Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Shield
Season 7: The Final Act
Episodes 2 and 3

I'm condensing the last two episodes into one piece, since last week went by in a blur and I didn't have time to do a recap of episode 2. We're in the process of moving, while also trying to sell off a bunch of furniture (including the very desk I'm writing on at this moment). Anyway...

Episode 2: "Snitch"
Episode two begins with Vic's gang war plan going straight to hell, as Pezuela forgoes a foot soldier war (which Vic had hoped for) and decides to go right after Rezian in prison. If Pezuela succeeds then Vic's family is greenlit, so he needs to find a way to keep Rezian alive. Vic, who's still in close with the One-Niners, arranges with their head dog to have some of their imprisoned foot soldiers keep Rezian alive. Is it just me or, aside from Antwan Mitchell, have the One-Niner bosses been more interchangeable than the Mets bullpen? Note: this is the fastest one of Vic's plans has ever collapsed, and it shows how off his game Vic is. That he didn't realize Pezuela, who's not a dummy, wouldn't just lop the head off the snake proves that Vic is slipping.

The mayor, meanwhile, institutes just about the dumbest policy ever, publishing a "Top Ten" list of the most dangerous gangs in Farmington. While this is ostensibly to keep citizens informed, Vic correctly ascertains that this will simply be motivation for gangs lower on the list to climb the ladder, and for gangs higher up to do more to retain the top spot. And when an innocent man is killed, Vic knows better than anyone else that someone is making a move for a higher ranking.

Dutch and Billings investigate the death-by-concrete-block of a band singer, and when nobody in her building complex claims to be a witness Dutch drags the entire tenant roster down to the barn to stew. Billings, meanwhile, is milking his "bare minimum" to the max, infuriating Dutch. Yet right as Dutch is about to lose his cool and send everyone home Billings cracks the case, which does not sit well with Dutch since Billings is as motivated as a hermit crab. Cassidey Mackey, meanwhile, tries to turn Vic in for assaulting Mara. Fortunately for Vic she talks to Billings, who dismisses her claim. But Vic sees that something is definitely wrong with his daughter.

After Rezian escapes an assassination attempt (thanks to One-Niner protection), he begins to trust Shane even more. Vic solves the "Top Ten" murder, which was committed by a Spook Street soldier peeved that his squad didn't make the Top Ten list. The shooter, a young black man, is viciously unrepentant, and when Claudette grills him she loses her cool and jeopardizes the case. This isn't the first time we've seen Claudette struggle with the realities of being an African American policewomen in a district in which crime is overwhelmingly committed by minorities. As she told Julien earlier in the series, "Don't lecture me about the struggle, son. I am the struggle." This also throws a wrench in her attempts to shove Vic out the door, since he proved his value by solving the crime when nobody else believed it was related to the Top Ten list.

Vic then goes to Pezuela and demands a $10,000 a week payoff to keep feeding him information about the Armenians. Vic, meanwhile, also teams up with Aceveda to hide the blackmail box. They each take a key, and agree to place trust in the other. Let's just say I have a feeling this won't quite work.

Episode 3: "Money Shot"
Rezian is starting to trust Shane more, but demands that Shane steal a massive quantity of stolen guns from police custody as part of Shane's restitution. Vic, seeing a way out, surprises Rezian at the next meeting, saying that stealing the guns is Rezian's first wish (after 3 wishes, all debts are paid). Vic secretly needs to know just how many of Rezian's lieutenants are aware of the greenlight on his family, and he figures getting closer to Rezian might accomplish this.

Ronnie and Julien get a tip about a small time porn producer who's dealing drugs, so they recruit Tina to play an aspiring "actress" to take him down. They nail the guy (after he feels up Tina and nearly gets his nads yanked off), but find out he's just a small fish buying from a whale named Harmes. The Strike Team goes after Harmes, and Ronnie assumes Vic will have his back.

Vic and Shane devise a plan to steal the guns, with Shane sneaking into the warehouse inside an impounded car while Vic keeps an eye on things outside. But Vic is pulled away when the P.I. spots his son Matthew wandering the streets. Vic arrives home to learn that Cassidey was drinking and lost track of Matthew, and the cops are arresting Corrine for child neglect. Because Vic is occupied, Shane is forced to steal the guns on his own, and Ronnie, preparing to take down Harmes, is forced to go in without backup. 

It turns out that Cassidey (who previously tried to turn in Vic for assaulting Mara) was drinking and let Matthew, who's autistic, out of her sight. When Vic and Corrine confront her she pushes Corrine, and Vic loses his temper. Cassidey flees, and Vic begins to see that his daughter is rebelling against him, and he is losing the only thing left that he truly cares about: his family.

Shane manages to steal the confiscated guns, but Ronnie walks into Harmes's apartment and gets mauled by a pitbull (dude's got the scars to show from being friends with Vic). When Shane and Vic arrive to deliver the guns to the Armenians, Vic smells a setup and jets with Shane and Rezian. Seconds later the Feds arrive to bust the gun swap. Vic and Shane convince Rezian that he was set up by his #2 (no, not this #2) and that he needs them more than ever. Yet when they leave Vic admits to setting the whole thing up, including the bust, and purposefully keeping Shane out of the loop. Shane is pissed since he wasn't clued in, but Vic makes it clear that while he'll work with Shane to save his family, he trusts Shane about as far as he can throw him. Shane reminds Vic that he still has leverage (the Strike Team Manifesto) and that he'd better start communicating more.

Vic goes to the blackmail box to get a file to help keep his badge, but realizes to his horror that Aceveda has moved it. When Vic confronts Aceveda the councilman tells him he knew Vic would try to steal from it, and the fact that he's here just proves it. Vic can't argue this, so he just threatens to tell IAD that Aceveda has it. Aceveda informs Vic that he would be implicating himself as well, and Vic reminds Aceveda that the councilman has a hell of a lot more to lose than he does.

Meanwhile Dutch, Danny and Billings investigate the kidnapping of a young girl, who it turns out was a lesbian whom her brother had kidnapped in order to be "retrained" sexually. Danny gets the girl to break down and confess to her assault by telling her how she almost died recently, a story she later tells Dutch she made up (but we know is true). Because of this, and the onset of Claudette's Lupus, Dutch tries to orchestrate to have Danny assigned to desk duty to help Claudette. Yeah, like that's not going to backfire. 

Back at the barn, Ronnie is PISSED at Vic, both for leaving him undermanned (causing him to get mauled) and for having anything to do with Shane. Vic tries to quell his anger by reminding Ronnie that he's only working with Shane to save his family. Shane then arrives, and turns over the Manifesto to Vic as an olive branch. Vic doesn't know that Shane still has a copy, and Shane doesn't know that Vic still hates his guts. And Ronnie, who has previously always stood by Vic, is now a powder keg. "I won't go down for Shane. Or for you."



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