Psych, Season 8, Episode 10, “The Break-Up”
March 26th, 2014, 9PM, USA Network
With Gus settling into a new office job, Shawn’s yearning for a stable life with Juliet grows stronger. He decides to move to San Francisco to be with her and close down Psych, but can’t bring himself to tell Gus the truth and looks for the kindest way to sever their bond. Opportunity presents itself when Lassiter and Betsy request Psych’s help solving the murder of a hit man, but as they come together to solve the case Shawn just can’t find the right opportunity to broach the topic.
Note to the curious or the concerned: even though Psych’s permanent conclusion was apparently an unsure thing when the finale was filmed, nearly every character on the show exits the screen with an extremely satisfying wrap-up. There are a few flaws in the design, but for the most part, character development and thus character growth is experienced by all. It’s been a series primarily about the close friendship between Shawn and Gus, Shawn’s rivalry with Lassiter, Shawn’s pursuit of Juliet, and Shawn’s shaky relationship with his dad – all of those relationships are addressed in a meaningful way and given a great deal of closure in this episode.
“The Break Up” is classic Psych and an absolutely fulfilling experience.
The acting and emotional impact is flaw-free; the writing is also perfect, leaning in the direction of being a crowd-pleasing callback to the show’s varied high points. Neophytes need not apply for an episode that closes out eight years of character development, after all, and if you’ve been a Psych-O for any length of time you’ll enjoy the amount of thought that went into this episode.
On the downside (and of course there’s a downside) there are a few flies in the ointment. The first is the amount of screen time devoted to Betsy Braddock. As the episode winds down, it becomes clear how ultimately pointless her existence on the show was – which, again, is not the fault of her portrayer, the spunky Mira Sorvino. In the last episode alone, she’s shown to be a better detective than Lassiter, Shawn and Gus combined, and twice as wacky and perky. Her presence on the show was too unoriginal, too rushed, to be considered anything more than a dreadful mistake, and an obvious hollow gesture by producers to fill the absence created by Maggie Lawson.
The other revolves around the choices made in the Shawn and Gus storyline. The show had taken great strides in trying to give Gus his own life separate from Shawn, but in the final episode it chooses to double-down on the twosome’s codependency, making the final scene a rather ludicrous display in light of the season. Then again, it also includes another ‘Gus rejects authority’ scene after an entire episode in this very season was dedicated to his rebellion against his boss.
But eh, those points are minor, momentary grousing. “The Break Up” is classic Psych and an absolutely fulfilling experience. They all lived happily ever after under the California sunshine. What better conclusion could there be for a show as happy-go-lucky as Psych?
- The show manages to score two big casting coups on is final day; one’s the advertised Billy Zane, playing the episode’s main antagonist. The other, in a cameo role, will be left as a surprise.
- There are almost literally hundreds of callbacks in this episode; my favorite involves a reference to the boys near self-burials in “No Country For Two Old Men.”
- The number of musical cues that make specific auditory callbacks to different episodes are staggering, too; my favorite was the snippet of “Santa Barbara Skies” from the musical, heard near the end of the show.
- Shawn again refers to adopting dogs with Juliet, something he did when they talked about moving in together in last season’s “Juliet Takes a Luvvah.”
- The company Gus works for is called ‘PNP’.
- Shawn’s motorcycle has been an indispensable symbol of his freedom over the seasons – recently seen collecting dust in “COG Blocked”.
- Shawn’s been carrying around his grandmother’s ring ever since the season five episode “Neil Simon’s Lover’s Retreat”.
- Gus has had a long-running affinity for the planet Pluto, a fascination that began in season two’s “Shawn and Gus of the Dead”.
- Lassiter’s daughter, Lily Nora, was born in this season’s “Shawn and Gus Truck Things Up.”