Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween "Classic" Recap: Psych: "Scary Sherry: Bianca's Toast"

“I can’t believe this!”
“We actually started an urban legend!”
“That’s dope!”
-Gus and Shawn

The horror-themed first season finale of “Psych” is one of my favorite episodes of the series, and the flashback with young Shawn and Gus happen to take place on Halloween, so I’m counting it as a Halloween episode for the purposes of this year’s Halloween recap! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so I couldn’t let it pass by without a recap. I’m also being occasionally disrupted from writing by Trick or Treaters, but this is my first year living in a place where I get any (not an onslaught, but I’ve had a few), so I wouldn’t pass that up, either! Anyway, this particular episode of “Psych” was co-written by none other than Shawn Spencer himself, James Roday. I believe this may have been his first-ever television writing credit. Roday is a big horror fan, and he crammed quite a few horror references into this episode.

The opening flashback takes place on Halloween, where nine-year-old Shawn and Gus have been Trick-or-Treating. Little Shawn is a policeman, and Little Gus is Lando Calrisian (which is awesome). Henry wants to take the boys to the police station to have all their candy x-rayed, but he gets called on to help with a problem at the Wispy Sunny Pines hospital. A woman wearing a very wispy outfit (who we later learn is known as “Scary Sherry” is about to jump from an upper story window. Henry leaves the boys in the car and tries to help, but Scary Sherry jumps anyway. Twenty years later, we see a co-ed running through Wispy Sunny Pines. Unlike Scary Sherry, though, she doesn’t jump out the window. She is startled and falls.

At Psych HQ, Shawn and Gus return from what looks like a game of racquetball happy engaged in their usual banter. They are surprised to see Juliet inside, dressed like a cross between Cher Horowitz and Elle Woods. She’s undercover as Mary Lou, Vice Parliamentarian of Beta Kappa Theta sorority. She’s investigating the (more recent) death at Wispy Sunny Pines, and the victim was a Beta Kappa Theta pledge. She wants Shawn’s psychic help to solve the case, because the girls keep reporting spooky supernatural happenings. They think Scary Sherry is back. Shawn and Gus head to the Beta Kappa Theta house, and they are enthusiastically greeted by all the girls. A sister named Bianca (played by Cheylan Simmons, who I know from “Wonderfalls” and “The LA Complex”) tells about how her clock was destroyed. As Shawn tries to create a distraction so he can go upstairs with Juliet (I forgot Gus hated being mistaken for Bud from “The Cosby Show”), the lights start flickering, and a voice screams at the girls to “get out.” The guys hightail it out of the house, but Juliet calls them back. Shawn obeys, of course, but Gus drives right away in the blueberry.

Meanwhile, Lassiter has been reassigned. He’s supposed to help train a rookie, Detective Goochberg, a much older woman that Lassiter anticipated. He starts by taking her to the shooting range, where she promptly destroys his favorite gun. Then she says she has to ride in the back of the car because the sunlight bothers her retinitis pigmentosa. Worst of all, she harasses, the chases down, a clerk who is trying to report a crime that happened at his deli. It turns out that she has a heart attack during the chase, and she winds up in the hospital. Lassiter is not pleased. He’s less pleased when (Interim) Chief Vick tells him that everyone thought he and Goochberg would get along because they’re so similar. It makes him start to rethink how he relates to Shawn, Gus, and Juliet.

All is not well in Beta Kappa Theta. The girls are out on the quad trying to recruit new members. Juliet sees Alice Bundy, the victim’s best friend, and tries to reach out to her. Alice, however, is not impressed. The other girls start getting annoyed at Bianca for not passing out enough flyers. Bianca says she’s still upset over all the hauntings, and she leaves in disgust. It turns out Bianca has good reason to be scared. Shawn and Gus have a breakthrough when they realize that one of the noises the ghost was making earlier was “Bianca” spelled backwards. They call Juliet and try to warn her, but it’s too late. Right before the sorority’s big recruitment mixer, Bianca is electrocuted in her bathtub. The sorority house receives a card inviting them to a vigil for both victims, Doreen and Bianca, at the same time as their mixer. This leads sorority sister Betty to confess that Bianca was in the Scary Sherry costume and accidentally scared Doreen to her death.

Shawn takes it upon himself to get to know Alice Bundy a bit better. He approaches her with a pineapple to share, and while she’s weirded out at first (I don’t blame her), we eventually learn that Doreen was her best friend, and they grew up together when Doreen’s parents took her in as a young child. Alice appeals to Shawn’s affection for Gus, saying she couldn’t have possibly murdered her best friend. Later, Shawn and Gus go to Henry’s house for dinner. Henry and Shawn are still somewhat estranged, so this dinner is awkward. We do learn, however, that Scary Sherry didn’t actually die. While Shawn and Gus had their eyes covered, Henry saved her, and she was rehabilitated. Shawn and Gus are pretty impressed with themselves for starting an urban legend.

Shawn and Gus pay a visit to Alice’s house, where Gus (who pretends he has lost his cat Mrs. Pickles) meets the nanny, Poppy. She says Doreen’s parents and Alice are all at the cemetery. Shawn gets a phone call from one of the sorority sisters saying Juliet went to a vigil. This makes him very worried. He and Gus think that Alice is going to try and kill Juliet because she thinks Juliet is the queen bee of sorority girls, and they are right. Juliet approaches Wispy Sunny Pines and sees a bunch of candles. She’s met by Alice, who lures her upstairs then tries to attack her with an Axe. Shawn calls Lassiter for backup, and the three all meet up at Wispy Sunny Pines. Gus isn’t thrilled at being back there, and he tries to set up some rules to avoid being the stereotypical black guy in a horror movie. He spends most of his time with his foot stuck in a floor board scared out of his mind. Juliet manages to fight off Alice just as help arrives, and Alice admits to trying to kill Juliet. She asks Shawn what he would have done if it were Gus.

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