While many shows lose their way a couple of seasons in, Psych has never had that slow creative death. Steve Franks’ series survives the test of time, never running out of material, while throwing in some more clever references (there was a This Is Us and A Million Little Things jab, folks) in a ninety-minute window to satisfy its following until the next movie inevitably comes out in a few years.
Psych 2: Come Home Lassie manages to also keep its heart between the mystery and humor, not only spending the time allowed to add texture to the existing relationships, new and old, but it also pays homage to Timothy Omundson, whose character Lassiter has gone through similar struggles and hardships Omundson has since his major stroke in early 2017.
Psych feels like coming home again and it’s not surprising. Many of Psych’s fans, or PsychOs, grew up with the show. Personally, I was barely double digits in age when Psych first began airing and watching a new episode each week was a family affair. And although it would have been nice if characters had a larger role to play in Lassie Come Home (Henry and Vick), the ensemble dynamic remains strong, ripe with chemistry.
Not only is it a pleasure to see the full new cast come back again and again, but the characters played by Jimmi Simpson and Kurt Fuller also return, anchoring the movie to the series more steadily, doubling down on the absurdity of Psych‘s world these two characters both helped solidify.
Additionally, the new casting worked well, with big names such as Joel McHale, Sarah Chalke, and Richard Schiff joining an already memorable cast and they easily fit into the style of Psych. However, not every casting or character choice works. Jazmyn Simon’s Selene seemed the most out of place character and her interactions with Juliet were somewhat forced.
That’s the trouble with attempting to integrate somewhat new characters into a long-lasting universe. Selene is such a new character that when comparing her relationship with Juliet and Gus to the other dynamics of the show, it’s impossible for her dynamics to measure up. Selene is Psych’s third-wheel and while Simon does a great job with the material she does have, the writing just isn’t up to par with that of the other character’s.
That’s not to mention her predictable plot twist. However, predictable isn’t necessarily bad. Her reveal in the final altercation of the film was expected, but it also made the drama between Juliet and Shawn all the more entertaining, especially knowing that their conflict is actually that of Gus and Selene’s.
The dynamics in Lassie Comes Home were also particularly strong. These characters are home for not only the audience, but clearly the actors, too. From displaying the trust between Vick and Juliet to showing the progression, yet argumentative, nature between Henry and Shawn, Psych excels at mixing a zany and comedic environment, but also seasoning the comedy with heart-warming and well-developed relationships. It’s a typical-Psych set up to see Shawn, Gus, and Juliet sneaking around attempting to hide their investigations from each other, but comfortably familiar nonetheless.
Growth has become a major part of Psych and is also a major part of Lassie Come Home as not only Shawn and Gus face their maturity, but Lassiter embarks on a journey of healing on his own.
Lassiter’s arc is perhaps the most intriguing aspects of Lassie Come Home. The character normally exists as a no-nonsense type of person, but his injuries and his descent into madness changes his role to that of an unreliable narrator. This is an interesting and different set up, as much of the fanciful plot points center around Lassie’s recovery from a stroke (mid-surgery), creating hallucinations and visions of his father (played by McHale).
It’s also a different perspective of the character, as his interactions with his father give more insight of the man that he is and also explains why Lassie struggles so much with his new disability. Even his climactic moment of the movie centers on him regaining his agency. All in all, Lassiter is thoroughly enjoyable and kudos to Timothy Omundson, who plays Lassiter through this journey, while surmounting obstacles of his own recovery.
The overall plot, however, is a little bit more contrived, serving more as a background for character interactions or a means to make certain jokes or references. That isn’t to say it wasn’t entertaining, but the actual mystery of the movie is Lassie Come Home‘s weakest link.
Having an underdeveloped mystery doesn’t really hurt Psych anyway, since that isn’t the main draw. Psych is about the intense chemistry between Shawn, Gus, and the rest of the ensemble cast. It’s about perfectly timed jokes, a multitude of pop culture references, and nicknames galore. It’s about the growth as these characters expand and strengthen their found family with each installment of the franchise. The mysteries exist as a means to tell this story, so even if the case could perhaps be more fleshed out, it doesn’t take too many points away from what Psych sets out to do.
This flaw isn’t particularly noticeable as the other aspects of Lassie Come Home are unique and strong. After all, Psych is no longer a traditional series, but ninety-minute movies released every few years. In order to keep the heart of the original show some things must be sacrificed. Ultimately, Psych 2 is an improvement upon the first Psych movie.
Psych 2: Lassie Come Home is a movie worth your time, especially for long-time fans of Steve Frank’s franchise. With a lot of heart, and even more hilarious set-ups fueled by the cast’s chemistry, familiarity, and confidence in their characters.
As Shawn and Gus return to Santa Barbara (the characters traveled a lot considering the distance between SB and The Bay), the audience also returns home. In a time so uncertain, Lassie Comes Home returns these characters to the public at a perfect time, as the humor, connection, and antics are a desperately needed distraction and escape from this world into one where the world feels lighter, the characters are empowered, and there’s never a mystery that cannot be solved.
Peacock picking up the series and movies is a strong move for a launch of yet another streaming service. Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, in addition to the series’ eight seasons and first movie, will give the new streaming service a boost. Psych is exactly what we need right now.
Psych is currently streaming on Peacock.