Psych "Santa Barbarian Candidate" Review: Shawn Spencer, Mayor McCheese?

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Psych S07E10: "Santa Barbarian Candidate"

Dear Shawn Spencer, I love you, but can you please dial down the douche?

"Santa Barbarian Candidate" opened with such a cringeworthy scene that I wish I could scrub it from this otherwise brilliant episode. In a ceremony honoring the SPBD—with a shout-out to the "extraordinary Shawn Spencer"—the psychic detective hijacked the podium from Mayor Gavin Channing and accepted the award for himself.

His "speech" was so smug, self-important, and disrespectful to Chief Vick, the department, and, yes, Burton Guster, that the pop-culture punchline wasn't even funny. ("I believe it was EMF who said, 'You're unbelievable.' If only I had known then they were talking about me.")

No one wants to see Shawn and Juliet rekindle their romance more than me, but c'mon, son! O'Hara deserves so much better than this.

Happily, I was swiftly distracted by the appearance of Neil Grayston, the late Eureka's adorkable Fargo, guesting for the first time on Psych (Can Felicia Day be next?) as the mayor's brilliant aide Jason Straub.

Unfortunately for Straub, he lost his job when the mayor wound up dead—apparently from a surfing accident.

But Shawn smelled something fishy, and it wasn't just Gavin's wetsuit. According to the surf report, there hadn't been any waves that morning.

"Let's drag King Neptune into Interrogation Room B and put the screws to him," sneered Lassie, eager to close the case.

But Shawn quickly zeroed in on a suspect: the new mayor appointed by the city council. Tom Swaggerty was poised to make millions from his proposal to convert the wetlands into a new mall.

But with help from Gus's encyclopedic knowledge of the city's bylaws, Shawn hatched a scheme to stall Swaggerty by forcing an election. And with Straub's surprising support, Shawn decided to throw his hat in the ring.

The ensuing campaign was all sorts of fun. Gus's civic-mindedness made for an awesome nod to Dulé Hill's former role as presidential aide Charlie Young on The West Wing. "I could've made it all the way to the office… maybe as an aide!" It also yielded one of the series' best introductions: "This is my partner, Bill Ofrights"—followed by Gus firing a finger-gun at a receptionist. ("I wasn't aiming at her, Shawn, I was shadow-hunting.")

Naturally, Gus embraced his role as Shawn's campaign manager with gusto—only to be disappointed when Shawn bombed a morning-show interview. So when Straub offered to help, Gus begrudgingly agreed. Their first gig was a fancy gala, and Juliet agreed to accompany Shawn as his date—but only because the SBPD was now actively investigating the mayor's death as a homicide.

Still, the couple did enjoy a romantic moment on the dance floor, when Shawn revealed he'd taken dance classes for her. But she insisted that she would only be willing to reconcile if he told the chief the truth about his "psychic" skills.

"That's not going to happen," he protested sadly, "because with it goes the good." Aww!

When Swaggerty ended up being cleared of suspicion, Shawn realized he needed to throw the election—and rehired Gus as his sole campaign manager. Poor Straub was outraged, especially when he saw Gus's damaging ads.

Poor Straub? Hold up: Our beloved brainiac was the killer! There goes our hopes of a recurring gig for Grayston. (Unless Straub reforms and marries someone in the SBPD? Hey, it worked for Marlowe. Though she didn't kill two people.)

Finally, Shawn realized that Juliet mattered more to him than his job and decided to come clean to Chief Vick. Gus desperately tried to talk him out of confessing, even reminding him, "American Duos premieres tonight!"

But in the end, Juliet couldn't let him go through with it. Realizing that her demand was "selfish," she rushed into the chief's office and took a hit herself before Shawn could sacrifice himself on the altar of truth.

"Santa Barbarian Candidate" ended on another hopeful note for Shules—just like last week's "Juliet Wears the Pantsuit" did. (Of course, that moment was all bafflingly undone with this week's obnoxious opener, but it's best forgotten.)

While Juliet isn't prepared to get back together with Shawn just yet, she is ready for some Souplantation. And what says true love more than bisque and chunky veggie chili?


QUESTIONS & QUOTES

– What was your favorite campaign promise?

– "Correction: Your seriously underfunded police department, you eco-socialist moon bat." (Lassie)

– "Maybe you didn't hear me, but there will be blintzes." (Shawn, trying to coax Juliet into joining him for breakfast.)  

– Any other Eureka-Psych crossover fans out there? 

– "Believe me, some of my best friends are black jellybeans. But if I wanted to be eating licorice, why would I reach for a jellybean? You feel me?" (Possibly the smartest thing Shawn's ever said)

– "Perfect—means I got the black vote." (Shawn, when Gus said he'd be the only one voting for him)

–  "Summer just got a little hotter. Side Out, C. Tommy Howell." (Shawn)  

–  "I can't believe I'm going to have to assassinate a public figure." (Lassie, on the prospect of Shawn becoming mayor)

– Are you happy with Shules' latest DTR?