The Shield: Coefficient of Drag (season premiere)
(S07E01) "The Armenians know about the money train!" - Shane
The beginning of the end. One down and twelve to go in The Shield's final run. As depressing as that is, a.) at least it's not over yet and, b.) it started out with one hell of a set-up, huh? Vic and the rest of the Strike Team (what's left of it anyway) have gotten themselves into some serious messes in the past, but something tells me that stirring up a manufactured feud between the Armenians and the Mexicans isn't going to lead to a happy ending.
For those that caught my Early Look review last week, I tried to stay light on the details. But fair warning now - if you haven't watched the premiere yet, I'd hold back on skimming through this as there's a lot of stuff to cover. For instance? Vic doesn't screw around when it comes to his family. There are always moments when I say to myself that even Vic Mackey has a line he won't cross. Then he goes and surprises me. Tying up Mara and practically beating the ever-living crap out of Shane aren't exactly that horrible on the Mackey Scale, but I had just assumed that he would have handled retaliation a little cleaner in this case. Guess not.
Shane, on the other hand, will pretty much try anything at this point. He's dug a hole without a shovel and no ladder to get out. Remember, he's the one who squealed to Diro in the first place about the Strike Team (minus himself) being the masterminds of the money train hit. Diro, Rezian, and just about anyone with clout in the Armenian organization know about it and that's not good since they've green-lit Vic and his family. So what Shane has essentially created is a situation where Vic is now forced to work with him to clear his family's name. With Diro gone, Shane has Rezian's ear - more for personal reasons; Shane and his family were subsequently green-lit as well. So those "favors" aren't just for Vic.
What follows is in-depth, logical, and confusing all at the same time. Vic wants to take down Pezuela still (as penance for his own sins) and he and Shane both want/need to take down the Armenians. Since both groups are gaining power, it only makes sense to pit them against each other. Shane convinces Rezian that because of his power grab, Diro has aligned herself with the Mexicans. Vic then convinces Pezuela that the Armenians were behind the theft of Aramboles' blackmail box and there's no way for Pezuela to think otherwise because, a.) Vic and Aceveda still have the box and, b.) Vic has Aramboles tied up in the same house he killed Guardo in. One Mexi-Armo manufactured feud coming right up!
Before I move on, I do have a few gripes about this. First off, other than the few things Vic looked at, what the hell is in that box? Does it really demand the respect it's getting? That thing became awfully important awfully fast. It's pivotal. Without that blackmail box, a lot of things fall apart immediately.
Secondly, for the most part, Rezian and Pezuela strike me as well-informed, smart, and savvy individuals. Neither would have risen to power if they weren't. Yet both men take just about everything that Vic and Shane feed them at face value. Don't they have goons to spy or dig up info? I'm having a little bit of an issue with how gullible they seem.
Those are minor complaints though because this was a damn near perfect premiere episode. Here's what else is on my mind:
- It's going to be interesting to see how Olivia connects to everything. If we've learned one thing from The Shield, Feds don't just show up for the hell of it.
- I still can't believe that Shane tells Mara everything. Whether Shane realizes it or not, in the end if it comes down to it, Mara will protect herself and the kids before her husband. No question.
- The return of Steve Billings - complete with his old man sunglasses. He and Dutch are just too good together and the way Dutch played Steve by poking at the guy's self-pride to bring him back into the fold was perfect. Really well done. And how about that first case they caught? Man gets acquitted for killing his wife ("final jeopardy" - ha!), then gives up the real killer (who he hired!), so that he can get re-married! Only on The Shield.
- While it's far too convenient that Pezuela was able to bribe some city official to get Vic an extension on his hearing, I'm glad at least some reason was given. It would have made no sense if Vic just kept working and no one said anything.
- Like that picture of Ronnie I used? Looks like he's going to play a fairly prominent role this season. Not only has his hatred of Shane continued to grow, but now he's looking to possibly leave the Strike Team for a job with the Special Investigations Section. However, if he wants out, agreeing to murder Zadofian for Vic probably wasn't the best idea. Add in Shane's sloppy clean up job with the ax, and I would hope that this comes back to haunt them in some capacity.
- So who do we think cleared the room and missed Danny's attacker? My vote goes with Tina. Regardless of who it was, it seems like this is going be Danny's path for the season as she tries to move past a near brush with death. She is raising Lee by herself don't forget.
- I spit soda all over myself when Tina asked Dutch to help "fill her box." So he did. "Tight" apparently. Hilarious.
Overall, really solid premiere episode and I love the set-up for the entire season. I know there were a lot of complaints that season six didn't have much of a cliffhanger - it just sort of ended. This made up for it.
I've read a lot of things about this show. Watched video, interviews, etc. Whenever Walton Goggins (he plays Shane) talks, he always mentions that Vic is so great at compartmentalizing things. I'm thinking that may end up being his downfall here. He's letting his desire to atone for his own sins and protect his family get in the way of protecting the rest of the Strike Team - especially Ronnie. It has to fall apart, right?
|He's a dead man walking.||189 (47.1%)|
|There's a cot waiting for him right next to Kavanaugh.||100 (24.9%)|
|He's going to retire like normal people do.||112 (27.9%)|