Psych: Romeo & Juliet & Juliet

Hey! Psych is back, and it’s cute!

In the aftermath of last season’s finale, in which Juliet was kidnapped by the mysterious Mr. Yin, Henry has gone to work for the Santa Barbara police department as a consultant, Juliet has been reassigned to a desk job at City Hall until she recovers from her traumatic experience, and Shawn and Gus, optimistically (and erroneously) assuming Henry would send a bunch of fresh police cases their way, have hired (and fired) an awesome new assistant, Ken (Jerry Shea).

(I don’t know if there are any plans for Ken to last past this episode, but I’d be happy to see him stick around. Long-suffering and blisteringly funny, with a low tolerance for Shawn and Gus’s usual nitwittery, he adds a fresh dimension to the show. I found myself giggling at pretty much every one of his lines.)

The SBPD investigates the disappearance of Becky Cheng, a young woman abducted in broad daylight during Santa Barbara’s China Festival by a highly acrobatic young man. Henry refuses to let Shawn and Gus in on the investigation, due to their well-established knack for totally mucking things up. Shawn, naturally, thinks is way uncool:

Henry: Are you familiar with the term persona non grata?
Shawn: Why are we talking about food?

Shawn accuses his dad of perpetually expecting too much from him, citing the example of a childhood Easter Egg hunt in which Henry buried the eggs five feet under ground. (Henry: “I left loose dirt to indicate a fresh dig!”).

As is their wont, Shawn and Gus cheerfully disregard Henry’s orders and go to work on the case anyway. While searching Becky’s apartment, they find a secret desk drawer which contains a single Hong Kong fifty-cent piece. They take the coin to Juliet, still toiling at her dull desk job at City Hall, and try to get her to help them out. Juliet adamantly refuses to get involved, though she does immediately peg the coin as a counterfeit.

(Aaaaaaaand the counterfeit coin will never be mentioned again anywhere in this episode. If you’re a stickler for airtight plotting and neatly tying up dangling threads, you’d be better off staying far, far away from Psych.)

Lassiter (there is not nearly enough Lassiter in this episode, by the way), shows Juliet some photos of the scene of the abduction, in an attempt to entice her back to her old job as his partner. Shawn spots a sketch of a stylized Chinese dragon in one photo, which Lassiter and Juliet think might be linked to one of the two fierce Chinese gangs running amuck on the mean streets of Santa Barbara: the Golden Triad, and the Dragon Triad.

Shawn and Gus head to a pub rumored to be a key Golden Triad hangout and end up trailing an Asian kid with great spiky hair down to the docks, where they’re surrounded and captured by a group of heavily-armed men. Shawn and Gus are taken to the leader of the Dragon Triad… who turns out to be Becky Cheng’s father.

Mr. Cheng insists his daughter is not involved in any criminal activity. Shawn and Gus get nowhere with him, so they turn to Ken for help in deciphering the stylized dragon logo. Ken remembers seeing it spray-painted on the wall of a martial arts studio in Chinatown.

This, naturally, leads to Shawn infiltrating a martial-arts class for five- to eight-year-olds, which, also naturally, leads to Shawn and Gus breaking into the dojo at night, catching Becky’s kidnapper in the act of stealing from the safe, getting in the middle of a big Triad rumble, trailing the kidnapper back to Becky, and discovering that Becky hasn’t been kidnapped at all -- she and the young man, who turns out to be: a) the son of the head of the Dragon Triad and b) the father of her unborn child, have run off together, Romeo and Juliet-style.

Since there’s no kidnapping, Shawn visits Chief Vick and tells her his psychic powers have commanded him to stop the investigation. Henry, however, produces a photo the police just received of Becky bound and gagged. When Shawn takes the police to the apartment where Becky and her secret boyfriend, Sang Tan, were hiding, they find the place newly wrecked.

Shawn and Gus visit Han Tan, the head of the Dragon Triad. They bring along poor beleaguered Ken to translate. (Ken: “I speak nine words of Chinese. Six of those are numbers.”) It turns out that Sang, Han’s chosen heir, has a hot-headed older brother named Teno, who kidnapped Sang and Becky in an attempt to incite a war between the two Triads.

It all culminates with Shawn and Gus trying to rescue Sang and Becky from evil Teno’s clutches. Shawn ends up fighting Teno and losing, badly, but Juliet rushes in at the last minute, gun drawn, and saves him.

Cute episode. Not earthshaking, and maybe they could have pulled out a few more stops considering this was the season premiere, but it was nonetheless perfectly enjoyable. If the lack of big guest stars in this episode is any indication, they might be getting away from the relentless stunt casting, which is probably a good thing: Last season stumbled a bit, and the focus on the guest stars might’ve been a cause of that. The new season is off to a decent start.

Awesome Eighties reference:
Shawn (preparing to attack Teno with the Crane Technique): “If I execute this properly, no can defend!”

Gus’s fake name:
Jonathan Jacob Jingly Smith. And yes, Shawn does the obvious “That’s my name, too” riff on it.

Gimmicky opening credits:
Cast names are written in Chinese and English.

Pineapple spotting:
Missed it. Again. Nul points.


obscureviews said…
I could not really focus while watching this episode, so maybe thats why I totally forgot about those conterfeit coins, haha?

Agreed on Ken, he was probably the greatest thing about this episode. Maybe it is time to bring in a new recurring character with a fresh perspective and new dynamics between the cast...
Morgan Richter said…
Maybe it is time to bring in a new recurring character with a fresh perspective and new dynamics between the cast...

That's a great idea. I think at this stage the regular cast is so accustomed to Shawn's usual brand of random zaniness that having Ken around -- someone who thinks Shawn and Gus are both nuts -- was really refreshing.
obscureviews said…
That's true, when part of the premise is that Shawn is weird and is met with doubt and disbelief, the show loses something when everyone turns accepting of his quirks.

Is that why Henry got this new position at the police, to mix up the dynamic and give Shawn a new obstacle o overcome, trying to get hired by the police for cases? It is obviously not the same, but at least in the pilot... it seemed to fulfil the same role. Or a similar one at the least.
obscureviews said…
And wih "pilot" I meant "season premiere".
Morgan Richter said…
Is that why Henry got this new position at the police, to mix up the dynamic and give Shawn a new obstacle o overcome, trying to get hired by the police for cases?

I think you're right -- it shakes up the status quo a bit, and it gives Henry a more defined role on the show. So much of Shawn's persona is about him breezing through life without a care -- it's probably a good idea to throw more obstacles in his path.
Rosey said…
Excited Psych is back on too! I agree about Ken and I agree that having him on a regular basis would be fun. The only thing I don't like about Henry being at the police station is he might not want to hire Shawn for any cases and Shawn will have to jump that hurdle or go behind his back every time and that could get old. I hope they don't do that every ep.

Good start IMO. Liked it better then the season 3 premiere.

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