It’s appropriately odd that the best series finale to come along in quite a while was not meant to be a series ending episode at all. Last night’s Psych episode “The Breakup” was written to be the eighth season closer, but the word that Psych wouldn’t be renewed came after filming on year eight had wrapped up, so the season finale became the series finale…and it was an excellent one! Longtime Psych fans have little to complain about because Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill) went out in style.
Many fans were no doubt worried that the show’s ending wouldn’t live up to the show’s legacy, since the eighth season as a whole has been the weakest of the entire series. Psych really hasn’t had a particularly strong season since year five. Fortunately, it pulled a rabbit out of the hat for one last, excellent hurrah.
The mystery itself was fairly standard and not what people tuned in to the last episode to see. The best thing about the case was that Billy Zane turned out to be the killer. Zane has been referenced on Psych more than any other actor, so there was symmetry in him being the final murderer on the show. The other unexpected cameo was by Val Kilmer, who has also been name-dropped on Psych many times. Kilmer played Detective Dobson, who has been mentioned frequently during the series run but has never actually seen until now. Kilmer was a great choice for the final reveal of the long-unseen Dobson. It could only have been better if they’d gotten Emilio Estevez, which would have completed the appearances by the cast of the Breakfast Club, one of Shawn and Gus’ favorite films.
Another fun cameo was by Deon Richmond, who’s best known for playing little ‘Bud’ on the Cosby Show. There has been a running gag on Psych about people thinking Gus was the one who played Bud, so having Richmond on the show was another perfect bit of casting.
The focus of the episode was Shawn (Roday) trying to find a way to tell Gus (Hill) that he was planning to leave Santa Barbara and close down the Psych detective agency, because he was moving to San Francisco to be with his long-time love Juliet (Maggie Lawson), who moved there at the beginning of the season. Shawn’s confessional-style exposition turned out to be him recording a goodbye message to Gus. “I can’t do goodbyes”, he admits, and so sends video messages to everyone he knows. (Although Woody thinks its a Skype call.) This leads to one of the show’s best moments; when Shawn’s one-time nemesis and now semi-ally Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) destroys the DVD just as Shawn is about to admit what Lassiter had deduced since the beginning—that Shawn was not really a psychic. After years of trying to discredit Shawn, this moment completed the evolution of Lassiter from hard-case to human. The two even share a hug in this episode.
Shawn’s father Henry (Corbin Bernsen), who’d retired from the police force, finds a new career as a teacher, revisiting his “how many hats in the room?” line. The big moment for him in this episode is when Shawn, for the first time ever, calls his father for help on a case. “He finally called me!” Henry says. His disinterested students get dragged into a car chase and declare Henry’s course “the best class ever!”
Gus’ story gets wrapped up with a final melt-down and the realization that he needs Shawn in his life. After learning that Shawn has left for San Francisco, Gus finds himself lost and befuddled, bereft not only of his best friend but also of the life of adventure he’d led as one half of a crime fighting duo. He abruptly quits his job, and after getting maced in the face by the girl of his dreams, and making 12 U-turns, he leaves Santa Barbara to join Shawn, where they decide to re-start the Psych Detective Agency in a new city. He says, “I’m an adventurer now, with a friendship for the ages. And if I have to live in another city to make that happen, then so be it. That’s the way it’s gotta be.” Gus even gets a new car, finally replacing the Blueberry.
As for faux-psychic Shawn, he finally decides it time to grow up—to a certain extent—and makes a choice about his relationship with Juliet. Choosing her over his life in Santa Barbara with his pal Gus, he moves to San Francisco and finally proposes to Juliet (A scene which incorporates Gus’s favorite pick-up line about Pluto). It’s a moment Psych fans have been anticipating for several years now. When Gus joins him in San Francisco, we’re assured that their adventures together will continue; despite the title of the episode. They are even reunited with Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson).
The end of the episode gives us a cruel tease for what could have been one of the best cameos ever, but sadly didn’t happen. When Shawn offers Chief Vick his services as a consultant in San Francisco, Vick replies that they “already have a guy” and that “he’s in the kitchen, alphabetizing the pantry.” This obvious reference to Adrian Monk of the series Monk was a brilliantly tantalizing shout-out, and the idea that Monk was actually right in the next room makes you wish they had roped in Tony Shalhoub for the show’s final cameo.
In the series closing moments, Juliet’s ring is stolen and she joins Shawn and Gus in hot pursuit of the thieves, in Gus’s new car. Shawn and Gus continue to banter and argue—as always—as the series faded into TV history. Could there be a more appropriate finale scene?
And so the last pineapple has been seen and Gus has screamed for the final time. Overall, this was a pitch-perfect ending to the show, with hardly a false note during the whole episode. We’ll miss the adventures of Shawn and Gus but at least they went out on one of their best episodes.
Did you feel this was a great ending for Psych or were you disappointed? I’ve heard it both ways.