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TV Review: The Shield – “Haunts” – Shane’s Smackdown

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Ooh Daddy, this was a good one! Tonight's episode had all the cliff-hanging, stomach-turning, envelope-pushing qualities that made me love this series! Let's recap, shall we?

They found Shane in the gutter, beaten bloody. Can’t say I’m sorry. Oh God, and we have to watch the whiny wife, Mona, again; haven’t had to endure her in at least a season or more. Seems his teenage “girlfriend” Tilley’s step-dad is responsible for his “smackdown.” I was betting on her ex-boyfriend who is the head of the One-Niners. And ooh! When Mona gets his personal effects at the hospital she finds condoms and confronts him since she’s three months pregnant and he won’t be needing them with her. At least he admitted it when confronted. She throws him out of the house, and who can blame her?

Danny is guarding Shane's door and overhears. Still not much for her to do. What's up with that?

This was Julian’s first episode on the Strike Team, and the big question on my lips is: does he have the stomach for it? When Vic agrees to arrange for a “dick sucking” for Guardo’s second in command in exchange for information on the San Marcos murders, devout Christian Julian looked pretty damn squirmy. He takes notes about the cases and he gets a quick lesson on the discreet workings of the Team, and how paperwork is discouraged.

Acevedo brought his civilian business constituent into the Barn looking for information on the murders. The man has NO boundaries and there is no end to his ambition. Turns out one of the Mexicans found dead was a government official. Things are getting interesting there.

Vic is calling Hiatt Jefe (boss) now, but Hiatt then deferred to Vic. The contest for Alpha male has yet to be decided. The Team is forced to question a fed agent working undercover in order to get information. They don’t get much enlightening information on the murders, but they find out that Guardo didn’t kill Lem.

Dutch and Steve were still searching for the rapist torturer of teen runaways. A guy shows up who is a little too eager to help. Steve uses Dutch’s profile to deduce that the man fits it to the letter, and then one of his victims identifies him from the tape. Turns out the man’s daughter disappeared, so he was teaching other runaways a lesson by punishing them (by sodomizing) and then torturing them (carving “go home” on their stomachs). Dutch pushes him to admit that he sexually abused his daughter after the death of his wife. This case really gets to devoted father Steve.

Vic’s old friend and former colleague Joe (is that really Carl Weathers?) approaches him with a business proposition. A landlord wants a tenant pushed out and he’s looking for a badge-wearing strong arm to help. And it pays well. Vic turns it down but agrees to help him out with info. In the end, out of concern for his friend’s safety — and to protect him from Joe’s psycho partner — Vic goes along as wingman. Things get out of hand as Joe’s friend is a sadistic prick, but no worries, Vic ends up punching him in the face. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

We cut to scenes of Shane crying in his car, snorting cocaine with a very conspicuous bottle of pain killers in the foreground. Will he swallow them? No! Later, he breaks into his apartment and — I hate to admit that my blogcritics comrades were right — it was his wife he confesses to about Lem. Damn! Then he lays it on Mara that he did it for her and the kids. What a head case. The worse part? She forgives him and takes him back. Perhaps they deserve each other.

And yes, I know that Mackey is responsible for killing a member of the team too, but he was a snitch and not family like Lem. Most importantly, Vic has grown during the course of the show and is trying to redeem himself (note I said trying, not succeeding). I don’t know, maybe it’s hypocritical of me to defend Vic and condemn Shane, but I think it is an issue of whether or not they learned from their mistakes.

All in all this was an exciting episode, worthy of a final season. The scene where the incestuous father/rapist/torturer begs for his daughter to come home as well as the one when the psycho hired muscle is torturing the Jamaican drug dealing tenants made me squirm, which happened pretty often in the first few seasons. The show is so good at pushing the envelope. I can’t wait for next week. Seems that Vic and Ronnie (who I liked better with the beard) might discover on their own that Shane is guilty.

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About Ann Hagman Cardinal

  • Mark

    Huh. I thought that Shane had ground up some Oxycontin and was snorting that. Didn’t even think of it being cocaine.

  • Ann Cardinal

    No, you’re probably right. I assumed the bottle was what he was considering offing himself with, so I thought of it as a separate thing, but now that you mention it, that is probably what it was.

  • http://midnightcafe.wordpress.com/ Mat Brewster

    I just got to watch this (mother-in-law came over, and she’s definitely not the type to enjoy the Shield.) Love this episode. Lots of good stuff going on. It’s definitely feeling the burden of having too many characters though. Too little screen time for lots of good actors.

    I kept thinking Shane wanted the wife to forgive him so he could kill himself. I kind of wonder if wifey doesn’t think the same and is giving him the love just to get rid of him.

    We’ll see, I guess.