I haven’t written about Psych over the last few weeks both because of my schedule issues and because the last couple episodes haven’t been anything to write home about. Of course they were enjoyable hours of comedic television, but I didn’t much to discuss. “Shawn 2.0,” however presents a few things that are worth talking about.
The series has introduced temporary competitors for Shawn on countless occasions, that’s kind of inherently built into the series (even when Shawn goes up against Lassie), but I think Nestor Carbonell’s Declan Rand is definitely the best of the sort. Carbonell’s obviously most famous for his dramatic work on Lost and “The Dark Knight,” but his work in “Shawn 2.0” proves that he can handle himself fairly well when it comes to comedy. He has a surprisingly solid deadpan delivery without appearing to try too hard and he bounces off James Roday and Dule Hill really well.
Perhaps more importantly, the purpose of the Declan character is one of the mid-season “Let’s get Shawn to act serious!” moments, which is what I want to talk about more. Now, of course Shawn is never really going to grow up and throughout this episode he acted like his usual childish self. He is who he is, for better or worse. Psych exists in this world where the characters have barely changed in any degree since the first season and for the most part, I am okay with that. It’s okay to have some television series like that around. So that’s why I am at least partially frustrated when it comes to a mid-season or end of the season episode that randomly decides it’s time to hint at some growth for Shawn — especially when it never sticks. With all that said, I appreciate the attempt at trying to make us think that Shawn might actually take a page out of Declan’s book and tell Juliet he is a fraud, especially with the mid-season cliffhanger coming up, but I don’t buy it. The whole point of Psych‘s approach to “arcs” (and again, to USA series in general) is that displaced satisfaction. The big moments, the big reveals are always just an episode away, or a season away.
Whatever, I don’t really care if Shawn tells Jules or if the two of them get together. If they do and I’m proven wrong, awesome. If not, I’ll be far from disappointed and probably will just shrug at another fake out. But I’ll still love the series, especially when it can create fun episodes like this one.