Psych: Forget Me Not
(S01E09) After five long months Psych has returned with all new episodes featuring James Roday as Shawn Spencer and Dule Hill (The West Wing) as his trusty companion Gus. For those of you who watched and enjoyed this show when it aired over the summer on USA I say welcome back. For those of you who aren't familiar with this comedy-mystery hybrid (I call it a mysterdy) let me give you a brief synopsis of the plot . . .
The show follows Shawn in his role as a police psychic, solving crimes that they cannot (which are many). However, he really isn't a true psychic. In reality, he has an extraordinarily keen eye minute details, which he obtained through intense training conducted by his policeman father (Corbin Bernsen).
Got it? There will be a quiz at the end of the review, of course. With that out of the way let's move on to this week's show.
I don't know if it was the fact that I haven't watched this show for five months, but this episode of Psych felt different then the rest. Perhaps it was the fact that all of the characters seemed to be comfortable in their roles now. Or, it could be that there was much more mystery-solving this time around then there was previously. Whatever the reason, this week's episode seemed much more solid, and ended up being more entertaining. I also liked the whole premise, which I haven't seen previously on any other mystery show (although I'm sure it has been done plenty of times): after a family friend claims to have solved 20-year-old murder, Shawn and Gus investigate when it seems that it may be linked to a recent killing.
While all of the main characters performed very well this week the one who I enjoyed the most was guest star Kurtwood Smith (That 70's Show) who played the family friend . . . the former police Captain of Shawn's father who now has early on-set Alzheimer's disease. Whenever I've seen Kurtwood in a role he has always played some kind of hard-ass. This was especially the case on That 70's Show where he played Red Forman. But, in this episode of Psych he played someone who had lost that edge and, frankly, looked quite old. Well, not all of the time. When Smith was shown as being lucid he looked young and still had a bit of that hard-assiness (yes, I made that word up) to him. But, when he was shown as being lost and confused he looked much older. I don't know if there was any makeup involved in that change, or if that was Smith just being a very good actor. Either way, I enjoyed the performance.
Let's move on to the main players in this week's show. As I mentioned, they all did very well and showed some maturity in their roles. I point to Roday as Shawn and Tim Omundson as Ronald Lassiter. Although Lassiter wasn't in this week's show that much he seemed to be much less anal then he was shown to be in past episodes. Perhaps the creators of the show wanted to tone him down a bit. I'm not complaining about this because I felt that the character that he played previously just didn't fit into the show. At least in this episode Lassiter seems to give Shawn some benefit of the doubt when he displays his 'psychic' abilities.
While Shawn still showed plenty of that silliness and 'don't care' attitude in this episode, he also seems to have grown up a bit. I think you could really see this with the interactions with his father. In earlier episodes you saw Shawn as a bit, I don't know, afraid to confront his dad in certain situations. And, while he still tries to avoid his father when possible, like when he notices his father's crossword puzzle sitting on the cafe table, he's confident enough in his skills that he can almost talk to his dad on a peer basis. We saw that this week when he worked on pulling out the information about the old murder investigation from him.
Another person who now seems to fit into his skin is Gus. When the show first aired I had my concerns about this character, who was supposed to be extremely smart yet didn't show any of it. If anything he constantly whined and complained. This week, though, he's seems as someone that has come to the realization that going with the flow works better. Yes, he did have a concern when Shawn wanted him to go out and assist in the birth of a baby warthog at the zoo (when they were portraying veterinarians), but most of the time he was encouraging Shawn's actions.
Granted, this may all have been a one time thing, and all of the characters may revert back to their original personalities. But, at least this week these shifts in characterization help make this a very entertaining episode. I'm glad it's back and I hope you are too.