So Lassiter is in a bar, swilling Jack Daniels and trying to unwind after a rough day, when a gorgeous blonde named Marlowe (Kristy Swanson, the original Buffy herself) sidles up to him and starts flirting outrageously. They bond over their mutual love of Clint Eastwood. While Lassiter orders another round, she slinks off to the ladies’ room… and slips out the window and disappears, leaving him devastated.
Shortly thereafter, a young man named Hamilton Dean is murdered by a hooded figure in a dark parking lot. In the morning, Juliet, with Shawn and Gus in tow, examines the crime scene. Hamilton’s body has been drained of blood through puncture wounds in his neck and both wrists, which leads a delighted Shawn and Gus to conclude he was attacked by a vampire. When a hungover and morose Lassiter arrives at the scene, he notices that Hamilton is clutching a necklace identical to the one Marlowe wore the previous night.
Lassiter heads to a local haberdashery shop, which, in one of this episode’s many moments of sheer brilliance, is named Bling Crosby. He talks to the young clerk (Van Hansis), but it’s a dead end: The necklace is a popular item, and there’s no record of past sales.
While investigating Hamilton’s murder, Juliet and the boys hit a gloriously decadent/campy/ridiculous vampire bar. Shawn is dressed as Tom Cruise’s Lestat from Interview With the Vampire; Gus is kitted out as Blacula (Shawn: “No one remembers Blacula, except for us and Quentin Tarantino”). Juliet grills the vamped-out bartender about any suspicious recent happenings; he tells them about a suspicious call he received from a customer looking to purchase a pint of blood. And hey, the bartender is played by Corey Feldman! Excellent. I’m pretty firmly pro-Feldman. He’s only got a quick cameo, but he looks good and does a fine job, which is great to see.
(Digression: Tuesday night, I was at the Duran Duran concert at Madison Square Garden, which, as you might expect, was pretty much nectar for my Eighties-loving -- and very specifically Duran-loving -- soul. Anyhoo, the opening act was the Neon Trees, whose video for their song “1983” features a cameo by Feldman, in character as Edgar Frog from The Lost Boys, which is very cool.)
Lassiter finds Marlowe’s address by pulling one of her fingerprints off the face of his watch. He arrives at her house and demands to see her necklace, which she produces without a fuss. When he grills her about her whereabouts at the time of Hamilton’s murder, she claims she was sitting in the parking lot outside the bar, silently watching Lassiter.
Juliet traces the call the mysterious blood-seeker made to the vampire bar, and discovers it came from Marlowe’s house. She and Shawn and Gus show up and surprise Marlowe and Lassiter. Since Marlowe has an alibi for Hamilton’s killing, they figure the call must have been placed by one of Marlowe’s three male roommates: Eddie, Jake, and Lucien. (Shawn and Gus and Juliet, all in unison: “Where’s Lucien?”)
Juliet interrogates Lucien at the SBPD headquarters. It’s Buffy’s Tom Lenk! Thus bringing the number of vampire-centric guest stars to three! Lucien also has an alibi for the murder: He was working at King Putt, the local mini-golf course. Suspicion turns to another of Marlowe’s roommates, Ed. During their search of the house, Shawn noted that Ed had an appointment at the local blood bank. Shawn and Gus drag Juliet along to investigate.
Whilst they’re all at the blood bank, a mysterious cloaked figure smashes a refrigerated case and steals a supply of blood, then escapes, leaving a press-on fingernail behind.
Once more, suspicion falls on Marlowe, who is now missing one of her fake nails. Juliet, Shawn and Gus, plus Henry and McNab, show up on Lassiter’s doorstep and interrupt his romantic evening with Marlowe (braised elk loin and candles shaped like hand grenades are involved). Another search of Marlowe’s house uncovers a supply of stolen blood in the freezer. She confesses to the blood blank theft, claiming she’s been selling it on the black market, but insists she’s innocent of Hamilton’s murder.
Even though Marlowe is now in police custody, a man named Ron gets attacked in the parking lot of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Bagels (Psych writers, you are on fire this episode) by a cloaked figure, who tries to steal his blood. While questioning an injured Ron at the hospital, Shawn looks at his medical chart and discovers Ron, like the murdered Hamilton, has O-negative blood, which Ron’s doctor (erroneously) claims is the rarest type. Okay, Psych writers, I’m going to have to retract what I just said about you being on fire, because that was a rookie mistake. People with O-negative blood types are universal donors, which makes it a highly sought-after type, and it’s certainly rare, but it’s not the rarest.
Ron’s doctor goes on to say that only about two dozen people in Santa Barbara have O-negative blood. Huh -- about six and a half percent of the US population has O-negative blood, actually, so unless there’s a grotesque statistical anomaly here, that means the population of Santa Barbara is… what, around 360 people? Anyway, the doctor brings up a list of the O-negatives, which Shawn covertly scans -- Marlowe’s brother Adrian is on the list.
Shawn (wildly) deduces that Adrian has Von Willebrand disease and thus needs frequent blood transfusions. Hence, he’s been stealing blood from all possible donors. Lassiter also has O-negative blood, which is why Marlowe attempted to seduce him in the first place; genuinely attracted to him, she was unable to go through with draining his blood, which is why she deserted him at the bar.
Adrian, who turns out to be the clerk from Bling Crosby, bursts into Lassiter’s house, chloroforms him, ties him to a chair, and prepares to drain him. When Juliet, Shawn and Gus arrive, they discover Lassiter has already easily overpowered and arrested his assailant (Lassiter: “I’ve slowly and methodically been building up a tolerance to chloroform over the past fifteen years”).
And Lassiter visits Marlowe in jail, where they bond some more over Eastwood films. Unable to come straight out and verbally express his feelings for her, Lassiter holds a sign up to the glass separating them: It’s a heartfelt note explaining that he’s willing to wait six to eighteen months for her.
Fine stuff. Plenty of Lassiter is never a bad thing, and when it’s combined with some fun guest stars and the sharpest script of the season thus far, it makes for one of the strongest episodes in a long while.
It was a Lassitercentric episode, so there were a bunch of gems. Here’s the cream of the crop:
Bartender: What’s your poison?
In answer to Marlowe’s request to tell her more about himself: “I’m somewhat recently divorced, I believe there’s no little to no room for interpretation when it comes to the United States Constitution, and I have an unusually high threshold for pain.”
Upon learning that Marlowe really does have feelings for him: “The only thing that compares is the rush I felt when I heard Chuck Norris speak at an NRA convention in Aberdeen.”
Awesome Eighties reference:
Juliet complains that she feels like she’s babysitting Shawn and Gus.
Shawn: That makes you Elisabeth Shue. Gus is Keith Coogan.