Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Shield - Season 2

A season which for the first half was enjoyable, and then suddenly took a turn for the worse.

Vic is back and starts with a massive bang. Trying to get his family back and with the strike team's own drug deal getting screwed up - it doesn't fail to keep up the pace from the off. Once again, The Shield doesn't let up in terms of action and general enjoyable viewing. Good cops, bad cops and Vic in the middle swaying from side to side.

The first half of the season deals with a dealer called Armadillo (but with an accent, not like the animal) and his smarts and sheer fearlessness is something that Vic can't control, and it worries him. The guy even rapes a small child for informing on him - he's something that maybe Vic can't even deal with. Not only this but Vic Mackey's personal life seems to be falling apart and he's losing control of the streets. Oh dear.

But the series starts falling into complacency, there's the Vic storyline, the detective storyline (which sometimes is a hundred times more interesting) and the political storyline. But, though they might criss-cross with each other, you're left feeling like it's a bit of the same old thing, and that it's just Vic's story that's keeping the season moving, which in theory it is.

Saying this, there's a lot going on. A gay cop going to sexual reorientation classes, a prostitute trying to get herself clean and other stories that are well told and add to the season. So far, so good. But what's this thing half-way through it all?

Co-Pilot is, well, another pilot. What this is doing here I'll never know, but it goes back and completely changes everything you've based the characters on so far. Not only does it contradict itself, and the stories it's already told, but it's like they've lied to you. It reminds me of what Hitchcock said after he made Stage Fright, that his biggest regret was showing a false flashback, it mislead the audience and abused their trust. Which is exactly what The Shield is doing here. Imagine in any other series, if suddenly halfway through the second season, they completely changed the beginning. I can only imagine it's for those who never saw the start and jumped in - which might be fair enough had it been a better Pilot. But it's not. At all.

The Strike Team which you presume has been around for ages (the room feels lived in, they all know each other really well) instead is seemingly put together weeks before the first episode. The guy who gets killed in the Pilot is still in it, but then that means it relies on parts of the initial pilot - which is ridiculous. It really, really screws up the whole thing and I thoroughly recommend you skip it. You're not missing anything I promise and it will ruin the entire experience for you.

Anyway, moving on from that, the second half of the second season is mainly about the strike team making a huge bust on a money train. Not only that but they get a new member, who fits right in and I think will be a great character for the future. It's also very much centred on Wyms, which is fine but, to be honest, she just gets on my nerves. Dutch is a much better character in my opinion. It's also charting the rise and the impressive bravery of Aceveda who is starting to meet Mackey half way in the confusing depths of morality while trying to keep his political career afloat.

Overall, it's quite a sound season. The Armadillo stuff was probably the best and the money train is a good enough arc for the whole season, but not enough to keep me consistently hooked. It's just massively let down by the Co-Pilot episode which, under any other circumstance I would have given this a 6 or 7 out of 10, but because of that fatal mistake it gets a ...

Rating: 5/10

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