Psych: Chivalry Is Not Dead -- But Someone Is

Well, that’s deucedly odd: This episode of Psych did not start out with a childhood flashback. Is this a first? Are they phasing out the flashbacks? Are the pineapples next to go? (Are they still hiding pineapples in episodes? I wouldn’t know; I can never manage to find the damn things anyway.) The universe suddenly seems very cold and uncertain.

A handsome tuxedo-clad young man named Lance chokes on his poisoned drink at an elegant soiree at an opera house and tumbles over the balcony to his death. The police, plus Shawn and Gus, head over to investigate. Suspicion immediately falls on Lance’s escort, sexy older woman Jillian Tucker (Jean Smart), whose last husband committed suicide under fishy circumstances. Shawn and Gus want in on the case, but Lassiter and Juliet are reluctant to work with them (Lassiter more so than Juliet, naturally). Henry, who is taking over Chief Vick’s role a little more with each passing episode, instructs both teams to investigate the crime separately:

Henry: You’re not afraid of a little competition, are you?
Shawn: Of course not. As long as it doesn’t involve people trying to best each other.

Team Lassiter heads over to Lance’s apartment to search for clues, only to find Team Shawn already in place. While goofing around on Lance’s inversion system, Shawn manages to squeeze in a little investigating. He discovers Lance was taking a course on how to seduce rich older women from noted author/lothario Clive Prescott (John Michael Higgins). Shawn recognizes Clive from his jacket photo as someone who was loitering around the crime scene, so he and Gus crash his lecture and grill him about his connection to Lance.

Clive, who is ruffled by Shawn’s dreadfully uncouth nature, is not terribly helpful. Still, he’s faultlessly well-mannered: At the conclusion of the interrogation, he presents Shawn with an eloquent handwritten thank-you note, complete with an embossed seal.

Henry does some digging into Clive’s past. He discovers that the last woman with whom he was romantically involved drowned under suspicious circumstances. He cautions Shawn that Clive might be dangerous. Weirded out by Henry’s uncharacteristic display of paternal concern, Shawn mutters to Gus, “I think my dad’s starting to like me.”

Shawn and Gus shrug off Henry’s warning and cheerfully trail Clive as he squires his close friend Jillian around town. Shawn approaches and flirts outrageously with Jillian, who flirts outrageously right back. When Clive scoffs at Shawn’s ability to handle a real woman like Jillian (“This man-boy here lacks all culture and elegance, and he smells of buffalo wings”), Shawn snarls, “You just pushed my competitive button, and now it’s ON!” Shawn asks Jillian out to dinner; she agrees, provided Gus escorts her socially-awkward friend Eugenia (Lee Garlington, last seen playing a sinister aquarium owner on FlashForward).

Shawn and Gus meet their dates at an elegant restaurant (Shawn: “Hello, ladies! Your tramps have arrived!” I swear, the average episode of Psych is peppered with more endlessly quotable bon mots than the average sitcom churns out in a season). Also at the restaurant are Clive, who sends over a fancy bottle of wine and joins them at their table, and Gabe, one of Clive’s students, who had escorted Eugenia to the gala event where Lance met his demise.

Miffed about Clive intruding on their date, Shawn and Gus take the ladies back to the Psych offices for pizza and conversation. Shawn and Jillian get along famously, while an unenthusiastic Eugenia visibly recoils from Gus.

Post-date, Shawn begins to feel ill. After initially blaming the pineapple on the pizza, he realizes he’s been poisoned -- probably by Clive’s wine at the restaurant. Speaking as someone who developed a bizarre and nasty adult-onset pineapple allergy, I’d just like to advise Shawn not to be so quick to rule out his first guess. He collapses.

Shawn gets his stomach pumped at the hospital. An unsympathetic Henry yanks the IV out of his son’s arm and bustles him down to the police station to question Clive. There’s not enough evidence to arrest Clive (who is busy charming the socks off of Juliet), so he’s released from custody.

After Henry finds evidence linking Clive to yet another suspicious death, Shawn bursts into Clive’s lecture to accuse him of murder. Clive argues, convincingly, that he’s innocent, so Shawn dashes off a handwritten letter apologizing for his rash accusation. Clive confesses that, despite his reputation as a womanizer, he’s secretly madly in love with Jillian. He’s going to meet with Eugenia to ask for her advice on the best way to propose to Jillian.

After discovering that young Gabe had been secretly having an affair with Jillian, Shawn develops a new theory: Gabe killed Lance to get rid of his romantic rival. Lassiter and Juliet rush over to the local fitness center to arrest Gabe and find him dead in the sauna, clutching a bottle of poisoned Vitamin Water.

The poison used to kill Lance and Gabe was naphthalin, the key ingredient in mothballs. Recalling that Eugenia smelled like mothballs, Shawn realizes she’s the true murderer. Shawn, Gus, Lassiter and Juliet rush to save Clive from an imminent poisoning.

Shawn reveals the ploy: Eugenia was secretly in love with Jillian and thus killed (or, in Shawn’s case, tried to kill) all her romantic rivals -- including Jillian’s last husband. Eugenia is hauled off to jail, and all ends well. Clive arranges to have Shawn teach his class while he’s off on his honeymoon with Jillian, while Gus, still unable to believe Eugenia was wholly resistant to his charms, visits her in prison, determined to win her over. It goes poorly.

Another good episode. Four episodes into the season, and we haven’t had a weak one yet. Keep it up, Psych.

Gus’s fake name:
Chaz Bono

Lassiter-based awesomeness:
Bartender (describing the drink Lance ordered prior to being poisoned): It caught my attention. It was different. Classy. Cool.
Lassiter (nodding and scribbling in his notebook): Sea Breeze.

Awesome Eighties references:
Shawn, after Clive tells him the Webster definition of “relationship”: “I hardly think Emmanuel Lewis is an authority on relationships.”

Shawn to Gus, when Clive crashes their double date: “Take him out. Sweep the leg.”

Shawn, mistaking the cufflinks Jillian gives him for earrings, explains that he no longer wears them: “I mean I used to, back in the day. Three of them. Tears for Fears.”

Comments

obscureviews said…
Wasn't Gus' alias http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaz_Bono ? XD


The lack of an opening flashback made me think I was watching the wrong show. It felt so odd! And I don't even like them much.

What I did like was Juliet's handling of Lassiter. Those two play off each other really well. Is it weird that I think Juliet is more fun as a foil for Lassiter's antics than for Shawn's antics?
Morgan Richter said…
Yep. Chaz Bono. Typo. Duly fixed.

Juliet and Lassiter are hilarious together. Maggie Lawson has an unending supply of exasperated reactions, and she uses them well. I'm in no hurry for a Shawn/Juliet romance, which seems to be the inevitable destination, just because I like the current dynamic between all the characters so much. I don't want anything to muck it up.
Rosey said…
I liked this ep. but not the best so far. I wouldn't call it weak but not super great like last week's. I did find the banter between Shawn and Clive super funny! :)
Morgan Richter said…
I thought both Jean Smart and John Michael Higgins were great guest stars. Thus far, this season has been striking exactly the right tone: lightweight, breezy plots, plenty of quotable lines, not much in the way of substance. I was worried at some points last season that the tried-and-true Psych formula was wearing thin, but they seem to have rebounded nicely. I hope they keep this up.

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