Spoilers for "The Shield" coming up just as soon as I go buy some ephedra...
In the years since the pilot, Vic has killed guys in self-defense and he's left men to die when it's served his own interests, but it's been a long time (for us, if not for the characters) since he flat-out murdered a guy. Guardo wasn't the innocent that Terry was -- the writers reminded us of that through Shane's callback to last season's exploded BBQ -- but still. Damn.
Certainly one of the hardest-to-watch episodes ever, what with Guardo looking like a series of Abu Gharaib photos, the savage beatings, the blood, and the way the director framed the shot (both from the camera and the gun) to resemble the death of Terry. Again, damn.
And yet somehow, in the midst of Vic going way the hell off the reservation, of Shane being confronted with yet another bit of blowback from the murder and the cover-up, we got a bit of comic relief in the Dutch/Billings/Ronnie bizarre love triangle. Before this season, Ronnie rarely had much to do, but with Lem out of the picture he's become a much more important character, and David Rees Snell is holding up his end nicely. With Vic and Shane, Ronnie's the loyal sidekick, even the slightly nerdy one (he handles all the Strike Team's computer stuff), but pair him with TweedleDutch and TweedleDumb and he's suddenly the Alpha Dog.
When I watched this episode, I had forgotten the references at the end of last season to Vic's impending forced retirement, so Claudette's appearance in the final scene was a bracing splash of cold water after Vic and Ronnie (if not Shane) finally seemed to be getting over Lem's death.
What did everybody else think?