Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Shield: How do you like your ribs?

Spoilers for "The Shield" coming up just as soon as I steal some food from Craft Services...

Shane and Mara: worst marriage in TV history, or best? So far, Mara has stolen some of the Armenian money train cash, the two of them combined to nearly kill Tavon and then cover it up, and now just as she's on the verge of giving his ass the boot for getting with that underage hooer, he confesses to murdering Lem and she takes him back. I don't even know what to say about that, save that things are spiraling out of control for Shane, especially now that Vic's been convinced of Guardo's (relative) innocence.

While Shane was melting down, we also had the tortured runaway case had some vintage Dutch-style closure, and the Strike Team took on a very new look, between Hyatt's increasing authority, Julian struggling to fit in and, cosmetically, Ronnie finally shaving the Armadillo beard. (Nice work by the makeup department on the grill scars. At first, I assumed they had forgotten to do anything, but once I saw Ronnie's face in close-up I realized what a convincing, subtle job they had done on them.)

But for me, the real interest was Carl Weathers' return as the Ghost of Mackey Future. What a bleak, vicious scene that was when Vic, Carl and the other guy were cleaning out the apartment and giving impromptu haircuts and complimentary beverages. Is this really what Vic has to look forward to once he's off the force? He's never been a great investigative mind; his resume is all about muscle, intimidation and willpower, and I doubt he's going to get many glowing recommendation letters from Aceveda or Claudette or any other boss he's ever had. Whatever was in the Retirement Fund seems long gone, either burned up by Lem or devoted to paying for his autistic kids' special school, and I don't know if a 15-year pension will be enough to live on by itself. (I've always been under the impression that cops retire and immediately take another job so that the pension is a bonus for down the road.) This was a chilling illustration of why Vic is going to fight so hard to stay a cop. Sure, a lot of it is about ego, but Vic needs to work, and running the Strike Team is all he's really qualified for.

What did everybody else think?

16 comments:

mcewen said...

Autism huh! This may be a programme that I need to add to my Tivo.
Cheers

jim treacher said...

At first I thought maybe Shane had done that to himself out of guilt. As for why Mara took him back after he confessed... probably the same reason she's with him in the first place.

Curious George said...

Interesting that Dutch was ready to let the molester slip through his fingers until Billings stepped up.

Dark Tyler said...

The molester was so obvious that I think this whole case was supposed to be not so much a victory for Billings, but a loss for Dutch. Another one.

The final scene was jaw-dropping and highly disturbing at the same time. A couple of questions: why was every so insistent on mentioning the girl's age? From the beginning I assumed she was underage, but here everyone was going out of their way to remind us that she actually wasn't. As if that would make Shane seem like less of a monster. I smell network interference?

I also have a problem with Hyatt. I'm not sure right now what exactly is his take on this whole Vic thing. Is he just going along with him so that he doesn't cause any problems, or is he really looking up to him?

Charles Chase said...

My new favorite character is Billings. At first he was a complete ass-monkey, but he's getting good...

Scott Tobias said...

A first-rate episode, but no one has mentioned the appearance of two absolutely first-rate character actors in key roles: Bruce McGill, who scared the hell of me in THE INSIDER and is reliably terrific in everything he does; and Clifton Collins, Jr. (great in CAPOTE, TRAFFIC, and others), whom I assume we'll be seeing more of as the season goes on.

Mara taking Shane back is an interesting and oddly creditable piece of psychology. It would seem counterintuitive to take your husband back *after* he confessed to killing his best friend, but the confession is also a show of intimacy and vulnerability. For a relationship as dysfunctional as theirs, it's like a bouquet of flowers.

And oh man, Carl Weathers. "The Ghost Of Mackey Future" is a great way to describe that subplot, though even Mackey would have to slide a little further into decrepitude to practice that brand of mercenary justice.

anon said...

Scott,

It was nice to see Collins as Hernan, but where was McGill? I thought that the only other guest performances were from Weathers and the actor playing the rapist -- a character actor whose name I should know, but who wasn't McGill.

I agree with you about Mara's actions. Not only was the psychology credible, it was consistent with her previous behavior. She takes Shane back because he needs defending, and she's shown a willingness to defend him with extreme prejudice against Tavon. She can forgive betrayal, as long as she isn't the one betrayed.

Anon

Scott Tobias said...

I stand corrected on McGill, anon. I can't find any info on who played the rapist anywhere, but he's definitely a face I recognize from other movies and shows. So embarrassing that I got it wrong.

Anonymous said...

It made perfect sense why Mara took Shane back: His fracked-up, cocaine sniffing ass was already squealing to her about Lem's death -- who knows who'd he tell about the Armenian money train?

Even though she would, if she had the luxury, dump him like trash, she'd do better to keep him close. If he goes on his own, it only takes one call to Mackey to protect herself and her baby -- by snuffing him out, and making it look like a suicide.

James said...

I don't know about you lot but I can't take Carl Weathers seriously anymore:
"Let me tell you a little story about acting. I was doing this Showtime movie, Hot Ice with Anne Archer, never once touched my per diem. I'd go to Craft Service, get some raw veggies, bacon, Cup-A-Soup... baby, I got a stew going." - Carl Weathers (Arrested Development)

anon said...

scott,

See, you liked McGill in _The Insider_. For me, however, he will always be MacGyver's unreliable occasional sidekick Jack Dalton. His face has been seared into my brain for years.

james,

I admit that when I saw Weathers' credit my first thought was "See, if you take the bone home and put it in some broth, you can make a nice soup." But that's really my problem, not Weathers'.

Anon

Homertojeebus said...

Dark Tyler, nice call on the 18 years old reveal. The girl was clearly supposed to be underage, Vic refers to her as "Tweener Pussy", which would make her about 13. Definite that someone passed a note on that.
This show revels in giving Dutch a pat on the back, then 6 kicks in the balls, pat on the back, 4 nut slaps, etc. I hope his final pat on the back is to take Vic out, but the writers of this show are way too enamored of Vic's "manliness" to ever let that occur. Try to remember, he shot a cop in the face in episode 1.

jim treacher said...

Sorry guys, but McGill was, is, and always will be D-Day.

Tweener on "Prison Break" was older than 13...

Homertojeebus said...

They called him "Tweener" derisively, like "kid".

Alan Sepinwall said...

No, the guys on Prison Break called him Tweener because he was a white guy who acted black, and was therefore in between the two races.

anon said...

For posterity:

The actor was Brian Howe, and from his credits it is clear that I have been watching him appear in one episode of many, many TV shows for around a decade, at least.

Anon