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Red Right Hand: TV08: THE SHIELD: "Family Meeting"
*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.


TV08: THE SHIELD: "Family Meeting"

Continuing my review of my favorite episodes of stuff from the last calendar year. Not necessarily the best of the year, but ones I liked for one subjective reason or another.

THE SHIELD: "Family Meeting"
Written by Shawn Ryan
In the series finale, the Barn looks into a woman's disappearance and the arrival of a major drug shipment. Shane and Vic find ways out of their respective problems.

There will be spoilers.
When at the end of the pilot, Vic Mackey put a bullet in Detective Terry Crowley, you knew that not only defined who Vic was for the rest of the series, it would be the key to the end of the series, whenever that came.

Well, it came...and it was...a little.

At the time I thought for sure that when the final episode came, Vic would go down for the murder and get locked up with a bunch of guys he out away. Or something like that. And because that's what I thought would happen, it was exactly what I didn't want to happen. And it didn't.
Still, justice came to Vic, but in a more philosophical way. He was punished in a way only he can really understand as punishment.

There are two scenes worthy of note in this episode. One being the revelation that Shane ate a bullet after having killed his own family. One of the more horrific things seen in scripted drama in recent memory. And, unfortunately (within the story) the appropriate end of the character. You can easily see Shane thinking in that twisted and wrong way. And it's a really affecting thing, to me anyway. While largely desensitized to most crime on the news, the familial murder/suicide never fails to enrage me...quietly.

The other scene is the last four minutes. Those quiet four minutes of Vic in hell.

This is the other satisfying finale I mentioned in TV08: THE WIRE: "-30-" and also the other finale directed by Clark Johnson, bookending the series he set the tone for by also directing the pilot (and appearing in the finale as the marshal). All the characters had varying but sufficient levels of closure, but with Vic, we also got a little ambiguity. A little something to read into as the audience sees Vic.

Stuck for the next few years at a desk, having lost his family, his purpose in life even, not a cop, not on the streets...what's he planning to do with that gun. He's going to escape is what he's going to do, but as a vigilante or a suicide*.

And what was it that put him in this spot, I mean-- what part of him actually did the work of putting him in his personal hell. It wasn't all the bad in him, the killing or the stealing. It was the good in him. He admitted his crimes only when he thought that his wife was in trouble. He was first and foremost a family man. That is his only loyalty...unfortunately for Ronnie. Maybe he might have been caught had he not confessed his crimes as part of his immunity deal, but he would have just gone to prison...and been killed there. For him, easy way out. No. What he got was the only real justice he would ever get. Robbed of everything that mattered to him.

*I'm going with vigilante.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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