When Shawn and Gus’ favorite shock jock is murdered during a live broadcast, the twosome go undercover and on the air to flush out the killer. After a single day of Shawn’s prank-call filled program, Gus is put out front to save the day as “Smooth Gus”. He becomes a local celebrity, attracting the attention of Crock’s obsessed fan, and the desire of tough but seductive station executive Miranda Sherrod, Gus’s life becomes filled with danger. This throws a wrench in Gus’ relationship with Rachel, who can’t find a way to tell her boyfriend that she and Max will be headed to London for six months.
“Dead Air” provides another beautiful showcase for Dule Hill’s talents; given the opportunity to play Gus as both a swooning romantic and a silly sex symbol, he rises to the occasion, hitting a more subtle note than in last week’s “Office Space”(except, of course, for the many times in which Gus faints, butt-up, throughout the proceedings). He’s given another beautiful monologue, this one about romance. One can feel a triangle setting itself up between the sweet and earthy Rachel and the driven but sexually-charged Miranda, yet, sadly the twist Rachel and Gus’ relationship feels like a retread of what happened when Abigail left Shawn to head overseas all the way back in season four. And we all know what happened to Abigail.
The mystery manages to incorporate itself well into the storyline this time, with it driving the plot while also augmenting the silly humor. This time out, all of the red herrings feel like actual, viable solutions to the puzzle, and we met our perp fairly early in the story and get a twist that’s shocking without being foolish.
The biggest downside of “Dead Air” surprisingly revolves around our other main character. Shawn was stunningly immature and selfish this episode, even more than usual, using Gus as means to an end, then pouting when Gus’ show proves more popular than his. While this is somewhat in character for him, even season 2’s Shawn was more enthusiastic and clingy than desperate to outdo Gus. Adding together Shawn’s behavior as seen in all four post-breakup episodes, he definitely seems infantilized by the loss of Jules, which is odd when you notice his gradual move toward maturity earlier in the season.
See my footnotes for my thoughts on Shawn and Juliet’s relationship this week: all I can say is that I find it incomprehensible. It’s an example that suggests the show’s fallen back into its trap of glossing over plot twists and then going back to fill in holes later, something it was kind of notorious for mid-run.
“Dead Air” is a fine episode of Psych, filled with comedy and some lovely splashes of drama. Unfortunately, the overarching plotline of the season has grown a tad bit muddy. Hopefully, the season’s final two episodes will clarify all.
- * Continuing a tradition of flashbacks set within the show’s earlier canon started in 100 Clues, the episode opens with a flashback to 2009 and Gus and Shawn appearing on the Crock Daniels show. Apparently all future younger Gus and Shawn flashbacks have been scrapped, as the last pair of juvenile actors they hired have outgrown the roles and the producers don’t seem to feel the need to recast the parts.
- * Major Correction: Not only did Shawn sleep on Juliet’s couch last week, he slept with her. This is what happens when your erstwhile reviewer writes a review during a family crises.
- * Nonetheless, Shawn and Juliet’s relationship has entered quite an odd and ambiguous phase. While they’re behaving in a coupley and very touchy-feely way, we have had no true, firm statement about their connection’s status. Fun fact: sides for this episode included an admission by Juliet that she still loves Shawn. I suppose it’s safe to assume that they got back together offscreen after the whole lovemaking incident…even if Jules said that meant nothing? (?!)
- * Shawn once again brings up – and flashes back to – ‘The Incident’ , aka: the time he walked in on his mother and father making love from “Juliet Takes a Luuvah.”
- * Gus’ girlfriend, Rachel, appears once again.
- * Gus’ shy bladder- repeatedly referenced by Shawn at various points in canon – is referenced again during Shawn’s prank call for Gus.
- * Stay classy, everyone who caught that Ron Burgundy reference!
- * USA’s Upfront presentation on Thursday included a single-song preview of Psych: The Musical, set to air this fall between Psych’s seventh and eighth seasons.
- * Congratulations to Maggie Lawson, whose pilot was picked up by ABC! Before pandemonium sets in, please note that Ms. Lawson has already stated that she’ll be finishing out Psych’s 8th season in Vancouver while filming “Back in the Game” in LA.