The Shield 7.13 – Family Meeting – Series Finale

Another one of television’s great dramas has come to a close, and if I were to rank the series finale compared to some of the other big ones from the past year or so, it would probably fall somewhere between the disappointing conclusion to “The Sopranos” and the pitch-perfect ending to “The Wire.” It wasn’t great, but it was certainly satisfying, and it wrapped up just about every loose end other than Aceveda’s bid for mayor. Fans of the series have been following these characters for seven years now, and instead of just running through the episode as usual, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to discuss the fates of each character one at a time.

Vic Mackey:

For as much bad shit that happened throughout the episode, this was probably one of the more shocking of the bunch. A lot of people didn’t think it was possible for Vic to get his comeuppance without death or incarceration, but when you consider the kind of person that he really is, it made sense. Vic only needs a few things in life – family, friends, and a badge – and the fact that he no longer has any of them is kind of like sentencing him to his own personal hell. Olivia said it best after Vic begged her to tell him where his children were: “You said goodbye to them the minute you shot another cop in the face.”

The Shield 7.13

All of Vic’s friends are gone, Corrine has put his kids into witness protection, and his new gig at ICE is a boring desk job typing up weekly analysis reports on gang activity in the city. Some might say he’s got it good compared to what could have happened (after all, he’s only obligated to work at ICE for three years and he’s a free man), but the look on his face when he was being shepherded through the mandatory tour of the facilities said enough. That last moment when he grabs his gun and walks out of the office seemed to indicate that he might actually be okay with the cards he’s been dealt, but if that’s the case, then it doesn’t seem like he’s really paid for his crimes at all.

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The Shield 7.12 – Possible Kill Screen

If there’s one conclusion to “The Shield” I never thought possible, it was Vic Mackey receiving a Get Out of Jail Free card for all the crimes he’s committed in the past. Death? Sure. Jail? Why not? Heck, I’d even expect Vic to run away to Mexico before the feds ever agreed to give him full immunity, and after the events of this week’s episode, I still don’t think that’s how it’ll end. Of course, I have to start at the beginning first, as so much happened tonight that it felt epic compared to most weeks.

After Shane and Mara’s last robbery failed to yield the kind of cash they were hoping for, the fugitive couple has hit a dead end. Mara physically can’t take anymore, and she’s not doing so well mentally either after killing two people in an attempt to save Shane from a robbery gone wrong. With her shoulder busted and her pregnancy in its final stages, she begs Shane to throw in the towel and take her home. Shane isn’t doing so hot (he might have a big of drug problem and he nearly kills Tina when she tries to bring him in), but he isn’t about to give up any time soon. Unfortunately, I don’t think Shane has much of a choice. The presidential motorcade that will allow them to make their escape is less than 24 hours away, but with Mara hurt and no car to get around, it’s only a matter of time before Shane either gets arrested or killed.

The Shield 11.12

Sure, they’ve got Corrine working to find them a new mode of transportation (which Vic agrees to take care of), but when the meet is compromised when Vic smells a trap, it pretty much guarantees that Shane and Mara are screwed. It also means that Corrine has to be arrested and thrown in jail to give Vic the impression that she wasn’t in on the set-up, and now, all Vic can think about is saving his annoying traitor of a wife. Luckily, Olivia has managed to secure Vic a job at ICE, as well as full immunity as long as he is able to successfully take down Beltran and his drug ring. When he discovers that the deal is only for him, however, and not Ronnie as well, he quickly turns it down.

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The Shield 7.11 – Petty Cash

Does Vic Mackey ever read the newspaper? Because if he did, maybe he would know that there are a lot easier ways to find a job than getting in bed with the Mexican drug cartel. Vic’s been really pushing his luck this season, but none of that compares to his latest plan, which involves convincing Beltran to do business with the blacks (who control 40% of the drug trade in Farmington) and then skimming cash from their first deal. Forget for a moment that Vic has severely pissed off his black associates by essentially forcing them into business with the Mexicans, because once Beltran finds out about Vic stealing money from him, all bets are off.

Vic is hoping that the feds will be able to nail Beltran before it ever comes to that, and for the time being, his plan seems to be working. Not only has he gained trust with Beltran (claiming that he’s his own personal action hero), but he also has the cash needed to pay back Shane. Of course, he’s so busy running around town like a chicken with its head cut off that he gets Ronnie to deliver the package to Corrine. What he doesn’t realize, however, is that by doing so, he’s also escaped certain arrest at the hands of Claudette, who’s idly waiting by with Dutch to pounce on him when he arrives. That’s the good news. The bad news is that now Claudette has even more to pin on poor Ronnie when it’s time for his comeuppance.

The Shield 7.11

Vic hopes that he’ll be able to change both his and Ronnie’s futures by securing jobs with ICE and thereby earning immunity from their less righteous pasts, but while helping bring down Beltran should make Olivia’s boss at least consider that option, he knows that it’s going to take a little more than that. This explains why he’s returned Olivia’s blackmail file to her with no strings attached. Of course, though he isn’t holding the file as leverage against her like Aceveda, giving it back to her and then demanding a big favor is pretty much the same thing. It seems to have worked, however, and Vic and Ronnie are one step closer to being clear of this giant shit storm. They’ve even intercepted the letter that Shane sent to Claudette, but when Ronnie opened it, all he found was a note addressed to him teasing how he was Vic’s little bitch.

No matter what happens in the end, one thing is for sure: Shane is a lot smarter than everyone thought. By sending that bogus letter and setting up the meet that he had no intentions of going to, Shane bought himself a lot of time – time that he needed to put together some extra cash before him and Mara leave town. Though his first plan to rob a stash house doesn’t go quite as planned, Mara suggests they break into the safe at her real estate company. Though they got much less for the cashier’s checks than they were expecting, it should be more than enough to get them where they need to go. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to matter in the long run, because unless Vic gets off scot-free, there’s no reason Shane should either. Then again, Vic seems to have won over the approval of Corrine yet again with his handling of Cassidy in his final scene, and though it may not seem like she has any more worth to Claudette and Dutch, she might just end up being the wild card when all is said and done.


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The Shield 7.10 – Party Line

The last thing Shawn Ryan needed to do was to give his wife (Cathy Cahlin Ryan) a bigger part to play in the final stretch of his grand opus known as “The Shield.” Of course, I should have known that if anyone was going to bring down Vic Mackey it would be Corrine, and, well, that only makes her character that much more annoying. Is Vic Mackey a good guy? Not really, but the reason he went crooked in the first place was so that he could give his family a better life. Now, Corrine is punishing him for doing exactly that by turning to Dutch and Claudette for protection.

Protection? Has it really come down to that, even though Vic has stated time and again that he would never lay a finger on the mother of his children? And while we’re at it, would you like some cheese with that whine? Fer chrissakes, can someone just kill this woman already? She’s done nothing but cause trouble for Vic throughout the course of these last seven years, and he’s done nothing but protect her from the consequences. If anyone needs protecting, it’s Vic. Unfortunately, that’s not how the cards have fallen, and after being guaranteed immunity by Dutch and Claudette (even though the Assistant Chief would rather just arrest her instead), she spills the beans on everything she knows.

The Shield 7.10

Of course, Vic isn’t aware of his ex-wife selling him out, because if he were, he might’ve gone on the run with Ronnie as soon as the idea was brought up. Instead, he convinces his last loyal friend to stick by his side, hoping that if everything goes as planned, he can land both him and Ronnie a gig with the feds. That isn’t going to be possible with Aceveda stealing all his thunder, though. Just when Vic tries to prove his worth to Pezeula and “the cause” in front of his new cartel friend, Lupe Griego, Aceveda hijacks the meeting and beats the shit out of Pezuela as a way of saying, “Who’s dick is in who’s ass now?” It was a rare shining moment for Aceveda, but at what cost? Vic is quick to jump at the chance to talk directly to Griego, and his first order of business as a member of Team Drug Cartel is to assassinate Pezuela. Instead, Vic fakes his death and brings him to the feds so that he can testify against Griego, and in doing so makes himself look all the more important to the case.

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The Shield 7.9 – Moving Day

To call this week’s episode of “The Shield” a disappointment would be to admit that the cast/crew did something wrong, and, well, that’s just not the case. Nevertheless, I found it to be less eventful than most shows, and that probably has something to do with the fact that with four episodes to go, Shawn Ryan and Co. seem to be holding off on playing their final hand. This is something that I warned against a few weeks back, and though it isn’t so bad that it feels like the characters are just standing around waiting for the end to come, this week’s episode felt like it was stretching out the story a little more than usual.

The spotlight was shifted to Shane this week now that he’s on the run from the cops, and though his initial check-in with Corrine doesn’t go as planned (he knows Vic is there coaching her the minute she asks too much), Shane really seems to have a handle on how to properly evade capture. For starters, he’s not planning on leaving LA anytime soon, since he knows the entire police department is out searching for him, and he’s quick to trade in his flashy Lexus for another car with clean papers. The wrench in his plans, however, is that Mara forgot to bring Jackson’s medicine with her before leaving, and the kid’s whooping cough could escalate into pneumonia at any minute. This forces to Shane to head to a nearby pharmacy to pick up new medicine, and when that causes some bad reaction, Mara begs him to take Jackson to the hospital. It’s there that Vic finally catches up with him, but when he pulls out his gun to take Shane down, a squad car pulls up and the cops arrest Vic instead.

The Shield 7.9

Now, I find it hard to believe that every cop within the city limits wasn’t shown a picture of Shane before heading out on patrol, but even if they didn’t recognize him in the dark, don’t you think one of the officers would have at least pulled Shane and Mara aside to take down a statement? It seems like a pretty sorry excuse for Shane to get away, especially considering the circumstances. Still, he’s free for the time being, and though he suggests that Mara go turn herself in so that she may properly take care of Jackson, she refuses, claiming that family sticks together. And for all the trouble that Mara has caused over the last few years, you’ve got to respect that she’s still standing by Shane’s side.

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