I have a very soft spot in my heart for Shaft homages, and that’s only exacerbated by Isaac Hayes’ recent passing. Few things have made me happier than Bart and Lisa Simpson choosing Shaft as their first karaoke performance. I’ve watched Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode on puff pastry more times than is strictly healthy. Heck, I even find Shaquille O’Neal shilling for Burger King amusing. I can dig it. So even if this week’s Psych bounces us out of my beloved 80s for a little drabble in the 70s–including Ted Lange, for goodness sake–I have to love Shawn and Gus doing the classic Shaft back and forth. Shut your mouth, indeed, boys–shut your mouth, indeed.
For all of the silly disco trappings, this episode continues the season-long arc of seeing Shawn mature. Having Henry (an angry Henry) along for the ride demonstrates that Shawn’s observational gifts (as well as his ability to instantly create ridiculous aliases) aren’t unique. Where Shawn does outstrip his father, though, is in his ability to relate to people, exuding warmth and taking the time to get people on his side. His success is as much due to his people skills as to his detective skills–he might yet go far. Or blow himself up.
At least this week’s pineapple was never in grave danger, perched as it was in the ex-radicals’ kitchen. You really have to be a villain to hide behind a pineapple.