‘Psych’ 6.01 Recap: “Suck It, Hyphens!”

Is ‘Psych’ really starting its sixth season? I can hardly believe that it’s been on the air this long. I mean, I like the series and all, but the concept seems like something that would eventually play itself out. With last week’s new season premiere, is the show finally beginning to feel the weight of its age?

A little bit, maybe. For the most part, ‘Shawn Rescues Darth Vader’ finds the series plugging along much as it always has.

The plot of this one starts with Shawn breaking into the British embassy, living out a James Bond fantasy. He’s been hired by a kid whose friend (the ambassador’s son) stole a valuable vintage ‘Star Wars’ action figure. In the process of stealing it back, Shawn discovers a dead body under a bed while hiding from the security detail. He manages to hightail it out of there without getting caught, and then pretends to have had a psychic vision that leads the cops to the body.

Suspicion at first falls to the ambassador (Malcolm McDowell, who’s really unashamed to be slumming in any show that will give him a paycheck these days), then to his chief aide (Polly Walker from ‘Rome’). It seems like the episode ought to make Shawn himself look like a suspect to the cops, but nothing ever comes of that. The solution to this mystery is really inconsequential. The killer turns out to have been the ambassador’s friend, a character introduced late in the episode. It’s really hard to care about any of this.

As usual, the plot of the episode is less important than the comedy and the character bits. When the ambassador officially hires Shawn to find the killer, Shawn gets it in his head that this gives him full diplomatic immunity and free license to park on curbs, litter and commit other minor offenses.

Lassiter gets his hands on a polygraph machine, and uses this to force O’Hara into admitting that she’s been dating Shawn. He also thinks that he’s got Shawn cornered when he asks point blank, “Are you psychic?” Somehow, Shawn passes the lie detector. We then learn in a flashback that his father taught young Shawn how to beat a polygraph.

‘Shawn Rescues Darth Vader’ is neither among the best nor the worst episodes to have aired. It isn’t anywhere near as inspired as last year’s ‘Twin Peaks’ reunion, but nor is it as pointless and dull as the recurring Yin-Yang killer storyline. Like most episodes, this one has no aspirations to be anything other than light, frothy fun, with some silly banter and characters whose company you’ll enjoy spending time with.

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