7.12 – “Dead Air”
First things first: R.I.P. Young Shawn IV. As the worst of all four iterations of Young Shawn, I’m not sad to see you go. But eleven episodes into the season and not a single appearance of the series-long staple means it’s time to call it. I’ll miss Corbin Bernsen’s wigs, Young Gus (who was actually a pretty good actor), and, most of all, the jokes about L.A. Law.
I’ve said before that Psych is pretty formulaic. The more memorable episodes are the ones that do something to subvert that format. This was not one of those episodes. Its value was basically generated by pitching the premise of what it would be like if Shawn and Gus hosted a radio show.
Unfortunately, Shawn’s turn at hosting the show, which obviously does not go well for the intended sake of the LOLZ, was not really laugh out loud funny as much as it was utilized as a way to deflate his ego and lead to his replacement by Gus. Much like “The Santa Barbarian Candidate,” an opportunity for Shawn and Gus to have fun adventures presents itself and Shawn takes advantage of it while relegating Gus to his typical sidekick role. However, in this episode, their roles are quickly reversed. The Gus-hosted radio show works a lot better because of how much Gus gets into his radio character, which plays on the character’s typical wannabe player persona.
Like usual, the first few suspects are too obvious to be the real killers, and the primary suspects aren’t brought into the story until later. This is an issue that just about every procedural ever televised has –
House never successfully diagnosed his patients until about 52 minutes into the episode, and Shawn doesn’t have his big revelation until the last ten minutes, either.
But hey, big twist ending. Usually when Shawn pictures the murder taking place, that’s it – he wraps everything up into a neat little package and ties the bow and that’s that. But Stereotypical Comic Book Villain, the stalker that Laura described for the sketch artist, really does exist. Gasp! I really was surprised when he came through the door. But unfortunately, in typical Psych fashion, what suspense was induced by the unexpected shift is quickly alleviated, as the stalker is vanquished just as the police arrive to save the day. This episode did a handful of things to keep the story fresh, but most of them fizzled before they really got off the ground. And I’m not invested enough in the Gus-British girl relationship for the inclusion of their drama to make this episode appealing. Radio verite and red herring jokes aside, this radio-themed episode is one I will have forgotten in a couple weeks.
Ben Wachtel likes baseball, the Boston Celtics, pancakes, tacos, and swam collegiately at Purdue University. You can follow him on Twitter at @benwachtel24.