Archives for : kate beckett

Farewell, Castle


“Nothing goes as planned

Everything will break

People say goodbye in their own special way

All that you rely on

And all that you can fake

Will leave you in the morning

And find you in the day

Oh, you’re in my veins

And I cannot get you out

Oh, you’re all I taste at night inside of my mouth

Oh, you run away ‘cause I am not what you thought

Oh, you’re in my veins and I cannot get you out.”

Truer words have never been spoken, in regards to what is arguably my all-time favorite television show. I knew this day would come, but I never fathomed that this would be the way I feel now that it’s here.

In case you missed it, ABC’s Castle, starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, was officially canceled and is airing its series finale episode tonight at 10pm. Unfortunately, this is definitely the most bittersweet goodbye I’ve ever had with a show. (But it could be worse. At least this is bittersweet. Sleepy Hollow’s goodbye was like getting fisted by the Hulk wearing a glove made of salt-encrusted broken glass. I’m not exaggerating. Look what happened and tell me it’s not that bad.)

Anyone who knows me knows I am the most die-hard, foam-at-the-mouth fan of Castle, or at least I was until season eight began. Until about season seven, Castle reigned as one of the best written shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. It was not only funny but insightful, creative, dramatic, and just plain fun to watch. I remember seeing the pilot on my mother’s birthday all the way back in 2009, and part of me just recalls smiling to myself and thinking, “This is going to be the start of something amazing.”

Castle stars Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion. Also, massive amounts of sexual tension.

And it was. For all the rancor that I’ve felt for the eighth season of the show, no one can do what Castle can do. It was one of the only shows on a major network to say ‘screw the Moonlighting curse’ and it found a way to tease at a romantic relationship for four seasons without making it intolerable. It found a way to write a main female lead so that she wasn’t a snob or a bitch or a Mary Sue or anything less than a phenomenal character. It found a way to use Nathan Fillion’s charming good looks and playful nature but then put it against a backdrop of an immature but caring man growing up as he realizes that working with the foxy Beckett was more than just an excuse to woo a fine lady, but a path to make him a better man than he ever thought possible. One of the greatest experiences of the show is to see where Castle and Beckett start off in the pilot and then watching them grow. They just blossom into these two immensely interesting people who you can’t wait to spend time with every Monday night. They are fascinating. Not only that, but even after six seasons, you still found yourself surprised by them and wanting to know more and more with every episode. You’re never bored with Caskett. They can entertain you on so many levels, and not just by being charming and kick ass.

For instance, Castle is the only television show to date that got me to cry—and I mean, cry. As in huge globs of tears and snot pouring down my face and sobbing brokenly. Yes. I did that. The Queen of Mean Kyoko M actually cried like a baby during the season three finale of Castle, “Knockout,” during its final two scenes. It takes a lot of investment to get me to cry, and they did it. I was a wreck. Do you know how important it is to me to have anything that can draw that level of emotion out of me?

To be honest, Castle changed me. It gave me a greater appreciation for the craft of writing in so many ways. It taught me that it really is important to build a relationship, romantic or otherwise, to the point where your audience will never leave their side. It taught me to add layers onto your characters not only for their own good, but for your own good as a writer. It challenged us to stand by Beckett’s bullheaded actions regarding her mother’s case, or to ponder if there is a line between revenge and justice, and if Castle was ready to commit to the biggest thing that ever walked into his life. It’s just an outstanding example of a ton of people coming together and working hard on a project to make it as excellent as humanly possible, and for a long time, Castle certainly pulled it off. I always refer people to it when I want to give an example of how to introduce a dynamic partnership without making it corny or without having the issue like the Winchesters on Supernatural where it becomes clear that the writers favor one partner over the other. It’s completely even handed the way that they characterize Castle and Beckett, and especially in the romantic sense. Sure, there were times where I wanted them to hook up, but you could always tell that they just weren’t ready in the first three seasons. They needed time and perspective, and while it was frustrating, it never felt like it was some kind of manufactured conflict just to keep the ratings going. Castle and Beckett’s hookup is legendary. To this day, many people cite it in the Best Kiss for a TV show lists, and for good reason.

I mean, tell me you can watch this scene and not get your jimmies rustled. It’s flawless. Just flawless.

The truth is…I don’t know how to say goodbye to Castle because this isn’t really a true goodbye for me. A year ago, I’d have been crushed. I’d have ranted and raved about what a poor decision the studio execs made. Sadly, I can’t do that, because season eight has been so terrible that I stopped watching the show over a month ago because it’s not my show anymore. It’s a beautiful car being driven by a drunken asshole teenager, so I quit and just let it keep recording on the DVR out of respect for what it once was. However, I will do them the honor of watching the final episode because I owe them that much.

And the other truth is that even though it won’t have new episodes, but Castle’s not going out of my life. I will still keep my DVDs, I will still watch the reruns in syndication, and I will still refer anyone who ever asks for a great show to it (and tell them to stop at season seven) without any malice. It’s clear the television is on a downward slope with making garbage calls, from renewing the lackluster Agents of SHIELD to imploding Sleepy Hollow to canceling the phenomenal Agent Carter. TV is on a bad track these days, and I think keeping an eye on Netflix is where the future is headed.

I will never forget the thousands of laughs and smiles Castle gave me. I will never forget the tears and the clutch-your-couch-cushions-and-squeal action sequences and theories about 3XK or how Castle got into writing mystery novels (mostly because the canon reason was weak-sauce). I will never forget the adorable relationships between the main cast, and between their fictional counterparts. I will never forget the strength, poise, sheer will, and majesty of Detective Kate Beckett. I will never forget the kindness, charisma, heart, and levity of Richard Castle. No matter how much it hurts to say goodbye, no matter how much it hurt me to see it end on a rotten season, no matter how angry I am that they let Stana Katic and Tamala Jones go before canceling the show, no matter how unsatisfying the series finale is, no one can take away the fun I’ve had these past seven years.

Thank you.

Thank you for changing my life, Castle.

Thank you for being a friend and a comfort and a shining example of excellence for so many years.

You will be deeply, sorely missed.

I guess the only thing left to say is something you said so very, very well during arguably the best episode in your entire run.

Goodbye, old friend.

You’re in my heart.



The Slippery Slope

Castle stars Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion. Also, massive amounts of sexual tension.

Castle stars Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion. Also, massive amounts of sexual tension.

It’s not easy being a fangirl and an author.

Not to be melodramatic, mind you, but it has unintended consequences when you’re both an admirer of good storytelling and a storyteller yourself. You know the tricks, the procedures, the tropes, and unfortunately you are almost always the first to recognize when there is a decline in the quality of writing.

If you know anything about me, you know that I am a die-hard fan of ABC’s ‘Castle’. My entire life unknowingly changed when I watched the pilot on my mother’s birthday all the way back in 2009. ‘Castle’ became a singularity. It was my favorite show, the first show I’d truly fallen in love with since the DC animated shows ‘Batman: The Animated Series,’ ‘Batman Beyond,’ and ‘Justice League/Unlimited.’ I immediately glommed onto the sharp writing, the superb acting, the atypical humor for a crime procedural drama, the deeply interwoven storylines, and of course, our delightful cast of actors. At the time, I had happened past Nathan Fillion in ‘Waitress’ and I hadn’t heard of him before, so I looked him up and that’s how I found ‘Castle’ and later ‘Firefly.’

‘Castle’ has been going strong for seven seasons including the one currently airing at the time of this blog post. Seven years.

Unfortunately, this season is the very first one that shows the first sign of the slippery slope into poor quality.

And I don’t know what I’m going to do if my show becomes bad.

The slippery slope is nothing new to me. In my life, I have lost several shows to bad writing: Supernatural, Futurama, The Legend of Korra, Community, and Scrubs. The slippery slope, as defined by me, is not the same as Jumping the Shark. The slippery slope is early signs that your writers and showrunners are running out of ideas and start retreading things they have already explored with the show, whether it’s rehashed plotlines or backwards characterization.

Last night’s Castle, “The Time of Our Lives”, had all the signs of the show starting on that downward curve into bad.

1. It introduced a concept that was too outlandish for the format of the show. ‘Castle’ has had some delightfully weird and quirky themed-episodes from a Star Trek-esque convention murder to Santa Claus murder suspects to even a 70’s themed retro precinct to even a time-traveling killer, but the alternate reality universe where Castle and Beckett never met is just way too silly for the show. By the end, of course, we’re sure that it’s simply a dream that Castle had after hitting his head during a nasty gun fight, but we’re still expected to believe what happened might be real on account of some weird little Incan artifact. That is a lot to expect an audience to absorb in a show that is pretty much grounded in reality with the exception of some fun themed episodes.

2. It didn’t commit fully to the alternate reality concept. Things were different, but not to the point where I felt like this needed to be an episode that made it off the cutting room floor. For example, sure, there were differences: Alexis lived with her Mom, Castle never wrote Heat Wave or created Nikki Heat so he wasn’t as filthy rich, Martha was a famous actress, Esposito never got back with Lanie, Ryan never married Jenny, and Beckett never caught her mother’s killer and became the youngest Captain of the precinct. Still, these are just slight changes. The most major one should have been Beckett never finding her mother’s killer, but it didn’t have the impact on her personality that it should have. The show has always implied that without Castle, Beckett would be that same closed off, eternally angry and unhappy cop that we met back in the pilot. The Beckett we met in the alternate reality was still way too understanding of Castle’s antics. She despised Castle when he first started shadowing her, and even though there was a seven year time difference, she was not hard enough on him. She still let him get away with practically everything when we saw season one Beckett smack him silly for getting out of line or disobeying direct orders. The fact of the matter is that AU!Beckett was simply not different enough to warrant focus on. This could be Stana Katic’s way of playing her as softer, but I bet a quarter it’s the weak writing rather than her performance.

3. This episode is unnecessary because we already know what their lives would be like if they never met. This issue is largely the fault of good writing, not bad, though. This show has explored so many avenues between Beckett and Castle that it goes without saying how the two would be living without each other. Castle starts out the show as an arrogant, cocky, irresponsible but charming author who has glided through life with little care in the world until he became bored with Derrick Storm. Beckett starts out extremely closed off to any of the great mysteries of life. Coming together matures them both and helps them grow into people who are open to change, love, and a desire for justice. We didn’t need to see an alternate reality episode because we know these characters so well that it’s redundant.

4. Lack of creativity. As mentioned above, this episode’s main purpose is redundant, so that means they made this based on the humor factor. Alright, I admit it, there were some scenes that were comedic gold, and most of them came from Jon Huertas (Det. Esposito) completely nailing his lines and facial expressions of total annoyance with Castle. Nathan Fillion also did a great job being his usual goofy self and while panicking about no one in the precinct knowing him and his family being completely different. However, they didn’t take the concept to the extreme and that’s what would have made this episode actually work. We needed to see extreme versions of our beloved characters instead of just those that were tweaked. They weren’t good foils to the originals, so it felt phoned in. We didn’t sign up for phoned in, guys.

5. The wedding was lackluster. I’ve been preparing for the Caskett wedding literally since the end of the pilot episode. We knew without a doubt from the look on Richard Castle’s face when Beckett walked away that he was going to marry that girl. I mean, look at him, he is so smitten with her:

Richard Castle Flowers For Your Grave

And what did I feel during the Caskett wedding last night?


I felt happy that they were finally married, but I didn’t scream. I didn’t cry. I wasn’t rushing to Tumblr to instantly reblog every single photoset of them saying their vows.

Do you know why?

It’s too after-the-fact.

The season six finale had all the right set up for the wedding, but for the sake of cheap drama, they ruined it. That’s six seasons of sexual tension and love culminating into a wedding, and you denied me that just so you could draw it out longer. You can’t do that. You can’t do that because it sucks out all my energy to know that everything would have been perfect, but you wanted to make me wait yet another summer to see my lovely darlings say their vows, and even the vows were phoned in. Hell, Ryan and Esposito—arguably family members—weren’t there and that just hurt worse.

The wedding didn’t work because ‘Castle’ is not just about our lovebirds. ‘Castle’ is about so many things and we feel so much for this entire cast of characters, not just Castle and Beckett. I wanted to see Ryan and Esposito in the background grinning their asses off. I wanted to see Lanie dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief as her best friend got married. I wanted to see the late Captain Montgomery’s family standing beside them and being proud of the woman that Montgomery helped build up. We were denied so much by Caskett deciding to elope, and that’s the biggest sign that we might be heading into dangerous territory, into a dark place that the show cannot come back from.

I’m scared, guys.

I don’t know where I’d be without ‘Castle.’ It’s given me so much inspiration and joy over the years, and I love these characters enough to know that they deserve better. As much as I don’t want the show to end, I think we’re nearing the end of the line here. That’s over 100 episodes now and we’re treading water between this episode’s poor writing and wasted concept, not to mention the groan-inducing season opener that literally made my sister-in-law give up on the show. (In her defense, yes, it was the very first truly bad episode of ‘Castle.’ It was just so poorly done.)

I will not quit ‘Castle.’ I know in my heart that I can’t give up on them like I did Supernatural or The Legend of Korra because it means way more to me than other shows I’ve quit. But I am worried for them. Very worried. It’s still very early in the season to make a full assumption—we’re six episodes in and they always have a season of 23-24 episodes—but there could be a storm on the horizon for my beloved Caskett and it’s not going to be easy to get through it.

Sadly, ‘Castle’ isn’t the only show in danger. If you’re involved online, you might have heard about the utter shitstorm that ‘Sleepy Hollow’ just got itself into thanks to a truly badly written episode revolving around Katrina, Ichabod Crane’s wife. The show is only in season two so it is way too early to say they are also on the slippery slope, but trust me, it’s toeing that line. I discuss their issues next, so here’s Part 2 to the Slippery Slope.


Things Castle Taught Me About Writing



Monday is usually everyone’s least favorite day  of the week, but it isn’t for me thanks to a wonderful cop procedural dramedy known as Castle. It hit the airwaves in 2009 and has been kicking ass ever since with the help of geek god Nathan Fillion and the delicious Stana Katic.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be the same person I am now without this show—both as a writer and as a fangirl. In honor of its sixth season premiere, I’d like to share what this wonderful show has taught me over the years.

Unresolved sexual tension exists for a reason. Sexual tension. It’s a tale as old as time. Song as old as rhyme…wait, no, sorry, wrong story. The titular Castle and his muse, Detective Kate Beckett, wasted no time in sharing steamy chemistry by introducing it literally in the first episode. The first words out of his mouth upon meeting her (at a book release party where dozens of women gathered to drool over him) was, “Where would you like it?” while holding up a Sharpie to presumably sign her chest. Ever since then, it’s been a tango between the two. Castle fancied her from the second he laid eyes on her while Beckett remained unamused and uninterested for most of the first season, but she eventually warmed up to him. One of the most admirable things this show has done is taking the stigma out of the “Will They or Won’t They” trope, which is commonplace in all types of fiction. Castle was able to successfully introduce, explore, and resolve the sexual tension between the characters because the creator, Andrew W. Marlowe, and the cast actively disagree with the “Moonlighting Curse.” For any of you whippersnappers out there, Moonlighting was a 1980’s TV show with starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd as a dynamic duo of sorts who solved cases and had massive amounts of lust between them. However, after the two finally hooked up, the show immediately lost the audience’s interest and got canceled.

The relationship between Castle and Beckett worked because it developed naturally instead of being corralled by the writers. Their actions stayed true to the characters. They constantly made each other better and strengthened their bond before they took a tumble into the bedroom. Many writers struggle with this concept by making several rookie mistakes: resolving the tension too quickly (ex. Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood), dragging the tension along for too long (ex. Ross and Rachel), creating a pointless love triangle where one love interest is clearly the winner and the other gets strung along (Katniss Everdeen and Gale), etc. We’ve all seen this happen in shows/movies/anime/books we love. Castle taught me to fight the urge to force characters together too late or too soon. Allow each character to grow first and then worry about when and how they’ll connect. That will keep things steamy as well as preventing the reader from losing interest or becoming frustrated with the couple.

Supporting characters are the cream in the coffee. If for some bizarre reason you don’t fall in love with Castle and Beckett at first sight, the show has a fantastic spread of supporting protagonists to keep you happy. It is also one of the few shows that found a way to balance these people in Castle and Beckett’s lives, as in no one character steals the spotlight all the time.

More importantly, the secondary characters often provide the subplots that can help enhance the enjoyment of the main storyline. It has become a joke in the fandom that Castle’s daughter Alexis and his mother Martha have helped him solve as many murders as Beckett has due to their troublesome personal lives. It can be difficult building one’s own “cast” in a novel or short story, but it’s ultimately worth it because of diversity. Having more than just one or two characters allows comparisons to be drawn among them. It can highlight implicit and explicit conflict. It can give the character someone to antagonize or sympathize with. Supporting characters are just what their namesake says: they help hold the weight of the story and distribute it evenly.

Themes can be important and juicy tidbits to add to the story. There are a lot of themes in Castle—from overarching concepts like justice vs. revenge or lust vs. love, all the way down to the coffee that the two constantly share and their repeated phrase “Always” in favor of saying, “I love you” before the two became a couple. It has been one of the most enjoyable things about the series over the years. The writers of Castle know their stuff. They are careful to weave the threads throughout the series and create delightful parallels to entice the viewers and make them feel even more connected with the characters.

For example, (spoiler alert!) there’s the line that convinced Castle to begin shadowing Beckett for “research purposes” was after he offered to take her out on a date (and debrief her, ha-ha) and he tells her that it was too bad because it would have been great. The normally no-nonsense Beckett then bites her lip and whispers in his ear, “You have no idea.” Guess what happens the morning after the pair finally sleep together? Castle says, “You were right. I had no idea.” And that’s a distance of five seasons from the pilot to the season five opener. Keeping themes, lines, gags, and ideas like that is what makes the show so much fun to watch. Giving the fiction a definite continuity can further involve your readers and make them a part of what they’re seeing. Furthermore, they can end up hungering for more, like how us Marvel fans eagerly watch the Marvel Universe movies to see small shout outs to other heroes, and the always delightful cameo of Stan “The Man” Lee. Themes, when done properly, are just one more thing to love about a good book.

Keep an eye on your fans. This concept is dangerous, but also well worth the trouble if it works out just right. The Castle writers, creators, and actors are all connected to their audience through social media. Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion both live tweeted the season six premiere, and have done it more than once. They answer questions, post Behind-the-Scenes pics, and generally goof off just like their fans do. They make us feel welcome and tease us with all kinds of interesting things that the show is involved in.

As a writer, it’s important to stay connected to the readers for several reasons: (1) to gauge the general reception of your work (2) to find new readers (3) to catch flaws, criticism, or accidental plotholes that their eyes were good enough to catch (4) to discover new avenues that your work can travel that you may not have considered. For instance, the portmanteau couple name for Castle and Beckett in the fandom is “Caskett” (adorable, right?) and the show’s creators were so tickled by it that they snuck it into a season five episode. This caused a huge uproar of pure glee from the fandom to know that we had influenced our own show. It is a bit harder to integrate something like that into fiction, but it can result in further engrossing the readers when they know that they have your attention. They may even spread your fanbase by telling their friends what they helped create on their favorite show.

Castle’s sixth season has a lot left to show me and I can’t thank the writers/actors enough for giving us such an incredible run over the years. If you’re curious, tune in Monday nights at 10pm EST on ABC to see more of the lovable mystery novelist and his sexy detective. Maybe you’ll learn a little something too.