That Was The Only Way The Shield Could Have Ended (SPOILERS)
In case you somehow missed SPOILERS in capital letters right above this sentence, you shouldn’t click to read on if you haven’t seen the series finale of The Shield. And you missed the closing act of one of the greatest shows of all-time. There was no cop-out. No Sopranos face-to-black bullshit here.The Strike Team had its crimes and guilt crush down on all of them. The major theme of the show has been the effect of guilt and how things never quite go away, and the finale only served to drive the point home. Hard.
Ronnie was always the afterthought, so it probably makes sense for him to be the fall guy. Nonetheless, it’s impossible not to feel for the character, as he seemed like a geninuely good guy corrupted by Vic’s influence. He only became as cold-blooded as Vic near the very end, after Lem’s death. I can’t say I blame him for hardening up a little.
Shane was always the fuck up, always the disaster. He tried to keep up with Vic, but he never could. But while he got his ass saved in Season 4, this time Vic wasn’t there for him. Their conversation on the phone this episode has to be one of the most painful scenes of the entire series, as it was the point at which Shane no doubt knew it was all over. Looking back, it seems like the vast majority of the truly heart-breaking scenes involve Shane. He was always the most tragic character of the series, which makes his ultimate fate make total sense. Killing himself and taking his family with him was the inevitable end of his downward spiral. I truly cannot believe he took his son with him as well, though. I guess The Shield wasn’t exactly ready to go soft at the end.
But of course, Vic was the centerpiece here. The monster which the entire show revolved around. I’m going to assume that you rooted for Vic throughout most of the series, as I did. He had always been the monster, but he was always loyal to his men, did his best to keep the streets as safe as possible for innocent people, even if he took a little extra on the side or bent the rules, and he too badass to hate. But now, at the end of the series, his villainy and penchant for self-preservation took over, and he gave up everything that made him capable of being a sympathetic character. He gave up Ronnie. He left Shane to sink into his final act of desperation. You could obviously make an argument for Vic being a more tragic character than Shane, as he ends up in his own personal hell — a desk job — with his family deserting him. But he’s always been too calculating, too ruthless, for one to truly feel sorry for his fate. Not to mention that he’s not dead or in jail.
Of course, not everything is wrapped up, and there are numerous things left up to debate. Vic grabbing his gun and stuffing it in his back — is he about to go vigilante? Did the kid kill his mom, or was it actually Dutch? Did Aceveda order the hit on the New Paradigm mayoral candidate? Personally, there’s no doubt in my mind that Vic will end up going on a vigilante rampage, I definitely don’t think Dutch killed the mom (even if he did kill that cat way back when), and I think Aceveda was behind the shooting. But hey, that’s me.
I think we can all agree that the last season of The Shield more than stacks up against the rest of its run (which unfortunately is more than I can say for final season of The Wire). Tonight’s episode might not have been the best episode — heck, that honor may go to the penultimate episode — but no one could have asked for more for a finale. I would like to thank FX and Shaun Ryan for providing one of the greatest rides in television history. Who would’ve guessed that some cop show on a crappy cable network starring the Commish would end up as one of the best shows ever?
*stands up and applauds*