[WARNING: The following story contains major spoilers from the Season 4 finale of ABC's Castle. Read at your own risk.]
Are you still with us Castle fans?
After four seasons of will-they-won't-they romantic tension, the ABC drama's Season 4 finale seemingly brought mystery writer Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion) together with his muse, Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). But getting there was no easy task.
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So, you finally put Castle and Beckett together. Why was now the time?
Andrew W. Marlowe: Ultimately, you get to a fork in the road. If we kept them apart any longer, say another season — after what Castle had put on the table at the end of last season — in my mind, that would have been the death of the series. Then, we would have just been being artificial. They would have become brother and sister, and then we're just ignoring everything that had happened. There comes a point where you have to confront it. ... We wanted to get the point where we resolved it and made a promise for next season that these two are going to have to be dealing with their feelings for one another.
Of course, we didn't see whatever was about to happen in that bedroom. Are you planning to pull a fast one next season?
Marlowe: I have no intention of pulling the rug out from the audience. I think that when that scene ends, everybody is clear on what's about to happen. We don't need to see it, but we know it's going to happen.
So to be clear, there won't be an urgent phone call that Castle's mom has been in an accident or something like that?
Marlowe: No. I think we need to get to the other side of the storytelling. I think we've played the interruptions as much as we possibly can. And I think we're really interested to see what's going to happen with these two. What does that relationship look like? This is going to allow us to re-embrace some of the fun, because relationships are tricky things and they don't always go the way you want them to.
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Are you saying this season didn't have as much "fun" as you would like?
Marlowe: Yeah a little bit. We had a lot of fun this season, but Castle and Beckett were each keeping secrets from one another and weren't dealing with each other completely honestly. I think some of the angst of this season — we paid for some of that with some element of fun. That by no means is me saying the fun left the show, but we had to spend a little bit of that capital in a different place. Getting to the other side of this allows us to bring ... [back] the back-and-forth between them and the physical comedy. It allows us to recommit to the fundamental values of what the show is.
So you want to see them in a more playful place with one another?
Marlowe: [Seeing them] figuring out their rhythms with one another is going to be fun for the audience to watch. In no way do we think this is going to end the fun and the tension between Castle and Beckett because the question is now going to become: Where does this relationship go and how does it affect their ability to work together?
Would you call them a couple at this point or is it not that defined?
Marlowe: I think those are all the questions the characters are going to be asking themselves, and that's going to be part of the fun. When they wake up the next morning, are both of them still in the same place? And Beckett's actually resigned from the force. So, what is she going to do with her life now? There's all sorts of stuff to jump into next season.
Why does Beckett resign in that moment?
Marlowe: It's a reflection on what she's been doing with her life and how she's defined herself. This echoes back to a conversation she had with her therapist in "Kill Shot" where she says, "I want to move past this." [Does] letting go of her mother's murder allow her to choose something else in life, where she's not as driven to be a cop? Or will things happen that will force her to recommit to it?
You mean like the fact that Cole Maddox is still vowing to put her in the ground for good? Will that bring her back to the force perhaps?
Marlowe: We'll hopefully make it more interesting than that. That's a little conventional. There's going to be some of that, but we're also talking about some other things that are really interesting to us. ... But yes, unbeknownst to Beckett, her life is still very much in danger, and that's something we're going to be picking up the thread on when we come back next season.
Have you already planned the resolution of that cliff-hanger?
Marlowe: Yeah, we have. I don't want to go into in too much detail because we still have some moving pieces on the board on that one, and I'm not going to commit myself to anything one way or another. But it is something we plan to pick up on when we get back, but it's not somewhere we're looking for the series to dwell. We're looking to get Beckett beyond some of that stuff to the point where she can rediscover who she is and [she and Castle] can deal with this decision they have made.
Gates was able to bring her claws out again. Will that continue?
Marlowe: Inevitably, we have to see more of that side. Beckett and Esposito [Jon Huertas] have crossed a line. So, what does that mean for them as cops? Gates [Penny Johnson Jerald] ends up being much more of a significant obstacle in the first couple of episodes next season.
And Esposito doesn't look too pleased with Ryan (Seamus Dever)...
Marlowe: [With] Beckett and Castle getting together, we felt it was time to challenge some of the other relationships so we'd have somewhere to go with the storytelling. Ryan has to make a choice that ends up with Esposito feeling like he's been betrayed. The two of them are definitely on the outs.
For all the 'shippers this finale will make happy, we're sure there are some who fear this development will hurt the show. What's your message to that group of fans?
Marlowe: Just because these characters have decided to take the next step in the relationship, it doesn't make the relationship that much different. This is just a natural progression in a much longer story about these two characters. When two people have traits that are fundamentally challenging to the other, the comedy doesn't go away. [We] have to deliver great fun shows where the characters are challenged in the relationship the same way they were before they slept together.
Check out photos of the Castle cast
So it's safe to assume the relationship won't be completely smooth sailing?
Marlowe: We do put the relationship under threat right away with Maddox's threat at the end of the episode. [Beyond that,] I have a good ballpark sense of where we're going. And I'm not going to advertise it too much because that's the fun of the ride. You don't want to show everybody exactly what the rises and falls of the roller coaster are when they get on it. You want them to be surprised at the twists and turns. Sleeping together is a great hallmark, but to get to the promised land of a happy ending, there's a long way for these guys to go.
Have you heard for sure that the show has been renewed?
Marlowe: No official word. [ABC is] very supportive of us, but ultimately I don't want to tempt the TV gods. Fingers crossed we'll hear good news soon. ... It would surprise me if we didn't come back, but that being said, I'm sure people have been surprised before.
So, when's the wedding?
Marlowe: [Laughs] Maybe in Season 8 if we're lucky?
What did you think of the Castle finale?