I’ve heard it both ways.
Not long after the 2014 winter television season began, USA Network announced the conclusion to the successful comedy Psych would air in March. For many, the announcement was expected. Lead actress Maggie Lawson’s spot on rival network ABC’s freshman endeavor Back in the Game had given many fans and critics reason to doubt the continuation of Psych.
However, some Psych-os held out hope. I was one of them. The cancellation of Psych was unthinkable in my eyes. With an eight season run, and an almost cult-like following (appropriately named ‘Psych-os’), the success of the show speaks for itself. It wasn’t until reading a TVGuide.com interview with Dulé Hill concerning the finale that I came to terms with the knowledge that the show was ending. After commenting on the strength of the most recent seasons, Dulé stated that he felt the show was “ending at the top”.
The strength Dulé referred to comes from the show’s biggest feats, from the two hour event known as “Psych the Musical” (effectively a two part musical episode) to bagging each member of The Breakfast Club in dynamic guest roles such as Ally Sheedy’s portrayal of Mr. Yang, the popular villain introduced in the season three finale. Several of my personal favorite episodes or moments that occured on the show were at the direction of James Roday. Although Roday was fairly set with his role as lead character Shawn Spencer, he managed to find the time to direct eight separate episodes.
Nearly a month has passed since the conclusion of the series, a finale widely accepted. The series finale did the entire show justice by presenting the conclusion as more of a start than an ending. Psych fans everywhere appreciated tiny nods to some of the show’s earliest moments, in addition to a number of surprise guest stars. Halfway through the episode, one Psych-o tweeted “my tears taste like pineapples.” a statement unique to Psych and the fandom it produced.
Series finales are often paradoxes, as most fans desire to see the show continue regardless of how many successful seasons it has had. By and large, fan reaction to series finales is a mixture of dismay, defeat, and delight. It was no small miracle that Psych managed to dodge the bullet so many series finales face.
For all the seeming simplicity of the finale, Psych managed to accomplish where other finales of the 2014 season seem to have failed. There were no surprises, no confusing plot twists meant to leave audiences wanting more. The Psych writers team knew this was their moment, and they did not disappoint. Psych creator Steve Franks was fortunate in that respect- he was able to conclude the series just as he’d envisioned.
Every character in the finale episode of Psych saw a conclusion as well as a beginning. For some, it was the conclusion of one career that would lead to the advancement of another. For other characters, the conclusion was more abstract. Carlton Lassiter’s (Tim Omundson) conclusion, for instance, was one final act of character development. Once given the opportunity to be proven correct about his assumption concerning Shawn Spencer’s “psychic” abilities, Carlton destroys the evidence rather than hear the rest of Shawn’s confession.
I say this is the final act of character development for Lassiter because the very next moment shown is a wide shot of Chief Carlton Lassiter in his office, calling his wife to talk to his newborn. The image is vastly different from that of the pilot episode, where the audience is shown a frustrated man on a quiet downward spiral. Similarly, when asked what the best thing about working on Psych was, actor Tim Omundson responded “the best thing about working on Psych for eight seasons, hands down, is the people. They’ve become my family.”
The series finale stayed true to the foundation of the show, featuring strong dialogue and a focus on the various relationships that have grown out of the eight series run. Psych began as a series focused on a charismatic lead with Peter Pan syndrome and ended with the same charismatic lead making somewhat uncharacteristically grown up decisions.
In comparison to other series finales, the Psych series finale is fairly mild. However, in my mind, the series finale served up a great deal of delicious flavor. With neatly tied up plotlines and a general theme of new beginnings, this Psych-o has no complaints. I can live with a lack of gotcha! moments and character deaths if the trade-off is a series finale full of happy endings and beginnings.