Kate Beckett was 19 years old when her mother was murdered.
It's been well over a decade, but she finally got justice for Johanna Beckett - and most fans would agree that Castle Season 6 Episode 22 was one of the best of the entire series.
Below, TV Fanatics, Jim Garner, Chandel Charles, Robin Harry and Christine Orlando are joined by Gloria from The 12th a Castle fan forum to debate whether we've seen the last of Senator Bracken, if they expected Kate to keep things a secret from Castle and what was the most surprising twist in the hour...
Did you think Beckett killed Vulcan Simmons?
Jim: I didn't think she killed him, but I did suspect she might have beat his ass a bit to get answers.
Chandel: As we all know, the heroes immediately become villains when they take extreme measures such as murder to eliminate their enemies. Also, it would have made her a criminal. We can't have that. So, no, I didn't think she had killed him!
Robin: I didn't. I don't think Castle is the kind of show that blurs the line between hero and villain to that extent. I figured she was being set up.
Gloria: No. Beckett would never have tortured him for the information or killed him. She needed Vulcan Simmons alive. He was her only connection to Bracken. Killing him wouldn't have made sense, she needed him to roll on Bracken, she needed him to provide proof.
Christine: I agree with Jim. I didn't think she'd actually kill him, but the guy did torture her and was directly involved with the conspiracy surrounding her mother's murder. I can imagine her losing it a bit and getting physical. She did once try to put him through a glass wall but no, I didn't think she killed him.
In the beginning, were you worried that Beckett was keeping her investigation from Castle?
Jim: Nah, we knew after Smith's death that both her and Rick had been keeping case boards. I figured they teamed up.
Chandel: Momentarily. Though it seems appropriate that they would be keeping tabs - their lives were at stake!
Robin: I was...but I also wondered how she would have kept all those late nights a secret. I was glad they were partners on the investigation, and I was glad that he was keeping her grounded.
Gloria: Yes, I did. Kate is a flawed character. It is why we love her. She's human, and though she promised Castle she wouldn't, she would have done it if she thought she was protecting him. I'm glad he knew about it all along. Shows how much she has grown.
Christine: I was worried. As far as she's come, Kate's been known to backslide and hiding things is in her nature. I was very relieved to find out that she and Castle were truly in this together.
Is this the last we'll see of Senator Bracken?
Jim: It's the last we will see of Senator Bracken. However, MISTER Bracken may resurface for some revenge and/or criminal activities now that his political career is over.
Chandel: I'm with Jim on this one. Definitely the last time we've seen the Senator, but not that last we've seen of Bracken.
Robin: I agree with Jim and Chandel. My prediction is that he gets out of jail using some connections, comes after Beckett, at which point she'll actually have to shoot him. He won't be gone until he's dead.
Gloria: Definitely not! Did you see how he looked at her as they drove him away? Going to jail doesn't stop people like Bracken. He'll never be President, and he'll want her to pay for that. Besides I'm hoping we get to see the sentencing. I want to see Kate, Castle, Jim Beckett and the rest of the "family" be there for that.
Christine: Yeah, men as powerful as Bracken don't just disappear, unless they want to. Bracken may definitely play a role in Beckett and Castle's future but it sure is nice to have this piece of closure for now.
Biggest surprise: Smith being alive, the flashback of Montgomery or that the evidence was in the elephant family all along?
Jim: Was most surprised by the flashback on Montgomery. I still miss him. While Gates has come a long way and I now like her for the most part, nobody will replace Montgomery.
Chandel: As surprised as I was about the elephant family, I am going to have to say seeing Montgomery again, even if it was only in a flashback. His appearance was a complete surprise, so it was a real treat and I think really brought everything home.
Robin: Definitely the Montgomery flashback. That was a warm and pleasant surprise. I love Iron Gates, but I still miss Montgomery in the precinct.
Gloria: The evidence in the elephant! I think many of us out there, believed Smith had faked his death. The flashback was perfect and though I didn't expect it, it wasn't as shocking as having everything she needed to solve the case sitting under her nose the entire time. How many times have those elephants been scanned over or mentioned?
Christine: As much as I was surprised and delighted to see Montgomery, the evidence in the elephants shocked me. What a wonderful twist. Fans have been commenting on that elephant family since Castle season 1. Having them hold the key to what Kate's needed to take down her mother's murderer all this time was simply extraordinary.
What was your favorite scene from this Castle Season 6 episode?
Jim: It's a tie. First, Rick and Kate's hug at the end. The look of relief on her face was priceless. Second was Kate rescuing herself and shooting the guy behind her after he brained her with the vase and then shooting him two more times, or as some know it: Zombie Rule #1 Double Tap.
Chandel: Rick and Kate's hug at the end. I wasn't sure how she was going to react to catching her mother's killer. Heck, I wasn't even sure how I felt about the whole thing. It was a moment to appreciate all Rick and Kate have been through together and that they've seen it through till the end.
Robin: Hands down, Kate Beckett's gritty smack-down of two thugs. Spitting the pill onto the one guy, and the two extra bullet holes (or double tap as Jim called it) she put into the last guy were the icing on a cake of badass.
Gloria: OMG the drug scene! I was crying when they were drugging her, and placing the gun to her head. Hopeful, when she looks down, and then you saw the focused glare in her eyes, before she attacks. Screaming when she shot the two men and put a few extra bullets in the second guy! Then balling as she leaves a trail of blood on the wall in the hall and collapses! No words, when Castle picks Kate up and carries her to safety. Incredible writing and superb acting!
Christine: For me it was Kate arresting Bracken. She'd worked her entire adult life for that moment. I found it more emotional than I ever would have imagined. Then when Castle told her that wherever her mother was, she was proud of her and Kate told him that she never could have done this without him, I almost cried. What a great way to lead us into their wedding.
Your turn, TV Fanatics, what was the most surprising twist of the episode?