This Monday at 10/9c, Castle resumes its uninterrupted final run of episodes with the “gift” of a flashback-filled trip down memory lane. But beyond that don’t-call-it-a-clip-show — and in light of the events of last episode (which was supposed to air first) — the road ahead for Rick and Kate looks a bit bumpy. Series creator Andrew W. Marlowe spoke with TVLine about putting the popular pairing to the test, culminating in a top-secret finale where they either pass… or fail.
TVLINE | What story were you wanting to tell with these last few episodes, leading into the season finale?
The last couple episodes are about how [Rick and Kate] have been in a relationship for about a year now, and that’s about the time people start asking questions, about where things stand. They’ve been living in this fun bubble, but there comes a time where real life intrudes and things come in from the outside and force the characters to ask questions about where they’re going. By the time we get to “The Human Factor” (airing May 6), those questions will start aiming us towards some complications that come in our final episode, challenges to the relationship that both characters are going to have to confront.
TVLINE | With “The Squab & the Quail” airing ahead of schedule last week, what did viewers miss out on not having seen “Still” first?
Not too much – and I will let them discover that. But there are a couple of really important relationship moments and serious moments in “Still.” As you know, that episode, the 24th episode, was added very late in the game, so we took a very particular point of view on how we were going to get it done. And it turned out, I think, in spectacular fashion. It’s a great gift to our loyal fans. There are a couple of moments in there that they have to look forward to, that they’ll really enjoy.
TVLINE | Would you be loath to call it a “clip show”?
I would. We certainly have clips in it, but…. When I realized we only had a couple of days to shoot it and we’d have to fill it out with clips, I set out to make the best “clip show” that television has seen, and I think our team pulled it off. It’s a great episode, because we use the clips to forward the storytelling. It is a great trip down memory lane, but we also have some high stakes and interesting stuff going on in the main story.
TVLINE | Circling back to “Squab” for a minute: In your mind, what all informed Kate’s ever-so-slightly wishy-washy response to Erik Vaughn asking about her relationship status?
Well, I think what has dawned on her is [she and Rick] haven’t really talked about it. Does Castle think the relationship is serious? Does she think it’s serious, where they’re headed? They’ve been in it for a year and they seem to be having a really good time and having good moments, but…. This a guy who’s been married twice, she’s not getting any younger, she’s thinking about her future… and does her future include him? And is that part of his plan?
It’s only human to ask those questions at this point. I don’t think it signals that there’s anything “wrong” with the Castle/Beckett relationship, but I do think that she wonders what comes next — and as we get towards the end of the season, Castle himself is going to wonder what comes next. As a guy, he is somebody who doesn’t rush into commitment if things are working well the way they are. But Kate has a career and she’s got her next steps to think about. When an Internet billionaire is making a play for you, if she was single, I think we know what she would have done in [last week’s] situation. It speaks to her level of commitment to Castle [that she pushed Vaughn away], but it also speaks to a desire to know what happens next.
TVLINE | Aside from snipping symbolic videogame cords and offering candlelit massages, will we see other instances of Castle trying to course-correct?
As we head into “The Human Factor,” there are other, more professional issues that start to arise for the Beckett character, that begin to complicate things. We have that to look forward to as we come to our season finale, which is an emotional season finale. But instead of going into Beckett’s mother’s mythology like we have the last two seasons, and done something operatic, I wanted to really focus on where Castle and Beckett were. So we have a great case but it kind of takes a back seat to wrestling with the bigger life issues that both of them are in the midst of.
TVLINE | “Human Factor” guest star Carlos Bernard (24), like Ioan Gruffudd, is not an unattractive man. Does his character serve a purpose similar to Erik Vaughn?
No, he serves a different purpose. He’s a complicated character, but he opens Beckett’s eyes to a greater world out there.
TVLINE | Talk about the title of this season’s finale, “Watershed.”
Every so often in life you face a watershed moment, and I have to give props to [producer-wife] Terri Miller for coming up with the title. It was absolutely perfect — especially since in our A-case we find a body in a water tank. It was a great title that spoke to both the personal and the professional aspect of the storytelling.
TVLINE | Are you leaving viewers with a cliffhanger?
There is a bit of a cliffhanger, yeah. It’s an emotional cliffhanger that I think will propel us into some great, complicated, interesting storytelling as we head into next season — assuming the TV gods are kind and grant us one.
TVLINE | [Grey’s Anatomy creator] Shonda Rhimes is never shy about saying she scrapped a finale plan late in the game and reworked it from scratch. When did it become clear to you how you wanted to end Season 5?
Every season, you have a great map but it’s like driving through fog– the closer you get, the clearer it gets. So about seven or eight episodes out, I knew, ballpark, where I wanted to land. And part of it was informed by some really big storytelling we had in the spring, dealing with [Senator] Bracken, the two-parter [about Alexis’ kidnapping], what we’re doing in “Still”…. And I wanted a quieter, more emotional finale, without the fireworks. But you do go back and forth. We were fortunate that [the May 13 finale] times out where it’s about that period of time where people start asking the hard questions about relationships, and in the finale something comes out of left field that both characters have to wrestle with, something that would be a challenge to any relationship. Having clarity seven or eight episodes out was very helpful, and we feel pretty good about where we landed.
Tell us Castle and Beckett are not breaking up in the finale! OK, I know you can’t answer that, but give us something to make us feel better? –Rida
Hmm. Would it make you feel better to have insight into how Andrew W. Marlowe decided wherever it is that Kate and Rick end up at 10:55 pm on May 13? When first planning a finale, the series creator explains, “You have a great map, but it’s like driving through fog a little bit – the closer you get, the clearer it gets. So about seven or eight episodes out, I knew ballpark where I wanted to land.” And versus yet another capper tied to Beckett’s mother’s murder, “I wanted a quieter, more emotional finale, without the fireworks,” he says. “In this one, something comes out of left field that both characters have to wrestle with, something that would be a challenge to any relationship.”
‘CASTLE’: SHOULD CASTLE/BECKETT FANS BE WORRIED?
Aside from a few bumps along the way, this season of Castle has been filled with lots of joy for Castle and Beckett — the “honeymoon period,” as executive producer Andrew Marlow calls it. But will the May 13 finale bring an official end to this honeymoon?
“I think the finale’s goal is to ask some hard questions, and take a look at some reconceived notions and some assumptions that both characters may have that may or may not be accurate,” he elaborates.
Judging from the questions you fans sent in, though, I know there’s one question that’s been plaguing your minds: Should you be worried about Castle and Beckett’s relationship status. The answer? Well, it’s complicated: “I think whenever we go into a finale episode, of course, the fans should be worried about things,” Marlowe says. “But what we’re trying to do is find honest organic storytelling that’s more complicated than ‘should we be worried’ because I think ‘should we be worried’ implies a binary outcome — either X happens to Y happens and I think we’re trying to tell a lot more complicated story than that.”
I warned you. It’s complicated. Thankfully clarity is just around the corner, as are more teases from Marlow. Stay tuned.
Airs: Monday, May 13 at 10/9c
Unlike Castle‘s previous two season finales, this year’s case, which involves a body found in a hotel water tank, has no direct connection to our heroes’ personal lives. But the episode will still pack an emotional punch once Beckett drops a bombshell. “They face the biggest challenge to their relationship that we’ve seen so far,” creator Andrew W. Marlowe says. “We find Castle and Beckett forced to confront the hard questions about what their relationship is based on and who they are. Questions start bubbling up, [like], ‘Where are we going?’” And the answers could impact everyone at the precinct. “The finale could potentially change everyone‘s lives forever,” Marlowe teases.
Any new Castle scoop, Sandra? It’s been a while! — Emily
Indeed it has, which is why I’m chatting up EP Andrew Marlowe on Friday. (Yes, that’s a non-subtle call for questions.) Meanwhile, I’ll tease you with this: Beckett is in a solid relationship and one of the best detectives in the city, but is that enough?
After a week off, CASTLE is back this Monday with a brand new episode! And since we’re about to enter into the final five episodes of the season, I asked CASTLE creator Andrew Marlowe what he could tease about the last few hours of season 5…
The upcoming cases:
Castle and Beckett have come across all sorts of unfathomable things in their four-plus years together, but Monday’s episode, “The Fast and the Furriest,” could put them in the path of their craziest foe yet.
“We have a really fun episode where in a traditional CASTLE way it looks like Bigfoot might be our killer,” Marlowe previewed about the hour. “So that’s our chance to take a look at the genre and the supernatural stuff out there in a fun, yet credible way.”
The following week (April 22nd) is the newly ordered bonus hour, “Still,” which Marlowe has deemed an “an emotionally charged episode” where Beckett accidentally triggers a pressure-sensitive bomb while investigating a case. So it’s a bit understandable that the April 29th episode, “The Squab and the Quail,” is a little bit lighter in tone.
“Beckett is roped into protecting a Steve Jobs/Elon Musk-type character [played by RINGER's Ioan Gruffudd], who is wealthy, innovation, and handsome,” Marlowe teased. “He’s sort of the uber Castle. And of course, this sets Castle off and makes him insanely jealous. It’s really fun to watch how Castle responds to this now that they’re a couple. It would be as if Beckett had to protect George Clooney, in terms of Castle’s reaction.”
But it won’t be all fun and games as the season winds down: one of the final hours of the season will deal with the topic of drones.
“We’re jumping into the cultural conversation about drones and the deployment of drones on U.S. soil,” Marlowe shared. “It’s CASTLE, so we’re going to take our own unique perspective.”
And while Esposito has an established military background, Marlowe said the hour wouldn’t necessarily be used to shed more light on Espo’s history, but “he’ll certainly have a point of view” about the case.
The supporting characters:
After getting several episodes devoted to exploring the backstories of Esposito and Ryan over the years, the only character that has been around since day one who is still a pretty big question mark is Lanie. And while fans may be intrigued about her history, there’s no timetable yet for when the show will dive deeper into that particular story.
“Maybe,” Marlowe replied, when I asked if we could see a Lanie-centric episode next year. “It’s been complicated to work out, to find the right way to expose her backstory.”
In the meantime, Lanie will be kept busy with her on-again relationship with Esposito.
“They’re downplaying it,” Marlowe explained. “I think neither one of them wants to expose too much because they hit some rocks afterwards, so they’re trying to figure out their level of investment.”
Speaking of romance, Gates has seemingly missed a whole bunch of clues indicating that Castle and Beckett’s relationship has evolved from partners to romantic over the season, and Marlowe teased that what Gates does — or doesn’t — know about Castle and Beckett’s relationship will be revealed soon: “It’s something we’re going to confront before the end of the season.”
The Castle family:
Alexis has been heavily involved in quite a few episodes in 2013 — her mother’s return, the kidnapping, the 100th episode surprise birthday party — and the last arc will feature a bit of Castle’s daughter in a more grounded setting.
“We’ll see a little more of her by the end of the year,” Marlowe said. “It’s her stuff at the loft and tied in with her dad and the relationship with Beckett.”
And, of course, viewers did just meet Castle’s father for the first time. But given that his father is played by James Brolin, I asked Marlowe if there was any concern that having such a huge name guest star would impact the show’s ability to get him to return for follow up episodes.
“I hope not,” Marlowe said. “Castle’s father has such a strong mythology in the show, that I think if you start seeing him too often, it diminishes who he is. So being a little bit mysterious is good for us. But I’d love to bring him back under the right circumstances.”