Castle Season 7 Episode 6 Review: “The Time of Our Lives”

Castle 7.06

As soon as I heard, over the summer, that Terri Edda Miller was writing episode 6 of this season, I knew it was the wedding. Finally! And all in all, she’s the perfect person to the pen the nuptials, being so tied (pretty legally) to show creator Andrew Marlowe and very much the heart of the characters and their relationship.

Castle is the kind of show that has always taken an equal view of the fantastical versus reality–with Castle as the believer and Kate as the skeptic (comes with having X-Files alum on your staff). Usually a supernatural themed episode will end with a plausible explanation, yet stay open to the possibility of something more, but this episode is probably the farthest it’s ever taken the fantasy.

Castle and Beckett wake up one morning to an invitation to Will Sorenson’s wedding (Kate’s mostly off-again detective boyfriend from season 1, episodes 8 and 9) and a murder call. “Every time your phone rings, a victim gets his wings.” The victims were a man and his driver. The man seemed to have been transporting a locked briefcase, which was stolen at the time of the murder. Castle sniffs coal on the victim’s body, which they trace of a coal plant on the Hudson.

When they get there, Castle asks Kate if she’s going to Sorenson’s wedding. “I’m not really ready to see someone else’s perfect day.” Castle is clearly upset by this. That very morning, they were joking about how much “better off” they’d be had they never met, and Castle’s been dwelling on it in a non-joking way all morning. They find the case and inside is some sort of amulet. Castle picks it up and immediately an alarm goes off and shots are fired at him and Beckett. An explosion causes them to separate and Castle falls through a door as a blue light washes over him. When he wakes up, the evidence of an attack–and Beckett–are gone.

Castle rushes back to the 12th, but when he gets there, no one recognizes him. He gives specific details about the case, but the alternate Ryan, Esposito, and Captain Beckett think it’s suspicious and bring him into interrogation. Castle immediately notes that he’s dreaming and just “working out some issues,” but every get-out-of-a-dream trick he tries fails. He’s stuck in Bizarro world. A world in which he jumped on a Macy’s parade float and sang “Let it Go” with Idina Menzel. Which Castle would never do as a duet! Kate comes in to join the interrogation. She asks when they would have met, he mentions the book party from the pilot, but instead of Beckett, he met with Detective McNulty. Therefore, no Nikki Heat. (McNulty is actually referenced and seen in the Castle pilot, “Flowers for Your Grave” but is also a character on the show The Wire (though that’s set in Maryland, not New York)).

When Martha comes to pick him up, it’s Dame Martha, preparing for opening night of her Mame revival. And Castle’s loft is co-owned by Martha, who’s made it in her image. Alexis, in town for Martha’s opening, has emo black hair and lives in LA with her mother (who we all know actually lives in D.C. on Scandal). Without Kate’s inspiration for the Nikki Heat books, Castle went into a depression, lost his life savings, distanced himself from Alexis, and wrote an awful book that got panned by the critics. It’s all too much for Castle, so he Ice Bucket Challenges himself to get out of the dream. But it still doesn’t work.

The next morning, Castle is resolved to finding the medallion that clearly transported him to this alternate universe. When he gets to the precinct, Beckett is reading Storm Fall. Castle gets himself back onto the case, he rides along with Rysposito the location of the amulet. As soon as he picks it up, however, he’s attacked at knifepoint. He drops the amulet and it breaks, but Castle realizes that this is a fake anyway. Captain Beckett is angry he interfered and kicks him off the case. Castle, being Castle, sneaks back into the precinct to observe Rysposito interrogate the girl with the knife, but he’s caught by Beckett, who has him put in lock up!

Beckett comes to get him not long after leaving him there, and this Kate tells Castle what we’ve been hoping for for years. Kate finally tells Castle that they met before they met, at a book tour long before that first case. I didn’t realize that Kate had never told Castle this, but it’s one of the few details that mean that this Bizarro world is an actual world, because how else would Castle’s subconscious give him that very real piece of information? Perhaps he remembered meeting her deep down…The first tingle of Caskett emotion is truly felt here as Kate finally tells Castle what we’ve known all along, while their “Always” theme music plays softly in the background.

Castle sneaks back into the precinct (again) and asks Kate out for a drink. Which she accepts this time around. Kate misses being a detective, but thinks that maybe it wasn’t meant to be because she never solved her mother’s murder. (Castle totally could have given her a clue here, but I’ll talk a little more about that later.) Castle and Beckett take down a suspect together. “We make a pretty good team, you and I.” The suspect is the guy who stole the artifact, making the case open and shut. Finding the amulet isn’t apart of their goal as cops. Castle reams into Beckett for accepting less than the full story. “The Kate Beckett in my world would never call this a win. She would be unrelenting in the face of anything that’s thrown in her path. She would never compromise.” Kate kicks Castle out for a final time.

Castle heads home and reconnects with Alexis, learning why he and she fell apart. “You gave up.” Alexis feels like if nothing she does matters in the long run, why try? Castle, realizing how much one meeting affected so many lives, not just his and Kate’s, tells her, “Everything you do matters. Every moment, every decision you make affects the people around you. It changes the world in a million imperceptible ways.” Castle resolves to get Kate to help him find the amulet, grabbing two coffees on the way there, but is abducted in route. When they get to the Coal Plant once again, Marcus Lark, the man who has the amulet, wants to know how it works. Castle says he doesn’t know how he did it, which just makes Lark angry. Men shoot at Castle, just as Kate arrives. Castle leaps in front of the bullets aimed at Kate, taking a shot to the chest. He falls on to the floor as Kate asks why he saved her, “Because I love you, Kate.” This activates the medallion Castle was holding, sending him back to the real world, where he still lies on the ground after the explosion. Everything is right with the world.

Castle now knows what to do. He’s been losing sleep over the fact that they never got their wedding day and now they’re ready to try getting married again. They head to the Hamptons at sunset (one of the cheesiest, fakest sunset backdrops in all of television) with just their immediate families there: Alexis, Martha, even Jim Beckett walks Kate down the aisle. I loved Kate’s lacy top and flowy pants. Their vows say everything, so here are some pieces of them:

“The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary.”

“I will be your partner in crime and in life. Always.”

“The mystery of you is one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring.”

“’Til death do us part. And for the time of our lives.”

And then they dance to “In My Veins,” which is when I started weeping. It was a short but beautiful wedding and a wonderful episode that explored our characters and who they are to each other. It’s nice to see how far they’ve come (while also showing the progression of our supporting characters as well) and to get so many wonderful callbacks to things the fans have watched out for or taken to heart all these years. Some of them are below, did I miss any?

References

– Sorenson (1.08-1.09)

– Castle’s Birthday Prank (5.19)

– Castle’s Storm Fall book party (1.01)

– Beckett’s lip-bite is in full force this episode (1.01)

– Castle sniffs the coffee–he never bought them the espresso machine!

– Honey Milk! (2.10)

– Kate’s reveal that she met Castle at a book signing. (1.09)

– Castle’s forlorn look as the precinct elevators close (Several episodes)

– Two pumps sugar-free vanilla!

– Castle’s leap in front of Kate and his “I love you, Kate.” (reminiscent of his declaration in 3.24.)

– Nearly everything in their vows, “extraordinary,” “always,”

– For “the time of our lives,” not only is a title drop, but apparently comes from Andrew Marlowe and Terri Edda Miller’s own wedding vows.

– In My Veins (4.23)

Other thoughts:

– Captain Beckett wears dresses to work where Detective Beckett never has. I hadn’t noticed this, but episode writer Terri Edda Miller pointed out on twitter that they’d been looking for ways to get her in one.

– I wish Captain Montgomery was here–he never died if they never looked into his case, but he didn’t even get a reference. I suppose Kate got captain when he retired.

– “Your hair was short then. It was adorable.”

– Castle pulls a Psych on Esposito, using his real world knowledge of Espo’s relationship with Lanie to convince him he has a “gift.” I think it’s been done before Castle.

– Bizarro Lanie is pregnant! But not with Esposito. =(

– And Ryan and Jenny never made it work. double =((

– “Maybe this is your real life. Because the one where you’re rich and famous and married to the hot cop seems made up to me.”

– Bizarro Alexis works at a non-profit–is she not still in college? She certainly hasn’t graduated yet in this world. Though they never seem to show her in school or anything…

“She’s better off with me, and I’m better off with her.”

What happens to this world when Castle leaves? I wish he had given Beckett the answers to her mother’s murder before he left. His brief reconciliation with Alexis, should this world be a true alternate one, will go back down the drain once Bizarro Castle enters his body again. Or, I suppose, Bizarro Castle died at the crime scene…? Either way, Kate never finds out the evidence in the elephants that still sit on her desk in Bizarro world.

Caskett is now official! I can’t help but wonder what else this show could have in store for us, seems like seven seasons (with the resolution of Johanna Beckett’s murder and, now, their wedding) could be just enough. Not that there aren’t stories for a married Castle and Beckett, but it’s feeling like things are wrapping up. Hopefully, the creative team can make the post-wedding stories interesting and compelling in ways that other shows could not–it’s no secret that most shows lose something after the resolution of sexual tension. I certainly think that Castle has broken the Moonlighting Curse (it has been 2 seasons since they officially got together), but even success can only last for so long. Anyway, here’s to an amazing wedding, beautiful vows, and the rest of season 7, no matter where it may take us after.

Cheers, Castle fans, they finally did it!

Photo via ABC

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