"The wheels are coming off the whole damn thing."
This week Vic and Ronnie attempt to pull together a hundred grand, assist the ICE investigation, intercept the mail and impress the cartel. Meanwhile Ronnie and Julien investigate the shooting of a promising young man who was killed while talking to the talent scout. Also Dutch and Claudette continue to push their investigation forward with Vic and Shane squarely in the crosshairs.
Read about being punked, landing in the frame and safe cracking beyond the link...
Oh my, poor Ronnie. Poor Ronnie indeed, time and time again Ronnie proves himself to have amazing instincts for what's going on just to end up with Vic convincing him that his worries are unfounded. This season it's always been Ronnie who's made the shrewd observations and correct judgement calls, but unfortunately for him he still trusts Vic's judgement over his own. The only time he's made a solid call and stuck with it was when they pulled the trigger on Shane and left him out there to get shot with Razien. I was hoping that his standing up to Vic at that moment meant he was going to take a more self assertive role and begin to look after himself.
It's clearly not the case, Ronnie is just riding along with Vic at this time and agreeing with him. Last week, when he said (rightly) that they should run Vic convinced him to stay. This week Ronnie lands himself right in the middle of a sting operation and gets caught on tape handling a hundred grand that he can't account for. It's not a major crime to be honest, but with Claudette's finger on the trigger you can be sure that she'll at least have his badge for this, more if she can manage it.
While I'm still on Ronnie, it was nice to see him working a case with Julien. They both had a lot to do this episode and just like earlier this season (in Animal Control if I recall correctly) they work together well. Ronnie's got a lot of respect and time for Julien, it's just a shame that his allegiance to Vic has landed them on the opposite sides. In particular there's a great subtle moment when Julien realises that it's Ronnie who's arrived with the bag of money and he looks both gutted that it's not Vic and heartbroken that it's Ronnie. Likewise there's a mirror of this situation later on where Ronnie sits down to briefly ask Julien what's troubling him (Ronnie's impending arrest) and Julien can't let on.
The crime the pair of them were investigating was solid, but not really that gripping. It served it's purpose, giving us time to see Julien and Ronnie work together while Ronnie also attempts to juggle Vic and Billings (Having asked Billings to intercept the mail for him).
Pretty unusual to open up a review with four paragraphs about Julien and Ronnie isn't it? Well it's in part because this was one of the first times they both got a big chunk of storyline to themselves and in part because their interactions were as compelling as Vic's antics. Which are up next.
Vic is on fine form this week, once again resting his confidence in himself and his assumed state of nigh invulnerability. He even goes as far as referring to himself as an 'action hero' this week, which was a great moment in itself. Simultaneously highlighting just how strong an action character Vic Mackey is (fudge that Bauer chap, he's got nothing on Vic) but more importantly letting us see just how he wants to present himself to others.
He raises the $100K without even breaking a sweat, sure there are a few hairy moments but Vic steamrollers over them with his usual mix of confidence and hard line ultimatums. Of course, he's now embezzled a hundred grand from the very people he's supposed to be running mediator with and if either side finds out about such a massive breach of trust from him then he's in for it. But Vic is playing the short game here, he's planning to topple the cartel within a few days so this risk isn't as crazy as it sounds. He knows the odds and he's playing them well.
Likewise with Olivia, he's sold himself to her repeatedly as a misguided knight. Time and time again offering her cases and even her blackmail file with no direct strings attached. He's really pushing hard to come across as a misunderstood good guy where she is concerned.
Shane. Ah Shane, time and time again this season we've seen Walton Goggins rise up and make a despicable wretch who murdered one of his best friends in an incredibly cowardly fashion sympathetic and likable. He does it again and again in this episode, the moments with the gun and safe were great. While the final moments of the episode - Shane and Mara realising just how alone they are in the world and holding each other - was so strong that you just couldn't help but feel for the pair. They're a terrible duo, and they deserve whatever is coming for them, but all credit to Walton for turning a one dimensional redneck joke of a character into someone who's as strong on screen as Vic Mackey.
There's so much more to talk about, but ultimately I think I've covered what I wanted to here. The episode is just amazing, there's so much racing towards goals happening that it's positively break-neck. Claudette is chasing Vic and Shane (and Ronnie), Vic is chasing that ICE job for himself and Ronnie, Acevada is still chasing his mayor ship "We should at least respect each other's end games." was a great self aware line. Corrine is chasing her freedom from Vic. Shane and Mara are just chasing for freedom. So many conflicting goals and even now, two episodes away from the end I couldn't say how it's going to pan out.
And that's why I love this show.
Finally someone makes mention of Danny, she's been in contact with Dutch and looks ready to return. I really hope Catherine Dent does indeed play a part in the final two episodes, she deserves it.
Cletus Van Damme returns again! Blink and you'll miss it on the envelope, but it was there. I love Shane's alter-identity, it's one of my favourite running gags in the show.
It's still strange seeing Ronnie in a suit, he constantly looks like he's turning up to his own funeral. Which he might well be one day soon.
Van Bro makes his return (and probably his final appearance) it was good to see his eye patch and grizzled face one last time.
I assume that we'll see a return of Dutch's serial killer story before it's all over, that particular thread feels like it's still hanging at this point.
It looks like Claudette is just a few days away from a total breakdown, but as she herself states, that's not important to her anymore. Getting Vic is all she cares about. I'm a little amazed that she isn't more aggressive towards Shane as well, he did kill Lem and she now knows it. But I guess she's trying to finish what Acevada and Kavanaugh couldn't do.
It doesn't look like we're getting a final goodbye from Kavanaugh or Rawlings, shame as they (Glen, Forrest) were both superb guest stars.
It's great how much Billings wants to pal up to Ronnie, willing to intercept mail irregardless of how much shit is flying about the place. He doesn't care, he's always wanted to be one of the strike team boys. But natural Billings sets into place and he forgets to do his job. Fortunately for Ronnie, he gets there on time and also the letter is a dummy. Ronnie better hope there isn't another one coming...
Before I clear off I wanted to just bring up a great little piece of shooting that the directors managed to pull off. Vic "in" an orange jumpsuit. (8 mins into the episode)