May 08, 2012 at 06:02 AM EDT

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information on the season finale of Castle. Do not read on if you haven’t watched! You’ve been warned!

Castle creator and executive producer Andrew Marlowe knew that last night’s big moment would have fans buzzing. How could it not? After four seasons of ups, downs, and shameless flirting from both Castle and Beckett, the season 4 finale gave fans what they’d been hoping for: a chance to see the pair finally get together!

Bold? You bet. But not as bold as the alternative, says Marlowe. “Not doing it would have been even ballsier because I think the audience is near its breaking point,” he says. “And it’s 2012, people fall into and out of bed together all the time. If it had gone on any longer, we would have been bad storytellers.”

And this new path, which will find Castle and Beckett entering a relationship together in season 5? It’s full with opportunity, he says. “It was important to open up the storytelling. We had done as much storytelling as we thought we could do credibly with not having them together. So the characters either had to go their separate ways or get together,” he says. “We thought there was a lot of fun to be had mining their relationship once they were together because no relationship goes smoothly, and they’re fundamentally different people.”

Marlowe points to classic romances — like those featured in The Thin Man (1934), The Philadelphia Story, and Adam’s Rib (1949) — as his inspiration and the best reference point for the “romantic-comedy fun” that’s to come. “We think these guys can support and sustain that for a long time as we continue to evolve their relationship and both of them as characters,” he says. “We are absolutely convinced we’re going to have a lot of fun in the next several years with these guys as we see what that relationship looks like, because it ain’t necessarily going to be smooth sailing. I think the bumps that come along the way are going to be really fun and funny.”

In fact, he adds, that’s one of the main reasons the show decided to take the plunge now: fun. After a season that has had more than its fair share of angst and dark moments, he wanted a chance to “recommit” to the fundamentals of the show. “What we’re hoping is that getting over this hump of will-they-won’t-they will help us get back to some of the fun stuff we were able to do in the first couple of seasons — her grabbing his nose or grabbing his ear — and the back and forth. Them getting together will allow for that,” he says. “But the sexual tension of the relationship, I don’t know if that goes away when they’re together as long as you handle it well.”

But what of the rest of the story? Beckett’s resignation from the force? Esposito and Ryan’s falling out? And the big threat that we now know looms over Kate? “We’ll put the pieces back together in an interesting way,” he promises. “It gives us a natural launch point for next season — with both relationship stuff and [other] stakes that we’re going to enjoy playing with at the beginning of next year before we pick up all the pieces.”

Above all, he says, “We felt like it was time to get the characters together.” And we have to agree.

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