The Shield

Season 7 Episode 1

Coefficient of Drag

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Sep 02, 2008 on FX

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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out of 10
155 votes
  • SPOILERS** Vic and Ronnie learn about the Armenian threat, and confront Shane over the kidnapping of Vic's family, Acevadea and Vic team up to bring down Pezuela, but have different ideas about how to use the blackmail box.


    This episode was good enough, but let itself down in a few places.

    We get a strong opening scene, perfect for a first episode. Immediately, that sense of urgency and tension that so typifies The Shield is established, confronting us with Mara, bound and gagged, and Shane, unsuspecting, returning home. I already felt nervous about what was to come.

    Shane is now a complete mess. I didn't think it was possible to have a character behave like he is somewhere complete despair and regret, while still maintaining his instincts for survival (Walton Goggins- AMAZING). Vic is moving even closer to crossing the line from cop to criminal once and for all- orchestrating a gang war to protect himself and his family? Crazy, even for Mackey. I'm not completely sold on this idea yet anyway…judging by Vic's previous actions- he would never allow a gang war to happen if he could prevent it. Ronnie's allegiances are really made clear when he murders Zodofian. The character has never killed before (he has never really done much of anything before- I still love him though!), I think having him kill that guy immediately made him a more prominent character. I was completely shocked when Ronnie turned and shot Zodofian- it really solidifies him as the soilder, loyal to Vic, willing to kill to protect his friend. It will be interesting to see where things will go with him and Shane- right now, Vic has asked Ronnie to play it cool with Shane- can he do that? Maybe not. I predict sserious tension there. A Poigionent moment- Vic tells Ronnie "Don't get sucked into that black hole that got Shane"- is this foreshadowing a dark path for Ronnie? Maybe. It was a really effective line anyway, reminding us once again that Shane is responsible for the loss of Lem (which is still palpable! i miss him in every episode). It also reminds us that they have lost Shane too- and nothing will be the same again. BUT- Shane definitely wants back into the fold- hinted at in a nice little scene where Vic tells Shane and Ronnie of his plan to take the heat off them for the money train…there is almost a hint of a smile on Shane's face when Vic describes his plans…as if he has already been welcomed back. It has happened before, so maybe Shane thinks it will happen again. that "black hole" comment just made me wish that they couild all just man-hug one another, and go back to being buddies.

    Tina and Julian- Irritating. I have never held much interest in Tina, she seems to be around a lot, but is completely pointless as far as I can tell. I hope she is axed soon, because I really don't want to see any more time wasted on a Tina is a crappy cop / Tina involved in love triangle / Dutchboy loves Tina storyline. Enough already, get rid of her. Another one that could go for the chop is Julian. Since the "Julian is secretly gay storyline was dropped, there really is not much happening there. I doubt the gay storyline could have been dragged out forever, but it made the character sympathetic. I was once interested in what was going to happen to Julian, but now all he gets from me is a tired sigh. And Julian on the Strike team? NO. That does NOT work. Something big better happen with Julian if I am to keep any interest in the character (oooh!! Now that I think of it…maybe he is doing a Terry and is working for justice or some such thing?? We know Julian loves playing by the rules!!). Billings made me laugh as usual, but I hope they don't over expose him, as I can see that getting old fast.

    HATED the scene where Vic provides his "diversion" during that shootout scene. The dialogue in it was poor, and unworthy of The Shield- ie " Not big enough for ya???" "Tell him I took a wrong turn!"- for some reason this just seemed a little bit CSI to me…it just was NOT Mackey. We know Vic is a smartmouth at times, but the character has never been a swaggering, cheesy-dialogue spouting A**hole. I hope they never EVER repeat this type of thing.

    The Pezuela / Mexican cartel storyline is picked up nicely too, with Vic trying to use the box of tricks he has come to posess as a means to keep his job. I can see this one playing out for a while, which I'm happy about. I just hope that it does not dominate the rest of the series. While it is an interesting storyline (and I guess it will be big for Acevadea), I want more strike team action. I always felt that real weight in this show was the emotional aspect. For me that's what makes the show so special- amazingly emotional scenes involoving characters you really feel for. This being the last series, I hope they give us plenty of Vic / Shane / Ronnie scenes.

    Not too many qualms with this opening episode- parts of it were brilliant. But some parts were a real let down for me. The Shield has always had very strong opening episodes, and while this is definitely not one of the best, it satisfied me. I just hope it is back to its usual brilliance for the next 11 episodes. I need it to be brilliant, cos its the last series ever :-( .
  • A nice return.

    I enjoyed this return, but to be completetly honest with you I really expected some kind of dramatic event to kick off the final season. This episode just felt like a continuation to the season 6 finale, which isn't a bad thing but it was rather linear,and for me, a bit difficult to follow. It's been ages since I saw the finale, so I didn't quite understand everything.

    What I did understand is that Vic Mackey still kicks major ass. He's just as great as he was before. Oh man, this episode reminded me how much I missed the awesome camerawork from this show. Very realistic!

    There were lots of great dramatic and realistic scenes that I loved( Vic's eye for eye confrontation with Shane, Ronnie killing the hitman and then Shane cutting his feet off, the shoot out )

    Those were classic Shield. And quite honestly, that's all an episode of the Shield needs. There were some hmm-hmm parts(too much talking!) but on a whole, a great return that sets up the final season.
  • Setting the stage...

    First off...gotta love the beating administered to Shane. I never, ever liked Mara. Personally when she was added to the show I felt the dynamic of the show change (still haven't forgotten what she did to Tavon)& it's no wonder his character has degenerated to this point. Ronnie stepping up so coldly, executing Zadofian. Honestly, I was shocked to see it, as he has always been the unassuming member of the team. It will be interesting to see how his fate pans out. Steve being exposed as the fraud he is...I find it funny how he can turn it on when his manhood is in question, but yet seems intent on getting over in life...what a joke, and what about Dutchboy making a fool of himself with Danny. This guy is a great detective, but he can't seem to navigate the waters outside of police work. Still having trouble getting my head around Claudette commanding the barn, messing with our guy Vic, but as always (up to this point) he has found a way to end up on top. Gotta keep an eye on Aceveda, did Vic make a mistake joining forces with him? Anyway, I am glad to be a part of the Shield family, looks like we're in for quite a ride.
  • In the most anticipated show this fall, we start to see how the dominoes will tumble towards the grand finale

    As a Shield fan, we have seen it all unfold to this point. Shane's betrayal, the strikes teams demise, and the impending doom of The Barn. However, how is everything go to play out is the big question left for us. The first episode of the final season does exactly that, as it sets the pace. We see what Mackey will do to survive, even if it means working with Aceveda, and we see the true Shane, the one who is in to deep but still cares deeply for the friends he lost. Its an emotional, yet still gritty episode, and while at times it may seem that nothing really happened but alot did.

    In no ways, is this near the most exciting episode of Shield, but it never had to be. My only complaint with the episode is the Billings/Dutch storyline, as I was just not convinced of the characters in the scene. I also wonder what Tina's role will be this season, because if we get another single dutch/Tina/other love triangle, I will go crazy because it is the one weakness in this superb show. Do yourself a favor and watch The Shield, because it is the biggest show ending this season, and it will be quite a journey to that point.
  • A great start to series finale

    The Shield
    Season 7
    Episode 1 Synopsis
    Coefficient of Drag

    Wow, this one wasted no time getting off the ground. Where do I begin? Okay, Shane is arriving home late at night. He opens his door and sees Mara bound and gagged on the couch. Shane pulls his gun and starts looking through the house for an intruder. Vic and Ronny jump out of the shadows and start beating him in retaliation for what Shane did to Vic's wife and daughter. In between blows he tries to explain why he did what he did. That he was trying to save their lives because of the hit that was put on him by Diro Kazhekian. That she found out Vic was responsible for the money train heist. (Again, Shane leaves out the part that he is the one who told Diro) That he is the one that shot the sent assassin in Vic's house. Vic and Ronny aren't sure what to believe but tell Shane they are going to check out his story and be back for him if it isn't true. Shane releases Mara and gives her the backstory on why Vic did what he did. Mara is worried and wants Vic out of their lives. Vic spins a tale to his wife about Shane overhearing someone talking about hurting his family so he tried to protect them not hurt them. Leaving out the fact that hit is legit due to the Armenian Money Train heist

    Meanwhile, in Farmington the Mexican cartel is trying to send a message by having 2 El Salvadorians executed and having their bodies dragged along a stretch of street that separates the Mexicans and El Salvadorians. Leaving a blood trial a mile long with the mangled body parts at the end of the marker. Claudette wants Vic to see if he can get any leads on this. But he and Ronny are trying to find the would be assassin that was going to kill Vics wife and daughter to get information from him to see if Shane was telling the truth. Shane is also trying to find the guy too so he can turn him over to Rezian and the Armenians.

    Shane is too late. Vic and Ronny find the man holed up in a hotel room recovering from his wounds. Shane hides outside wating for Vic and Ronny to leave.Vic begins to be beat him. Ronny gets Vic under control and they do indeed find out that Shane is the one that shot him. Vic leaves and after he is gone Ronny kills the man shooting him twice in the chest then he too leaves. Ronny has clearly shown his loyalties to Vic and will probably be a darker character this year. Shanes mind spins out of control as he goes upstairs and finds the dead man. He then cuts off the mans feet to make it look as if Diro Kashekian ordered the hit putting the blame on the Armenian Mob.

    Billings returns to the barn continuing his lawsuit and scam. He is supposedly being offered a settlement to make the problem go away, but Dutch enlists his help on an old case that Billings worked regarding a murdered wife a few years back. Billings continues to play the part of the disabled cop but does help Dutch if anything just to help speed along his settlement. Unfortunately for him, he did too good of a job with the investigation showing he is trying to scam the Barn. Claudette tells him that his lawsuit now has no merit and it would be best to get back to work. Billings agrees but says he will be doing the minimal work required of him. Like that is any different than before, right?

    Vic and Aceveda drive to a remote location with the blackmail box of goodies that Pezuela had collected. Vics plan is to take out one of the files of a high ranking official and use it against him as leverage to help him keep his badge. Acevada doesn't want that and thinks they should reach out to Pezuala and tell him that other parties are trying to buy the box to use for their own personal clout of owning the politicians in the city. Vic convinces Pezuala to help him keep his job in exchange for finding the information.

    A witness comes forward to tell Vic that she can identify one of the drivers of the body drag. Many of them are holed up in a store loaded with weapons. The police move in on them and a shoot out ensues with bullets flying everywhere. Vic drives into the store pinning the baddies and allowing the cops to arrest them all for their cache of weapons. Later while getting all the weapons cleared out, it seems one of the men was still hiding in the store. He jumps out and attacks Danny from behind. He takes off as the other officers on the scene, including Hanlon make their way back into the store. Danny is upset because she thought the room was cleared out and vows to have the person fired that failed to clear out the room properly. It possibly was Hanlon but we don't know yet.

    Vic and Ronny are meeting with Shane later that evening. Vic and Ronnie know that Shane is working for the Armenians but need to keep him under control to think they trust him. They plan to turn the Armenians against the Mexicans and create a gang war of epic proportions.

    I thought it was a pretty good season opener. Especially since it is the last season it appears that all hell is going to break loose this year, and I predict that more than one main character is going to die before its all said and done. I love this show
  • The seventh and final season begins with Vic and Ronnie on the trail of the Armenians whom Shane consorted with. Elsewhere a man confesses to his involvement in the murder of his wife (a crime he was acquitted of two years ago).

    The final season of one of the best crime dramas of recent years managed to get itself off to a good start. The episode's storylines are well written and keep the viewer's attention from start to finish. Another highlight to this episode is watching how Claudette and Dutch turn the tables on Billings and force him to reveal his scam. Though we have seen it countless times throughout the run of the series, watching Vic get himself out of seemingly impossible jams is always enjoyable. After seeing him do that, you find yourself almost hoping he gets away with everything.
  • Vic & Ronnie retaliate against Shane for his abduction of Vic's family. Shane reveals that they were greenlit because of the money train heist. Vic & Ronnie then investigate the legitimacy of this greenlighting, as well as who's pulling Shane's strings.


    This episode is a fine example of how The Shield pushes the envelope to make it the most intense season opener in the shows history. What better way to start the season than with beating Shane Vendrell? Or if that wasn't enough, how about Vic drove his car through a building to stop a shootout with automatic weapons? Not enough? There's always Shane Vendrell hacking off feet to fool the Armenians!

    But the most impressive thing to me, was the interactions between Ronnie & Vic. Having found the Armenian hired by Diro to off Vic's family, Ronnie stepped up and killed him for Vic. But what got me was Vic's approach to coaching Ronnie through his murder, not wanting him to become like Shane. We now Gardocki is loyal to Mackey, but will fear make Ronnie become careless?

    I feel these are all prime examples of how intense this final act will be. I'd love to elaborate on them in this review, but I must urge you to watch for yourself if you haven't seen it. But there's some aspects of this episode that could improve the season

    For starters, take the new character Olivia. Olivia is a Federal agent Seeking to claim to fame working with a local PD to boost her career. But isn't it too soon to introduce a new character? Or perhaps too late? This final season should focus on the original sinners of the show. I think Lorie Holden is a great actress, but is this character going to prove useful to the story, or a mere distraction for Vic? Can anybody say Becca Doyle?

    Secondly, I feel the writers have proven their point that officers Hanlon & Sopher don't get along. Does this feud really need to get sucked into a third season? The Wagenbach/Mackey feud didn't even last that long.

    Finally, regarding Mackey's career, he's still working with Aceveda to Bring down Cruz, however their ideas on how to attack differ. Is this the end of the Mackey & Aceveda working together? The next episode previews hint at it. Vic confronted Cruz Pezuela about the 'trunk full of blackmail' in attempts to gain favor in his review hearings. Fortunately for Vic, he's granted a 30 day review by Pezuela to show how effective he can be.

    I'm certain the next episode will reveal a bit more about Olivia & her role in the season. Otherwise, we're looking to see some gang wars between the ByzLats, El Salvadorans, & Armenians. I know I won't miss it!
  • Vic and the gang are still on top form, all the regular cast members are there, with a new female (FBI?) making an appearance. The Armenians are still hunting for blood and Vic is trying to keep one step ahead.

    If this first episode is anything to go by, Season 7 promises to be the best one yet! Although it seems like a lifetime, this new season blends in perfectly where Season 6 left off. Vic gives Shane a good beating for kidnapping Corrine and Cassidy, but Shane manages to explain before Vic blows his head off. Shane is between a rock and a hard place: Vic/Armenians, and is spinning plates trying to keep alive. Wimms is still running the Farm and Dutch is trying to cope with Billings. All of the other characters are still doing a great job, and even though they rarely get a mention, the bit players and extras, are top notch, playing their roles to perfection.
    The Shield deserves every award it gets, top notch writing, acting, cinematography, makes this the best cop show ever, and that is taking into account, Hill Street blues, NYPD blue, Homicide life on the streets and Third watch.