P.S. As you may have guessed from the title, this post freely discusses the implications of the Season 4 Premiere of Castle. So, if you haven’t watched it yet, feel free to stay away.

It was always going to go down this way. After all the months of hype and expectation; of trying to figure out what that cliffhanger ending meant; of wondering where it left the relationships between the primary characters; of contemplating how it affected the future of the show; in the end, not much has changed. Not that I am saying that’s a bad thing, but for those of you who expected equally stunning developments in the Premiere of Season 4 of Castle as there were in the Season 3 finale, you will be disappointed. For others – like yours truly – who always knew that this episode will provide a platform upon which the writers can play with their characters, you will get exactly what you want.

The last time we met New York’s finest detective pairing, we were truly delivered a sucker punch with Castle professing his love for Beckett as she lay in his arms after having been shot in the chest by a sniper (I always wonder why the chest; why not the head if you meant for the target to die… but I digress). Season 4 Premiere picks up directly from this point with Beckett being rushed to the hospital. Chaos ensues as her boyfriend Josh accuses Castle of putting her in harm’s way and Castle comes to terms with his guilt. And though we know how it is going to end eventually (i.e. Kate survives… duh!), these first 10 minutes are truly exhilarating as she is being brought back to life.

And then, out of the blue, it all becomes relatively normal. Beckett returns to duty after a three month layoff where she avoids Castle after telling him that she doesn’t recollect anything that happened after she was hit. The new Captain, Victoria Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald), takes over ruling the precinct with an iron fist and closes the case on Beckett’s shooting because of the lack of new leads. Ryan and Esposito investigate a brand new homicide as Castle and Beckett make up with each other and follow the leads the former obtained on her mother’s case while she was out. Meanwhile, Castle hears from an old friend of Captain Montgomery who has some information of his own.

As expected, the fresh homicide is not given importance since it doesn’t serve any purpose other than to bring Beckett back to terms with her job. And based on how this episode went, we can also assume that Captain Gates’ character is going to follow a traditional arc this season. I am reminded of the character of Camille Saroyan played by Tamara Taylor in Bones; who, at first, is depicted as a “by-the-books” character only to soften and get “in-line” with the rest of the cast as the show progresses. However, the manner in which Castle “tames” her is still priceless for fans.

In terms of the larger picture, there are few intentionally open-ended details which are going to lay the groundwork for this season. Obviously, Castle has professed his feelings for Beckett. He has to come to grips with the fact that he has opened his heart and we, the viewers, know this as well. Of course, as keen-eyed fans might’ve surmised, Beckett lies in the show’s beginning on not being able to recollect anything. Like the twist at the end depicts, she remembers everything including those magic three words. As was speculated by Castle fans, Beckett being a relatively private person chooses to keep it as her “little” secret until the time is right – meaning whenever the writers feel like it. Both of those developments put an interesting spin on where the relationship is headed.

Lastly, there is the all-important third person to whom Captain Montgomery sends the documents. He informs Castle that Beckett should be off the case for good; otherwise, her safety cannot be guaranteed because the man behind all this is too powerful to be touched. Castle chooses not to share this info with Beckett which could have later repercussions. We can guess the position of the “plotter” as being a politician based on a call made to the Congressional office by the third man. But one thing is for sure, this isn’t the last we’ve heard of either of them.

What does this mean for the Season premiere and the episodes to come? Well, that is hard to say. The premiere was always going to be a relatively low-key affair after that cliffhanger. The writers cannot make drastic changes to the characters all of a sudden without jeopardizing the series. And it shows in the swift manner in which they’ve brought everything back under control. It is safe to presume that the episodes that follow will be in the basic “Castle” format – body being found, case being investigated, and killer’s identity being discovered by the principal four of Castle, Beckett, Ryan and Esposito. In between all this, the writers have plenty of plot details with which to play with the relationships as pointed above.

And that still remains the heart and soul of Castle. Nothing changes the fact that we now care for these characters and are engrossed in their lives. The primary addiction to watching the show week-in and week-out will come from seeing where the writers take the relationship between Castle and Beckett while using the open threads to develop other key aspects of the story as well. Based on how they have left us after the first episode, I have to say that hasn’t changed at all. I am going to be tuning in next week, as well as the week after that and… well, you get the picture. The good news is that Castle is back.