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New to The Shield - Page 2

post #51 of 65
Thread Starter 

Oh yeah, the way things ended up for him made sense to me. Just a bit abrupt.


He was all Tritter/Javert for so long and then he just cried uncle. Deflated. I suppose it happens.

post #52 of 65

Whitaker was GODDAMN BRILLIANT as Kavanaugh.  The crazy eye really helps sell the lunacy of the character. 

post #53 of 65

I kind of saw Cavannaugh as just being too moral to do what it takes to bring down Vic. Where the Strike Team would continue to dig their hole deeper and deeper, Cavannaugh saw he just wasn't built to keep going in that direction. It's interesting to look back at this showdown in the hindsight of how the series ends up concluding.

post #54 of 65

I saw Kavanaugh as representing Vic's collateral damage. Vic destroyed a good man who was determined to bring down a murderous, corrupt cop. I think Kavanaugh was there in part to show that the the Strike Team wasn't just hurting themselves and criminals. We saw that with Terry in the pilot, of course, but we never really got to know him like we did Kavanaugh.

post #55 of 65
Kavanaugh was a pretty fucked up individual on his own, if memory serves. Like everyone on the show.
post #56 of 65
Thread Starter 
Anger management issues for sure. He escalated to threats with everyone almost immediately. I think Lem even hangs a lampshade on that at one point, about how Kavanaugh goes defcon right after "hello".
post #57 of 65
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

Kavanaugh was a pretty fucked up individual on his own, if memory serves. Like everyone on the show.


Fair enough. Comparatively speaking, though, he was a much more decent individual than most of Vic's victims.

post #58 of 65
Thread Starter 
The show does a good job of making us dislike him despite the fact that (until he goes off the rails) he is just doing his job. Makes sense, since he's a dark mirror of Vic, and Vic's utterly reprehensible but we like him anyway.
post #59 of 65
Originally Posted by Lightning Slim View Post

The show does a good job of making us dislike him despite the fact that (until he goes off the rails) he is just doing his job. Makes sense, since he's a dark mirror of Vic, and Vic's utterly reprehensible but we like him anyway.


Shawn Ryan referred to him as an "anti-villain" (in contrast to Vic's anti-hero).

post #60 of 65
Thread Starter 

In the home stretch now; just starting Season 7.


I like how they show parallel scenes of Vic and Shane trying to cut similar deals or do similar jobs, as it really shows how far behind Shane is. He's just not as good at moving in this world as Vic is. He'd like to be top dog, but he's a second banana.


Ronnie, meanwhile, has been a professional second banana the whole time, but is getting more interesting by the moment. It's always the quiet ones.

post #61 of 65

I was flabbergasted to realize in season 7 that they hadn't been keeping Ronnie backgrounded for years just because the guy was a shitty actor.  He's one of the best parts of the season.

post #62 of 65
Thread Starter 

Just finished the last season in a day. Super intense arc-work here, we felt physically ill wondering which of the characters walking onscreen would suddenly pull a gun and start shooting.

Some thoughts:


"Did Ronnie get better looking?" my wife wondered. No, they just flipped his switch on. Dude did some heavy lifting in the home stretch.


Clean up the language and give this team the Star Wars films, because this is how you give characters a journey through the light side, the dark and a Gotterdamerung. Seriously! Let Lucas direct all the CGI spaceships and let these guys do the acting stuff.*


All the little touches were nice. Aceveda's non-conclusion, Dutch and Claudette, Tina earning her wings (but not with a cake like she thinks).


A lot of ink's been spilled on the last minute of the show. I'm sure I'm not original but here goes:

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Vic's punishment is complete. His desk contains ridiculous revisionist pictures of the only people who don't hate him (dead folks or children) and he's stuck for three years in the same place with an army of enemies on the outside trying to get at him. Ronnie's lawyer, Antwone Mitchell's lawyer, a million gangsters, his own boss...basically everyone who ever met Vic is going to try to pry open his deal with the Feds and send him down the drain. Or just kill him, as now that investigation would get the Billings Minimum.

Is it enough? No, but it works with the show's mantra of no easy answers.

And yet, he still straps on his gun and goes out into the night. I think he seeks a warrior's death, that he still thinks he can somehow cheat the system and flip the finger to all the bean-counters he despises. Now that he's a cat wearing a bell, I don't think he'll have long to wait for somebody to come at him.






*random thought for a different thread:, but it's about crime and punishment: So, does Anakin course-correcting at the last second erase all that Darth-Vadering he did? The Force must be Catholicism.

post #63 of 65

Shane talking to / quasi-flirting with the young checkout girl is the most poignant moment in the whole series. Goggins earned his place in television history with his work on the show, particularly in that final episode.


Claudette reading Shane's suicide letter to Vic is still the emotional climax for me. Seven years of storytelling to get there. To call it powerful would be an understatement.

post #64 of 65
Two overarching newbie Shield threads (this and Confessions...). Since this is more recent, I'll resurrect it.

I've avoided these for the past 3-4 months, as I've chewed through the series, ever since it became available on Amazon Prime (*so* worth the money). It has been on my "to watch" list for a few years. I got into quality television in 2008. After missing the big HBO runs and the early FX content, I decided I would start watching their big new shows: Sons of Anarchy and True Blood. More importantly, with Netflix and friends, I decided I would also go into their past.

One of my first ports of call was obviously The Wire. I watched that in 2009, borrowed from a friend. While it is the alpha and the omega (and while it is getting old to proclaim its virtue from the deserves it), other shows have had many other things to offer. But since The Wire began as a cop show and I watched it first, the OTHER cop show on my list had to wait. And wait. And wait. I didn't want to punish The Shield for not being The Wire, so I actually waited quite some time to try it out. I wanted to provide sufficient distance between the seminal HBO "cop" show and the seminal FX "cop" show.

In the interim, I did enjoy Oz and Deadwood, along with current viewings of most of FX's and HBO's core shows. But the time for The Shield came when I saw it featured on Amazon Prime. I took two short breaks. One was at the end of S5. Lemmy was my audience identification character. Thanks to the Sons thread here, I distantly recalled that he met an untimely end on The Shield. I didn't know how or why or when, just that it happened. After Lemmy was killed, I was hurt and frustrated, so I took a few days. The second weas about halfway through Season 7, where it was just getting so ugly I wasn't certain I wanted to continue right away. I forget which episode (about halfway or a little more), but I took another week or so break. Finished it up so I can move on down my list (Breaking Bad and Mad Men are the heavyweights remaining).

Bulletized thoughts: Phenomenal ending - most have already said it and covered why. My own one and a half cents: what really pays of the final moment is the entire two episodes before. Vic believes getting out of the messes from a legal perspective will clear him, will possibly even cleanse him. But it doesn't. Quite the opposite. What drove him throughout the series was an ironclad sense of moral certainty. He was doing bad things to worse people. He loved to get on the high horse about it in the Barn. With the facts laid bare, with full disclosure...beyond losing his family, friends, and sense of purpose, he loses his right to be a part of normal society at all. He is literally an outcast. For ther audience, after rooting for him (even ghoulishly) for so long, it is kind of a necessary kick in the teeth. Not knowing also mattered. Imagine if your entire office was out to get you. And getting fired wasn't punishment, but life in prison. The show doesn't really state that or show that, but it doesn't need to. It is all on his face.

Watching Sons first - sort of tainted me to the narrative process of The Shield. It is obvious who the daddy is. Both shows spend time in specific seasons building an almost inescapable shitstorm for their protagonists, and then finding some creative way out of it. Almost the exact same formula. The drama is different, because of the opposite sides of the law. But the structure is the same. The incredibly potent downer ending (earned, I might add) for The Shield sort of sets the stage for the last two seasons of Sons (in terms of expectations) as I wait for those.

Watching Justified first - you know where this is going. I knew (and know) Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder. I still think Justified is a better show than The Shield (and Sons...but not Deadwood), although it is very different, and Boyd is very different from Shane. But watching Shane throughout this series was pretty awesome. My respect for Goggins ability, already quite high, only grew further. His work at the end was downright extraordinary. I don't think he can get a better end than that, dramatically. The "square/straight and narrow" in me hated the selfishness of the character's decision, but it made sense for who he had played and how he had played him. Like Tim Olyphant on Justified...imagine going from one incredible TV role, right into another. Unreal.

Watching The Wire first - two very different shows, two very different purposes. But one common theme. It was the point of The Wire, and while less so on The Shield, the theme of bureaucratic sloth impeding effectiveness mattered very much in The Shield, certainly through the first two thirds. I was reminded of The Wire more than once, from that perspective. The Shield goes a lot further, with less realism, but it does so from being dealt the same hand. How to be effective, when the process is driven by mid-level managers who are several steps divorced from the actual work? That element rang quite true in both.

Ronnie - was it just me, but David Rees Snell and Charlie Day should be in a movie together where this fuckup drinks a potion and becomes his best self for six hours? It must be the accent. I felt the worst for Ronnie. Shane was going to be a fuckup, no matter what (his grasp exceeded his reach and all that), and Lem got screwed. Ronnie probably would have been a superstar cop with the right supervision. His character carries the brunt of the Strike Team shitpile, and he had the least to do with it (though he was still neck deep). Then, to be betrayed by Vic at the end (in a way, worse than Lemmy was by Shane) was the cherry on top of the absolute power corrupts cherry. For all of Vic's posturing, he would do the exact same thing Shane did...even worse.

I can't give story details, because the series sort of blurs together. I do appreciate riding with the bad guys, feeling justified for the actions, and then having to pay the butchers bill at the end. Very compelling television. I avoided all of these threads until I watched 1-88, because I wanted to enjoy the twists as turns as much as possible. I was pretty amazed how far the show went, a decade ago and change. Great work by the cast, by the writers and directors (I saw some very familiar names). I don't think I could watch it again, though. Just draining and brutal. Thanks for letting me write all of this, to basically myself. Nice cleanse. I still miss Lemmy.
post #65 of 65
God damn it. I'll edit that to put all of the spacing in at home. My work computer won't let me. My bad.

It appears my iPhone saved the day. That wall of text look is awful.
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