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The Shield – Vic Mackey decides when it’s over

(Season 7, Episode 13 – “Family Meeting” – Series Finale) The Shield - The Shield, Season 7 - Family Meeting

I’m still shaking from the scene in the bedroom. I don’t give a shit if you think that’s spoilery and you haven’t seen the episode. If you saw it, you know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t, well what are you waiting for?

I thought I knew what Shane was up to when he was at the store, buying the flowers, the water and the toy for Jackson. I just didn’t want to believe it. I still don’t want to believe that that’s how that chapter of this story ended.

Throughout this ordeal, Shane put on the face of a caring husband and father; we saw a lot of that in this episode, especially. But he wasn’t fooling me. Shane was always out for himself and what was in his best interests, up until the bitter end. Rather than allow his son to live a possibly better life and to allow his unborn daughter the chance to live at all, he decided their fates  — and his own fate — himself.

The moment Vic picked up Ronnie, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. We all knew that nothing good was in store for cheerful and hopeful Ronnie. The man who was sealing his fate stood right by his side and lied through his teeth without blinking an eye.

Not only did Mackey not blink an eye, he did not shed one tear for anything he’d seen or done. Not the sight of his oldest, closest friend, meeting his end on the floor of a bathroom. Not Shane’s family sleeping an endless sleep in their bed. Not the thought of never seeing his family again, living out the next three years of his life in his own version of a prison: behind a desk. His eyes remained red but dry.

And that’s just what Vic wound up with in the end: doing time. It may not be the kind of time anyone thought he’d end up with, but to be dropped down to what, for Vic, amounts to a worthless citizen is a kind of hell. As we saw in the final scene, just getting cozy with another old friend of his is all he needs to feel right again, even putting a smile on a face that has no right to wear one.

What’s ironic about the screenshot I picked for this post is that, had I shown a picture of a prison door, people would not be happy about such a spoiler. Yet that’s just what it is. Kudos if you didn’t see the episode yet, saw that picture and immediately assumed what it meant.

Were there ends left loosened in the series? Yes, but all but a couple are minor. I guess things were left in a way that could bring us a continuation of some sort later, somehow, but I honestly don’t want that. This is how I want things to end. I don’t want to know what sentence Ronnie gets, whether Claudette dies soon or Aceveda becomes Mayor. I can make up my own mind about those things and not need them displayed to me on a screen.

As for those loose ends, I guess I would have liked to have seen what became of the Lloyd story. At one point I thought it would be a crazy twist to show us, just the viewers, that Dutch actually did kill the mother. More than a few people wondered what ever became of Dutch’s weird cat-killing escapade seasons ago, and this could have been it. I’m assuming now that Dutch was killing cats to try to get into the mind of what makes a killer tick, and that’s it.

Maybe I would have liked to have seen Tavon come back again, but I think just seeing him appear earlier this season to question Shane was enough. Or maybe to see Julien’s story unfold a bit more. I really have no real complaints about what wasn’t covered, because what we saw tonight is all that really mattered.

A few things about this episode:

– I found it funny that Shane went to Billings to pass a message, because we all know Billings is such a wimp-ass.

– There was an odd inconsistency when Olivia said to Vic: “You got your immunity. What do you care if we get Beltran?” Why didn’t Ronnie pick up on that and ask Vic what she was talking about, since they didn’t get it yet?

– Why did Vic go in to see Claudette when Olivia said she was asking for him? Ronnie was heading in and Vic seemed forced to have to go along with him. Wouldn’t Vic want to stay far, far away from The Barn at that moment?

– Vic looked awfully strange in a suit. Didn’t we see him in a suit in a flashback scene seasons ago, with Shane, while they worked Vice? In any case, that suit looked like something he hadn’t taken out in years.

– I don’t have the right words to describe Ronnie’s reaction to Vic’s treachery. I think it was a bit of something we all felt about Vic, all balled up and tossed out of Ronnie. The people responsible for this show — the writers, director, cast — made sure we knew Vic was not a good guy. The only thing anyone could feel toward Vic was anger and disgust.

The theme of this episode: new beginnings. Things are cleaned up and cleared out at The Barn and Aceveda can possibly, hopefully run his Mayorship cleanly, now that his campaign is over with. It’s a new beginning for Corinne and the Mackeys. A new beginning — or most probably end — for Ronnie; I can only figure Ronnie will get death for what he’s been implicated for. And a new beginning for Vic, though as we saw, it’s not likely the one ICE had planned for him.

So long, old friend. I’ll miss these late nights with you.

Photo Credit: FX

6 Responses to “The Shield – Vic Mackey decides when it’s over”

November 26, 2008 at 2:49 AM

I thought they did a hood job wrapping up Julian and Tina. With Julian there was a fleeting sceene where he looked at a gay couple, and his face lit up. I took that as a sign that Julian may stop denying his true nature. Little moments like this that last 15 seconds speak volumes, and you rarely see that on TV. We also saw Julian finally embracing his partner, even though she probably made one of her biggest f-up. And from Tina we saw two things her character has never expressed: compassion and remorse. You could see the look on her face in the ambulance, she knew she screwed up, and she was truly sorry for it. I wish they had done more with Lloyd because no young actor does calculated sadistic like Kyle Gallner. I’d talk about more, but I’m sure other commenters will cover the other territory. Kudos to Shawn Ryan for giving the world a truly evil and sadistic character who actually deserves to live.

November 26, 2008 at 3:49 AM

There’s a great short story by Jonathan Lethem called “The Happy Man” that ends with the main character left to endure his own version of Hell. Day in and day out forever. That’s what I thought of when I saw Vic Mackey, cowed into a suit, getting the office tour, seeing his tiny cubicle for the first time. The thermostat rules and the buzzing of the florescent lights were especially nice touches. I thought that was a pretty fitting and satisfying ending to television’s best anti-hero…until he pulled his old friend out of the lockbox. Happiness, for Vic, is apparently as simple as a warm gun. Not really the comeuppance I was looking for. Is this how Anthony Burgess felt when they eliminated the 21st chapter from A Clockwork Orange?

But it is a fitting ending. Mackey is a monster and all the crap he did, the chaos he left in his wake, didn’t touch him at all. Props to Olivia for not sympathizing with his appeal to see his kids. Wow, when she turns off, she really turns off.

I think things ended for Shane the only way they could’ve, he was so backed into a corner. I know you think what he did was selfish, but in his head, it was probably the only option left.

Poor Ronnie.

I’m glad we didn’t see Claudette die. She even seemed to make some kind of peace with not being able to catch Vic in the end. And Dutch, I’m glad he’s safe, but I actually would’ve gotten a bigger kick out of him being arrested for murdering Rita.

Goodbye, The Shield, what a ride.

November 26, 2008 at 8:22 AM

Shane is a coward, simple as that. And he took the cowardly way out, without having to atone for his responsibility in what he had caused. I saw his suicide more as a fitting in to a life that had spiraled, but I was taken aback by his murder of his family. But after the Mara/Shane exchange re: Jackson going to foster care, and Shane’s discussion with the clerk at the store about living a little and having fun and not taking life too seriously, we all knew something was up.

As Weirdy said, poor Ronnie. I think Claudette took solace in Vic’s literally getting away with murder because he had to deal with having Ronnie’s jailtime on his conscience. I would have liked to see a bigger confrontation between the two, but the look on Vic’s face, coupled with Ronnie’s disbelief, was satisfaction enough for me. I thought it was telling, however, that other than his family, Vic pulled out a picture of Lem to put on his desk. Did that mean, after all that had happened, Lem was his only true friend? I thought so.

Julian… I missed some episodes, however, I thought at one point, he had married a woman. Does anyone know what happened to that marriage? I caught the scene Adam was talking about. I took it to mean that (if he is still married), that he would have been happier to be as free as those guys walking down the street toward the coffee shop.

I thought it was funny when Aceveda and Claudette had their talk, Claudette said that Aceveda was a suspect in the Huggins attack. She is never off the clock, and proved time and time again, to be the true conscience of the series. As Dutch even said, he could never be half the detective she is.

November 26, 2008 at 12:29 PM

The pictures on Vic’s desk. No Corinne. Just the kids, and Lem. He was deliberately cutting off anyone else and anything else he didn’t want to think about or dwell on. He can look at the picture of him and Lem and pretend nothing bad ever happened.

That was just such an amazing series finale. Shawn Ryan just pwned David Chase. Big time.

November 28, 2008 at 7:38 PM

What was the thing that “would be revealed” about Vic that we should have suspected? that was hinted at last week?

November 28, 2008 at 7:50 PM

Do you mean that earlier post I did about it? If so, it was Vic’s middle name: Samuel. I know — I wasn’t blown away by it either.

However, it is the name Dani picked for her son, I believe.

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