"Psych" Episode 8.02: Letting the Stern Bush Breathe

It all begins with the return of Anthony Michael Hall as Trout, preparing his team for a raid in a local neighborhood. Maggie Lawson (Juliet) was back for her first episode of the season, being introduced by Trout as the new head detective. Jules isn’t happy to be in the new position, knowing her partner was demoted. Meanwhile, Shawn and Gus are trying to figure out how to get past police barricades. You may remember, at the end of season seven, Trout informed the guys they would no longer be consultants for the SBPD. Shawn, however, refuses to give up. He attempts to enlist a man named Patrick, who ironically turns out to be the man “whacking a-holes,” to help move them past the public confines. It doesn’t work.

During Trout’s speech, Lassiter does manage to nab a perpetrator, but he still isn’t happy with his demotion, especially after Trout refuses to acknowledge his heroics. While Juliet is giving a quiet briefing back at the station, Shawn pushes Carlton to take a stand, prove he’s still worthy of being considered a head detective. After hearing Shawn’s message, “Let the stern bush breathe,” Lassiter gives a loud briefing, vowing he is ready to go down in a “hailstorm of bullets” to catch the criminal.

High on his achievement, he goes home to tell Marlowe (Kristy Swanson), but she has news of her own. She’s pregnant, and in one instant, Lassiter’s life completely changes. The great news is the catalyst for Carlton’s struggle through the rest of the episode. He has a newfound fear of being injured in the line duty, and is constantly looking at a sonogram picture, reminding him he now has a child to think about. While Lassiter comprehends the news, Shawn is busy trying to start a new program, S.E.I.Z.E.

Seize (take opportunities)

Eggs (absolve fear)

I don’t know (I really don’t know.)

Zebra (“embrace stripes”)

Eighties (Best. Decade. Ever.)

It may not make sense, but the program aims to motivate people. Surprisingly, it does work for Lassiter, and apparently Gus’ mom. With Shawn constantly referring to his program, Lassiter has to handle three different situations. He first pulls over a car, matching the description of the criminal’s. After seeing a baby stroller, and glancing at the sonogram image, he calls for backup, something Carlton Lassiter would never do. Juliet arrives in minutes, assuring Lassiter the person he pulled over is a mom. She knows something is up with her partner, but attributes his odd behavior to the demotion.

When another a-hole is targeted, the team makes a trip to the hospital, to question the victim. A hospital is probably the last place Carlton needed to be, because once he views sick people and a dead body being rolled by on a stretcher, he sees it as a perfect time for a checkup. Shawn sees Lassiter being examined, and comes to one conclusion, he’s dying. Before Shawn is convinced of the death scenario, Lassiter calls his new psychic detective partners to help him with a lead. Another white van is spotted, and the three newfound amigos start to approach the vehicle. What was nice about the scene is how Lassiter starts to advance the way, but fear causes him to fall behind, leaving Shawn and Gus in the new lead position. He even attempts to hand his weapon off to one of them. Seconds later, Shawn does become convinced Lassie is dying.
Before the four head out on a new lead the next day, Shawn tells Juliet his theory. When the team goes out in the field again, Juliet hugs her partner twice, trying to come to terms with what she believes is wrong with Carlton. After some more investigating, they are lead to Patrick’s home, where Juliet begins to question his wife. She talks about his frustration with all the victims, but does admit she wouldn’t want to be married to a man who was weak. Lassiter hears this, and it’s just the fire he needs to pursue Patrick, who he conveniently sees sneaking into a house, across the street.

Shawn, Juliet, and Gus quickly sneak into the house as well, but hold back as Lassiter has his confrontation with Patrick. He admits to the criminal that he is going to be a father, to the delight of his team. Finally, Lassiter comes to a realization. “I don’t think a baby should make me scared. It should make me even sharper than I was before.” And just like that, Carlton Danger Lassiter is back, doing a quick flip on the ground, grabbing his weapon, and leaving Patrick at gunpoint. Juliet rushes in to assist her partner, giving him a quick congratulatory hug, to which he announces, “I’m going to be a papa.”

Okay, Psych-Os go ahead a grab the Kleenex, because #PsychTissueDays have officially started. We were told season eight will bring many changes for our main characters, and Lassiter being a father will certainly allow for personal reflection. In all seasons of “Psych,” we have never seen Lassiter as vulnerable as he was in this episode. He also relied on Shawn and Gus more than he ever has, which makes me wonder if his relationship with the guys will strengthen through season eight. After all, he’ll probably have to ask for their help with future cases, since he is still not back in his role as head detective.

I want to end this review by saying I thought, I believed without a doubt, we had seen every facet of the character Carlton Lassiter, but I was wrong. Tim Omundson continues to amaze me, and yes, I have to give credit to Todd Harthan for giving him an excellent script. I also have to commend David Crabtree for directing an outstanding episode, but Omundson added so much to his character through sheer performance and raw emotion. My only question, why wasn’t “S.E.I.Z.E the Day” the season opener? C’mon son. I would take an episode with character growth any day over one that doesn’t advance the storyline.


– “Spencer and Guster, knockin’ boots around the clock.” – Shawn

–  “Get away from me Spencer, or I’ll pierce your lower intestine with a safety pin.” – Lassiter

–  “Gus, don’t be the 100th luftballoon.” – Shawn

– Apparently, Lassiter wears performance zone man spanks.

– New Gus nicknames: Recap McGee and Trending on Twitter: #WWGD

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