May 12 2015

Castle Season Finale – “Hollander’s Woods” Review. I Got Your Back.


Castle Ink Spot logo (featured)Season 7, Episode 23

Air Date: Monday, May 11, 2015 at 10/9c on ABC




“I don’t cross the line; I put myself on it.” – Beckett


We finally learn what happened to Castle (Nathan Fillion) all those years ago in “Hollander’s Woods,” which prompted him to become a mystery writer compelled to solve mysteries. While the appropriately titled episode, “Hollander’s Woods,” gives us answers, it also positions many of the characters with interesting plot points for season eight.

With the news of Castle’s renewal coming hot off the heels of last week’s penultimate episode, “Dead From New York,” show creator Andrew C. Marlowe noted the season seven finale was written to both tie up loose ends and create a segue for plots in season eight. “Hollander’s Woods” could have been the series finale but, like many fans, I’m glad it isn’t. I absolutely love Castle and the entire cast; they cap off my typically blue Mondays with a “ruggedly handsome” smile.

“Hollander’s Woods” explores the mystery behind why Castle became a writer. Even Beckett (Stana Katic) doesn’t know anything about what transpired some 30 years ago. During a preliminary investigation at a remote crime scene, the ritualistic markings and the way the victim, Emma Malloy (Chelsea Gonzalez), is killed reminds Castle of something he saw when he was 11 years old. After Castle hears the killer wears a “porcelain” mask, he finally reveals his story. As Castle recounts his horrific and traumatic experience in Hollander’s Woods, he describes in vivid detail the hooded figure he saw hovering over someone on the ground. Now, three decades later, with another victim murdered in the same fashion, Castle knows he can’t let this one go. He must find the killer. As a side note, Webb Hayes, the boy who plays young Castle looks like he could be related to Fillion.

Suspect Noah Lewis, convincingly played by Cullen Douglas, gives me the creeps with our eerie he is at every turn. Kudos to the production team for setting up the house they find Noah hiding in, complete with his deceased mother rotting in her recliner. And actor Wallace Langham, who plays psychiatrist Dr. Van Holtzman, does a brilliant job of convincing me I shouldn’t go into the woods alone…ever! He also makes me think twice about people you think you know because sometimes, they’re not always who they say they are. Can you imagine finding out your spouse of 24 years has a secret life and a closet full of skeletons, literally?

As the investigation progresses, many disturbing things surface regarding the case. In spite of all the clues and Castle’s vehemence about this case, I can’t be the only one who finds it odd that both Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) doubt everything Castle says. Castle may have some wild theories but he’s been more than helpful on many cases, solving mysteries and putting away the bad guys. Marlowe and writer Terri Edda Miller co-wrote this season finale and while “Hollander’s Woods” provides a great deal of closure, there’s still room to explore more about this story line. The snippet shown in the flashback of Castle’s first crack at writing a mystery, “A Death in the Woods,” could make a great episode next season.

Aside from the scary killer story line, “Hollander’s Woods” goes into another story arc for Beckett who’s just taken her “captain’s exam.” What transpires in the unexpected performance review intrigues me and ties together something said to Beckett in the episode “At Close Range.” I don’t see Beckett running for office or being swept up in the political ring; however, the case with her mother’s murder and former Senator Bracken (Jack Coleman) could be revisited in season eight. We still don’t know all the answers to that mystery.

Cheers to another great season of Castle! See you next year!!

Cheers to another great season of Castle! See you next year!!

To tidy things up in a pretty little bow, complete with a heartfelt speech and fancy party, Castle is honored with the “Poe’s Pen Career Achievement” award presented to him by his good friend and fellow mystery writer Michael Connelly (playing himself).



The intensity behind the mystery of “Hollander’s Woods” and the investigation leading to the killer makes me excited for what’s to come in season eight. The cast have all renewed their contracts and I’m ready to go on another long adventure with them. Perhaps Esposito will find love in season eight. Or, will Ryan and his wife Jenny (Juliana Dever) have another baby? Will Castle and Beckett finally have little Castles running around the loft? Hopefully, Alexis (Molly C. Quinn) will find her calling and Martha (Susan Sullivan) will get that “rent controlled” apartment. Of course, there will be plenty of murder mysteries for our intrepid team to solve.

What did you think of “Hollander’s Woods?” Leave me a comment below and/or tweet me @judybopp.

Castle will return for season eight this fall on ABC.

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Photos ©2015 American Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.


© 2015, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.

Judy Manning

Dream chaser extraordinaire! Judy is a tad sarcastic and kind of goofy! She is an avid admirer of all things supernatural, paranormal, and mystical. She finally came around to zombies, but NO clowns...she loathes clowns. She loves to read, write, and watches way too much TV. She enjoys many genres of film and music of the Trance/Electronica variety (and let's be honest, most music from the 80s). She also has a wicked sweet tooth. Cupcakes beware.

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