I have never seen an episode of Psych before. I know none of the characters. I know nothing of the plot. I am not sure if it is the best show on television, or the worst. There is one thing about tonight’s episode that intrigues me
Yes, that’s right. This is meant to be some sort of Twin Peaks reunion special. Well, they have maybe a quarter of the cast on hand, but that is still a significant achievement.
For those of you who don’t know, Twin Peaks was a show created by David Lynch and Mark Frost that more or less reset the rules for the way that television’s narrative could be told. Series like The X-Files, 24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost, Heroes, and…well, Psych owe Twin Peaks a debt of gratitude. Twin Peaks did not last that long, but left a footprint few can leave.
For another show to demonstrate the gratitude that Psych is about to show…well, it will be an event no matter if it is good of bad.
In this recap, I will do what I have done previously – keep a Wikipedia page open and looking at the character’s names. Hopefully I can identify them all. If I cannot, I will try and update the information as soon as possible.
Oh, and a special note – “har har” is pretty much my way of saying that there is a reference to Twin Peaks I happen to recognize.
And we are off. The opening takes place in…Santa Barbara…where Shawn and Gus are discussing shades. Gus calls Shawn over to the laptop. He has received an email asking for help…with an attachment from the “Great Northern” (har har) which is the publication of the town of Dual Spires. Apparently the cinnamon festival is coming up.
This town is so small it’s in parenthesis” exclaims Gus.
The next scene has them walking to the town. Everyone is riding a bicycle, looking happy “yet perplexed.” People act unusually around Gus, as though he is the first black man they have seen.
“Are you Frederick Douglas?” a little girl asks? I am frightened. I don’t recall such dialogue in Twin Peaks…then again, I don’t really recall any minority characters in the show. Unless you want to count the Icelanders.
They walk into “the Sawmill Diner.” The owner, Bob Barker, is played by the man that played Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) on Twin Peaks. A Sheriff Andrew Jackson is also at the diner. He explains about the seclusion of Dual Spires, including the fact they don’t have the internet.
Next, we have the festival. Upbeat music, as well as owls. The owls… are they what they seem? Sorry. Also, a cut back to the population of Dual Spires…288? Huh…wasn’t the population of Twin Peaks something like 50,288? But the people are all still excited, especially about the mascot, Leo the cinnamon owl. Anyway, Bob Barker and his wife are worried about their missing niece Paula. Shawn noticed due to a missing seat.
Well, a man on a bicycle came in, saying that “something happened at the lake.” Gee, wonder what that could be…ah, a body wrapped in plastic, mirroring the discovery of Laura Palmer exactly. Apparently the man on the bike, Jack, didn’t want people to see her half naked so he did it. Umm…you don’t have to explain the reference. Also, the music here sounds like the Twin Peaks theme taken down a key. Gus starts crying…another reference to Twin Peaks.
Who killed Paula Merral? Shawn gets a text saying exactly that and thus, the mystery is afoot.
The theme is EXACTLY like the theme for Twin Peaks. Apparently the words are the same, but the easy listening music and the shots they use are.
And with that, we get our first commercial. Oh, I forgot – one of the sheriffs of the town appears to be Native American – you know, Hawk.
We are back. They are still at the crime scene. The sheriff guesses that it was an accident – that Paula was swimming after curfew. One of the deputies has the surname “Frost” (haha) and Shawn states there is more to Paula’s death than meets the die. Hey, they actually got Juliee Cruise to sing the theme song!
Anyway, that Native American deputy comes in riding a rick saw, talking like Hawk (the air is soft and moist). Shawn gets another text (apparently they otherwise get no reception in the town).
We cut back to Shawn’s station. They have donuts stacked…well, in the same way that Cooper would in Twin Peaks. Anyway, Shawn claims they are staying, and they rent bicycles.
They stop by the office of Doctor Donna Goodwin. She is played by…Laura Palmer herself, Sheryl Lee. There is another patient (a bird…that looks like Waldo) but Shawn and Gus manage to convince the doctor to see them. Shawn tries to get her to open up, and gets the doctor to say that she wish she could have done more. She becomes quite agitated when Shawn mentions murder. Also, this doctor has many treats; she s a psychiatrist, a physician, and a mortician.
“She was a troubled young girl” the doctor explains.
Gus and Shawn leave. The Log Lady shows up. With a grandson. Yet, Gus and Shawn notice someone else on a bike. They climb on theirs and give chase. However, the person they are pursuing (who one the cinnamon crown earlier) is clearly better than them.
Yet this person was the son of the sheriff. They go to his house, and offer their services in helping solve the crime (which no one else believes is a crime). Shawn notices pills behind the sheriff. He tries to get the sheriff talking, so they can speak to his son Randy.
The shot of Gus and Shawn going up the stairs mirrors Twin Peaks. In addition, they notice a piece of jewelry that both Randy and Paula wear. The interrogation mirrors the original interrogation of Bobby. Seriously, watch that to get what is going on. Randy is playing darts. His breakdown mirrors another character -Johnny Horne (Laura’s secret boyfriend).
They then go to the library. The librarian is – Audrey Horne. She claims that each book is alive. Then she laughs. “Isn’t cherry the best?” Well, using your tongue to tie cherry stems is.
Anyway, they are going to make sure Randy’s alibi checks out. She claims that it does, but Shawn and Gus want to check out the library.
They do, discussing an email relating to the Dewey Decimal System. They notice a book written by an “Earl Wyndam” (har har) which is actually a book about reincarnation.
They go back to the lake. They call Juliet again – where she reveals Paula Merral drowned seven years ago. Huh…so Paula was reincarnated? Never died? What’s going on? Well, we have another commercial.
We are back. At the diner, it turns out. An older man is harassing Gus and Shawn. They have both had multiple pieces of pie. Two more people come in, harassing the man (who’s name is Jessup). They both claim that this new body cannot be the Paula that died seven years ago.
So, they go the Bob Barker’s house. She claims that Paula’s mother took her away from Dual Spires. Apparently the mom was abusive and Bob helped Paula fake her death to get away from her mother. Detective Lassiter who came to the town and threatens to arrest Bob. Shawn and Gus ask to go up to see Paula’s room.
While there, they find a diary (har har). Part of it is written in Latin. Gus nor Shawn can read it so they call a priest (Ray Wise) who says it is talking about a boy (with the initial J – har har) that Paula was seeing. But the call is cut off.
Anyway, Gus and Shawn go back to the library to talk to Audrey (I can’t think of her as anything else) to get the most recent year book from the high school. Anyway…they are trying to figure out who J is. Shawn sees the initials “JS” in one photo – Jack Smith. As in, the guy who discovered the body.
So they go to his house. Jack immediately takes their picture at the door. Anyway, they ask about his relationship with Paula (while noticing all of the pictures on the wall). Jack says he was Paula’s confidant. Shawn breaks a bottle – and Jack says this will make for a beautiful photo. Both Gus and Shawn think he’s weird – before Shawn notices that Jack is legally blind. Jack claims to have been with Paula on the night she died. Paula apparently wanted to leave the town. Jack claims he cannot tell what happened – he was knocked out. Jack is worried that he may be a suspect. But Jack took photos about that last night.
And one of those photos just happens to have Randy in them, sneaking up on Paula. Yet Juliet is going to see Randy…Shawn worries that she may be in danger. Juliet then goes to meet Randy and…commercial.
We are back, with an image of Randy sawing a plank of wood. He asks Juliet how much she weighs. Thus, naturally, creeps her out. It doesn’t get better when Randy says that Juliet “reminds her of Paula.” Juliet offers to leave, but Randy won’t let her. Shawn and Gus show up to protect her.
Anyway, Randy claims that he knocked Jack because he didn’t want him with Paula. Paula apparently took off to find help for Jack. But Randy did not accompany her – and Paula ended up dying. Shawn still claims to be on to Randy – while making Everwood jokes.
Back to the diner. They are discussing something Randy said about an ex girlfriend. And…they figure it is the librarian. Well, hell…I can understand that. They think it was Maudette (that is the name of the librarian). So they go to the library – and Maudette has hung herself.
This was due to the potential scandal about Randy Jackson’s relationship with her. Well, anyway, Shawn doesn’t think that it’s over. So he goes back to the library, noticing a long phone line leading to Maudette’s office. He figures Maudette was the one texting him.
Anyway, the librarian also starts burning. Gus and Shawn try to call for help and…commercial.
OK, the smoke is still coming in. Gus is panicking, so is Shawn. Yet they are saved by a figure with an axe. This figure is cloaked. They take Gus and Shawn out of the library. The figure is Ray Wise’s priest. Anyway, there was more in the diary. There is a joke about Ray Wise’s changing hair color (again, har har) and Bob shows up to take everyone away.
He takes them to a cabin (which looks like the one the Book House Boys used) and Bob explains the history of the town (specifically, how his grandfather found it). Anyway, Bob claims that the history of the town has something to do with Paula. He claims that a Sawmill fire was arson. Bob was also Paula’s father. He had an affair with his wife’s sister.
And then Sheriff Jackson comes in. And, Shawn gives a long explanation about how it was a rivalry between the Barkers and the Jacksons. Shawn claims that the sheriff killed her. And Jackson admits it but wants to kill them both. Anyway, Juliet and Lassiter come in to arrest the two. Jack then shows up to take pictures.
We are back at the Sawmill Diner. A character in a red suit comes in, turns on the juke box, and starts dancing like the dwarf in the Black Lodge. Lassiter makes a joke about a “damn fine cup of cider” har har. Actually, this entire last bit is nothing but a quote of every single Twin Peaks moment the producers can remember. Shawn and Juliet start to leave, clearly uncomfortable at the spectacle and that is it.
Wow. As a spectacle, that surpassed my expectations. Sure, the overall plot was written so they could jump from one reference to the next, but that is all that the show was meant to be. Frankly, I had fun. It was not nearly as good as any Twin Peaks episode. Plus, at times, it felt dense. They were condensing thirty episodes into one hour – not an easy task. Still, it was enjoyable and it should be seen by everyone who was ever a fan of the show. I guess you can go back again.
For those who haven’t seen it, go buy the complete Twin Peaks series and catch up.