating herself with Royce, she’s also implicitly saying that Castle feels about her the way she felt about Mike Royce…namely, in love.  But no one seemed to notice what an important statement that was!  I think at the very least it demonstrates how much closer Castle and Beckett are now, even compared to the beginning of season 3.

S and I were just discussing how much the characters have grown and developed since the pilot episode, and I think nothing exemplifies this more than the amazing conversation Castle and Beckett have in their hotel room.  I say amazing not only because it is completely swoon-worthy and chock-full of sexual tension, but also because of the honest way it deals with the characters’ changing emotions and relationship.  [Disclaimer, it is taking all my willpower not to squee, giggle, or flail while writing about this scene, so if some slight traces of gushiness make their way into this review, consider yourself warned.]  We can probably all agree that Castle’s little speech to Beckett and the accompanying “I love you, please sleep with me” glances were enough to make anyone other than Kate Beckett melt right then and there.  And she almost does!  After Castle throws in a comment about her hotness, she replies, “you’re not so bad yourself, Castle”.  This is the first time she has outright admitted (to Castle or to herself) that she finds him attractive and all I can say is: about time, honey!  It’s what we viewers have been saying all along!

Still, that line prompts one of the longest and most lingering looks that we’ve seen on the show so far.  Even after three seasons, Nathan and Stana maintain such intensely communicative silence with their unflinching eye contact.  The attraction between them in this moment is palpable; I don’t know how they do it, but their chemistry has increased to the point where the sparks are almost visible!  Even though I was pretty sure they weren’t going to kiss, I was also pretty sure they were just because they were both so obviously on the same page.  If you watch that scene again, you can see the precise moment of change in Beckett’s face when she puts up a barrier, breaking the eye contact and saying goodnight.  When Castle calls her back by her first name, it signals an important progression for him as well: he obviously really wants it to be a moment of truth and is willing to try breaking through her barrier.  But Beckett won’t let him, and we can see the fear, nerves, and almost-uncontrolled emotion as she says goodnight and closes the door.

Despite how telling the conversation is, for me Beckett’s reaction behind the closed door, more than anything else, cemented the fact that she now knows exactly how she feels about Castle.  It’s a moment of self-discovery that is really huge for her, especially given how wary she is about a romantic relationship with Castle.  I definitely did not think she was going to follow through and open the door again (way to go, Kate!) but I was also kind of glad Castle wasn’t there.  The whole case with Royce and the trip to L.A. meant high emotions and lots of built-up tension, and I wouldn’t want either Castle or Beckett to be seen as taking advantage of the other because of that.  Beckett’s reaction after discovering that Castle’s door had just closed was a great combination of disappointment, relief, confusion, and a questioning of her own motives.  She seemed to be saying to herself, “What was I actually going to do if Castle had been there?”

And now of course I must talk about the end of the episode (since this review has once again turned into a Castle-Beckett romance-a-thon).  Before the very important plane scene when the end of Royce’s letter is revealed, Beckett looks around the hotel room and Castle asks her, “So how close did you come?”  There is a short pause before he completes the question: “…with Ganz”.  It might just be my crazy Castle imagination going into overdrive, but I think there’s a millisecond where the real question in Beckett’s mind seems to be, “How close did I come to starting something with you?”  Did anyone else think that she was thinking that, or am I way off base?

Then comes the final scene on the plane, in which Royce’s letter basically tells Beckett to go for it with Castle.  This letter, along with the hotel scene, is really a revelation for Beckett.  And I just have to say, I loved Castle’s adorably peaceful slumber as Beckett stares lovingly at him…and who wouldn’t?  It looked like such a cozy scene, as if Beckett could just snuggle up with Castle and fall asleep.  He looked sweet, oddly alluring, and totally fall-in-lovable, and now Kate knows it!  Castle has been there for a while in terms of his feelings for Beckett (think “it’s not about the books anymore” in “Knockdown”).  Beckett has been getting there in recent episodes, especially with the “one-writer girl” and “always” comments from “The Dead Pool” (read our reviews here and here).  I think that “To Love and Die in L.A.” really makes it clear that he knows how he feels, she knows how she feels, and they both seem to know that the other knows.  And, um, is Doctor Motorcycle Boy even in the picture?

Some other favourite moments:

  • When the LAPD bust Castle and Beckett breaking into Violet’s house, they have an accidental embrace as they frantically scramble to get out.
  • I loved that when Beckett was yelling at Castle for messing up her poolside rendezvous with Ganz, she was mostly upset that her attempts to distract him from Castle’s covert operations made her look like a rookie: “He called me green!”  I guess Beckett has her pride, even in front of criminals.
  • Castle’s reaction to Beckett in a bathing suit was priceless.  That woman knows how to turn a few heads!
  • Both Castle and Beckett dressed up as Gene Simmons for Halloween

There’s so much more to say!  What were your favourite moments?  What did you think of the guys playing Raley and Ochoa (Ryan and Esposito’s counterparts in Nikki Heat)?  What were the funniest moments of the episode?  Also (and this was something I wasn’t sure about), do you think Beckett had read the entire letter from Royce before she went to L.A., or was that final scene on the plane the first time she read the part about her and Castle?

S loved the noir feel combined with the breezy style of L.A. Read her Review Here
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10 thoughts on “J Dives into the Developments and Discoveries of Castle 3×22 “To Love and Die in L.A.”

  1. LOVE the review and oh man how I loved this ep!! I will say that the write r of the ep, Hawley, said on twitter that it was not suppose to be the first time she had read that part of the letter – she had read it earlier..so apparently she had it in her mind during the hotel scene as well. she was just re-reading on the plane 🙂

    • I completely agree, I loved this episode too! It’s interesting that the writer said that Beckett had already read the whole letter. It does make sense, and also sheds some more light on her actions in the hotel. Maybe she was acting on Royce’s advice when she opened the door, deciding to take that risk. Do you think that means that her last look at Castle on the plane was also kind of wistful, wishing it had worked out? Thanks so much for the comment and the info, we love hearing feedback!! -J

  2. I really liked the episode. One of the funniest parts to me was Castle’s obsession with the hotel robes because it was so very Castle-like.

    In the last hotel scene after the detective leaves with his robe, Beckett looks wistfully around the room and seems to be lost in her thoughts, when Castle asks her “How close did you come” I think she totally thinks she’s busted and that he was reading her (she does that slight surprised eyebrow raise that Stana does so well) but he finishes the rest of the sentence before she has to say anything. The question about Ganz is a lot easier to deflect and I think she takes that moment to get out before any other questions can be asked.

    Every week I am amazed by how much Stana and Nathan can convey by doing so little.

    • Thank you for your comment! It’s really great to hear what you thought of the episode. I’m right there with you about the hotel robes. Castle’s urging look when he’s trying to convince the L.A. cop to take the robe at the end, and Beckett’s shrug were so funny! She’s so used to Castle’s quirkiness by now.

      And I really like the way you read that final scene in the hotel – the eyebrow raise, the deflection, it’s all very Beckett. Stana and Nathan are both great actors, and I love when we can see their subtlety played out. -J

  3. I enjoyed your take on the show and I agree with all you said. You asked the question as to whether she read all the letter before she arrived. Most definitely. Who wouldn’t. It was the reason why she initially hesitated at Castle’s offer. He did say in the car the his intensions were pure and he was true to his word. He did not force her to reveal anything. He stated his case in a very casual way and with just the right amount of humor which is the Castle way. I’m glad he wasn’t waiting because the trip was about Mike. Not about them. And when it does come to be about them, Beckett has to be the one to make the move. She has to sweep him off his feet because he needs to know that it’s for real. He is already there. She’s on the doorstep and hesitated … Re-reading the letter on the plane gave her the opportunity to reflect on all the events – Castle being by her side, hr back up, her partner, him being true to his word that his intentions were honorable by telling Maurice to take away the flowers etc so that she was comfortable and him – after revealing some deep feelings without the I love you’d, did not force the issue with her . That time on the plane was necessary to look upon the man that has been therefor him. I am wondering about that throw away line when she says to Castle, if it was me would you just walk away. I take that two ways. The worst would be if they killed off the character but they can’t do that so they have to do something for Castle to be there for her
    perhaps if her career was dead. There are no throw away lines in this show. That line had a
    a purpose much like the use of Always has become their secret word to each other. I am looking forward the the season finale and dreading it at the same time

    • Great interpretation! It seems to be the consensus that Beckett did read the letter in its entirety before she left for L.A. It makes sense – after all, why wouldn’t she? I wonder who will make the first move when they eventually get together? I can see why you think it’s in Beckett’s court because Castle is already there (and has made it pretty clear), but she might still need some nudging. On the other hand, maybe Royce’s letter was the perfect nudge! And I feel the exact same way about the finale: anticipating it, but also afraid of what they might have in store for us. Either way I have a feeling it’s going to be intensely epic! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Pingback: Rick & Kate take Los Angeles – S on Castle 3×22 “To Love and Die in L.A.” | The Viewing Party

  5. Of course she’d read the entire letter the first time we saw her with it; it was a brilliant bit of reverse dramatic irony, and at the very end when WE knew how the letter finished, everything was put into a different light because Royce’s words would have been in her head the entire time. I dont think much beyond words in a posthumous letter from an old friend would get Beckett to open that bedroom door again…

    For a while now, concerning their relationship, the ball has been completely in Beckett’s court. One thing I really liked about the ep then is how it was mainly about HER coming to terms with how she feels…the creators are completely in control of the relationship and where they want it to go; they’re not gonna do what other shows have done and just have Beckett string him along forever. She has to make a choice an act on it; she knows that, we know that and the creators know that.

    =D

    • I completely agree with you! Because it’s pretty obvious that Castle knows how he feels (and has for a while), it’s now more about Beckett getting to that same point. I think probably after the end of season 2, she’s being extra careful…after all, she almost confessed her feelings and then realized that she had completely misread the situation (or at least that’s how it would have seemed to her). She has to be pretty darn sure of her own feelings and of Castle’s this time around.

      Great point about the reverse dramatic irony. Beckett knew the contents of the letter all along but the viewers had to catch up. Thanks so much for your thoughts! Keep ’em coming!! -J

  6. Pingback: Great Guest Stars, Pageant Mayhem, and Hangin’ with the Boys: J on Castle 3×23 “Pretty Dead” | The Viewing Party

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