Psych "Right Turn or Left for Dead" Review: Eternal Sunshine of Shawn Spencer's Mind

Psych S07E08: "Right Turn or Left for Dead"

Shawn and Juliet's break-up in last week's episode felt like open-heart surgery without anesthesia. This week, we relived that painful procedure—with some bonus electric shock therapy.

The mind-bending "Right Turn or Left for Dead" paid tribute to altered-reality thrillers (like the recent Side Effects and Trance): Shawn, suffering from a concussion, concocted an alternate timeline that not only saved his relationship but helped him identify a killer.

The "right turn universe"—where Shawn and Juliet rode home together from the wedding—was a happy place, where Lassie toted around a puppy and Juliet and Shawn's only argument was about who loves the other more. They never fought, because he warmed her with the chief's pashmina instead of his coat—where she found "proof" that he'd been lying to her about his psychic abilities.

Like Detective Britten in NBC's procedural fantasy drama Awake, Shawn essentially solved the same crime in two different "realities."  In his dream state, he had some extra help from Lassie Jr.—the rescued basset hound he and Juliet gave to the pooch's namesake as a wedding present. And in that dream state, the real killer, a young Swedish woman with "dope shoes" named Elin, was a corpse. 

In a way, Elin was a victim in both storylines: Abused by her stepfather in Sweden, she'd fled to Santa Barbara, where she worked as an au pair. (Her employer's "acerbic manner" rankled the crimefighters in both universes.)  

And in fact, Shawn first believed that Elin was the intended prey of another murderer. Cabbing it solo (sob) after the wedding, he hit his head when the driver suddenly braked to avoid hitting an injured woman in the road. En route to the hospital, she muttered one phrase before passing out: "beef log." But she wasn't referring to a "bratwurst (or) possibly a salami chub"; she'd actually said the Swedish word for "creek," where the detectives (or Lassie Jr., in Shawn's dream) found the body of her "boyfriend."

Real Shawn guided the SBPD to more bodies and more clues, with Mean Juliet sneering at his every deduction. But because of his obvious skill, it was easy to believe his girl would eventually forgive him.

Shawn, however, wasn't exactly encouraged by his dad, who advised him to stall by "going Costanza." (Too bad Lloyd was exiled to the kitchen during most their convo. Jeffrey Tambor is just one more reason to hope Shawn and Juliet get married.)

When Juliet finally found Shawn at the office, she'd had a change of heart: "Maybe you were protecting me," she acknowledged. "If you are not psychic, you are a really good cop—maybe one of the best." Aww.

Correction: ARGH! Their reconciliation was just a dream, rudely interrupted by Mean Juliet. Instead of forgiving her deceitful but devoted boyfriend, she told him to move out.

This is definitely not a welcome outcome for fans of Psych's OTP (or, for that matter, fans of dogs—come home, Lassie Jr.!). But how much longer could Shawn have gone Costanza with the truth? Continuing the charade would be unfair to Juliet's character, and would've damaged her (well-earned) cred as a badass cop.

"Right Turn" was an exemplary episode—and not just because Shawn and Juliet's relationship received the reverence it deserves. Writer Carlos Jacott (a character actor who's appeared in two episodes of Psych—he's pictured below in "9 Lives"—and who also penned Season 6's "Neil Simon's Lover's Retreat") crafted a complex, intricately detailed plot that is rarely seen in this character-driven comedy.  

QUESTIONS & QUOTES

– Did "Right Turn" blow your own mind?

– Were you fooled by Shawn's reversal of fortune?

–  What's your favorite one-liner from the episode?

– "I love you more than Joanie loved Chachi, kids loved Trix and Bert loved Ernie. Allegedly. Suck on that!" (Juliet to Shawn's imagination)

– "My heart feels like wet toilet paper. It's so fragile, it's not even two plies, it's one ply, like school toilet paper." (Shawn to Gus)

– "First of all, I don't want a dog. And if I did, I'd want a man's dog like a shepherd or Rottweiler. I'd want a dog whose silhouette is used on Beware of Dog signs, I'd want Hooch, not this sad sack that's going to step on his own ears." (Lassie about his new son)

– "What's the matter, Spencer—your third eye blind?" (Lassie)

– "Can you and your stupid hair let us in?" (Lassie to suspect/victim)

– "It's raining men, so I said let's open the roof and stay in bed." (Woody)

– "How in the name of Max von Sydow's eyebrows do you know about it?" (Shawn re Gus's obscure Swedish sports fandom)

– "This here is my associate, Jonas Gustavsson." (Shawn, convincing a Swedish bartender that Gus was a pro hockey player)

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It was a great episode, yet I don't think Juliet was being mean. She got her heart broken to pieces! She truly believed in Shawn and got crushed for it.
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Great episode! The toilet paper line was so funny, but Shawn was so sad when he said it that I laughed in an "awww" sort of way. I think Shawn's lame excuse to Juliet at the end was as if he were responding to things the dream Juliet had said. That explains why he didn't go into more of an apology and explanation of his actions. He'd had a minor concussion, after all.
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oh man... I accidentally missed "Deez Nups." I was in total suspense the whole episode, wondering which "reality"would win out in the end! A wonderfully written episode!
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Now I miss Awake even more.
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Did anyone see the blood stain on Shawn's right shoulder after he had that vision about getting stabbed in the right shoulder by Elin in the alternate reality? Or how after waking from the visions and asking "What just happened?" I believe that Shawn is going to turn out to actually be psychic!
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Absolutely stellar episode. Funny and heartbreaking at the same time. THIS is why I love Psych, taking a major break up and telling the story in a fantastic and unique way. I know eventually Shawn and Juliet will get back together (don't keep them apart too long) but for now I can accept Juliet's need for him to move out. Shawn's excuse for lying was very weak and he didn't even apologize. Until he can admit that he was wrong for lying all these years to her then they will have to stay separated. For him to say that everything would have been avoided and the relationship would still be going strong if he had given her the sweater is NOT the thing to say. It shows he still has some growing to do.

Gus' allergic reaction to the gold dust was hilarious and gross looking. Lassie and Lassie Jr. were awesome. More of Henry and Juliet's stepfather they are funny. I can't wait to see what happens next week.


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I loved this episode, specifically the basset hound. I thought the alternate timeline lovey-dovey Shawn and Juliet was a tad annoying, so I'm glad that it was just in Shawn's he head. I feel like the stage has been set for Maggie Lawson's complete departure from the show. She won't forgive Shawn, at least not when Shawn is too stupid to admit WHY he lied to her all these years. My theory is that Juliet's old boyfriend will come back, pick her up, and she'll live happily with him... and for a parting shot, she'll tell Lassie he's not a psychic, and the season finale will end with Shawn in jail for suspicion of the crime he was arrested for in the pilot episode.
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That was a really different really good episode. Dare I say, one of the best all hanging on the performances of the lovers who are the stars. Both were fantastic. That had to be one of Roday's finest hours as Shawn Spencer. Seriously though - Mr. Awards Jim Parsons has NEVER done work that good.

But the episode belonged to that adorable basset hound, I'm sorry - 'Lassie' for the win! How could anyone possibly act in a scene with that face staring back at you? Loved Lassie's eventual warming up to and then being completely on board with dog substitute for child. That episode needed puppies though considering what they did to Jules and Shawn.

Also awesome, the Lloyd and Harry becoming buddies scenes. These two are veteran character actors that have been on television for decades and the scenes with both are as close to perfect as you can get. They need a wedding so we can bring Shatner along for the ride as well.

Gus having the allergic reaction to the gold flecked biscotti in one reality - too funny.

Please don't keep them apart show.
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Awesome episode!!! I loved every minute of it (even though, yes, my heart was being ripped open most of the time)
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totally my fav quote form the episode (and probably one of my all time favs):

"Can you and your stupid hair let us in?" (Lassie to suspect/victim)

Lassie RULZ!
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Am I the only one who noticed the mix-up with the dead boyfriends pictures/names from when Elin identified them and afterward?
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That was absolutely fantastic! I so had hoped forgiving Juliet was the final scene...damnit...mean juliet just does not sit right with me (for the show that is)...poor Shawn. But man, this episode was epic!
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So well written! It was a great episode to help ease the pain of my obliterated heart. I was tricked at the end. When the real Juliet arrived I kept waiting for Shawn to passionately explain every reason he has ever had for lying and plead for forgiveness but he just stood there with nothing to say. I know exactly how Juliet felt having been on the receiving end of years of lying myself. There isn't much that feels worse and unless Juliet is prepared to offer unconditional love and forgiveness - the relationship will be over. I know eventually they will reconciliate but in the meantime my heart has no beat.
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This episode was very trippy...unlike anything they've done in 7 seasons. Of all their gimmick episodes so far, up to and including this season's musical that hasn't even aired yet, I'd say this is the best.
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Kinda expected Gus to "die" from the gold allergy so Shawn could console himself with the fact that he and Jules had to break up in order for his best friend to live...
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Thanks for mentioning Awake. From the scenes in which Shawn kept questioning "What's going on? Was that in my head?", to the way that each possibility used either cool or warm colors, to the fact that one had a character dead and the other didn't, the resemblance to Awake was remarkable. I mean that as a compliment, since I'm a long-term fan of Psych too...(no pineapple?)
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I think this episode was great. I don't know if it was a reference to a movie, but if not, it was so unbelievably original. I've never seen a "break up" episode done this way. It was captivating and funny. I thought the scene where Shawn described his heart as wet toilet paper, then said it was one-ply. That whole joke was done so well...it was sweet because it showed how upset Shawn felt, but still played off a funny joke.

As for the actual case itself, I liked the acting by the "swedish girl." She looked so serene and yet crazy all at once. I loved her scenes staring at Shawn when she's in the hospital, then she smiles right before being arrested at the end.

I enjoyed how both time lines were coherent and made sense. I very much enjoyed this episode.
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You really should watch Awake.
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I think if he would have just come clean and admitted that he's less psychic and more hypersensitive to details it would still come off as a "gift" and thanks to his dad's lesson teaching arrest, he can't become a cop so he does what he can with his gift to solve crimes and help others.

So what if he's not "psychic", he can demonstrate time and time again he posses a legitimate gift few have.. fudging the truth a bit to be accepted shouldn't be a huge deal.

What I find hard to believe is with how hypersensitive that he IS to details he'd completely discount Juliette's history of distrust with con men and not say something so blatantly stupid to her. he had a day to think about it and he still fires off an excuse like he just got caught red handed.

That felt like lazy writing to me. Other than that, really top notch episode.
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Even though Gus wasnt as heavily involved as usual, i think he stole the show again, when he was looking after little lassie in the garden was cute and funny (the dog chewing the lead while Gus is trying to get away from him)
I also think right turn Shawn was quite sappy
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That was a really well done episode.
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I really enjoyed this episode, and the only thing that let me down was Shawn's reaction to real Juliet at the end - and that was believable, just a let down that he'd say something so stupid as to blame their troubles on a jacket (the evidence doesn't cause the murder, Shawn, the perp does). The ending felt right, at first I thought they were going to go the easy route and I was a little disappointed, but instead they reeled it back to reality and things weren't easy for Shawn.

Having Gus out of the way most of the episode was understandable I suppose, his offer to help at the beginning seemed genuine and was rebuffed, to have him constantly "there" for Shawn would have ruffled the episode's feathers and added one more confusing layer to the whole alternate timeline idea.
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I think the fact that Shawn is unwilling to accept any blame is the problem.
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Yup. Shawn started the show as an immature buffoon, a man-child, and as much growth as he's had, he still clearly falls back on that default position.
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I don't know, Gus' allergic reaction was pretty hilarious and one of the best aspects of the episode. Same with Lil Lassie.
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Wow that was a good episode. Another in the bin that I will tell people to go to in order to understand how great the show is.

But, Shawn should have apologized, not only should he have apologized, he should have put it to Juliet that if she wanted him to he would go into the PD and tell the Chief and Lassiter and the whole lot. I don't think she would have had him do that. But sometimes you just have to fall on your sword.

But Juliette's acceptance of rejection is going to be determined by how Shawn is going to show her that he is truly sorry. She hates liars, it is pretty clear. She knows Shawn is a liar, but he is going to have to show her at some point that it wasn't his initial intention to do so. But he is going to have to make some type of recompense.

The case was fantastic.

Best line was, I think it was. How about you and your stupid hair let us in.
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I was disappointing that Shawn never actually apologized for lying to Juliet. He kinda did in his dream at the end, but in real events he just kept trying to justify his actions. Even saying that he should have given Juliet the pashmina was like saying "I'm sorry I was caught", not exactly the same thing. One of the things we all love about Shawn is his lack of maturity, but in this episode it manifested in the inability to admit being in the wrong. In the end I think that's what bit him in the arse more than the actual lying. Pretending that it hadn't happened and assuming she would come around in the end just gave Juliet the time to get more and more angry.

I believe they will get back together, but it's going to be heartbreaking watching them apart until then.

P.S. Loved alternate Gus and his allergic reaction.
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Definitely an exemplary episode. Displayed the drama of Juliet and Shawn breakup, while adding plenty of comedy in between. My favorite one-liner was Shawn's reference to wet toilet paper lol!!
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Lassie Jr. was certainly a fitting name for the dog, but Flash would have also been good. (Flash was the Basset Hound owned by that other great law enforcement legend, Roscoe P. Coltrane. And like Lassie Jr., he was often carried around in the sheriff's arms.)
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My favorite one-liner was the Costanza reference from my all-time favorite show.
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