The end came with a shower of gunshots, a touch of flirting, and a heartwarming tag. And now #CastleMondays are no more. Eight seasons of the romantic procedural were capped with an ending that betrayed the uncertainty around a season 9 renewal. But at least fans can rest easy knowing that — though their final chapter was rushed — Richard Castle and Kate Beckett are still each other’s “always.”
The couple slew their biggest dragon together before they brunched off into the sunset. The finale picked up a thread dropped by this season’s “Dead Again” episode, when LokSat operative Caleb Brown bequeathed Beckett his burner phone. He’d told her where she needed to be and when she needed to be there to intercept a regular instructional call. It’s daytime, and the park is busy. “Thinking what I’m thinking?” Beckett asks. Castle is. This whole operation could easily be a trap.
The call is short and garbled, but Vikram in a nearby tech van is still able to get a trace. The location is a red herring, but there was still valuable information in the content of the call. Caleb’s next errand was to bring a flash drive of account numbers to a drop location, where LokSat’s personal accountant would pick it up. Still working rogue, Castle and Beckett set up a sting with their small but plucky army: Vikram for communications and tech and Hayley for sniper skills and accompanying A+ sniper fashion. Why all these brilliant people believed that the money man for a crime syndicate operating with the blessing of half the CIA would be picking up his own packages is unclear, but they did. Beckett gets a few precious seconds of warning only because a still ignorant Esposito calls with some relevant details from a different case.
At the top of the episode, a blankly cheerful assassin sings along to the relentlessly optimistic Brady Bunch hit, “Sunshine Day.” He keeps the radio running after he stops the car. He hums along while empties a handle of gasoline into its interior and then on the person in the trunk. “Don’t you just love this song?” he asks his victim, and then lights that sucker up.
The corpse was burned well past recognition to the detriment of Ryan’s gag reflex, but the boys were able to ID him from the serial number of the high-end, indestructible briefcase that was keeping him company in the trunk. It’s Caleb Brown, whose presence at that very sting Vikram had confirmed over encrypted email. As Beckett processes what that news means, two SUVs roll into the parking lot. Men with automatic weapons pour out and open fire. Beckett and Castle’s hand guns are no match for the amount of firepower coming their way. Death seems inevitable until a food truck careens into view. Someone throws open the back and Castle and Beckett jump in. The driver is Mason Wood, the head of the Greatest Detective Agency, which Castle won entrance into during his trip to Los Angeles. He’s also a friend of Castle’s super-spy stepmother Rita, who requested that he come to town to “babysit.” Castle is ready to whip up a batch of kimchi in their Korean BBQ getaway car, but Beckett’s instinct is to defensively train her gun on Mason, and eight seasons of this show have taught me that Kate Beckett’s instincts are never wrong.
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Mason doesn’t want to know what Castle and Beckett are involved in or what sleeping bear they’ve been poking. He lets them have at his stash of untraceable weapons and gets on his way. Castle and Beckett both have business to take care of and they have no choice in that moment but to split up. Beckett will go back and collect Vikram. Castle will round up his family. They’ll meet back at the panic room at Castle’s office.
NEXT: You’re gonna need a right-hand man