Ever since USA announced Psych would return for a shortened eighth season, there was an immediate call for the usual number of 16 episodes.
Late in 2013, the network ordered additional scripts, which brought the total to 10 installment for what is, many fans believe, the show’s final season.
The series wrapped production in August, with it props and costumes sold a few weeks later, leading many to believe the end is near for Shawn, Gus and company and many to react with understandable sadness.
But I recently had the chance to review Psych Season 7 and the conclusion I’ve come to - though rather painfully and after at least a few tears shed - is that while our hearts aren’t ready to let the antics of Shawn and Gus go, the story itself is ready to come to a close.
When we think back to all the things that went down last year, the most significant in terms of plot actually began in Psych Season 7 Episode 10. When the mayor turned over, the power structure that kept our favorite team together significantly changed.
By the time Trout rocked our worlds in Psych Season 7, Episode 14 when he placed Karen on leave, the foundation further eroded, leaving Shawn, Gus, Juliet and Lassiter in fundamentally different positions.
With Karen out of the picture, our fearless foursome is exposed and out of their element. Shawn’s secret is no longer safe and now subject to even sharper scrutiny. Over time, Karen clearly paved the way for Shawn to get away with more than he ever should have.
Thanks to new personnel at every turn, the stakes are higher and the situation more tenuous. This is assuming he even has a chance to continue to get hired by the department, which I strongly doubt as Trout openly fired them.
Lassie is no longer Head Detective, which means any power he may have had over protecting Shawn - or even himself - is minimal, and, in fact, his possible demotion nearly makes them equals, a badge the only thing that separates them in any capacity.
The only thing that can truly keep the fab four together lies in the power structure they’ve forged among themselves up to this point. While we won’t know what it looks like until the show returns on January 8, there’s a good chance it will allow the focus of the upcoming installments to turn inward on Shawn, Gus, Juliet and Lassiter.
This crime-fighting unit came a long way in Season 7. Lassie and Marlowe tied the knot in Psych Season 7 Episode 8, the same episode in which Juliet uncovered Shawn’s secret. Both leading men had to, and will continue to, learn how to navigate their new respective spaces.
Putting this growth in perspective, Lassiter and Marlowe only spent a little bit of time together outside her incarceration before tying the knot. This was the same man who fought his divorce for the first three seasons of the show. He’s come quite a long way.
Shawn is finally becoming the man he is meant to be, and there are very few barriers between him and Juliet finding a happy ending, even less so now that she’s on the inner circle when it comes to knowing Shawn’s secret.
Not to mention the lengths he went to in order to ensure he and Juliet got back together. While I still lament the fact I didn’t get to see the reconciliation, the fact it happened is enough.
Without spoiling anything, it is unclear what Juliet and Lassiter’s roles will be in the upcoming season. The same thing goes for the Chief. They will need to replace the Head Detective, who knows how long that will go empty for, though we all know there’s a possibility that Mira Sorvino will fill it towards the end of the season.
Lassiter may end up a regular detective or something less. We also don’t know whether or not Karen will continue to have a strong presence in the lives of her top investigators. With all roads open, they could lead anywhere.
At the very least this leaves the option open for all of them to go their separate ways outside of the precinct. With the Psych Agency on its way out due to lack of cases, it may force Gus to return to Central Coast full time or seek new employment altogether.
Similarly, this means Shawn may have to actually find himself full time work elsewhere or, in a real shocker, actually become a cop. That option, however, seems to be the outlier. It may also force him to consider a reevaluation of his relationship to other things and people in his life, perhaps even leading to a proposal at some point. The field seems fairly open on what comes next for our favorite psychic.
This is why 10 episodes is enough.
It's enough to let us see how things have changed and what direction they will take our favorite crime fighting team in. It is also enough to give us a few things we haven't had a chance to see, fun things we didn't know we wanted to see our characters do, and the moments we've always longed for.
I know it’s hard to fathom just how different things will be this season, but the reality is that it will be in a very fundamental way. We need to at least be able to accept that fact and roll with it.
The good news is we’ll have each other to lean on as it goes, and, if you’re still in that camp of folks ready to call out for Season 9, you aren’t in denial or delusional as some people might want to call you. You’re the heart of this true fandom, too. Let’s keep it friendly and look after each other NO MATTER WHAT - that’s what we Psych-O’s are know for, after all.
Let’s enjoy Psych Season 8. We’ve waited for it way too long and it’s full of epic possibilities. I am at peace with that, and, in time, I hope you’ll be able to say you are, too.
Remember: you can watch Psych online now in order to catch up prior to the January 8 premiere.
C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.