Spoilers for "The Shield," season seven, episode eight, coming up just as soon as I sign everybody up for the precinct softball team...
"Y'all about bringing force down on the street. Why don't y'all take a look at what ya got going on in your own roof?" -Two Man
You lucky, lucky, lucky bastards.
As I think I mentioned a few months back, FX sent out the first eight episodes of this season in advance, and being "The Shield" addict I am, I devoured them over the course of a few days. So the last episode I got to see for a very, very long time was one in which several metaphorical atom bombs were detonated in Farmington.
Shane tries (and fails) to kill Vic and Ronnie!
Shane is found out and turns fugitive!
Mara confirms for Corrine every bad thing Vic has done in his life! Including killing Terry!
VIC TURNS IN HIS BADGE TO HUNT SHANE?!?!?!?!
Well, let's just say that there are certain advantages to watching things a week at a time like a civilian, because it was killing me having to wait so long for more, or to be able to talk to other people about what had happened.
(I know, I know. To quote Livia Soprano: poor you. Let's talk about the episode already instead of my whining.)
As if the episode where Vic and Ronnie tried to kill Shane wasn't tense enough, "Parricide" upped the ante considerably. I knew Shane wouldn't succeed on his end -- you don't kill of Michael Chiklis this early in the season -- but I wasn't feeling too good about Ronnie's safety until Two Man blew it. And to have the failed assassinations go down at the start of the episode, with both sides then scrambling for most of the hour to either solve the case or cover it up, made for as taut an hour of the show as I can remember.
And then, on top of that, to have so much of the show's foundation ripped apart in the episode's final third? Good lord. No more messing around with the Armenian mob; Shawn Ryan and company are playing for keeps. This was like the penultimate episode of "The Sopranos," where Phil Leotardo almost casually bumped off half of Tony's crew and showed Tony and us how vulnerable he really was -- only it came with five episodes to go, and with a show far less likely to get philosophical in its final minutes.
The really shattering moment to me wasn't the gang at the Barn realizing that Shane plotted to kill Ronnie, or even Vic turning in his badge, though both were major freak-outs. For me, it was Corrine confronting Vic with all of the things Mara told her, and Vic admitting, "I did a lot of things I shouldn't have done, for reasons that made sense at the time but are hard to defend now." For Vic to even come close to confessing to Terry and all the other crimes he's committed -- especially for him to do it to his wife, the one person he's been most stubborn in his denials and manipulations over the years -- shows just how fragile his world is right now.
Corrine insists that after she helps him this one last time, "You have to pay some kind of price." Based on how things are going for him lately, I'd say Vic is already starting on the installment plan.
Some other thoughts on "Parricide":
• I would have been frustrated with Vic constantly leaving the investigation to play footsie with Pezuela if it wasn't for him attempting to make ICE into a comfy landing place when all this stuff with Shane and the department goes from bad to worse. Everything's tied together now, and it's all a big mess.
• Even though he hasn't been on "Prison Break" in a while (at least as far as I can tell from IMDb; been a long time since I actually watched it myself), Silas Weir Mitchell is keeping busy. He was on the "My Name Is Earl" season finale in the spring, then popped up on both "Burn Notice" and "The Closer" and here gets to play the troubled but ultimately good priest. Still, he'll always be Haywire to me.
• That storyline also gave Vic a chance to utter the priceless "I wouldn't want to piss off Jesus on top of everyone else." Uh, Vic? I suspect Jesus is already plenty pissed at all the things you've done in your life.
• Another great Vic one-liner: "Why is Montalban crawling out of his fine Corinthian skin," which is funny if you've ever seen the legendary Ricardo Montalban commercial for the Chrysler Cordoba.
• After all this time, you would think Claudette would insist on having the camera in the interrogation room rigged up in a way that doesn't make it so easy to unplug. Think of how many shenanigans the strike team has pulled by disconnecting that thing at opportune moments.
Finally, since the FX previews now seem determined to spell out almost everything that happens in each episode (the ads I saw for this one gave away a huge chunk of the plot), I'm going to remind everyone again about the rules here: No talking about the previews. No talking about interviews you've read elsewhere that give away stuff in the future. No talking about preview copy on network websites that hint at spoilers. No spoilers of any kind. Anything I consider the least bit spoiler-y is getting deleted.
What did everybody else think? I've been waiting a very long time to start talking about this one.