The ending isn't my problem. In fact, it's one of the better series endings I've seen in my lifetime. The show didn't go out all guns a blazin' in a fiery final showdown, with Shane or Vic waking up next to Suzanne Pleshette and realizing the entire season was just a dream that took place in an autistic child's snow globe.
(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.
(S07E12) "How much memory does that thing got?" - Vic
One down and one to go.
Victor Samuel Mackey. Hard to believe, that after seven seasons, we didn't even know Vic's full name. If you think about it, there's a lot we don't know about him and his past - other than what we've seen him do. A list of deeds that's now on record with the United States federal government. Uncle Sam just gave Vic a free pass.
When I spoke with Shawn Ryan recently, he mentioned that in all his research about dirty cops, when two of them went off the radar like Vic and Ronnie did, one eventually looks out for himself and turns against the other. So while it was shocking to see Vic hang Ronnie out to dry, were you really that surprised?
(S07E11) "Then why do I still feel ashamed about this?" - Corinne
Despite everything she knows about Vic, Corinne still can't help but feel remorse for working with Dutch and Claudette. It's amazing if you think about it - the hold that he has over her even as she recognizes who he really is. It's this bizarre mixture of love, hate, fear, and respect all at the same time. That being said, it only makes sense that Corinne is the one to turn. Only someone with an intimate knowledge of Vic could arrive at the conclusion that no one else could. The rest of the world may know who Vic Mackey really is, but only Corinne knows who he pretends to be.
(S07E10) "You should run too, man." - Ronnie
It's arguable that smarter words have never been uttered by anyone on The Shield before. Run? Um... yeah! The word "duh" comes to mind. How else can Vic possibly protect himself other than just disappearing? With all the pieces to this puzzle, there's just too much chance that something doesn't fit. It's a testament to Vic's ego and hubris that he's still willing to hang on for the remainder of the ride, but longtime fans have to be wondering how this can possibly come out clean for him.
(S07E09) "What? I'm supposed to be Shane Vendrell to whatever Vic Mackey plan you've hatched?" - Dutch
I've got to say - Dutch annoys me sometimes. His high 'n' mighty, holier than thou act can be a bit tiring. Especially when he's being hypocritical about it. For him to say no to Steve and chastise him for setting up that sex offender is completely ridiculous and I'm so glad Billings called him out on it. Dutch has been faking sexual attraction to Rita Denton for weeks now, all in an effort to draw info on Lloyd - completely unethical! It's just humorous to me that he consistently draws a line and then steps over it anyway.
(S07E08) "What if you get forced to do something... that you didn't really want to do?" - Two Man
I imagine that this is what it must look like inside my stomach after eating Taco Bell. For a while, I'm feeling full, loving that hot sauce, seasoned beef, and three cheeses. Having a good time and then bam -- everyone starts turning on each other and all hell breaks loose as the entire meal starts looking for an exit.
Yes, I've just compared The Strike Team to a gordita, but it fits, doesn't it? A big plate of nachos bell-grande can only agree with a Mexican pizza for so long. Doesn't matter which item you're associating with Shane. All that matters is that he's exiting first.
(S07E07) "Ehh... another Mexican donkey show and Aceveda had me playing the reluctant virgin." - Vic
Even though this whole season is really "the beginning of the end," I think it's safe to say that this episode was the true turning point. Yeah, Vic and Ronnie tried to kill Shane but now he's going to retaliate. Bad move. You'd think that by now, Shane would have learned his lesson. Why stick around and add fuel to the fire? He's got Rezian's 100K. Take Mara and the kids and jet - for good. If the little plan he's setting up goes south, then he'll be running anyway. Say what you will - I still think he's stupid. Even Vic understands what it means to quit while you're ahead... well, sometimes. Not in this episode.
(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.
(S07E05) "Putting Pezuela away is a down payment on me being able to live with myself." - Vic
Vic Mackey expressing regret? Wha?!? If that isn't a sign of the end, I don't know what is. Correct me if I'm wrong, but up until now, I don't think we've ever heard Vic say he felt bad about what he'd done. At least not say it and mean it. Sure, he's expressed distaste for some of his actions and more often than not he spouts the "I did what had to be done" rhetoric, but now he's finally starting to realize that this is it.
(S07E04) "Cut off the head and the tentacles get frisky - it's a risk." - Vic
Things are starting to heat up in the Mexican/Armenian feud! While it still astonishes me that neither Pezuela nor Rezian seem to realize how they're being played so perfectly by Vic, I'm still in awe of the entire situation. Vic has got each them believing his lies so fully that it finally pushed Pezuela to go as far as burning two of Rezian's lieutenants alive. Not that Pezuela hasn't killed before, but c'mon - Vic is good. Realistically, that's two less people who know about the money train hit.
It's a huge mess and even though we're seeing glimmers of an end game, I think it's safe to say that it won't be that easy. Credit to Shawn Ryan and Co. for giving us The Shield that long-time fans are accustomed to. Four episodes into the final season and it's clear Ryan didn't reinvent the wheel, which is why I know that fooling Rezian and Pezuela can't be this easy for much longer.
(S07E03) "I don't need the box. I have you." - Vic
Quicksand. Vic and Ronnie finally uttered the one word that has been lingering over The Shield since the beginning. Sure, as a team, they've had some wins and some losses. Despite the fact that they seem to keep coming out on top, it's finally becoming clear that they've been slowly sinking all along.
(S07E02) "Look, this list is like the standings in the sports section and every gang is making a playoff push." - Vic
The cohesiveness of the Strike Team has always been paramount to their successes. Trust is key and the second it ever lacked, people (Terry and Lem) got killed. More than anyone, Vic should know this. So for him to start this episode off by telling Shane that he doesn't trust him almost feels like the beginning of Vic's end. Regardless of Shane's past actions, Vic needs to trust him now if he wants his family safe, and more importantly, if he wants to save himself.
(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.
(S06E10) "...but understand, you are nothing more than a fly on one of my many shits." - Pezuela
The beginning of the end. We've got one more season of The Shield to go and I have to say that I'm pretty excited for what's been set up. It's going to be a lot to cover with only thirteen episodes remaining in life of the series. Then again, this season only had ten installments and look how many different stories came out of it. From the aftermath of Lem's death to the biggest conspiracy the Farmington district has ever seen, we got it all in season six.
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