Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Shield: I hung my head

Spoilers for "The Shield" season premiere just as soon as I bathe myself in gasoline...

Between "Sopranos" prep, Passover and the fact that I already wrote about the season in broad strokes this morning, I'm going to be brief, take the bullet points route and then turn it over to y'all. I first saw this episode nine months ago, at a half-awesome (because of the episode), half-sadistic (because we weren't expecting to see another episode until January, which turned out to be April) screening FX arranged with critics, the cast and some of the producers, so I've been itching to hear what other people thought about it.

Me, I loved every single second of it (well, maybe not the Granny Porn subplot, but that's just me), but here are some of the highlights:
  • The Johnny Cash song over the opening and closing scenes has quickly shot up my list of Best Uses of Music In a TV Drama (and inspired the thread below this one), just perfectly casting a pall over the entire hour. Because of the relatively low budget, the show generally uses music by unknown artists that can be used cheaply, but whatever they had to spend on "I Hung My Head," it was worth it;
  • Shane's entire suicidal spiral, from the moment Claudette explains that Lem didn't sell out the Strike Team through being saved from eating his gun by Dani, all the way up to his confrontation with the meth-head arsonist;
  • Corrinne warning Dani that the baby might be autistic, the kind of comment that could have been helpful in another context but was just plain vicious here;
  • Kavanaugh slowly losing his mind over Mackey, to the point of planting evidence in Vic's house;
  • Billings again being a complete waste of oxygen ("Geez, I've got a goddamn lump!");
  • Dutch's reaction to the cats licking up the blood, both because of Dutch's own history with cats and because I first watched the episode while sitting at a table with Cathy Ryan, and at the end of that scene, eight or nine pairs of eyes all turned to her and she said, sheepishly, "What? Talk to my husband," followed by some discussion over the stability of the Ryan marriage.
So what did everybody else think?


Unknown said...

Excellent episode, Mackey is all balls. I am watching the second showing on FX as I can't get enough.

Anonymous said...

I was underwhelmed, but impressed by how much weight Kavanaugh lost in a "week."

Anonymous said...

Kavanaugh didn't strike me as all that much thinner than he was near the end of season 5, since he was becoming increasingly thinner throughout the the fifthe season.

cgeye said...

Hate burns him up, yo.

As ever, brutal, nasty, intelligent and crazy.

Anonymous said...

Per jim treacher: "I was... impressed by how much weight Kavanaugh lost in a 'week.'"

Hey, that's nothing cpmpared to the 17 inches taller that Bobby's and J.R.'s sons grew OVERNIGHT when Pam woke up from her dream.

Anonymous said...

Great as always, but now we have to suffer through the episode or three where the characters catch up to us and discover what we already know: Kav planted the evidence. That's part of the problem with an open story. But, these characters and actors are so good that it is not bad to watch them catch up to us. (I'm glad Dutch saw through Kav so quickly.).

rukrusher said...

The Shane arc was very well done, but my favorite moment was Vic confronting Kavanaugh. Just a perfect example of what makes the show compelling viewing, I hope you know the rules followed by the nice opening move of Kavanaugh to tell Vic to stay away from his house and then go plant the evidence. Two years ago Vic had enough pull in the department to call people to confirm that threat, now he is on his own and is much more vulenerable.

I agree that the autism comment was just mean.

I will say that this constant threat to shut down the barn seems hollow, as disfunctional as this place has been, why would you want to save it? I think they need to show the barn doing more good for Farmington to justify the storyline of the brass doesn't care and they are going to shut us down.

Anonymous said...

The autism warning, the way she played it, it started off as an attack, but by the time she left she was more sad than angry.

Anonymous said...

Since I'm lazy:

Kavanaugh mentioned Mackey losing two members in two years. What about Tavon? When we last heard about him, was he still in the hospital? Did he lose his memory? I can't remember how exactly he left the show.


dark tyler said...

I've adored Michael Chiklis since season one's final scene, but in this magnificent episode he showed even more layers. How awesome is this guy? In the bathroom with Aceveda, devastated and furious at the same time, but most of all while he was leaving Kav's house.

At that moment, Mackey seemed one step from completely losing it. He seemed almost detached, not really sure what he was doing there or what he was going to do next. If there was a way to portray fierce calmness, the Chick just nailed it. What an awesome actor.

Something else that struck while watching the episode was that, worse than dying ot being fired or going to jail for the murder of Reed Diamond or the Armenian thing, the worst thing of all would be for Vic to end up in jail for the one crime he didn't (and wouldn't ever) commit. The murder of Lem. Yikes.

A perfect premiere all around. I got chills before the credits even rolled, dammit. "Your 21, buddy". Hands down, best thing on TV right now. Or, for the last two years, actually.