The good news is that, after more than six seasons of will-they/won’t-they/oh-they-finally-did/amnesia?! relationship drama, Castle and Beckett finally got married. The bad news is that they didn’t invite any of their friends to the wedding, and now they have to deal with that. This week’s episode of Castle, “Once Upon a Time in the West,” opens with Ryan and Esposito being characteristically bitchy about this news and Lanie using it as leverage for free desserts. She’s a good woman.

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At Least It Looks Warm There

In non-marital news, a woman has died. Her name was Whitney Williams and she was killed by poisoning. After a chat with the Dagmars, who were parent-like figures to Whitney and will be relevant to the plot later, Castle and Beckett find out that Whitney was staying at an authentic dude ranch in Arizona called Diamondback. The timeline indicates that she was poisoned there, but the small-town sheriff is unhelpful, as small-town sheriffs generally are. In this case, though, his inability to do his job pays off because Castle and Beckett now have to go undercover at the ranch to find clues. They aren’t able to go on a honeymoon because Beckett used all her vacation days during Castle’s disappearance, so this will have to do.

Diamondback is immediately a hoot. Castle and Beckett are greeted by Gentleman James Grady, who owns the ranch and can do unsafe tricks with his gun. Revolvers are sold in the gift shop, the barkeep has a mustache so impressive that it probably has its own social security number, and there’s a naked stereotype cowboy in Castle and Beckett’s bathroom. His name is Tobias and he knew Whitney during her abbreviated stay at the ranch. He’s also gay, which Castle really, really wants you to know.

Tobias tells Castle and Beckett that he thinks Whitney was having an affair with one of the ranch hands. He doesn’t know which one, but he’s tall, dark, handsome and married. Castle quickly ranks all the ranch hands by handsomeness and finds one named Ollie who seems to fit the bill. While he is the person rumored to be having an affair with Whitney, they weren’t actually having an affair. Whitney simply hit on him to get his key to the ranch shed, which was later found on her body.

The Mustache Never Lies

Information from back in New York gives some clarity to Whitney’s activities at the ranch. There was wax-covered cardboard found on her body, which Castle and Beckett realize came from dynamite after they explore the ranch shed. She also spent a lot of time before going to Diamondback at the historical society researching a dam near a Yavapai reservation. In Whitney’s suitcase, Ryan and Esposito find letters from a man named Clyde to someone named Slim, dated 20 years ago. Clyde said that he was close to discovering “the secret of the Peacock Boys,” and that his investigation hinged on a possibly mistranslated Yavapai word.

Castle and Beckett visit the reservation and find out that Whitney had also been asking about the mistranslated word. The word, which I will not even attempt to spell, can mean either “river” or “stream,” though it is mostly thought of to mean river. When they get back to the ranch (after some misadventures, because nothing is easy for these two), Castle visits Barkeep Mustache to get the full story of the Peacock Boys.

The Peacock Boys are a local legend and staple of the ranch, but they really did exist. In the 1800s, they robbed a train and got away with 50 bars of gold. The story intersects with the Yavapai because the Boys kidnapped a guide named Blackfox. The Boys allegedly stashed the gold somewhere near a river and were later killed, but the gold was never found. Whitney realized that the river was really a stream that had been dried up by a dam, meaning that everyone had been looking for the gold in the wrong place for the last century. 

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For a Fistful of Gold Bars

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Castle leads a charmed life. This case has gone from the tragic death of a young woman to an actual treasure hunt. More than that, he has a wife who thinks corsets are practical work attire. Nothing says “I’m ready for strenuous field work” quite like having your organs displaced.

Castle and Beckett find the mine shaft Whitney opened with dynamite. The container for the gold is still there, but it no longer contains gold. No, the treasure is poor Clyde, 20 years dead from blunt force trauma. He’s also, Ryan and Esposito discover, Whitney’s father, and she had the unpleasant fortune of discovering his murdered remains.

Luckily, Clyde’s shirt is full of clues. The label has the initials “P.D.” and since no one else on Earth has those initials, the team realizes that it belongs to Phillip Dagmar. Dagmar admits that he was in the mine when Clyde was killed, but he didn’t kill him. He simply kept quiet about it in exchange for half of the gold.

And who took the other half, you ask? None other than the affable Gentleman Grady, who just so happens to be drinking with Castle when Castle learns of his guilt. Grady is totally fine with just moseying out of town, but he’s equally fine with killing Castle first. He’s already killed Whitney to protect his secret, so offing one more person before heading to Mexico is no big deal. He and Castle prepare for a shootout that Castle inexplicably seems to think he can win. He fails miserably, but luckily Beckett and Chekhov’s six-shooter arrive just in time to bail him out of trouble. Brace yourself, girl, you’ve got a lifetime of this ahead of you.

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For a Few Corsets More

The case is all wrapped up, so Castle and Beckett’s “honeymoon” must come to an end. But wait! Ryan and Esposito have decided to stop whining about not being invited to the wedding and each donate two vacation days to Beckett. The ranch is apparently not being shut down, despite the fact that its owner has recently killed someone, so they decide to stay. I suppose if you’re in a place filled with corsets and whiskey, there’s no reason to leave.

Castle airs Mondays at 10pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Mary Kate Costigan

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV