Psych: Santa Barbarian Candidate, Review

Is this a Christmas episode? A Manchurian Candidate episode? A Conan the Barbarian episode? Anyone?

Psych keeps moving at a steady pace with its usual hilarity and signature style. The stalwart show is now USA Network’s longest running program and with good reason. It’s a continual delight for the show’s most devout fans to witness the dynamic duo of Shawn and Gus living the dream. This week the guys delve into the world of local politics as the Mayor of Santa Barbara dies suddenly in a surfing accident under fishy circumstances. Naturally, Shawn and Gus see this opportunity as a ticket to enter into the shady world of politics. Could it possibly be that the mayor of this well to do beach town has been murdered by one of his constituents? The answer is a resounding “yes!” And surely there is one candidate that is destined for greatness to fill the void of the big cheese of the town. Who else but Shawn Spencer could take the mantle of mayor?

Since Gus has political experience (see The West Wing and a tongue in cheek joke about it), he takes over as Shawn’s right hand man and campaign manager for the position. His first public appearance makes waves and earns him adulation by the public. It seems that the local Santa Barbara-ites are on board for a Shawn Spencer-run town. While his political career seems to be flourishing, Jules admits to still having feelings for everyone’s favorite faux psychic and she just wants one thing from her ex: to tell Chief Vick that he is a fraud. Yikes. That is a pretty tall order, considering how much Shawn and Gus have done for the city after all these years.

Ad – content continues below

Shawn’s main rival is a seasoned politician and someone that the guys think is involved in the odd death of the mayor. Soon after determining that there is no way that his political rival was part of the murder, the guys team up and go full force for the coveted job. However, it really is just a ruse to have access to suspects in the sleazy cesspool of local politics. As the plot unfolds, there are some of the best zingers of the season as Shawn and Gus find their rhythm. Shawn’s at his wacky best when he and Gus discover the machinations of the best damn psychic in all of California.

Jules is still pissed that Shawn has been lying to her for all these years, despite solving one hundred cases in that same time frame. It kind of sucks that Jules is still holding this over Shawn’s head, considering what he has done for the SBPD in his tenure. I hate when couples that took forever to get together hit bumpy patches, especially on one of my top favorite shows. Still, I am not really that worried about how things are going to turn out for Shules.

The structure of starting off with a murder and then following the guys while they solve the mystery is a fail-safe plot device that works incredibly well. Even after seven seasons of it, Psych just does not get old with its snappy dialogue and fast pace that keeps you laughing amidst the sheer fun of the show. I see now why the show is so damn popular with geeks and has its own panel at San Diego Comic Con every year. It is filled with ‘80s references and totally ridiculous scenarios that you only wish you could be a part of as your job. But let’s leave the psychic crime fighting to Shawn and Gus. God knows they are damn good at it.

Ad – content continues below

As usual, the murder plays out with the usual twists and turns, ending at the least obvious suspect as our killer. But fans really do not tune in to the show for the mystery, but rather the banter between its lead characters. Even the supporting cast has their day in the sun week after week. This is one of the things that I respect so much about Psych, it gives all of the players a chance to shine in their own way. Be it Lassie or Henry, Jules or the Woodman; these are our TV friends and Wednesday nights would not be the same without them.

Shawn excels at taking the mantle of local politician. He runs with the B.S. that politics requires and hilarity ensues as he holds town hall meetings. He even goes on shows like “Wake Up Santa Barbara” to plug his budding career in local government. Gus shines as Shawn’s campaign manager and it is easy to harken back to his old days as the presidential aide he played for all of those years on Aaron Sorkin’s hit drama. Shawn’s classic introduction trick never gets old when he presents Gus as his friend, “Bill Uvrights.” It still leaves me falling off of the couch at its complete absurdity. From planning a proposed Thunderdome, where people can settle their problems, to a speed zone that you can use to drive up to 140 MPH, Shawn is probably far more in touch with local issues than any politician that we have ever democratically elected.

The continued tension between Jules and Shawn is uncomfortable and I am hoping that it does not continue through next year’s season. With just six episodes left, I am set for a home stretch that will be Psych-worthy. I hate seeing them fight and grapple, because it does not feel organic or natural. To be fair, Shawn did lie. But hand to head or not, he has helped the city of Santa Barbara become a practically crime-free city save for the one murder a week!

While it was not the greatest episode ever, I liked that they kept the action in Santa Barbara and the staple locales. I am vehemently against them travelling and having episodes outside of their wheelhouse. In the end, if Shawn Spencer were really on the ballot for mayor of my town, I would vote for him every day and twice on Sunday.

Ad – content continues below

Santa Barbara, stop for a pee stay for a lifetime.

Den of Geek Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


5 out of 5