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October 09, 2012 at 06:03 PM EDT

Despite my extreme excitement about this season of Castle, I have to admit, a little part of me had been worried. Prior to watching the premiere, I had heard all the right things about the season, but you just never know whether the delivery will live up to the expectations. So far, this season very much has, and I credit that largely to the decision to keep Castle and Beckett’s relationship a secret. (Though, after last night’s episode, we now know that Castle’s mom was the first to know; she claims she knew after their first hook-up!)

As last night’s episode displayed, keeping their relationship a secret has kept the couple’s at-work tension alive, much like when they were still denying their feelings for each other. Every stolen moment seems precious to them and behind every once platonic gesture — like, say, a handshake — there’s a romantic subtext.

In one moment (clip below), Beckett shared a memory about spending the day with her father at Coney Island after her mother’s funeral. These kind of stories have always endeared Beckett to Castle, and this was no exception. After finishing her story, Castle got up to exit — alone, of course, but he stopped in his tracks when Beckett asked, “So, talk tonight?” That’s when he leaned down to shake her hand with a playful, loving stare and a hint of a smile, “I can’t wait.”

Martha (Castle’s mom) may know their secret (as does Alexis), but I hope no one else finds out for a while. A long while. I like how Esposito, Ryan, and Co. are slowly picking up clues — they are detectives after all. But I hope no one outs them. These stolen glances are too good, and vital to delivering the moments that fans were worried would slip away.

Also, I see their “outing” at work as something new to build toward. There will come a time — be it in peril, in great joy, or in excitement — when Castle or Beckett will spill the beans. And that will mean something. (Remember Chandler telling everyone he was in love with Monica? Classic!) It will mean they’re willing to risk letting others into their bubble and risk Gates ending their work relationship, all in the name of sharing this great thing that has come to them.

If that’s not something to look forward to, I don’t know what is.


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