Hard Truths, Love & Betrayal – S on Castle 3×24 – “Knockout” (Season Finale) Review

As always in the Knock-series episodes the tone of the show is shockingly different, the colours were intense and mixing hot and cool feelings throughout the episode.

Knockout was a brilliant hour of television and such a powerful finale. The term game-changer tends to be overused, but I’m not the least bit hesitant to use it when it comes to Castle’s Season 3 Finale. When a show is entering into its fourth season there is no room to be stagnant and rest on its laurels of being simply enjoyable. Creator, Andrew W. Marlowe and the entire Castle team of writers, actors and everyone else behind the scenes continues to push forward, staying consistent an true to characters while creating new avenues for the story to grow, the characters to adapt to new situations and power dynamics.

Once the camera lingered a little too long on Montgomery in the first scene with the team gathered around the blackboard it wasn’t difficult to tell that he knew more than he had been letting on. And from the time Ryan & Esposito discovered the level of Captain Montgomery’s involvement in Johanna Beckett’s case we knew there was no going back to that safe place.

Betrayal and Loyalty are themes of this episode, the hurt that comes from trust and the difficult decisions made to protect the ones you love. Either because it’s been chasing you for years (Montgomery), or Castle having to step in and risk having Beckett hate him to attempt to save her when no one else would be able to reign her in, even the strongest person needs to be protected when they are unable to protect themselves.

We all know that as soon as her mother’s case is involved Beckett has little control over her emotions and she goes into overdrive. Her father, in a beautifully played scene showed up at Castle’s door. Jim Beckett asks Castle to please take care of her, ask her to step away, she’s told him how much Castle means to her, he knows if anyone can control Kate it will be him. He says that he’s lost so much already to this case, and he can’t lose his daughter. In this moment Castle received confirmation that she cares too, and how important his role will be in all this.

The rest of the episode sprinkles little hints of Castle trying to get the opportunity, get the words out to beg Beckett to back down, to choose life over the seemingly suicidal mission to discover the root behind the death of her mother. This culminates in the explosive argument between Beckett and Castle when he goes to her apartment to confront her, to save her, to love her. [Note: it’s always amazing how much Fillion and Beckett (and Seamus Dever, Jon Huertas , Ruben Santiago-Hudson)communicate with their faces, beautifully nuanced acting, specifically all the physical reactions in the apartment scene]

What Castle gives her is the most honest truth he can muster. No one else in Beckett’s life has had the stones to stand up to her the way he does. He tells her that people care about her, people love her. She tries to turn it around like its Castle’s little selfish mission to keep her alive. She denies all the truths he throws at her, shutting him out as he tells her everything she doesn’t want to hear. But Castle lays it on the line, asks her to choose to live her life and stop hiding in her mother’s murder. She throws him out.

Castle and Beckett in Knockout

The scene in the hanger when Montgomery calls her out was one of those absolutely beautiful, powerful, and cinematic sequences that Castle brings to the table when it really counts. The lighting and sound choices created such a perfect atmosphere. This is one of those times when less is more. Kate begging Montgomery for a name, interrogating him, half in denial that he had betrayed her. Pleading for him to also choose life, giving him her tearful forgiveness before being pulled away by Castle who had been waiting in the shadows.

The sound cuts in and out, Castle carrying Beckett out as she struggles just enough to keep fighting, but allowing Castle to comfort her. This is all in a beautiful silhouette, we can’t hear them anymore, we don’t have to, and we are one step removed from this incredibly personal moment between them. By keeping us in the dark, watching from afar this makes this scene all the more poignant, a personal moment for just the two of them.
Kate is a strong woman, especially when she’s determined, there’s no way Castle could have carried her out of that hanger unless she was letting him. She loves him back; she knows how much he cares. He really is the only one who could have taken her out of there. He’s the only one she would have let pull her away.

I’m trying to tread lightly talking about Beckett’s conflict in this episode because J will be writing about that at length in her review. I do want to mention how so much of the honesty, harsh brutal truth of Knockout changes the dynamic of the show. Castle has demanded more of Kate than ever before by confessing not only his love for her, but demanding that she face her own truth in their relationship and outside of it. This will be a huge launching point in season 4, so many things to work through and explore brought up tonight.

One of the most powerful scenes came not from Montgomery, Beckett or Castle, but from Ryan and Esposito who so often reside in the background. They too want nothing more than to protect Beckett, and to help her crack the mysterious and ever growing case surrounding her mother’s murder.

Esposito storming out of the bar, refusing to believe the truth right in front of him, Ryan knows there’s no time for denial. The lighting in the alley reflecting harsh greens and oranges against the slick, wet ground was harsh, fitting of the news they just received. They had no one to turn to but each other, Esposito couldn’t handle the news and Ryan let him fight it out, egging him on until they both couldn’t take it. As the pair exchanged blows in a downtown alley we could see the desperation and hurt in their eyes.

No one outside this immediate family…

Just like we always knew, Beckett, Ryan and Esposito are like a family, Castle has penetrated this tight knit group. It was moving to see him included as being a pall bearer at Captain Montgomery’s funeral.

As much as I hated the awful cliffhanger of having Beckett shot, I’m glad they allowed it to happen. It keeps the door open to continue the saga of Johanna Beckett, and adds real fallout to the situation that everyone continued to stress was dead serious. Castle isn’t that good to actually tackle her in time to get her out of the bullet’s way. We know he’d do anything to save her, he loves her.

A Few Other Notes:

We saw a lot of Captain Mal coming out of Nathan Fillion in this episode, we tend to get it when Castle gets really serious and he has something very important and of significance to say. Not to diminish the extremely honest conversation Castle had with Beckett in her apartment, but it felt like Mal coming out a whole lot, his sincerity and love mixed with frustration and anger, it could have been a scene between Mal & Inara.

Crazy shout outs to the writer of the episode, Will Beall as well as Andrew Marlowe and the rest of the Castle cast and team for delivering such a powerful season finale that will be in our minds all summer.

Loved the touching mother/son scene between Castle and Martha. Back in “Knockdown” she begged her son to be safe, be careful. Now she knows better, Martha gives him the courage to to go Beckett, be honest, and do anything to save her when she needs it.

On the only light note of the episode: the evidence storage beers.
That was amazing – stay tuned for J’s review of Knockout – what’s going on with Kate.

How do you think all of this fallout will take shape in season 4? Power dynamics will change between Beckett/Castle as well as in the precinct with a new Captain. What is on your wish list for next season?

We don’t spoil around here, but if you want to read what Andrew W. Marlow has to say about Knockout and his plans for next season read this interview.

– S

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5 thoughts on “Hard Truths, Love & Betrayal – S on Castle 3×24 – “Knockout” (Season Finale) Review

  1. Pingback: “Knockout” Packs a Wallop: J on the Revelations of Castle’s Season Finale 3×24 | The Viewing Party

  2. Your comments on the hangar scene where Castle drags the weeping Kate away from Montgomery were right on….. as far as they went. Poignancy was created in part because we see Kate struggling like a girl/woman, not a cop. In this situation, her cop identity is shattered as she sees her mentor and role model crumble in a heap of betrayal. As the cop to cop relationship shatters with Montgomery’s confession, Kate is left to mourn her professional father figure as a girl, outraged and grief stricken by the loss of this important person in her life. It is a very sad scene. The love between Kate and Montgomery is moving. Castle was able to drag the flailing Kate away only in part because she let him, but also because of her identity shift from cop to grieving girl/woman in that moment. Without her cop identity Beckett becomes Kate; a woman yielding to the man she loves and allowing him to move her out of harm’s way.

    • Thank you so much for your comment.
      I found that hanger scene to just be so vibrant, the Kate’s pain radiated through the screen.
      I love your observation of the lines becoming blurred between her identity as a cop and her identity as a person. It’s something she works so hard at keeping seperate and at that moment the dividing wall crumbled.
      I saw that as a bit of a theme throughout the episode now that you mention it. First with Beckett’s own father stepping in to ask for Castle’s assistance so he wouldn’t lose his daughter to the job. Then with Montgomery encouraging Kate to make sure she lives her life and not let the job consume her.

      – S

      • Great observations! I just want to add one thing: Beckett has not only seen Montgomery betray her but has also had to deal with the death of Mike Royce, her other professional mentor. That happened pretty recently in the timeline of the show, so to have both of her cop role models turn out to have betrayed her must shatter the way she operates. She can’t react as a cop in that hangar scene – her “cophood” has had too many blows! (Then it’s interesting that in the last scene she is kind of desperately clinging to “cophood” – manifested in her uniform, which we’ve never seen before….but also in saying what Montgomery taught her about being a cop)
        -J

  3. Pingback: Castle and Beckett Discover Puppy Love: J on Castle 4×13 “An Embarrassment of Bitches” | The Viewing Party

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