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Psych: Psy vs. Psy

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 28th 2007 12:00AM

Psych: Psy vs. Psy

(S02E03) Lassiter: What color is that suit?

Agent Ewing: Black.

Lassiter: Really? Really? It seems blacker than black.

Ewing: It's Washington Black.

Man o' man o' man, did Shawn have to work his arse off tonight! For the second week in a row Mr. Spencer really had to put his skills to the test to show both the Santa Barbara police department and the Federal government what he could do. And, if that wasn't hard enough, he had to compete with another 'psychic' hired by the Treasury Department. In the end he got the culprit, of course, but it was fun to watch him squirm and try to keep up throughout the episode.

I thank the television gods for the way the episode turned out because, from what I saw in the previews, this looked to be another episode like the season premiere. In other words, the focus would be on the guest star, Lou Diamond Phillips, rather than the cast and the crime being solved. Thankfully that wasn't the case. In fact, it was a fine example of ensemble work. Everyone who stars on the show, including Kristen Nelson as 'Interim' Chief Karen Vick, had some input to the program.

However, that's not to say that Phillips hid in the shadows this evening. On the contrary, his role as Special Agent Lars Ewing was very silly. He played Ewing as the straightest, straight-laced G-Man I have seen in a long time. Yet, he had a smoldering passionate side, as seen in his flirtations with Detective Juliet O'Hara. And he had throwaway lines that, if you caught them in-between all of his unemotional seriousness, were funny.

For instance, after they apparently close the case on the counterfeiter they were chasing throughout the episode he casually asks for a hug from Juliet. Later, as Ewing and his psychic are leaving, he asks if Juliet has a MySpace page. Then there was the last scene of the episode, where Juliet imagines Ewing walking shirtless towards her precinct desk. Turns out he was shirtless and that he keeps a crisp white shirt folded neatly in his wallet. Good stuff.

Back to Shawn. He was on the ball this week. I have never seen him and Gus work together so well to piece together all of the mystery's clues. That back and forth between them while building Henry Spencer's wet bar (more on that scene at the end of the post) was nice to see because it showed them really melding as a team. As I said last week, Gus has been much more involved in the investigations this season.

I was so impressed with the way that Shawn and Gus handled themselves that I was a bit miffed when Henry Spencer told his son to quit working for the S.B. police because he felt that his powers didn't match up to the other psychic's. That was a bit out of character for Henry since he has been shown as having a grudging respect for the work his son does. If all that Corbin Bernsen was hired for this season was to berate Shawn then maybe there needs to be less of him on the show.

Shawn also had some fine retro moments this week. The best running gag was the horrible pineapple upside-down cake he made out of Easy Bake Oven. You would think that after 19 hours under a 60-watt bulb you'd get a better quality of cake. Other references were made to Mindy Cohn and the character Tootie from The Facts of Life, David Mamet, and Spandau Ballet.

Actually, Spandau Ballet's song True was playing in the background during the romantic scene between Shawn and the female psychic, Lindsay Leikin. Did you notice that the first name and last name of both 'psychics' start with the same initial? I wonder if that was done intentionally. Anyway, even though I've heard that song hundreds of times since its original release it still brought me back to slow-dancing at the school dance, my first crush, and spending my days listening to that song play every hour on Z-100 (The Flamethrower) in New York. Ah, good times

A brief mention about tonight's mystery. While I really liked how it all played out (even though there was blatant plug for Home Depot in there) I knew that Lindsay was the culprit about 10 minutes in. I mean, she wasn't a real psychic, so how did she know what the counterfeiter looked like? It was very predictable. Still, it was one of the better mysteries that the show has had.

Finally, before I leave you tonight, I wanted to go back to the scene where Shawn and Gus are asked to build a wet bar for Henry. Shawn mentions that it would be perfect for entertaining if Reggie Jackson and someone else I can't remember stopped by for Harvey Wallbangers. Well, watch the end of this week's Psych-Out and see how many other 70's references were mentioned in that scene. See you in seven.

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I love all the references to the 70's and 80's, though these guys aren't that old!!! Best line of the night... had my husband falling off his chair he was laughing so hard, when Gus and Shawn are in the room with the stenographer and they are getting ready to leave. Gus writes something down on a piece of paper and hands it to the stenographer and says "repeat this" or "say this" or something like that and she says in her best courtroom voice... "shotgun."

The look on Shawn's face (and Gus' face) was priceless!

August 04 2007 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I laughed OUT LOUD when after being berated by his father -- shaun says -- if I had a list of things that I wanted to hear, that wouldn't even be in the top 8. This show is so hilarious and the most of the humor is so well written and so unexpected that it is a great show to watch. James Roday must be nominated for an Emmy or a golden globe -- all those in love with Monk star Tony Shaloub, must check out Psych's James Roday.

July 31 2007 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Chichian

There are not many shows that successfully use the flashback but this is definitely on of them. I think after that meeting young Shawn would work on losing the hesitation strokes when he forged Henry's name.

July 30 2007 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To answer LC and others, I think Henry still expects Shawn to give up on this latest "scheme" like he's given up on everything else in his life. Although you can see in other episodes that he's proud of what Shawn can accomplish (to a point - he still thinks that Shawn needs his help to solve their cases, thus the reason to build the wet bar), he's still waiting for that other shoe to drop. As he said, "You should quit. That's what you do - when things get tough, somebody's better than you, you quit." He could still be right - Shawn seemed quite demoralized when he thought he'd been "out-psyched". It was only when he realized the truth that he regained his motivation. What I saw Henry doing was trying to give Shawn the "out" he thought he needed, by saying "I accept you for who you are...You don't have to prove anything to me; I'm gonna let you off the hook. How does that feel? Better? Now you can go ahead and quit this too." Nevermind that he wouldn't have respected Shawn's decision had he actually taken his advice - Henry still expected him to quit at that moment. And that, for me, is a sign that their relationship still hasn't grown much in the last year. I'm with others in thinking that Henry doesn't need to be in every episode, except maybe to appear in (some of) the flashbacks.

About Lassiter, I got the impression that deep down, he wanted to *BE* Ewing. Not just a good detective working for the Santa Barbara police force, but a respected federal agent with the recognition and authority that comes with the position. At first he tried to impress Ewing, hoping to be accepted as an equal. Later he tried competing with him, in an attempt to prove to everyone (himself) that he was as good as this outsider. The fact that Ewing never granted him that level of respect only aggravated him more.

Lou Diamon Philips was awesome, BTW. Best uptight G-man quote ever: "If I had learned to laugh as a child, I would right now."

Juliette's attraction to Ewing should help silence those that think she and Shawn will wind up together. If she fantasizes about a man like that, she'd never go for Shawn. Add to that the reveal that Shawn slept with Lindsay, and I think the possibility of them hooking up is now dead.

Finally, I have a question: Why haven't we seen as much (or any?) of Lassiter's contempt for Shawn's fake psychic abilities. We already know that he doesn't believe for a second that Shawn's psychic, as was shown many times last season. Yet they writers seem to have softened the Lassiter-Spencer animosity this season. I kind of miss it, if for no other reason than it gave Shawn and "Lassie" some great one-liners (and comebacks!). We got some of those with Ewing this week, but mostly it just feels flat between our main characters.

July 29 2007 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Henry wants Shawn to quit, not so much because he didn't think he was as good as the other psychic, but because he doesn't like the fact that he uses a fraudulent front to hide his real detective work.

One thing that I was curious about was Lassiter's 180 degree turn on Ewing. For most of the episode he was more smitten with him than Jules was, even when he was condescending to him. Suddenly he wants to go at it with him. I mean I could see if it was a slow burn from the start, but he was like an awe struck child for most of the episode.

July 29 2007 at 8:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Greg L

Strange "Psych"ic moment: ten minutes before Shawn references Holly Hunter in "Broadcast News" I was -watching- Holly Hunter in "Broadcast News" that Netflix delivered that very day. Creeeeepy.

July 28 2007 at 7:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thats so funny you used the "Washington Black" line, I laughed, and thought it would make it somewhere here in the post. And presto there it was. This show is awesome.

July 28 2007 at 4:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought Lou Diamond Phillips was great in this episode. I hope they bring back his character on occassion. Understated and rigid but when he smelled Juliets hair it revealed his kinkier side. Loved the MySpace comment too.

As for Henry, I like the developing relationship. He has a tough-love approach but really is proud of Shawn. I think he uses reverse pyschology to get him to try harder and not give up.

I also figured out Lindsey was the bad gal early on but who cares? It's always fun to watch.

July 28 2007 at 2:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hilarious! Lou Diamond Phillips was simply hysterical as the uptight fed. When he went into a karate stance with a totally straight face I cracked up.

I agree it was too easy to figure out the real culprit, but otherwise this show had more LOL moments for me than any yet. I so look forward to seeing what Shawn and Gus are up to, and the bloopers at the end are always worth watching.

July 28 2007 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Moncur

Not bad.

As for Shaun's father, he's obviously trying to encourage him in a messed-up way. "Well, you might as well quit." It fits the character pretty well. He's never been a model father.

Unfortunately, it followed the same pattern as about half of the first season's episodes: If Shaun asks someone out or dates them, they almost always turn out to be the bad guy...

July 28 2007 at 5:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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