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Monday, June 3, 2013

PSYCH Fights "Trout" Invasion

Article first published as PSYCH Fights "Trout" Invasion on TheTVKing.

USA's Psych concludes its seventh season (possible the penultimate) with "No Trout About It." At first, this installment seems like a typical episode, albeit with much of the action told in flashback as the four central investigators tell the story of the case. But then, the hour takes an unexpected turn with some major department shakeups.

The flashback conceit has been pretty done to death on television in the past decade or so. That being said, it's used so often because it can work well, and "No Trout About It" is a decent example of that. The opening is enticing, and the story unfolds in a fun way, with the reactions of those in the room as the tale unspools adding to the enjoyment of the proceedings. Thus, it's fine here.

I really like how on the same page Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) has gotten with Shawn (James Roday), Gus (Dulé Hill), and Juliet (Maggie Lawson). When Psych begins it is sort of the two cops squared off against the two consultants. As Juliet warms to Shawn and Gus, Lassiter sometimes begins to feel like an outsider. However, now, as evidenced in this episode, he does have affection for Shawn and Gus, even if he gets annoyed by them. The character hasn't abandoned who he is, but he's grown in a satisfying way.

Which is why Lassiter doesn't sell out Shawn and Gus for not following procedure to the man grilling them, Harris Trout (Anthony Michael Hall, Dead Zone). Not so long ago, Lassiter would only be too happy to get the pair out of his hair. Now, when an outsider comes in and judges the work this particular police department does, Lassiter closes ranks. At least, he does once he realizes that ranks need closed.

Trout's purpose and goal is unclear in "No Trout About It," but hopefully it is an arc that will extend into next season. Is he there to clean things up? Their case closure rate appears to be good, even if their city still has high crime. Is he looking for ways to improve things, or is he just trying to be a hero, or teach them something? I don't know, but I like the mysterious, interesting way Hall tackles the character, and am anxious to explore this further.

At the end of the episode, Trout fires McNab (Sage Brocklebank), cancels Shawn and Gus's deal, and suspends Karen (Kirsten Nelson) for six months, naming himself the new interim chief. Psych could easily pick up six months later and just show us the end of Trout's tenure, skipping over what happens while Trout is in charge of the department. But it would be much better to have Karen earn her place back, hopefully with the help of Shawn, Gus, Juliet, and Lassiter. They are a team, and maybe Trout just wants to see them come together. Or, if not, they can prove to him why they should be allowed to continue as they have been.

And McNab must return. He's never been a central part of the Psych story, but he is a familiar fixture who deserves some payoff before the end. I want to see his value acknowledged by the team, and the other characters work to help him. We'll see if McNab gets this deserved resolution.

Psych is on hiatus, and will return this fall to USA.

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