Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shield finale open thread

(Too busy to blog tonight, but I want to keep this site up and running as much as possible, so jump below for some quick, spoiler-y thoughts and contribute yours in comments.)

The Shield, I think, was a show that actually GOT BETTER as it went along because it was able to use the weight of events that had come before to inform events in whatever its current season was to great effect. To that end, the more action-oriented season one (which really kind of feels like 24 and is of-a-piece with the immediately post-Sept. 11 milieu it sprung forth from) now seems to me to be one of the series' weakest seasons.

The finale did a good job of managing to avoid expectations while still coming up with a fitting ending for its despicable central character (he's not in jail or dead, but he's stuck in an office job that seems ill-suited to him, and he's lost everyone he ever cared about). The conclusion of the Shane storyline was as gut-wrenching as anything I've seen on TV (particularly Vic avoiding looking at the photos of the aftermath), and I loved that final scene between Chiklis and Pounder, two actors really giving it their all.

I also liked how the finale perfectly laid out where these people are going to be for the rest of their lives without feeling the need to tell you. There was no ambiguity, but there was also no real narrative hand-holding.

The Shield has always been a series I've been a little skeptical about (I find some of its brutishness in its storytelling a turn-off), but the way the series ended has sort of elevated all of it for me post-airing. I may just have to go back and revisit all of it.

What did you think?

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I've long considered The Shield my favorite cop drama of all time (although this comes without ever seeing more than 2 episodes of NYPD Blue, which is somewhere like 213 on my Netflix queue and I'll get to EVENTUALLY, I SWEAR) and the last few episodes just cemented that opinion for me. I've never seen a show so confident in where it was going and the world it created. This is especially amazing because the machinations of Vic's schemes became more and more inaccessible throughout the final season and the show almost didn't bother to wonder if the viewer was confused or not, because they knew all of the emotional beats would resonate enough for it not to matter. Michael Chiklis did some amazing work in the final few episodes (as did Walton Goggins and CCH Pounder) and although I doubt this final season will get any Emmy attention, it definitely deserves it.

I would be interested to rewatch the series myself. I read in an interview Alan Sepinwall did with Shawn Ryan that each Shield season takes place over only about 3-4 weeks, which sort of blows my mind, and I'd like to rewatch with that in mind.