What Not To Do or What I’ve Learned from Watching Season 4 of Castle

            Anyone else out there a fan of ABC’s hit crime drama Castle?  Anyone else out there totally frustrated by the direction the show has taken in the most recent episodes?  I’ve been watching the show since it first started airing–it was a show about an author!  Starring Nathan Fillion, whom I seriously would watch in anything!–and have always both really enjoyed it and honestly admired it as an example of truly good, skilled storytelling.  But lately?  Lately it’s started to feel to me like some bizarre storytelling version of that reality show ‘What Not to Wear.’

            Except that this version would be titled, “How to dodge good storytelling choices as though they were live hand grenades.”

So, I’ve (lucky you) decided to channel my frustrations into my this month’s Writer Unboxed post!  But not just because of my own personal annoyance–I honestly think there are some valuable lessons to be learned from storytelling gone wrong.

And two quick things before I begin.  First, I’ll try to keep things general for those who don’t watch the show.  And second, this is all in a spirit of friendly, non-malicious constructive criticism, okay?  I don’t usually–well, actually ever–criticize anyone else’s stories in a public space.  Too much negative energy in the world already, you know?  I’m breaking that rule today because I’m pretty sure the Castle writers and producers aren’t reading this post right now and crying into their bowls of breakfast cereal because I’m not thrilled with the direction the show has taken.  But just to be clear–a) This is just my opinion.  And this obviously isn’t my story, it belongs to the writers and producers, and ultimately they have every right–a duty, even–to be true to whatever story they feel they need to tell. And b) Pretty sure the show’s stars Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, et al aren’t weeping into their cereal, either–but this is in no way a criticism of their performances, the whole cast and crew of the show is outstandingly talented at what they do.

Okay.  So some quick background–at its heart, the show revolves around the will-they-or-won’t-they romantic tension between the title character, Richard Castle, and the NYPD detective he shadows and partners, Kate Beckett.  They’ve managed to keep that romantic tension fresh and believable and compelling through 4 seasons.  But in the last 3 episodes, it’s suddenly turned into something else entirely–and it’s these most recent episodes I’d like to use to distill my list of ‘don’ts’ in terms of storytelling techniques.

1.  If you’re going to create conflict between characters, make it REAL conflict.  Now, I’m not objecting to keeping romantic leads from getting together too soon.  At all.  By all means, throw obstacles in their path, make them suffer, make them EARN that happily-ever-after ending.  But for goodness sake, make them face real conflicts, real, tough-to-conquer challenges that force them to examine who they are as characters and what they’re willing to change and sacrifice in the name of love.  One of my absolute pet peeves whether in watching stories or reading them is a long-lasting estrangement between characters that could be solved with nothing more than the two characters sitting down and having a single adult conversation with each other–because they do actually love each other and are on the same side, they’ve just each misunderstood something about the other’s feelings or motives.  Basing conflict on clearly manufactured false assumptions  that real people would never make for any lasting amount of time is not real conflict!  It’s just cheap storytelling, in my opinion.  Which leads me to . . . 

2.  If you’re going to keep your characters from talking, make it for realistic reasons.  One of my other pet peeves is what I call  Perfectly Timed Interruption Syndrome, in which two characters are juuuust on the very of talking to each other honestly and telling one another how they feel . . . when there’s a knock on the door/the phone rings/someone else comes into the room.  I live with a 2 year old and a 5 year old, so believe me when I say that I have some personal experience with interrupted communication.  Heck, there are days when I feel like I don’t manage to speak a single uninterrupted SENTENCE.  And  the occasional timed interruption in your story is okay–but rely on that device too much, and it starts to feel way too coincidental.  And don’t rely on the interruption to stop the characters from talking for too long.  I mean, imagine you’re writing a novel and your main character (let’s call her Jane) wants to tell her husband (we’ll call him Joe) something incredibly important.  She’s pregnant, she just got fired from her job, she wants to divorce him and move to Hawaii–whatever.  But:

Jane:  I have something really important to tell you.

Joe:  Okay, shoot.

*phone rings, it’s Joe’s boss/brother/best friend calling*

Jane, speaking to herself:  Oh well, I guess I’ll wait another couple of weeks before I try to talk to him again.  Because Joe certainly won’t bother asking ME what it was I was about to say.

You see?  It’s just unrealistic storytelling–it pulls the reader out of their suspension of disbelief.

3.  If you’re going to have your characters screw up, make bad choices and make mistakes, you have to walk a very fine line of giving the reader something to like about them, still, even as they’re making all the wrong choices.  This is a tricky one.  No one wants to read (or watch) about perfect characters who never make mistakes.  But we also want to like our protagonists.  (Yes, I know, there are books that succeed with unlikeable protagonists, but I’m talking generally.  And go read Donald Maass’s excellent books for a better explanation of why this is true!).   If you’re going to have your two main characters getting hurt, getting angry at each other, and acting out–tread carefully.  Make their acting out realistic, not spoiled-childish or completely out of character and over-the-top absurd.  And give us some moments of real emotion, where we see the aching heartbreak that’s behind the anger.  As well as some moments of redemption.  I’m not saying throw in a scene where your hero saves a puppy/kitten/small child from being run over by a car.  But give us some self-awareness, some sense that they KNOW they’re behaving badly and yet are too hurt to stop.   And a sense of hope that they will grow through the hurt and emerge more mature and wiser.  A sense that they WANT to grow through the hurt, that they have a direction and a goal.

4.  Life is a journey, not a destination–and so are good stories.  I’ve read various interviews where the show’s producer, Andrew Marlow, is quoted as saying effectively that the fans shouldn’t be concerned by the stormy weather of the past few episodes because of where the characters will end up in the finale.  But that, to me, entirely misses the point of good storytelling.  It’s not about the story’s end.  Yes, that’s important–but if the ending were all we cared about, we would just read the synopses of books and then maybe the final page.  What we want from a story is to be taken on a JOURNEY.  We want to follow the characters through every step along on the emotional and physical roads they’re traveling.  You can’t expect readers to slog their way through a boring or overly-angsty or just plain unrealistic and unlikeable story just because ‘they’re going to love the ending’.  Most readers will simply toss your book aside before they ever even make it to the end.

And, unfortunately, that seems to be what’s happening with Castle, where the show’s ratings have been steadily dropping  for the last few episodes.  Which I’m really sorry to have to mention, in the highly unlikely event that anyone connected with the show is reading this–but it does kind of prove my point.

Oh, but just in case Andrew Marlow or anyone who works on Castle IS reading this?  Now that we’ve had this (nice open and honest) talk, hopefully we can still be friends?  Because you know, we really are on the same side. :-)

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About Anna Elliott

Anna Elliott is an author of historical fiction and fantasy. Her first series, the Twilight of Avalon trilogy, is a retelling of the Trystan and Isolde legend. She wrote her second series, the Pride and Prejudice Chronicles, chiefly to satisfy her own curiosity about what might have happened to Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and all the other wonderful cast of characters after the official end of Jane Austen's classic work. She enjoys stories about strong women, and loves exploring the multitude of ways women can find their unique strengths. Anna lives in the Washington DC area with her husband and three children.

Comments

  1. Jeanne Kisacky says

    I’m with you. I loved Castle seasons 1 and 2 and drifted away in season 3 because even then there was no longer a good reason to keep Castle and Beckett apart (at least in my mind).
    I have since been puzzling over the ‘relationship dance’ in terms of my own writing. When I was frustrated by the lackluster feel of my plot, I asked myself the question “Why aren’t the two of them together and happy?” the answer was really really weak. Generating tension without a good reason for it is the author manipulating the reader. Readers don’t like to be manipulated.

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    • says

      Jeanne, that’s it exactly–keep your characters apart for real reasons, not ones that make the reader feel manipulated. Good for you for spotting the flaws in your own work and having the courage to tackle them head-on!

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  2. says

    I have been so close to writing a similar post myself about this show! The first three seasons, it was understandable that there would be near misses and so on, but now it feels like they are retreading every possible excuse to keep them from addressing the gigantic elephant in the precinct. I’m holding out for hopes that it’s going to lead up to a killer season finale.

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  3. Carmel says

    I was frustrated with this past Monday’s episode because it felt like ABC was testing whether the character played by Adam Baldwin was sufficiently appealing to have a series of his own. It barely felt like a Castle episode.

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    • says

      Agreed! I felt like they could have done that episode so much better if they hadn’t been so determined to make Castle look like such a jerk.

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      • voyle says

        I actually thought that “Headhunters” was well done overall. To me, the weakness of the episode was the scene with Beckett’s therapist. That conversation was very similar to Beckett’s discussion with Lanie in “The Limey”, and the fact that Beckett needed her situation re-explained made her seem rather oblivious in my view. I got the impression the writers wrote the scene to help the audience remember what had transpired so far, rather than for character development.

        The episode that really bothered me this season was “The Limey”. To me, that episode embodies all of the issues you mentioned in your post.
        I feel that the current story arc would have made more sense if viewers had skipped “The Limey” entirely. Try watching “47 seconds”, and then watching “Headhunters” next. I found that Castle & Beckett’s behavior actually seems believable if the episodes are viewed in that order.

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  4. says

    I started watching Castle because I loved Firefly, also with Nathan Fillion. The storytelling and character development was fresh and engaging. Castle proved just as entertaining, but I so agree with you about the last season of Castle. Quit playing with Stana’s hair and concentrate of the story. Please! Bimbos on each arm? Bad advice from friends? Psychological shutdown? An ever-ringing telephone? Let’s get this story out of high school and into the adult world where real conflict comes from talking.

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  5. says

    Great guidelines! I know the “big misunderstanding” is a pet peeve of a lot of readers and viewers. Personally I can forgive it from time to time, if everything else is strong (dialogue, characterization, etc.) because it DOES happen so often in real life. But if it’s just one of several elements that isn’t working, then yes, it’s going to get on my nerves.

    Note: I don’t watch Castle, so my comment is in the abstract.

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    • says

      I’m okay with a big misunderstanding if there are solid character-based reasons for it’s being perpetuated. Like the MC misunderstands the romantic interests’ feelings based on emotional baggage or trauma from his/her past. Then it’s not just about the misunderstanding, it’s about how the MC needs to heal in order to find love and a happy ending.

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  6. says

    I so, SO agree! I adored CASTLE, but that obsession started waning in season 3. I was rejuvenated by the first half of season 4, and I thought it was all going pretty well…BUT THEN, as you pointed out, the “forces” keeping Castle and Beckett apart just became too flimsy–and incredibly frustrating. I haven’t watched the last 2 episodes because, quite frankly, I’m over it. And, as you say, it’s the journey that matters.

    Great post! It’s given me some definite food for thought for my writing.

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    • says

      Susan, those are my feelings, too. Honestly, if I hadn’t been writing this post for WU I’m not sure I would have bothered with the last couple episodes, either.

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  7. says

    CASTLE is also suffering from too much confusion of the ‘daughter-going-away-to-college’ relationship parallel.

    She’s been on the verge of being 18 far too long – simply to provide a weak angle/perspective on the relationship tension with Beckett.

    But I will still watch!

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  8. Michelle Tibbetts says

    It feels like they didn’t have enough ideas to fill the season. Both characters are at a standstill. There hasn’t been any forward movement to build the finale on. I did like in this week’s episode when they tried to parallel Alexis’ feelings about school to Castle’s feelings for Beckett. It was a good effort.
    There is always a lot of discussion when it comes to putting two television characters together. The “Moonlighting” curse. It can be done successfully but it hasn’t happened often. Bones (on FOX) is a great example of success. The writers took some big risks and it worked.
    I hope Castle’s writers won’t disappoint in the end. I would hate to see it get canceled. I very much enjoy the the characters. Usually.

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    • says

      I did like the ‘do you want it enough to get over being hurt?’ line at the end.

      I watch Bones, too, and I agree–good example of how the story can continue to be compelling even when the romantic leads are together.

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  9. Sarah E.A. Fusaro says

    I’ve never seen Castle, but I agree whole-heartedly with your points! And the same is true in movies. It’s one of the most frustrating thing to sit there and think, “Wow, a simple conversation definitely could have solved that whole movie.” Which is why I tend to eschew Rom-Coms and romance novels. :)

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  10. says

    I’m glad someone else noticed how frustratingly silly the story telling has become on Castle. You certainly drew an excellent serious analysis of good story telling from your frustration. Much more productive than my response, which was just to turn it off. Thanks for reminding me that I ought to think harder about why I dislike a story and turn those experiences into a writing lesson.

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    • says

      All Castle-complaining aside, I really do find it very useful to try to draw writing lessons from my own responses to every story I encounter, whether reading or in the movies or TV. Figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t, what I love and hate is probably the most valuable tool in my kit in terms of crafting my own stories.

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  11. says

    Wow! I thought I was the only one getting frustrated with the direction Castle was going. The tension between Castle and Beckett in the first 2 seasons was so real. But it has decidely gone downhill. Who can we complain to about the direction?

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  12. says

    Anna,
    I’ve only watched Castle sporadically, but I like the show. The tension between Richard Castle and Kate Beckett is what drives every episode, but I think it suffers from what plagues a lot of shows with romantic possibilities: the writers simply run out of authentic ways to keep the tension and uncertainty going. We saw this with Cheers, Frazier, The Office, and so many other shows. And the writers know that once the couple gets together, it sucks the life out of the show. I think there are a lot of wise lessons for writers (the fiction variety) in your post. Thanks for such an interesting take, using a great example.

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    • says

      CG, I think you’re right that writers do run out of ideas as to how to keep the romantic leads apart after a point. And I do sympathize; it can be challenging to keep the tension high for the course of a novel, but tv writers have to maintain it for YEARS.

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      • Cindy Whitaker says

        Anna, I really did agree with your article. I have been a fan of Castle since the first episode, but this season has just been a chore to watch, for the most part. The frustration and disappointment I felt after the episodes “Cuffed” and the weddingless episode “Til Death Us Do Part”, really sucked the life out of the show for me. However, I will suffer through until this season’s finale, because of Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. These two actors, if given the material, could pull off an onscreen relationship. I am old enough to have been a fan of the show Hart To Hart. This was a show that began with the leads married and ended several years later with the fans wanting more, so it can be done with the right cast and crew. Now if Andrew Marlowe would just open his eyes and see that he has all the ingredients, we could have our cake and eat it, too.

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  13. says

    Oh, Anna! I do hope some of the tv writers are reading this post. You have touched on some of the key weaknesses of current North American television shows. You focused on Castle but The Mentalist and some others are also suffering from the same formulaic writing.
    The end result is that audiences will turn away from these tired plots and characters.
    One option, for a bit of a change, is to view British tv shows, especially the dramatic productions. I find that characters and plot are more believable and true and from all income levels and situations.
    Your post said some things that were so worth a mention!

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  14. says

    We’re a season behind, so I’m sorry to hear the show has gone into psychological implausibility. And yes, those are soggy Miniwheats in my cereal bowl, Anna, because I’ve loved the heart and humor of the show, both in terms of writing and acting.

    As romantic relationships are a big part of my writing, lots to think about here.

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  15. says

    Retired police officer Lee Lofland reviews Castle every week on his blog, The Graveyard Shift, focusing mainly on the investigations and forensics work, but similar frustration has arisen there, too. Good to see it here discussed in story terms.

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  16. says

    Anna, you are SO right! I loved CASTLE until the last few episodes and now I’m not worried if I miss it. Sad that the storytelling miscues have hurt what was a great premise with charming leads.

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    • says

      I know–it’s so sad, because at its heart, it’s such a great premise and it’s been such a good show! But it’s totally true–any storytelling that makes the audience tune out and give up rather than stay riveted is a fail, it just is.

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  17. Amy says

    Here!Here! I absolutely agree with Anna.

    I was late coming to the table in watching Castle. I stumbled upon the last show in season 2 and immediately fell in love. I quickly downloaded all of season one and two after that.

    What has kept me watching up until now, is the great storytelling and dialogue. But this season, as mentioned, has been a great example of tap dancing around real storylines.

    As a writer, I find myself actually revising scenes in my head after they have aired, wishing they would have done a better job of continuing character development and tension between the two leads.

    I did read somewhere though, that by season’s s end fans are supposed to be “very happy” with the burgeoning relationship between Castle and Beckett. I hope the pundits are right.

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    • says

      Amy, I do exactly the same thing–re-write episodes and scenes in my head, thinking about what I would do to improve them! The producers should really hire us as consultants. :-)

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  18. says

    I kinda gave up on Castle this season, despite how much I love Nathan Fillion and Jon Huertas. Those little annoying things just got to be too much. I don’t know why Castle writers couldn’t take the jump like Bones did (I love how this season of Bones is looking but I need more Wendell, damn it!)

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  19. says

    Anna, I don’t actually watch Castle, but I really enjoyed your points. I especially love point 3 about a character screwing up a lot and still being likable. I’m wrestling with this issue as I work through my final revisions and it’s tough. It’s important to show a character’s flaws, but still maintain their integrity and ability to grow. And you’re right–it all comes down to creative story-telling with authentic issues.
    Thanks for sharing this!

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  20. Sean says

    And this is why White Collar is my favorite show on television (Game of Thrones aside).

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  21. says

    I don’t watch Castle but I can sympathize with your feelings because a good chunk of Season 2 of Hawaii Five-0 has been sacrificed for bizarro reasons.

    And to relate what I mean directly to writing stories, I would add this rule:

    Never add a character to your story who doesn’t have a valid reason to be there (and having the character just because you feel a compulsion to ram the character down the viewer/reader’s throat is NOT a valid reason.)

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    • says

      I don’t watch Hawaii Five-0 regularly, but I completely know what you mean. Every element of your story–characters, scenes, etc. needs to be there for a valid reason.

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  22. says

    Thank you for writing what everyone and her pet gerbil Herbert have been thinking!
    Nothing I hate more than when people write themselves into a corner and don’t have the time to write a decent way out of it again.
    It happens with too many shows that I love, and then, guess what? They don’t get renewed, or they have to write a forced and hasty ending so they can claim ‘closure’ for all.

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    • says

      “Thank you for writing what everyone and her pet gerbil Herbert have been thinking!”

      I think that’s my favorite line from comments yet! :)

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  23. says

    Castle generally screens straight after Bones (downunder) and what has worked in Bones…getting Bones and Brennan together is failing in Castle – keeping them apart. In what I think is one of the rare instances of a successful resolution to the URST, there is a whole new level of tension between Bones and Brennan now which has injected a new lease of life into the show. I’m afraid the last 2 seasons of Castle have sent me to sleep.

    Of course it has always confounded me as to when either Brennan or Castle get time to write their best selling books!

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  24. jamie says

    Nice article! Out of 5 of my friends who have watched Castle from the beginning, only myself and another are left, and she’s dvr’ing it instead of watching it live. They have made Beckett very difficult to understand or even like at this point, and they are doing the same character assassination to Castle right now. It is just puzzling how this once great show has gotten to this point, or why the writers would want the viewers to dislike the leads. I hope the producer reads your article. It’s what many fans are thinking.

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    • says

      I just don’t understand the writers/producers either. I mean, they must have a plan, but obviously SO many people are finding the story just isn’t working for them anymore.

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    • says

      It might be useful to see a list of the show-by-show writing credits and possibly the episode director notes to understand why things are going the way they are.

      After a few seasons many shows seem to juggle the talent — often giving actors the ‘director’ spot or ‘writier’ role for various episodes. Hence the different charms, disjointedness, and other quality experience changes.

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  25. Marcy says

    My husband and I got hooked on Castle originally because it was FUN. We loved watching the two characters get on each others’ nerves – Castle with his irrepressible childhood energy and imagination, Beckett with her sensibility and competence. From my vantage point, the show went wrong back when they lost the chief of police (and subsequently replaced him with a terrible character who my husband says gives him nightmares about work). Humor, with small doses of seriousness, are what the show does best. Anytime they try to be too dramatic or serious it just feels ridiculous to me. For me, it would solve the whole problem if we could simply return to Castle and Beckett being themselves again. Together as a couple or not, they would continue to exasperate each other and that’s where I’ve always found the best entertainment.

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    • says

      I read an interview somewhere with Andrew Marlow where he promised Season 5 (assuming it gets renewed) would be ‘a return to fun’. Fingers crossed that’s true!

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  26. Carina says

    ok just to let u know i dont know if u follow spoilers or not but the olny thing thats getting me and i suppose millions of others is that we pretty much know that in the finale everything is going to be put back into place, their feelings dealt with by them actually talking about it!! So hang in there and dont lose faith, 1 more episode til the finale!! :)

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    • says

      I’ve seen the spoilers, too, Carina! And I do hope for good things in the finale. I’m just frustrated with the road they’re taking to get there.

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  27. Chanaka says

    I think if the writers want to keep Castle and Beckett apart further, then Castle is heading towards the wrong direction. Because, one season means one year in the storyline. In real life, if two person have great feelings about each other and so much in love (even secretly), can anyone expect to stay four years without expressing it?

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  28. SupChi says

    I am glad to know there are so many other who are thinking just like me about the show Castle.
    I am frustrated too but couldn’t pinpoint why. You put it in very clear words. The reason the writers of Castle are using is very weak. I don’t mind if the characters are kept apart as long as they have a strong reason.
    They are treating Beckett and Castle as immature teenagers and not as mature adults.
    I hated the episode Limey. The writers did not achieve anything from that episode. I liked the Headhunters episode because the comedy is back.
    I will continue to watch the show until this season finale.

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    • says

      “They are treating Beckett and Castle as immature teenagers and not as mature adults.”

      That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking, too.

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  29. says

    I’m so glad you mentioned this! It’s good to know I’m not the only one dissatisfied with the direction the writers have taken this used-to-be-excellent show.

    In addition to the romantic tension aspect, I am disappointed that this show devolved into an action thriller with cops. If we wanted to see that, there are several other choices. This show will get lost in that big pond of CSI-ness and lose viewers. And the 2-part episode(s) were just astoundingly unbelievable in their premise of a national defense issue including homicide cops. The latest one with Adam S Baldwin as the edgy badass cop was eye opening to me in how far this show has deviated from its original attraction factor. I know it was a reunion of the Firefly cast member and the tie-in with the brown coat of Mal was an obvious tactic.

    And while I’m ranting, I don’t understand the value of the female character replacement for Montgomery. It may have real life ($ contract) reasons, but what does the new character add? More edgy copness? Will they replace all the supporting (Esposito & Lanie) characters with more in-your-face ones? If so, I’m out.

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    • says

      I, too, am glad to see that I’m not the only one to have noticed the drop in writing quality from Castle. It’s a shame to see, because what made Castle so engaging was its originality and how willing it was to stand out from the crowd. It took hard-boiled detective stories and the endless parade of police procedurals, all of which were beyond old hat, and revitalised them in a new combination that was self-aware without being painfully so. It took old ingredients and made a brand new recipe. I cannot help but notice that lately the flavour is starting to fade.

      Sadly it is the nature of telling stories in television series – so few of them are actually constructed with a full story in mind. When you are only ever concerned with getting commissioned for another season, it stands to reason you’ll run out of steam and hold out on payoffs for as long as possible. And when there’s no real set endpoint, a story is likely to just meander and get bogged down retracing the same steps in more worn ways. What bothers me more than the endless delays in the romance, though, is that I have found several episodes in season 4 that had sloppy plotholes or oddly glossed over issues – in essence, poor writing. It’s not as if there are not a lot of people working very hard on the show, but I wonder if it is just something that cannot be sustained for the length of time they are trying to draw it out. Not every premise lends itself to 7 seasons of 22 episodes.

      On a positive note, I think that Beckett has been handled very well as a character for most of the series. She is not a mere sex object while not being an obnoxious caricature of ‘girl power’, and she is able to show emotional vulnerability through her PTSD without being portrayed as either a raving lunatic or a terrified little girl. She is strong without purely relying on acting like a man to be perceived as strong, and it is to the series’ credit that her competence is so taken for granted and her gender so little of an issue that the odd occasion it comes up, those who treat her differently for being a woman seem outright quaint and out of step with the world of the show.

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    • says

      “And while I’m ranting, I don’t understand the value of the female character replacement for Montgomery.”

      I really, really wish they would get the new character a backstory that would make her more understandable/likable/relatable.

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  30. says

    Until the last episode, I was clinging to the hope that the stupid misunderstanding was a /real/ misunderstanding. You know, like Becket said she “remembered everything,” because from her perspective she did, but she actually didn’t remember anything after being shot (I mean, if she forgot what happened, she wouldn’t know it now, would she?). Then Rick would embarrass himself by calling her out on her “lie,” e.g.:

    Rick [pouting sulkily, like he’s been doing a lot lately]: “I heard you! You said you remembered everything!”
    Kate: “What, about being shot? Yeah, I do.”
    Rick: “So why did you hide it? How come we never talked about it?”
    Kate: “I already have a therapist, Castle. And there’s nothing to talk about. I was giving the eulogy, a bullet hit me in the chest, and I hit the ground.”
    Rick: “And then?”
    Kate: “And then I passed out.”
    Rick: “You don’t remember what I said?”
    Kate: “Sorry, Castle. I was too busy /dying/ at the time to listen. Did you say something important? Is /that/ what this is all about?”
    Rick: [shifty eyes]
    Kate: “What did you say? We can talk about it now.”
    Rick: “Um…Never mind.”
    Kate: “Come on. What did you say?”
    Rick: “Hey, you want a cappuccino? I’m gonna go make us some cappuccinos….”

    Then we’d have a fun, comic way to sweep the entire season’s issues under the rug and start fresh in fall.

    But no, they had to go and destroy my flimsy illusions last week. But at least the crazy cop was a riot.

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  31. Carla Krae says

    Look for spoilers on the finale. Think you’ll be happy.

    I’m enjoying the show. I watch Castle because it makes me laugh and I’ve been a Nathan fan since 2 Guys, A Girl, and A Pizza Place.

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    • says

      I have seen the spoilers! Squee! I am definitely happy. Though I am sticking to my guns that I would have preferred them to take a different route to get there. :)

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  32. Terrie says

    My husband and I are way behind on the Castle show — we’re in Season 3 right now and since we only watch an episode when a busy friend comes to dinner? It will take us a while to get to where you guys are. That said, I love romantic mysteries but hate hate hate that writers don’t let couples finally get together. How many good shows were ruined by that? Remington Steele? Moonlighting? (I don’t think it was the leads getting together that was the problem — it’s that the writers turned the show into a soap opera). And I wonder, haven’t contemporary writers ever seen the Thin Man? It is possible to have a couple in a mystery be together and for that to be entertaining. Hart to Hart made it work. The Scarecrow and Mrs. King writers actually allowed that relationship to grow. It is one of my pet peeves — watching writers/producers trash a good show simply because they are convinced it isn’t possible for a romance to be any good once the leads are together. They are afraid of the challenge, I think, and I want them to get over it, find their writing chops, and give us something to love. And that doesn’t mean the couple starting to bicker or immediately breaking up either.

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    • says

      So many good points you make here! I have watched every season of Remington Steele twice (my mom was a huge fan back in the day) and couldn’t agree more about why the show lost it’s magic towards the end. And I so, so agree that there ARE compelling ways to show a romantic relationship growing and deepening after the initial getting together, if only the writers would use them.

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  33. says

    I’m quite late to this post, but I wholeheartedly agree. This season of Castle was not up to par from a storytelling perspective. The only positive thing I can say is that they only did the amnesia plot halfway; she was only pretending not to remember. Which is still bad.
    Jennifer Becton´s last blog post ..Bad Guys in Keen Eddie

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Trackbacks

  1. […] What not to do, or what Anna Elliott learned from watching season four of Castle (I stopped watching Castle in real-time a few months ago because I didn’t like how the writers were handling the relationship between Castle and Beckett; now I’m curious to see why Elliott thought the show went off the rails recently.) […]

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