In the latest episode of Castle, Once Upon a Time in the West, the show delivers what it does best, that perfect blend of murder and light comedy. Certainly it is early days in the marriage of Kate and Rick, but thus far the two getting married has not changed the interaction of their relationship, apart from saying “I do.” Richard Castle, writer and new husband of Kate, is still a big kid at heart and the plot taking “Caskett” to an Old West themed Dude Ranch allowed the author to let his, not so, inner child out.
Beckett is still the adult in this relationship, although she is more amenable to Rick’s flights of fancy. The beginning of this episode shows a young woman, Whitney Williams, in an emergency room having had convulsions on the subway and before going into one last spasm, tells the doctor who asked what happened, “Diamond Back.” Kate and Rick tell Ryan, Esposito and Lanie that they got married at the Hamptons and although Lanie starts out acting offended, she quickly forgives Beckett and it is the two men who act tacky. The two tell Castle that they wrote a song for the wedding and that now they will never perform it.
Kate gets a call about the Williams murder and after learning that she died of foxglove poisoning, contacts her next of kin, Philip and Lenanne Dagmar who explain that since Whitney’s mother died that they are the closest thing to family she had. Philip says he has no idea what Diamond Back could refer to and when asked where the girl may have been 12 to 14 hours previously, when she was given the poison, the Dagmar’s say that have no idea.
As both Rick and Kate start to work on what the mysterious reference may mean, which includes Castle’s supposition that is the password to a snake handling fight club, an idea he likes so much that he says it will be the plot to “my next Nikki Heat novel” or that it is the Marvel character named Diamond Back who kills people with a diamond shaped weapon dipped in poison. As he moves to number three, Ryan and Esposito come in to reveal it is the name of a Dude Ranch.
At this point in Once Upon a time in the West Castle has researched the place on the computer and, since learning that his and Kate’s original honeymoon to the island is postponed, suggests that he and his new bride honeymoon at the Old West resort, as a cover, and find who killed Williams. Kate is against the decision, but the captain who blames Rick for not inviting her to the champagne wedding announcement at the beginning of the show, thinks it is a great idea. As local law enforcement at the Arizona Old West themed resort is being uncooperative, this appears to be the quickest way to solve the girl’s murder.
Before agreeing to head to the ranch for their honeymoon investigation, Kate works out that Whitney was poisoned there and Ryan tells her that the girl left in a hurry and upset. The couple arrive and getting out of the stage, Kate steps in what may be horse droppings and the couple go to get “into costume.” After changing, their host Gentleman James Grady, shows of his six-gun twirling skills and Castle, being wildly impressed, says, “I want to be him when I grow up.” Kate replies with, “If you grow up.”
Before the twirling scene, the two manage to get the same room that Whitney had when she stayed there. Once they have changed and Rick carries his new wife over the threshold, they meet their gay male neighbor, who shares their “Jack and Jill” bathroom. The key that the couple brought, thinking it was to Whitney’s room, turns out to be to a shed. Tobias, their toilet-mate, reveals that the girl was hanging around a married Red Bandana employee on the Ranch.
Castle and Kate begin their investigation with him looking for the married “bandana boy” in the saloon, where he goes to take beginner harmonica lessons and Kate heads to her hogtying lessons, with Tobias. Ryan calls to say that Williams had waxed cardboard under her fingernails and before she went to the Ranch was spending a lot of time at the historical society. Rick finds his married employee and learns that Whitney was not interested in romance but something else.
The new Mr. and Mrs. Castle learn that the murdered girl used the shed key to steal dynamite and taking a horse drawn wagon to the Yavapai Native American Reservation Kate and Rick find out that Whitney was looking for a definition of a Yavapai word Aha Gah Hel’la which could either mean stream or river. The writer shows up with his new six shooter and reveals that he bought Mrs. Castle one as well. After learning about what Williams was really after the two head back to the Ranch.
Stopping for a romantic moment, they sip champagne by a campfire, and things start to get really romantic, just as a rattlesnake shows up between Rick’s feet. Kate does a fast draw and fires at the snake causing the horses to bolt and run off with the wagon. The couple have to walk back to the resort and after they return Rick learns that the Peacock brothers were real bandits and not something made up by the Ranch, earlier the one-eyed sheriff showed Rick a wanted poster with the two men on it, Castle made a joke telling the man that he would “keep an eye out.”
Rick and Kate learn that in 1893 the two men robbed a train and took 50 ingots of gold. Whitney’s father, a man named Clyde, had discovered where the Peacock’s hid their gold and it was the Yavapai word that tipped him off. Beckett and Rick figure out that everyone who searched for the gold had been looking in the wrong place, which is the same thing that the Williams girl learned. The couple used Whitney’s research to trace her steps and they find that Clyde was murdered and put in a trunk where the gold had been originally.
Evidence reveals that Clyde’s friend was a man named Dutch who turns out to be Philip Dagmar. When questioned back in New York he tells the police that there was a third man who was searching for the gold with him and Whitney’s father. It was this man who killed Clyde and he bought Dagmar’s silence with 25 of the gold bars. When Kate take the sheriff out to see the body, Rick has a drink with resort host Jim Grady, who turns out to be the killer.
Castle and Grady face off for an old fashioned western gunfight and just Rick is about to be shot, Kate saves the day by shooting the gun out of Grady’s hand. By the end of the show, Kate and Rick get their honeymoon at the Ranch, after Ryan and Grady give their co-worker some “personal” days to replace the ones she used up looking for Castle when he went missing. The two men finally forgave Rick after Captain Gates told them off for being childish.
Stana Katic had some good lines in Once Upon a Time in the West. One, which she uses a few times is, “This is SO not our honeymoon.” She also gets the funniest line in the show. When Castle says they have to act like writers she says, “So we procrastinate and make stuff up?” Very funny. There was a couple of “jarring” moments in the show, however. One actually dealt with Stana’s dialogue. When the two check into the Dude Ranch, after they get their costumes she begs off going to get their six guns by telling Grady that she is “knackered.” This particular word is British jargon for being tired so a New York cop using that phrase was puzzling. The second such moment had to do with a prop. When Mr. and Mrs. Castle find Clyde’s body they pick up a bloody shirt that is over 20 years old and the blood is still very red after so long the fluid would have oxidised and been black, not red. Gaffes aside, the show was very entertaining and funny. The preview of next week’s episode of Castle looks to be a lot more serious in nature. The show airs Mondays on ABC.
By Michael Smith