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

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?

Comments (33)
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The best quote of the whole show was Gus saying "I can fix that." I almost started crying.
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Hilarious episode. Loved Shawn's line about how getting Gus's vote gets him the black vote!! LOL!!
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so excited that dulé hill said "I can fix that" twice :) i've been waiting for that since the beginning of the show
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I loved the West Wing reference.
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I have to agree. That first scene was pushing it in the douche factor. But was happily contrasted by the ending and Shawn willing to sacrifice his career (though I doubt it would happen) for Juliet. It bookended the episode nicely, without Shawn showing that side of himself in the beginning it wouldn't have met as much. So I liked that aspect of it.

The case was fun, the candidacy was hilarious. The fact that he probably could have one was even more so.

Quotes and questions.

Thunder dome!!! Which I think Lassie would have been down with.

Jo, but I think she is in that bubble show on CBS.

Best quote was the black vote quote.
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I don't get the last pic, they never kissed in the end??
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That picture was released as a spoiler and I guess they cut it in the episode.
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I always thought Chief Vick was the one person, aside from Henry, that knew absolutely that Shawn wasn't psychic and there was just an understanding between the two that she would stay mum on the subject because he was useful to the department and the truth wouldn't do anyone any good. I could have sworn she had in a much earlier season had the same moment of clarity Jules had this season.

Another very good episode - John Kapelos is everywhere this year from Kentucky "Justified" to Santa Barbara. He was the janitor in "Breakfast Club" and he's the one actor from that great film that has consistently worked since. Great character actors just keep on working. The teasing out the Shawn and Juliet reconciliation is working nicely but lets just skip to the end. Liked the mention of 'American Duos' and then bemoaned the fact that Tim Curry wasn't in the 'Clue' episode.

I still remember Neil Grayston as Jaye's co-worker Alec from the souvenier store on "Wonderfalls". Anyone from 'Eureka' would be welcome on 'Psych'. (Bet SyFy is really missing it as well seeing as how the numbers for 'Defiance' seem to be dwindling down week after week.)
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Oh, and yes, Shawn was quite douchey at the beginning of the episode. Throughout the 7 seasons, he's often gotten close to that line between childishly funny and childishly douchey, and that speech was on the wrong side of that. Plus, he's been quite douchey about the whole Juliette thing too. He seriously doesn't get why she's so angry and wouldn't want to date him again? It's not a tiny lie or secret that he told or kept -- the lie was big enough that Jules could and should feel like a complete idiot for having believed him. I'm actually surprised -- although I always prefer Jules in a happy mood -- that she's already starting to accept him again.
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Not a fan of lying even at work, but I'll play Devil's advocate, because of course I will. If a couple works together, they shouldn't take work stuff home, and this is work stuff. If they continue taking work disagreements home they are doomed anyways. If not that, it'll be something else, or just the collective whole that brings down their relationship. So, it's really Juliet who is in the wrong for making a work lie a relationship issue.
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I, like apparently many of you, believe the Chief knows Shawn isn't psychic. I've always felt that her character is too cynical and pessimistic to actually believe in psychics. I think she's always "known" that he's faking, but since he's been so effective and helpful, she tries to ignore it as much as possible.

Along with her facial expressions that previous comments have pointed out, I thought the fact that Chief Vick didn't punish Jules in any way for an illegal search of the plumber's computer kinda suggested she knew Jules was just covering for Shawn. I figure police chiefs often stick up for their detectives and don't report everything to Internal Affairs or whatever, but I don't think a brief suspension is far-fetched for an admitted illegal search. I could obviously be wrong, though.
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I loved this episode, mainly due to the ending. I understood the consequences Shawn would have to face if he told the Chief the truth about his "powers." First off, there's the threat all the way back in the pilot that if the chief found out he lied, she'd have him arrested and would resurrect the original charge that made him lie in the first place. Secondly, that would probably mean instant appeal by ALL the criminals Shawn helped put away, since Shawn does a LOT of breaking and entering to get his info for his "visions." Granted, most of the criminals killed their victims in the heat of the moment and weren't necessarily evil, but there have been a few really bad guys Shawn brought down. I guess Juliet finally realized the consequences far outweighed the lie, and that's why she covered for Shawn.

It does look like they might reconcile, but I still REALLY want Juliet's train station boyfriend to make an appearance, since it's around the time that he's supposed to return to propose to her.
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Was I the only one who got hints that maybe the Chief already knows that Shawn isn't a psychic?... Her face in that scene just read to me like she's already on to him, but since she likes him as a person and he gets results and is basically part of the SBPD family that she's not saying anything....
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Considering the handful of comments before yours that mentions the idea of the Chief knowing, I'd say no, you're not the only one. Hehe.
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Lol... yeah i noticed after I posted it that I was kinda late to the party... :/
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I'm still a little confused about something from the pilot. I GET that Shawn's breaking-and-entering schtick from the entire series has been one big illegal trap waiting to snap.

But from the pilot, I believe the Chief said that if it was ever found out that he was faking be a psychic he would be brought up on charges or something. And then much later in Shawn 2.0 Henry said that being a Profiler doesn't have any required qualifications UNLIKE A PSYCHIC.

So... pretending to be a psychic, something that most people assume is fake anyway, is fraud?
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In the pilot he pretended to be a psychic so he isn't a suspect anymore.
He solved this case then though, but before he got hired he gave the SPD billions of tips while gaining rewards. So if he's no psychic he doesn't have an explanation for his knowledge about these cases and he's again a suspect since he could be an insider in thousand cases.
And if the police suspect him for this, they could also think that he covered up all his cases and got information from inside.
Being a psychic is fraud yes, if you use it as an alibi. And obviously there are a lot of people believing he is actually a psychic. He "proved" it many times
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I realize the "why" he did it. But the whole "he's a suspect" thing was Carlton.

The Chief didn't make it sound like that. At the end of the episode, on the staircase, she made it sound like she'd nail him for faking to be a psychic. Which is kind of silly when you think about all of the "psychics" out there.

Now, if the charges she mentioned would be about "Operating as a private investigator without a license" then that I could see... since ultimately that's what Shawn's doing. But she didn't say that part.
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I think the issue is that if he was just a Profiler everything would be a hunch and the SBPD would have the right to follow his hunch or not.... As a Psychic he's guaranteeing that his findings are true and in order to find their bad guy they MUST follow his revelations..... As a Profiler if he's wrong he's not liable for lives lost or any incidents that occur during the investigation because it's all speculation, BUT as a Psychic if he's wrong he's led the SBPD astray and may be the reason lives are lost or incidents have the time to occur because he's guaranteeing that he's correct and that his "vision" will lead to their bad guy.

Well at least that's what I've always assumed. So it's not necessarily fraud that's the issue, but obstruction of justice and maybe even co-conspirator charges.
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Yes, as Twezzy90 said, I'd always thought the problem would be that Shawn could be charged with obstruction of justice. While he ultimately leads the police in the right direction, he interferes a lot and almost always doesn't reveal the evidence and clues he sees, but rather keeps them to himself so that he can show off his psychic skills. I think you can argue that if he just immediately tells Lassie or Jules about each clue or evidence he's able to see that they don't, maybe they'd catch the criminals sooner and more efficiently.
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But consider all of the "psychics" out there. LOTS of them try to help the police and ok, some give some generic info that helps them find the killer or whatever.
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I still maintain that the best Gus name was Methuselah Honeysuckle. Granted that was given by Henry, but still... best one IMO

Though I have to admit... ever since Gus stepped up and told Shawn they he wants fore-knowledge of his fake names so he can plan a response the results have been great. Ctrl-Alt-Delete, Jazz Hands, etc.
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Yes! What about the comma-to-the-top in Sh'Dynasty? "That's God's comma."
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Blues Brothers reference FTW.

"Orange Whip? Orange Whip?"
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I miss John Candy.
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Even remotely good, Psych is f'n great, but like this? There's just nothing else that comes close...another awesome epsidode and seriously, this season is looking to be one of it's finest...incredible! And boy, does next week look like it could even top it all! I can't wait!
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The closed captioning had it spelled Bill Uvrights, not that it really matters. The show's captioning tends to be excellent as a rule, though, so maybe they got that from an official source. Just sayin'.

I loved the horrible campaign commercial that they ran. It reminded me of the old WKRP episode when the folks at the station reversed course and suddenly tried *not* to get Mr. Carlson elected to city council. I can still picture his face in the awful poster they re-made for him, as well as the creepy but hilarious comment he made about his wife, all intended to drive voters away. Funny stuff from both shows.
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I liked the Bebe's Kids line about his visions... they don't die, they multiply. Can't believe I remember that movie if that is what he was referencing.
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I'm a crossover fan of eureka and psych :)
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The beginning was douchey by Shawn but... I just chalk it up to him being screwed up over hurting Jules like that. The rest of the episode was just more brilliance and just continued amazement at how this season is just being one of the best seasons a show can possibly have. It has the serious, emotional moments and then manages to still have a silly blast.

Also... the Chief totally knows already. That look in the office just screamed that she was aware but let it slide because what Shawn is doing gets results.

And Henry has the best line in the show when he turns off the TV after the bombed interview... "Idiot." Perfectly Henry and perfectly true!
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I think you're right about the Chief knowing- I have thought that for a while. I also agree about the awesomeness of this season, and every season for that matter. One of the best shows on TV--smart and yet goofy, with a great cast.
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I've suspected that she's known for a while. Actually, I thought her closing scene in the Pilot revealed that she knew he was faking but was letting it slide. And that he should continue this scharade and it should be revealed she'd throw the book at him.
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C'mon son, you know that's right! ;)
On the money man!
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