If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times before: The cast and creative minds behind the USA comedy Psych know what they're doing when it comes to pleasing the show's longtime fans. And that extends to crafting highly entertaining revivals that add new chapters to the characters' stories. Much like the show's first follow-up film, the new movie, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, is another classic Psych adventure full of familiar bits and hijinks that proves once again that if something isn't broken, don't fix it.
In the 90-minute movie, which is now streaming on NBCUniversal's just-launched streaming service Peacock, Shawn (James Roday Rodriguez) and Gus (Dulé Hill) return home to Santa Barbara to investigate the strange goings-on at a private hospital facility where Carlton Lassiter, aka "Lassie" (Timothy Omundson), still the chief of police, is recovering after being shot multiple times and left for dead while working a case. As Psych fans well know, Omundson suffered a stroke in April 2017, which meant he wasn't able to participate beyond a short cameo in the first movie. Writing the actor's real-life injury into this movie, which was filmed in March 2019, works well and allows the only missing piece from the first movie to be front and center in this one.
It only takes a few minutes of being back in Shawn and Gus' wild orbit to realize that the natural chemistry between Rodriguez and Hill that powered Psych and made it an infinitely rewatchable detective comedy for eight wacky seasons remains an unstoppable force even now, years after the show concluded. They step back into the familiar roles with little effort, and the banter flows as easily as it ever did, complete with a few well-placed meta jokes that reveal they know exactly why they're back. As Shawn says when Gus rejects his latest embarrassing nickname, "We can't just stop doing bits we've been doing for 10 years. We have fans. They have expectations. There'll be a huge backlash." It's enough to make you wish Rodriguez and Hill could keep playing these roles forever, releasing a new movie every couple of years to remind us just how great Psych is and just how funny they can be together.
The movie itself is another nod to Hitchcock — Psych loves its homages as much as Gus loves Pluto — but it's also another exceptionally fun adventure in a long line of fun adventures with these characters. Once again, enough time has passed since the last time we saw everyone that fans have had enough time to truly miss the show, but the film also moves the plot forward just enough that it feels like a natural progression of the characters' lives and not an attempt by creator Steve Franks and the cast to relive the good ol' days.
Although Shawn and Juliet (Maggie Lawson) were married in the first film, their relationship hasn't evolved much beyond that. However, Shawn at least appears to be trying to mature and think about other people. He recognizes it is wrong to lie to Juliet about the fact he is helping Lassie, and he even returns to San Francisco early on in an attempt to be a better husband. But this is Shawn, and the case is personal, so his brief bout of guilt doesn't stop him for too long. Of course, what Shawn doesn't know is that Juliet is also investigating the case on the side.
This is all well and good, a decent set-up that brings beloved characters, including Shawn's father Henry (Corbin Bernsen), Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson), Woody (Kurt Fuller), and even Mary Lightly (Jimmi Simpson) — just wait until you see how the film's writers (Franks, Rodriguez, and Andy Berman) brought the fan-favorite character back this time — together once more. But the film also goes one step further with regards to its characters' long-term arcs. I can't say much without risking major spoilers, but suffice it to say, the film's emotional moments, which have been a long time coming, are among the very best the show has ever done.
There's no telling how long Rodriguez, Hill, and the rest of the Psych gang can keep this up — at some point Shawn will likely have to give up the immature antics that have made the character and the show so much fun over the years — but for the time being, this is exactly what we need. Here's hoping we'll get a few more of these outings before Rodriguez decides to hang up his fake mustache collection for good.
TV Guide rating: 5/5
Psych 2: Lassie Come Home is now streaming on Peacock, NBCUniversal's new streaming service.