Castle Buries Caskett and Fans Bury the Show
As it turns out Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion are even better actors than we thought. According to unsubstantiated reports, their relationship has become so acrimonious that ABC required them to attend couples counseling. For a loyal fan of Castle, this news represents a classic case of TMI. Finding out that your favorite actors are real people with flaws can ruin your favorite show. Perhaps to reduce the onset tension, ABC made the dollars and cents decision to fire Stana Katic, retain Nathan Fillion, and retool the show without Kate Beckett and without the Caskett pairing. This preposterous move puts fans in the bewildering position of having to explain Castle’s premise to its producers and to conclude with heavy hearts that ABC must Cancel Castle to Save the Show.
Those of us who have never missed an episode know that Castle’s quality has been declining throughout Season Eight. First, writers separated Kate from Rick so she could pursue the It’s-so-boring-just-kill-me-now LOCKSAT investigation. They then reopened Castle’s weakest plot, one that should have remained closed – Rick’s ridiculous disappearance and amnesia storyline. In the midst of this tedium showrunners doubled down on Castle’s private investigation firm and the addition of new cast members. Both moves stink of shark bait. To top it off, Castle’s daughter, Alexis suffered an inexplicable wardrobe change that has her dressing like her grandmother. Evidently she also abandoned college though no clear explanation for her constant presence at Dad’s office has been forthcoming. Internet rumors suggest that writers put distance between Rick and Kate because Fillion and Katic can’t stand one another. Finally – a plausible explanation for bad storytelling.
Despite their off screen acrimony or perhaps because of it, Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic crackle on screen. They always have. Their chemistry forms the core of Castle’s appeal. Without Beckett, Rick’s charm quickly turns smarmy. The two complement each other like few other duos on television. Weekly whodunits rely on their banter, wit, and sex appeal to stay fresh. Neither character can thrive or stay watchable on his own for long.
Explaining the essence of Castle to ABC exasperates me, but apparently such work is required. Choosing to kill off Kate Beckett’s character and then continue Castle as a carcass of its former-self smacks of Hollywood cluelessness. Do ABC executives live in a bubble? Has anyone associated with Castle ever watched the show? I am no longer sure that live-tweeting while an episode appears on one’s television screen actually counts as viewing.
Let’s review Castle’s premise for the past eight seasons. Mystery writer wants to investigate crimes though has no credentials. Mayor sets him up with the NYPD. Mystery writer meets ace detective who quickly becomes his muse. Detective and mystery writer pal around together and solve crimes. He writes books. She rolls her eyes. They fall in love. End of story. That’s it people. Castle has no hidden depths. The show works well, because the premise is uncomplicated. And [this next part is the most important, so please take notes] the two stars make magic on screen, together. Don’t let the title fool you. Castle has never been a one-man show.
Fans do not know what’s really happening off-screen between Katic and Fillion, though one point is clear. Nathan Fillion still has a job and Stana Katic does not. For good will to persist between Castle and its fans, ABC needs to make an artistic decision, not one based on squeezing the last dying breath out of Castle’s corpse. Wrap up Castle with a happy ending between Rick and Kate. The show has a thriving life in syndication. Why tarnish all of those entertaining episodes with Kate Beckett’s death? Must we know in television perpetuity that the co-stars hated each other so much that one was willing to sell out the other? Castle’s dedicated fans deserve much better than that.
Please, ABC. Make the right decision. Let Rick and Kate live on together and cancel Castle now. Do what Captain Reynolds would do. Keep the crew together.