Title Once Upon a Time in the West
Two-Sentence Summary Castle and Beckett visit an Arizona dude ranch to investigate the murder of a young woman. The trip serves as a honeymoon for the couple, who also face the wrath Ryan and Esposito for not inviting them to their spur-of-the-moment wedding.
Castle: We did it, Mrs. Castle!
Beckett: We certainly did, Mr. Beckett!
My Thoughts “Once Upon a Time in the West” was the perfect follow-up to last week’s big Castle wedding episode. “The Time of Our Lives” had all of the emotion a great wedding episode should have, and “Once Upon a Time in the West” had all of the fun, sex appeal, and adventure a great honeymoon episode should have.
While “The Time of Our Lives” was filled with moments that demanded deep analysis, “Once Upon a Time in the West” was decidedly lighter—nothing but campy fun. As such, in lieu of my usual review format, I’m just going to list my 10 favorite things about this episode.
1. Lanie’s reaction to the wedding. Every episode of Castle is instantly improved by the presence of Tamala Jones, and this was no exception. Lanie’s reaction was exactly right for her character—from the sass to the sweetness. More than anything, I loved that she was genuinely happy for her friend. In the end, what mattered most to her was that Beckett was happy, but she got to give Castle a hard time about it, too, which is all I could have asked for from her reaction.
2. Ryan and Esposito’s reactions. I’ll admit it; I was a little sad that Ryan and Esposito weren’t at the wedding, but it was worth it to have their reactions play out so perfectly throughout this episode. From Esposito’s “You suck” to Ryan’s “No song for you,” these two were absolute perfection. There’s nothing better than Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever getting to be as funny as we know they can be. And when their comedic indignation is directed at Nathan Fillion, it’s even better.
3. “Mr. Beckett.” Damn right, Kate.
4. The sense of campy fun throughout. No show does “theme episodes” like Castle. And that’s because when this show does one of these episodes—from “The Blue Butterfly” to “That ’70s Show”—everybody commits to it fully. In the words of Amy Poheler, no one looks stupid when they’re having fun, and this cast always looks like they’re having so much fun when they do these kinds of episodes. That sense of fun is contagious, and I have to give so much credit for that to Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion. They sell these campy episodes with an enthusiasm that can’t always be easy after seven seasons, and it makes it so easy to buy exactly what they’re selling and go along for the ride with them.
5. Beckett’s black Wild West outfit. Need I say more? I’ve always had a weird desire to wear a corset just once to see how it would make me look, and the fact that it made the already gorgeous Katic look even better is not helping me covet a corset any less. Luke Reichle outdid himself once again.
6. The casual intimacy of the newlyweds. Not only were the sparks still there after the wedding, they were as strong as ever in this episode. From Castle helping Beckett out of the stagecoach to their cute little kiss before splitting up, this episode was filled with the kind of casual intimacy I love as a viewer. And I absolutely adored the entire campfire scene. It was such a nice, quiet moment of happiness for these two characters who’ve earned every bit of that moment. To see Beckett so happy always makes me happy. I liked the idea of her learning to make the most of their situation and embracing the fact that, while it may not have been her ideal honeymoon, there was still something magical about spending the night with her new husband under a starry sky.
7. Beckett’s sharpshooting skills. I think we all knew she was going to come in and take charge during the perfectly cheesy standoff, but that didn’t make it any less fun to see Katic wield her six-shooter like a pro.
8. Victoria Gates. Remember when we all thought we would never warm up to Victoria Gates? Times certainly have changed. I loved her initial annoyance about not even getting invited to the announcement party at the loft, but what I loved the most was her putting Ryan and Esposito in their places for continuing to act mad at Castle and Beckett. By telling them to be happy for their friends, you could tell she was happy for Castle and Beckett, too. It was the kind of firm but excellent advice that has made Gates a perfect precinct mother hen.
9. Beckett’s white Wild West outfit. Not only was this a great choice for the start of their “real” honeymoon (it’s basically Wild West lingerie), it was just a really good look for Katic. And was I the only one who noticed that they actually remembered her scar? It was a little detail, but stuff like that matters to me. And it’s nice to see that it matters to them, too.
10. The tone of that entire last scene. It was light and playful and just sexy enough to be the perfect note on which to end this honeymoon episode. It left me with the biggest smile on my face, and that’s all I needed from this episode.