The Shield

Season 1 Episode 10

Dragonchasers

1
Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM May 14, 2002 on FX
9.4
out of 10
User Rating
174 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Mackey helps Connie quit using crack cold-turkey in her desperate attempt to keep her son, leaving Vendrell and Lemansky to investigate a strip-club mugging ring. Meanwhile, Dutch follows his instincts on a serial killer case and Danny is bitten by an HIV-infected perpetrator.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Quite simply, one of the greatest (if not the greatest) hours of television I've ever seen. Storylines that have been building for 10 exceptional episodes rise to new heights. Simply incredible writing and acting.moreless

    10
    (It should be noted that I feel The Shield is the greatest television drama of all time. I can't really compare sitcoms and dramas, so I'll never really be able to sort out whether I believe Seinfeld or The Shield is my favorite show of all time, but putting The Shield in Seinfeld's class should show my feelings about the show. With that said, I've seen every episode at least twice from the first 4 seasons and I believe this is the best episode The Shield has ever produced.)



    The amazing thing about this episode is that is succeeds without any of the trademark violent tactics from the Strike Team. The Strike Team actually has the comedic storyline dealing with the busting of a stripper/mugging ring at a neighborhood strip club. With this subplot, Vic is allowed to carry out a brilliant subplot with Connie outside of the strike team and the other main characters of The Shield are allowed to shine.



    Over the course of the previous 9 episodes storylines have been built up brilliantly. The relevant ones dealing with this episode consist of Vic's semi-touching yet still unexplained relationship with a drug abusing hooker named Connie, Julian’s repressed homosexuality that he has caused him great emotional distress, and (most importantly for this episode) Dutch's need for respect and the constant pranks that Vic and other cop's have pulled on him. This includes having to discover that despite his best efforts, Danny has spurned him and is sleeping with Vic. With those storylines built up so perfectly that is impossible to really give a good feel for them in a summary, Dragonchasers stood poised to become an amazing episode.



    These three main storylines all come to powerful heads and we are rewarded as viewers with incredible revelations about several different characters that make them even more interesting.



    The storyline of Captain David Acevada's political aspirations gets to hit a speed bump in this episode when the shocking revelation comes out that he was accused of raping a girl in college. The rapid way in which the scope-searching reporter jumps into the question only adds to the shock. When Acevada has to explain to his wife what really happened, we get even more interesting backstory on Acevada and it sets up more juicy story for the following episodes.



    Julian’s attack of a cross dressing HIV positive hooker who bit Danny is great because it allows us to truly see all the pain that has built up in Julian. He wails on the hooker as though he is trying to beat out his own homosexuality which he believes to be a great sin against his faith. This is an extremely powerful scene coming in the next to last shot of the episode.



    Vic's hooker friend Connie had been a very interesting character, yet sort of a mystery up until this episode. After this episode however, Connie (played brilliantly by Jamie Brown) will become one of the most fascinating recurring characters I've ever seen. We finally learn Connie's backstory. Vic had saved her from a fight with other hookers and then got a call from her "Cracked out on the floor of a hotel bathroom, six months pregnant. Screaming. Crying. Begging for forgiveness." She'd tried to kill her unborn son Brian using a plunger handle and Drano. Vic managed to save her and Brian's life and now has a special interest in seeing that they both stay safe. This fascinating backstory is dropped in to a scene between Vic and his wife Corrine. Amazingly, even after learning this horrible information about Connie, we the viewers still feel for her and I think that is a testimate to the remainder of this show and subsequent episodes containing Connie. As to Connie's plot actually within Dragonchasers, she is trying to get clean after her mother dies; leaving her alone with Brian. Seeing her in withdrawal made for some interesting scenes, especially when the writers have her deliriously bring up a previous incident in which Vic had to punch her to give her bruises so that her story about killing a man in self defense would be believable. The climax of this storyline comes when Connie steals some money off of one of Vic's partners and gets high. She stumbles into the police station and finds Vic and Brian. After explaining that she "can't be helped" Vic tries to tell her that "Brian needs his mother". Jamie Brown then brilliantly delivers the line, "That's just not me." She then turns and walks out and the camera cuts back to Vic holding Brian as the little baby reaches out for his mother. Heart wrenching stuff. It is simply one of the best scenes I've ever scene on TV and it earned every bit of emotion not only with great writing in this episode, but with the writing of every previous Connie scene until this point. Amazingly, this isn't even the best scene in this episode!



    That honor goes to the conclusion of the main storyline of Dragonchasers. As I've stated, Dutch has been pranked and beat up emotionally for 9 episodes. He gets some great redemption here and again, the writing earns every bit of emotion the concluding scene brings. This story is set up by an earlier episode (1.6 - Cherrypoppers) where a murderer of a young girl gets away despite Dutch's best efforts. His obsession with the case has continued up until this point. When Danny and Julian catch a "self-pleasurer" in an alley in the area of the previous "cherrypoppers" murder, Dutch's great instincts kick in. Of course everyone jokes as Dutch mysteriously brings in the suspect Shawn for questioning. (One cop asks Dutch if he's "Getting Tips?", haha) Anyway, Dutch begins to do his normal psycho-criminal analysis of Shawn, but he quickly finds out that Shawn is smarter than the average criminal. In a genius scene, Shawn breaks down Dutch's personality on a dry-erase board after only having spoken to Dutch a few times. Having seen Dutch the first 9 episodes, the viewer can see how observations like "Craves respect...Feels ignored, unappreciated, inadequate with women." strike right at the heart of Dutch's weaknesses. He goes on, "People never took you seriously. you have to prove them wrong. It's why you became a cop. You thought by having a gun and a badge they'd respect you. Even in a uniform, you were still a joke. It's why you became a detective. You're still the same lonely kid from high school. And at the end of the day, when you look in the mirror? You don't see the person you wish you were. Just the lowly civil servant you hoped you'd never become". It shows the brilliance of this bad guy while at the same time once again piling on Dutch. When Dutch then lets Shawn show off his big brain to buy time, it leads to a couple great scenes where Shawn continues to pound on Dutch's wounded ego. However, this all allows for a very rewarding conclusion. With much of the Barn watching via the closed circuit tv from the video camera in the interrogation room, Dutch begins to enlighten Shawn and the viewer of all the police work he's done while Shawn's been mouthing off and we've been watching the other storylines. Dutch gives a nice return psycho-analysis to Shawn and then reveals that they were able to find 17 bodies under his aunt's porch. Shawn then claims that he is special because he killed 23 people (he ran out of room under porch). Dutch's response is great, "If you're so special, how come a lowly civil servant like me just caught you?" He walks out to cheers from everyone in the Barn including Vic who has always given Dutch a hard time. Part of the brilliance of this interrogation scene (One of the best I've ever scene) is the intercutting between the guys watching the video feed and the actual interrogation. Seeing Shane go from mocking Dutch to him being taken aback when Shawn reveals that he is the serial killer adds so much. And even though this story has climaxed, the emotion has not. The last scene of the show (Perhaps my favorite scene EVER, although there are some others on the Shield that make it too close to call) follows Dutch as he walks to his car. When he gets in and turns on the car, he simply breaks down and begins to cry. I still remember seeing this for the first time and just having one of those goose-bump chill moments. I'd seen how Dutch had shrugged off Shawn's rundown of his inadequacies and I'd wondered how he could never have a response. Just when you think the show is over, he finally lets it out. Once again the show has earned this emotional scene over the course of the first 10 episodes. I've also heard that perhaps Dutch was just crying because he felt for the girl killed in the cherrypoppers episode, but I like to believe it is because of the things the serial killer had said to him. But that is what makes this scene so great, it’s ambiguous and the viewer can decide it's meaning. I can't express how much I love this scene.



    Anyway, that’s my review of episode 1.10 - Dragonchasers. I believe this is the greatest hour of drama television I've ever scene due to the amazing writing and acting it contains. Considering it contains two of the greatest scenes I've ever seen, I can't see how any other episode of any other show would earn a higher rating than this from me. I hope anyone who hasn't watched The Shield gets the first season and watches the great Pilot. From there, you'll be going through episodes so fast that you'll be at Dragonchasers before you know it.

    moreless
  • Listen carefully, I'm doing you a favor: skip this review and go straight to the excellent one written by Hofeman 612. I can't add anything to the insight and detail found there. Excellent review for this incredible episode!moreless

    9.8
    Folks, I can be a little slow sometimes. I knew that The Shield was good- maybe even great- but I never expected to see an hour television of this quality outside of HBO. I also misjudged something else about this show. I thought that it was about cops and crooks. I was wrong. Much as the Sopranos was not about the mob, The Shield is about a lot more than one would think at first glance. It examines issues of trust, loyalty, moral relativism and the redemptive power of human connectedness. This is great television drama.



    The writing, direction and acting come together in a Perfect Storm of sorts to make this a singular episode- one of the best hours of television I have ever seen, bar none.



    Don't take my word for it, watch it- or you deserve to have someone throw you a Blanket Party...moreless
  • Review

    9.1
    The action-adventure part of this episode was kind of left out for the most part, with a lot of past cases being solved and a huge new devolopment into one of the characters. David being accused of rape seemed way out of character at first, but after he explained the story I do believe that what he said is the way that it happened. I thought the actign Dutch did in thisnepsiode wa smuch needed for his character. I always knew that he would find the man who killed Sally and the way that he went about it was some great writing by the writers. I thought the scenes with Vics hooker friend were pretty boring and repeated. Her walking out on her son was a bad piece of writing I thought. Overall, it was a good episode - somewhere in the middle of the season or so I think.moreless
CCH Pounder

CCH Pounder

Detective Claudette Wyms

Michael Chiklis

Michael Chiklis

Detective Vic Mackey

Jay Karnes

Jay Karnes

Detective Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach

Michael Jace

Michael Jace

Officer Julien Lowe

Walton Goggins

Walton Goggins

Detective Shane Vendrell

Catherine Dent

Catherine Dent

Officer Danielle "Danny" Sofer

Frank Grillo

Frank Grillo

Officer Paul Jackson

Guest Star

Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly

Sean Taylor

Guest Star

Sandra Purpuro

Sandra Purpuro

Tereza Varela

Guest Star

Jamie Brown

Jamie Brown

Connie Reisler

Recurring Role

Camillia Sanes

Camillia Sanes

Aurora Aceveda

Recurring Role

Cathy Cahlin Ryan

Cathy Cahlin Ryan

Corrine Mackey

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (2)

    • When Michael Jace is beating up the cross-dresser in the Blanket Party, he went through three rubber battons to create the effect. While they edited out the breaking points, you can see one start to crack round the last few hits.

    • When Chiklis turns on the television to see Shane and Tulips, he quickly changes the channel to Dutch and Sean. The reporter turns around before the channel is changed, yet she doesn't say a thing. According to the script, she isn't supposed to see it, just hear something odd.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • (Confronting Shane about an ill-advised sexual tryst he had with a suspect)
      Vic: I was doing a little channel surfing up in observation. I didn't know we got The Spice Network!

    • Dutch: If you're so special, how come a lowly civil servant like me just caught you?

    • (Reading what Sean wrote on the board)

      Dutch: Detective Wagonbach, craves respect, fantasizes about being well-liked, yet shows no outward manifestation of his low self-esteem. Feels ignored, unappreciated, inadequate with women.
      Sean: Ah, it's just off some first impressions but, I'll stand by it.
      Claudette: Maybe you'd like to read my palms too.

    • (Walking in with Brian)
      Corrine: Some husbands just bring home flowers.
      Vic: Yeah, I didn't have time to wrap him up.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Vic: I didn't know we got The Spice Network!

      When Vic confronts Shane about the sexual tryst with Tulips that he observed on the interrogation room monitor, he mentions The Spice Network, a cable channel featuring porn.

    • Vic: If she goes to detox, DCFS will take him away.

      DCFS is the government program that puts children into foster care. It stands for Department of Child & Family Services. They currently have one of the worst track records of all U.S. departments.

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