'The Shield': T-minus 10 days
If you're Shane Vendrell, aside from looking over your shoulder every couple of seconds, you respond in kind. And you set up what could be a very scary kind of standoff as The Shield enters its endgame.
The file with these spoilers is going back into the box.
That game kicked into real gear last week, with Vic (and Ronnie) setting Shane up to get wiped out along with the Armenians. Vic's last-minute attack of conscience aside, it was really only Shane's instincts as a cop that saved him -- and it's now his instincts as a survivor (and protege of Vic's) that is leading him to make his counter-move.
Fortunately for him, then, he finds a willing front in Two-Man, the muscle for the drug dealer and pimp the strike team takes out following a tip from Vic's former reclamation project Farrah. While Vic is tied up with her -- and falling for the same sob story he did way back when he first met her in season three -- Shane approaches Two-Man and offers to make a murder charge go away in exchange for taking care of Vic.
It all shapes up as a pretty crappy day for Vic Mackey -- and oh by the way, he's losing his badge and his pension in 10 days. After a bad meeting with the feds and a robbery-homicide detective who's upset at Vic overreaching in the Pezuela mess, his review hearing gets moved up and he gets tossed out. Which, of course, only gives him a new sense of urgency to fix everything he thinks he needs to fix, from Pezuela to his relationship with Dani and their son.
Vic's messiah complex has been a huge part of this final season, and knowing he has a finite amount of time left will probably only magnify it more. Just look at the way he acted this week, trying to force himself into Dani and Lee's life in hopes of getting another shot at being a good father, getting Farrah out of her situation despite her previous deception, maneuvering to keep ICE agent Olivia in the clear as the blackmail files are turned over to the feds and close the noose around Pezuela.
That's a helluva lot to take on, even for him, and you have to figure that it's not going to end especially neatly. Starting with the fact that Dani is apparently skipping town with the baby.
Other notes from Tuesday's episode:
- The scene where Dutch confronts Claudette about the condition of her house was one of the best those two have ever shared. It's clear that he truly cares about his former partner's health, and he also knows her well enough to be able to call her out on her stubbornness when he says he's hired a cleaning woman to help her out. If anyone on The Shield deserves to come out OK at the end, it's Claudette (which makes me fear for her all the more in these final episodes).
- I continue to be impressed with how the writers have developed Ronnie's character, and how David Rees Snell has stepped up to the bigger role of late. Ronnie has gone from That Other Guy to a voice of reason between Vic and Shane to a clear-eyed and calculating presence who sees the spiral his partners are in and is willing to call them out on it. Of all the things that have been surprising over the last season-plus of the show, Ronnie's emergence has been among the most interesting.
- Nice little action between Dutch and Vic about the break-ins in Claudette's neighborhood. Dutch notices the way Vic reacts to seeing the ex-cop who runs the security company in the Barn and asks what was up. "If you think he's into something, he probably is," is Vic's reply. The break-ins are small potatoes compared to what the Farmington detectives usually deal with, but it's nice to see the two guys acting more or less as peers in this case.
Shane seems to have his wits about him -- do you think he poses a real threat to Vic? Or will the final blow come from somewhere we're not expecting?