The fall finale of Psych for this season definitely left the fans with something they’ll remember and enjoy while waiting a few weeks for future episodes. “Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark” is packed with action, suspense and just enough tasteful moments of hilarity to be a worthwhile addition to the season.
To do a straightforward summary of the episode would be somewhat difficult. Flashbacks were employed frequently to keep the viewers wondering not what was happening but why. While we did flip times often it was never really difficult to keep up with what was going on and when. The episode started with a typical, albeit abbreviated, 80’s flashback sequence with Shawn and his father Henry. In this first scene we learn that Henry being the good police officer he is believes it is his duty to teach his son how to escape if captured. The flashbacks show him kicking out car brake lights and zig-zaging through forests during his lessons. Rather than just playing these in the beginning minutes of the episode though, they were shown intermitted throughout before the adult Shawn would utilize these same techniques.
The reason Shawn even has to use these lessons becomes clear fairly quickly. While investigating a case, which is not revealed to viewers until later on, Shawn is shot and stuffed into the back of a car. He does manage to escape the trunk and run through a forest but when he seeks help at a gas station he runs across he finds more misfortune. The other man at the station is partners with the man who shot him and knocks him out before tying him in a chair and threatening multiple times to kill him.
Luckily for Shawn he managed to text Gus with information about his surroundings while he was still stuck in the trunk; however, Gus and the SBPD are unable to figure out what his abbreviated messages mean. Juliet O’Hara and Gus join up to try to backtrack Shawn’s trail and discover what he had solved. Gus’ retelling of their movements provides us with the next level of flashbacks. The crime that has gone too far and resulted in Shawn’s bullet wound started seemingly innocent with an ice cream truck accident. As usual the SBPD investigating the case don’t take it seriously but Shawn sees something more. He believes someone tampered with the truck and caused the accident.
Shawn goes out and interviews a mechanic to see what could have caused the marks he spotted on the truck. The mechanic he interviews, Garth Longmore is revealed at last but because of the constant change in time the viewer already know that he is not exactly who he says he is but rather the man who shoots Shawn. Of course while furthering his investigation Shawn gets in over his head and discovers that the ice cream truck was just a practice run for an armored vehicle robbery. He has solved the crime but also been spotted which leads to him being shot in the dark.
Also interwoven into the storyline is Carlton Lassiter and Henry Spencer’s search for Shawn. They decipher the text clues and find other hints along the way to track down Shawn. They of course argue at times as both either are or were great detectives with the department. Ultimately with help from Gus, O’Hara, and Shawn himself they are able to locate Shawn.
Merely summarizing the episode does not do its plot justice. It really must be watched to fully comprehend how well everything worked together. The different paths and storyline were intricately woven together and created an intriguing picture. Although we knew from the beginning what a normal episode of Psych would be trying to solve their was still plenty of suspense in trying to figure out why this was happening. Flipping the normal order of things on its head is not something Psych could probably pull off every week but for midseason finale it was a really great choice. While in other episodes of the season I questioned the constant use of the same old joke and plot lines this script seemed fresh and very well written.
Obviously an episode that is this serious will not be filled with constant jokes and banter but it still had a suitable amount to remind the viewer that yes, they are still watching Psych. Shawn’s computer in his apartment, which we get to see for the first time, made use yet again of their The Mentalist and Billy Zane name dropping. Plus they made use of the usual joke of Shawn and Gus casting themselves as character and actors in movies at the least opportune time, this time during the episodes car chase scene which also was well executed.
Now, I wouldn’t say the episode was perfect. But it was still very good and probably my favorite of the season so far. Personally I wasn’t a big fan of the idea of Lassiter limping and being unable to keep up with Henry because of some age/fitness different. It seemed out of character for Lassiter who is known for taking his job seriously, staying in shape being a part of this. It actually made me wonder if this was like a few seasons ago when Lassiter had a broken arm because the actor Timothy Omundson was injured. If the actor himself was injured I think I’d be more willing to let this go, if it was just a simple writing choice than the joke fell a little flat.
The other thing bothering me is the Abigail storyline. Once again she was mentioned but nowhere to be seen. Shawn tells O’Hara he loves her but calls her Abigail because the call was supposed to be his goodbye which he instilled with hints to the SBPD. But of course O’Hara was clearly going to reciprocate the feelings until he mentioned Abigail. So really, the writers either need to integrate Abigail as a fully developed character with a purpose or just get Shawn and O’Hara together already. This current relationship status is just played out and didn’t help the episode at all.
Other than these few points the episode was fantastic. It broke up the monotonous pattern that the show seemed to want to stick to this season and really spiced things up. I’m not saying I want all episodes to be like this with as much action and drama but it really allowed the characters to show a different side. For a fall season finale this was defiantly a good sign for the rest of the season. Now we all just have to wait a few weeks for those new episodes.