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September 2, 2015

The Shield: Animal Control

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Oct 7th 2008 11:01PM

Walton Goggins
(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.

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Well I don't agree that Shane sucks as a cop.
He's a great cop, acts quickly when stuff turns into shit.
His problem from way back was meeting Mara.

As Lem said unless she's got a pussy that cures cancer she's not worth the trouble but I guess she's got one.

October 13 2008 at 6:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

great episode. This is one of those, that you desperately want to see what happens next.
The plot, dialog and acting were great. I'm trying to sum up my thoughts about it, but I cant figure out what to say.

I didnt think Vic was out of character. It is not an "evil" man. At least in his eyes, and there are some things that he is not proud of and doesnt want to repeat it. Remember that he made th echange of heart AFTER the talk with his Wife, who he loves more than anything, and hearing that she 'knows how he is' and that she expected him to be ruthless towards her having the children, gave him a moment to pause and reflect on his current actions and make an adjustment on his battle plan. I thought it was brilliant. It happens I think alot in life, where you flip the other way when confronted by a loved one.
The question now is, now that the Armenian threat is over, will this show now be more focused on the "trust" issue with the strike team and it will be more head to head internally, or will we have more outside forces that will bring them together?
My vote is for the former.


October 10 2008 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The running over an hour thing isn't anything new, they've done it for several seasons, and it's a good thing. They take as long to tell the story as they need to, if it's an hour, it's an hour, but if they need 1:09, they'll take 1:09. If your cable company or your tivo is getting this wrong, you've gotta just tack on another 15 minutes of recording time to be safe, otherwise you'll miss the best parts of the episode.

And Jonathan, Shane is pretty smart when it comes to survival. Remember the ruse he pulled last year so he could deliver his "book of sin" to Vic? Shane's not smart like Claudette is smart, but he's got an instinct for survival that comes from his deep self-centeredness.

Speaking of Claudette, I loved the scene where she chewed out Ronnie. Ewith every episode this season, I've been admiring her more and more and that's starting from a very high level of admiration.

October 10 2008 at 5:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Caught it on DVR last night -- great stuff.

I still think there is more to the Olivia story than we know so far. Why is Vic so anxious to trust and help her?

October 09 2008 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode, although I was fully ready to say goodbye to Shane. It is the final season and all. Vic's sudden turnaround was a surprise but Shane's little sly turn at the end was. I cannot wait to see what's next.

October 09 2008 at 4:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had the same problem with the previous episode as well. They've been starting on time but running long.

October 08 2008 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You know what I hate? That this episode ran like 10 minutes over but FX didn't adjust their program schedule around it. So I had to tape the midnight rerun and the show after it to catch the end. Sucked.

October 08 2008 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This episode was brilliant! The suspense and drama was at a high point throughout. Shane's line at the end gave me chills. I haven't been this excited about the next episode in some time. I am beginning to wonder how much impact Vic's family will have on the ending of this show...

October 08 2008 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode. I really enjoyed how they didn't tell you exactly what Vic planned and the viewer was just as much a victim of whatever trap was set as Shane would've been. Great writing, which has always been a strong suit of the show.

October 08 2008 at 2:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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