909 Watches TV: Oz, Curb, The Shield

909

909
Staff member
CARTE BLANCHE

For the most part this episode is focused entirely around Vic and Shane, setting up an event I expect will happen at the end of this season. The money train is apparently a thing, as Armenians ship all their dough around the country on said train. Vic is gonna get him some of that money. He needs the strike team to help him do that. The end of the episode is weird in that Vic winds up in a motel and we don't have the slightest inclination of what could happen after that. However, in having been shot, he earns some leeway from Aceveda to do what he wants. The undercover scenes were pretty funny, but there were also weird moments in this episode that didn't make sense to me. Like, for example, the dude with a buried animal graveyard. Don't get it.

GREENLIT

Well, the end of that episode sure was something. Having watched a lot of TV shows made since this show was made, obviously it was easy to see that ending coming. I wonder what it would have been like at the time. This episode was some really dark material though. Dutch further heads down the rabbit hole of thinking that all people are scum, after a storyline where someone is pretty much the ultimate in scum. Connie came back too and I'm sure she'll be a junkie again in basically no time. As for drugs in school? This seemed like a concept ripped from real news, and for the most part it works pretty well. That being said, I don't think many cops would be as sloppy as Vic was with his snitch. Everyone would leave their phone in the car. What do I know though? Julien and Danni are squabbling way too much though. It's not fun to watch.
 

909

909
Staff member
HOMEWRECKER

Clearly Connie did not make it to the point of being a junkie again. I wasn't expecting this to happen because I'd assumed that a character as interesting as her would be around for a while. This episode is fucking wild. We start off with a battered women's shelter having been completely destroyed by some MRA guy. We also have a cop withholding information about that guy, which leads to even more people getting killed. Vic also runs in there and lets the guy take him hostage, during which the guy murders Connie. I also wonder if Danni will wind up doing some old fashioned police brutality on the Arab lady, but I don't think the way everyone else reacts to this is very plausible at all. Ultimately this episode is all about what happens to Connie, which was basically out of nowhere. Vic also oddly gets to play the good guy, and in addition Aceveda puts on a uniform and steals some kid's bike. Also, Armadillo is nearly caught.

BARNSTORMERS

All it took for Dutch to get back to normal after getting complained about was for him to face up against a fat guy in the interrogation room. You could call this a slumpbuster. This episode really isn't supposed to be that important until the end though. At the end, Ronnie winds up in Vic's motel room all fucked up as you probably know. At first, Dutch is so desperate to be right that he takes Vic's advice to plant evidence in the fat boy's house. Fortunately he doesn't do anything this bad...yet. It also isn't surprising that Vic's moving on from his wife, because I mean, she isn't gonna take someone like that dude back ever. I like how Lanie conveniently disappeared for these episodes though. Not remotely story destroying at all I'm sure. Kind of a problem. Not the best episode this show ever had.

SCAR TISSUE

I suppose I would call this a Claudette centric episode. After all, she plays a huge part in Armadillo getting arrested, in interrogating Vic's wife, and in breaking the entire thing down so that Aceveda can understand exactly what his crooked cop is doing. Maybe he already did understand. Now someone else knows though. Will she ever put a charge on Vic? I don't know the answer to that yet, nor do I want to. The Thai part of this episode is interesting in that Danni may become a detective. I mean, I don't know where this show could actually go. What if Claudette gets promoted to captain and Danni takes her spot as a detective. I DON'T KNOW. This was a great episode even though the Armadillo arc ended much sooner than I initially thought it would.

CO-PILOT

Did you ever want to know how Vic Mackey became a corrupt cop? How Aceveda got his position as a captain? This flashback episode tells you those things and more. I don't know what happened to or what they will say happened to the other detective who was in this episode, but it was interesting to see how Dutch and Claudette came to be partners. After Connie's death, we get to see her once again in this flashback. What happened during Vic's first day leading the strike team? Well, they got someone for a crime they knew the person had done, with the help of planted evidence from Connie. Connie was beaten and Vic was forced to listen to this. That explained a lot about their relationship. This scene was very difficult to stomach. Overall this felt like a unique concept episode with a lot of things I wasn't expecting would be answered in the way this episode did. Plus, as we now know, the strike team never went back to doing anything the right way.
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
For some reason I mashed together the Carl Weathers episode with Co-Pilot in my brain. I didn't like Co-Pilot at all when I went through the show. Felt like a holdover episode from the first season and it came at the worst possible time. Could you imagine them doing a flashback episode in Breaking Bad right after the great One Minute episode where shit was really escalating to the next level. That's what Co-Pilot felt as the show was on fire and really ratcheting up the intensity and momentum at that point and this was just a misfire that didn't work for me. I don't mind a cool down episode (Since I brought that show up, I really enjoy the much hated Breaking Bad episode "Fly" which is definitely a cool down episode but still feels important), but I remember Co-Pilot being more of a slog.
 

909

909
Staff member
COYOTES

I wasn't sure what the angle was in this episode, but about halfway through "Coyotes" we find out that Ben Gilroy is wearing a tape recorder. Why would he tape Vic? Well, everyone knows the answer to that. He's been in jail. He needs help. Who would have him wear a tape though? Finally something happens with Lanie. It's her who puts Gilroy onto Vic, she thinks something is going on, and she's right. The thing is, Aceveda and Vic know how to shut her down, and the police chief REALLY shuts her down. Problem is that Danni is going to suffer for what happened to Armadillo. Or will she? I don't even know with this show anymore. I can see why they did the flashback episode because this one feels like they had started to run out of ideas a little bit. Danni cutting ties with Vic was good too. Also, we have a new Strike Team member and we'll see what happens with that.

INFERNO

Well, now we know what's going to happen with the new Strike Team member. Vic thinks he can trust him to the point that he wants him on the team, but a lot of the other shit they did now really has to stop. Vic also thinks that he can help bury this bad report. They make a big arrest, and maybe he's right. Lanie tries to get Tavon to turn on his new team, and he won't because he hasn't seen them do anything wrong. Or maybe, if they did do something wrong, as long as he's part of it, things will be alright. We don't know. Vic and Claudette really go to the extreme in these two episodes though. They fucking hate each other. Aceveda hates Lanie too. Then on top of all that, Tomas comes back and Julien really hates him. Is Julien really going to give in to obvious temptation? Not yet. At the end of this episode, then we have Vic filing for divorce. I can't lie and say that I wouldn't do the same thing. He was booted from their house and his wife has long been cold to him. The added thing though is that I'm not Vic Mackey. Vic Mackey is a corrupt, cheating scumbag. His wife did not know that though. The barb she says about making Vic miserable? That's that shit.
 

909

909
Staff member
BREAKPOINT

Vic's personal life is ruined now. Maybe. Potentially. At the end of the episode he is arrested and led out in handcuffs after having broken into his house to try to calm down his son. Maybe everyone's personal life is ruined. Julien is finally outed at the station and treated like shit by a few of the cops. This kind of thing never goes well. Aceveda is also forced to present a list of officers that are set to be fired. This is not negotiable, and if he doesn't do it the chief will decide based on the history of the officers in the precinct. On top of all that, Vic, Dutch, and Claudette are all on the same case. There's a kid who has apparently been kidnapped by pedophiles. Dutch says something that's beyond the pale and ends his own involvement in the case, leading to Vic interrogating the Nazi kid. This episode is fucked up. Thing is, Claudette is now ready to take over as captain. Aceveda is a dumbass. Good episode.

DOMINOES FALLING

This is the episode that I was really waiting for. It has everything I wanted from an episode. The money train, Danni getting fired, Vic not getting caught, all that kind of shit happened here. I don't see how that money can actually help them in any meaningful way. Someone has to know about it, someone has to have seen Vic help that guy, and that guy himself may even snitch on Vic. Lem and Shane also saw that dude get rear-ended, and he was part of the money train himself! The blanket scene with Julien is really fucked up, and it was easy to see that coming. No less difficult to watch though. Vic being on notice from the chief, forced to do things the right way, is something that I can't imagine will last all that long. The guy is incapable of it, but he may now be better at hiding it. Great episode, and now we know that Tavon doesn't follow all the rules himself. Will they be able to keep the money? I didn't think so before I watched the following episode. I still don't think so. Aceveda winning the election was a surprise in that characters on these kinds of shows never graduate out of the cast. But...who knows if he even makes it to the City Council?

SEASON 3

PLAYING TIGHT


This episode is about as good as a season opener could ever be. Everything is falling into place to cause Vic to get fucked over. Krazee Eyes Killa is there from the treasury department, having planted marked bills in the Armenians money back in San Jose. Does Vic know about this? Nope. Will he know? Seems like he won't. Dutch being told not to tell him anything is a hell of a plot twist. Thing is, with this show you can never be too sure. Maybe Vic will save Dutch and Dutch will feel obligated to tell him what he's been working on. Surely Vic cannot outright state that he needs information. That is, unless he's going to cut someone else into the money. This money is clearly going to be a big problem though. They can't spend it and have to sit on it for a while, but Shane has a new girlfriend who needs a car. Best of all, Aceveda is actually going to keep his job for another six months. He needs good officers he can trust. You know what that means, right? Good officers who can help him take down Vic. Vic also cannot help himself from doing bad things. Aceveda is also positioning himself to have rats when he gets that City Council seat. Smart guy. Danni will be the first to get her job back. The money train guy who heard about Cletus van Damme? He's back too. The walls are closing in. Letting Kern go so that he could take part in a drive by? That's not gonna help. Vic also did that knowing exactly what would happen. Great episode.
 

909

909
Staff member
BLOOD AND WATER

This is probably not my favorite episode of The Shield. The maneuvering required to pull off this scheme is a little too unrealistic for my liking. Regardless, this is an episode where everyone is working the same case and has the same goals. I cracked up though when Vic just left Tavon at the park so he could go get his money back. That seems a little too hard to believe for me! That being said, I laughed when they lost the money as well. How could anyone not have anticipated that? Of course, in doing things the way Vic has just done them, he has to come back to Aceveda without any of the things he said he needed the search warrant for. This is a bad kind of failure that a commanding officer who doesn't like you to begin with will handle in due time. Regardless, they do get the guns and throw them in the ocean. During these episodes I kept waiting for Tavon to follow them somewhere. I was thinking that could happen at some point.

BOTTOM BITCH

In this episode we get the absolute worst of Vic Mackey. There are two stories that matter in this episode and most important is his. Claudette's first job as the commander of the Strike Team and the newly arrived Decoy Squad is to set up a prostitution sting. While doing this, a very important person gets arrested and Aceveda uses the situation to his advantage. Vic also arrests some hookers who are fighting in an alley, one of them being the chick who was there when Connie died. This leads to Vic treating her like a complete piece of shit as a coping mechanism for handling Connie's death. The scene where he puts his gun in her mouth? It's pretty bad. I think everyone knows he wouldn't kill her, but his rationalization that he was saving her life doesn't really jive with me. Dutch also essentially pushes someone into becoming a repeat rapist. This isn't a bad episode, but the things that are in it are really intense and sickening. The main question we're left with is what the Strike Team is going to do about their Armenian money? All they have are old bills and there are now new bills in circulation. The old shit is still being tracked too.

STREAKS AND TIPS

The new Decoy Squad isn't all that interesting, but they're sharing real estate with the Strike Team and it was inevitable they would have some kind of friendly competition which may later turn into open conflict. There's a case where someone robbed a pawn shop and killed a couple people. They're in a race to catch the murderer first. Of course, that's not all that happens in this episode. I neglected to mention that Shane is going to be a father because that doesn't seem to matter very much right at this moment. Or maybe it does. I did not expect Shane and Tavon to have a full blown throwdown. Shane comes in with his racism and then even worse, his soon to be wife hits Tavon in the head with an iron. Did they kill him? I don't know yet but this was a hell of a way to end the night of episodes for me. This was the best fight I've seen on TV since Ralph Cifaretto threw down with Tony Soprano. Thing is in this case, neither man is the lead character for the whole series. The result of the fight was in doubt, and Tavon did walk away before probably getting killed in a car crash. Now what? After all, it was Mara who brained him. How could anyone get away with covering that up?
 

909

909
Staff member
MUM

This episode took the show much further than I thought they'd actually go. As I now know, Tavon isn't dead, but he may be severely brain damaged and may remember what happened before his accident. Vic and Shane subsequently decide they need to fix up Shane's house. There's way more to the episode than that, though. The elephant in the room is that Aceveda was forced to suck dick. This scene was extremely hard to watch, and worst of all it completely comes without warning. It's dropped in the middle of the episode and there's still plenty of time left when it's over. There are so many possible ramifications of Aceveda having been made to suck dick. It's impossible to know where things will go, but I would assume the darkest thing happens and Aceveda will rape them. That's what kind of show this is. I can't explain how fucked up I thought this was. As I'm sure you know, this completely overshadowed the entire rest of the episode and almost every episode so far. The worst part is that the Strike Team caused this to happen!

POSSE UP

Now that this has happened to Aceveda, his entire demeanor is completely different. In this one, Julian's former partner Tommy is being investigated for killing his ex-wife and kid. That storyline is absolutely ludicrous, but most of the episode revolves around it in one way or another. Aceveda decides that he's going to defend Tommy until the point he no longer can. Is this out of him having renewed respect for what being a cop actually entails? Aceveda also no longer wants to go to his house because he can't face his family, or for that matter much of anyone. His demeanor is potentially permanently changed. This would also explain one of the reasons he gave Vic a pass for taking the day to go find who really killed Tommy's family. For one, he feels that he owes Vic for saving him, but that's not the case. Secondly, again, is this a new feeling of backing the blue? In this episode we also have Shane being gay bait. Classic.

SAFE

The Strike Team knows they have to get that treasury list out of Aceveda's safe. None of their attempts to get a list without breaking into his office have worked. It just turns out that all the captains are needed at an event where the President will be appearing. We don't ever see the President in this episode, but I'd have cast Dolph Lundgren for a laugh. Anyway, besides the safe itself, we have a storyline about narcocorridos. As part of that storyline, we see Claudette and Vic actually working together and backing each other up when they do something Aceveda doesn't want to do. What? That was pretty strange. In any case, the Strike Team does get the list and can compare that to their money train cash, allowing them to dump the bad bills. What if there's way more bad bills than expected? We don't find out in this episode. When Aceveda is in office, he's still fucked up. He beats someone up, and Vic pockets the tape. I thought he was going to use this as something to hang over Aceveda. At least until he didn't. Is this a new Vic Mackey? Does he feel guilty about breaking into Aceveda's safe? I don't know. What I do know is that the B plot here isn't all that good and in fact is rather confusing. At the end of it all, Aceveda is told by a family member that he should kill the rapist. Welp.

Three great episodes.
 

909

909
Staff member
CRACKING ICE

It's time to move Claudette's storyline forward in this episode, and to do so the writers of The Shield decided that she wouldn't read a piece of paperwork, leading to one of the Decoy Squad being in danger for their life. Trish is stuck with some dude who eventually makes her do coke and have sex with him, worst of all nobody's able to find her until she's beaten up at the end of the episode. The B plot about the ring is a big nothing, it's ineffectual and only serves to distract from a plot line where it very much feels like Trish will be killed. Tommy blowing his brains out is a big thing though. The guy who plays Tommy is straight up a bad actor to the point where it's difficult to feel bad for the character. This episode is about showing the Barn in severe conflict, and nothing better exemplifies that than the $7,000 missing from the money train stash. It does not get better from here, and it seems to me they will eventually have to burn the money.

SLIPKNOT

It's time for a race war episode, where two gangs come into conflict with each other because one idiot in one of the gangs wanted it that way and killed two people. Slipknot is probably not the best way to refer to a lynching, but this show always does stuff like that. It isn't lost on me that the people ultimately responsible for bringing these crimes to an end are four white dudes. Aceveda getting mad at the Mexican guy was hilarious, but then it leads to him admitting to his wife what happened to him. Something that's too shameful to handle. Claudette messed up once again this episode and that's going to lead to the Decoy Squad transferring to another division/leaving the show. Vic uses that to leverage his team into going back to their old role, and now Claudette doesn't have command on anyone. Funny how all that worked.

WHAT POWER IS...

I was glad that this episode brought some resolution to Aceveda's story. I am not so sure that's the last time we'll be seeing Juan Lozano. Because Aceveda shoots one of those guys and spends the rest of the episode chasing Lozano, Vic is immediately put on the defensive because he's the guy who had Lozano sent over to the house, leading to Aceveda being raped. It seems that Lozano doesn't know this, which we find out later. Vic is also directly tied to this case through the money train. He doesn't know that Aceveda knows nothing about this, but because Vic knows, he's very much paranoid. I forget which of these episodes revealed that Mara was the one who stole money. That was not entirely shocking at all. What was shocking is that she gave the money to her dumbass mom, leading to the team having to find a criminal to plant the rest of the money on. Now that's messed up. This is a great episode and the high point is the interrogation. You know which one. On top of all that, Dutch and Claudette finally find the cuddler rapist. And it's Phil Coulson. Lol.

I will say one other thing before I get to the next episode. There is an issue with how the wives/girlfriends in this show are written. They are all incredibly selfish.

STRAYS

This is otherwise known as the episode where I will never look at the Dutch character the same way. I'm also now wondering if he himself is going to become a serial killer. The look on this dude's face when he was choking that cat was genuinely sickening, it was also great acting. Dutch also does not get what he wants from the rapist when interrogating him. The undercover bit with Danni was pretty good though, as was the end result with the guy coming in and spilling information on all kinds of seemingly important people. The main issue now? Mara's mom wants even more money and there's seemingly no end in sight. I don't think anyone would kill her, but you know, that's a pretty big problem. The bigger problem at hand is that Vic is starting to spill over. His kids are fucked up. He's sleeping with some chick who has a boyfriend. Perhaps most importantly is that he told Lem what happened to Tavon. Vic putting Mara in her place cracked me up good though.
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
The Acevedo and the Dutch scenes were the ones that really effected me. The Dutch one was important to the character and the show, but it did reek of that Torture Porn Saw, Rob Zombie, Hostel extreme for the sake of extreme aesthetic of the early 00's to me at least. And Kurt Sutter would go full tilt with that in Sons Of Anarchy.

Other than Claudette and a couple of the female guest stars, women are written pretty terribly. But, for the most part on Breaking Bad the women weren't written that strongly either. I think it's a product of the shows being about these desperate men, but it would be nice if there were more than 1 good to great female character on both shows.
 

909

909
Staff member
RICEBURNER

This episode is more of a social one, where we see the impact that gangs have on neighborhoods and how police deal with that impact. The answer is that the police deal with it very poorly. In order to flush out a Korean murderer, Aceveda tasks Vic to do whatever it takes, to lean on the entire neighborhood in order to get this guy in police custody. In fairness, the guy did kill a kid when evading police the first time they tried to arrest him. Regardless, collective punishment is extremely wrong. One thing I keep forgetting to put down in these reviews is that this is a show that took place when the Iraq War was full bore. A year in, it was rather clear that we had made a mistake. At least if you were paying attention. Do you see the comparison between this story and how the US military dealt with Iraqis who didn't conform to their expectations? There's a lot of shit going on here too. Vic has been disallowed from using any of the money train cash. Lem and Shane are beginning to have big problems. Lem says that Tavon is getting better. All bad news for the Strike Team. The matter of the money is going to come back hard on them.

FIRE IN THE HOLE

Tavon? He's awake now. He remembers what happened too. Aceveda wants Vic to work with Dutch, which we know could eventually lead to someone important finding out what happened to Tavon, and subsequently investigate Shane and lead back to the cash. Instead, Dutch decides that he's not going to tell Vic very much, because he has a hunch. Vic also goofs up and mentions the bar at which they dropped the cash on that felon. Big mistake. While this is all going on, Claudette is working a case where she has to go undercover to bust some guy making child porn. Woof. The Decoy Squad comes back, presumably for one episode, to work for Claudette once more against their will. At the end, everything's fine. Or is it? I mean, the felon was killed by the Armenians and so was his bookie. So was Diagur. Did any of these guys tell on Vic before eating it? What we know for sure is that Dutch knew about O'Brien and the Strike Team can't afford for the feds to start investigating things. By the way, that last part makes absolutely no fucking sense because they already would be. Big plot hole. Anyway, the Strike Team stuffs O'Brien into a couch before cremating him, and while he's in their van they have to go on a raid. Nice job. Or was it?

ALL IN

The writing of the money train storyline went a little bit out there in the last episode. In this one, it brings the heat back where it belongs. It stands entirely to reason that Aceveda would believe Dutch's hunch and start investigating the whole thing himself. I am shocked that anyone would be so scummy as to convince Tavon that something happened when it definitely did not happen. This episode starts with us finding out that there's a mole in the Treasury Department who has been passing information to the Armenians. Information including the Strike Team's pictures and names. This bodes very fucking badly. Aceveda is doing his own investigation into the money, but he still wants Vic out there to get rid of the Armenians. They're killing too many people and they only have one team that can stop it. Once Vic finds out from Shane that Aceveda had confronted him about the first storage space, it's time to freak. Lem freaks way harder than them and starts burning the money. There is seemingly no other way out of this than to either destroy the money or give it to a huge target and take them down. Shane's lie to Aceveda was hilarious, but it's a good thing he had that key to give him, with no insistence that he come with to check the storage space out. But again, now what? Moving the money to Bakersfield doesn't seem to be a very good idea, but they're spooked. The money launderer isn't gonna launder it anymore. It's useless money. Lem is right to get rid of it, but nobody else sees it that way. The thing they're all blinded to is that when they killed Terry, there was never any coming back from that. It was a spiral of problems that led to them wanting to retire far sooner, which made them rob the Armenians, where the Armenians killed two people leaving them to blame. What if they find that dude whose life Vic saved?

What I really got from these three episodes is that this show is fucking hilarious. Some of the material is so intense that I constantly find myself laughing at it. With the exception of the one thing I complained about, The Shield is very well written so far. The amount of things that could happen in any given scene is what makes this a great show. You don't know what's coming at all. There are also so many things planted in the money train storyline that it's difficult to know which one will present itself.
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
Yeah, I was definitely laughing when I wasn't supposed to at times. Other than Dutch one liners, the early seasons are mostly devoid of any humor except occasional some pitch black humor. There is a comedic character added on later, but he's actually pretty funny and some of the other characters reactions to him are amusing.
 

909

909
Staff member
Yeah, I was definitely laughing when I wasn't supposed to at times. Other than Dutch one liners, the early seasons are mostly devoid of any humor except occasional some pitch black humor. There is a comedic character added on later, but he's actually pretty funny and some of the other characters reactions to him are amusing.

The worst stuff I've been laughing at is like...when Vic shoves that dude's head into an oil barrel or makes the other guy choke on a bong. It's more nervous laughter than anything else.
 

909

909
Staff member
ON TILT

Nobody should have let Dutch have a kitten. With that out of the way, this episode was packed with shit. We have Andre 3000 trying to clear his block from seedy business with a hose. I don't know why Vic's daughter is coming to stay with him, but we have that too. Of course, the most important thing is that Margos is gone. Vic decides that he's going to take on the responsibility all by himself, and shoot Margos by himself. Does that mean he doesn't trust any of the Strike Team anymore? I don't think so, but he knows the bad shit is wearing on Lem's conscience. Because of Dutch putting Aceveda on Vic, now the hatred is back and Vic can't stand him at all anymore. Claudette is also on the outside of the department because she's having convictions reversed. Such is how it goes. The ending of this episode was great. The Strike Team is fucking done. Not only is it done, Shane now completely hates Vic. The show is hilarious in the way it presents police brutality sometimes. Making that guy write a suicide note before threatening to shove him out a window made me laugh. If I hadn't immediately watched the next episode I know some other things I would have written down in this review, but this show is batshit.

SEASON 4

THE CURE


This might be the best opening to any of the seasons thus far. Everything is laid out perfectly for what's to come. We start with Glenn Close being introduced as the new captain, introduced by arriving at a scene where some rookie shot a dog that was attacking him. After this, all hell seems to break loose. We learn what Vic's been doing and it's really easy to see why this show jumped forward six months. It would have been fucking boring. They only jumped forward one month or so between the last two seasons, I think. Anyway, this one's wild. Vic and Ronnie are still partners. Shane is gone to the vice squad and Lem works with kids. The Strike Team is completely done. Aceveda makes sure to rub it in Vic's face before he leaves too, attempting to taint Vic in the eyes of the new captain. This doesn't quite seem to have worked because Glenn Close appears to think Vic can be used as a weapon to clean up the streets. I'll say this though. He actually felt comfortable admitting to having done bad shit around her. Aceveda would never have gotten that information. I think we've been introduced to a new antagonist when Anthony Anderson comes up in this bitch giving a huge OG speech. When Vic wants someone to turn on him in order to impress the new captain, who hates Antoine's guts? That guy gets fucking shot. When they roll up to the guy's house? Shane is there doing cleanup. Dutch and Claudette? Doing bitch work. Buried by the department.


At the time I bet it was a huge deal for this show to get an actress like Glenn Close. Most of the actors on The Shield did nothing before this show. If I had to guess what happens with her character? She flies too close to the sun with Vic and gets ousted via corruption, but doesn't rat on him. But what do I know?
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
Yeah Glenn Close was a huge get at the time. Sopranos wasn't even getting Guest Actors that big at the time. There's another big one coming up and this actor's character is one of the highlights of the show for me.

Also, Anthony Anderson is a revelation in this role. Just a fantastic performance. You're at the point where the show is firing on all cylinders and it pretty much continues on at this pace the rest of the way.
 

909

909
Staff member
GRAVE

We got a lot going on here and for once I found that most of it was not that important. Gilroy died, but nobody really cares abut that and the point is to show that Vic still commands a lot of respect and the ability to turn cops out to a funeral. What they're doing with Lem is lame in that they're finding reasons for him to be around even though he really shouldn't be. It feels like someone should have come up with a better idea than to stick him in the juvenile unit or whatever they're called. Vic is still getting nowhere with Antwon, but Shane is. Shane is taking protection money, having picked up Vic's old scheme. Shane also has Michael Pena as his partner. Problem is that landlord deal is directly at odds with what Vic wants to be doing, what he has to be doing in order to keep his job and stay on the good side of his new captain. Crack being removed for heroin as the street drug of choice seems hugely late in the timeline of actual events for this show though. This episode doesn't matter a whole lot other than Aceveda jerking it to a rape video. He's gone now though. For now.

BANG

I assume Bang is in this context referring to a video this episode centers around. There's a gang war now. It's over a rap porn video. Vic has been tasked with overseeing everything gang and drug related. That includes Dutch and Claudette when their cases head into that field. The civil forfeiture deal is also going full bore in reprehensible ways. Yes, it is wrong to kick kids out of their house. Vic knows that it's wrong. Rawling has committed though. Not only is it too late to stop that, she doesn't want to. At the end, the gang war stops anyway, with someone having been fed to the wolves. Ultimately, Rawling is committed because she knows that she'll have support from Vic regardless, because someone can't do this all by himself, and at the end of the day he also doesn't have a choice. He doesn't want to go back on the sting to watch video tape all day. Can't do it. Dutch also has to make a deal with the ADA in order to save his own career. I don't know what that entails but I do know it's going to be bad. Going to have to fabricate crimes? That's what it sounded like.

I don't wanna touch the anti-vaccine storyline. Not gonna go there. Something like that can ruin a show but I need to see it play out.
 

909

909
Staff member
DOGHOUSE

The roles are flipped in this episode, with Claudette and Dutch going after a drug suspect and Vic going after a rapist. The thing is, the drug suspect is someone who shouldn't be a drug suspect at all. Morally this feels like the lowest point in the show so far. The man had some plants and was going to testify in a way that would harm the district attorney's office, so they need it to go away. Dutch has no choice as he's already made the deal. Claudette on the other hand does not know that Dutch made a deal. Against her moral problems with the case, she goes along with it as she thinks the new captain has decided this is what she has to do. The fact is that I don't like this episode very much. I know what the message of this episode really is, that cops do extremely fucked up things as part of their job. It's a corrupt profession. That doesn't make the episode easy to watch.

TAR BABY

The way this episode started, I would not have expected the things that came in the next one. Vic is now somewhat of a saint cop, not stealing money anymore, only beating up the people who the show presents as clearly deserving it. However, at the start of the episode we're at a meeting where people in the community are in a room with some police officers...and Aceveda. They're talking about civil forfeitures and thankfully Aceveda completely backstabs Rawling. At the same time, Julien gives a speech about how good these forfeitures are. That sets up the next two episodes. Before that though, there's something else. Aceveda is currently in the middle of fulfilling a rape fantasy with a call girl. Bad idea for a city councilman. Even though Aceveda backstabs for the right reasons, he's also doing something wrong. When Claudette finds out what Dutch did to get back on the job, that's a great scene in an episode full of them. The hidden camera scene with Dutch is another. It seems that Julien really turns on what his division is doing when there's some guys making racist comments and laughing about a fight started by an overreaching evacuation of a city block. The crazy ass part? Vic isn't even as gung-ho about this shit as his captain. Of course everything pales in comparison to the ending of the episode. Did anyone see that coming? Surely not. Shane is fucked now. Anthony Anderson is also entirely believable in this role.

INSURGENTS

Shane goes from fucked to even more fucked here. The thing is, he's now so dirty that even if he tried to make a deal with internal affairs, odds are they wouldn't even believe him. Not only did Antwon shoot the girl with Shane and Renta's guns, Vic has used his garage sting to shove a camera into Shane's car. Lem fights with Shane, not knowing Vic has done so, and nearly blows the entire thing. I don't know if stopping Shane entails taking him down, but I feel like Vic will keep those tapes forever to ensure he doesn't get in trouble. Of course, this being The Shield, someone will destroy them. This episode had so many big revelations at the end, and they just kept on coming. Every episode with a church being raided should have something like that. Julien was wrong about raiding the church, and at the same time his other complaints are correct. Civil forfeitures before someone is convicted of a crime are universally wrong. There is no exception to this. Rawling fixing the one does not change that. In other news it seems like Dutch is going to date Vic's ex-wife. I can think of no way to more quickly have someone drive you out of the police department than to do that. The unbridled rage of Michael Chiklis' performance knows no bounds. Rawling knows Shane is dirty, but where is this all going? There's no way Glenn Close stays on the show for more than one season, I already know that. The way in which she deploys Vic is very interesting though. Vic is the kind of tool you use when you really need to get some shit done, to do what you think is right even when it isn't. In these scenes it also feels like Rawling gives no fucks about what could happen as a result of that.

In other words, if you've paid attention to the country at all this summer, this is the most accurate portrayal of a commanding officer at a police department.
 

909

909
Staff member
HURT

I thought this was a clever episode. The fake video that got Vic pulled off the street was an interesting way to drive forward the story of the show, to give him a reason to potentially be a very bad cop once again. There's much more to the episode than just that. For one thing, we see that Shane has been told by Antwon to kill Vic. Vic knows of this. Julien is going to enforce the current tactics against white people as well, to a point at which he's taken off the street by his often overzealous captain. Rawling is a problem. Her crusades have gone massively overboard to a point where Vic looks tame by comparison. It's funny how clearly this show was able to portray the future of police departments. A lot of the things in this season only became greater and greater problems in recent years. Either you're blue or you're gone. Textbook bad person answer to legitimate questions Julien is presenting. Vic's little trick to make his bust is something I feel like will turn up in another episode. Another thing I like about this show? The creators and writers clearly severely distrust police officers. The bits with Vic asking the other officers to seize a new ride, with them complying to do so, is pretty sickening.

CUT THROAT

Cut Throat is a textbook example of a show firing on all cylinders. It's strange these episodes are so lowly rated on IMDB. The Strike Team is all back together now, with a plus one in tow, a plus one that Vic clearly gives absolutely no fucks about at all. Vic is clearly under pressure knowing that he's supposed to be killed. It's fair to say that he freaks out. He goes to give Corrine the money train cash, believing he won't be around to see the results, thinking that it's going to go somewhere it's needed. Thing he doesn't know is that Dutch has been sleeping with Corrine and could easily find that money himself. We get a Pulp Fiction moment in this episode as well, at which point Shane realizes that he's in too far over his head and has to tell Vic before something bad happens. He doesn't know that Vic already knows all this stuff though. The scene where Vic draws on Shane feels like one where a viewer not knowing what's to come could see Vic putting him down. In the end? Maybe Vic will help him. It's still very unclear to me. On one hand, there's a way out for Vic, where he can get rid of his corruption concerns. They could hang Shane out there to drown, they could make Shane discredited to the point at which internal affairs don't believe a single thing Shane says. They could fix Shane's problems at the risk of completely alienating Lem, at the risk of merely kicking the can down the road. Eventually they will get caught.

STRING THEORY

Now this episode is one where it's even more unclear where everyone stands, but it's easy to see that this is all building to some kind of spectacular ending. Vic is still benched. Dutch and Claudette now are not. There's a double cop killing in this episode, and they're needed to try to solve. Except they don't, not only do they not solve it but they have no hope of even getting close. When the cops go missing, Aceveda shows up in uniform and gets his guts busted while some overzealous pigs are destroying a storeowner's belongings. Lem doesn't wanna hear about what Shane has to do to Antwon. That's just furthering along the problems caused when they began taking dirty money to begin with. Aceveda finding the police officer's bodies certainly does not help with these issues. The bodies are found in a house that Rawling seized. Her policy made it easy for this to happen. At the same time, the Strike Team + 1 has to find a way to get Angie's body out from under the outhouse. Except it isn't there. After that, they need to find a way to get Antwon away from his scheduled arrest, and during that they make a deal with him that very much feels like a fake. But now Antwon is in the police station for 12 hours, giving them 12 hours to find that body. But then what?

The point at which Rawling has Dutch lie in a press conference for her feels like some no going back from that kind of shit. Also, at least they didn't have the police widow fully accept Rawling's apology. After all, this is all her fault. I have no fucking idea how this season is going to end, but it feels like Aceveda is actually building up to raping someone. I guess that's one thing I feel is likely to happen.
 

909

909
Staff member
BACK IN THE HOLE

I was wondering why in the world this episode would be a whole hour, but I sure got my answer. There's a lot of fucked up shit here. We get what we wanted all along this season, for Antwon to be in an interrogation room with Vic and/or Monica, and she goes absolutely batshit trying to pin something on him. Eventually they do, but there's a lot of roadblocks in the way. For one, Monica's interrogation style is very fucked up and she goes for the lowest material imaginable. These are two really strong acting performances in this tete-a-tete. The woman is straight up a bad person. Antwon brings up that she had to frame him to get him put away in the first place, Monica brings up that his son is gay and takes it up the ass in prison. She goes straight for the homophobia a lot of people had in the mid 00's and tries to drive that shit home. It doesn't work and does the opposite of what Vic wants. They can't find Angie's body, so Antwon is going to make sure someone does. That's when this episode really kicks into another gear. Shane attempts to get Antwon to try to kill him, it doesn't work. Can't repeat what he said, but it was pretty gross. I cracked up when Vic had to reveal to Monica that he'd taped Shane. Fortunately, nothing swung back on his end. For now.

In other stories, Dutch and Claudette can't put away Kleavon. I get the feeling this dude is gonna be around a while.

A THOUSAND DEATHS

In this episode, we try to find out who killed cops. Except we can't. The Strike Team + 1 gets in a shootout with some Russian guys, Billings decides that he's not going to be witness for a gang shooting that happened while washing his car, and Shane and Army have to beat a lie detector test. Except Army straight up doesn't want to do it and ultimately refuses entirely. The seizures are also nearly done and Aceveda agrees to help try to keep them intact. Vic also finds out about Dutch and Corrine, which collapses quickly afterward. We also find our cop killers even though we don't know the why. There are two Nigerians, one is dead and the other sadistic. In order to keep his family protected from the Russians who contracted him, he makes a deal and tells the whole story. At least, the parts that he knows. This wasn't the most spectacular episode ever, but it set one up that was on that level. It was a breather between two great episodes. Also, fuck Dutch.

JUDAS PRIEST

How about when the Russian guy gets strapped to a chair with C4, trying to make him talk, and he decides that he'd just rather blow himself up than say anything? I was waiting for Army to pop up in this episode as a rat cop, but I still think it's going to happen and it's just a matter of time. After all, he wouldn't take the lie detector. He is not completely committed to being a dirty cop. There is a story issue though, I don't buy the Strike Team now sticking together even after what recently happened. Something else is going to have to happen to make that work for me. Now that Aceveda isn't a rapist, the writers were able to spring their plan for his character in this episode. Juan Lozano is going to testify and expose Aceveda as having had to suck dick to stay alive. Aceveda is an evil fuck with too much pride to ever allow that to happen. He needs Lozano to be gotten rid of. There's only one guy he knows who can do that. Enter Antwon Mitchell. Antwon does have information on a drug cartel that he can parlay into a deal where he doesn't go to prison at all. He is a cop killer, yes. Aceveda does not know that and truthfully I don't think it would even matter. After this is all sealed up, Vic and Monica surge into his office and lay into him. Lozano is gone though. On top of all that, Antwon's manner of cop killing was to get his half-brother to broker a deal by which that could happen.

I thought Dutch's fight with Billings and almost subsequently with Vic was highly amusing. Not so much when the cuddler rapist's wife shot Danni. Again, I should repeat that Glenn Close and Anthony Anderson are great in these roles.
 

909

909
Staff member
AIN'T THAT A SHAME

Of course, heading into the last episode, I kept thinking about how Glenn Close was going to be gone from this show and how they'd get rid of her. They did something more conventional than otherwise expected from a show that never does anything conventionally at all. The key to this season is that Monica is drunk on her power, a pumped up version of Vic Mackey who has been given responsibilities greater than she should have. I find it interesting the way The Shield has a procedural plot as well as a main serialized plot in the same episode. It varies from time to time, but usually Dutch and Claudette work the procedural case. In this one, the procedural case turns into the main plot while Dutch is offered a temporary captain's position that he rejects. Their case turns into Monica's crusade, and she crusades her way out of the department. Nobody defends her even though she isn't automatically wrong. She was told not to do something and is being punished for not being reliable. Antwon is behind bars too. For good. This isn't the craziest finale or anything like that, but the writers bring big reveals. Vic's CI is also an Internal Affairs CI. She gave them information, and now Lem is on the hook for taking that brick of heroin home with him and giving back a switched brick. This is definitely going to turn into something, right?

SEASON 5

EXTRACTION

The answer to that question is yes. Forest Whitaker is coming to snatch birthdays. His first few scenes in this show are wild. That's the main plot here, and that's really everything in the episode that matters. Vic is effectively serving as the captain because Billings is completely incompetent and incapable of doing so even though he's been promoted at least temporarily. Kavanaugh though, this guy is coming for Vic's whole life. Even though the department is making Vic put in his retirement papers, investigating him is very much on the table and active. What I'm wondering is how he'll get out of this one. Will he do something so noble, so good, that he can't be retired? Or conversely will he do something so evil that he gets credit in the department for doing it and they can't get rid of him? My bet is on the latter. In other stories, we have a race war and Danni is pregnant. Julien is now training someone and the Strike Team is back to beating up people they suspect of doing things that are wrong, as well as those who have done something wrong. In other words, it's The Shield. I had some serious nervous laughter while Kavanaugh was interrogating Aceveda. This felt like something I was waiting for and never knew would happen. I get the feeling there will be many more moments like this one. The tension has ratcheted up big time.
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
I'll go to hyperbolic territory and say Forest Whitaker gives one of the best Guest Star performances I've ever seen in a dramatic show. I can't believe this was close to the same time as his performance in The Last King Of Scotland. Pulling off two of the best performances in his career a few months apart is insane.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
But, for the most part on Breaking Bad the women weren't written that strongly either. I think it's a product of the shows being about these desperate men, but it would be nice if there were more than 1 good to great female character on both shows.
I think that BB's writing staff redeemed themselves somewhat by making Kim Wexler one of the strongest characters on Better Call Saul but I feel like a lot of Skyler White being way more hated than legitimately deplorable, villainous characters lays on the crappy writing.
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
I think that BB's writing staff redeemed themselves somewhat by making Kim Wexler one of the strongest characters on Better Call Saul but I feel like a lot of Skyler White being way more hated than legitimately deplorable, villainous characters lays on the crappy writing.

Yeah Kim Wexler as well as Vince Gilligan probably writing Scully the best out of all the X Files writers is proof that he can write great female characters. I think Skylar was a tougher character to write because Breaking Bad was so Walt dominated. The writing was elevated at times by Anna Gunn's performance but Skylar is not a super strong female character. Not making Marie multi dimensional until like the last four episodes wasn't great either.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
It just didn't seem like writers knew where Skyler's motivations and character arcs were going. Was she complicit with her husband's evil until it was too late? An innocent victim? Maybe we'll find out in the last season of Better Call Saul but I highly doubt it considering how poorly neckbeard BB fans treated Anna Gunn!
 

909

909
Staff member
ENEMY OF GOOD

The overarching theme of The Shield is corruption, corruption that completely plagues the police department and unavoidable for any officer to either not know about it or not participate in it. This episode is full of that kind of shit. We already know that Lem is busted from the last episode, now it is Kavanaugh's job to turn him and get him to turn on the Strike Team. Vic and Shane have been very smart in not telling Lem exactly what they did to Terry. He was outside the room and didn't see anything. As a result, it's going to be hard to get Vic to tell him anything about Terry. In this episode, Lem does try to do that. He just can't break through, and not only that, he can't turn on Vic. He rips his microphone out and tells Vic that he's wired for sound, a rather bold play. The thing that keeps coming to mind here, is that he won't give up Vic, but I bet he could give up Shane if he really had to. The thing is, Kavanaugh does not, and potentially never will know this. I bet he will. Largely, that's what the whole episode is about. This Doomsday fuck is a horrible guy, and Vic has him sent to Mexico. Fortunately, Lem was not there. Claudette also has something wrong with her and I'm curious to know what it is. The noob officer was funny when she beat that dude up. I've posted in other topics how I strongly believe that people who aren't big enough to do the job should not be allowed to be cops. Not only are the cops in Farmington corrupt, they're also completely incompetent and incapable of doing their job. The division has a clear lack of leadership.

JAILBAIT

Jailbait is in this instance referring to the use of Tina as, well, jailbait. The Strike Team is going to set up a sting after being called out to a case, but most importantly we need to know what Vic will do with having learned Lem is wearing a wire. He goes over to Shane's house with Ronnie, and all three get together and make a plan. The plan is to get Lem out of this. I legitimately do not see how that's possible. After a conversation with all four them, all of them knowing they can't say anything verbally, it's time to learn more about Kavanaugh. Learn they do. Eventually Corrine tells Vic all about their little conversations, and this is one way by which it's possible to come up with a plan. However, just a few minutes later, Vic is called up by Kavanaugh, who basically announces to his face that he's being investigated. He's also trying to see if Lem has told Vic anything. Vic gives away nothing. Aceveda is the one who spurs Kavanaugh to do this, tells him that he has no idea what Vic Mackey is actually capable of. He's right.

In this episode we see a whole new Vic Mackey, one who knows he's being taped and does everything like a model cop. This is very strange. Shane, on the other hand, simply can no longer control himself. Goes back to what I said about how Shane might turn out to be the weak point. Shane ain't going to jail for anyone though. We also see how Tina (the trainee) can be used, and that Vic is creating a friendly relationship with a lawyer. He is going to need that shit. Back to Aceveda, he is literally traumatized by Vic Mackey. This guy has PTSD. Where the hell do we go from here anyway? How could the show end from here?
 

909

909
Staff member
TAPA BOCA

Alright, I don't know where to start. These three episodes were all expertly done. First, we have Vic deciding that the best thing he can do while being investigated is attempt to take Aceveda down with him. Or is he really trying to take him down? I think not. Vic is clearly trying to get Aceveda to shut down the investigation, and he's decided to walk over to him and complain about trash pickup. Good show for the microphone. Vic is also put onto his CI by his lawyer. What, did you think he'd never find out that Emolia has turned on him? Kavanaugh, however, is really on the ball. He says that Vic is normal almost all the time and that's true. He said it's going to be very hard to find something because that's how people like Vic operate. Aceveda never really understood that. The fact is that it's going to be extremely difficult to prove Vic is a dirty cop. He left only one string hanging out there and it is Kavanaugh's job to find it. However, Vic goes straight to Emolia and holds a knife to her throat. This gets Kavanaugh in a room with Vic, and know he knows that Vic is onto him. If he didn't know already anyway. Vic is an outright bad guy. The B-plots didn't really mean anything to me during this episode. Don't care. The great thing about them is that they aren't boring like they are in a lot of other shows.

TROPHY

This episode is damn hilarious. You can see what's coming all along, but that doesn't mean that you aren't greatly anticipating it. They aren't even trying to tell you or make it seem like Vic will actually get busted. You know that Kavanaugh is going to blow Vic's operation and you know that he's going to blow his whole case. The episode is about taking you all the way there. Kavanaugh already thinks Aceveda is helping Vic, at least until Aceveda sits there all day and shows that he isn't. Aceveda's reaction when the sting gets blown is absolutely hilarious, particularly considering that it turned out he had a vested interest in it going perfectly. The thing is, when you know that they know Kavanaugh is listening, the episode gets more and more hilarious. Brilliant writing. Dutch and Claudette's B-plot in this episode is better than usual, and they're usually pretty good. The dead guy being shrink wrapped was hilarious. At the end of the day though, now Kavanaugh knows exactly what Aceveda meant when he said that Vic Mackey is the kind of guy who will make you doubt everything about yourself.

RAP PAYBACK

Kavanaugh is big mad. Kavanaugh is not just going to let this investigation slip through his fingertips. His plan is pretty solid. He knows that wiring Lem is now seemingly pointless, and it's time to move into the Barn. When moving into the Barn, he has to announce to everyone what he's doing, and puts up a big picture of Terry's blown off head. Unfortunately it seems that Kavanaugh knows exactly which buttons to push. Corinne comes in, and those buttons get pushed in spectacular fashion. Eventually, the one string Vic has left out there is coming home to roost. It's the bag of money. He should have burned it, but his greed didn't allow him to do that. It seems that Kavanaugh his really lost his mind though. Aceveda is now part of this investigation, Aceveda is also the one guy with the power to bury him and make sure this kind of shit never comes out. It's also time to end the seemingly random B plots. Kleavon is back, and this time he's absolutely busted. His sister disappears, and the cops make him mad enough to go kill somebody else. It seems Claudette may have made him angry enough to kill her. We also got a C plot in this episode or the last, where some guy sticks his dick in a glory hole and it gets fucked up by a mouse trap. Julien gives him a pass, which leads to Tina saying something about him being gay, and now I have no expectation of this partnership ever ending well.


My favorite thing about these episodes? The absolute amount of lying going on here. Nobody is telling the truth to anyone about anything!
 
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