Psych: In For a Penny

A crew of masked men break into Lompoc and help a legendary safecracker named Jimmy Fitz escape. This, combined with a number of high-profile thefts of safecracking equipment, lead the Santa Barbara Police Department to believe someone’s planning a huge robbery.

Meanwhile, Juliet’s thirtieth birthday is fast approaching. Shawn and Gus secretly invite her estranged con-artist father Frank to her party. And it’s William Shatner! You know what Psych does better than any other television show? Awesome stunt casting. Shawn’s parents are, of course, played by Corbin Bernsen and Cybill Shepherd, Gus’s folks are played by Phylicia Rashad and Ernie Hudson, and now we’ve got Shatner. I mean, come on. That’s awesome. Anyway, Frank and Shawn immediately hit it off and form a mutual admiration society, while Juliet steams and fumes that Shawn went behind her back to seek out her father, whom she hadn’t seen in fifteen years.

Jimmy Fitz teams up with a ne’er-do-well named Chad Emigh, who used to be one of Frank’s old cohorts. Against Juliet’s explicit wishes, Frank tags along with Shawn and Gus and the SBPD to find out what mischief Jimmy and Chad are plotting.

Shawn figures they’re going to strike at the upcoming Santa Barbara Coin Expo, at which a 1943 bronze penny worth two million bucks will be on display. With Frank’s help, they figure out that a newly-hired electrician, Kevin, has been supplying Jimmy and Chad with information about the layout of the Expo.

While the SBPD is occupied with staking out the Expo, the penny gets stolen from a safe-deposit box across town. Shawn looks at surveillance photos from the robbery and recognizes one of the culprits as a friend of Frank’s. Realizing that Frank conned them all and stole the penny himself, Shawn and Gus confront him and give him until the next morning to return the penny. Sure enough, an anonymous tip the next day leads to the arrest of Chad Emigh and the retrieval of the penny. Even though Chad refuses to give up the names of his criminal associates, it dawns on Juliet that her father was responsible for the theft.

So Juliet has it out with Frank, and Frank reveals that even though he was mostly absent during her childhood he’s been secretly keeping an eye on her through all the important events in her life, and I swear, this scene takes about forty-eight minutes or something. Really, it’s long. And dull.

Chad gets released from custody due to the circumstantial nature of the evidence against him (I mean, they found the stolen penny on the bedside table in his hotel room, right next to his sleeping head, but apparently in Santa Barbara that’s not enough to hold him). Concert tickets found in Chad’s hotel room suggest to Shawn that Chad’s been staking out the Santa Barbara Bowl, probably for another big heist. So Juliet and Lassiter, plus Shawn and Gus and Frank, arrive at the Bowl and, with Frank’s invaluable help, arrest Chad and his crew.

And it all ends with a surprise birthday party for Juliet at the Psych offices, complete with a bouncy castle. Frank and Juliet repair their relationship somewhat, and Gus and Shawn convince Frank to return the valuable penny, which, it turns out, he’s stolen again.

Eh. Kind of a dull episode, honestly, despite the not-to-be-underrated appearance from Shatner. I don’t have cable at this time, and they’re not showing the latest episodes online for free anywhere, so I’ve been shelling out two bucks per episode to watch them on Amazon On Demand this season. I’m not altogether sure I got my money’s worth from this one; for anyone in a similar situation, I’d recommend you skip it and instead just listen to Shatner’s totally awesome cover (with support from Joe Jackson) of Pulp’s “Common People." You’ll be glad you did.

Gus’s Fake Name:
Ingle Woodz

Awesome Eighties Reference:
(Frank claims he’s giving up his criminal ways.)
Shawn: Do you honestly think we were born on the fourth of July?
Gus: Or yesterday?
Shawn: Or to run?

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