In tonight's second all-new episode of Psych, Lassiter's younger sister Lauren arrives to film a documentary, which makes everything awkward. As if that wasn't strange enough, the first suspect in their new murder case is a polar bear, which soon gets loose. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the case isn't as open and shut as Lassiter would like to make it; unfortunately, the episode itself isn't that good, either.
There are things which just fall flat as soon as they emerge, whether it's Gus's overly aggressive pursuit of Lassiter's younger sister, or some failed lines like "I have an appetite for the truth." The documentary concept has been used before, in shows like Homicide: Life on the Street and USA's own Monk. Unlike those episodes, however, the device doesn't contribute much that's worthwhile to the storyline; it could easily have been nixed and not much would have been lost.
Beyond that, the actual content of the episode doesn't hold up that well. The guest characters don't engender any interest; for example, there's a painfully one-dimensional animal activist, who of course is disheveled and pretty much dismissed by the cops. Lassiter's sister isn't anywhere near as engaging as Juliet's brother Ewan was; then again, actress April Bowlby (Two and a Half Men) doesn't get to do much but hold a camera, except for one late scene. The main characters aren't at their finest, either; the joke of Lassiter playing up for the documentary keeps going throughout the episode, making it overused, and Juliet spends most of her small part of the episode looking like a deer caught in headlights.
Without interesting characters, there'd better be a good plot, but the plot isn't particularly good. When Shawn says "I didn't see that coming" after the victim's fiancee is arrested, he's the only one, because I found it a predictable red herring. The reveal of a bitter neighbor as the true killer feels like it's produced at the proverbial eleventh hour just to wrap up the hour, considering that said perpetrator's introduction earlier in the episode was throwaway except for an unfunny Seth Rogen joke. If a character's going to end up being the bad guy, I think it's only fair that we have some suspicion when we meet them, or at least are motivated to remember them for later on. That doesn't happen here. There's just too much not working to salvage this caper. Compared to the gleeful insanity of the episode that preceded it, this Psych installment comes off as lackluster.
Thankfully, next week is the fifth-season finale, and I'm willing to bet that the show will make a strong comeback to finish out the run.
Need to catch up with Psych? Check out full show coverage in the Psych category at my blog, DigitalAirwaves.net.