The hullabaloo surrouding the milestone 100th episode has passed and the Psych gang is back to business as usual. This week the circus is in town and Gus is at a crossroads with his atrociously cast girlfriend Rachael and her equally one-dimensional son Max. Gus has dated far more interesting women over the years and I am still reeling from the casting of Parminder Nagra as the totally boring and un-Psych worthy character of Rachael. There is trouble at the traveling circus and the gorgeous French contortionist with Le Cirque, Zola shows up at the Psych offices. She is concerned about François, an acrobatic trapeze artist who has gone missing and when he does show up is paranoid and seemingly out of it. Piece of cake case right? Not so fast.
After Zola heads back to the circus, Shawn waits at the Psych offices as Gus, Rachael and Max return from a play date of sorts. Rachael has to go and is going to leave Max alone with the guys for the first time and that has her maternal instinct revving into full gear. I guess it is a big step in a new relationship, especially for Gus.
When she tells Gus that if all goes wrong to just sit him down to watch Star Wars, Gus asks “original trilogy or prequels” to which Rachael replies “come on, son.” I am sorry but Rachel has not earned the right to say Ed Lover’s catchphrase that the guys have been using for years! I feel like they are forcing Rachael’s character on the devoted Psych-O crowd and it just is not working. And though just a kid, Max is not even near the best child actor the long running show has had in its seven year tenure. Liam James and Carlos McCullers as young Shawn and Gus were pitch perfect in the pint size versions of our intrepid heroes, so seeing Mateen Devji’s portrayal of Maximus is just bush league.
Before we get back to the circus, Lassiter’s felonious love Marlowe (Kristy Swanson) is finally being released from the joint after a stretch behind bars from last season. Lassie promised he would wait for her and he has kept his word. When Marlowe is released she runs into Lassie’s arms and you cannot help but feel happy for the scarecrow. Lassie deserves his day in the sun, especially after his divorce from first wife Victoria (Justine Bateman) several seasons back. One snag though; Eastbound & Down’s Katy Mixon guest stars as parole officer Ursula Gibbs, in charge of Marlowe now that she has been sprung from the clink. It turns out Lassie dated her years ago and never called making her a very jilted P.O. who is going to enforced all the strict rules on her parolee. Because Lassie’s house is outside of the zone that Marlowe is allowed to stay in, the two lovebirds are forced to stay at Jules’ house. Since they cannot keep their hands off each other, Jules is very uncomfortable with the situation. Especially when she walks in on the two sharing a bubble bath in her tub. Thankfully Jules seems to have found her footing again after a few wobbly episodes. Maybe it was that hairdo she was sporting, who knows.
Back at the circus the guys are trying to figure the case out as François misses a key move in his acrobatic act, leaving him to go kersplat. You guessed it, it was no accident; it’s murder. Woody determines that the circus performer was definitely dead when he was launched into mid-air, proving Shawn’s theory of homicide.
Shawn and Gus go undercover as a yodeler and emcee respectively and seeing the guys in ridiculous costumes always brings a chuckle. Gus is in a ridiculous costume with giant long arms and can barely fist bump his buddy. The case is really secondary in this episode and is more of a character examination in that the guys are getting older and starting to need things in their life, other than each other.
Shawn manages to put the kaybosh on Gus and Rachael’s relationship forcing Old Gus to take some much needed time alone. While working out his issues in a local park, he bumps into Henry, who gives some Yoda-like advice about why Shawn is terrified of losing another person from his life the way he lost his Mom in high school. Shawn’s fear of abandonment is well cloaked by his sense of humor, but deep down Shawn cannot be Shawn without Gus and vice versa.
After getting back on the case and with some smart detective work, the guys are able to solve what really is one of their simplest cases to date. The evil Jeffrey Duke, maker of the Mercedes of Port-o-potties is in need of large quantities of Tritium. He has kidnapped Zola as collateral as the crew of circus acrobats break into places where the radioactive element is aplenty. However they lost François to an electric fence while breaking in to retrieve some of the element. Unfortunately the remaining three in the crew could not go to the cops because they need their Visa’s and have to get Zola back.
There are no real twists and turns in this episode but it is really OK after all this time seeing the gang together. When a show like Psych finds a rhythm, there is really no reason to reinvent the wheel. The funniest moments are with Woody talking about foreplay and electricity and Shawn and Gus in their circus garb. If ever there were two guys who belonged in the circus, it’s these two clowns. When Shawn sees Marlowe and Lassie crashing at Jules’ he says “OMG, WTF and JTT” to which Jules responds that Jonathan Taylor Thomas does not count. So ridiculous that I had to LOL.
Unfortunately, Jake Lloyd from Episode One makes the kid playing Max look like Daniel Day-Lewis in that his acting is just blah. And same goes for his mom Rachael. Secretly I wish that they had ended her tenure on the show, but it looks like she is here for the rest of the season. I would like to see more of Henry and Chief Vick who have been noticeably absent this season.
I need more SBPD and Psych office set episodes where they can get back in their groove. It was an average episode, but still remarkably better than seventy-five percent of the garbage that’s out there. I appreciate that they are trying new things this season but I think it’s time to get back to basics for the Psych gang.