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PSYCH:”The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Episode” Review

We’re gonna need some better storytelling.

by Jonah Krakow (Source)

March 4, 2010 – Longtime fans of PSYCH know that this show loves to pay homage to horror movies. They’ve had ghost stories, runaway mummies, a tribute to The Exorcist and even an episode that took place at a sleepaway camp complete with a homicidal maniac on the loose. With so many similarly themed episodes under their belt, it’s safe to say that they know what they’re doing, which is why I was so looking forward to their take on the granddaddy of all blockbusters: Jaws. Unfortunately, what we got was Flipper.

Even notable sci-fi all-stars Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager) and Michael Hogan (Battlestar Gallactica) couldn’t breathe any life into this boring episode. It pains me to say that because I love the show and can usually count on it for a few great laughs or some wacky undercover work by Shawn and Gus. But this episode had none of the playful humor we’re accustomed to and dragged on with a mystery that never seemed interesting. Hell, we didn’t even get much in the way of movie references apart from more nods to Jaws, including the funniest one when Shawn’s dad Henry (Corbin Bersen) described Jaws 4 as the worst sequel ever filmed. (Personally, I’d go with the follow-ups to The Matrix, but I see his point.) Even if the mystery isn’t that strong each week, there’s a certain amount of silliness and adventure we expect from PSYCH and this episode just didn’t deliver.

The episode started out promisingly enough, when Det. Lassiter summoned his inner Shawn Spencer and declared that the victim of a shark attack was in fact murdered, due to a suspicious wound that didn’t look like a bite mark. Even though the local papers disagreed with his conclusion and branded him “Detective Dipstick,” Shawn loved that Lassiter was open to looking for not-so-obvious clues, a major sticking point between the two characters. As the investigation continued however, Lassie wasn’t able to un-learn all he had learned from the academy, and reverted back to his old by-the-book ways, regardless of how much Shawn rooted for him to do the opposite. It seems like there was a missed opportunity for some fun scenes with Shawn “coaching” a grumpy Lassie or a comical meeting of the minds between the two characters who are normally at odds, but that story never developed. So of course, in the end when Shawn and Gus solved the murder and took the credit, Lassie wasn’t able to enjoy the spoils. Yes, the heroes won in the end, but at the expense of an interesting plot development.

As usual, PSYCH cast two guest stars who fit perfectly into their roles: Michael Hogan played a salty sailer (the “Quint” role), and Jeri Ryan played a shark expert (the “Hooper” role), who also became a love interest for Henry Spencer. However, as amusing as those choices were (especially to sci-fi fans), the characters didn’t add much to the story, and the show suffered from the same issue as last week: if you’re not going to take advantage of the actors (aside from their name value), what’s the point in casting them? I’m not as familiar with Ryan’s work on Star Trek, but I know Hogan has tremendous range from his years on BSG. But because he didn’t do anything but snarl and growl, the character came off as very one-dimensional. For the second episode in a row, I felt like the inspired cameos were wasted.

Next week is the 4th season finale and it looks like we’re going to be meeting up with Mr. Yang again (Ally Sheedy) which I am really excited about. Hopefully after two so-so episodes, PSYCH can finish the season on a high note.