(Spoilers after this.)
“I’ve done worse.”
Those words have haunted me since the end of the penultimate THE SHIELD, as Vic Mackey has finally ensured his own protection at the cost of everything and everyone else around him. It’s almost funny how trying to protect his wife who’s already sold him out to the Farmington police, Mackey screws over Ronnie, the one person who’s stuck with Vic through everything.
Since the beginning, THE SHIELD has been about betrayal but the ending sheds bold light on that as Mackey has finally done what everyone thought he would– he’s saved himself and will end up being the last man standing. Honestly, I thought Vic was going down bloody and beaten but maybe it will only be beaten. He doesn’t have any friends or support system. He’s exposed as the dirtiest of dirty cops and absolutely no one wants him with the possible exception of his daughter Cassiday. And how much will it kill Vic if, in the end, he can’t even be with his daughter.
Desperation was everywhere in this episose, from the beginning with Shane and Mara trying rob some 2-bit crooks to Vic failing to get Ronnie an immunity deal. Even Claudette and Dutch are desperately hanging on as Vic’s final fall from grace threatens to bring his family, his friends and his police department down. For seven seasons, the show has been about Vic trying to protect his family and his team but this episode killed all of that. His team no longer exists and hasn’t since before Lem’s death but the final betrayal of Ronnie, who’s wisely wanted to run away, is both cruel, disappointing and sad. It just sheds light on how, in the end, Vic has really been protecting himself even while he’s blind to Corrine’s involvement with the police trying to bring him down. With one episode left, Vic really is the last man standing but he’s alone.
Sometimes I wonder if Shane and Mara could ever have had a better life or been better people. How much of their stupidity and greed has been caused by being caught in Vic’s pull. How much has any of the stupidity and greed of anyone has been because of Vic for that matter? Even as they hit the absolute bottom, they’re still sad characters and I believe still deserve a smattering of sympathy. Of course, they’ve brought most of this down on themselves and have dragged their son Jackson with them. It’s horrible to see the two of them bringing Jackson along as they do anything they can to score some money, including leaving him in the car while Mara, trying to protect Shane, accidentally shoots and kills an innocent girl. At this point, there’s no arguing that they’re not monsters but there’s still something there that almost begs for sympathy and help.
With one episode left, I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen next week and that’s the perverse fun of the show. The crimes and sins of the very first episode have finally caught up to Vic and he’s got to pay. Is losing everyone his penalty or is there more that can be taken from him?
- Don’t touch the thermostat and the lights go off automatically– thoughts on The Shield: Family Meeting
- Can Vic out race a bullet?– thoughts on the final episodes of The Shield
- Concrete Blonde– A Long Time Ago (and more on The Shield)
- Programming Note– New Doctor Who in the States
- Greatest TV Pilots: Deadwood – now at Sound On Sight