USA’s Psych completed it’s fifth season last night with “Yang 3 in 2D”, the latest chapter in Shawn’s (James Roday) battle with the Yin Yang serial killer. Whenever Yin and/or Yang show up in an episode, the show takes a decidedly darker turn. Shawn’s bravado is shaken, and often he appears genuinely concerned. After all, in the past, the killer has almost taken out his mother, Madeleine (Cybill Shepherd) and the woman he loves, Juliet (Maggie Lawson), among others. Last night, Yin almost got best friend Gus (Dulé Hill), although Shawn was also captured and got a front row seat for the execution. I love Psych‘s trademark goofiness, but it’s always nice to see a change up, and Yin Yang sure provides it.
The episode began when a girl named Allison (Mena Suvari, American Beauty, American Pie) showed up at the police station, scared, claiming she had just escaped from Yin. No one believed her, except Shawn, spurred by the fact that she had a picture of a young Shawn with Yang (Ally Sheedy), whom he did not remember meeting as a child. Although the background in the photo was fake, the two of them together was real. Shawn put Allison at his father Henry’s (Corbin Bernsen) house for safe keeping, but she was quickly re-kidnapped. Shawn followed several clues to find her, including watching some video diaries made by the deceased Mary (Jimmi Simpson).
In the end, Shawn and Gus fell right into Yin’s trap, and for the first time we saw the second half of the serial killer team, this one played by Peter Weller (Dexter). Juliet got Yang out of jail, broke into Yin’s fortress of a house, and figured out Allison’s true nature. But it was Yang, who has had an unhealthy fascination with Shawn all her life, who saved Shawn and Gus, killing Yin. Not only that, it was revealed that Yin was her father.
It makes me sad to think that this might be the last chapter in the Yin Yang story. I count all the Yin Yang episodes among Psych‘s best hours, and I feel like there was more room to play here. I was disappointed Mary was killed in the last round, and even more so that Yin was taken out this time, especially because Weller is terrific. Wouldn’t it have made it a better story if Yang and Yin escaped, only to return in a year or so as a team, stronger than ever?
Maybe even take out one of Shawn’s closest friends or family next time? Granted, that may go too dark for this series, but I would have loved a further escalation.
Instead, Yang is the only survivor, and she is going back to jail, already declared mostly harmless. Sure, she could always break out of prison and revert to her evil ways, spurred by the joy she might (or might now have, it wasn’t clear) gotten from killing her father. She didn’t actually do any of the earlier killings, but last night’s episode might have given her a taste for murder. Yes, that would be a great episode, but I’m not convinced that is the path they will be taking.
I was pleased to see the return of Madeleine Spencer. Henry called her with a simple question, not intending to involve her, but her arrival in town upped the suspense factor in the episode. Clearly, Shawn was not happy about it, having another important person in his life to worry about. Shepherd’s inclusion in the series has long been a tease, originally looking like she was signing on to the cast, and then only doing a handful of episodes. My TiVo still lists her as a principal cast member for every episode of Psych that airs. I’m always pleased to see her, but she’s been in far too few episodes of the series.
Speaking of underused, why was Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson) barely in the season finale? She is constantly the least-seen character on screen, and sits out episodes frequently. As one of the original cast members, it would be nice to see her get some more story. Whatever happened with the possible Vick/Henry love plot? It went away far too quickly.
Back to last night’s episode, I have been pleased by the slow growth of Shawn and Juliet’s relationship. I know the people behind the series may have been hesitant to finally put their two romantic leads together, having danced around the issue since Juliet’s first episode, the second episode of the series. Having decided to go for it, they’ve backed off from making it central to most of the episodes, likely to protect and nourish it, without overdoing things, or risking jumping the shark. But it’s a coming together of equals, as evidenced by their promise to protect each other in this episode. They are perfect for each other.
The final scene of the finale, where Lassiter (the amazing Timothy Omundson, who has only gotten better with each season) witnessed the two of them together in a more-than-friends way, was wonderfully executed. I look forward to the repercussions of that, as it will surely interfere with both of their jobs.
Also, kudos for using the extended version of the theme song in the finale, which has popped up more and more recently. It is far superior to the shortened version, and the show seems to have taken note of that. I also enjoy any alternate versions, such as the Christmas one used last week.
Psych will return to USA next summer for its sixth season.