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October 9, 2015

Psych: Gus Walks Into a Bank (summer finale)

by Richard Keller, posted Sep 13th 2008 11:45AM

Luntz, Vick, Lassiter, Spencer, O'Hara

(S03E08) "Free hugs. Who's next?" -- Shawn Spencer, after saving his "kidnapper".

Woosh! Feel that? That was the first half of this season of Psych blowing right past us to this week's summer finale. As the show has done since its inception in 2006 it is taking the fall off and, save for a holiday special sometime in December, returning at the beginning of 2009. While one side of me understands the reason for this -- survive the onslaught of the network season premieres -- the other side is sad to see the show go so quickly.

Save for the episode entitled 'Daredevils', the first half of Psych has been pretty good. They've done some experimenting with the format, some character development, but have maintained the light touch that has made this show stand out in the crowd of ever-increasing first-run cable shows. With this week's episode we saw a further example of tweaks to the format as we had an episode that was equal parts drama and comedy.

Now, some fans will grouse that these types of episodes mess with what made the show so successful. True, but it's these installments that also keep the format and characters fresh. Plus, this week's installment got to show off a more serious side of all of the characters. Particularly Shawn, who seemed to have more dramatic overtones this time around then he did during the season premiere.

Oh, it wasn't all anger and maudlin for the young Spencer. There were plenty of times that he displayed the comic side that all of the women love. Particularly in his scenes with Jules once he found out she was dating the hostage negotiator. Or, was that more jealousy than humor? Face the facts, the boy really likes Jules! Then again, it could have been anger at her dating someone several, several, several years older than her. It's all so confusing!

Okay, his scenes with Gus in the bank were funny. Well, Gus was actually the funny one as he came to so many revelations during his two hours of "hostage time". Then, he expressed his true feelings for Shawn before Spencer was released in order to continue working on the kidnapping case. They must have been his true feelings because the hug he gave his friend was really tight. Besides those moments, and his concern that the kidnapper would use up his work cell phone minutes, Gus was very stoic and unusually calm during his time as a hostage.

So, maybe Shawn wasn't that funny at all. For not the first time he was the serious one surrounded by the funny characters. Perhaps it was the guilt of letting Gus go into the bank alone that stemmed his usual frivolity. Or, his sense of purpose to make sure Phil Stubbins' wife was found okay. Either reason, this was another side of Shawn that we saw this week. The side that was actually playing the role of a true law enforcement officer. Minus the gun and shield, of course.

Shawn had a few interesting connections with other members of the police in this episode. After a long dry spell, Shawn was actually interacting with Lassiter in order to determine where Phil's wife was being held. He even brought up the fact that he felt that Lassie didn't really like him. Yet, Carlton broke a number of protocols this time around in order to help Shawn out. Maybe it was due to the fact that he was giving it to the hostage negotiator, Commander Luntz, whom Carlton didn't particularly like. There were plenty of times that Lassie broke a smirk when Shawn verbally attacked the negotiator.

Speaking about Commander Luntz...I'd be interested in knowing if anyone else out there felt that this character could have been a grown-up version of Shawn. From the way he ran his hand through his hair, to his sunglasses, to his observational skills, Luntz certainly could have been Shawn if the young Spencer decided to get really serious about his job. That's a likely reason why Shawn didn't particularly like the Commander. That and the aforementioned fact that Jules was dating him.

The guest casting for this episode worked out very well. Gary Cole is always good to call on for arrogance... Office Space is the perfect example of this. It's the deepness and, heh, timbre of his voice that make it work so well for him. And, there's always the chance that some of his Mike Brady persona will seep out into the character as well. As for Alan Ruck -- frankly, I still see him as Cameron from Ferris Bueller's Day Off always feel a bit shocked as I see him age (he's 52 now and was 30 when he starred in the film). Regardless of that, Ruck is a very good character actor and can switch from role to role pretty easily. Just take a look at the difference from his role on Psych as a middle-aged, suburban husband to his role a few weeks ago as the slightly off-kilter scientist on Eureka.

Though this was a good episode there were three things that bothered me. First was the situation with the shoes. While Phil's wife is describing the shoes of the second person who kidnapped her, Shawn goes through the photographic catalog in his brain to determine who was wearing those shoes. Didn't all of the hostages have their shoes removed prior to Shawn getting into the bank? Or, was that after? The next thing that bothered me was the next-to-last scene. After the fairly frantic pace and seriousness of the rest of the episode, the scene where they find the second kidnapper in the air ducts was extremely incomplete. Where did Gus pop up from? Why was Luntz being so agreeable? Why weren't they crying when they entered the bank (tear gas was still in the air)? Was Phil arrested or let go?

The third thing that bothered me was the ad for the new CBS series The Mentalist. Uh, can you say ripoff? This may have been a local ad on my USA Network feed, but why in heck would you advertise a series about a very observant detective who people think has mental powers on a currently running series about a very observant detective who people think has mental powers. Perhaps it was a ploy by CBS who wanted to say 'You like Psych? Then come over to The Mentalist while Psych is taking a break.' I just found the whole thing a bit awkward.

Before I leave you for the fall break I do want to mention the location of the pineapple. Okay, not so much a location as a mention of the word. it seems that this week's pineapple reference was when Shawn mentioned that there weren't any chunks of the fruit on the pizzas that were given to the hostages. If there was a physical appearance of the pineapple this episode I didn't see it.

That's it! Stay tuned to this Friday night, 10:00 PM space for reviews of NBC's Life, whose second season premieres in October. Then, once that is canceled, come on back in January for more antics of the Psych detective agency.

Was Commander Luntz an older, more serious version of Shawn?
Certainly could be.124 (39.7%)
No way. Luntz had too much arrogance.139 (44.6%)
Really hard to tell.49 (15.7%)

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wow. You are way too critical of this show. Just enjoy it!

And, technically, life premieres on Sept. 29, a Monday. The show airs 4 times in 2 weeks. Sept 29, and Oct 3, 6 and 10 at 10pm est (9 CST for me). Then it airs on Friday nights. And BE POSITIVE!! Why are you so sure it's going to get canceled. I think you are way off. Sure, Friday's aren't going to help it, but it's not gonna have as high of expectations there. And also, the network must have some hope for it, it renewed it, didn't it?

September 15 2008 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've only caught the pineapple once, when Shawn's pop was wearing a polo shirt with a pineapple logo. I'm SO not observant.

The thing that bothered me about Lunberg and Jules dating was that at the end of last week's ep, weren't Shawn and Jules skating and holding hands (or almost). It's like the writers totally teased us into thinking it could happen and then out of nowhere, bang, boom NOTHING.

Thought this was one of the best episodes because of Shawn's emotions.

September 15 2008 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The one episode where I do see the pinapple (where I bothered to look). It was plain as sight right in the middle of the screen in the bank, a huge ass pineapple!

September 15 2008 at 8:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, great review. You are definitely one of those types that reads between the lines and understands what really is going on in each scene. I have stumbled upon a lot of "fans" on certain blogs that don't like this season at all so far due to the fact that it's been nothing like season one. Well, you understand it like I do, the characters are growing and expanding their horizons so to speak. The Julet/Shawn relationship is being misunderstood by others as well. The things that have been happening are little ways of bringing them together. I disagree with Seth, I thought the Steven Weber episode was good. I had to watch it more than once to appreciate it. I felt the same way about the scene lacking substance at the end. It was like an entire clip was missing. The tear gas, the arrests. I bet they filmed it but had to take it out due to time constraint. I see that a lot in the writer commentaries, they have scenes they get rid of to make up for time. Otherwise, I liked the first half of season 3.

September 14 2008 at 3:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

my favorite episode of the season was definitely the high school reunion episode and I hope that this kind of humor as well as emotional weight is the direction that it goes towards. Worst episode for me was the one with Steven Weber and the search for treasure -- worst I've ever seen actually.

Why can't this show be out closer to when people start thinking about emmys and other awards, I feel like it comes on when either the nominations are over or too early and people forget about this great show and james roday = who is the funniest actor on tv.

September 14 2008 at 1:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There also was a pineapple in the Lil' S & G cartoon (but I guess that doesn't count).

September 13 2008 at 8:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the pineapple was on a stand with a bunch of other fruit before the guy took Shaun to the bathroom.

September 13 2008 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Personally, I think Shawn's humour when he learned Jules was dating Lutz was more spurred by jealousy than anything. In fact, after the end of this half season, I am beginning to think Shawn more than likes Jules....

September 13 2008 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

when shawn and phil were walking toward the bathroom in the bank, a pineapple was clearly seen on a shelf in the foreground.

September 13 2008 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the pineapple was in the bank

we saw it clearly when shawn walked to the bathroom with phil

September 13 2008 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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