ABC’s Castle has been a surprisingly solid series for one largely based on the chemistry between the two lead actors. Had the sparks between Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic as Castle and Beckett fizzled out at any point, the show almost certainly wouldn’t have lasted to its eighth season. Season 8 has seen a change in the Castle/Beckett dynamic as the now-married couple faked a separation for the sake of an investigation. The separation has been rough on fans of the couple, but the end is now in sight: the sixteenth episode of Season 8 will see an official reunion.

News that Castle and Beckett’s separation will soon be coming to a conclusion will be a relief for plenty of viewers. While it’s been nice that Castle has been willing to take big risks for Season 8 that include separating the two main characters, there’s no Castle without Castle and Beckett getting into rom-com/murder investigatory shenanigans each week.

As much of a relief as it is to have an end date, however, the sixteenth episode is a ways off. Castle only returned to the airwaves after its winter hiatus on February 8 with the ninth episode of Season 8. TVLine's reported Episode 16 reunion means that there remains a long wait before Castle and Beckett publicly become Caskett once more.

The reunion won't go entirely smoothly, however. Castle's artificial intelligence pal Lucy (voiced by Aubrey Plaza) will be making a return appearance to clash with Beckett. Considering that Lucy was the...well, entity to deal with Castle in the wake of Beckett leaving him, it should be interesting to see what Lucy has to say to Beckett coming back to Castle's life.

Still, a clash between a woman and an artificial intelligence unit is about as smooth as a Castle reunion could be expected to be, and Episode 16 is a heck of a lot sooner than a season finale reunion. Castle’s ratings in Season 8 have been low enough that every moment should be precious for longtime fans. The first two weeks of the eighth season achieved ratings that were passable in sheer volume of viewers but disappointingly dismal in terms of the target demographic. The producers have assured viewers that low numbers in the demographic aren’t cause for too much concern, but few things are ever certain on network television, and the ratings just haven’t been encouraging for a Season 9 renewal. In fact, despite their earlier assurances, showrunners Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley deliberately wrote the Season 8 finale as an episode that could serve as a series finale without leaving a plethora of dangling plot threats never to be addressed in the event of a cancellation.

All in all, things are looking pretty bittersweet for Castle at the moment. The end may be nigh, but eight seasons is a respectable run for any series, and the upcoming reunion of the main characters means that they’ll at least be together for what could be the final episodes of the show. Besides, showrunners writing for a finale rather than throwing in every cliffhanger aside from one concerning a kitchen sink in hopes of a renewal is much more satisfying.

The end may be nigh, but it’s not here yet and we have plenty to look forward to. Castle airs on Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. Be sure to tune in to catch the rest of what may be the final season to see what happens to lead up to the reunion of Castle and Beckett in Episode 16.

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