Or: Why We Watch Scary Movies

Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson) and Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) in “Psych” season 4 episode 16.

The fourth season finale of “Psych”, no matter how many times I watch it, kills me.  By the end of the episode I am a snotty, weepy mess.  Not because of who dies, or because of relationships, but because of the final few seconds Juliet and Lassiter are on the screen.  Her angry/scared/violated breakdown leaves me in pieces.  And Lassiter is there for her, bless him, but her pain is so deep even the loving arms of her partner can’t repair the damage done.  And he knows this, we can see it in his face.  She’s going to have to figure it out for herself.

You see, what happens to Juliet and Abigail in this episode — and Maddie in the previous season — is fucking scary.  These women have all control taken away from them.  They are harassed, forced into situations, physically restrained, threatened, certain they are going to die.  They are completely stripped of their autonomy and Juliet’s breakdown is the most believable reaction of all three women.  She has every right to be a flaming mess and I, for one, salute her for taking the time to freakthefuck out.

Because it doesn’t take being kidnapped by a serial killer to make a person feel unsafe.  All it takes in one incident.  A simple mugging, getting pushed down in the street and having a wallet stolen can make a person reluctant to walk around his or her own neighborhood alone.  As can watching the news, watching too many crime shows, and having an overactive imagination.  We live in a world in which people are awful to one another.  We live in a world with serial killers.  We live in a world where mental disorders go unchecked and undiagnosed.  We live in a world where people kill each other for no reason.  But we also live in a world where we have fathers who look out for us well into adulthood, and friends who have our backs no matter what, and partners who will let us flip out and be the shoulder we cry upon.  The world is Yin and Yang, I suppose: it is as much full of Love as it is full of Awfulness.

I love this “Psych” episode.  It reminds us the world is simultaneously Awful and Love, but that we decide which we are.

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