I was all set to label this a filler episode. After all, nothing epochal happens. Ah, but you see, this is where The Shield shines. All of the grace notes that lesser shows skimp on are are what make this one so consistently and addictively satisfying.
So this question bears asking- at the end of the day is this a story about one man's redemption, or one man's willing descent into the pits of hell? The war for Vic Mackey's soul was never more evident than in this episode. The guy is so hard to get a bead on. He lies with a perfectly straight face to the brother of the man he murdered in one breath, then in the next breath offers to sacrifice himself for his crew. He is livid when he finds out Kavanaugh has made a deal with Antwon, but doesn't think twice about making his own deal with a scumbag to raise bail money for Lem. This glorious bastard may be the most complicated, conflicted character ever committed to film. It's hard not to compare him to Tony Soprano. And, like Soprano, you wonder if the only route to redemption for him now is death. It will be interesting to see how they eventually end his story. Just please, I'm beggin' ya- in the finale, no Journey song, and no black screen...
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