Psych: Right Turn or Left for Dead, Review
Our ace psychic detective continues through Season 7.
The ending of last week’s episode of Psych was a real downer and I contemplated over the interval just how Shawn could get out of this pickle. Jules knows that her live-in boyfriend is a liar and she is pretty devastated, considering those trust issues she has had with her father growing up. But you cannot help but root for Shawn and Jules to make amends. I really hoped that they would do just that in the first five minutes before riding off into the sunset and solving another case. Unfortunately, even TV can be a bummer sometimes, as none of my psychic powers worked and we were given a very different episode.
Shawn cannot sleep because of what happened at Lassie’s wedding. Jules’ outing of Shawn as a fraud is a major blow to the entire Psych canon. His “gift” is what makes us tune in week after week and year after year. Although Henry and Gus know the truth, it has never really been put to the test the way it was in tonight’s episode. He is up late, mulling over his guilt about everything that was said. He replays the scene over and over in his head, thinking if he had just given her the Chief’s pashmina to wear instead of his rental tux jacket that none of this would have happened. The episode then tries a gimmick that I was not crazy about. Basically, what they did was have two separate narratives: one where Shawn gave Jules his tux jacket and another where he warmed her up with the Chief’s pashmina. So in one scenario, Shawn is screwed and in the other he is still Jules’ psychic sweetheart.
It is definitely an interesting trick that was pulled off far better than most one-hour dramas would have done in the past. Still, it was a little too Sliding Doors for me. This episode was very hard to follow and you had to keep track of certain clothes and who was wearing what to know which road they were showing; the left turn or the right turn. But what would Psych be without a murder? Let us say the left turn is “good” and the right is “bad” for the review’s sake.
The cab takes Jules and Shawn home after the wedding and they are very much in love. You cannot help but hope that they are next couple about to get hitched. However, on the right turn, Shawn is very much alone leaving the wedding. He tells Gus what has happened and he tosses his keys to his place, in case he needs to crash. Shawn did not push for him to come along, because he knew that Gus was psyched to do his “Y.M.C.A.” dance and get his freak on at the wedding reception.
The two divergent paths that are taken are starkly different and the bad turn is very difficult to watch because the reality and gravity of what has happened sucks. Shawn has already invested so much in Jules for seven years and this is really his first time screwing up. Too bad that it’s a doozy. It pretty much nullifies what Shawn does for a living. Without being “psychic,” Shawn is just an outstanding police officer with crazy hyper-observational skills. When Shawn leaves without Gus, the cabbie almost hits an unconscious woman in the middle of the road, but Shawn gets her to the hospital ASAP.
She mutters just one word, but it is unclear exactly how the battered woman ended up there. In both of the narratives, Shawn, Gus and the gang try to solve what is a pretty boring case about a scorned woman with a bunch of ex-boyfriends that she has been offing with a Bowie knife. Under normal circumstances, it may have been a decent case, but all you can think about is when the hell Jules and Shawn are going to talk things out. That the Swedish killing spree woman, Elin, just happens to be an Au Pair is really only window dressing. Hot window dressing, but the murder is totally a secondary plot device in this episode. In one part, Jules is pissed as Shawn uses his gift to solve the case. In the other part, Jules is in awe of her boyfriend as he uses his psychic powers to solve yet another murder mystery.
The episode ends on a serious down note and it was upsetting to see which ending really happened. It was not the ending where Jules shows up at the Psych offices and forgives Shawn by telling him what an amazing police officer he really is, even if he faked his gifts. Instead we get to see a heartbroken Jules tell Shawn that she needs some space and has to move out. Whoa. Major buzz kill in Santa Barbara. I will give points to creator Steve Franks and company for at least trying something new in their storytelling. It was interesting but got a little confusing at times with the murder just being there and not having any real weight to it.
My favorite parts were when Gus is opening the Goodie bag from Lassie’s wedding and Shawn tells him that the biscotti have gold dust in them. Like Paul Pfeiffer on The Wonder Years, Gus is allergic to everything. He runs for the sink saying, “Shawn, don’t you remember in grammar school where I had to sit at the gold dust-free table?!?” Later on Shawn hysterically uses Apple’s Siri feature as he tries to figure the last words that the Swedish woman said before she passed out. He actually starts asking if Siri can lower her voice. Too damn funny. All in all, it was a solid effort that finished strong. If they had stuck to just one narrative, as opposed to two different paths, I think it would have been a better episode. I hate when Psych gets even remotely serious, but its still a good time.