Stana Katic Previews Castle’s Darkest Hour Ever – and the Deeply Romantic Moment Within

This Monday on Castle (ABC, 10/9c), Beckett is abruptly called on to help the NYPD’s narcotics division with a seemingly simple sting, by posing as a low-level drug courier to reel in a bigger fish. But when things don’t go at all as planned, suffice it to say she won’t be home in time for dinner with Rick, as promised.

Stana Katic shared with TVLine a preview of what she calls Castle‘s darkest hour, yet one that in turn offers “really special” insight into bride-to-be Kate’s mindset. Also, the actress’ thoughts on Kate and Alexis’ recent heart-to-heart and whether we are truly heading for a wedding.

TVLINE | “In the Belly of the Beast” is quite a departure for the show. Did you get any kind of a heads up that it was coming down the pike?
There was a teeny tiny bit of a heads up, just that they were going to do something that’ll be a little bit more intense on my character, that the workload was going to get a little heavy as well.

TVLINE | And what was your reaction as you actually went through the script?
I was glad…. The show always kind of lies somewhere in between comedy and drama, and being that this is as dark as the show can go, it was extraordinary to do that dance with some of the core group, like Rob Bowman who is one of our executive producers but also a regular director and one of the main elements in the editing suite. And to work on a script by Andrew [W. Marlowe], who of course is the creator and exec producer, along with David Amann, who is one of our exec producers and a collaborator with Andrew…. It’s just really cool.

TVLINE | The end result is very atmospheric. Like, if you told me this was some piece of German cinema, I would almost believe you.
[Laughs] That’s Rob. This was a chance to play with someone who’s excited about features and loves filmmaking, and Bowman always pushes himself and the whole crew, and we love it. We’re inspired by working with him. There’s nothing better than dancing in filmmaking with someone that is willing to go all in, and he’s definitely one of those creatives.

TVLINE | To be clear, though you and I playfully talk bout “badass Beckett,” this is not about her being fierce in the way of, you know, hand-to-hand combat or pistols blazing. This is a different kind of intensity happening to her.
It is, yeah. She gets in over her head, in many ways. She starts off the episode thinking that she’s going to help another law enforcement branch out by going undercover, that it’s going to be done within a few hours and then she’ll be back home. And it gets a lot darker, very quickly. We had some really wonderful guest cast. Kenny Johnson (The Shield) is phenomenal; I had a blast working with him. He delivered something physical to me all the time…. It felt like everyone was committed in a way like, “This is a one-and-done experience, so let’s give it our all.”

TVLINE | One thing I found myself asking as I watched was: Do you think Season 1 Beckett could have pulled this off? Could she have endured this?
No way. I think that she maybe had the physical stamina to get through some of it, but — and this is a part of her evolution over the past six years — at some point she became less reactive, less emotional. Triggers aren’t the same any more. She’s more lethal because she’s able to contain those emotions and look at things a little bit more objectively. Of course, there’s a breaking point in this episode with [spoiler]. But you know what? She’s chasing death no matter what, so she’s going to fight for her last breath.

TVLINE | What I found interesting is that although Rick and Kate are physically separated for a good chunk of the hour, this episode probably has one or two of the most deeply romantic moments for them. For one, I’m thinking about the “goodbye” letter Kate writes to him…. Do you agree?
Yeah. I do. I do. I mean, nothing makes better love story stuff than facing your immortality, right? Nothing gives you better sex scenes than facing your own mortality. [Laughs]

TVLINE | The letter in particular is nice because they could have easily just skipped that beat. But the fact that they showed her sitting down to write it, and taking such care to hide it for him to maybe find later, was pretty powerful.
I think so, too, because we don’t always get a chance to have an eye on Beckett’s inner monologue. Castle has his mom, and his daughter sometimes, so there are opportunities for him to some of his inner monologue. At one time we had Beckett’s psychologist, but we don’t really have that at this point. [Kate and Rick] now kind of use each other to express their inner monologues, and we’ve done a really sweet kind of thing of using the regular relationship blocks to look at our lifetimes and our happenings in the past few episodes, but we’ve never had a moment to understand the depths of that affection — especially for Kate, who I believe is complex and is capable of extremely deep emotion. She says that in one of the earlier seasons, “No, I’m the one-and-done type,” so committing herself to someone like Rick means that she’s all in. Having a chance to express that on-screen through that inner monologue and the letter was really special.

TVLINE | Now looking back on the season-to-date: Have you enjoyed playing the bits of wedding planning, seeing the characters’ future slowly crystallize?
I have. I enjoy it because it also showcases another element of our relationship, the sweetness. And I think it’s very relatable for a lot of people that have had to go through the wedding planning rigmarole. Also, it’s outside of the whole procedural element of our story, so it’s nice to kind of branch into a different field. Castle, of course, gets to be in storytelling mode all the time, but Beckett has to be a bit more on point when she gets to work. So this lets us see the other side of that relationship at play, at home or when they’re off campus.

TVLINE | Kate seems to have her wedding dress, she and Rick seem to have “their song” picked out, but some the fans are thinking that maybe that’s misdirection — that if and when the big day comes there might be a different dress, that it won’t necessarily be that song. Do you think Johanna maybe left a gift behind?
Wouldn’t that be beautiful? What if Jim came in with a box…. Maybe!

TVLINE | You previously told me having Kate and Alexis kind of address their relationship wasn’t necessarily mandatory. Nonetheless, were you glad to touch on it in last week’s episode?
You know, I didn’t think, “Oh, this has to be addressed.” But I can see why the writers thought it might be something that they needed to look into. And I could see why audiences probably felt like it needed to be looked into. I’ve always felt that Alexis is a grown woman and she has an amazing mom that we’ve met a number of times, so Kate’s relationship with her always has to be just very respectful and understanding, because Alexis is the No. 1 girl in Castle’s life. That’s his daughter, and that’s a special place, so it doesn’t matter what happens in life, children come first. Kate, being the kind of character that she is, has a strong respect for that kind of family dynamic and would never want to interfere. If she can be a friend, if she can offer maybe another perspective at times, just like any friend would, I think that that’s great — and that’s maybe the role she can hold if any in that relationship, to just be a sounding board, be a bud. Just like Lanie is for Kate, you know?

TVLINE | And before we go, I pretty much have to ask: What would you say the current Vegas odds are on the wedding actually happening this season? After all, they did move up their timetable to possibly as early as “spring”….
I don’t know…. But I think it’s going to happen. It’s got to!

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