Welcome to the first-ever edition of the Castle Round Table.
Following a truly astounding season finale, our staff was left with no choice but to debut this popular TV Fanatic feature in honor of the ABC hit.
Below, critics Christine Orlando, Jeffrey Kirkpatrick, Courtney Morrison and Chandel Charles pick apart "Knockout." As always, reader feedback on the following topics is encouraged...
What did you think of Montgomery's involvement in Beckett's mother's murder?
Christine: I thought they did a fantastic job of showing how he made a serious mistake in his younger days and spent the rest of his career trying to atone for it. It added a wonderful complexity to his relationship with Beckett and showed Montgomery as a flawed hero instead of a villain. Ruben Santiago Hudson is such a pro. I'm really going to miss him.
Jeffrey: Completely shocked. Never entered my mind that he would be a part of it. Loved it because rarely on a procedural does a member of the core cast get offed like this and in both villanous and heroic fashion. It opens the series up a bit to taking risks when you remove the barrier that assumes everyone is safe. Watch out, Ryan and Esposito!
Courtney: I was shocked! Montgomery’s always been so good to her, I never would have thought it was to make up for something. I realized he was hiding something but I didn’t think it was that he was the third cop! Have to say, one of the best twists I have seen all season on any show.
Chandel: It was surprising, yet I somehow expected it given the story about how they met, there was a hint of something I couldn't quite place on Montgomery's face and I just knew. What was best about it was how much we learned about Montgomery in his final episode. There was redemption in his actions and it will be sad to continue this journey without him. He was young and made a mistake, but spent his entire career trying to correct it by making Beckett the best detective he could.
What would you like to see in a new Captain next season?
Christine: Someone who isn't a fan of either Castle or Beckett. That type of thing can be used for drama and comedy. Beckett will have to prove all over again that she's earned her place as the head of the team. Maybe even have Beckett go to the mayor and ask to have Castle remain at the precinct when the new Captain wants him gone. Have Beckett fight to keep Castle around for once. That would be a great twist.
Jeffrey: Breasts. Seriously, I actually would like to see a female captain. It would introduce a different dynamic for the series.
Courtney: I wouldn’t mind seeing Ryan take the job, then we could see a rougher side of him.The new Captain definitely needs to be on board with Castle hanging around. Maybe a woman? Even up the playing field a bit while giving Kate a challenge.
Chandel: Someone wary of Castle's involvement with the department to give the show another angle to work plot wise. Maybe a woman just to get some more girl power in the NYPD, plus I think it would present an opportunity for Beckett to maybe make a female friend in the department. Marlowe has presented himself with a wide array of storytelling opportunities with this sudden vacancy.How will Castle's confession (that he loves Kate) be handled?
Christine: I'd love for them to handle it straight on but that just isn't Castle. I think Kate has issues she needs to work out before she can openly reciprocate those feelings but I think she needs to give him some hope to stick around.
Jeffrey: Oh, they'll find some way to draw it out. Coupling on a procedural is dicey, particularly with your two leads. The will they or won't they is part of what keeps Castle fans simultaneously excited and frustrated. Why ruin a good thing (ratings-wise)?
Courtney: Hopefully the writers won’t go the typical route in that Beckett never heard him because she was unconscious. The perfect scenario would be Kate waking up in the hospital and saying “I love you too, Rick.” One can only dream...
Chandel: In a way that's very true to their relationship. I think it should be handled in the break room over coffee or something; coffee has always been their subtle sign of affection for one another. Give them some time to get Kate through her recovery so that his confession and their discussion isn't just something said in the moment Castle thought he was losing her. Adds a little bit of credibility.
Do you want to see Castle and Beckett get together in season four?
Christine: Absolutely. I'm tired of every show keeping their leads apart. It's so boring! Castle and Beckett have amazing chemistry. They'll make such a fun couple with lots of new story avenues to mine. I'm okay with the show taking its time and I'm all for enjoying the ride, but I'll be horribly disappointed if we don't see them move this relationship forward by mid-season. Watching these two date will be sweet, funny, and really entertaining.
Jeffrey: No. I really don't ever want them to get together. (Gonna get hate for that one.) I love that they care for each other, but would rather it be as best friends rather than anything amorous.Why does every show HAVE to couple its main characters?
Courtney: I understand the writers' hesitation to build up the relationship before making them a couple, but come on, it’s season four! Even if they don’t get together in a full-on relationship, they need to move a little forward. I wouldn’t mind some between the sheets action. I’m just saying.
Chandel: They aren't ready yet. Plot-wise, it seems that Castle is going to come into some information that he'll be keeping from Beckett regarding her mother's murder. I don't know if they can really be together until Beckett's mother's murder is solved. What they can do is continue to maintain their strong partnership, deal with Castle's confession, and then build from there in a way that's true to them, which I know Andrew Marlowe will pursue with great care. Great love stories take time.
Which secondary character(s) had the best scene and which scene?
Christine: Martha's scene with Rick when she calls him out on how he can't voice his feelings was such a powerful moment. Susan Sullivan maybe gets one scene an episode, but boy does she know how to make it count.
Jeffrey: When Ryan and Esposito found out about Montgomery's involvement. Their opposing reactions and near throwdown over it was fantastic.
Courtney: A definite tie for Ryan and Esposito. Their scene outside the bar after discovering Montgomery’s role in the case was outstanding. Their bromance is always a highlight on the show, but these two displayed some real acting, both emotionally and physically.
Chandel: I think Ryan and Esposito's moment in the alley was another favorite moment because they were so torn up about the possibility of Montgomery being the third man that they got into a little skirmish. Neither one of them really wanted to admit the possibility. Even though they roughed each other up, their relationship is so strong that it only took a single look between the two of them to convey understanding and forgiveness. It's a rare thing for two people to have that kind of relationship, so I appreciate it's portrayal in the episode.