Castle and Beckett: It's been the consummation devoutly to be wished.
So after four seasons of red-hot chemistry on Castle, did the crime novelist and his muse finally get their Nikki Heat on?
Read on for a postmortem of tonight's game-changing finale with Castle showrunner Andrew Marlowe…and scoop on what's to come in season five.
Spoiler Alert (Do we really have to say it?): Don't read if you haven't watched yet!
Aw. The stars aligned at last for Castle [Nathan Fillion] and Beckett [Stana Katic], one of TV's most dynamic duos and now a certified couple!
"All I want is you," Beckett (Rebecca!) told Castle, abandoning both her obsession with her mother's murder and her inhibitions before a passionate scene that would've made Nikki Heat proud.
But the crimefighters' happy ending didn't come easily.
"The finale is an emotional ride," said Marlowe, who lit "a lot of fireworks" before the ultimate payoff.
"They had to confront the betrayals, they had to confront the secrets and they had to confront how they feel about each other," Marlowe notes. "I think that the payment was a little bit of fun in getting to the other side of all this 'angsty' stuff and help reinject this show with an element of fun."
Most of all, Marlowe hopes the audience is "very satisfied" by the outcome.
After four years of foreplay, how could it not be? As Marlowe candidly admits, "We felt like we had run everything we could possibly get out of the two of them not being together and that we were dangerously close to having to repeat ourselves or step backwards."
So what's next? "No means do we feel like this is the end of our storytelling," Marlowe insists. "Once people get together, there are plenty of fun challenges, relationship obstacles to overcome [and] really uncomfortable, great, wonderful, crazy, challenging moments that they're going to have to face."
One of their biggest challenges, of course, is the threat to Beckett's life—in the handsome form of Tahmoh Penikett, revealed as her attempted assassin and hatchet man for the conspirators.
While Castle and Beckett came together, "We blow Ryan [Seamus Dever] and Esposito [Jon Huertas] apart in this episode," says Marlowe. "Beckett has resigned from the force, so there is a lot of picking up the pieces that we're going to have to do next year that we're really excited about."
At least Castle's daughter, Alexis (Molly Quinn), won't be leaving town—she chose nearby Columbia over Stanford and Oxford.
"A lot of it really isn't about changing the show," Marlowe told us. "It's about re-embracing the fundamental values of the show, realigning it and growing the characters so we can take a really fresh approach next season."
(Originally published May 7, 2012, at 8:40 p.m. PT)
Were you satisfied with tonight's finale? What do you think the future holds for Castle and Beckett? Sound off in the comments!