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Recap / Psych S 03 E 01 Ghosts

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Season 3, Episode 1

"Shawn, don't do this to me. You're late. As of this moment, you are officially late... just call me when you get here?"

Directed by Stephen Surjik
Written by Steve Franks

Gus's boss (Todd Stashwick) forces him to choose between his pharmaceutical sales job and the Psych agency, so Shawn decides to save both jobs by investigating the home of the company's V.P. (Christopher McDonald), which appears to be haunted. In the meantime, Shawn must deal with the return of his mother Madeleine (Cybill Shepherd), a psychiatrist who is in town to evaluate some of Santa Barbara's finest, including Lassiter.

Should not be confused with the play Ghosts. Should not be confused with The Protector episode "Ghosts", the Revolution episode "Ghosts", and the Hidden Palms episode "Ghosts". Should not be confused with the DC Comics series Ghosts. Should not be confused with the board game Ghosts. Should not be confused with the books Ghosts (1990) and Ghosts (1993). Should not be confused with the films Ghosts (2005) and Ghosts (2006).


This episode contains examples of:

  • Beware the Silly Ones: Shawn makes it very clear to Haversham that he will cheerfully ruin both the man's career and marriage if he ever so much as considers letting Gus get fired.
  • Brick Joke: Gus mocks Ogletree's hobby of raising carrier pigeons at the end of the episode in the meeting with Haversham.
  • Call-Back:
  • Cerebus Callback:
    • This episode really highlights just how mutually antagonistic and bitter Henry and Shawn's relationship had become prior to the start of the series, with a teenaged Shawn having gotten himself arrested so he would never be able to be a detective like Henry wanted him to just to stick it to him.
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    • Relatedly, Gus' previous complaints to Shawn about having to take off work time for Psych used to be just a Running Gag... but in this episode, it's revealed that it's happened enough times that Gus is on the verge of getting fired.
  • Didn't Think This Through: As an exasperated Gus points out, while Shawn had been pretty effectively haunting Haversham's house for the last few days, he hadn't given thought for how they're going to get rid of the hostile spirits when he's the hostile spirits in question.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Poor Gus does this in his meetings with Ogletree concerning carrier pigeons.
    • It doesn't exactly go much better when Gus is talking to Haversham either.
      Haversham: Have a seat.
      Gus: (pointing to a picture) Is that your wife?
      Haversham: My grandmother.
      Gus: Tell her I said she's lovely!
      Haversham: She died.
      Gus: ...I'm going to sit down now.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Ghosts" refers to both Shawn haunting the Havershams' mansion and the proverbial "ghosts" of Shawn's pain over his parents' divorce coming back to the surface.
  • False Dichotomy: Gus's boss is trying to get him to choose either his pharmaceutical sales job or the Psych agency. Gus, on his part, sees no reason he can't do both.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Gus mentions to Shawn that Haversham grew up under the tutelage of his father William, who was supposedly a genius entrepreneur and real estate magnate. However, Haversham later admits to Shawn that his father wasn't around much and that he was mostly raised by his grandmother, subtly alluding to how Haversham's not nearly as squeaky-clean as he appears to be on the surface.
    • As Shawn later notes, the bowl containing Bianca's homemade pappardelle has the same design along the edge as the cup he was drinking hot chocolate from at Haversham's house, alluding to Haversham having an affair with his secretary.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: After getting fed up at Shawn's childish antics, Henry bluntly tells him that even if he does blame him for ruining his life, it doesn't excuse him being a prick in the present to both him and Madeline.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A non-lethal case. Shawn's anger with Henry over his and Madeline's divorce is revealed to be due to Henry misleading Shawn into thinking that he had been the one to push for divorce and not Madeline, apparently having decided that it'd be better for Shawn to be angry with him (the parent who will be staying at home and caring for him) instead of being angry at a mother who'd barely be around him anymore due to her career path.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction:
    • One that is made funnier by the fact that it's completely unintentional; After claiming that he would never shoot a cat to Chief Vick, Lassiter immediately goes back on that.
      Lassiter: Unless it was approaching in a threatening manner... or refused to stop upon my command. I would probably just fire a warning shot to make my point, but that's really a field decision. I can't commit to it at this juncture.
    • Henry claims to Shawn that he's not trying to "put on airs" around Madeline... when the waiter suddenly comes back describing a very fancy meal he just ordered.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Paul Haversham, the VP of Santa Barbara's branch of Central Coast Pharmaceuticals, seems to be a Reasonable Authority Figure on the surface, but ultimately turns out to be an adulterous criminal who quickly tries to get Gus fired after discerning Shawn's involvement in the haunting.
  • Jerkass: Ogletree, Gus' boss, who seems to be almost going out of his way to have Gus fired.
  • Jerkass Ball: Shawn is noticeably more bitter and antagonistic towards Henry in this episode with Madeline's reappearance, as her return is causing a lot of frustrating and unresolved feelings to bubble back up to the surface for him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Gus' asshole of a boss does have a point in that his Psych agency job is clearly starting to interfere with his pharmaceutical job.
  • Karma Houdini: As part of Shawn blackmailing him to let Gus keep his job, Haversham's adultery and illegal selling of company samples isn't brought to light.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: As soon as Shawn obliquely lets him know that he has enough dirt on him to send him away to prison for a long time, Haversham immediately forces Ogletree to stop harassing Gus and let him keep his two jobs.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Shawn is completely floored when Madeline reveals to him that she, not Henry, was the one who ultimately asked for the divorce.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Mr. Ogletree, the regional sales manager at Central Coast Pharamaceuticals, is nicknamed "the Little Pinochet" by his employees.
  • Mean Boss: Ogletree by far. His Establishing Character Moment has him wasting time playing mini-golf in his office before he verbally eviscerates Gus and threatens to fire him unless he quits Psych.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Shawn's haunting of Haversham's house unveils that he's both cheating on his wife with one of Gus' co-workers and that he's been repackaging company samples & selling them under the table.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Shawn's been angry at his father for so many years as he was led to believe that Henry had filed for divorce, taking his mother away from him. As Madeline reveals in this episode, it's the other way around, and he should be angry at her instead.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Gus has a lot of these throughout the episode whenever his bosses threaten him with getting fired.
    • Lassiter has one when he learns that the psychologist that he just confessed most of his life to is the mother of Shawn Spencer.
    • Haversham has a more subdued one when Shawn lets him know that he's aware of him both cheating on his wife and illegally selling company samples.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: After Gus discovers Shawn is "haunting" Haversham's house, Shawn goes into a lengthy explanation laden with flashbacks showing how he's been able to convince everyone else that the place is infested with spirits.
  • Photographic Memory: According to Madeleine Spencer, she has eidetic tonal memory, which is like her son's photographic memory, but with sound.
  • Reality Ensues: This episode highlights how Gus having to constantly take off work for Psych has really cut into his job, and that while he's still doing enough work to keep his job, his bosses are getting tired of him crunching out an entire week's worth of work in just one day when he's making up for lost time.
  • Running Gag:
    • There's a pineapple on the island in Henry's kitchen, and another one on Mr. Haversham's kitchen counter.
    • Gus' nickname of "Fearless Guster" is introduced in this episode. Similarly, Shawn goes "boneless" on Gus when the latter is trying to evict him from the building.
  • Sadistic Choice: Gus is offered one by Ogletree, who tells him that he has to quit Psych if he wants to keep working at Central Coast Pharmaceuticals. Thankfully, Shawn is able to help him arrange a happy medium.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: How Shawn was able to gaslight Haversham and his wife into thinking that their mansion was haunted.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Shawn stops Haversham from letting Gus get fired by noting how heartbroken his deceased grandmother would've been if she had known about him cheating on his wife and breaking the law.
  • Shout-Out: The boss of Gus' boss - Mr. Haversham - has a last name that just barely different from that of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. Appropriately enough, part of Shawn's haunting of Haversham's house involves him hiring an actress to walk across the road behind the house in a tattered wedding dress.
  • Take a Third Option: Gus tries to save both his pharmaceutical sales job and his Psych agency job. It's only with Shawn's aid that he succeeds.
  • Wham Shot: Gus sneaking upstairs to uncover the source of Haversham's haunting... only to discover that it's Shawn.


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