I am one of the viewers who has been lucky enough to have been with this show since the very beginning, and I am in awe. This final season has been so tense it was almost unbearable, and now it has been brought to a conclusion that still continues to deepen the characters, the themes, everything. Vic Mackey is still an ambiguous character, but while he's revealed himself to be capable of a degree of brutality we've never seen before, he's also showed himself to be even weaker and more vulnerable than we could have ever imagined him being. He has finally ruined everyone who ever shared a bond with him... and none of it makes any sense, or is remotely satisfying to anyone. All that he's left with is a great sense of waste, and weakness, and cruelty... and at the same time, he can't even stop himself from trying to get back into the action that caused his own ruin. There were moments during this season that you got the impression he was harbouring doubts about his actions, and there was always a chance that he would turn back from vengeance and do something redeeming... but instead he followed his own brutality until it completely destroyed everything he ever had, and still he refuses to admit that he was wrong. Shane's final actions in particular are telling-- he murdered his own family in a cold and selfish way, but at the same time, even he is more sympathetic than Mackey. His suicide note makes one think of a confused child... he was bound to his own evil by stupidity and weakness, not by any sense of justice... but the difference between himself and Vic was that he had the sense to admit that he was lost. Ronnie's fate fit his misdeeds, but at the same time, the fact that he would be meeting it alone-- after seven years of having no real life but that of his role on the team--was somehow horrifying. He is going to prison without any support at all, and instead of confronting him or trying to help him in prison, Vic turns his back on him and tries not to think about it while he's being dragged into the cage. In the past, Vic might have promised him special treatment, or worked out a deal where he wouldn't have to face being a cop in prison without support... but now that Vic is completely powerless, there's nothing he can do. Throughout the episode, I kept hoping that Vic would do something selfless, show some trace of responsibility or try to protect his team... but he didn't. He was forced to admit that he had become a pathetic, powerless outcast with nothing left but a few pictures on his desk, a superior who will do everything in her power to demean and declaw him, and a soulless routine that will inevitably ruin his body and his mind-- not to mention all the guilt and shame of everything he has done. At least Ronnie can survive on the anger of having been betrayed, and having preserved his dedication to the team... Vic doesn't have that at all. Everything in his life fell apart for a perfectly logical reason, and he has no one to blame but himself. The worst of it is, you get the impression that he has no idea how to deal with it. It's not something he can beat up, or torture, or kill. He only has two options-- live with it, or kill himself. And after seeing Tina's first anniversary party, with everyone happy and making light of things, you realize that no one else cares.
Over the past two seasons, while watching the descent into anger and vengeance, you really get the sense that this conclusion has been carefully thought out and planned, and now it's been executed brilliantly. Kudos to everyone involved with this show-- it's an incredible work of art.
Well said. I have been with this show since the beginning too. And I agree, Vic did deserve everything he got. But I still can't help but feel a little bad for him.
Because as corrupt and selfish as this man is, there have also been times when he has shown great selflessness toward his team and family. There are lines he will not cross. Vic doesn't want to get rich or rise in the department or become the goddam mayor. He just wants to be out there, risking his life, living on the edge, and locking up the vile scum of the Earth. That's all he wants! He doesn't care if he gets paid a s*itty cop's salary and has to live in a small crappy apartment. THAT'S why I still respect him. True, his methods may not be the most moral or ethical, but hasn't this show always been about shades of grey? You can't completely hate a character, nor can you completely support and like them.
I DESPISE Vic for betraying Ronnie, killing a brother cop, corrupting Shane and Lem, and a dozen other bad things as much as you. They all deserved much better. But at the same time I respect his bravery, shrewdness, street smarts, and BURNING desire to be a cop and make the streets safer. So I can't exactly stand up and cheer, "YES!! VIC MACKEY IS GOING TO ROT IN CUBICLE HELL!!! YEEEHAWWW!!".........I do feel somewhat depressed.
The Shield. The perfect shade of grey. Hats off to it.
Edited 3 total times.