‘Castle’ : West Side Story

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In the wake of last week’s long-awaited wedding between Castle and Beckett, a beautiful and spontaneous moment that solidified the couple’s union as they exchanged their vows and began the next chapter of their lives, it would have been easy for Monday’s follow-up to feel slightly underwhelming. But the Castle team achieved the opposite result, creating an episode that was the perfect complement to last week’s emotional and spectacular ending while taking the story into new territory with both its Western-genre theme and its exploration of the first few days of married life for Castle and Beckett. The episode had many of the classic elements that Castle fans have grown to love about the series, yet it also delivered the story from a new perspective as the newlyweds happily began the next phase of their lives together. It was an hour of hilarious comedy, fun Western-genre references, fantastic interactions between the characters, and a plethora of memorable one-liners that fans will surely by quoting for years, all while saving room for a dose of Caskett romance in their own unique way.

Monday’s “Once Upon A Time In The West” was penned by the longtime Castle great, Terence Paul Winter, and directed by one of the series’ newest directors, Alrick Riley, perhaps a fitting pairing that gave the episode that feeling of being a perfect mix of where the show has come from and where it is headed. The episode picked up the story immediately following Castle and Beckett’s return to the city after their impromptu wedding in the Hamptons. While the intimate ceremony felt as if it was the perfect fit for Castle and Beckett, there were a few vitally important people in their lives who would have clearly disagreed with that decision. The payoff to that rather interesting setup became evident in the opening minutes of the episode as the overjoyed couple invited Esposito, Ryan, and Lanie to the loft for a champagne toast to announce their marriage to their friends. But the trio had some rather adverse reactions to the news, reactions that would continue throughout the hour and added a great deal of comedy to the episode.

In fact, despite Castle and Beckett being separated from their partners for the majority of the episode, the talented ensemble cast truly came together quite brilliantly, infusing the story with some remarkably captivating interactions and a great deal of humour. Tamala Jones was hysterical in the opening scene as Lanie went through a range of emotions after hearing that her best friend had gotten married without her, first lashing out in understandable anger and frustration given how much she had gone through as Beckett’s maid of honour but then taking a breath and morphing into the true best friend she is, overjoyed that Beckett had finally found the happiness she deserved. It was a perfect touch at the end of that moment when Castle attempted to join in on the hug between Beckett and Lanie, only to have Lanie punch him in the chest to make it clear that she had not forgiven him as easily.

Meanwhile, Ryan and Esposito opted to give Castle the cold shoulder as well, hurt by what they viewed as the ultimate betrayal after all they believed they had done to help him and Beckett get together in the first place, not to mention everything they had planned for their wedding. Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever played this up perfectly throughout the episode, the two hilariously taking every opportunity to remind Castle and Beckett of their hurt feelings. Between the snide remarks, the cold stares, the sarcastic quips and even making Castle reimburse them for their tuxedo rentals, the pair were at their comedic best from beginning to end without ever taking it too far.

It was also great to see Penny Johnson Jerald getting in on the cold-shoulder action as Gates seemed stung by not only being left out of the wedding itself but also Castle and Beckett’s announcement to the rest of their friends. It was actually quite heartwarming to see Gates clearly considering herself one of them, a far cry from how she saw herself when she first took over as the Captain, and the way Jerald has infused her character with that care and compassion for her team over these past couple of years now made it almost heartbreaking to see that Gates was left out of the celebration. Of course, the heartbreak was quickly replaced with laughter as Gates hilariously blamed Castle for the blunder, reminding us all that no matter what he does, he may never completely win the Captain over. It was rather fitting to see the wise Gates also become the voice of reason later on in the episode, reminding Ryan and Esposito what was truly important about Castle and Beckett’s union and the fact that they should have been happier for their friends. Ultimately, it was Gates’ comments, and perhaps her guilt trip, that led to Castle and Beckett being able to spend a few days on an actual honeymoon as the episode concluded, the perfect wedding gift from their partners.

Of course, the focus of the episode was on the couple themselves, as Castle and Beckett began to explore life as a married couple. There were many wonderful references to their new relationship status, including Beckett referring to Castle’s loft as “their place” or Gates referring to Castle as Beckett’s “husband,” along with Castle maintaining an age-old tradition by carrying Beckett over the threshold of their bunk house. But nothing could have been more perfect than the hilarious exchange between the pair early on in the episode when he referred to her as “Mrs. Castle” and she countered that by calling him “Mr. Beckett.” There was also a very enjoyable atmosphere surrounding the couple themselves now that the pressure of trying to plan another wedding or debate when the right time would be to get married was certainly behind them. Their spur-of-the-moment wedding had allowed them to enjoy their perfect day and move on to what was most important; spending the rest of their lives together as husband and wife.

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Even still, the episode did well to present this new territory for them all while maintaining those classic elements that we have always loved about Castle and Beckett, even long before they were officially a couple. Their banter, their way of challenging one another, and those fundamental differences that will always exist between them that truly make them such an interesting pair, all of it was very much alive and well in this episode. Likewise, the case taking them undercover at the western dude ranch allowed for some very classic elements to come shining through, such as Castle’s boyish charms and Beckett’s disdain for being in a situation she cannot fully control. As wonderful as it is to see Beckett in her element in those dramatic episodes where she shows her unrelenting drive and her fearlessness, it is equally entertaining to watch her in a situation where she is so out of her element that she seems uncomfortable. Those are the episodes where we truly get to enjoy her sharp sarcasm as she tried to defend herself from her vulnerabilities, yet we also get to see how quickly she can adapt and think on her feet. Meanwhile, watching Castle as he lives out his childhood fantasies is always enjoyable, allowing his boyish charms and admirable sense of playfulness truly roam free. And the combination of these elements always leads to a great amount of hilarious banter between Castle and Beckett, something that was delivered in spades throughout the episode.

In the end, the couple caught their killer, with Beckett coming through to save the day as she finally seemed to find her calling out west as a true gunslinger just as Castle’s boyhood fantasy of being a true cowboy was about to become his tragic ending. And when Beckett got word that she and Castle were able to spend a few more days away from the city to actually enjoy a bit of a honeymoon, thanks to their partners back home, she wasted no time in helping Castle play out another one of his fantasies as she lassoed her husband and pulled him in for a passionate kiss as the episode concluded.

Monday’s episode was a wonderful infusion of the old and the new, bringing Castle and Beckett’s story into new territory as the two began their lives together as husband and wife, all while also celebrating and basking in the classic elements of the series that the viewers have come to know and love. It was a fitting way to start this next chapter in their story. The lesson learned throughout the hour was that no matter what is thrown at these two and no matter how the challenges of life may get in their way from time to time, they will always find a way to discover the joy, love, and laughter that is out there waiting for them. So while they may not be riding off into the sunset just yet, we also know that they will never be overcome by darkness either.

What did you think of Monday’s episode of Castle? Did you enjoy the western theme? What were your favourite moments or lines during the episode? Whose reaction did you enjoy the most between Lanie, Ryan, and Esposito? Were you happy to see Gates being the voice of reason in the end? Share your thoughts with us below!

Castle airs Mondays at 10pm on ABC and CTV.


QUOTE OF THE NIGHT:

Beckett: “We’re undercover, I can’t just flash my badge and get people to talk.”
Castle: “Exactly, which is why we don’t approach this like cops. We approach this like writers.”
Beckett: “So we procrastinate and make stuff up?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSxF9JU4Vpo

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