Episode: “Romeo and Juliet and Juliet” (Season 5, Episode 1)
Airs: USA, Wednesdays, 10pm
Synopsis: The daughter of a Chinese triad leader has been kidnapped in broad daylight, and he seeks the help of the Santa Barbara police. However, with Henry in his new position as consultant, he’s case-blocking Shawn and Gus from getting hired (partly because he doesn’t want Shawn messed up with Chinese gangsters). Of course, that doesn’t stop the pair from looking into the kidnapping. Meanwhile, after almost being killed by Mr. Yang in the season finale last year, Juliet is parked behind a desk at City Hall, afraid to step back into her dangerous job.
What worked: Ever since the first season of Psych, the chemistry between Shawn and Gus has been the key. Sure, it’s changed over the years, but that has been the spark that kept the comedy in the dramady aspect of this series. During the last two seasons, there have been several one-off episodes in which the drama has been more tense, and I’ve never been a fan of those. Sure, it’s nice to develop your characters, but I don’t like it when a light-hearted show gets too grim.
Against the backdrop of a relatively mundane story, the interaction between Shawn and Gus was hilarious. It was a bit over the top at times, but it had me in stitches. In particular, this episode also laid on the slapstick pretty thick. Part of the subplot involved Shawn finally getting to take a martial arts class and attempting to use his newfound “skillz.” This made the show more campy than normal, but considering the weakness of the overall story, it helped balance things out.
What didn’t: On the whole, the Chinese triad kidnapping plotline was pretty lame for a season premiere. We haven’t exactly seen this sort of thing on Psych, but there’s a good reason for that. Taken at the face value of the plot, this episode felt more like an installment of The Fall Guy or some other detective show from the 80s. I kept wondering when Lee Majors was going to show up.
It seems that every season of a television show involves the writers trying to shake things up a bit. And while I appreciate the idea of keeping things fresh, there’s always a learning curve with such changes. Case in point, Henry’s consultant consultant job at the SBPD. I though this could be fun, but he was pretty pointless in this episode.
Finally, I understand the need to give Juliet some time to think about her job as a detective. I just hope there isn’t too much moping from her. This is Psych, after all, not Twilight Psychic Detectives.
Final thoughts: Is it me, or has Shawn gotten dumber since last season. That’s not a complaint, mind you. I’ve always loved his silly interaction with Gus, but it seems to me they’re going more in the direction of him being bumbling but brilliant. I guess that now Monk’s off the air, Shawn doesn’t have to be so classy (and it helps differentiate him from Patrick Jane on The Mentalist).