"From the Earth to Starbucks" is the tenth episode of Season One. When a drunken Lassiter confesses to Shawn that he has doubts not only about his latest case but also about his ability to ever solve a case again, Shawn sets out to secretly prove him right in order to boost his morale.
In 1985, Shawn is in line at a grocery store with Gus and his dad. He is arguing with his dad about candy. He tries to get Gus to go ahead of him, but Gus doesn't budge. When it is his turn to go, the cash registers starts ringing. He is the one millionth customer, meaning he has won a slew of prizes including a bike and gift certificates. Shawn asks if he can use the gift certificates at that moment and starts putting all of the candy on to the belt with Gus not far behind him.
Shawn's powers of observation work against him when he cannot help but reconcile his gorgeous Friday night date with her ex-boyfriend after solving the mystery of his series of white lies. Now alone in a bar, he spots Lassiter at a table, drinking heavily, marking a sad anniversary. Lassiter invites Shawn over and proceeds to pour his heart out, confessing that Shawn's skills astound him. While he doesn't believe he's psychic, Shawn somehow guarantees an arrest, whereas Lassiter, who used to be a great cop, now can't even solve the murder of a local astronomer (he becomes even more depressed after Shawn accidentally admits that he was the informant who helped Lassiter solve a particular case). Everyone thinks Bryant Vallery died of natural causes, but the guy was relatively young and lived a healthy lifestyle. Lassiter tells Shawn that he knows there's more to it but can't prove it - then proceeds to pass out.
The next day, Lassiter can't remember any of the previous night's confessions, so Shawn decides to boost his confidence. He'll secretly solve the Vallery case, feeding Lassiter information and giving him all the credit. He talks to the widow who tells him that Bryant and his partner Hugo Rainer, finally got the time they wanted on a large telescope. He started spending long nights at the observatory, soon after which he started feeling "off," which was about six months ago. She also suspected that he was having an affair.
Shawn recruits Juliet into his plan, who will be covertly feeding Lassiter information. Back at the Psych office, Shawn tells Gus that their new case involves a dead astronomer at the observatory, which should make Gus happy, since Shawn knows that Gus goes to the Space Center every Thursday afternoon. Gus denies it, until Shawn reveals he's followed Gus several times. Gus sneaks off to the Space Center to find Shawn now working undercover there as a full time employee.
It turns out, Gus hasn't been going to the Space Center for pure love of astronomy. He's interested in Jessica, a PHD candidate, who has been working at the space center to help pay for school. Gus tells Shawn he's been working a slow plan to ask her out, since she just broke up with a boyfriend. Shawn decides to speed things up, so he takes over the planetarium show so Gus can spend quality time with Jessica.
Shawn starts the show, then leaves to snoop around the observatory. He follows the janitor, Vernon Stallings, and catches him stealing items out of someone's locker. Shawn then finds Hugo, and notices a page missing from the astronomer's logbook. Hugo tells Shawn that he's continuing their work alone for Bryant's sake. They spent five years just petitioning to use the scope, of which they only got eight months of time on, which isn't a lot since it takes months to chart a finding in order to prove it's a discovery.
After finishing the planetarium show, Shawn finds Gus, who finally got Jessica's phone number. Unfortunately, Juliet checked Bryant's phone records and found the number of his lover, which turns out to be the same number. It seems Gus' crush has a motive, but Shawn is unconvinced. He wants to do more digging. Vernon helps Shawn and Gus break into the astronomy lab and tells them that Bryant had become a jerk, was applying for jobs way out of his league and, unbeknownst to Hugo, wanted to dissolve their partnership. Hugo, on the other hand, was always nice to everyone and even brought them all coffee everyday. Shawn and Gus check the logbook. They see that the astronomers took turns at watch and the page that is missing is the night of June 21st. Something must have happened then. On the way out, they see Hugo in the parking lot, bringing in the coffee and a locked suitcase full of his tracking printouts. Shawn tells Gus that Hugo brings them with him everywhere for some unknown reason, but what he does know for sure is that Hugo is not home.
Unable to break into Hugo's house, Shawn spots an odd purple flowered plant, that stands out from the rest of the garden. He takes it to Henry to figure out what it is. Shawn is thrown by the fact that Henry has a woman friend in his house and ends up dropping the plant on his porch and taking off.
Gus goes through with his date with Jessica to see what other information they can get and clear her as a suspect. She tells Gus Hugo is having a big press conference tomorrow. He and Bryant discovered an extra solar planet six months ago. Hugo has finished tracking its orbit. This is an enormous discovery. Shawn, who has been tailing them, says they now have motive, telling Jessica she's no longer a suspect and ruining Gus' chances with her.
Shawn and Gus are at the press conference. Hugo says that the discovery was made on June 21st during his watch. In the middle of his speech, Henry calls Shawn and tells him that the plant he left on the porch was foxglove, which has the poison digitalis in its leaves. Gus tells Shawn that digitalis is only fatal to someone with no heart condition and would only show up if someone were specifically looking for it, which would explain why it wouldn't have been found during the first autopsy. Lassiter and Juliet arrive and Lassiter, who has been doing his own investigating steered secretly by Shawn and Juliet, says that Bryant was going to cut Hugo out of the discovery. Shawn hints at poison and Lassiter says none was found on the autopsy. With that, Shawn figures out that the poison would have to have been administered in small doses over time. Hugo must have put a little bit of foxglove into Bryant's tea every day over six months, killing him so slowly no one realized it was happening.
With the case solved, Lassiter gets his confidence back, regardless of the fact that he knows he had some help, although he thinks it was coming solely from Juliet. And Shawn lets Lassiter know, that the head detective, in his own words..."astounds him."
- The title draws on the classic 1865 Jules Verne novel 'De la terre à la lune (From the Earth to the Moon)' as well as the more modern imagery of the coffeehouse and its role in the case. As a dedicated film buff, Shawn would be aware of the book's vital role in science fiction cinema, inspiring the first SF film, Georges Méliès' 1902 A Trip to the Moon. There may also be a sense of the "Per ardua ad astra" motto of a number of Commonwealth Air Forces, including the Canadian.
- A pineapple appears when Shawn is meeting his father at a bar and waitress walks by with pineapples on her shirt.
- This episode is the first one where Gus uses his "Heard about Pluto?" pickup line.
- Richard Kind (Hugo) played Paul Lassiter on Spin City, sharing the same last name as Carlton Lassiter.
- Nicole Lyn plays Jessica in this episode, Gus's crush; at the time, she was Dulé Hill's (Gus) real-life wife.
Shawn: [to Gus] Oh, I'm sorry sir – didn't see you standing there. You know, being so stealth-like.
[picks up Space Center intercom phone]
Shawn: The Jackal has arrived.
Gus: Heard about Pluto? That's messed up, right?
The gallery for From the Earth to Starbucks can be found here.