SPOILERS, because there's no way I'm not going to talk about details.
You can see the play-by-play here.
This ep picks up the morning after, and it's sweet. Right off the bat, it's sweet. Beckett in Castle's shirt, the two of them snuggling and smiling and flirting and all. And then Martha comes home with a rockstar-hungover Alexis, and Beckett has to hide in a closet and then sneak out when they're not looking. Of course, when they're back at her place and Ryan shows up while Castle is there, he doesn't hide in a closet, and that seems a little misogynistic and unfair. Anyway.
Castle and Beckett still want to solve the case, Ryan is doing what he can, and Espositio is calling in favors with his military buddies. You can tell he's a military buddy because he's wearing fatigues. All their different tracks lead them to the real name of the killer, and to Mr Smith--who is actually called Mr Smith--and they all get to a building where a copy of The File is stored. And then that storyline is cut suddenly short as the assassin and Mr Smith both wind up dead and the file is exploded and burned. But they know enough that they can link it, tentatively, to the guy from Heroes who is now running for Senate. He has a pretty great scene where he's justifying the terrible things he's done and the bloody conspiracy he's involved in by talking about all the good he's done--and Becks is not at all snowed by it. She tells him she'll release The File if anything happens to him, and she doesn't kill him, and the new season's over-plot is set up.
There was a lot of backstory in this ep, and if you haven't been watching all this time, there's a chance you wouldn't know what's going on through the case-plot stuff. But a lot of the people watching really are just watching for the Castle-Beckett stuff. And there's lots of that. Flirting, a little making out, post-sexy-times messy hair, and a sweet scene where Castle hugs her. And another where he says they should've 'done that four years ago' and Espo walks in on them and looks miffed.
It'd be great if Espo is protective of Beckett and denies Castle's affection; I mean, as far as they know, he's been a jerk for half a season on that front, and he's already not as much of a romantic as Ryan. It'd be even better if he had a thing for Becks and just never mentioned it, and now gets defensive.
We get a little of Ryan trying his best to keep up with a four-person job on his own, and we get a little of Espo still being mad at him. We get some of Gates proving that she knows what's going on more than they give her credit for--and of her being no less sharp, but more understanding. And we get them solving enough of the case that she doesn't accept Kate's quitting--though she and Esposito do have to serve out their suspensions.
And it was a good encapsulation of what the show is going to be now: Castle and Beckett are staying secret so they can enjoy it, Ryan and Esposito have to get back to getting along, Gates is aware of their shenanigans in a lot of ways but also recognizes that they're good cops and get the job done, and now the baddie is someone with a whole lot more power than before. Someone who as much as confessed, but that they can't pin anything on yet. And people still want all of them dead.
That's how you keep a show from tanking when the main characters get together. Between this and Bones, maybe they can break that idea that it's the kiss of death for a show.
What did you think of this week's Castle?