Thursday, December 15, 2011

Psych takes "Neil Simon's Lover's Retreat"

     In the mid-season finale of USA's Psych, Shawn (James Roday) tries to get romantic with Juliet (Maggie Lawson) on a retreat, hence the title, "Neil Simon's Lover's Retreat." But their room is robbed by a con artist couple, Clive and Barbie, (Jason Priestley, Call Me Fitz, and Jennifer Finnigan, Better With You) that they befriend, and then a dead body turns up. Meanwhile, Gus (Dulé Hill), Lassiter (Timothy Omundson), and Henry (Corbin Bernsen) grow tired of being alone, and soon end up helping to solve the case. Except, Henry is pursued by a crazy chick named Chelsea (Arden Myrin, MADtv, Suburgatory), whose digits he got in a bar.

     Cool fact: "Neil Simon's Lover's Retreat" is written by actor Carlos Jacott (Big Love), who guest starred in last week's episode. Also, Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Chuck) guest stars as the real murdered, bringing the total of significant guest stars in this episode to an astounding four. Great job!

    "Neil Simon's Lover's Retreat is a fun spin on a normal Psych episode, which plays with relationships. The pairing of Lassiter, Henry, and Gus is unexpected, yet enjoyable. Shawn is a main focus in both Henry and Gus's lives, so with him out of town, it seems natural that the two might come together somewhat. Lassiter is generally less social, but his character is softening over time, and wanting to hang out with his co-workers socially, especially when his least favorite, Shawn, is out of the picture, makes sense. Plus all three are somewhat inept with their interpersonal skills, so they make a sensible grouping.

     Even bigger is Juliet and Shawn's romantic relationship, which gets some rare time to breathe in "Neil Simon's Lover's Retreat." The two have been together for a little while now, and their relationship is progressing slowly. Usually, each episode of Psych contains only a small amount of their chemistry, with the main mystery being the central storyline. This week, that is thankfully more balanced.

     Interestingly, commit-phobic Shawn brings a ring with the intent to propose. Juliet never finds this out, and when the subject of their relationship is broached, she says she isn't ready. Is she covering because she doesn't want to pressure Shawn, the same way he babbles his agreement with her feelings? Or are they both on the same page, but aren't quite ready to speak it out loud? Hopefully, it's the latter, because a marriage between the two would really shake things up.

     Even better, the ring is discovered by Gus. Will he give it back to Shawn? It has taken Gus some time to be all right with Shawn and Juliet as a couple. He certainly feels lonely, and often like the odd man out. Is Gus ready to share his best friend in such an important way? Or might he hide the ring for awhile, hoping that will prevent Shawn from making the huge step before Gus can come to terms with it? Sadly, Psych ends without answering any of these questions, and will probably take their time (a.k.a. the rest of the reason) before settling anything for anxious viewers.

     Psych will return in late February on USA.

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     Please click here to get DVDs and streaming episodes of Psych.

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