Warning: Spoilers! Do not read if you wish to remain spoiler free!
Right now, it’s a little rough to be a CASTLE fan. Beckett and Castle aren’t on the best terms. (Heck, they didn’t really even work together last episode.) And of course, the breaks between new episodes isn’t helping matters. But hopefully, what I have here can help make the wait for the next new episode, “Headhunters,” a little bit easier.
As you guys know, I talked with CASTLE creator Andrew Marlowe on Monday, and while what I posted then was more focused on “The Limey” and a potential season 5, there was of course more to our conversation.
Take a look at what Marlowe had to say about the season finale (including that title), who is coming back, which characters will be getting some big moments as we head towards the end of the season, and what he has to say to the fans who are currently unhappy with where Beckett and Castle are at in their relationship…
It’s reported that the season finale, as of now, it’s being called “Always.” Is that the 100% confirmed title?
Andrew Marlowe: It’s my title for it. The studio and network haven’t told me to change it yet!
Well, with that title, there’s bound to be a level of expectation from fans. Was there any extra pressure as you guys were writing the episode to be like, “Okay, if we name it this, it needs to have a certain amount of X in it so the audience doesn’t get disappointed”?
AM: I think there’s always that obligation and there’s always that obligation to be both satisfying and maddening in a season finale. And we know that’s our obligation and that’s what we’re hoping to live up to. And it will be up to the fans to tell us whether we’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve.
Will Castle’s secret for sure be out before the year ends?
AM: Yeah. Yeah. We have a case that is going to steer us back into — a case seems to touch on Beckett’s mother’s murder. And so it’s going to force him to confront all of those issues.
I assume that will be taking place in the season finale?
AM: Yeah, that’s the season finale.
Will Beckett’s father be back in that episode?
AM: As of now, unless he ends up on the cutting room floor, it is our intent. [Laughs]
Yeah, I know the poor guy has ended up on the cutting room floor before.
AM: Yeah, he has.
What can you say about what he’ll be bringing to the table when he returns this time?
AM: I can say nothing about that, because I don’t want to give away anything.
Okay, fair enough. Will we be discovering who shot Beckett?
AM: It’s quite possible. The case we deal with in the finale takes us back into Beckett’s shooting and her mother’s case and in an indirect way it turns everything on its head a little bit and is the catalyst that forces Castle and Beckett to really confront all the issues between them.
In past years, the pattern has been that the season has ended with Castle and Beckett not on the best terms and splitting up — or in the case of last year, it was revealed they split up shortly after we last saw them. Will that be repeating itself this year, or are you going to change things up?
AM: I’m not clear on what you’re asking me. [Laughs] No, I know what you’re asking me. [Laughs again, before taking a long pause] Let me say this — in past years, there have been some near-misses and misunderstandings that have ended the season. And this is the season where we put our cards on the table. But I’m not going to give you an indication as to which way the chips fall. But we do deal with things directly.
That’s good to hear. Aside from the last couple episodes, there really hasn’t been as much time paid to the secrets the two are keeping from each other (aside from the occasional winks to the audience). Do you ever wish you had touched upon it more early on, or are you happy that you guys got to tackle it full-steam heading towards the season finale?
AM: You know, it was never our intent to make the show overly serialized. We want the show to be friendly and if people are coming to revisit the show, they can visit their favorite show without the weight of all the relationship stuff. So we did have plans to touch on it in a few key episodes along the way, and we’ve gone according to plan, for better or for worse. Our audience members have different opinions about that. Some people think we’ve handled it well, some people get frustrated, some people have wanted more overt declarations. We get that. We get that we’re not going to make everybody happy. But we’ve been doing what we think is right for these characters, what is appropriate for these characters.
Beckett is somebody who has never worn her heart on her sleeve and we’ve known that she’s been working on some of these issues behind-the-scenes. We know that she’s been seeing her therapist, we know that she’s been making progress, and those are some issues that we’ve dealt with and we will continue to deal with leading up to the finale.
And we know the weight that’s been on Castle’s shoulders the whole time. We know how he feels about her. So he’s been in this bizarre Catch-22, where she said to him that she’s not going to be ready until she’s able to solve some of these issues. So we felt if we had touched upon it [more], we would have gotten into a situation where we were just repeating the same beats. And that the real way to deal with it was when it was the appropriate time, to bring it to the forefront, watch the fireworks and see what happens.
Absolutely. I’m very interested to see how those fireworks play out. Now, with Montgomery’s murder last year, the team banded together to keep his secret. Will that be addressed before the season ends. or is that something you’ll be picking back up on next year?
AM: Yeah, we’ll be dealing with that a little bit before the season ends.
I know when we spoke earlier this season, you mentioned 3XK and Castle’s father might also figure into the later part of the season. Are you going to be squeezing either figure in to the show before the season ends?
AM: We have a 3XK thing planned for next year. We had thought about doing it, but our actor was on PAN AM earlier in the season. So sometimes the realities of casting and scheduling preclude you from doing the things you want at the time you want. But we have an idea of how we want to bring him back. So that’s something, assuming there’s a next season, fans can hope to see.
And we wanted to touch on the mystery of Castle and his father’s identity before the end of the season, and we felt like we did that in a pretty compelling way in the two-parter, and it gave us some great stuff to pick up on next season.
See, and I was still hesitant to trust Jennifer Beals’ character. Obviously you would know if we should believe her, but we saw she’s a liar…
AM: You can’t trust her. But it’s certainly an interesting bit of bait for her to dangle out there.
Oh, yeah. That’s one of the obvious subjects Castle’s vulnerable about.
AM: Yeah. And he’s always talking about CIA conspiracies, so it certainly fits in with everything he talks about. [Laughs] But then again, he talks about ninjas and zombies. And we’re tackling zombies this year, so maybe next year it will be ninjas.
Speaking of Castle’s family, we know that Alexis is currently set to go to school. Have you guys made any decisions about how you’re going to handle her character going forward or is that still up in the air for now?
AM: No, we’ve talked about it. We have some interesting ideas about how to deal with her in the storytelling. And a lot of the stuff leading up to the end, she has some significant scenes because she’s dealing with what all kids at that time are dealing with — college acceptance letters, where am I going to go, what am I going to do with my life? All leading up to her graduating from high school and that emotional scene. So we have some fun stuff coming up for her.
Do we actually get to see her graduate from high school?
AM: There may be a graduation speech in the final episode. Stay tuned.
Fair enough. One of the earlier concerns this season was from Castle’s family about his safety while shadowing the NYPD. If he continues to do this, is there any talk about him getting some sort of training so he isn’t as vulnerable as a civilian would be?
AM: Don’t you think a little bit of training would actually make him more dangerous?
AM: You always have to be careful with that. One of the things we love about Castle is that he operates outside the system. And if he got training and he became a junior detective and he was forced into the same constraints as everybody else, we feel it may cut off some of our fun storytelling.
Understandable. Gates probably won’t be too thrilled about that, though. Will we be seeing more from her as we head into the final stretch of the season?
AM: We have some plans for her for next season. We don’t expose as much about her; she’s somebody we have to open up slowly. But she has a significant role playing in the finale.
Right now, Esposito and Lanie seem to be in this off-on couple phase. Do you think that when Castle and Beckett inevitably get together they could fall into a same kind of pattern? Or do you anticipate that when they get together, it’ll stick?
AM: [Joking] Oh, so you want me to give away the secrets for the next couple seasons?
Hey, if you feel like doing that, that’s totally fine!
AM: [Joking] Okay, so this is exactly happens with Castle and Beckett for the next two or three seasons… [Laughs]
If you feel like being that generous and sharing your plans, I’m not going to turn that down.
AM: [Laughs] I think I’ll pass for today. We want to have something to talk about next year!
On that note, is there a frustration over spoilers? Inevitably, people talk about what’s coming up, which can lead to out-there expectations and actual surprises being ruined. Are you okay with things being discussed and revealed — to an extent, of course — or is your instinct to try and lock everything down?
AM: You know, some of the spoilers we’re fine with. We do want people to watch, we do want people to be excited. We know that — or at least I know that I have to tease the two of them are going to put their cards on the table and confront things at the end of the season, because I think for our loyal fans, the next couple episodes could try their patience if they don’t know it’s leading to something.
But I’m not going to reveal everything about if or whether or what it’s like or whether they’re going to be satisfied or disappointed. But I know there are certain promises we have to make to keep them engaged. And then moving forward, we’ve always tried to honor the characters and what their relationships are. And you can’t listen too closely to the fan base because what they say they want isn’t necessarily what they want. And I think that our characters declare what they want more loudly than our fan base does. And as long as we’re honoring them and not violating who they are, we feel like we’re doing a good job. And it’s less anxiety-ridden for us here because we know where we’re going. So if you know how the game ends, you’re not as worried when your team is down by 20 points.
As a sports fan who often watches games on DVR, that’s a hilariously appropriate metaphor. But look, there’s a gap between “The Limey” and the next episode, “Headhunters,” and I think it’s fair to say “The Limey” may stress some people out…
AM: Yeah, I think that’s fair to say.
So is there anything you really want the fans to know so they don’t let the angst of “The Limey” get to them too much?
AM: There are only three more episodes left of the season. A little bit of patience will go a long way. And I promise you that by the end of the season, Beckett and Castle will be confronting the secrets they have between them directly. And they can see how that turns out.