Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Updated - The Shield - Final Episode Tonight


Shane Vendrell realizes he left his sunglasses in Mackey's car.

I meant to do a serious post this evening (yeah, I know I've been terrible lately, but I've been busy!), but one of my favorite tv shows, The Shield, is finally coming to an end tonight.

SPOILER ALERTS!

It turns out that Terry Crowley's murder at the end of the first episode of Season 1 is faked. Vic Mackey gets all charges against him dropped and he retires to the Caribbean with a full pension. Dutch Wagenbach finally admits his love for Claudette Wyms and they start to get hot and heavy on the desk in her office, until Dutch shoots his load too early.

But seriously, I don't know what is going to happen tonight (updates at the bottom). With regard to Vic Mackey, there are three possible scenarios:

1. He dies, either by murder, gun fight with Shane (who also dies) or by suicide.

2. He lives but goes to prison.

3. He lives and avoids jail time, but he loses everything, his family, his friends, and any chance of ever making an honest living.

Oh wait, I shouldn't rule out another possibility:

4. Mackey gets away with everything, gets another law enforcement job, and gets back together with Corinne.

Yeah, I know it's not likely, but Mackey always seems to find a way to come out on top, so I have to keep my options open! Anyway, I will find out what happens to Mackey and the rest of the characters of the show in an hour and forty minutes.

Gratuitous picture of Paula Garces as Police Officer Tina Hanlon.

Well, as I noted in the comments, Vic's fate is mostly Option #3. He loses everyone in his life. His wife is in protective custody and his former friends are either dead or they despise him. He still has a job in law enforcement, albeit as a desk-bound clerk on a tight leash, which he has to endure for the next three years, or else he will be in violation of his immunity deal and will go to prison.

Like the end of the last episode of The Sopranos*, The Shield ends on a rather ambiguous note, with the answer to the question "Where is Vic going with that gun and what is he going to do?" being left up to the viewer's imagination.

* As an aside, I never really watched The Sopranos, but having looked at the final scene, I tend to agree with the possibility that Tony was whacked, and that the sudden fade to black means that he was killed right at that moment.

20 comments:

Tommy said...

Well, it was mostly #3, except he still has a job, though as a desk bound clerk at a Federal agency.

The final episode ends on an ambiguous note. Mackey leaves the office with his pistol tucked into the back of his pants. Where he is going and what he is intending to do is apparently left to the viewer's interpretation. Since he watched some police cars with sirens and lights on driving by from the office window, what I get out of the ending is that he wants to get a piece of the action on his own terms.

Unless I missed something, my only disappointment is that they did not find Rita's body.

Anonymous said...

Nah, he looked at picture of his ids for a while and had deep thoughts, and grabed his gun and walked out, I think he thought of all the things he had done and how he put his buddy away, and shane took his life and his kids life, so I think he went down the same path as shane.

Anonymous said...

With Vic watching the cop cars run out with their lights on, I think Vic was leaving to follow them to get in a gunfight to go out in a blaze of glory. I don't think he's the type to kill himself; he's going to take out as many bad guys as he can before he's done.

Anonymous said...

I was sick to my stomach after the scene with Shane killing his wife and kid and then committing suicide. By then, I didn't even care what happened to Vic, but I think Vic was looking to live his life on his own terms or die trying. The only thing he trusted in his life was his gun, so I think you just draw your own conclusion about what he was planning to do with it.

Tommy said...

Thank you all for visiting and for your comments.

I was sick to my stomach after the scene with Shane killing his wife and kid and then committing suicide.

Yeah, when he got back to the house, looking with an anguished face over the toy car he bought for Jackson, and then called out to them, "Family meeting," I was like "Oh no!"

One of the things I really liked about The Shield was that the characters were really layered. Shane Vendrell could be a real piece of shit, but then he would have moments were you see the humanity in him and you really feel for him. Then you have characters like Dutch, who is basically a good guy with serious character flaws. You don't always like him and he has a tendency to cause himself needless embarassment, but he is overall a man of decency and integrity.

By then, I didn't even care what happened to Vic

I found it interesting that after Claudette laid out the photos of Shane, Mara and Jackson on the table in front of Vic, she leaves and goes into the other room so she can watch Vic on the monitor to see how he responds. I sense that she was looking to see some redeeming quality in him. Is Vic going to break down and cry for all the damage he has caused? Instead, Vic remains stone faced, before getting up and destroying the camera. At that point, for both Claudette and the viewer, Vic has completely forfeited his humanity. In the end, it is all about his own personal survival. Nothing else matters.

And then there's poor Ronnie Gardocki, the only member of the Strike Team who will go to prison for their sins.

One last observation. At the end, when Vic is putting pictures of his family on his desk, he also puts a picture of himself and Lem. Ronnie hates Vic for selling him out. Shane died hating Vic, whereas Lem was still Vic's friend when he murdered by Shane. I guess for Vic, his friendship with Lem is the only good memory of the Strike Team he has left.

Anonymous said...

One thing you have to remember is that Vic is essentially an evil person...I think it would have played out with him trying to track down Corinne (to "deal" with her) and being nabbed by ICE.

Anonymous said...

I think Vic decides to hit the road at the end... Knowing Vic he can not take even 3 days of that life... So he is taking his gun which is the only thing he trusts at this point and is going to be renegade or something like that living on the road... There is nothing left for him anymore... Everyone is gone... And he will never commit suicide, he will survive to the end or be killed by others...

Tommy said...

Or there is another option. Vic is just going home for the night.

Anonymous said...

Yeah he could just be going home for the night. If you notice moment he gets his gun, he had the last smile (laugh) what ever you wanna call it. Basically he excepts that this is it and goes home with a smile.

tina FCD said...

Sorry, I don't follow this program.

But I tagged you. Visit my site, well, only if you want to. lol!

CB said...

Well I was pretty shocked to see Shane's roll come to such a horrible ending. In the end though it still proved that Shane was really a piece of crap. Killing his own flesh and blood just because he was selfish and didn't want anyone else to raise his child.

I have watched the Shield from the very first episode and I still believe Vic was a good guy who did some horrible things. But most of those horrible things were cleaning up Shane's stupid messes!

I too wish they would have solved the case with the evil teenage boy who killed his mother. And as far as Dutch, I never liked Dutch especially after he strangled that cat. He has a very dark side to him that spooks me!

I am sorry to see it come to an end!

Tommy said...

I still believe Vic was a good guy who did some horrible things. But most of those horrible things were cleaning up Shane's stupid messes!

Hi CB. Thanks for your comments.

You almost got it. Yes, we want to believe that Vic was a good guy, but in the end there's no getting around the fact that he is not. He sold out Ronnie, who was always loyal to him. Vic is always about surviving and trying to avoid accountability for his actions.

Dutch is a very complicated character. Like I wrote above, he is basically a good man. But he is socially inept, and yes, he does have a dark side to him. But I never get the sense that he would hurt another human being. As for the cat strangling, you have to remember the context in which it happened. Dutch had been interviewing a murderer whose motivations completely eluded him and who wouldn't tell Dutch that one thing he wanted to know, what the killer was feeling when he committed the crime. Dutch, being the analytical person that he is, killed the cat because he wanted to see if it would give him insight into how the murdered felt at the moment of taking a life.

It might have been interesting, if ultimately distracting to the main thrust of The Shield, if Dutch turned into a Dexter type of character, a detective who leads a double life as a killer.

spencer said...

And as far as Dutch, I never liked Dutch especially after he strangled that cat. He has a very dark side to him that spooks me!

I didn't really like him much either, but I actually found myself identifying with Dutch quite a bit during the seven seasons of the show's run. Well, with certain aspects of his personality, anyway.

Except for the cat thing, though. I probably would have put him in the hospital if I'd seen him do that.

spencer said...

And then there's poor Ronnie Gardocki, the only member of the Strike Team who will go to prison for their sins.

Well, he was as guilty as any of them, and since two of them paid for their sins with their lives, it's hard to feel much sympathy for Gardocki.

Or it should be, anyway. Because I actually felt bad for him when he got arrested, as it slowly began to dawn on him that he was going to prison for a long time - and perhaps to Death Row - because the person he thought of as a brother decided to sell him out.

I attribute this to the brilliant writing and acting that were characteristics of the show. Every once in a while, I will find a show that actually makes me forget that the characters in it are not real people. The Shield was one of those, no question.

Anonymous said...

I normally don't cry over TV shows, but couldn't hold back the involuntary convulsive sob when Shane shot himself, even though I knew it was coming. The Shield is and was one damn fine show, probably right up there with the Sopranos as far as grabbing the viewer by whatever tender parts they have and never letting go, right through the final montage.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon the Shield several years ago, after retiring from an inner city police department. I was instantly drawn to Vic's character and the rest of the characters on the Strike Team. While many parts of the show were pure entertainment, my reaction to many of the situations on the show reminded me of some of my experiences. The characters were so well developed and similar to the men and women that I had worked with over the years.

I would like to think that the characters were just that...characters. But having been there, I can tell you that many incredible, vicious, and frightening things happen in police work. It was difficult for me to watch Shane's death. A good friend of mine shot himself in the head with his off duty gun, following the break up of his marriage. I was a first responder on the scene, the blood still pooling around his lifeless face and shoulders.

The Shiled brought back many memories for me...some good, some bad. Often, after watching the show, I would dream (or have nightmares) of being back on the job. My career came to a very violent end and I am lucky to be alive. However, I would never trade a moment of my experiences. Thanks to the Shield for being so real...I can hardly wiat for the complete box set!

Anonymous said...

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bill said...

The Shield TV Show has a great storyline. Its breaks the conventional formula of the cop genre. It plays out in a tough, morally ambiguous world in which the line between good and bad is crossed ever day. The series focuses on the tension between a group of corrupt but effective cops and a captain torn between bringing them down and advancing his own political ambitions.

dwyane said...

The Shield TV Show is a good show. The plot of the show is interesting and I always watch this show online.

rookie said...

The Shield TV Show has a great storyline. Its breaks the conventional formula of the cop genre. It plays out in a tough, morally ambiguous world in which the line between good and bad is crossed ever day. The series focuses on the tension between a group of corrupt but effective cops and a captain torn between bringing them down and advancing his own political ambitions.