Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Shield: Strike Team gets an FNG

Spoilers for "The Shield" coming up just as soon as I crank up the AC/DC...

Well, the obvious development to talk about first is the arrival of one Kevin Hiatt as the Strike Team's newest member and Vic's apparent replacement, but it's kind of hard to focus on that when there's that amazing Mackey freak-out at the end, no? Chiklis is just one hell of an actor, and they set it up beautifully, not only with Vic turning 'Vantes into a surrogate for Lem, but the placement of Corinne so that she couldn't physically get to Vic to help him as 'Vantes was dying. A very powerful, unexpected moment.

As for Hiatt, I don't know yet. I've seen two more episodes with him beyond this one, and he just seems sort of, there, you know? I'm not articulating this well, and we can talk about it more in the next few weeks, but if they want us to actually imagine a future where Vic isn't at The Barn and this guy is riding herd over all the gangbangers, he needs to be more charismatic than Alex O'Loughlin is showing me here.

I do like the idea of Claudette figuring out a way to make Vic behave until he's out the door. She understands what motivates Vic in a way that none of his other bosses have (except maybe Monica Rawling, who went more with the stick than the carrot), but this also has the potential to hugely blow up in her face. Also, while she's busy fixing the Strike Team, Aceveda is busy screwing her over by getting the house massacre taken away from RHD and sent back to The Barn.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

I just love CCH Pounder. She has been fantastic in this series throughout and it's a shame that she has not gotten a crap load of Emmys to go with it. I shudder to think that Mariska Hargitay has had her "work" noticed and CCH's Claudette blows her and all of the network cops (and doctors) out of the water.

As for the episode, I'm with you on the new guy being a little bland. I have managed to watch the next episode after this one, and still I don't know his name. Maybe he is playing low key so that Vic doesn't kill him, or freeze him out of the loop, but since Vic's team is slowly shrinking (or those loyal to him) this could be unnecessary.

If this was the last season, he probably would have come on stronger, but right now "new guy" is more of a placeholder.

As for Vic's freakout, in real life he would have been checked in the psych ward for a little RnR, but watching it made me wonder how much crazier can Vic get.

Anonymous said...

The Mackey freakout was really the only event of the episode -- and, as usual, Chiklis delivered. Everything else felt like set-up for upcoming episode arcs -- The San Marcos murders, Dutch's new psychopath, and The New Guy.

I thought the redeemed and betrayed gangbangers storyline was far too on point, but I did enjoy The Shield's in-your-face approach to a heavily symbolic storyline: Have someone come to the Barn relate a heavily symbolic dream right at the top of the episode, then introduce a small cadre of renegade one-niners (eventually just four) with a charismatic leader who eventually dies for a cause he believes is just. Is it possible to feel whacked on the head with symbolism?

I was also inordinately pleased to see Julian and Danny riding together again. But overall, it felt like a placeholder episode with one standout scene.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you on O'Loughlin. I could buy him as a replacement for Lem, maybe, but for Mackey? And expecting us to think he has a chance in the inevitable confrontation? They might as well have cast Dustin Diamond. (Hey, it worked for NYPD Blue. Sort of.)

Loved Pounder's take when whatsisname, Dutch's buffoonish-yet-savvy partner, was being less than sensitive about the rape victim. And just standing there watching Vic freak out, she said more than most actors can with a whole page of monologue. She's so good.

So, could the FX promo dept. please be Vic's next torture victims?

dark tyler said...

I loved Billings calling Dutch out on his sociopath behavior. I'm liking the guy more and more each week.

Also, great editing in the final scene. The way it cut from the one side of the glass to the other made Vic's freakout seem all the more animalistic. I got chills... again.

And that look on Walton Goggin's face when they received Lem's books... It had an "oh God, let this end now" vibe, and then he just shakes his head and returns to reality. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

Billings, couldn't remember his name. Yeah, from one scene to the next, you don't know whether he's going to be a clueless jackass or say something incredibly perceptive. Hell, sometimes even in the SAME scene. Plus he used to be on Due South, so I'll always love him for that.

Dark Tyler, I thought the exact same thing when Shane was standing there looking at Vic and the box of books. "Oh my God, this is it!" Of course, I've thought the same thing at least twice an episode so far, and Goggins pulls it off every time. And the scene where he's scolding them for joking around when Lem's still dead... Man, that's so real. Guilt makes people do and say some [censored]-up [censored].

Anonymous said...

During Vic's breakdown, did anyone catch what Vic was yelling to Corrine about her dream?

Edward Copeland said...

I think he was yelling something about the dream she had. I'm so glad they are giving CCH Pounder really good stuff to play again. The fact that she's only managed one Emmy nomination and no wins as Claudette is a crime.

Anonymous said...

I hated that Corrine drove down to the Barn to stop on-duty cops to ramble about a dream.

I'm hoping that Hiatt is just as crooked as the Strike Team , or at least carrying his own demons.

Billings has been terrific this season. "Did you finally make your move?"

Anonymous said...

I think Hyatt being a sort of anti-Vic is exactly the point.

And yes, Billings calling Dutch in his behaviours was great.