The Psych summer finale was completely entertaining and totally satisfying. In fact, it was probably the strongest episode of the season’s first half. However, it’s also the episode that has me the most frustrated after watching it.
As I’ve discussed in past Psych posts, I really enjoy when the series gets serious. It has proved over the last few years that mostly serious episodes, especially the last two season finales, can be just as good, if not better, than the goofy, slapstick-filled ones. But because the series only does this episodes at the end of the half-season or actual end, there’s this built-in expectation that certain things are coming in certain episodes. We know that Shawn is going to be placed in a situation that requires him to be more serious than usual, whether if it is related to his job (as evidenced by last week’s episode) or his personal life (this week’s episode). This approach is Psych‘s version of the USA False Stakes Arc Syndrome (or USAFSAS as I should call it now since I reference it so much).
And that’s all fine. I’m all for Shawn actually growing up and thinking about whether or not he’d be happy without Juliet. I want more of that, from both Shawn and Gus (dude needs a lady-friend). But my problem with this approach and the events of this episode, where Shawn actually grows up and tells Juliet she deserves happiness no matter what and she subsequently kisses him, is that the series has never proven to us it will follow through with anything in the future. Nothing on Psych ever really, truly matters. When Juliet took some time off from the detective’s desk at the beginning of this season after the Yang attack, I was shocked because I’ve never really seen the series deal with consequences.
In that respect, I have really no faith that when the series comes back in the winter, the characters will deal with their feelings or the kiss. They’ve never dealt with it before, and though this is the closest Shawn and Jules have ever come to being together, it doesn’t seem as if the series is interested in putting them together permanent and just moving on. Because after that, there is no USAFSAS to hang their hat on. I want to be proven wrong, so badly. I want Shawn and Juliet to act like adults for an extended period of time. Hell, I’d like for them to even share the screen for more than two minutes at a time so we can see said adult actions. But until it does, I can’t bring myself to care about a few platitudes and a nice kiss.
Aside from that, I loved this episode. Franka Potente and C. Thomas Howell were awesome in their guest stints. There were a sufficient amount of Bourne references. Lassiter acted like a little schoolboy again around feds. These are the things I want from my episodes of Psych. Though I don’t want to care about the emotional stories the series likes to tell at cliffhanger points, I do think Psych would be smart to do more straightforward episodes like this one in the future. Though Shawn and Gus don’t have any physical tools that would realistically keep them alive in dangerous situations each week, I’d rather see them deal with espionage than dealing with a wannabe womanizer who goes after rich women. There should certainly be diversity in the stories, but this is another confirmation that Psych can handle more “serious” stories, so do it!