Castle Season 6 Review “For Better or Worse”

Castle

Is it possible for a season finale to both deliver the goods and come up short at the same time? One could certainly say that about the “Castle” finale, but then, one could say that about this season in general, if you really think about it. After last week put the finishing touches on the long-brewing cold case of Beckett’s mother’s murder, with some pretty dubiously contrived circumstances in the final stretch, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the finale.

Sure, it was totally satisfying seeing Beckett finally take down the nefarious Bracken, but how they got there was more than a little questionable and felt a bit dashed off- which is not what you want for the resolution of a case that has long been the backbone of the show. Would they stick the landing on the wedding, at least?

Well, yes and no. Much as with the penultimate episode, there were some great things in “For Better or Worse,” but the wedding was not one of them. Further, the whole hook of Beckett already being married was straight-up sitcom or bad movie fodder. Really, “Castle,” that’s what you’re going with? And yet, if you could get past the ridiculousness of the premise- which, let’s face it, is often what it requires to enjoy the episodes of “Castle” that actually are memorable- it was a lot of fun, at least until that ending came along.

Part of what made it work for me was the main casting. As a big “Warehouse 13” fan- a show not that far removed from “Castle,” despite the sci-fi elements (it’s basically “X-Files” played for laughs, with a similar will-they-or-won’t-they back-and-forth between the two main leads) – it was a joy to see that show’s leading man, Eddie McClintock, as Beckett’s one-time paramour. McClintock has an easy, breezy charm, not at all unlike Nathan Fillion, not to mention with a similar fan-base, for those who know Fillion’s genre roots (i.e. “Firefly,” “Buffy”).

Basically, the character was Castle if he’d gone down the wrong path, from his clean-cut good looks, to the quick-with-the-quips verbal sparring he did with Castle and “Kit Kat,” um…make that Beckett. You could totally see where a young Beckett would date him- the guy was practically a “starter” Castle. Castle is basically the same guy if he got a real job and straightened out a bit, so it worked like gangbusters for me, and I laughed consistently at their antics throughout the episode.

Further, the episode amped up the romantic patter and fun machine-gun dialogue to the heights of “Castle” episodes of yore, reminding us all of what drew us to Castle and Beckett as a couple, and to the show itself, for that matter. When Beckett expressed the inevitable wedding jitters, Ryan said: “Just imagine your wedding guests are murder suspects, you’ll be fine.” Espo added, helpfully: “In their underwear.” Later on, as Beckett and Castle approached a barn under dubious circumstances, Beckett suggested: “We’ll tell them we’re tourists from the city. We just got lost.” Shot back Castle: “Yes, that worked out really well in ‘Deliverance’.” Shortly thereafter, he amusingly added, “This place looks like the start of an Amish horror film.” (Which I so want to see now.)

The bits with Castle screaming like a girl and the sparring between him and McClintock were similarly priceless: “Could everyone please stop saying ‘man parts,’ please?” begged Beckett at the height of the hilarity. Hell, even the details were amusing, like the fact that McClintock told his girlfriend (and no doubt countless others) he had a “coma wife”-aka Beckett- so he couldn’t get married, or that the pastor involved was every bit as sketchy as McClintock’s character. Factor in a missing mobster, some grumpy bikers and a rogue stripper (“We really should tip her” said a transfixed Castle to Beckett after an especially talented font of info answered their questions without missing a beat), and forgoing the silly foundation on which the show was built on, you basically had everything in place for a classic episode.

Besides, some of the best episodes were equally goofy, and that’s just part and parcel of accepting the show on its own terms. I’m good with that, so the premise didn’t ruin it for me, any more than it did the episode “That 70’s Show” a few weeks back or any number of other episodes in the past.

Hell, they even cheekily addressed the matter of the wedding dress, which heavily divided viewers a few weeks back. It’s safe to say that if you hated that dress, your prayers were dutifully answered, as the dress met a grisly end, and was promptly replaced with a perfectly lovely one, IMHO, which the added points of being an inherited dress given to Beckett by her father. Add to that some earrings given to Beckett by Castle’s mother, and the stage was set for a lovely Hamptons wedding with all the trimmings.

Then came the end. Now, did it completely ruin the episode for me? Not really. Up until that moment, I enjoyed it just fine. And let’s be honest: you’ve seen one TV wedding (or movie wedding), you’ve basically seen the majority of all TV/Movie weddings. Sure, there’s the occasional exception: the adorable boogie Anna Kendrick and Jake Gyllenhaal did down the aisle in “End of Watch,” the show-stopping one in “The Graduate,” the Elvis-laden one in “Honeymoon in Vegas,” Stefan & Seth Meyers on “SNL,” um… “The Red Wedding” on “Game of Thrones”? Okay, that last one wasn’t exactly what dreams are made of, but you get the idea.

But I’m guessing that more than a few people were not at all happy, after last year’s needless cliffhanger proposal to be denied yet again of their long-awaited Casckett wedding- and more than a little ticked off that they took that moniker a bit too literally by implying Castle was out of the wedding permanently. Of course, it goes without saying that Castle is fine- kidnapped, no doubt, but not dead, certainly. But can you imagine how pissed people would be if that had been the final episode and the show hadn’t gotten renewed?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure the show-runners knew well enough in advance that it was going to get renewed, and planned accordingly with what they saw as an appropriate cliff-hanger. But some people aren’t going to care for this at all, I’m sure. (My mother called me before I had finished the episode- as I have to take notes, it tends to take me a little longer to watch- and was clearly not happy about it, so full disclosure: I knew something was going to happen before it did, which may have colored my judgment somewhat.)

I suppose I can live with it, because I know good and well they’re not going to leave it like that, but it did put a damper on an otherwise pretty enjoyable episode, if I’m being honest, which is exactly what happened last week. That’s too bad, because, despite a shaky start and the occasional meh episode, this was actually overall a decent season. What iffy things did happen, the show course-corrected and addressed pretty quickly, and you’d be hard-pressed to name any show that didn’t occasionally have an off week, especially one that runs a full season, unlike some cable shows.

So, in the end, it was a bit of a misstep, but I get why they did it. Got to have something to look forward to next season, right? It may not have been a step in the right direction, but it is what it is, and the show can always make up for it later, I suppose. Or so one can hope.

What did you think of the “Castle” finale? What did you think of the season in general? Were you disappointed there was no wedding? Especially after all they did to make it happen in the first place? Did you like the episode otherwise? Or did you not mind the somewhat anti-climatic ending? Did you get a kick out of McClintock? How about the general banter throughout the episode? Did I leave out any of your favorite lines? (I also got a kick out of the revelation that Beckett once tried to break into Pearl Jam’s tour bus- I figured her for more of a Nirvana fan. Or maybe Soundgarden.)

Sound off below, and maybe I’ll see you next season, if my name comes up in the running again. If not, it’s been great conversing with you fellow “”Castle” fans and here’s hoping the show knocks it out of the park next season!