"100 Clues," Psych's tribute to the film Clue, was even better than the real thing.
Be honest: As much as we all might adore the 1985 cult classic, there's a reason it was a critical and box office bomb. Although Psych's 100th episode was just as silly, in many respects, as the film, "100 Clues" (written by diehard Clue fan Todd Harthan), was definitely enjoyable. The dialogue was wittier, the storyline was tighter (by virtue of running for only half of the source material's duration), and Dulé Hill owned his zebra leggings and platinum platform boots. What?
Please don't whack me with a candlestick for my obvious bias
as a Psych devotee. I'm curious to
hear the opinions of any newcomers who may've tuned in for the first time because of USA's massive promotion for the
series' 100th episode and the choose-your-own-ending stunt. Were the
bromancers' catchphrases and in-jokes just as hilarious to Psych virgins as they were to those of us who appreciated Shawn's generous servings of Gus-isms? ("Gus,
don't be the second time ever I saw your face" and "This is my
partner, Domo Arigato" were both stellar.)
The episode began with a flashback to 2007, when Shawn and
Gus were just starting to work with the SBPD and Chief Vick. (Or "Chief
Dick," as Shawn believed at the time.) Helping out with the department's cold cases, Shawn pointed out some inconsistencies in hair band frontman Billy Lipps' (Steve
Valentine) biography, Rock Bottom—even
though he and Gus, who jumped at the chance to resurrect their amazing '80s concert gear and guyliner,
were diehard fans of the rock star.
No one was more surprised when superfan Henry Spencer joined
them backstage with two beers and a sleeveless Billy Lipps 1978 tour T-shirt. Sadly,
Detective Lassiter, sporting an atrocious suit and a haircut not even Marlowe could
love, arrested Lipps for the murder of his girlfriend/groupie, Melinda.
Cut to the present day, when Shawn received a mysterious, singing messenger invitation to the famed Villa Rosa mansion. (I was ashamed to realize it shared a name with Real Housewives star Lisa Vanderpump's Beverly Hills crib.)
When Juliet was called to a case, Shawn invited Gus to join him at the villa. During a house tour from butler Clizby (pronounced Clithzby), they were frequently interrupted by a woman's scream—the doorbell (as in in Murder by Death, a 1976 country-house whodunit spoof).
Shawn and Gus didn't mind—it gave them more time to gorge
themselves on licorice pastels and perform the chocolate dance when they
learned about the mansion owner's secret chocolate room. (Unfortunately, the chocolatier
collected toupees, which terrify Gus more than hunger pains.)
The guests arrived, "one by one by one by one by one,"
and eventually it became clear that they all played a role in sending Billy
Lipps—their anonymous host—to prison: His biographer and Harvard snob Martin
Kahn (Christopher Lloyd, whose character was a nice nod to late actress
Madeline Kahn, Clue's Mrs. White), longtime
manager Highway Harry (Martin Mull, owning it as the unintelligible, slurring
drunk), and stuttering groupie Lesley (Lesley Ann Warren)—a former nurse who inaccurately
pronounced Harry dead when he faceplanted on his dinner plate.
(Hysteria ensued when his body disappeared, but Harry had
actually awoken and found the chocolate room.)
Inarguably dead—stabbed by an ice pick and chilling in the
freezer—was Billy's former bandmate Rip, whose disappearance brought Juliet and
Lassiter to the house party.
Lipps himself almost became the next victim, but Shawn
managed to save him before a chandelier fell on the newly converted Jew's Union
Jack yarmulke. (The cause of death would've been the chocolate dance, as Gus and
Shawn strained the chandelier's loosened fixtures during their spastic celebration.)
At last, the final guest arrived: Curt Smith! It turned out that Billy was producing his new album: Curt Smith: Duets With Curt Smith. (The Tears for Fears pop star has played himself once before on the show and performed at Psych's 2010 Comic-Con panel. And Shawn dressed up as his partner, Roland Orzabal, in Season 2's "American Duos," featuring Clue star Tim Curry. Got it?)
Curt Smith was close to death himself; in addition to being shot
in the diaphragm, he was also mauled by Billy's pet panther. And just as he
was about to identify the ice-pick-wielding gunman, he passed out.
Shawn tried to pin the murder on each guest in turn, including Lesley. But the former groupie shocked everyone, including Clizby, when she revealed that the butler—not anyone in Lipps' entourage—was her baby daddy.
And also the killer. The butler did it! At least, that's the ending fans chose for the East Coast broadcast. Lipps and his band had been stealing the whistler's melodies, and he retaliated by smothering Melinda. When Rip figured it out after "intensive psychotherapy," Clizby killed him, then targeted Billy, too, by sabotaging the chandelier. (The chocolate dance wasn't entirely to blame!) Poor Curt Smith was just collateral damage.
Like the ending of the movie, the ending of "100 Clues" was incidental. The real delight of this Psych milestone was watching the veteran actors hamming it up alongside the appreciated series regulars. It didn't compare to "Dual Spires," James Roday's love letter to Twin Peaks, but the David Lynch classic offered much richer source material and iconic characters. (And really, how can you top Sheryl Lee—fully clothed and not shrouded in plastic this time—reenacting the discovery of Laura Palmer's body?)
– "I stepped in scat, man!" "Scatman Crothers?" "No, panther scat!" "Gus, don't be the second time ever I saw your face." "I know my scat, Shawn."
– "This is my partner, Domo Arigato."
– "Licorice pastels, twelve o'clock!"
– "He didn't call you a gay Snoopy. He said you were their No. 1 groupie."
– "We split the food of the dead fifty-fifty, that's always been the deal."
– "Did he just do a mash-up of Yiddish and Spanish?" "Sure did, it's like a matzo-dilla." "Sounds delicious."
– "He's been lurking here all night long, Lionel Ritchie style."
– "You might want to lower that paint gun, Alice Cooper." (Lassie to Lipps)
– Carlton Lassiter, shut up. (Lassie's reply to "Martin Kahn, Harvard.")
– "I'm not sure if you're familiar with the 1984 Chuck Norris classic Missing in Action, but my partner and I are about to grill each and every one of you like Col. Braddock did the Viet Kong." (Lassie to the suspects, which included Gus and Shawn)
– "Deep down I think he is resentful and bitter that his wife was stolen from him by that beautiful bastard face dancer Derek Hough. His words—though I too would've chosen the word Derek." (Shawn, referring to Lipps' ex's hook-up with the Dancing With the Stars pro.)
– "Is your name Curt Smith?" (Curt Smith, when Shawn interrupted his duet with Curt Smith)
– "He's not dead!" (Everyone, every time someone said Curt Smith had died)
– "It's burning London broil." (Gus, with help from
his Super Sniffer)
Did "100 Clues" live up to your expectations? What ending did you see? Which suspect did you vote for?