[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from the Season 5 premiere of Castle. Read at your own risk.]
So, was it good for you?
Castle's Season 5 premiere began in the sexy afterglow of Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett's first night together. Although both agreed that they wanted to give the relationship a shot, Beckett (Stana Katic) soon found herself hiding in Castle's closet when Martha (Susan Sullivan) cut her trip to the Hamptons short.
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But Beckett's luck got even worse when she learned that Cole Maddox (Tahmoh Penikett), the hitman who shot her in the Season 3 finale, was tying up loose ends and coming to finish the job he started. Although Maddox was killed during his attempt to destroy a file that held crucial information about Beckett's mother's murder, Beckett & Co. soon (literally) pieced the file together and learned that Sen. William Bracken (guest star Jack Coleman) is the man responsible for Johanna Beckett's death.
Vowing to stop living her life in fear, Beckett forced her way into a private meeting with the senator. Despite Castle's fears that Beckett might take her revenge, Beckett used the destroyed file to blackmail the senator into keeping her and her loved ones safe... for now.
We chatted with Castle creator Andrew W. Marlowe about finally solving Johanna Beckett's murder, Beckett's ability to resist vengeance, and how her decision impacts her future with Castle. Plus: When are Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) going to make up?
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You promised to solve Beckett's mother's murder once and for all this season, but we didn't think it'd be so soon! Is Sen. Bracken really as far as this thing goes?
Andrew W. Marlowe: That mystery is over. We know all the answers we need to know. Now the question is: How is Beckett going to live with it? We have Sen. Bracken out in the universe. Are their paths going to cross again? And when? We know that Beckett still wants justice, but she can't get it right now. But at least she knows whom she needs to bring to justice. We feel like we've closed one chapter and opened another. What we see at the end of "After the Storm" is a Beckett who's grown. I think if it had been earlier in our run, we would have seen a much more vengeful Beckett. But she walks into a situation and ultimately makes the right choice for her and for all the people around her. She's going to get this guy the right way.
Do you think she was in control the whole time, or did she come to that decision once she was face-to-face with Bracken.
Marlowe: In a situation like that, if you put yourself in the shoes of the character, you are such a bubbling cauldron. You could easily tip one way or the other. I easily could have seen the character making a different choice in that situation, and I think that she's really walking the razor's edge. Our intention was to see the character struggling with embracing justice instead of embracing vengeance. One would have been much more emotionally satisfying in the short term, but given who Beckett is and what she's committed to, justice prevailed in the end.
Do you think Beckett now has a little more freedom? Maybe she's not constantly looking over her shoulder anymore?
Marlowe: I think it gives her enormous freedom, and it gives her freedom to indulge in a relationship with Castle in a way that she felt she never could. She could never jump in because she felt like she had something hanging over her: that sense of not being safe and also that sense of not knowing. In a lot of ways, a large piece of her life was given back to her when this mystery was solved, and I think that that's liberating. It doesn't mean it's not going to get complicated as we move forward, but she has the freedom to start opening up.
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I liked the dichotomy of Beckett and Bracken. His version of justice became corrupted while Beckett's, for now, seems pure.
Marlowe: He is blinded by his own spin. He is somebody who is unaware of the damage he's doing in an attempt to do good. It seems like he wanted to do good and that became a self-aggrandizement, so he's doing it for his own purposes because it fits the kind of man he wants to be. The harder choice is to service justice for justice's sake. Sometimes doing the correct thing, you have to pay for it. But hopefully at the end of the day, the world rewards that choice.
But does it? For now, he's still getting away with murder.
Marlowe: Bracken is on a slippery slope. He's a man who has stolen and murdered to get where he is in order to do good things. Is that something that we can really admire? No. But I think Beckett knows in her heart of hearts that there will be a reckoning one day. She just has to go about it the right way, because if she kills him for vengeance, then she becomes him. And that's not what she wants.
So, will she be keeping an eye on Bracken all season? Couldn't he still come after her, despite her threats?
Marlowe: I think that she's watching him. Everything she said is basically a bluff. All she has is tiny, little pieces of paper that don't amount to anything. So, she's bluffed her way to this moment to protect herself. At a certain point, there's going to be a collision. These uncomfortable détentes can only last so long until there's a flashpoint that brings people back into a collision course. We have not seen the last of Sen. Bracken.
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So, where do we go from here with Castle and Beckett's relationship?
Marlowe: To me, this season is about how they adjust to each other. The opening scene is really all about that. They have this warm bubble, and then Martha comes in. It's like, "OK, we're not ready to reveal this. So, now our relationship is a secret?" That's its own sort of ticking time bomb. In the second episode we're airing, Beckett makes it perfectly clear that NYPD doesn't like people who are working together dating and Castle argues, "Well, I'm not an official employee." But will Gates really view it that way?
How far will they go to keep up the pretense?
Marlowe: Well, Castle still has a reputation as a womanizer. What happens when he's advertising that he's single and somebody asks him out on a date and he feels obligated to go out on that date in order to keep up the illusion? How does that affect the relationship? That's just one small example of the kinds of challenges they have in their relationship. And they're also figuring each other out. Inevitably in a relationship, you step on each other's toes.
What about the other relationship — Ryan and Esposito's bromance. Are those guys going to make up soon?
Marlowe: The wounds haven't been healed between the two of them by the time Esposito comes back from suspension. They have to deal with some things, and hopefully that gets them back together. But I think the issue of trust between them is something that, even if it's put to bed in the short-term, is going to pop back up in the long-term.
What did you think of the Castle premiere?