Psych: “Office Space”
C+

Psych: “Office Space”

C+

Psych

“Office Space”

Season 7, Episode 11

And just like that, Shawn and Juliet are back together, brushing all of the lingering problems with their relationship under the rug. Sure, she says it's a one-time thing, but by letting him back in, reconciliation is a forgone conclusion. Thus Psych does away with any romantic tension for an episode, instead surprising everyone with the revelation that Gus is still employed as a pharmaceutical rep. This comes out of absolutely nowhere, used as a joke as Shawn and other characters express shock that Gus still holds that job. While that premise for this case may be inorganic, it does create a scenario that is exciting to watch.

When Gus first wakes Shawn up in the middle of the night at Juliet’s, it’s clear that he’s in trouble. But the slow whirlpool that draws a handful of other characters into a web of lies forms the best part of the episode. It’s funny to see Gus rope Shawn into his predicament so quickly, returning to the pharmaceutical office where Gus discovered his prickly boss’ body—with whom he had a vocal altercation earlier in the day. After that discovery, Gus deliberately removes an angry note he wrote from his boss’ cold grip, then accidentally tampers with the crime scene. Dule Hill has always been a gifted physical comedian, and these exaggerated bumbling moments always elicit some laughter.

Once Gus gets Shawn involved, and they continue to contaminate the scene with evidence of their presence, they hook Henry, Woody, and Juliet into their lies in order to buy more time to actually solve the case. When Shawn and Gus show up on Henry’s doorstep, once again in the middle of the same night, Henry tries to get them to come clean, but Shawn and Gus freak out when they see the police investigators on the scene the following morning, and thus, they ignore Henry’s advice and he’s out of the picture. Woody starts to put together the forensic evidence—and using the smell test, he determines cocoa butter (Gus) and Axe body spray (Shawn) were unusually present when they shouldn’t have been. To cover that up, Gus and Shawn kidnap the hapless coroner, taping him to the couch in their office.

With Juliet, things get a bit trickier. She’s already upset at Shawn for lying, and then he lies again about his and Gus’ involvement in the murder case. But hey, no worries, we’re not dealing with that relationship during this hour, so just forget about it and focus on Gus and Shawn as they leave more evidence behind. This episode is an exercise in how deep of a hole Shawn and Gus can dig for themselves before deftly uncovering the real culprit and keep from getting arrested when a mountain of evidence points to them.

David Koechner plays the wily and persistent head of security at Gus’ company, and though he doesn’t get to play the kind of outlandish and aggressive character that bring out the best in him, he still gets a handful of pointed lines that make Gus and Shawn very nervous about what he knows. In his first scene, Koechner squares off against Lassiter, pointing out little bits of evidence Lassie missed, earning the ire of the most conservative detective in Santa Barbara.

Once Koechner gets close to learning the truth—that Gus and Shawn had no involvement, despite examining handwriting of all the employees and discovering trash that Shawn and Gus hid away from the company building—he keels over and dies, poisoned. But Shawn notices something in the garbage bag, and that connects to another executive who showed up to help the office grieve and transition back to work. Having exhausted the mistreated secretary and the unusually attached underling who sings “Time After Time” in tribute to the hated boss, Shawn realizes the evidence implicates the exec.

So a pharmaceutical sales executive cooking the books kills a jerk of a sales VP, Gus gets a promotion at a job nobody knew he still had, and Shawn and Juliet are on the fast track to their inevitable reconciliation despite ample evidence that he continues to lie to her about just about anything he feels like. Watching Gus and Shawn continue to further embroil themselves on the wrong side of the investigation while simultaneously working to find the real culprit has its moments. Gus certainly responds in funny ways to such desperation. But “Office Space” is one of the slighter episodes this season, without as many laughs or significant events in any of the character arcs.

Stray observations:

  • The weirdest part about the executive: he gives out scratch and sniff stickers as incentives to employees.
  • Next week Gus takes over as a radio host with a gravely voice, charming ladies like he always does (but they often turn out to be horrible).
  • Shawn and Gus frequently reference how the legal system would treat the two of them different because of race: “You’re talking like a real white guy about this, Shawn.”

More TV Club