“I just imaged that my best work would be more complicated, you know? More intricate, important, and just more, you know, more!”
-Shawn Spencer, Psych S2E4: “Zero to Murder in Sixty Seconds”
Brief synopsis: When Lassiter’s car is stolen, Shawn quickly solves the case, but he’s left with the feeling that the case was a bit too easy.
Title significance: “Zero to Murder is 60 Seconds” is an allusion to the acceleration of racing cars. The 60 seconds portion likely comes from Gone in 60 Seconds, a movie about car theft. Obviously this comes from the fact that most of the episode is focused on car related crime such as chop shops.
I think in some ways it also foreshadows Wally’s involvement in the darker crime that’s going on. He was just a frontman for the chop shop. Next thing you know, he’s masterminded a murder and taken over the victim’s drug smuggling racket. He pretty quickly went from a zero to a murderer.
Tribute/Talking point: Something that tends to pop up in car movies like The Fast and the Furious are car modifications, such as custom paint jobs. We definitely see that as Shawn gets yellows flames painted on Gus’s car as well as getting a gigantic hood ornament and new speakers. Though Gus’s car looks nothing like the cars in the movies, it’s still a playful wink. The trope is called “pimped out car.” We also see something similar in the bike race at the beginning. Shawn has his bike tricked out in reflectors and gadgets.
The car community, as portrayed in these types of movies, is essentially a subculture. We see that reflected in this episode as the car guys use unfamiliar slang and have fairly intricate hand shakes. I think this really gives the culture a sense of community as well as speaks to the stereotypical untrustworthiness of mechanics by pretending to be a friend to and include someone who is not a part of their world (like Gus).
Success of tribute: I would have liked to see more.
What “Zero to Murder in Sixty Seconds” does right:
- Wally – Wally is hilarious. I love how he speaks, even when I can’t quite understand him. He definitely has character. He’s memorable, and it’s almost a bit disappointing when he turns out to be the big bad of the episode because I want to like him. It works though, and he makes the episode very fun to watch.
- Gus and Henry – It was brief, but I really liked the bonding between Gus and Henry about the stress that Shawn being in their life has caused. These are the two people with whom Shawn is the closest, and Shawn being who he is, that has to take some sort of toll on the people around him. It must be exhausting. I also love that Henry was concerned with Shawn taking the wrong lesson home.
- CSI – I love how excited Juliet and Lassie were about the new technology and how their audience was less than impressed. The disconnect is perfect, and I like the little dig at CSI and how it doesn’t really show a realistic depiction of what police can do. It was an amusing scene, and I enjoyed how it played out.
What “Zero to Murder in Sixty Seconds” could have done better:
- Negating emotions – I thought the emotions Shawn was having, about his best case being too easy, were really interesting. The fact that he was right, that it was actually a bigger case than he thought, actually kinda negating these feelings, and I found that disappointing. I wanted to Shawn genuinely struggle with these emotions based solely on the fact that he wanted more flash and bang rather than just him being intuitive.
- The woman – So, Shawn goes on a date with Chelsea that ends disastrously. Okay. I’m not seeing any reason why I should care. It wasn’t relevant to the episode, it didn’t have any lasting impact, it was just two short scenes that could have been done in a much more interesting manner. Yeah, Shawn’s a womanizer. We get it. It just feels really odd to have this scene when we don’t even get an emotional response or really even see Shawn do something interesting. Why should we care about this date?
- Girls and cars – I know Psych was just being silly as it is wont to do. Gus thinking that the girl’s reaction is genuine just doesn’t make sense (neither does the girls actually showing interest). That car is not a chick magnet. It’s just silly. And then they did the whole joke about rubbing down “Little Shawn,” and I was completely unimpressed.
Overall: I wasn’t overly excited about this episode.