The Shield: The New Guy
(S06E04) To say the Strike Team experienced a shakeup in tonight's episode would be an understatement to say the least.
Claudette once again shows her brilliance by leading Vic along into thinking he's got a chance to stick around at The Barn. Somewhat surprisingly it works like a charm. Vic chums right up to his new replacement of all people, and Julien being added to the team is met with no fuss. Vic is one well-behaved little puppy.
Claudette also knows how to keep Hyatt's head in the right place with regards to Vic's reputation on the streets and in The Barn. I'm not sure if Vic has any idea what kind of brick wall he's hitting with her sitting in the big office upstairs.
Meanwhile, Hyatt seems to know how to balance making his presence known to the team and keeping a somewhat low profile. Of course, to Shane, Hyatt could sit behind a desk at the station and still be felt as muscling in too much on Strike Team business. This is a little surprising, since Hyatt's not there to replace Lem.
Random thought: Aceveda's pronunciation of "machete" reminded me of a hysterical SNL skit from seasons past.
And speaking of Shane, it's interesting to see the extreme about-face he's taken regarding Lem's death as he expresses it to the Team. Before Guardo was shot dead, Shane seemed pretty quick to just let things be for a while. Now that Vic feels maybe a tad better about things, now Shane comes unraveled. It's a trip down a road that Shane's likely not going to come back from.
The package delivered to the Strike Team was heartbreaking. To see "Birds of America" and "Dreams And What They Mean" amongst the light reading Lem meant for his time in the joint illustrated a part of Lem's personality that we never got to see. In fact we got more insight into Lem's personality in that one short scene that we did with Lem alive, and once again we, the viewers, are forced right back into disbelief that Lem is actually dead and died the way he did. He'll never get to broaden his mind with those books.
I'm not sure what to think of Julien becoming a member of the Strike Team. If I was asked last season who I'd think would be asked to join the team from the existing cast, he certainly wouldn't have been my choice. But come to think of it now, he's a younger, stronger guy compared to many of the other non-Strike Teamers we've come to know, and he can be tough when he needs to be. So maybe the choice isn't such a bad idea after all.
I don't feel like it's a stretch to say that the final scene in the waiting room of the hospital was an Emmy-worthy performance by Chiklis. I'm not sure I've seen pain on Vic's face like that since Corinne left him many seasons ago. Everything hits him all at once, with Corinne behind the glass and his failed attempt at saving someone taking its toll on him. His calls out to Corinne about her dream about Lem, muffled by the glass, was powerful stuff.
Just for that last scene alone, I'll give this episode a seven out of seven on the TV Squad rating scale. That's definitely not to say the rest doesn't deserve it, though.