With the launch of Peacock this week, NBCUniversal will drop Psych: The Movie 2: Lassie Come Home, the latest installment in the long-running USA Network TV series starring Dule Hill, James Roday, Maggie Lawson, and Timothy Omundson. After seven seasons on TV, the show moved to the TV-movie format with Psych: The Movie in 2017, only to immediately run into an unexpected challenge: Omundson suffered a serious stroke in the time leading up to production, and was unable to appear as Carlton "Lassie" Lassiter in the movie as it had originally been written. His brief cameo in Psych: The Movie was a heartwarming highlight for fans, and so it came to be that the sequel, subtitled "Lassie Come Home," became a homecoming of sorts for the now-chief of the Santa Barbara Police Department.
Psych: The Movie 2 opens with Lassiter being dealt a debilitating injury at the hands of a would-be assassin who leaves him for dead. He calls Shawn (Roday) and Gus (Hill) to his bedside when he suspects that something isn't as it seems at his swanky private hospital.
The movie feels a little less cohesive than the first Psych: The Movie did and more like an expanded episode of the TV series. There are good and bad aspects to that. For fans who have gone a few years without new adventures, seeing certain old faces who didn't appear -- or didn't have much of a presence -- in the last movie is certainly a treat. The narrative, though, does not hold together quite as well, and certainly has nowhere near the connectivity to the original show that the previous movie did.
The performances are uniformly great -- it's especially nice to see a meatier role for Omundson, who was always a highlight of the series. The decision to give his character, rather than Roday's, the traditional flashback at the beginning of the story was a good call, as it gave audiences a glimpse into a part of Lassiter they had never seen before, and it paid off later. Lassie is probably the character whose growth from the start of the series to its end was most profound, and watching this film gives another dimension to that journey as Omundson and series creator Steve Franks let fans see how he has evolved since then. The flashback also provides an emotional grounding that really hits home in the third act, when some of the stranger things that Lassie does throughout the movie are explained.
When Psych: The Movie hit, there was a suggestion that NBCUniversal and USA were interested in making it into a series. That movie, while maybe more coherent as a movie, did not feel as easy to follow-up as this one. Here, every major character from the TV show is heard from, all of them get a bit of an evolution so that we can see what has happened to them since Shawn and Gus left for San Francisco, and certain plot threads seem to be left intentionally wide open for another installment. And that should make any die-hard Psych-O happy.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Psych: The Movie 2: Lassie Come Home lands on Peacock on Wednesday, July 15th.
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