TV Recap: Psych, “COG Blocked” (8.5)



5/2/2014, 9PM, USA Network

At Shawn’s insistence, a stressed-out Gus accompanies him to a crime scene.  They’re – as usual – the last two men that Lassiter wants to see, and he told Shawn to stay away (“I saved your wedding!” Shawn had cried, to no avail).  The victim, John Russell, has a lifestyle that’s almost exactly like the one Gus enjoys, which forces him to reevaluate his job as a cog in a large corporate machine and his life as Shawn’s sidekick.   He adopts a tough new persona and starts flirting with the mysterious bounty hunter who’s attached herself to the same case while searching for John’s murderer, and their chemistry leaves Shawn feeling like a third wheel.  Meanwhile, Shawn deals with money problems.  Henry’s finally refused to pay for the insurance on Shawn’s motorcycle and he desperately need cash – which Lassiter refuses to loan to him and Juliet – being out of town – cannot give to him.  He spends much of the episode searching for a side job.  He also deals poorly with Gus’ new, aggressive personality.


The strange thing about tonight’s episode of Psych is that it suggests that Gus is the show’s second banana.  While he might be something of a perpetual victim (Shawn has, of course, committed credit card fraud with his information repeatedly), there’s always been parity between Shawn and Gus on their cases: they’ve been a unit of friendship all the way.  Which is why this new, aggressive Gus both makes sense and yet feels about as out of character as Shawn’s sudden search for a ‘real’, respectable job.


On one hand, it’s only natural that Gus has finally adopted an aggressive attitude to go with his slowly developing leadership skills.  He’s gradually become more man than mouse and this ought to be a major step forward for him for the rest of the series (see note below).  His choices in this episode are a long time coming, and it builds upward and out of years of character development.  On the remaining hand, Gus’ natural timidity and his cowardliness are what make Gus…Gus.  Nothing says ‘we’re coming to the end of the road’ more than sudden changes in attitude that completes the character’s arc.  It feels a little fan-fictiony, and not in a good way.    His chemistry with Kahli Hawks is amusing and sexy.


As for Gus’ relationship with the bounty hunter, the show loses an opportunity to fully parallel Shawn’s reaction to Gus’ new attachment and Gus’ reaction to Shawn and Juliet finally hooking up.  Not surprising, since the show has always tended toward rushing its emotional transitions.


And then there’s Shawn, suddenly deciding to get a ‘real job’ so he can keep his motorcycle.  Again, my feelings are mixed.  On one hand it’s absolutely fitting that Shawn would get a side job just to keep his bike, just like a kid who gets a paper route.   On the other, well –this is Shawn.  He would do the most immature thing possible.  Even trying to be a babysitter is too sophisticated for his silliness.


That said, the series’ commitment to humor remains strong; there are several great bits mixed into the , including a moment where Shawn and Gus try to figure out if Kahli Hawks’ bounty hunter is blind – and the action set pieces are very, very strong WHILE being devastatingly funny, which is one of the show’s best attributes. Overall, it works pretty darn well, making for a fun ep, especially if you’re a Gus fan.

The Roundup

  • Juliet is off visiting her Aunt in Florida during this episode’s events, explaining Maggie Lawson’s Back in the Game-dictated absence. We learn, unsurprisingly, that Juliet’s the one paying for the condo she and Shawn share.
  • Gus characterizes the twenty-three second elevator ride he takes up to his office every morning as “the only peace he gets during the day.”
  • Gus works at Central Coast Pharmaceuticals.
  • RIP Blueberry. You were enjoyed.
  • Lassiter has apparently been re-promoted from beat cop back onto the detective force, though to what is unclear.
  • Of course Woody is a Crossing Jordan fan.
  • As most of you must know by now – and as announced on tonight’s broadcast - USA has officially announced that this season is Psych’s last. The series finale will air March 25th. It’s something that comes to no shock to the fanbase, who have been discussing the show in past tense along with the actors for some time. Maggie Lawson and Timothy Omundson’s auditioning for and moving on to other projects were also both big signs that it was all over, as was a small auction held for props from the show’s. While this is sad news, it’s also wonderful to look back and realize what a rich legacy Psych leaves behind. It’s a rare series that goes out on top with decent ratings before fading away (SEE: Its network mate Burn Notice). Steve Franks hold opens the possibility of the show re-appearing in some form, so the adventures of Shawn and Gus just might continue.
  • Next week: Psych appears to be on a weeklong break. NCIS will be airing in its place.
[notification type=star]78/100~Good. Shawn and Gus are starting to resign to maturity – well, Shawn is. Gus takes a vacation from responsibility, changes a bit, and loses his timidity. An interesting episode for character, an amusing and action-packed episode as well. Good but not great.[/notification]

About Author

Staff Television Critic: Lisa Fernandes, formerly of, has been watching television for all of her thirty-plus years, and critiquing it for the past seven. When she's not writing, she can be found in the wilds of the Northeastern United States.