Secret Santa: Spoilers and Preview

Christmas came a little bit early for those of us in the press today, as ABC released a rough cut screener of the first ever Christmas episode of "Castle": the aptly titled "Secret Santa".
What is a rough cut, you ask? Basically, it's an unfinished product that is still a work-in-progress. Those of you who watched "A Dance With Death" at PaleyFest back in March will understand what that means. While the episode is there in its entirety to view, portions of it are still unpolished. ADR has not been completely finished by some cast members (i.e.: sometimes when Beckett speaks, it's another woman's voice coming out on-screen instead) and some of the musical score may be temporary and yet to be completed by Robert Duncan. However, the most important parts of the episode were there, and that's what we'll be discussing from here on out.
First off, the whole cast makes an appearance in 5x09, and therefore we get to see what each person was up to for the holidays. Everyone has their particular Christmas traditions, but Ryan is married now, Alexis is in college, Castle and Beckett are together, and Javi's the only single guy, so you can see how this year, some traditions might be getting switched up a bit and coming into conflict due to new life circumstances. That said, as Michael Ausiello over on TVLine has been teasing, the thing that ultimately gets in the way of Castle and Beckett's first Christmas together is indeed work, but the reason it gets in the way turns out to be completely voluntary and Castle is totally understanding about it. Will let you speculate on that one, but it may or may not have already been alluded to in some recent interviews.
Now for some spoilery tidbits:
  • "Santa" definitely made the naughty list this year, and he's not the only one. (Lookin' at you, Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Ryan! Oh my.)
  • Castle's decorated loft looks gorgeous. Seriously, the promo pictures don't do it enough justice. Just wait till you see the whole thing.
  • A little scene in the morgue begs the a rekindled Espo/Lanie on the horizon?
  • And speaking of romance, Alexis has a new guy she might be interested in at college, too.
  • Gates does not like her mother in-law, and it's hilarious how vocal she is about it.
  • Yes, there are Caskett moments.
  • Yes, you will love them.
  • This one elicited both an "Awww" and a laugh from me.
  • And on that note, a detective we haven't seen since Season 2 is instrumental in helping save Caskett's Christmas, even though they don't make a physical appearance in the episode. Yay for Detective ______!
All in all, I thought the episode was great. One thing I was suspecting (and hoping) would occur did not happen, but the ending was still very sweet. You'll love it.

Captain Founder, Administrator, Editor and Writer

The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary. You taught me to be my best self, to look forward to tomorrow's adventures. And when I was vulnerable, you were strong. I love you, Richard Castle. And I want to live my life in the warmth of your smile and the strength of your embrace. I promise you I will love you. I will be your friend and your partner in crime and in life, always. - Kate Beckett The moment we met, my life became extraordinary. You taught me more about myself than I knew there was to learn. You are the joy in my heart. You're the last person I want to see every night when I close my eyes. I love you, Katherine Beckett. And the mystery of you is the one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring. I promise to love you, to be your friend, and your partner in crime and life, 'till death do us part, and for the time of our lives. - Richard Castle

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