Saturday, 27 March 2010

The Shield Season Six

Having survived the wrath of Internal Affairs, can Mackey and his team seek revenge for a fallen comrade? 'Leave sleeping dogs lie' isn't exactly the Strike Team's motto ...

What with an annoyingly frustrating fifth season behind them, The Shield lets loose with all that pent up anger it's been holding back on for the last few episodes. What I didn't realise is that what was going to be one whole series instead got stretched out and turned into two, which looking back on the fifth series, is probably why it didn't quite work so well. If this had been cut down and originally stayed as one series, it would have been incredible, instead everything felt too long and so now, series 6 makes up for it.

It's as if the Strike Team has been completely pushed over the edge and we're watching them tumble down in a chaotic mess, and it's more of what I like. The series begins with Kavanaugh still banging about but is quickly put to one side as Vic and his team grieve over the loss of one of their members. Not only this, but Vic is being forced into retirement, his replacement is eager to jump in, there's a Mexican massacre to sort out, teenage runaways getting sodomised and tortured, Shane is about to have a breakdown and all the usual drama taking place in the Barn.

The general storyline is Mackey trying to find the culprit who killed his colleague and this leads him down a dark and destructive path, his new replacement is also quite 'hip' and 'cool' but is definitely no Vic Mackey, and realises he has some pretty big boots to fill. It's also, again, a power struggle, Vic doesn't like the idea that he won't be in charge anymore and Claudette is trying to reign him in as much as possible while keeping the station afloat. We also see the darker side of politics and how it can be a dirtier game than on the streets. But essentially, I feel this series, and pretty much all of The Shield, is an account of the downfall of Shane. Sure, Vic graces the covers and is the first thing people think of when they see anything to do with The Shield, but really it's about how he has corrupted Shane and created some kind of monster - and like Frankenstein's monster, he starts to stand up to his creator. Their relationship has it's ups and downs, but as Shane starts getting heavily involved with the Armenians, he realises he is in way over his head and has put everything at risk. His selfish behaviour is at odds with the compassion he feels towards the team and his own family and takes out this turmoil on himself in self-destructive ways. Yes, Mackey is the driving force of the series, but Shane is the result.

There's a good fair bit of action, though maybe not as much as the first few series and the show has definitely took an 'intelligent' turn in that it usually focuses now more on double crossings, staying ahead of the game and manipulating people rather than just catching bad guys - which is good and bad, as you can go through almost a whole episode of just talking heads when you'd rather see some smashing heads. The acting again is great and the storylines are more intriguing than ever, including the side stories of Dutch, Tina, Dani etc. but the problem is that firstly, this series seems too short (11 episodes but still...) and makes a nice change from season 5 but there still feels like a certain bad stigma has carried on through - including Antwon.

This series has definitely jumped forward in terms of quality, but alas not quantity and should it have been mixed with the fifth series as originally conceived it would have been amazing. Instead, there's no real huge event, it's rather all a reaction from the previous series' events so it almost feels like an add-on, or as the producers call it 'season 5.1'. I couldn't agree more.

I just can't wait for the seventh...

Rating: 7/10

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