Well, here we are. The next to the last episode of Castle EPISODE 8×21 HELL TO PAY was broadcast in the U.S. last night.
Many fans have already given up on the series when it was announced on April 18th, Stana Katic as Captain Kate Beckett, and Tamala Jones as Medical examiner, Lanie Parish, will not be coming back, should there be a season 9. The official announcement stated it was for budgetary reasons. There have been numerous unofficial rumors which claim co-stars, Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, have an acrimonious relationship off-screen, making it difficult for them to be on set together.
Whether this is true or not doesn’t take away from the most significant point of the series. Castle was always a fantasy show. The idea that a crime/ mystery fiction writer would have a long-term professional relationship with the NYPD, as a consultant, is in itself a work of fiction. It’s not Jessica Fletcher, in Murder She Wrote, or Sherlock Holmes, but has become more like Hart to Hart or Remington Steele. Each of these comparisons, have their limits, but from the beginning, the Monday night drama, comedy, crime procedural, has and is about the initial meeting, opposites attract, relationship development, and eventual marriage between a female detective and a novelist.
Since it’s public knowledge the Kate Beckett story ends in the last episode of season 8, fans are left to speculate what the ending episode might be. How will they write the story to which millions of devoted fans have been tuning in each week to see, ending their on-screen relationship? Will there be a post-Beckett season 9? Many fans, myself included have looked at season 8 as a less than stellar collection of stories which initially separated Richard Castle from his wife, Captain Beckett, due to some evil drug & murder cartel, called LokSat. The other stories in season 8 have less on-screen together time of the superb ensemble cast, a couple of new roles with new people, with little interaction between Castle and Beckett.
If Nathan Fillion wanted more screen time and less of Stana Katic, according to rumors, his wishes were granted, however at a price. His role has been more of a dolt, an immature simpleton who manages to arrive at reasonable crime solutions, mostly through dumb luck or the able-bodied assistance of his new assistant, Toks Olagundoye as Haley Shipton. Both Toks Olagundoye and Molly Quinn (Alexis), have been taking a lot of heat as fans have taken to Twitter, using it as a platform to vent their anger toward any of the possible season 9 survivors.
The Season 8 finale airing this May 16, is entitled Crossfire in which a twist in Rick and Kate’s final pursuit of LokSat, accordingly “puts their case, and their lives, in jeopardy.”
Now that the hook has been baited, we’ll wait to see what kind of closure they can bring to this much beloved series. No official announcements from ABC indicate their commitment to a season 9, even though some contracts have been signed by the cast. The latest numbers for season 8 episode 21 are up slightly from previous weeks, and I suspect, despite all of the clamor to end the series at 8, and the requests by some to quit watching it, so there won’t be a season 9, the ending season 8 episode will probably be watched by more viewers.
All we can hope, is the last episode of Kate Beckett, will end in dignity. The premise of the show hasn’t been based on one person, it’s been about relationships, the strongest of which was that between NYPD officer Kate Beckett and writer Richard Castle. It’s difficult to conceive how this relationship can end without serious repercussions in the real world. There has been a large informal collective of fans disgruntled with the dismissal of Katic after a disappointingly written season 8. The viewership has declined, many fans attributed that to less screen time between these two actors and the “bogey-man in the corner, LokSat”, which is supposed to bring every season plot point to a dramatic end.
Show runners, Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley haven’t speculated on the renewal or cancellation of Castle for Season 9. According to interviews, they have shot two different endings for season 8 depending on whether ABC renews or cancels the show, determines which of them is broadcast.
Will it end with the death of Captain Beckett? Will it end with both Castle & Beckett deciding to take a lengthy vacation, postponed honeymoon together? We shall see, however if there’s a sad ending to this series, I suspect the viewership will drastically fall off and DVD sales of season 8 to be abysmal.
The Castle finale airs Monday, May 16 at 10/9c on ABC.