Psych is back! The eighth season of USA Network's hilarious buddy comedy about a faux psychic premiered last night, which may be one of last times this happens. The newest episodes brings Shawn and Gus across the pond to England, there at the request of Interpol to help work a case of a vicious gang leader who manages to keep his tracks covered well enough to elude capture for too long. The agent requesting their help?
Pierre Despereaux (Cary Elwes), the world-renowned art thief that crossed paths with Shawn and Gus in the past. As it turns out, Despereaux is the cover for Interpol agent Roy Staley. Staley needs Shawn to infiltrate the gang of Ronnie Ives, a tough as nails gangster who is working on his next big heist. Ives' choice for get-away driver bears a striking resemblence to Shawn which gives Interpol the chance to pass him off as part of the gang.
Psych: The Musical, came up lacking in a lot of Psych-isms, "Lock, Stock, Some Smoking Barrels and Burton Guster's Goblet of Fire" is loaded with the show's standard eccentric humor. Much of it revolves around Gus' excitement to go to a Harry Potter convention. This little trope allowed the writers to make numerous Harry Potter references, like when Gus chases down a man who looks like Rupert Grint, or when he throws a handful of smoke powder at the ground shouting "Expecto Patronum", and the ridiculous line of "I came here to drink my weight in butterbeer".
The episode also makes a play on the differences between American and British culture. The whole idea of "spotted dick" makes a couple of punchlines by itself, as well as Shawn and Gus' inability to understand a lot of what other's say. The episode is introduced with a voiceover from Shawn explaining their situation, with him "translating" a few British colloquialisms and describing Interpol as those people that make the warnings on the DVDs.
In addition to Cary Elwes, "Lock, Stock, Some Smoking Barrels..." boasts two other pretty big guest stars. The first is Olivia d'Abo, who plays a member of Ronnie Ives gang, Dierdre. Given Psych's penchant for putting 80s nostalgia on a pedestal, d'Abo's casting is perfect. After all, she played Kevin Arnold's older sister on the classic show, The Wonder Years.
But far more perfect is the inclusion of Vinnie Jones as Ronnie Ives. Jones is a famous British actor who's made a name for himself as a rough, gruff thug in most of Guy Ritchie's movies. Besides playing a similar character to his other roles, Jones is able to show off his humorous side a bit. Though he plays the straight man for most of the comedy, he is able to get a few punchlines for himself.
The seventh season of Psych had a few funny moments but for the most part didn't live up to the quality of the earlier episodes. But "Lock, Stock, Some Smoking Barrels..." really brought its A-game to the newest season, giving me high hopes of what's to come. Given that word on the street is that the eighth season is going to be its last, I'm hoping the writers decide to pull no stops and make this one of, if not the, best seasons to date. Even though I'll be sad to see it go, I want nothing more than for it to go out as high as possible.
And I'm really hoping that "Pottering", the act of jumping from something high while holding a broomstick so that it looks like you're flying, gets itself a resurgence.