While the title of tonight’s episode of Psych might suggest otherwise, ‘Juliet Takes a Luvvah’ focuses more on Shawn (James Roday) and his various relationships than it does Juliet (Maggie Lawson).
This should come as no huge shock since the show has always been written from his point of view, but what is surprising is that this marks a potential turning point in not just one, but three major relationships in Shawn’s life.
The first of the three relationships that is dealt with is the one between Shawn and his parents. Since the first season of Psych, the relationship between Shawn and Henry (Corbin Bernsen) has been a great one to watch, second only to that of Shawn and Gus (Dule Hill). Roday and Bersen sell the relationship of a father and son who have two vastly different ways of viewing the world, but who, deep down, really care for each other. Bernsen also employs some of the greatest, long-suffering facial expressions, while Roday’s character skips blithely through life.
This dynamic is only heightened when Cybill Shepherd returns as Shawn’s Mom, Maddie. She plays the pampering mama well to Roday’s boy-man character and her on screen chemistry with Bernsen recalls her days on Moonlighting.
The writers are extremely clever here, opening the episode with Shawn declaring to Juliet that it’s time for him to move forward as a man – and move back in with his dad. At first, Shawn revels in the special bag lunches his mom packs for him and the family movie nights. He starts to question this choice when his mom goes clothes shopping for him, but it all comes to a screeching halt when he walks in on Mom and Dad doing the horizontal tango in the middle of the day.
The emotional crisis that leads him to barge into his dad’s bedroom is that Gus has finally found a girlfriend. After spending all of season 6 swinging for the fences and striking out every single time, it’s good to see Gus find a girl who isn’t a sociopath. Of course, Gus does find her on the same dating website that Juliet is investigating and Shawn does crash their mini-golf date to go off on a monologue accusing Rachael (Parminder Nagra) of murder. Unlike the other ladies before her, however, she’s innocent of said crimes and is willing to accept that Shawn and Gus are something of a package deal.
The writers managed to do a wonderful job keeping the same Shawn-Gus dynamic when Juliet was brought on as Shawn’s girlfriend, so there’s no reason to doubt that they can’t do the same here. Each of the girls cast are more than capable of matching wits with the boys without overshadowing them. Psych is one of the few shows still employing the buddy cop motif and it’s good to know that’s not being marginalized for the sake of character development. It should also be fun to see how Gus deals with dating a single mom.
But the biggest turning point for Shawn in this episode is in his relationship with Juliet. From the moment he learns she’s gone undercover on the dating site to flush out a serial killer, he’s on edge. At first, he’s battling his own jealousy issues, then he’s worrying about her safety.
Juliet is also in crisis because – while she absolutely loves Shawn – he’s moving back in with his parents while she’s “dating” men who want a real, adult relationship. Some of her own insecurities bleed through as she wonders why “Mr. Possibilities” (the seemingly perfect man who they believe is behind the murders) won’t go on a date with her.
In the end Juliet learns a valuable lesson from the killer, who traps his victims to prove that women are shallow and lie about what they really want in a man. At the same, time Shawn realizes that both his parents and his best friend are moving forward with their lives and that maybe it’s time he did too, though he’s going to need some serious mental bleach to rid himself of certain memories. “Home should be where you are,” Shawn tells her as they both agree to cohabitation and a fleet of pugs.
Psych airs Wednesdays at @10pm on USA.