Wow, just when you think it's safe to go back into the water The Shield strikes again, overall the episode was pretty much par for course. It had good moments, excellent moments and a few average ones - but if there's something I've come to learn about this show, you can never sit back and take things for granted because the carpet will get pulled right out from under you revealing a gigantic hole that everyone is going to fall down - taking you with it. More on that later.
Honestly I'm a little tired of this engineered gang war thing that's going on, it's taking a little too much time away from the stuff I like to see happening. The Strike Team smashing down doors, kicking arse, taking names and weaseling their way out of close scrapes with IAD. It's ok, and it's brilliant to watch how masterful Vic is in comparison to Shane - but it's clear that it's going to all blow up in Vic's face and more importantly (this is my real gripe) it's taking time away from seeing Ronnie and Julien working. I sort of wish the storyline was more about Julien investigating them and finding out the truth, of course - I had to eat my words by the end of this episode, but things are still not where I'd like them to be.
Vic and Shane are still playing the Armenians and Mexicans off against each other, but it seems that things have spiralled even further out of control. Both sides want to bring things to a head, the Armenians want to settle things without further bloodshed while Pezula and the Mexicans won't stop until the box is theirs. This means cracks are beginning to show in Vic's story and it's clear it won't hold up if both sides talk too much. So after arranging a meet (Mackey Wish #2) and then watching it derail because Rezian is willing to openly show submission to the Mexicans in order to end this thing; Vic does the only sane thing he can do. He escalates the conflict by using the box and Acevada to make it look like the Armenian's have control (through the blackmail material) over some members of the council. Which results in a councilman being shot dead by Pezula's men. Needless to say Acevada is less than impressed with this, he set up the whole thing and as such he looks very dirty if the truth ever got out. Ah, David. When will you learn that being involved with Vic in anything always results in all the s**t landing directly on you?
Elsewhere in the Barn Dutch and Billings are assigned to a home shooting, a young lad shot the local school bully when he broke into the lad's house. It looks like a clear cut case of self defense, but the Dutch Man's detective sense starts tingling and he digs deeper. After two cases where Billings nailed the case with his own talents it's good to see that Dutch's skills haven't been forgotten, also amazingly Billings seemed more willing to go along with Dutch's instincts and less disruptive. Are they starting to gel as a team? I certainly hope so.
But the big punch this episode has is waiting until the very last scene, I was left wondering what Olivia's part in this season was. At first I felt she was going to be eye candy who would fall for Vic, sleep with him and then eventually discover the monster underneath. But it turns out that the show has a far larger role in mind for the ICE agent. She's in the blackmail box, which means Pezula has his claws sunk deep into her, so deep that it means Acevada and Vic are in serious mortal danger. I must admit I was not expecting the stakes to be raised up in that direction this early, it's good that Acevada has been brought back into the fold now by common circumstances - he's at his best when fighting uphill on a slippy slope and it also means he's heavily in bed with Vic now. That's something which always turns into great television...
Genocide was a solid episode that avalanched into something great towards the end, events are spiralling out of control now and Vic's web of lies begins to look very tenuous indeed. I would have probably turned away and considered it and average episode if it wasn't for that final scene about Olivia. I am pleased when a show manages to blindside me with something like that.
Claudette's lupus is talked about but it doesn't have much bearing on things beyond having Dutch bring it up every episode. Perhaps we're being reminded of how much Dutch cares about her (but his lack of tact means he approaches it this way), perhaps we're just being reminded about it because she's going to collapse again at some point later in the season or perhaps it's just to keep the Danny/Claudette pairing Dutch set up simmering ready for something else.
Julien's zeal to be a good policeman has started to cause problems for the rest of the strike team, I'm actually glad - Julien is good police and Michael Jace is also a great actor. Perhaps it's just a matter of time before he realises the other three members of the team (especially Shane and Vic) are consistently "out chasing up leads" and decides to investigate/follow them himself. If he did so it wouldn't take long to find out how deep the rabbit hole actually is and there's no chance he'd do anything other than confront them about it or report them to Claudette.
Very happy to see Dutch back in his element, while it's been awesome watching Billings just solve cases without really trying - R-E-S-P-E-C-T - it's good to know that Dutch can still spot those potential serial killers a mile off. I imagine he's going to be proven right with regards to that kid later this season, failed arrests often come back to haunt Dutch.
Vic's family life continues to become more and more disruptive, I don't blame Danny for wanting legal documentation that keeps Vic away from Lee. It's clear that Cassidy's concerns have expounded her own about Vic. Is she another potential crack in the Mackey facade?
There are now only three characters who've been in every episode of The Shield - Vic, Shane and Dutch. Does this mean the final crunch will involve these men?
(Crossposted from my TV blog @ http://rev-views.blogspot.com/ )