C'mon son, did you really believe Psych would kill off Henry?
We've waited nearly a year since the Season 6 cliffhanger to find out what happened to Shawn's dad. But while Papa Shawn survived his shooting by Barney Miller's Wojciehowicz, Shawn became unhinged by his desperate need for vengeance/justice/filial devotion.
Unfortunately, "Santabarbaratown 2" was not the strongest way to launch the new (and probably penultimate) season. I say this with regret, because after Twin Peaks, Psych is my favorite show. I realize it's not the best series on TV—even I must admit it's not masterpiece theater like Enlightened, Sherlock, or Homeland, for example—but Psych is my TV crack. Or fries quatro queso dos fritos. Delicious AND nutritious!
On the bright side, I've seen the next two episodes, and they deserve to become fan favorites. (Next week's "Juliet Takes a Luvvah" was written and directed by Andy Berman, the genius behind Season 6's instant classic "Last Night Gus.")
From the outset, "Santabarbaratown 2," co-written by creator Steve Franks and producer Bill Callahan, had trouble balancing heavy poignancy (Shawn's "You've got to save him, that's my dad!") with zany slapstick (Woody the coroner barging into Henry's hospital room with a premature body bag). The worst offender, however, was the groan-causing return of the rapey, baby-voiced, elder-lover Chelsea, who first stalked Henry in "Neil Simon's Lover's Retreat."
Meanwhile, the best moments of "SB2"—an homage to the Lethal Weapon buddy cop films—focused on Gus and Shawn's bromance... and the surprising but perfect partnership between Shawn and Lassie.
It turns out that when you do the math, (Gus + Shawn) + (Shawn + Lassie) > Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.
(Quick Lethal Weapon factoid: FBI agent Mack was played by Jake Busey, son of Gibson and Glover's costar Gary Busey.)
Anyway, while Henry recovered in the hospital, Shawn ignored his girlfriend's pleas and recklessly attempted to find the dirty cop who shot his father. With the chief's tacit approval and Detective Lassiter's fervent support (and munitions supply), Shawn discovered that Wojo (yes, I know Max Gail's character's name is Jerry Carp, but to me he'll always be Wojo) was involved in a much larger conspiracy—gunrunners using the charity organization Feed Everyone as a front to smuggle weapons into war-torn regions.
The hour's hijinks included Shawn and Gus sitting on a landmine just as they were about to enjoy a
platter of jerk chicken apology nachos, Shawn's insistent misinterpretation of a Mexican standoff,
the halving of the Blueberry's frame, and the obliteration of the adorable car's maroon successor, the
Eventually, Shawn managed to locate Wojo Jerry's hideout and take down his security team. In the end, Juliet shot Wojo, and his henchman, to save Shawn.
"I've got the greatest girlfriend ever," he gushed. (Juliet gave him a pass for fibbing about his investigation, but methinks she won't be so forgiving when she learns his "psychic" powers are a huge hoax.)
The gang rushed to the hospital just in time to see the removal of Henry's breathing tubes and his first-gasp breakup with his "fiancée," Chelsea.
Next week, Henry has a new caregiver (Shawn's mom, played by Cybill Shepherd), Juliet plays the field in an online dating investigation, and Gus gets a girlfriend!
The highlight of this episode was the veritable smorgasbord of tasty treats, most of them enjoyed by Gus:
– Taco Bell Doritos Locos tacos
– French toast (Shawn's declaration to his unconscious father: "I don't think now is a good time for you to go. I love you...r French toast.")
– Mole tacos
– Henry's hospital sandwich and cake (a.k.a. "a dying man's lunch")
– Jerk chicken apology nachos
– Rancid peaches ("Have some tuna." "That would be like taking food out of poor people's mouths." "How about some peaches?" "I'll eat me some peaches.")
– Moons Over My Hammy
– Surprisingly crisp bacon
– Orange chicken (laced with Ipecac)
– Glazed buns (Gus's dream pastry from the nonexistent Jethro's Home of the Deep-Fried Donut)
– "You can't take the second out. It's a courtesy out, it's perfunctory. You have to turn it down first." —Shawn, when Gus took him up on his offer of an "out"
– "This is hands-down my favorite land mine. It detonates not only when you step on it, but when you step off. Sweet music and then? Red mist." —Lassie, enraptured by Wojo's munitions arsenal
– "My name is Shenayze, this is my partner Gurn Blansten." —Shawn, introducing a very Swedish-sounding Gus (Note: These monikers may not be spelled correctly)
– "I need something … I can shoot a caribou with, that's my dream. Not for sport but for their general superior attitude. I wouldn't kill one, no sir. Just teach those cocky bastards a little humility by grazing it in its horn." —Shawn requesting a semiautomatic on the Red Chief firing range
– "Are you sure about that? How about a raccoon with a discarded malaria sample?" —Shawn's response to the chief's assertion that there's nothing more dangerous than an investigator who's emotionally involved in a case.
– "This is my best disguise, second only to Jaundiced Jimmy, which I would've gone with if you hadn't eaten all the yellow mustard." —Shawn on his terrible fake beard
– "That's my delivery man. Satchel Gizmo. He's likable, so everyone lets him into places." ("He's indecipherable and constipated!") "That's part of his charm. He's been married nine times." —Gus to Shawn on his elaborate cover story
– "Over Our Heads: Great title for a movie about two short guys who pretend to be one tall guy to get a basketball scholarship." —Shawn, destined for Hollywood
– "Well so have you, man: Wearing loafers with white socks is a serious no-no." —Shawn when Mack said he'd "made a major mistake"
– "I'll be damned, this is the second Mexican standoff I've been a part of today." —Shawn, who has not been part of any Mexican standoff, ever
1. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 = being a koala bear or owning a jetpack), how do you rate "Santabarbaratown 2"?
2. Did you spot the show's hidden pineapple? If so, where was it? (Seriously, please tell me. I totally missed it.)
3. What was your favorite quote of the night?
4. Which of the foodstuffs mentioned in the episode would you eat first?
5. How about that Lassie?