Psych: One, Maybe Two, Ways Out

Summer finale time, folks: Shawn and Gus walk along the waterfront, eating ice cream cones while Shawn mopes about how Juliet is now happily dating Declan. I hope Juliet continues dating Declan, just so we can have Nestor Carbonell around on the show for a good long stretch. He’s awesome. Anyway, as they chomp on their ice cream (Shawn contemplates opening an ice cream shoppe, and yes, he does pronounce the superfluous “e”), a slinky, black-clad, gun-toting babe (Franka Potente, hooray) approaches and claims she needs their help. Her name is Nadia, and she works with Ewan O’Hara, Juliet’s covert-operative brother (introduced in last season’s “You Can’t Handle This Episode”). She needs to find her former mentor, a man named Strabinsky (Jon Gries), who disappeared off the grid a while back, so he can help her erase all traces of her past missions and go on the run.

As Nadia explains this, a helicopter zips overhead. Someone leans out and fires an assault rifle down at Nadia and the boys, and… great merciful Zeus, it’s C. Thomas Howell! Cast your mind back to my recap of last week’s episode, in which I went on a tangential riff that ended with this eerily precognitive (appropriately enough, for a show about fake psychics) statement: Point being, I think we’re heading into a C. Thomas Howell renaissance, and the powers-that-be at Psych should put him on their short list of dream guest stars, right up there with Val Kilmer and Billy Zane. Wholly coincidental, I swear. I must use this power only for good.

Anyway, Shawn, Gus and Nadia hide out in the women’s bathroom on the waterfront while Nadia tells them the full story: Before Strabinsky disappeared, he left her a clue to his whereabouts -- a blank card with faint Braille-like impressions on it. Gus feels the dots on the card and thinks it might represent a celestial pattern; Shawn figures out it’s the Phoenix constellation. As Strabinsky told Nadia he planned on retiring in the Santa Barbara area, Shawn guesses (wildly, but accurately) that the pattern refers to the Fenix Valley path in one of the nearby forests.

The forest is too sprawling to cover on foot, so they head to Declan’s mansion to borrow his helicopter. Juliet is there as well, having spent the night with Declan, which does not sit well with Shawn. Declan, who got his pilot license three days ago, offers to take them up over the forest.

When they find Strabinsky’s cabin, Nadia pulls her gun and commands her former mentor to unlock a top-secret government file about one of her past missions, in which an embassy in Bolivia was raided and a load of global currency certificates were stolen, presumably by Nadia herself. Strabinsky insists he can’t help her -- the file can only be accessed from a computer inside a government building. Nadia takes off.

Back at the SBPD, Henry introduces Shawn and Gus to a couple of grim, no-nonsense black ops agents: Camden Driggs (Howell) and his partner, Tom Fong (Terry Chen), who are searching for Strabinsky and Nadia. Shawn refuses to tell them anything, but Declan cheerfully volunteers his flight plan, which shows the location of Strabinsky’s cabin. When they arrive, they find a charred corpse on the floor -- presumably Strabinsky’s, who has been presumably offed by Nadia.

Shawn realizes Nadia will try to infiltrate the Federal building to access the file on her Bolivia mission. Shawn and Gus, plus Driggs and Fong (and Lassiter, who has developed a strong case of Driggs hero-worship), try to track her down. Shawn and Gus find her first; Nadia insists that she didn’t kill Strabinsky -- in fact, she’s certain he faked his own death to stay off the grid. She also claims she’s being framed for the theft of the certificates from the embassy by an unidentified inside man. Nadia escapes before Driggs and Fong can capture her. She leaves behind a flash drive containing the Bolivia case file, which Shawn, distrustful of Driggs and Fong, secretly pockets.

With Declan’s help, Shawn and Gus find Strabinsky and give him Nadia’s flash drive. It contains a photo of Nadia leaving the Bolivian embassy with the stolen certificates, which seems to contradict her claims of innocence.

Nadia calls Shawn and asks for the flash drive back. While Driggs, Fong, Gus, Lassiter, and Juliet stake out the area, Nadia meets with Shawn in a park at night. As soon as she admits to stealing the certificates, Driggs and Fong swoop in, arrest her, and haul her off in cuffs. No longer needed, Shawn and Gus linger behind. Shawn confesses that he’s in love with Juliet and it’s killing him that she’s dating Declan… unaware that Juliet is eavesdropping from the nearby surveillance truck.

Shawn discovers Nadia’s phone, which she secretly slipped him during their encounter. It contains a satellite photo of the attack on the embassy, in which Tom Fong is revealed as the true mastermind behind the theft. Driggs, Shawn and Gus burst in and apprehend Fong just as he’s interrogating Nadia about the location of the stolen certificates.

Dénouement: Shawn and Gus drop by Declan’s mansion to thank him for helping them out on the case. Shawn and Juliet make some awkward small talk… and then they kiss. Which has been a mighty long time in coming.

A plot that made even less sense than usual, and not as many loopy bon mots as usual, but the slew of great guest stars -- Carbonell, Howell, Potente, Gries -- made up for any weaknesses. A fine finale. See you in the winter, Psych.

Awesome Eighties references:
Shawn: Don’t be Fine Young Cannibals’ cover of “Suspicious Minds.”

Shawn: To quote an unlikely source, Mr. William Ocean: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Shawn (after Nadia doubts their spy cred): Gus recently saw half of Spies Like Us.

Comments

obscureviews said…
Someone leans out and fires an assault rifle down at Nadia and the boys, and… great merciful Zeus, it’s C. Thomas Howell!

Dude, that was the weirdest thing ever! The Criminal Minds fan in me was highly amused by Meredith Monroe appearing in an episode that also contained some criminal profiling, but following this up with C. Thomas Howell in the very next episode is really almost creepy! But I do like seeing him.

Psych is really good with guest stars. Like, Declan is fun. He should stick around.

As for the plot... it was hilariously random, and twisted and re-twisted so much that at some point I forgot who is currently considered evil and who good.
No problem, though. Even that Franka Potente felt like she belonged into a wholly different kind of series only made things funnier.
Morgan Richter said…
Dude, that was the weirdest thing ever!

The only thing weirder? That Criminal Minds episode where the unsub turns out to be... Lassiter. Seriously, that episode ("LDSK") always weirds me out, because Timothy Omundson is playing a character exactly like Lassiter. Except, like, evil.

I yelped out loud watching this episode when Howell showed up, because I'd just been yammering on about how he needed to show up on Psych one of these days, and there he was! So bizarre. Good to see him. I think he has much more... presence, or charisma, or something now than he did back when he was a big star.

Even that Franka Potente felt like she belonged into a wholly different kind of series only made things funnier.

Yes! Just watching her interact with Shawn and Gus was fun. Fun episode. Great guest stars.
Rosey said…
Very fun ep.!

Big fans of the Shawn-Juliet hook up will be itching to see what happens next.

Has Psych been picked up for season 6??
obscureviews said…
The only thing weirder? That Criminal Minds episode where the unsub turns out to be... Lassiter.

You're right. That character is eerily like Lassiter. The whole profile.
It almost makes me suspect the only thing that stops Lassiter from running amok is that Psych is a comedy.


I think he has much more... presence, or charisma, or something now than he did back when he was a big star.

And funnily, I have never seen a movie with him from that time. Now I am not sure I want to? =P
I pretty much only know his Criminal Minds appearance, and that recurring guest role on Southland.
He does have an... energy that makes him fun to watch. Or, in the case of Criminal Minds, not "fun", but intensely creepy...
Morgan Richter said…
Has Psych been picked up for season 6??

I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that it has, though I don't have a link handy. In any case, the second half of season five will air in the winter, so we've got plenty of Psych to look forward to.

And funnily, I have never seen a movie with him from that time. Now I am not sure I want to? =P

Ohhh, everyone should see Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders, though it's really one of those films that has the biggest emotional impact on preteen girls. The cast is insane: Howell is the star, but there's also Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, Diane Lane, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe... Swoopy, sentimental stuff, with iconic characters and endlessly quotable dialogue -- it's the main reason why having Howell pop up thirty years later as a ruthless and unstoppable serial killer on Criminal Minds is so bleakly hilarious.
Rosey said…
Thanks Morgan!

Linking your Psych reviews on my reviews now :)

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