Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Shield Season Finale

Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! I waited a day to do a post on season finale of The Shield for a couple reasons. First, I wanted to at least give people 24 hours to see it. Second, I needed to watch it for the third time. You see FX always re-airs the episode right after the original airing. Most fans tend to watch the episode again right after. Well, at least Bob and I do. After watching the season finale, I was frustrated all day because I couldn't talk with anyone about it. I had to discuss the genius of that episode and the season as a whole. Eventually, I had the time to call Bob after work. I knew he wouldn't let me down. I often go overboard in proclaiming the greatness of those things I love. Yes, I'm still buzzing on the season finale, but I don't think I'm going overboard.

The Sopranos? Lost? ER? NYPD Blue? 24? Six Feet Under? The Shield is better. The Shield is probably the best drama on TV since Homicide in my opinion. I will admit that Homicide is better. Those first four seasons of Homicide is some of the best television you will ever see. But this post is about the Shield.

Last night finale showed why this show is so good. Everything from the past couple seasons has built up to this point. You see the characters in this Shakespearian tragedy work with and against each other to cause the death of the one true good guy, Curtis "Lemonhead" Lemansky. Was he innocent? No, but he realized his mistakes and was willing to step forward and answer for them. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to clean his conscience. The "good" guys lied, schemed, and made deals with the devil to catch the "bad" guys, the Strike Team. The Strike Team, Lem's family, ended up sacrificing him because not only were they unwilling to answer for what they did, but they didn't trust Lem. How could they not trust Lem? Lem had given up everything to protect them. He was going to jail so they wouldn't have to. He was going to answer for everything he did, but never rat on his family. The problem was that they didn't trust themselves. This fault was most evident in Lem's best friend Shane. Shane, who was once tempted to kill Vic to save his own life. He knew what he would do in Lem's place. He would break. But is that why Shane killed his best friend? Because, he couldn't understand why Lem wouldn't run when the Strike Team had the whole plan worked out? Not in Shane's mind. Shane didn't kill out of hate. Shane saw killing his best friend as mercy and sacrifice. Watching this scene play out you actually see a near mirror "Of Mice and Men." Heck, the previous episode was titled "Of Mice and Lem." Lem was going to die in jail anyway with IAD making a deal to send Lem to the same prison as Antwon Mitchell. Antwon would've killed Lem. Only way out for Lem was to give up the Strike Team. Lem was blind in his pursuit of confession. He thought he could pay his own price, but they were all connected. But did Shane have to take the coward's way out when he killed his best friend? No quick and easy bullet to the head. Shane had to use a hand grenade and run. He couldn't even give his best friend a quick death.

The episode ends with the court culprits standing around the aftermath of their lies and schemes. They all had a hand one way or another in Lem's death. Lem, who worked in Juvie when the Team broke up at the end of season three. Lem, who was always first through the door with the battering ram. Lem, who saved Kavanaugh's life even though his death would've kept him out of jail. Now Lem's dead. It's the first major casualty for the wrongs they committed. Next season is the final season. Next season, everyone pays.


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