- Series Title: Castle
- Season: 6
- Episodes: 23
- Discs: 5
- Network: ABC (US)
- Cast: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Seamus Dever, Jon Huertas, Molly C. Quinn, Susan Sullivan
- DVD: Widescreen DVD
Castle Season 6 picks up immediately upon where Season 5 left off – with Castle proposing to Beckett and Beckett telling him she’s decided to take the job in DC. Kate accepts his proposal, and Rick Castle accepts her decision to go to DC. In DC, Kate finds herself frustrated by her job. Always striving for justice, especially for nameless victims, Kate hates being in a position where expediency trumps justice. Rather than having Kate quit though – she’s fired, for leaking information to the press (that would insure the justice she seeks rather than something embarrassing being swept under the rug.)
When I started watching Season 6 – I enjoyed the spark and humor, and even original-seeming twisty-turny plots. It felt like the Castle I knew after the extremely disappointing Season 7 I’d just watched (never fear – I’ll buy the season DVD set anyway to keep my collection up to date). Yet, I also felt that a lot of false drama was made from the idea of Kate being in DC and Castle being in New York. First – it’s not like they are a bi-coastal couple (and those exist in the real world). DC and New York are what – two hours apart? That’s not insurmountable – it’s a commute. I mean really! Second, Castle is a writer – he can work from anywhere. Yes, he’s supporting his mother and his daughter, but Alexis has moved out to go to college – and Martha’s returned to a successful acting career. Besides, as is always pointed out, Castle is wealthy – I’m sure he can afford a small apartment in DC as well – or even to stay in hotels when visiting Kate. (And Kate isn’t going to be living on the streets – she’s got to have a place.) And neither of them sell (or even rent out) out their own places in New York – as Kate goes right back to her apartment. So the whole argument about DC and the new job felt very, very false. That Kate didn’t like her new job I was OK with. It’s very seldom in the aggressive, ambitious, American lifestyle to see a movie or TV show where someone says a “better” job isn’t for them and goes back to something that makes them happier. (I’ve seen that idea occasionally on British TV shows – Hamish MacBeth for example.) It would have been nice after the two-part season opener for Kate to turn to her female boss (played by Lisa Edelstein) and said, “You know what? I quit. I thought this was for me, but it’s not. Sorry for the short notice.” But the series instead takes away all of Kate’s agency and has her get fired instead. Now, in part that was Kate’s choice – she released the information knowing it would get her fired. But I would have liked to see, just once, a strong character admit, that just because society says a certain job is better doesn’t mean it’s better for them. I think it would be the same if Kate was offered the job of police captain (which I think she turned down once, very early in the series).
The rest of the season is actually pretty good. I loved the time-traveler episode (including the Doctor Who reference), the fire episode was great, and the 70s episode was hilarious! Actually, I got even more out of the 70s episode this time around than the first time – picking up on more in-jokes, especially in the station (the cop with the lollypop!) and the somewhat subtle but oh so perfect “moral” of the episode of the two gangsters in unrequited love (God, “Gangsters in Love” it sounds like the title of a musical!). Overall, the season felt more like the earlier seasons of Castle. Also, “Like Father, Like Daughter” was a wonderful Castle and Alexis episode – and I really missed her at the end of the season (it’s like – Where’d she go? All of a sudden she’s never there.)
The “B plot” of the season was Castle’s engagement to Beckett. For the entire season – they are teasing us, and teasing us about the wedding. The bits and pieces of “character moments” that would often be about Castle and Alexis, Castle and Martha, or any of the other characters interacting – were taken up with Castle and Beckett looking for a wedding venue, agreeing on “their song”, Kate finding a wedding dress (by luck she gets a haute culture dress after a case!), choosing the guest list, etc. And I was OK with that – it actually felt realistic to watch two very busy people trying to fit wedding planning into very busy lifestyles. But after all that teasing (and watching the planning) I wanted a payoff.
When I saw the last episode of season 6 when it aired – I felt like I was robbed. And, I think that even played into my reluctance to watch it. I waited a solid week between watching episode 22 and watching episode 23 today. Now granted, for part of that time I was out of town sans computer for a long weekend, but still – I didn’t watch it when I first got back or for several days after. Watching the final episode today, as much as Kate’s sudden “college spree marriage in Vegas” seemed like a very silly plot device – I enjoyed the episode. It was fun, and light – not nearly as dark as I remembered – and Kate’s old boyfriend / husband and his girlfriend were actually kinda’ cute in a way. I liked that they got a happy ending. Logically, I wondered that an unconsummated marriage where the parties hadn’t ever even lived together would be legal. And I also wondered why there was no “no fault” divorce in New York – or any way for Kate to get out of her situation. But then, I’m no divorce attorney – maybe that part of the plot made more sense than it seemed to me.
BIG SPOILER BELOW
Finally, the last bit of the episode. Sigh. OK – as far as season 6 goes, it’s not quite so bad – but it sets up stuff for season 7 that upset me so much it’s hard to separate the two. But I’ll try. And I’ll save my season 7 rants for when I get the DVD set and can watch the whole thing.
Here we go. So – we have a full episode of basically excuses preventing Kate and Rick’s marriage. And running around solving those problems. Even Kate, in character, breaks down, crying, that she feels like the universe is trying to prevent her marriage. Castle gives a wonderful speech – but he does it as if he’s talking to just her (as he should). Castle talks about overcoming obstacles and that all the fairy tales have them. Kate looks at him and says, “That’s why I love you.” In the midst of the craziness of the episode – it’s a great moment. The penultimate scene has Kate in her wedding dress, talking to Martha, when Castle calls – he tells her everything went fine with the judge (dissolving her marriage), he has the wedding license, and he’s on his way – then Castle says, “I love you.” At that moment, my heart sank. And the very last scene is of Kate, in her wedding dress, looking at a wrecked car through flames and smoke. And we cut to end credits – with somber music instead of the typical bouncy Castle end credit theme.
So after an entire season of build-up to what should have been the ultimate fairy-tale wedding, what do we get? Castle in a ditch. And the audience knows he can’t really be dead – because he’s the lead of the series, which has been renewed for the next year. It felt like a cheap trick. Like the series creators were playing with their audience. I remember when I saw that episode originally I was mad – simply angry more than anything else. I was robbed of the wedding I’d wanted to see for six years! For crying out loud, even Luke and Laura actually got married on their wedding day when even as a 12-year-old I expected some intervention to prevent it (that’s a General Hospital reference, which I watched when I was in grade school.) This… this… this was just maddening! A whole season teasing us with wedding plans, a whole series that’s basically a romantic comedy straight out of the 30s or 40s slightly updated for modern times – and the creators deny us, the audience, the happy ending? Yeah, I was angry.
I’m still not happy with the end of the season. But the season as a whole? That was pretty good. I’d still give Castle Season 6 a good recommendation.