Season finales have a tough job to do. Certain questions need to be answered, but things can’t get wrapped up too nicely. The Castle season final, “For Better or Worse” was supposed to be all about the big Caskett wedding day, and while all of the drama technically centered around this event, Castle and Beckett found themselves trying to solve an actual case, which was exciting. At the beginning of the episode, they had everything in order with their 297 wedding guests, the perfect venue all set up and ready to go, and Castle’s books autographed and prepared for delivery. It’s all going so smoothly, it’s sick. So sick that it only makes sense for Beckett to suddenly find out at the court house that she’s still married to that one boyfriend from college. Vegas weddings ruin lives, folks.
Our first look at Rogan O’Leary is hilarious. Naturally, he’s got an insane arrest record and he looks a hot mess. It’s very difficult to imagine Beckett running off and marrying this guy, but college is a helluva drug, so we forgive her. Still, she has three days to get divorced so she can get married, so she runs off to find her husband. Tick, tock!
Of course, she finds him in a bar, and it’s like that Solange/Jay Z elevator fight all over again. O’Leary’s getting his ass kicked by a very angry lady, but the best part is that when he recognizes Beckett, he calls her “Kit-Kat.” In this moment, it becomes clear that—like real people everywhere—she has this secret past life. She used to pick locks, and date a guy named O’Leary, whom she also married that one time. It’s a great moment—all very Riding in Cars with Boys; Beckett going on this big trip to find her former lover so he can sign off on the most important document of her life. And when she finds him and hands him the papers, we just know it’s not going to be that easy. First he asks her if they can stay married, give the relationship a whirl. Nice. Then he asks her to steal his garage door opener from his ex-girlfriend. Done. But when Beckett completes the task and is just about to get him to sign, O’Leary gets kidnapped by some big, scary, masked guys. And right around that time, the couple lose their perfect wedding venue. Castle decides to hand off the wedding drama to his daughter and mother, and goes to upstate New York to help Beckett find her husband. Obviously.
O’Leary’s abduction is, apparently, inconvenient to a lot of folks, including the gangsters he hired to steal a stripper’s phone. They’re looking for him too (guns ‘a blazin’) and point Caskett in the direction of the stripper. The stripper’s name is Sapphire (in case you were curious as to what name to never give your daughter). While in the strip club looking for answers, Beckett gets the call, the call every bride-to-be has in her nightmares. It’s at this point that Castle does a little too far with the everything-is-going-wrong-right-before-the-wedding plot. In the apartment above hers, a pipe burst and destroyed that perfect wedding dress she found a few episodes back. Okay, we’ll take it for now. It is the season finale, after all… but this is just a bit too much.
Sapphire’s phone leads them to the bigger story, as they find pictures of the local pastor trading in religious ecstasy for plain old, sinful ecstasy at the strip club. They realize O’Leary was probably trying to blackmail him, and suspect the pastor is behind the kidnapping. By the time they find O’Leary, he’s tied up in a barn and—worse—tied up with a fugitive mobster (his photos were also on the phone, and he’s been on the lam for a decade). But Castle and Beckett get the brilliant idea to lead the mobsters to the gangsters, who end up turning the fugitive mobster in for the big cash reward. O’Leary signs the divorce papers, and Caskett can finally get married!
“For Better or Worse” is a fun episode that’s rife with clichés, until all of a sudden it isn’t. Just when we feel confident that the couple is going to get their happy ending, Castle sees a suspicious car tailing him while he drives up to the new wedding venue. Shortly thereafter Beckett, in her mother’s gorgeous wedding dress, gets a phone call and must go identify her husband-to-be’s car. It’s swerved off the side of a road, and is all ablaze when she arrives on the scene. Granted, it could be argued that this is a bit cliché too, but the twist is exciting. Where they could have wrapped things up nicely, they left us a cliffhanger and a new case to anticipate in the fall premiere.
Favorite Quotes of the Episode: “They’ve got a lot in common. She can talk about all of the people she put in jail, and he can talk about all of the people he met in jail.” (Castle, re: Beckett and O’Leary)
“He’s got a smile that will make your pants fall off. But, trust me, he’s trouble.” (O’Leary’s neighbor re: O’Leary)
“I’m a sucker for happy endings.” (Castle)
Shannon M. Houston is Assistant TV Editor at Paste, and a New York-based freelance writer with probably more babies than you. You can follow her on Twitter.