The Shield: Family Meeting (series finale)
(S07E13) "Family meeting!" - Shane
Seven seasons, 88 episodes, and it all comes down to this. Vic Mackey, one of television's greatest anti-heroes, finally got what was coming to him. The Shield is over and Tuesday nights across America just got a little less exciting. Shawn Ryan has crafted some masterful Vic Mackey moments since 2001, but this episode (and Michael Chiklis' acting in it) easily stand apart as one of the show's greatest achievements yet.For the most part, "Family Meeting" played out exactly as I expected it to. There weren't a lot of crazy WTF moments. Much of it was logical. Even the ending was something I had considered, however, I didn't put much stock in it. In my mind, Vic Mackey had to go down in a stream of blood and bullets. That being said, the lack of blood in Vic's final "resting place" was just as powerful.
Picking up where we left off last week, Vic spilled his guts to Olivia and Chaffee, effectively hanging Ronnie out to dry. Now he needs to come through on his promise to deliver Beltran to save himself while stringing Gardocki along. It was so painful to watch the entire episode, knowing that Ronnie would either die or be hauled off to jail. Even Vic had more potential endings than him. I've said it before and I'll say it again - David Rees Snell deserves some serious props for what he did with Ronnie over the span of this show. From a guy with no lines in the pilot to this. Amazing.
Moving on to Shane, was anyone really that surprised at the murder/suicide? Sure it was shocking, but the second he gave all his extra money to the cashier at the Korean grocery, you knew exactly what was going to happen - poison Mara, Jackson, and the unborn Francis Abigail, and then shoot himself.
After he spoke with Vic, Walton Goggins' face was brilliant - the minute he realized it was over when Vic told him about the deal with I.C.E and Olivia. The second they got home, it was as if the Bonnie and Clyde lifestyle they had been living for the past few weeks vanished immediately and the fear of what would happen to the kids set in. For Shane, a guy who's always been a coward (how can you forget the way he killed Lem), this really was the most appropriate end for him. He'll never have to answer for all the pain he caused. Pathetic.
Let's get the rest of my thoughts on the finale out of the way before we discuss the end...
I found it odd that Shane used Billings as a middle man to deliver his message to Claudette. Why didn't he just call The Barn? Once he got home, you knew a neighbor would report it, so his location was no secret.
Speaking of Billings, how about his "bitch dyke" attorney? She was strikingly beautiful! It honestly crossed my mind that Billings had maybe hired an actress (or hooker?) to try and seduce Dutch into writing Steve a more favorable report for his case against the department. Guess not though, since that really was his lawyer. Nice that Dutch seemed to hit it off with her. (The actress who played Steve's lawyer, Julia Campbell, is Jay Karnes' wife.)
And speaking of Dutch, I was a little disappointed with how things played out with him and Lloyd. You knew the kid was going to kill his mother and the way he tried to set-up Dutch was certainly admirable, but I had been hoping for a bit a of a bigger showdown between the two. Regardless, seeing Claudette rip the little shit apart in the interrogation room more than made up for it. Lupus be damned, she's still got it.
The only other disappointing moment in the finale for me was when Julien checked out those two guys while on patrol with Tina. It was a reaffirmation that he's gay, but also a reminder that we really didn't get any closure to his story.
What did everyone else think of Andre Benjamin's Huggins? Comic book store owner turned mayoral candidate. I bet he would have given Aceveda a run for his money... makes you wonder if David may have had any involvement in his murder.
In a nod to his hometown of Rockford, Illinois, Shawn Ryan sent Corinne and the kids there - the home of that giant T-Rex is the Burpee Museum of Natural History which is in Rockford.
My mouth actually got dry because my jaw hung open for what seemed like forever as Claudette showed Vic the crime scene pictures from Shane's apartment. That was one of the best scenes this show has ever had. Vic's eyes were like shards of glass.
Clark Johnson, who directed the pilot, also directed this episode and popped up right at the end as the "Handsome Federal Marshal." Know what other influential series he directed the book-ends for? The Wire.
OK - let's talk Vic. For argument's sake, he may as well have ended up in prison because for him, sitting in a tiny cubicle, isn't much better. In prison, he might have actually had a few friends (maybe not). But the second Shane told him that Corinne was working with the cops and said Vic was "alone," that was the key right there.
Ronnie got dragged off, Shane is dead, his family is in witness protection, and he has a job where no one is ever going to be sitting next to him in the break room. The ironic thing about the picture with Lem on his desk (he had to cut Ronnie and Shane out) is that had Lem still been alive, Vic probably would have screwed him over too. Sooner or later, "me" always comes before "you."
The look on Vic's face when Olivia told him that he has a desk job - not a plainclothes beat - was amazing. Vic was angry, hurt, and saddened all at the same time. Best of all, he knew he had no choice. The final scene - again, Michael Chiklis' eyes - was amazing. All that pain and suffering whittled down to a new daily mantra: wear a suit, do your job, and go home. It's the complete antithesis of who he is. Excuse me - who he was.
So what does everyone think? Did Vic Mackey get what he deserved?