November 25, 2008

Open Thread: The Finale of The Shield

Carroll Andrew Morse

I don't write much about television or sports here, because if I started, I'd be tempted to write too often on those subjects. However, given that within the realm of television, tonight's final episode of The Shield is arguably the most anticipated final episode of a television series since the finale of Seinfeld, I'll bend the rule against no-TV talk ever so slightly, and give anyone interested a chance to comment on whether they think the universe of The Shield, in the words of Lt. Jon Kavanaugh, takes its garbage out tonight, or whether Vic Mackey gets away with it one last time.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Oh, it has to end with Vic dying. Has to. After last week's episode he's got nothing left.

Posted by: Greg at November 25, 2008 9:12 AM

"most anticipated since Seinfeld"??

Huh? Sorry Andrew, but is this even a top 10 show? Top 20?

According to this site:,1002,272|||cable,00.html

It's not even top 15 among cable shows.

Posted by: Patrick at November 25, 2008 11:18 AM


Because it's on basic cable, you're right that The Shield doesn't have the same viewership numbers of many network shows, but in terms of critical reaction and in terms of viewers actually wanting to know how the story ends, I would argue largely subjectively I admit, that the end of The Shield is bigger than the end of a show like ER coming later this year.

(p.s. Or maybe this is hint as to why I shouldn't write about television!)

(p.p.s I guess I should add The Sopranos to the list of anticipated show endings. The producers of The Shield have more or less guaranteed that there won't be any ambiguous fade-to-black tonight).

Posted by: Andrew at November 25, 2008 11:35 AM

My first guess is he lives, Shane dies, and Vic's wife takes the family and disappears forever. You heard what she said- "There has to be consequences for your actions."

Posted by: EMT at November 25, 2008 11:39 AM

Oops, almost forgot- second guess was Vic dies, but the official story is worked out over Claudette's head- Vic dies a hero, so far as the rest of the world is concerned.

Speaking of which, I wouldn't be surprised at all for something to happen to Claudette, possibly from her medical condition but possibly from engaging Mackey and Vindrel, and Dutch ends up running The Barn.

Posted by: EMT at November 25, 2008 11:44 AM

Hmmm. That second outcome for Vic is an interesting possibility.

Something weird has to happen between Dutch and the serial-killer kid.

Posted by: Andrew at November 25, 2008 11:51 AM

Ok.... so I guess I missed more of last week's episode than I thought. Wow.

Posted by: EMT at November 25, 2008 10:04 PM

Ok, changed my mind. New prediction is Corrine kills Vic.

Posted by: EMT at November 25, 2008 10:07 PM

Well, I guess I was right the first time. Never saw the Shane thing coming though. Damn.

Posted by: EMT at November 25, 2008 11:48 PM

I'm too old to be getting so much into a TV show, but...

1. I liked the juxtaposition of the Lloyd storyline with the tie-up of the rest of the series. Lloyd's plan fails right at the start, not because of some clever scheme the detectives cook up like the Strike Team might have come up with in their hey-day, but because Claudette deals straighter than he could have possibly imagined. As was always the case in the series, with certain kinds of law-breakers, Claudette is as scary an interrogator as Vic. Fitting end for the series.

2. I've suspected that things were going to turn out well for Acaveda since the scene where he confronted the crooked land-developer in his office. He showed he wasn't going to willingly submit himself to Vic's schemes anymore and he did it mano-a-mano. Those two points buy lots of Karma in the universe of The Shield. I also suspected there was going to be no escape for Ronnie, who crossed into negative-Karmic territory as he continued to trust Vic no matter how deeply they were sinking. Ronnie couldn't get away if Lem didn't.

3. Yes I know its only a TV show. But the end of the Shane story arc was profoundly disturbing. Probably because it fit so well with the box he had sealed himself in.

4. The only contrived part was the Dutch's-with-Billings'-lawyer subplot.

5. Was the very end a not-so-subtle implication that cubicle life is as bad as prison? Hmmm...

Posted by: Andrew at November 26, 2008 9:37 AM

Honest, I hadn't read the New York Times review when I wrote my 5th point above...

Mackey is killed off brutally: not by gunshot, but by cubicle. His agreement with the feds commits him to a $62,000-a-year job issuing reports on gang violence from information gleaned entirely at his desk.

“We ask people who bring in their lunches to label them,” a human resources employee tells him as he tours his new surroundings. Also, changes in thermostat temperature can be authorized only by maintenance supervisors. Staring at his empty space, in a bereaved, attenuated silence, Mr. Chiklis expresses the tragedy of all of Mackey’s finagling. What he bought for himself is a lot worse than prison.
Maybe we've got to rethink this aspect of our society!

Posted by: Andrew at November 26, 2008 9:48 AM

I remember thinking as the ICE lady (pun intended) outlined his daily responsibilities that in prison, Vic would be almost as freedomless- compared to his free-wheeling, hard-charging former life- but at least he wouldn't have all that work to do.

On the other hand, he only has to make it three years in hell, and then he's free- free to spend the rest of his life knowing he screwed the only friend he had left into a life sentence to save his own ass, and free to always wonder where his kids are and what they're doing. I don't envy that.

That said, the real losers here are Jackson Vindrel, his unborn sister, and the Mackey kids.

Posted by: EMT at November 26, 2008 11:02 AM

Another ambiguous, Soprano's style non-ending, at least for Vic. The scene *after* the last scene could either have been Vic's acceptance of being sentenced to cubicle hell for the rest of his life, or going out to the parking lot and shooting himself in the head.

The producers had a reason for showing Vic carefully unlocking his desk and taking out his pistol, and I really was expecting him to see him use it on himself.

Oh, and it was good to see Clark Johnson get to do a little acting in the series, after all the great work he did behind the scenes on the show over the years.

Posted by: Chris at November 26, 2008 12:58 PM

Cubicle Hell! I love it.This is why I never wanted a promotion above Senior Agent.It would've meant a suit and tie,a cubicle,lots of writing-YECCCCH!!
There were people who craved that,but they were also frequently the kind of turds who'd need Depends to go bang doors.The exceptions were long time street agents who went to intelligence jobs-they really needed knowledgeable people there.I'm thinking of the admin and policy wonks who got to take hazardous duty retirement.
In any event,it's television,which means it is entertainment bullsh*t.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 26, 2008 2:10 PM
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