Trundlebed Tales: Bringing Laura Ingalls Wilder, Children’s Literature, and History to Life
TV Show Castle Finale
Should Have Stopped With Season Finale Last Year
I’m torn over the Castle finale. I like the show so I’m sorry it’s over, but as with the last season of The Dukes of Hazzard, as MUCH as I liked the show, if this was the best they could come up with they were totally out of ideas and it was time to end it. There are several shows over the years that were, I felt, cancelled well before their time and even did my bit to try and get them another year. There were some that succeeded and in the case of several, like Due South, I was sorry the movement succeeded when I saw that extra year. Castle is another that, as much as I enjoyed the few bright spots (Alexis and Haley with the detective agency, getting a peek at Ryan with his daughter, and the few bits of Caskett happy together) I would have been happier if they ended with the final show last season which I really think would have been one of the best written series finales ever. They should have taken that as the bow that they clearly thought it was when writing it and left on a high note. This was by FAR the weakest season of Castle. I spent all season thinking back to that episode and really there was nothing that convinced me we shouldn’t have just left the story there. I really won’t have minded if this entire season had been some kind of stupid dream like Dallas (which I was sorry for in that case I really liked the dream year better than the one after the do over). I’m sure they won’t, but I hope they’ll leave this last season out of syndication.
A Weak Season
Undoing the Braxston explanation for Kate’s mother’s death after building years on that foundation was stupid and just reeked of an “Oh, HELP! we’ve got another year to fill and we tied it all up, we’ll just have to desperately grab at something.” Kate not telling Rick or Ryan or Espo that there was another Big Bad was both insulting to them and stupid because how were they able to finally deal with the first time? By working as a team. What is one of the things people like best about this series? The interaction of the team. Yes, isolating and destroying long established connections while creating insta ones (hello, woman Espo “really” loves who’s a criminal), is exactly what you want to do to keep a long running show on longer.~ (That’s a sarcasm mark if you don’t know.
Captain Gates not even getting a goodbye episode was also a slap to her and to fans right at the beginning of the season, so she was beyond reach for the team, but the others should have been involved. I don’t mind a “sneaking around because we can’t let people know we’re together” story, but they didn’t do it well and they never really resolved it. After Kate comes clean to Rick you really can’t tell they aren’t together except for a couple short scenes where they seem suddenly remember and decide to drop a line that they aren’t together. Ryan and Espo’s explanation of all this – which didn’t come from either Castle or Beckett – didn’t include that the break up had been staged, neither did Martha or Alexis’s at least on screen. Frankly it never did make sense. People knew she was connected to Castle, etc. anyway and what about her father? How did she protect him? The whole thing just seemed like a desperate attempt to come up with something, anything different.
Flash Ahead Scene
I did like the flash ahead end scene. You could tell it was tacked on and the part with the empty room was strange and the last set of voiceover lines at the end aren’t I would have picked, but I didn’t take them as an affront like the critic in the review linked at the bottom. I’d have liked Castle bringing the kids to Senator Beckett’s office (since that much of the rest of future guy’s prediction came true that should), but I’ll take what we got. (If you don’t remember, see note 1 at end)
Personally I’d have rather they cut that whole end apartment bit at the end of the episode right before the tag, especially them pretty much being in the position from the happy poster for the series when it cut to black. I think that would have been a horrible end, not just for the series, but even for the season. Who wants to see Caskett shot and crawling for each other? The instinct to reach each other was nice, but that’s not what I watched Castle for.
Worst Finales Ever
While I think it was a weak season, I do think that tag saved it from being a terrible show finale. In my opinion a terrible show finale ruins the rest of the show. If we had a season where Kate is either dead or in an unseen hospital bed, that would have ruined the show. If we saw them together in what was probably both shot dead with the surety that either Martha or Alexis would walk in on the scene THAT would have ruined the series for me. This has this bad part, but we eventually get to where we want to be. (See Note 2)
How I Met Your Mother
The review (same one linked to below) calls this a terrible finale and also slams the one from How I Met Your Mother. I actually liked the How I Met Your Mother finale because it really pulled tight your perceptions so you could suddenly see throughlines for the entire series that looking back you can see were there the whole time. It made me want to watch the whole series again to see those lines.
Who’s the Boss?
Sometimes shows are ruined to the point where I don’t even want to watch again the other episodes I had liked. Probably the worst series ender for me was Who’s the Boss? after watching them demonstrate for 8 seasons how right Tony and Angela were, instead of marrying or at least engaging them off, they decide that they never were meant to be together romantically, never would be, and were “really just friends.” This was deliberately done thinking it would help the show remain popular in syndication. Why I’ll never know because I can’t sit through 2 minutes of any episode now without getting so mad about the series ending I have to turn away.
The Quantum Leap finale ( “Mirror Image – August 8, 1953”) was another series ruiner. We watched Sam jump through history helping people and every so often, not to help himself, but to help others, they’d do something that would nudge his life into a better place too. By the end of season 5, Sam seemed to be prepped to go home and get the reward of his improved life while he would continue to help people, probably from his own secure spot in time. Instead they sent him off on some obscure higher plane where he had to leave Al behind and they specifically say on screen “Dr. Sam Beckett Never Returned Home.” I’m not the only person who hasn’t gotten over it.
Life on Mars
Finally Life on Mars (American version — the British version was different, but not a lot better) is the story of a detective from the 2000s that suddenly finds himself operating out of his same squad room in the 1970s. The series is a combination of police procedural, cultural comparisons between the decades, and all sorts of little hints about what’s really going on. Is he in a coma and hallucinating? Is he being forced into this reality by drugs or mind control? Is he having to revisit this time to make peace with his life (specifically his father)? Is this heaven and/or purgatory?
The big reveal is it’s a computer glitch. He was really an astronaut on his way to Mars in the future and to keep them busy and well rested the crew was all put in stasis with a program of their choice running as an immersive experience. They could pick about anything and the computer would play it interacting with them. He had chosen that 2000s cop and a glitch had knocked him into the 1970s since the computer had that information as well and he really believed he was that 2000s cop so everything went wrong. So absolutely nothing we saw actually happened except his developing feelings for the cute blonde girl who turned out to really be the commander of the mission.
I still can’t believe they pulled things out from under us like that, but on the plus side it handed me one of the best ever conversation starters. If you could pick anything like that where you couldn’t really be hurt and could be literally anyone, anywhere, anytime, any space, where would you spend your two years? I’ve gotten some great responses.
NOTE 1: The Castle episode is “Time Will Tell” posits a time travel story where someone from the future comes back to destroy the world and someone else follows to stop him. Of course our realistic friends think this is crazy, except for Castle who kind of believes it’s possible especially when the man who claims to be the person to stop it, Simon Doyle, disappears almost in front of his eyes.
According to TV line Simon goes on to “reveal that Rick and Kate do in fact marry, then have three kids. In the future, also, it’s Senator Beckett, while Castle has put mystery novels behind him to pen ‘serious literature.’ Beckett all episode writes off Simon as a crackpot, yet stops him from revealing the kids’ names.” In the flash ahead they also have 3 kids, a daughter who must be about 6 and twin sons about 4 seven years in the future.
NOTE 2: One final bit about the Castle finale I really don’t appreciate them hooking that grisly image to “Sunshine Day.” I hope I can get that out of my head now.
NOTE 3: I’d say the first of my top 2 favorite endings where the reference to his last show in the Newhart (which kept going in the Bob Newhart reunion special where they hint that it was that show that wasn’t real after all). Second, is I Married Dora an underrated farce with an ending you’d have to know the show to get, but was absolutely hilarious. “I knew you couldn’t leave me.” –” Nope. We’ve been cancelled!”
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.
Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.
View all posts by Sarah Uthoff - Trundlebed Tales