Credit: Vivian Zink/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney    
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Castle Season 4 Finale Recap: “Always”

It’s here, it’s here! After four years, it’s come down to this: Castle’s much-hyped Season 4 finale. All the secrets, lies, and years of suggestive one-liners all came to a head tonight. Are you ready for this? No, really, are you?

It all begins with Beckett gripping the side of a building for dear life, screaming Castle’s name. But before he (or someone) can reach out to her, the poor detective’s fingers slip, and it looks as if she’s plummeting at the speed of light toward the concrete jungle below …

Cut to a caption that reads: “Three days prior.” At the loft, Alexis and Castle share a father-daughter moment, where the teen queen opens up about struggling with her graduation speech.

Then, in regular Castle fashion, Castle and Beckett hit up the crime scene where they discover the victim, Orlando Costas, was hit in the shoulder before suffering an execution-style kill shot from a .9 mm. Orlando Costas is a former member of the Cazadores street gang turned military man, who was apparently under serious financial pressure. Did he fall into his old ways?

Apparently, yes. Costas wasn’t so innocent. Before he died, he broke into Captain Montgomery’s house to steal files from his old work computer. As you may recall (and we’re sure you do), a year ago, we found out our good pal Captain Montgomery was involved in covering up Johanna Beckett’s murder. Although Beckett and the gang promised to keep Monty’s involvement quiet and let him die a hero, it’s clear someone else out there knows.

Castle and Beckett are both terrified this case is connected to Beckett’s sniper shooting, too. The next day, Castle shows up at the precinct — Starbucks in hand — when Beckett breaks the bad news: Orlando’s rap sheet shows he wasn’t after Montgomery for his own revenge. Uh-oh!

Credit: Vivian Zink/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney    

“You’re not in this alone. I’m here,” says Castle. “I know.” Beckett responds.

Later, witnesses say they saw a hispanic man with Cazador gang ink fleeing the crime scene. The man, Vicente Delgado, had a cousin who was busted by Montgomery years prior. That’s enough evidence for the NYPD to bust Vicente's home. He has the same gun that killed Orlando, and the team is convinced he forced Orlando to break in to steal Monty’s files, then offed him.

Beckett’s in full-on badass mode in interrogation, but unfortch, she’s got the wrong guy. Ballistics comes back showing Vicente didn’t kill Orlando. And this is where it gets juicy, y'all: The guy who killed Orlando is the very same sniper who near-fatally shot Beckett in the chest at Monty’s funeral, one year prior. But of course.

Shocked and scared and afraid Gates will remove her from the case, Beckett decides not to tell her icy boss about Monty’s involvement. Castle, on the other hand, tells Kate it might be actually be a good thing to back away from the case. Unfortunately, that doesn’t go over so well with the vindictive vixen.

“I’ve been waiting a year for this and I’ll be damned if I let someone else screw it up,” she says. Esposito points out the obvious: Both know Beckett will investigate no matter what.

Then, the mysterious Mr. Smith — the man who received Monty’s files in Season 3 — rings Castle and calls the break-in to Monty’s a “clean-up job” to ensure he didn’t have any more incriminating evidence. And it could all be over, Mr. Smith says, if Beckett backs away. Castle says she won’t. “Then we have a problem. If she doesn’t stop, they will retaliate. I can’t control the situation if you can’t control her,” Smith says. Controlling Beckett? Ha!

Meanwhile, Beckett visits Vicente in holding. He reveals Orlando came to him desperate for cash. He agreed to meet him, but when he got there he was already dead. Someone else had killed him. Castle and the team think it was someone who knew him from his military days.

Turns out, Marisol, Orlando’s girlfriend, knew what was up the whole time — including who Orlando was working for — and cleaned out her bank account. But luckily, the team catches the deceitful diva before she skips town with the leftover moolah. Beckett loses her cool with Marisol, although Castle tries to console her. Marisol reveals she knows Orlando met the man who hired him at a church.

Credit: Vivian Zink/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney    

So, Castle and Beckett head to said church and check out the security cameras, which shows a close-up of the killer’s face. Could this really be the man who almost killed Beckett?

Later, Esposito zooms in on a keychain in the killer’s hand from the video, which leads them to a particular suspect.

And then, kids, everything goes haywire.

Flustered and excited, Beckett drops by Castle’s apartment with the seemingly good news. But instead of joining her in her frenzy, he calmly tells her she has to stop pursuing the case — or she’s going to die.

“I’m fine, I’m in control,” she says, but he replies, “No, you’re not. And if you don’t stop, they will kill you, Kate.”

And then, it happens: Castle reveals it all! He confesses that she’s only alive because she backed away from her mother’s case. “And that’s the reason you’re alive, Kate. Because you stopped.” “How do you know this?” she asks. And then, he drops his own bomb, and admits he’s been the one keeping her away.

And oh, it gets better (or maybe, um, worse)! After he lays it on the line, the brunette detective is angry, and wants to know why he would lie to her for over a year. And that’s when Castle, after four long seasons, admits, out loud, to her (conscious) face: “Because I love you, but you already know that, don't you?” Oh, burn. We love how he turned that one around!

Kate’s shocked. “You’re bringing this up right now?” she asks. Oh, yes, darling, he is. He says after all they’ve been through together, he just couldn’t let the most “remarkable, maddening, challenging, frustrating" person he's ever met lose her life. He says he loves her (again!) and begs her — if she cares about him at all — to stay away from the case.

But this is still Kate Beckett we’re talking about, and no little ILY is gonna stop her from something as powerful as her mother’s murder case. Dejectedly, Castle concedes. “It’s your life, you can throw it away if you want … but I’m not going to stick around and watch you do it,” he says.

And then, back at the Castle loft, Rick and the soon-to-graduate Alexis share a tender moment about how scary it is to move on — something they clearly both know about.

Credit: Vivian Zink/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney    

With Castle off the case, Beckett and Esposo decide to pursue the suspect without backup. “I’ve been preparing for this for the last 13 years,” she tells Ryan when he insists they go about things the proper way (aka with backup).

Minutes before Alexis’s graduation, Castle gets a call from the 12th precinct that he ignores. It’s not Beckett, it’s Ryan worried for Beckett’s safety.

Espo and Beckett break into a suspect’s apartment and find Monty’s files, including a wedding album, leading them to believe that whomever is behind this case was looking for someone Monty knew. But before they can escape with the album, someone attacks her from behind — which turns into a frantic, action-movie caliber chase across the top of a building.

On the rooftop, the man tackles Beckett, causing her to lose her weapon. And even though she goes ten kinds of Charlie’s Angels on the unidentified dude, he picks her up and chokes her, smirking the whole time. And eventually, he kicks her so hard she tumbles over the edge of the building, barely able to hold on.

As she struggles to pull herself up, Beckett looks down at the terrible fall she might take and it seems the only thing she can think about her is non-partner partner. “Castle,” she whispers. And then, as her sweaty hand finally loses its hold, she screams his name — only to have a male hand grab her own and pull her up. But it’s not Castle, it’s Ryan. And even more upsetting? Captain Gates is there, too. Yup. Ryan spilled the beans, y'all.

In an attempt to save his friends, Ryan told Gates everything. Gates tells Espo and Beckett she’s putting them both on administrative leave. "You don’t deserve to be in that uniform,” she says, and tells the twosome to hand over their badges and guns. “Keep it. I resign,” Beckett retorts. Oh no, she didn’t! Did she?

As Beckett packs her things, Alexis is giving her graduation speech, which plays over the somber scene. “Everything eventually ends,” Alexis says. Ain't that the truth?

Credit: Sleuthdog100/Tumblr    

Fresh off her resignation, Beckett heads to the swingset in the rain — the one where she had her heart-to-heart with Castle in the Season 4 premiere — where she apparently has a sudden change of heart about Castle’s confession.

After the speech, Castle heads back to his huge board of information on Johanna Beckett’s murder and deletes all the information on Beckett’s case. But that’s when he hears a knock: And — ta-da! — it’s Detective Beckett, in all her wet-haired glory.

He asks her angrily what she wants, and all she can reply is “you” before passionately grabbing him by the face and giving him the hot (non-decoy!) kiss we’ve all been waiting for. Can we finally breathe now? Maybe?

“I’m so sorry, Castle,” she tells him. “He got away and I didn’t care. I almost died and all I could think about was you.” And with that, the twosome — so meant to be — continue to kiss each other like the in-love couple we know they are. We’ve been waiting years for this! They lock hands as they walk away … presumably to the bedroom. Hell to the yes.

But while it may be a happy ending for Caskett (or so they think), the ep actually ends on a horrible cliffhanger. The man who almost killed Beckett finds the elusive Mr. Smith, and threatens to put Kate Beckett “in the ground once and for all.” That does not sound good. And without her police badge (or gun), we’re not so sure how much of a chance she stands against her scary sniper.

We don’t even know how we can possibly wait an entire summer to find out what all this means. We’re just going to hope Castle and Beckett enjoy a hot summer at the Hamptons before they have to face any real danger. Is that too much to ask?

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05.8.2012 / 09:03 AM EDT by Erica Strauss
Related: Castle, Recaps

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