2008-02-21 : Holy crap dude

Season 5 of The Shield is unrelenting.

Those guys are screwed.

I'm up through episode 6.


1. On 2008-02-22, Ron Edwards said:

Well, take a drug-dealing, murderous, graft-dependent, arrested-adolescent, in-debt, incompetent-father-&-husband cop ... but who thinks he's the good guy and can convince others that he is ... I think "screwed" is pretty much the only place he can go.

One of my favorite things about the series is that Vic rides high for the first half of the first episode of the first season, and after that, never again.

I think Matt Wilson absolutely nailed it when he said he can find a way to like every character on the show except for Vic. I totally agree with him.

Best, Ron


2. On 2008-02-22, christopher Kubasik said:

Shane gets a free pass?  Vic can't be liked, but Shane can be?  Dudes!  Really?

And Vic will always have a soft spot in my heart for that time he hijacked the police evidence van to steal back the gun he planted on that innocent kid after he found out the kid really didn't shoot a cop.

Sure, it was Vic's fault the kid might go to jail.  Sure his answer to the problem wasn't to tell the truth.  Sure, he waved a gun around, threatened another cop, fired shots, and might have only ended up getting three other people killed.

But its the way he thinks.  He's and idiot.

But it also might have been the ONLY time he performed a truly selfish act in the whole series.  And that says something—about Vic and the brilliance of the writers—that the only time he actually did something just for another person he was wearing a mask, posing as a gangster, and committing an act of armed robbery in broad daylight.



3. On 2008-02-22, Ron Edwards said:

Definitely not a free pass for Shane ... but I can't help but like him, and certainly appreciate him as a great source of drama. He displayed one of the purest moral responses early in the first season, only to be so thoroughly broken by Vic that he was reduced to subhumanity ever since. I thought it was interesting that he was ten times the father and husband Vic was. As a social person, Shane's a perfect asshole, and as a cop he's a disaster, but at least he knows that he's committing wrongs.


4. On 2008-02-22, Vincent said:

I said this to Ron one time. Shane is like Vic's conscience. Not in the Jiminy Cricket sense but in the Picture of Dorian Gray sense: Vic's sins slide off of Vic and land on Shane.

That's less true here in the middle of season 5, but it was super true at the beginning of season 4 when I said it. Since then Shane's recovered some, and Vic's lost a lot.

You know who god damn, though? God damn Lem. He's such a coward.


5. On 2008-02-22, Ron Edwards said:

I think you're right, but Lem presents a sad portrait to me, rather than a contemptible one. I once described him and Shane as "human dogs," meaning they relate to Vic and one another on a raw social level without thoughts of consequence or responsibility, just minute-by-minute approval. (To be fair to dogs, I was thinking of overbred German shepherds and golden retrievers, especially when raised poorly. So they have no hope that the approval will continue, or for what actions.)

The thing with Lem is that he thinks as long as "the team" persists, then everything is OK - he thinks being a cop and being part of this particular team are the same thing (pure dog, symbolically speaking). His biggest rebellion came when "the team" was split up - even trying to burn the money, I think, was his attempt to restore the team.

Within that framework, and let's not forget that he can be as thuggish as any of them as a team member, his good qualities can operate - compassion, conscience, good humor. But he has little ability to exercise those *against* the team, regardless of its (and his own) sins.

Cavanaugh may not have picked the best target after all. It all depends on whether Lem's conscience can apply outside the team context.

Lookit me geek out! I love thinking and conversing about this show.


6. On 2008-02-22, Vincent said:

Cavanaugh may not have picked the best target after all.

Is that a hint, or is it still an open question in season 6?

My money's on Ronnie. When Cavanaugh said to him, about Vic and Shane's finances, "you're protecting them and they can't even be bothered to be smart," I was like, uh huh.


7. On 2008-02-22, Ron Edwards said:

Not a hint. I deliberately put my mind on episodes 1-5 and am commenting strictly from that perspective.

Still speaking in those terms, I agree about Ronnie. He always struck me as a totally self-involved, mean little bastard.


8. On 2008-02-22, christopher Kubasik said:

"Lookit me geek out! I love thinking and conversing about this show."

This is one of the things I love about this show and shows like it—it really is meat for discussion, where we lay down this quality or that quality and say, "I noticed this," or "Really, I didn't notice that."

Just have a long talk about this show face to face with you guys would, I do not doubt, be a great time.


9. On 2008-02-22, Vincent said:

That does sound like a good time. I'm there!


10. On 2008-02-22, John Harper said:

I don't trust myself to not spoil anything for V. But at Gencon, I really want to have The Shield Talk with y'all.

I think it was Ron who once said that Shane is Vic's demon. I sometimes like to think of it the other way around, and that casts the show in a crazy cool light for me.


11. On 2008-02-23, Vincent said:

I just finished the season 5 finale. God damn.


12. On 2008-02-23, christopher Kubasik said:




13. On 2008-02-25, John Harper said:




14. On 2008-02-26, Ron Edwards said:

To be clear, I didn't quite say that Shane is Vic's demon, I said that Vic forced Shane to reduce his Humanity to 0, and to become a demon.

I definitely see & agree that "Vic is Shane's demon" makes a lot of sense, especially after the girlfriend, later wife, enters the scene. It's sort of a bummer that the right-wing fan response to her was so negative (predictably) that they reduced that character's role. I thought she could have become as powerful a presence as Cavanaugh turned out to be.


15. On 2008-02-28, Brand Robins said:

So I guess this means I shouldn't have stopped watching half way through season 2 huh?


16. On 2008-02-28, Vincent said:

Pretty much, yeah.


17. On 2008-02-29, joshua m. neff said:

I'll say this, Brand: I don't normally like cop shows, & I'm not a big fan of "gritty," but I fucking love The Shield.


18. On 2008-03-01, James_Nostack said:

So: if you're only willing to invest your time in EITHER the Shield or the Wire, which is the one to watch?


19. On 2008-03-01, Vincent said:

The Shield.


20. On 2008-03-01, Christopher Kubasik said:


Watch The Shield first, because it really is fuck all compelling.

And then take a few months off, a realize there's this absolutely amazing other show, that's very different, with a very different agenda... and that you might as well watch that one, too.

I love The Shield. But there's an event in the first season of The Wire that made me break down.  I mean, a big heaving gasp ripped out of my lungs, sobbing, stop the DVD player just broken with grief broken—a pure cathartic Greek tragedy moment where fate and character and hubris intersect.

There's time.  Do both.

I know that's cheating, but for me it's like asking, "Which child will you give up?"



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