The Shield: Animal Control
(S07E06) "I'm not Shane." - Vic
There are way too many layers to that quote. For Vic to say something like that and to actually believe it just goes to show you how delusional a person he truly is. For him to actually believe that he's somehow better than Shane Vendrell is just about as hypocritical as it gets. Bad behavior leads to more bad behavior by setting a precedent and if you're a longtime fan of The Shield, you know the original sin: Terry Crowley.
You can easily make the argument that Vic killing Terry is the main reason that Shane was able to rationalize killing Lem. The difference in Vic's mind is that Terry was a mole trying to bring them down and Lem was a friend. A small detail in the grand scheme of things but a big one in the mind of Vic Mackey.
So imagine my surprise when Vic decided he didn't want to go through with his plan to kill Shane and avenge Lem's death. Even Ronnie was still on board! I have to give the two of them credit though because the set-up with Rezian and Shane getting hit by Rios and Pezuela's goons was airtight. They would have definitely gotten away with it and as far as Claudette and the department were concerned, Shane's death would have been written off as accidental. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time with a dangerous CI. Case closed.
Maybe it was Shane's acceptance of the rift between the Strike Team members and his willingness to transfer or maybe Vic really is just trying to atone for past sins by refraining from adding to the list. Either way, Vic felt slightly out of character to me. Obviously Shane wasn't going to get killed this early in the season and I'm wondering if this same storyline would have worked better at a later point when it would have been easier to say goodbye to him.
I will say this - I've now seen the next five episodes and the story that Shawn Ryan and Co. have crafted more than makes up for this very minor lapse in Vic's character. Wait'll you see what happens next because it's gonna blow your mind.
More thoughts on "Animal Control" --
The return of Tavon! I had always hoped we'd see him up and walking again. His return created a perfect juxtaposition against Shane's potential demise in this episode. Shane had one quote where he said something along the lines of dealing with trouble now rather than looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life. It perfectly described what Tavon was pondering (Vic and Lem's bullsh*t story about Tavon attacking Mara) and what Vic was planning (Shane's death).
I like how everything is starting to tie together. Finding out that the two Mexican thugs that Olivia smuggled into the US were behind the street draggings and Robert Martin's shooting was huge. The connections are so well thought out.
Dutch's plea for help at the end was brilliant! The guy is so tormented and Billings, up to this point, hasn't given a crap. The most ironic thing about it is that Dutch is a master at reading people and yet he couldn't see that all Billings needed was to feel wanted.
The one thing I did question about this episode was Shane's street smarts. Personally, I don't think he's very quick at all and maybe I'm off there, but his quote at the end when he told Mara that Vic and Ronnie tried to kill him really got me thinking:
"You know what the worst part is? They think I'm too stupid to even realize it."
Well, yeah... because he is. However, I wonder if he would have ever known if Ronnie hadn't jammed his gun? I think that's the one thing that tipped him off. If his gun worked, maybe he gets a few shots off, drops one of the Mexican hitters, and just figures it was Pezuela being bold behind Vic's back. Totally plausible. But his gun being jammed is an immediate sign, especially when you consider that only a few select individuals could have gotten to it. It's just interesting to think that while Vic and Ronnie clearly saw jamming the gun as an added insurance policy to their plan, it might actually have turned into the lynch pin that's instead putting events to come in motion.