909 Watches TV: The Shield, Firefly, Arrested Development

909

909
Staff member
MAN INSIDE

This was a weird one. We start off on the softball field, which leads to the Strike Team working with Vondas from The Wire. I approve of this very much! Thing is, we also find out that internal affairs is on the Strike Team so bad that they can't possibly leave to new command and get away from Kavanaugh by doing so. I thought this was obvious all along. Maybe it wasn't. In any case, this episode isn't really about that. It's about Claudette interrogating Kleavon until she breaks. The problem is that she's already broken. The acting in these scenes is fantastic from all three involved. Dutch knows that he has to push her to the brink because they have no choice but to get Kleavon to confess. While doing so, Claudette pushes herself way too far. Eventually she collapses and falls down the stairs in one of the most shocking things in the show so far. The scenes where they're investigating Kleavon are too good, as are the scenes where Ronnie brings up the fact they should all get separate lawyers to fuck with Kavanaugh anymore. Except it seems they did not do that in the following episodes.

KAVANAUGH

Little bold to name an episode after a character. In this case the episode is all about Kavanaugh. He is central to everything in it. Firstly, Emolia has to help with some grenade murders and there is no other informant who can do it. Kavanaugh is extremely paranoid of course, and he wants to make sure Emolia isn't out of anyone's sight. You can tell that Kavanaugh has no experience working stings or anything of the sort. He may not have the stomach for it. He also doesn't have the stomach for his ex-wife's rape allegation. It appears that she makes up a story about someone else, and Kavanaugh being who he is, he decides that he can't bend the rules for her and she will be charged. This scene is HARD to watch. Anyway, you see exactly how sick Vic is in this scene too. The decision by the writers to have Kavanaugh snap like this was a perfect one. The problem is that it made the next episode a lot more difficult to believe. These Kavanaugh conspiracy theories against Aceveda are something though. The end of the episode, where Kavanaugh trades with Antwon Mitchell to have these four guys sent to his prison, that's that shit. Give me more of this kind of shit. This is the point where I feel like this show is very bit as good as Breaking Bad.

SMOKED

Smoked wasn't as good as the previous two episodes, but it was impossible for that to be the case. The crux of the episode is simple. The Strike Team needs to bail Lem out. The Strike Team and their families have had their assets frozen. It all comes too easy and they're able to bail Lem out. There are some good moments here though. Claudette is back to work and forced to work with Vic. She doesn't like that. Corinne sees Danni and decides to tell her all kinds of horrible person stuff about her baby. I really don't think Vic is the dad, by the way. It makes more sense in the context of the story for the dad to be Lem. At the end, we get what I've really been waiting for. What I've wanted all along, was for Vic to confront Aceveda and tell Aceveda that if he goes down, he will rat on the entire department and bury everyone. And well, there it is. Great show, but not very much to this outing.
 

909

909
Staff member
OF MICE AND LEM

ONE TIME DOING TIME FOR A LONG, LONG TIME. Is that all that really needs to be said about this episode? Probably not because a hell of a lot of shit happened. Kavanaugh's rampant paranoia is actually leading him closer and closer to the truth. Everything he thinks about Vic is absolutely crazy, but it's all still true. He has no evidence of that, he just knows. This deal he made with Antwon Mitchell is bad though. So bad that in fact the Strike Team minus Lem is going to have to help some guys rob a police department warehouse of stolen goods. Except, that's not all they do. Eventually Claudette gets tired of all this killing the morale of the division and decides to tear into Kavanaugh and Billings in front of the chief. Enter our new captain, Claudette. I've buried the lede though. She is able to do this in large part because the investigation is over. Lem is going to take a deal, at least until he isn't. Antwon isn't going to let some cop who fucked him over be in prison anywhere. On the run Lem goes. I neglected to mention Tina and the pictures from the previous episode. Bad cop getting a free ride out of sheer luck they had nothing to do with is going to lead to huge problems next season, I think. I also liked that they dragged Kern Little out of mothballs just to kill him instantly. The best part of this episode though, is when Julien goes full self loathing gay and interrogates the dick trap guy.

POSTPARTUM

Don't tell me you didn't see this coming after about ten minutes into the episode. You think Shane is just going to let Lem turn himself in and make a deal with even more concessions? This is the guy who always held a grudge against Lem for burning the money, a guy who would never let himself go to prison even for one day. This is how it had to end. Except, I don't think it's the end at all. Lem might be dead now, but Vic has never been more angry. When Kavanaugh says one thing to him, it's on. Finally we get what we want, but the fight is realistic enough to not show anyone getting hit at all, so we don't get all that we want. With Claudette as the captain, with her putting Dutch on this case, it's going to go somewhere. It is a straight up whodunit, but the grenades only could possibly come from one place. It just depends on whether or not Dutch knows where to look. Shane would rat on everyone else anyway! Speaking of Dutch, his lines with Tina in this episode are pure sleaze. There's a lot of sleaze in this episode. The writers seem to be doing the most they could do to make you hate Vic. The way he treats Emolia is deplorable. This episode has some great performances too. Lem going out like that? Better be a good performance. I thought Aceveda would really try to cover his ass here, but he didn't and I guess he's the one that caused this to happen.
 

Zetterberg is God

Integral Poster
I had my wife watch this with me and she cried when Lem died. Truthfully I'm bad at guessing twists but as soon as Shane asked Lem if he was hungry it finally hit me. Even though the series started with a surprise killing I never actually thought anyone from that point on from the Strike Team would die. A shocking end to a truly great season of television.
 

909

909
Staff member
I had my wife watch this with me and she cried when Lem died. Truthfully I'm bad at guessing twists but as soon as Shane asked Lem if he was hungry it finally hit me. Even though the series started with a surprise killing I never actually thought anyone from that point on from the Strike Team would die. A shocking end to a truly great season of television.

I realized it when Vic didn't show up a minute after they got there.

There was also so much stuff that I just didn't have space to mention. That season was up with the best seasons of television ever.
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
It still trips me up that Lem was the guy at the beginning of Blade trying to bang Traci Lords at the Vampire Sex Blood Rave. His whole arc on The Shield is amazing and I had to take a few days off my original watch of The Shield because of how upsetting that scene was.
 

909

909
Staff member
SEASON 6

ON THE JONES


There's a lot to unpack here with Lem having died and the show being bogged down in the aftermath of that. There's no way anything was quickly going to move on. Vic is very clear with this one. The Strike Team needs to find Guardo and kill him. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh has spinned up his own agenda in his mind. He believes that Vic had Lem killed. Everyone tells him how stupid this is, but he just won't listen. Vic is the object of his obsession, and obsession that can only end one of three ways. Either with Kavanaugh in jail, him killing Vic, or Vic killing him. Kavanaugh hasn't even yet thought his plan out completely. As for the Strike Team, it's pretty clear to see that their work is going to be bad. Shane is distracted and it gets even worse when they find out that Lem never dimed on them. I feel like it could be a matter of time before Shane confesses, but what do I know? Of course Kavanaugh nearly gets in a fight with Vic again. He's about to be shut down again before spinning a lie he hasn't even completed yet. He says that Emolia helped Vic have Lem killed. Alright then. Kavanaugh has to formulate his lie though. He goes to find Emolia and makes up a story for her to repeat. Dutch follows up on where Emolia might be and can't find her because Kavanaugh won't let her answer the door. Kavanaugh won't let anyone else interrogate her. Vic eventually confronts him because he knows that he's wanted for questioning after Kavanaugh's lies. This makes Kavanaugh mad enough to break into Vic's house and plant evidence. Basically, Kavanaugh has become Vic Mackey.

BAPTISM BY FIRE

I can't say I didn't see this coming. This was obviously what was going to happen. This is a great episode of television though. I want Vic to get caught somehow. Just not by Kavanaugh and not because someone made up a pernicious lie that lowers themselves to Vic's level. These two episodes are truly unique in that we know how bad Vic is and the effort to take him down is so blatantly false it's crazy. It turns out that Kavanaugh doesn't have the stomach to be exactly like Vic. He tried his best but he cannot do what's required. Neither can Emolia. It was a badly thought out plan that could not possibly work or hold up under even the slightest scrutiny. Man, there's a lot of great moments in this episode though. Kavanaugh is already busted when Corrine shows up to the station and outs him for having gone to her house and being a complete fucking creep. The look on Shane and Ronnie's face was amazing. How about when Kavanaugh can't take anymore and finally confesses to what he did? Claudette is the best, and now it is all made clear to the viewer that Vic and Kavanaugh are the same kind of guy. He just isn't as experienced as Vic is. Meanwhile, in other stories, Vic really wants to find Guardo. He wants to find Guardo so badly that he's hatched a kidnapping plan. In case you forgot, Vic is an extremely bad guy. It's one thing to kill Guardo. Guardo had tons of people killed and is an extremely bad guy, even though extrajudicial murder is unacceptable. Kidnapping his girlfriend is way past that though.

BACK TO ONE

I was thinking about mentioning this in the last reviews, but I needed space. Shane's suicidal guilt plain out turns into bargaining during this episode. He knows he did something very bad and doesn't want anyone else to get hurt. I for one am shocked. Anyway, Vic never went in for questioning and now he'll never have to answer those questions. He's still taking personal days though. This kidnapping-extortion-murder plot will never work otherwise. The flaw in his plan is that he would have to kill a woman in order to actually do this in a way to avoid getting caught. Will he do that? Probably, but at this point it hasn't even been considered. The scenes where Guardo is being tortured by Vic are all sickening. The dude has lost his mind and is drunk on his power, which needs to be taken away. Granted, Shane isn't any better. This is the first episode in the whole series that's somewhat centered around Ronnie. There's a way out of this shit for him. He can make a career without being permanently tied to Vic. He's extremely loyal though, and it's hard to see him actually doing that. While working with Dutch and Billings, it also becomes more clear that Billings is going to become a funny comedy character. I usually hate when these characters ruin my television. He's good though. I actually feel like the Guardo stuff was so bad that it made me sick and I can't talk about it. Extremely effective scenes.
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
Yeah Billings is one of the more successful comedic characters in such a serious show. The actor has that perfect flippant idiot tone of voice. Tina kind of became almost FF material in the last couple seasons. Same with Danni and Julian. Billings was pretty entertaining though and a great foil to Dutch.

Ronnie becomes a pretty solid character down the stretch. The Strike Team all have specific roles and while Ronnie is the guy that is overshadowed by Lem, Shane, and obviously Vic, he still is very important to the dynamic.
 

909

909
Staff member
THE NEW GUY

I was only able to watch one of these because the Hulu app took a huge shit last night. Anyway, the new guy is supposed to replace Vic, who is supposed to be forced to retire. There is supposed to be no way out of Vic having to retire, but there might be. In the meantime, this guy Hiatt is going to be his boss. Shane and Ronnie very much feel like sidelined characters. This is the episode where Vic completely loses his shit after failing to save a young man from being killed during a gang war. That's not all that happens, but that's mostly what happens. Corrine's dream about Lem pulls some of the facade back, the books peel it back a little bit more, and then he explodes with rage because of all the bad things that have happened. This was bad, it was all bad. Claudette and everyone else was there to see it too. Will this have any impact on how Claudette treats his retirement? I have no idea.

The raping here was pretty gross too. It's also unresolved and will certainly come up in another episode.
 

909

909
Staff member
HAUNTS

Well, a lot of shit happened here that I wasn't expecting. I was expecting Julien to take the Strike Team job and fit in well, so that wasn't a shock. It's everything else. Shane gets busted cheating on Mara with the little girl. Carl Weathers is back and Vic is to tag along with him trying to help him clear a building. Potential post department work? I don't think so. It's terrible. The serial rapist case is back too, and the rapist is finally discovered as being a guy who runs a foundation for missing girls. I don't even know how to explain this one. The scenes prior to his confession are actually quite hilarious. All of a sudden, they aren't. Billings and Dutch is a great partnership, and their comedy fits in a show that's this dark. We need it. Best part of this episode? Shane's complete breakdown and confession to Mara. I don't know why he'd do that, but it makes for a great scene. The guy has been destroyed, been beaten up, is a murderer, and he's had enough. The issue here is that Mara likes the attention and seems to potentially even enjoy knowing this kind of information. This is bad. This is very bad.

CHASING GHOSTS

They had Shane tell the truth to Vic far sooner than I thought they would. Everything is going well with the Strike Team though. It's rather shocking, at least until that. This episode is mostly about a couple things. First, Vic is trying to find out who killed Lem, now that he knows Guardo didn't do it. He even heads up state to see Antwon, who didn't do it but wished that he did. Then, Vic comes to realize that Shane killed Lem and now it's just a matter of putting the pieces together and confronting him. Vic also says to Shane that he'll kill him. Oh, will he now? He also says that he hopes LAPD catches Shane instead. Oh, will they now? Shane pretty much invited attention onto himself by how he was acting after telling Mara. It also bears mentioning that for the most part anyway, Julien and Kevin actually seem to like Vic. Vic is supposed to be losing his job. Thing is, he may not. There's a murder of someone connected to a city official, and there's a way Vic can manipulate the case to his benefit in order to keep his job. And that's what he's going to do. I still don't know if he'll actually keep his job. I think there's two ways this can go. One is that he keeps it. Two is that they jam four weeks worth of stuff into two seasons worth of show. That's what they did with a lot of this show. If there's any issue that I have with this season, it's that the B plots are just not remotely as compelling as the A plot. How could they be? It isn't possible. Guardo's girlfriend shows up in this episode as well, and Vic very successfully deflects the attention off himself. If I was him (thankfully I'm not) I also would have said that department resources shouldn't be wasted trying to find that tool.

EXILED

The Strike Team has been using this Hernan guy as an informant, knowing that he's a federal government agent. Thing is, they haven't told anyone and with good reason. Covers can be blown like that. In this episode they have no choice. The El Salvador-Mexico war is expanding now to a point where people are getting shot at open air markets. Shane has also disappeared from the grid during all this. It appears he is making a dossier of shit that he has on Vic. You could call it a confessional report of sorts. If anything bad happens, someone is going to get this report. It tells all and leaves nothing out. So, Vic ain't gonna kill him. Arguably, he still has to make sure that Shane never gets arrested for anything. All while trying to keep his job. Mara is also the kind of dumbass who is so close to just spilling everything she knows on everyone she knows. She outright threatens Corrine. This is gonna spill over at some point. Shane is also trying to transfer to vice, and he does something for the Armenians that I can only assume will lead to him asking them to kill Vic. Dirty cops stay dirty. Kevin ain't exactly a clean team leader either. And this time, Claudette knows and they need to keep their stats down. She needs to keep her job too. Seems that everyone has moral compromises. This season is nowhere near as good as the last one, in large part because the B plots have mostly run their course and the writers are running out of novel ideas for them, but it's still really good.
 

Brocklock

Integral Poster
5-7 are kind of a giant season in a way. 6 isn't as amazing as 5 or 7, but it works as a great bridge to the two seasons. It has nowhere near the intensity of 5 or 7, but sets the table for the final season while dealing with the fallout from the crazy last few episodes of Season 5 wonderfully.
 

909

909
Staff member
THE MATH OF THE WRATH

I did not expect the chick from The Bourne Identity to show up in this show. Not only did she show up, but she's the daughter of the leader of the Armenian mob, who is near death. So she's about to take over. Shane is mysteriously cozying up to the Armenians for what are extremely obvious reasons that are not initially made clear. If you've paid attention you know what they are. He wants to get them to kill Vic and Ronnie. Of course he's not going to come out and say that. Earning some loyalty and proving himself comes first. The other stuff in this episode is actually a little hard to follow to the point where I had to scan through the episode again to remember shit. Hernan is also now not showing up to meetings with Vic, and presumably never will again because of how dangerous it is. He's also been lying to them. So now what? They set up an operation where Hernan steals some guns, then they pull him over, and he gets out of a car and carjacks someone else, but after that he's gone. Long gone. So is Shane and Ronnie's friendship, but most importantly here is that Shane went back to doing dirty shit with no thought for the potential ramifications.

RECOIL

Season 6 is probably the worst season of the show, and that isn't out of badness but rather out of necessity to set up the final season. This and the following episode are very good though. A lot of stuff happens here. Kevin and Vic's little friendship is no longer so. Dutch forces Billings to report a murder to a closeted gay man's family, and Billings gets his revenge in the worst way imaginable by pushing Tina to sleep with Kevin and sending Dutch to go see it in action. The meat of the episode though, is with the El Salvador-Mexico gang war. Vic does solve the killings in an attempt to save his job. He tries to extort the City Controller in order to keep his job too. None of this works. He's fucked. In this episode, Shane also makes the decision to tell the Armenians about the money train. He thinks that he's in the right spot to get them to kill Vic and Ronnie. Of course he leaves his own involvement out. That's not all though. We depart with the big reveal, that this Cruz guy is a dirty fuck of some kind, who has gotten things from people that he should not have. One of those things? Aceveda sucking cock. And he wants Vic to use it somehow in order to keep his job and keep Vic on his payroll.

SPANISH PRACTICES

While this is a very good episode, it also doesn't feel like a season finale in that there's no real conclusion. Everything with one notable exception is left as a loose end. Vic initially decides to try to extort Aceveda into keeping his job simply by showing him the picture. That doesn't work. Eventually he comes to the realization that he needs to work with Aceveda and give him the picture in order to keep his job. There's an element of trust required on both ends in order to do this, and Aceveda tells him straight up that his word alone could not possibly help Vic keep his job. So Vic is on the hunt this entire time. It is also now clear that Kevin is not going to work out with Claudette. Not only because he fucked Tina, but because he doesn't have the street smarts or aggression that Claudette needs. She can say that she only wants someone with a "little Vic" all that she wants. She needs someone who can clear cases and keep their nose clean. Well right now? That's Vic. It's not like Shane is able to do it. He seemed to not realize that Armenians kill families. That is too much for his conscience to bear, but now he's their bitch. He's not getting paid. He has to do shit for them all the time. And if he doesn't? All three of the old Strike Team's families are getting killed. This was the thing I said wasn't a loose end. I still don't know if Vic kept his job or not after he busted that guy. I don't know if Danni and Dutch are going to be an actual thing. Billings left the department and filed a lawsuit claiming injury. But, I think there should have been more resolution to some of these things. The last season is set up perfectly though.
 

909

909
Staff member
COEFFICIENT OF DRAG

My questions were answered immediately upon the start of this episode. The Shield did not move forward at all between seasons. The night Vic finds the box of files, we continue the story. Aceveda and Vic have to get a place to store their blackmail box, at least that is if you think they can trust each other, which I'm sure they don't. But before that, Vic has to deal with Shane having kidnapped his family. You think he'd do something nice? No, he does the same thing to Mara and ties her up before beating up Shane. Shane explains himself well enough, and we continue. Vic has 30 days to keep his badge, then there will be another hearing, and maybe then he'll be able to make something happen. With this being the end of the show and shit, he is most definitely not going to keep his job. Thing is, now it's time for Ronnie to step up and make himself a main part of the show. He puts two holes in the Armenian who wanted to kill Vic's family, and Shane goes up in there when Ronnie leaves so that he can chop off the Armenian's feet. This is the making's of a plan. It also seems that nothing will happen with Dutch and Danni, and Billings shows back up with his lawsuit having been proven to be bullshit. Now he's going to do "the Billings" as his new minimum effort. Everything here is seemingly going to get much more intense. Did I mention the DEA is now involved with the gang war?

SNITCH

Vic and Shane now have a plan, a plan that Vic instigated and decided should be seen out to its conclusion. It is time to pit the Mexicans and Armenians against each other in a gang war. Hopefully in the process of that, the Mexicans will win, then Vic can throw Cruz and others in jail, keeping his badge along the way. This is the episode where the mayor posts a ranking of how fucked up each gang is, and Spook Street decides to make their way up those rankings by having some kids kill random white people. Well, that's one way to go do it. There was some other weird stuff here too. Like, for example, Claudette being goaded into dropping the n-bomb and having a suit filed against her by the lawyer of the murdering kid. Also, Danni and Tina are having problems because Tina failed to clear a room and Danni nearly got choked to death. Didn't mention that in the above paragraph as I wouldn't have had room for this one. The B plots are again just not as good as they were at the start of the show. The main plot is so much better I don't know how to put it into words.

MONEY SHOT

This episode is a little too ridiculous on some level, but just right on other levels. The part where Vic and Shane work the Armenian guy into trusting them is just too absurd. Everything else is great though. Vic's son runs out of his house because his sister is too busy drinking beer, which leads to Corrine getting arrested. Corrine getting arrested leads to Ronnie getting mauled by a dog because Vic was too busy dealing with that instead of doing his job. Shane and Vic also have to work together in a false belief that they can clear their names from this shit and move forward. I am sure they cannot. Ronnie isn't a big fan of this either. He says that he's not going to ruin his life for them two. We'll see about that. Things are getting more and more out of control and there is no way to fix them. Vic grabbed his daughter in anger after she pushed her mom, and the scene speaks for itself. This is going to get worse. The best thing about this episode though, was that they brought back the grandma porn guy for another go-round. What Shane really wants is for Vic to trust him, but we see at the end of the episode there is no way that will ever happen again.
 

909

909
Staff member
GENOCIDE

I guess I would say this is the point where Vic's machinations have spiraled out of his control. Vic has to make way too many happy in order for all these things to work. He uses some of the information in order for them to get Cruz on the string for having done something bad. What he doesn't know is that in using the information to get someone to help the Armenians, to make it look like they have the box, Cruz is going to have a city official killed. Aceveda was not ready for this and neither was anyone else. Did he ever have the heart for this? Probably not, but he doesn't want to be under Cruz's control forever either. The B plot in this episode is a good return to form. Dutch is on the case of another potential serial killer, a 16 year old who callously shot a robber and has given no reaction indicating it has affected him at all. He's definitely right that there's something fucked up about this kid. Did I also mention that Cassidy is fucked up now? I don't really know how this show is going to end, but I feel like she's going to play a big part in bringing us towards that end. Lastly, Aceveda drops the bomb and points out that the agent helping Vic is also in Cruz's blackmail box of goods. So now what?

GAME FACE

After the bombshell at the end of the last episode, the agent (Olivia) presents Claudette and Vic with an idea of her own, a way that Vic thinks will help him get his badge back. There's a druglord coming into Los Angeles, and the DEA wants to arrest him. Olivia needs Vic to go rescue the guy's daughter, who has been kidnapped and will likely be held for ransom. Once again we get to see Julien play undercover, which is always very funny and the best way to use a character that has outlived his usefulness to the plot. Vic believes that he can redeem himself by getting rid of Pezuela, and this is driving him to do things that Shane and Ronnie do not believe to be very intelligent. It's not as much about his badge anymore because he seems to be resigned to the fact he won't keep it, but that's his only chance. Shane on the other hand wants to turn over this blackmail box to the Armenians because he believes that will wipe their slate. Except Vic doesn't have it. He doesn't know that. Ronnie does. Possibly playing into Vic's mindset is that Cassidy is now providing drugs and hosting stupid parties. Maybe it's in the genes. Maybe she thinks daddy will love her more if she's as bad as him? Last in this episode, Vic confronts Olivia about the blackmail material and they both know that the other is in the shit.

In other news, Dutch continues to try to catch the teenage serial killer, and we have the return of Kleavon. Kleavon seems to bring Claudette near death every time she talks to him. Will there be another encounter?
 

909

909
Staff member
ANIMAL CONTROL

Alright, so with the show winding down to its conclusion, it's time to put all the chips in play. The most important thing in the three episodes I watched last night is that things have spiraled out of Vic's control. He has too many things going on at the same time and is incapable of handling all of them properly. This is a man cracking under pressure and is not someone who you're supposed to be rooting for. He and Ronnie finally hatch their plan to kill Shane, in large part because they think they have the only copy of his dossier. They do not. Vic's plan all along has been to get the Mexicans and Armenians to kill each other, that's what he wanted to use the blackmail box for because it would allow him to make a play to keep his badge. He just had to get Shane to be at a meeting where the killing would start. He did that, but what he didn't realize was that he wouldn't be so sick that he couldn't go through with it. And now, because of that, Shane knows that Ronnie and Vic tried to kill him. Good job. In addition, Vic threatens to take his kids away from Corrine and when she accuses him of having said that (he did), he freaks out and gives a grandstanding speech about how he'd never do that. Sure he wouldn't. The only thing Vic has done right this season is to manipulate the ICE agent to do what he needs them to do. Tavon's return here was funny and I'm glad he confronted Shane, but I feel like they should have done something more with that.

BITCHES BREW

This episode was fucking crazy. Firstly we bring back the post-Connie hooker that triggered Vic and made him highly upset, and seeing her all drugged out and destroyed doesn't make Vic feel any better about that. That was unexpected, but I like that they're bringing back the greatest hits of the series when closing it out. She straight up manipulates him and the other Strike Team members into killing someone she doesn't like. There's way more here though. Like, for example, Vic constantly threatening Danni about exercising his parental rights. She straight up packs up and moves so that he can't find her. Did she leave the whole area? I don't know, but I'm sure we'll find out. Vic also gets fired by LAPD and Pezuela one after the other. There's still an avenue available to work though. He thinks that he can work undercover for ICE, and he's probably right in that his terrible reputation should keep him undercover for a long time. Will ICE want to work with him though? The Shield also brings back Lester, who Vic came across when hanging out with Carl Weathers that one time. Greatest hits? You bet. Most importantly though, is Shane. Shane knows that Ronnie and Vic tried to kill him. Shane is also a very desperate guy. So he tries to get some nobody to help him kill Vic and Ronnie. Gave him the gun and everything. What could go wrong?

PARRICIDE

And here we get to one of the best episodes of television ever made. Vic's machinations sure are out of control now. Let's start with the B plot though. It is actually related to Vic! Vic has been tasked by Pezuela to take down a priest who has been allowed to sell drugs out of his church. ICE is summarily notified about this and with Vic being detailed to them, at the end of the episode they go get the priest's secret family so they can arrest the drug dealers. So Vic isn't like, all completely a bad guy. Just must of the time. Now with that out of the way, let's get to what the episode is actually about. Shane's scumbag tries to kill Ronnie and fails. Shane wants to kill Vic and is inside of his house to do it. Except Ronnie calls Vic and Vic never makes it inside. There's witnesses though at Ronnie's house. Eventually the cops track down Two Man. Eventually Dutch and Billings get nowhere in their interrogation because they have no proof. They have no proof because Shane went and got his gun back from Two Man's house. Problem is that Vic is now highly invested in this case going well, because it will lead him to the truth. He and Dutch cook up some fake idea kind of shit, which breaks Two Man. Two Man starts talking about what happened and Shane slinks out of the station...and then all hell broke loose lmao. Vic's usual line of bullshit that he feeds to everyone is just gone. Mara confronts Corrine and tells her everything, so Vic has to tell Corrine everything. Shane is now a fugitive and Vic has to try to keep him out of prison. You see where this is all going? There's no way out of this one. I am fucking eagerly awaiting seeing Vic turn himself in. I'm sure that's what happens. Vic laying down his badge is just the first step in that. He doesn't have the darkness to kill a pregnant woman and that's the only other way out of this.


I would actually go so far as to say that the last season of this show is better than The Sopranos. Obviously I'm not done, but it is measurably more satisfying and feels like it will have a much better conclusion. Part of that is because David Chase decided to tear Tony Soprano down way too much, and Phil Leotardo just isn't as good an adversary as Shane Vendrell. The side stories in this show aren't as good, and I'm not trying to say that The Shield is better than The Sopranos. It is not. The last season is though.
 

909

909
Staff member
MOVING DAY

Shane is now on the run, attempting to prevent one time, doing time, for a long long time. The Strike Team is now also dead. Vic is gone, Julien is kicked back into his uniform, and Ronnie is busted down to his desk because he isn't allowed to try to stop Shane after Shane tried to kill him. Shane and Mara have made some huge mistakes in setting all this up for themselves. We've gotten to know Shane pretty well over these seven seasons and we know that he's both extremely bad at planning out criminal plots, and he isn't Vic. He's gotten himself into a lot more shit than Vic has because he's incapable of masterminding things properly. In this case, he and Mara forgot their son's cough medicine. Jackson has whooping cough and is also in need of going to the emergency room. Under his assumed identity of Shawn Hoover, he takes Jackson to the emergency room, but little does he know that LAPD already knows his assumed identity. Vic, however, is driven by blood lust. He wants to kill Shane and Mara so badly that he hasn't considered everything that could happen. You don't pull a gun on someone in a hospital parking lot. In any case, this show has gotten massively uncomfortable. Mara is threatening Corrine twice a day now. Billings is setting former child predators up by having child porn put in their house. The Strike Team is gone but their methods are not. Corrine is finding out all the bad things Vic does and he hasn't been telling her. It's getting wild.

PARTY LINE

We open this episode with Vic and Ronnie on the way to Indio, presumably to confront Mara's mom about something. I was right, and it turned out they drove there because they thought Mara still spoke to her. She does not. What a waste of time that was. That's a LONG 2:30 drive. Eventually they get back to LA, and Vic hatches yet another plan. In this case he wants the Byz-Lats to capture Shane and/or Mara, and bring them to him so that he can "turn them in." Lol. Sure he will. Shane and Mara's plan to squat in open houses also did not go well. Someone shows up, they have to pull a gun on her, and this is when I'm beginning to wonder whether or not their crime spree will destroy their credibility when it comes to ratting on Vic. If someone's going around pulling a gun on people constantly, will they be believed? It's also hilarious when they get their money stolen, but not quite as hilarious when Mara calls Corrine to complain about it. Why not so hilarious? Well, turns out that Dutch and Claudette have been in contact with Corrine and are using her to turn on Vic. Vic isn't a stupid guy though, he knows that the walls are closing in and needs to do something that will allow him to make a deal and unburden himself from his sins. I laughed hard when Aceveda beat up Pezuela, because this allows Vic to get even closer to the cartel guy. ICE needs Vic to make their bust. He needs them to get away from prosecution. We'll see how that goes.

PETTY CASH

These episodes are unbelievably fucking crazy. The luck the writers have assigned to Vic is something else. Ronnie on the other hand is not quite as lucky. Claudette's surveillance sting turns into Ronnie bringing Corrine the money, but not Vic. So, Ronnie's definitely going to lose his badge. Just not yet. Shane finally did something right and set them up good for the fall, but everything else he does in this episode is a race to the bottom. He's trying to rob shit that no longer exists. His pregnant wife has to go into her workplace and open a safe because he's too stupid to do it right. Shane also tries to sell the cashier's checks and has to take half their worth or have the police called on him. This has to be coming to a close. It cannot possibly continue. There are only two episodes left though. Vic is rather pathetic in this episode too. He constantly tries to get more time to do what he needs to do, because he knows that as soon as Shane's caught, so is he. They have a vested interest in not catching Shane at this point. It's also interesting that Julien is given a big storyline here. A kid that he coached in Pop Warner is dead. He needs some help from Ronnie to break this case, but by the end of the episode, he doesn't trust Ronnie anymore and can barely look at him. Will he spill the beans before Claudette is ready? Claudette is also putting so much pressure on Corrine that I'd be shocked if she doesn't break and tell Vic everything. I thought she would at the end of the episode, but I guess we're not there yet. This season of The Shield is just too good. I actually don't have time to mention all the things that I want to, at this point.
 

909

909
Staff member
POSSIBLE KILL SCREEN

I don't know how I'm going to say everything I want to say about these last two episodes. I was pretty sure that Vic would get his deal and spill the beans. Actually seeing it happen is something entirely different though. I didn't think he'd leave Ronnie in the lurch, but it's Vic Mackey. I should have known this was coming all along. He's a bad guy. He's all about himself. That Strike Team is family bullshit was a way to manipulate the team into protecting him at all costs. After all, he was the spearhead of everything bad they'd ever done. What does it mean to throw Ronnie under the bus? To Vic? Literally nothing. The confession scene is incredible. If you thought there was anything good about him, other than how he felt about his kids anyway, you are dead wrong. He left his ex-wife in the park to get arrested for him. This guy is scum. Everything in this episode tries to make you think he'll get killed in the finale. They left no string loose to that end. There were so many people who now have a reason to take him out. Claudette couldn't arrest him and bring him in, and had to sit there while he confessed. I don't know if Vic felt guilty about getting Corrine arrested though. It's impossible to know if they had the character go into that room to sign that deal out of self preservation because he knew he was busted. The way he's treated after confessing is similarly incredible. I don't know what Vic expected.

Of course, we have some other stuff in this episode worth talking about. So, Shane and Mara shooting up that house. This storyline is absolutely incredible. They weren't even trying to get the viewer to like Shane anymore. He just keeps doing bad thing after very bad thing. His wife is just as bad. To drag a kid around to do all this bad shit is just beyond the pale. Tina almost caught him, and I thought he'd kill her. But he didn't. Lastly, Claudette's meltdown here was everything I was hoping for when she found out what Vic did.

FAMILY MEETING

I thought I had a reasonable idea of what would happen here. Someone, possibly Claudette, would kill Vic because she's dying. I got the dying part right at least. Obviously I thought Vic would wind up dead. I didn't think his deal with ICE would hold in any case. Turns out it did. I thought Shane would give himself up and dime on Vic only to be told that nothing he said had any relevancy at all. It turned out I was wrong about that. The Shield writers saved their most depraved material for last. To have a former cop blow his brains out after killing his family is a hell of a way to end the show. What's more is that making Vic Mackey into a desk jockey is grade A material. That was an inspired choice if there ever was one. They snatched his soul for what he'd done. His big raid on Beltran is literally meaningless. Three years of riding the desk, as long as he doesn't get into trouble. This is Vic Mackey. You don't need a post-script to know that he will be reporting to jail or leaving the country to go be a criminal somewhere else. The guy is scum. When Ronnie gets arrested right in front of him, man. That's a scene. This might be the best series finale of them all and that's saying something. I enjoyed when Claudette made Vic take that walk of shame. I'm not one of those guys who was rooting for him to beat all this stuff. I rooted for him to beat Kavanaugh because Kavanaugh was putting pressure on Lem. Lem, after all, was the same guy who had to be dragged into the money train and the same guy who burned the robbed money. In addition, Kavanaugh fabricated evidence for something Vic definitely did not do. Anyway, I get why people would feel differently but I really enjoyed Vic being shamed like that.

There's more to this episode too. It turns out Aceveda is facing a grassroots campaign from Andre 3000, who surprisingly made his return in the finale. Andre 3000 gets shot and killed very conveniently. I'm not accusing Aceveda of having killed him, I'm saying that Aceveda ends the series almost as depraved as Vic. He shows up at a bust after doing nothing, takes all the credit, and scumbags his way up to the top. Corrine took her witness protection and moves all the way to Illinois. Dutch finally catches the teenage serial killer. There's a whole lot of resolution going on here, and for me, the show is properly concluded.

Will be making a rankings post later today. Next up:

FIREFLY
 

909

909
Staff member
Favorite Episodes: Family Meeting, Playing Tight, Safe, Postpartum, Parricide. There's a lot.

Least Favorites: The Spread, Pay in Pain, Barnstormers, Blood and Water

Favorite Character: Claudette. Look I'm sure this wasn't a very popular opinion at the time, but the people who watch these kinds of shows usually hate women. Claudette never loses her moral compass at any point and wants to take Vic down legit. Not cutting any corners or any bullshit like that. And plus, her interrogation style was one of the best parts of the show.

Least Favorite: Shane Vendrell. THIS FUCKIN DUDE KILLED HIS KID.

Favorite Strike Team Member: Lem. Took a while for me to come around on him though.
Favorite Guest Star: Andre 3000. You can't be that surprised by this. I wasn't the biggest fan of the two episodes Carl Weathers was in. Tried to limit this to a maximum of two episodes.
Favorite Cop: Besides Claudette, who I already said, I would go with Billings. Funny guy, that guy.
Favorite Adversary: Vic Mackey kills cops! He... he deals drugs! He beats suspects! You know what he did yesterday? He... he screwed my ex-wife with the sole purpose of making this investigation seem like a personal vendetta. He may have assassinated a gang leader. And that's just all in one day. I wonder what he's going to do today. I wonder what he's going to do tomorrow. This guy... this guy is just pissing... he's pissing all over us. He's pissing on you. What does it taste like? Chief, what does it taste like, 'cause you know what, it tastes like piss to me.
Favorite Long Running Storyline: Lem taking the heroin from Emolia. Look man. This storyline was basically the one that ended the show. But basically, I mean even compartmentalizing it, the introduction of Kavanaugh led to some of the most intense scenes in any television show.
Favorite One Episode Storyline: Seeing how the Strike Team came into fruition. The timing of the episode was very poor but the content was not.

For the sake of not repeating myself I will only answer the reverse to some of these things above. I think you'll figure out for which ones I'd answer Shane.

Least Favorite Guest Star: The cracked out chick who reappeared in the last season. I think her name was Farrah. Crazy person to the point it made me uncomfortable to watch.
Least Favorite Adversary: Armadillo was a very weak adversary, but he was also their first real adversary. I think they deserve a pass for this.
Least Favorite Long Running Storyline: Emolia vs. Vic. I don't hate Emolia or anything, this shit just made me very uncomfortable and I didn't like to watch it. This featured a lot of the worst things that Vic did.
Least Favorite One Episode Storyline: The torturing of Guardo. I almost skipped past this.

Best Scenes: This is so hard to answer but I'm going to narrow it down to five. Two-Man confessing to what Shane made him do. Claudette interrogating Kleavon. Vic being sent to the desk at the ICE building. The quoted scene from Kavanaugh above. Lastly, Lem deciding that the money train shit was too much and going to burn all the money.
Worst Scenes: Also going to narrow this to five. Guardo being tortured. When Lem had to go lie to Tavon about what Shane and Mara did to Tavon. Shane trying to bully Antwon and it massively backfiring. When Billings sends Dutch to watch Tina get railed. Lastly, when the Strike Team decides Vic can't pay for his kids with the money they stole. To me this is the catalyst for everything else that follows, including Vic deciding to fuck Ronnie over. He used them to protect himself and their use was only good for so long.

Season Ranking

7
5
4
3
6
2
1
 

Zetterberg is God

Integral Poster
Special shoutout to Dave Meltzer for ruining it for me by comparing Shane's fate to the Benoit murders in one of his updates (though I'm fairly certain Shawn Ryan himself has said it was where he got the idea).

Seriously though it's the by far the best finale of any show from the Golden Age. Vic not dying but ending up even worse off in a lot of ways. No real winners or if they are they have blood on their hands. I go back and forth all the time between this and Sopranos as my GOAT.

Thanks for the review 909, glad you enjoyed it as much as you did.
 

909

909
Staff member


FIREFLY

SERENITY


Alright, for once I don't know where to start. I don't know where to start because this is a show that was only on the air for a very brief amount of time. I am also watching these in the intended viewing order rather than the way they aired. So, I guess I should say whether or not I liked this. I kind of did? I'm not a big fan of when writers decide that the very first scene of their series is going to throw you right into a mess and rely on the viewer to make sense of what they're seeing. What I saw was two people fighting a battle and losing that battle. What I saw after that was the introduction to the show and how everything works. I found out that they have a ship and a crew and shit. The casting is pretty good. I've seen many of these people before. The pilot promises a lot of things and I don't know if it delivers on any of them. We're promised well rounded characters, surprises, a captain who doesn't do the conventionally good thing, some space shit, and most importantly a Western motif. There are other things that will need to be explained by the show. Like, for example, the rampant use of Chinese. I don't pass quick judgment but I can't say I was enthralled from the beginning or anything like that. What I can say is that I'll see.
 

909

909
Staff member
THE TRAIN JOB

I can't believe that Fox decided this would serve as a pilot episode in better ways than the actual pilot. It does make clear which three characters are our leads though. Mal, Zoe, and Jayne walk into a bar. They get in a fight and use their ship to help break it up. In some ways this opening is better than the one from the real pilot. The rest of the episode is good, but not better. They throw the viewer straight to the wolves when it comes to the passengers. The viewer of the time would have been making nothing but absolute guesses as to what everyone is there for. The crux of the episode is simple though. The crew of the Serenity has received a job to rob a train. It turns out that they were robbing things that the colony actually needs, even though those things cost a lot of money. So, Mal and Zoe decide that they're going to give everything back. This episode comes to a very quick end which I actually greatly appreciated. Mal also kills the guy sent to collect the stuff for the man who gave them the job. I liked that too. We also learn a little bit about some of the characters although not that much. When I finished this episode I was initially thinking that people love the show largely because of what it could have been rather than what it was. But...I didn't really feel that way after the next one.


BUSHWHACKED

I like Bushwhacked more than the previous two episodes. I was wondering what the Reavers were, and that still isn't answered. But, we get to see what they are capable of doing, and why all the other ships are so afraid of having an interaction with them. There wasn't a lot going on but the episode was interesting, and once again we learn just a little bit more about each character and their situation. Why are they there? Why didn't they join the Alliance after the battle shown in the first episode? When they're about to get boarded, it's a good crack up. They put everything out in plain view except Simon and River. They go on the outside of the ship, out in space. That's one way to deal with a potential problem. Maybe the survivor becomes a good representation of a Reaver and maybe they aren't. I can't answer that either. I laughed pretty hard when the guy started killing those who boarded the Serenity though. They kinda asked for it. I don't know what the best episode in this show is supposed to be, but this one was particularly strong.


I should also note that this is the first time I've watched a show that got cancelled well before people wanted it to be. Part of the reason I like a lot of other series is due to the attachments I made to characters that I watched for a longer period of time. Don't know if that'll be possible here, especially considering I'm going to be done with this series in less than a week.
 

cobainwasmurdered

CWM
Staff member
its been so long since i watched this show but it just had so much potential and a real sense of fun. It was also really different from everything else on ESPECIALLY on network tv.
 

909

909
Staff member
SHINDIG

This episode is where I started to understand why people loved this show. The characters all have something to do even if it isn't important. The things they do aren't exactly what I expected. Mal makes a very rude comment to Kaylee and has to make up for it. Inara has a job on the planet they go to, and we see what her job entails exactly. Kaylee gets a very ugly dress, but she loves it. The episode is sprinkled with all these little moments that make things more fun. The sword fight is also good for a laugh. The guest stars do a pretty good job in their roles, but the show isn't really about them. At least not yet. One thing I would say though is that Mal's jabs towards Inara are not very funny to me and I could do without them. That's a big part of rounding these characters out though. The prized cargo being a herd of cattle was a good laugh too.

SAFE

Now Firefly really steps up into being what I hoped it would be. We head out of interior sets onto a planet that has...actual stuff! I mean, you can tell that all of this is filmed outside of Los Angeles, but that doesn't really matter. We also have flashbacks. If you wanted to know anything more about Simon (I didn't), you get a lot of backstory here and some insight into River, who I do want to know more about. We also get some teases as to Book's background and where he came from. Why he became a preacher is a complete mystery though, and with this being a prematurely cancelled show, I have some doubt as to whether or not I'll find out! Another thing I like is that this show hasn't turned away from what was once a commonly held opinion, that religion was so prevalent in society circa 2002 that anyone would naturally assume a colonization society would possibly revolve around the practice of it. This is now something that is clearly untrue and would not be the case. I found myself comparing this episode to TNG and the way there's no religion in Star Trek. It's just interesting how that all turned out. I still very much need an explanation from this series of the China connection. Someone explaining it to me isn't enough.

I can see why this show was cancelled due to lack of viewership in some part because of these things. Exposition is handled extremely poorly. Even though I really like the show, I still recognize that.

OUR MRS. REYNOLDS

This was one of the funniest episodes of television I've watched in a while. Everything is too much. I could go down a huge list of things but that would be a waste of time. This fake wedding was extremely hilarious. I think everyone would react the same way as Mal did when Christina Hendricks was standing in front of him. I mean, come on. The twist here was great though. There was nothing overly indicating that would happen, but when it did things sure picked up quickly. I was surprised that Wash wasn't led around by his dick, but you know, now we know. There are some characters who disappear or get shelved in this episode and I'm cool with that. When it comes to River, it's time to get to the point and stop messing around. Still don't know enough. This also largely seemed to be a self contained episode, which is great as long as certain boxes are ticked. Those boxes were definitely ticked. I can't really explain why this show bombed so hard and didn't get time to flesh itself out, and I'm not sure anyone will ever be able to do so. That being said, I'm surprised something like Firefly was made to begin with and can't complain much. A lot of these scenes looked like they would cost a massive amount of money. Also, David Aceveda is in this episode! Jayne's little bit dealing with Aceveda and his friend was pretty goofy, but otherwise this was such a great episode.
 

Mr. S£im Citrus

Representing Blacks Without Soul since 1975
OUR MRS. REYNOLDS

... I think everyone would react the same way as Mal did when Christina Hendricks was standing in front of him. I mean, come on... I was surprised that Wash wasn't led around by his dick, but you know, now we know...
I mean, Gina Torres is fine, very fine, indeed. And I would push her in front of a speeding train for Christina Hendricks; that woman pushes all of my buttons. I would have gone to the Special Hell, for sure.

Weirdly enough, I had been firmly entrenched on the Christina Hendricks bandwagon a good year before I'd ever even heard of this show, and probably 4-5 years before I actually found out that she had appeared on it.
 

909

909
Staff member
I mean, Gina Torres is fine, very fine, indeed. And I would push her in front of a speeding train for Christina Hendricks; that woman pushes all of my buttons. I would have gone to the Special Hell, for sure.

Yep. Send me straight there.
 

909

909
Staff member
JAYNESTOWN

This episode was uh...not what I would ever have conceived to be an episode in a science-fiction show. Yes, we had an episode of TNG where the Enterprise was worshipped and looked at as if they were gods. Nobody looks at Jayne like he's a god though. Instead, he's their hero because his shuttle was going down and he had to throw a lot of money out of it, gifting the people below some riches to bolster their measly lifestyle. Except, with this being Jayne and all, he wishes he didn't have to do that. He also didn't know there would be a statue on this planet he was returning to. Anyway, Jaynestown is largely about that. Waingro from Heat shows up too as someone Jayne screwed over. In addition, Kaylee and Simon get a little bit closer. This is a great episode and I'm not trying to short-sell it, but that's basically all that happened. It's all very funny and if you haven't seen this show before, you really should. The crew dynamic is better than TNG as much as some people would find that comment sacrilegious.

OUT OF GAS

Now, on the other hand, this is exactly the kind of episode you'd expect from this sort of show, but there are a few things about it that are different. This is a flashback episode in the same way that most of these kinds of episodes are. Everyone flees the ship, we see how it happened and how Mal came to meet all of them. Some are much funnier than others. Kaylee's introduction was the best one. All of them are funny regardless. We know a lot more about all the characters as a result, and of course the ship's life support system gets fixed before the end of the episode. These flashbacks are what I was hoping for, I needed those characters to be rounded out just that little bit more, and we got that.

ARIEL

Ariel is apparently an important world that's part of the Alliance, which we don't know all that much about as viewers. At least yet. The crux of the episode is this. Simon needs to get a machine that will show him what happened to River. His way of doing so is to convince Mal and the others that there's a very profitable job in the hospital. They can just steal some medicine. What could go wrong? Apparently a lot. For one thing, River stabs Jayne prior to landing on that planet, and he's mad enough to try to turn River and Simon in for the reward. Except, the Alliance takes him too and he has to break free. Also, some Alliance agents kill everyone who came in contact with River. Oh no! Of course, eventually Jayne gets busted for having tried to sell out his crew members, and Mal is extremely angry about that. Nearly kills him. This show has everything covered and then some. Yet, because not enough people watched it, and because Fox sucks, it got cancelled anyway. There are a lot of plot threads going on here that I hope are resolved in the movie if not in the show. I also noticed that the fed who nabbed River and Simon was the douchebag from Oz who got their Achilles slashed.
 

Mr. S£im Citrus

Representing Blacks Without Soul since 1975
"Why'd you come back for us?"
"You're on my crew."
"Yeah, but you don't even like us... So, why'd you come back?"
"You're on my crew... Why are we still talking about this?"
 
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