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PSYCH's "Breakup" With Us

Psych poster

Written by : published Friday 28th March 2014

USA's Psych series finale, "The Breakup," is not what I was expecting at all, and yet feels completely perfect. This is a show that has its flaws, but also knows exactly what it is and satisfies both the characters and the viewers in its close. It keeps its story protected and gives the players about the happiest ending anyone could hope for.

A large part of the episode involves Shawn (James Roday) struggling to tell Gus (Dule Hill) that he's disbanding their detective agency and moving away to be with Juliet (Maggie Lawson). Shawn keeps talking to the camera, walking us through their final case together and all the times he almost manages to say the words, but can't. Then, two thirds of the way through the episode, we get the reveal - Shawn isn't talking to the viewers, he's making a goodbye DVD for Gus, and our "hero" slips away without confronting his best friend.

Shawn is emotionally stunted, but there are three people in his life he cares deeply for: his father, Henry (Corbin Bernsen), who will be fine if Shawn only visits sometimes, Juliet, the love of his life, and BFF Gus. Because Juliet takes a job in San Fransisco, Shawn is forced to make a choice: Gus or Juliet? It's an impossible task, but one can't stop romantic love, and so Shawn does what he has to do.

A lot of what Shawn says to Gus in the video makes sense. Maybe Shawn really has been holding Gus back, providing distractions from career and women and stopping Gus from reaching his potential. In Shawn's mind, he's actually doing right by Gus when he leaves, and one can understand that. In this way, Shawn's departure seems more like self-sacrifice than abandonment.

But Psych seeks to have it both ways. Gus, conflicted, and making a fool of himself with a woman one last time, decides to refuse "The Breakup" and moves to San Fran, too, so that he and Shawn can continue the life they've become accustomed to. Shawn gives Gus an out, and Gus says no, reaffirming their bond. That Gus doesn't make the decision lightly makes the outcome mean even more, Gus willing to sacrifice for Shawn, too. Their relationship, always the heart of the show, is served well.

This all culminates in an hilarious conversation over a dead body with Juliet and Vick (Kristen Nelson), a fine way to include the former and once again chief in the proceedings, and then Shawn and Gus's funny joint proposal to Juliet, which she gleefully accepts before her ring is stolen. This gets a little whacky and unrealistic, but only in the way Psych always has been. Things have changed a bit, Shawn has matured, but they've also stayed the same, the characters continuing what we've seen long after they leave our televisions.

There are many elements throughout the episode that also serve the plot well. Shawn finally calls his dad for help. The last murder case initially draws parallels to the ceasing of Gus and Shawn's partnership with their suspect (Billy Zane,  Back to the Future) having lost his childhood bestie. gus gets to work for Bud from The Cosby Show (Deon Richmond). New lead detective Brannigan (Mira Sorvino, Mimic) proves the department will be fine without our twosome. Woody (Kurt Fuller) has some nice bits, and Buzz (Sage Brocklebank) finally becomes a detective. We finally meet the oft-mentioned Dobson during the montage of Shawn's left-behind DVDs, and it's frequently referenced actor Val Kilmer (Top Gun, Batman Forever)! These are all excellent pay offs.

Psych would not be what it is without its resident stick in the mud, Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson). Lassie has grown a lot, becoming a fine chief in Santa Barbara, now having a family. He's left without the rest of the cast, but in an awesome place. He also gets his own farewell from Shawn.

Shawn decides to confess that he's not a psychic to Lassiter in his DVD, but Lassie breaks the disc before Shawn can say it. It may be because Lassie would have to arrest Shawn for fraud if he heard the words, and Lassie has come to like Shawn. I think the policeman values the chaos Shawn brings into his life, helping to hone his skills and raise his game. They have a hug earlier, one Lassiter wants, as Lassie, brilliant detective that he is, knows that Shawn is leaving before Shawn says anything. This same skill set also implies that Lassiter already knew the truth about Shawn and chose to ignore it, cementing his likeability even more.

There's a comfort in knowing that Psych goes on, even if it's not being filmed. Some shows need closure and a finite ending; this one does not. Psych is more about laughter than tears, and it finds a way to bring that through. My complaints about the show have been that it's too light and too procedural, and yet those same elements are used to great effect in this last episode, only possible because the writers have been committed to them all along. It's the perfect, fitting end.

Thank you to the cast and crew of Psych for an entertaining eight years. I won't say it wasn't time to go, but you will absolutely be missed, and if you ever go for a continuation or comeback, count me in.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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