It’s always interesting when an episode is portrayed one way in the teaser trailer and turns out to be something else entirely. Viewing the trailer last week, it seemed like Shawn’s (James Roday) mayoral bid in Psych’s “Santa Barbarian Candidate” was going to be yet another outrageous antic in his mission to win back the fair Juliet (Maggie Lawson). While there was plenty of wooing and pouting in Juliet’s general direction, however, Shawn’s foray into the political arena has more to do instead with the case of the week.
Perhaps his relationship status is messing with his moods, but Shawn’s opening segment antics do nothing to help his case, and in fact make him come off as even more egotistical and immature than usual. A speech that should have been all about Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson) is all about himself, and it’s no wonder Juliet turns him down flat when he asks her to go to the mayor’s brunch with him the next morning.
Instead, it’s Gus (Dule Hill) who tags along as Shawn’s plus one and is there when the brunch turns deadly for the mayor. Shawn’s man-crush on the mayor gives him the clues he needs to see the case as a murder versus accidental drowning, but without enough hard proof to go on, it’s up to he and Gus to solve things on their own. Enter Gus’ encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s by-laws and the loophole that gives Shawn the inspiration to run for mayor. Brownie points if you can spot Hill’s West Wing nods.
While it’s fairly obvious from the beginning that the too-squeaky-clean-and-brilliant aide Straub – played by the excellent Neil Grayston – is the killer, having Sebastian Spence as red herring number one, Tom Swaggerty, isn’t a bad thing. Spence and Roday have a great scene together at the gala, muttering back and forth while smiling for the press; though sadly there are no obvious Breakfast Club references. It’s really a shame that Straub is the killer, because he fits right in with Shawn and Gus on the campaign trail.
At the end of the day, though, this episode is all about Juliet and Shawn. At the gala he gives her a decent apology, acknowledging the thousands of lies he’s told in order to maintain his psychic cover and how badly he feels because she’s always been the one to have his back. There’s a nice balance going on in there writing here between not dragging the whole drama between them out, but not putting viewers into a diabetic coma with Shawn’s newfound sweetness either. Tricky line to walk for a show known for not taking itself too seriously.
They pull it off, however. Juliet makes one request – a request that would bring Shawn’s perfect little world down around him – and while he says no at first, he capitulates by the end to prove his ego isn’t as big as the opening speech might suggest. Apparently it’s the thought that counts for Juliet because she jumps in at the last minute and keeps him from spilling the beans to Chief Vick. It wouldn’t be a total shock if Vick – and Lassiter (Tim Omundson) for that matter – know Shawn’s been faking it along, but it’s a good moment for Shawn and Jules, allowing them to stroll off into the sunset for some soup. It should be interesting to see if this ties in at all with next week’s episode, where Shawn and Gus make a major boo boo at a crime scene and end up implicating themselves.
Psych airs Wednesdays @ 10 on USA.
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