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September 2, 2014

Psych: There Might Be Blood

by Richard Keller, posted Aug 23rd 2008 5:10PM

Chief Vick and her sister on the Psych episode 'There Might Be Blood'

(S03E06) "I'm nobody's pawn, Shawn. I'm a queen." -- Gus Guster

Since the third season of Psych began there has been an underlying theme of family. During the season premiere the focus was on Shawn and his parents. Then, a few weeks ago, we got a chance to see the relationship between Shawn and his shifty uncle. With this week's episode we move away from the Spencer family and focus on a member of the Santa Barbara Police Department, Chief Karen Vick, and her older sibling.

Siblings are rare in the Psych universe. We know Shawn is an only child (unless they introduce a half-brother or sister in later seasons) and Henry has a younger brother, and Gus may have mentioned some brothers or sisters in the past, but that's about it. So, when we are introduced to a character's brother or sister it helps to not only expand the character, but it also shows another side to them that viewers may have never seen before. Such is the case of Chief Vick, who showed a mean and petty side to her that we have never encountered in previous episodes.

Then again, we barely know anything about the Chief other that she's married and had a baby somewhere in the first season. We know she's tough, she doesn't take much crap from anyone and, despite the fact that she probably knows that Shawn's "psychic" powers are a fake, she tolerates him and his little moments. But that all changed with this episode as we saw a more human side to her than we did when she hired Shawn and Gus to take on a case last season.

That is thanks to her older sister, Coast Guard Commander Barbara Dunbar. Where Henry Spencer and his younger brother didn't really look like siblings, Kristen Nelson and Jane Lynch (Karen Vick and Barbara Dunbar, respectively) really looked they could be related. That probably helped set up the interactions between the two. Which, even for a person like Shawn whose hobby it is to argue with his father, was pretty intense. Yet, it was fun to watch for some strange and freakish reason.

The sibling rivalry also caused something that is unique in the world of Psych -- Shawn was placed in an awkward situation. Normally, it's Shawn himself who makes the situation uneasy, which means he's not used to being on the receiving end. He was actually in two unusual situations in this installment -- both dealing with family. In addition to being in a battle between Vick and Dunbar, he was in the middle of a small disagreement between the owner of the oil rig (played by Barry Crobin, who has aged very poorly) and his daughter, whom he treats like a wife from the 1950s.

Actually, the little disagreement between the oil rig owner and his daughter was something Shawn could relate to: another example of a father not seeing the full potential of their offspring. This is the avenue he took when he attempted to get Ashley to put down the gun and go quietly with the police. This has been a recurring theme with Shawn this season as he has used this avenue many times when it has come to a reveal. Perhaps it is a form of therapy for Shawn.

Overall, this episode of Psych had the feeling of an installment from the first two seasons. There were some really good lines between Gus and Shawn, plenty of pop references, and a good bit of interaction between the Psych detectives and the SBPD. There was even a smarmy quip from Lassiter when he had to admit that Shawn was right about something. The only thing that was different was the shoot-out scene between Ashley and the police/Coast Guard contingent. This may have been the first time viewers have seen this much shoot-em-up action on the show.

Which brings me to the following point: Uh, oil rig? There is a ton of sensitive equipment underneath those powerful ocean platforms. You don't go pumping bullets around there just because you can. One mis-directed bullet and -- poof! -- no more oil rig. For some reason, the whole scene reminded me of the climactic final scene of The Hunt for Red October.

Because the focus was more on Vick and her sister this week, the case in this episode was a bit weak and predictable. There was never a moment where Barry Corbin's character was considered a suspect -- he didn't have that look about him. Ashley was the suspect as soon as she brushed-off Shawn and Gus on the rig. There is one thing that was noticeable in this week's episode that has become an underlying plot point in other episodes. it seems that Shawn and Gus are solving more than one mystery in each installment this season.

Before we go, a brief look at the other good lines and pop references this week:

  • "Me, Getty, Clampett,Crisco, and Wesson" -- Young Shawn's list of advantageous oil people
  • "You know that fungus is my bread and butter" -- Gus
  • "You know what my bread and butter is? Bread and butter." -- Shawn's response to the line above
  • "Gus, don't be a myopic chihuahua" -- Shawn
  • This week's fake names: Shawn as T-Bone Turner; Gus as Chesterfield McMillan & Wife
  • This week's pop references: the movie Night Shift; Craig T. Nelson; The Brady Bunch (where he was able to commiserate with Chief Vick about older sisters); MC Hammer (again); Fawlty Towers; Dr. Dre, Dr. Pepper; Silkwood

Next week on Psych -- we take a break due to the U.S. Open. Enjoy the Labor Day holiday and see you on the 5th of September.

Karen and Barbara: felt like siblings or fairly fake
Real. My sister and I used to fight like that all the time278 (78.5%)
Fake. No two siblings fight like that!21 (5.9%)
Didn't really care one way or another55 (15.5%)

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Anon Imus

What was wrong with the overdubs on the boat and ext. oil rig scenes? That got annoying. It was like a spanish soap being covered in English.

August 25 2008 at 9:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jake

Is it just me or have the last two or three episodes kinda sucked? I'm growing tired of the way they treat shawn an gus -- like they are scum -- even thought they solve the cases and get no credit -- at least this episode they did thank them and say they were right.

But the writing and the storyline I thought for this episode was weaker than the last, and I thought that was bad. The best episode was the high school reunion episode.

August 24 2008 at 11:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lynn

Did anyone else catch the reference to Craig T. Nelson and his (lack of) hair?

August 24 2008 at 5:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Lynn's comment
Karen

Rich did; he mentions it in his final bullet point.

August 24 2008 at 7:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jake

How has no one mentioned the dig at EW?

August 24 2008 at 2:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jake's comment
Jenn

I loved the EW lines...Cmdr Barbara tells the Psych duo to "stop that painfully cute mugging...it's starting to get on my nerves." To which Gus responds, "What are you, Entertainment Weekly?" I found an article from EW from Sept. 7, 2007 titled "What TV show do you know you hate (without ever watching)?" where the author writes not being able to stand the mugging and such from the Psych duo. They don't know what they are missing! Psych is a favorite at my home!

September 08 2008 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich

Oh, and if I were investigating a murder on an oil rig out on the ocean in the middle of nowhere, and I thought that the owner of the oil rig had murdered someone, definitely the first thing I would do is tell his bitchy daughter.

August 23 2008 at 10:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cody

you missed "Dr. No" in the list of pop culture Dr references.

August 23 2008 at 10:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Keller

Folks, I made those corrections that you mentioned in the comments. Thanks for keeping me as honest as possible. :)

August 23 2008 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nickmagoo

Just one snarky, annoying comment on the writing end - you used the word 'awkward' three times in three consecutive sentences...I'm sure there's a thesaurus somewhere around the office ;-)

August 23 2008 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joxx

On the "There might be blood" psych episode, why would Hicks want to drill on a fault line? What was in it for him to kill the geologist? Drilling on a fualt line would have destory the safety record he tried to keep on the rig. I don't see the motive.

August 23 2008 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kate

Richard, don't be mean to Barry Corbin. He's almost 70. And you spelled his name wrong.

August 23 2008 at 8:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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