"It's a stupid, dangerous game we've been playing."–Shane
For all its true-to-life street-level grit, The Shield can be pretty ridiculous sometimes. But because the show has always been so tense and fast-paced, all but the most questionable crimes against logic have been quickly swept under the rug. But tonight, Vic walked directly into Armenian mob HQ and took sole responsibility for robbing the money train. OK, he also fingered Lem and two other random dudes who skipped town. But Shane, the guy who killed Lem and put Vic's family in danger of being butchered, was conveniently (and somewhat inexplicably) left out of the story.
I've never robbed an Armenian money train before, but if I did I'm pretty sure that confirming my guilt to the Armenian gangsters I stole from would be a horrible idea. If I'm not mistaken, six months' worth of Armenian profits were on that train. We're talking millions of dollars here. Vic exchanging the lost money for three wishes like he's Robin Williams in Aladdin strikes me as, well, egregiously stupid.
Then again, maybe that was the point of "Money Shot." The Shield has spent countless hours on the stupid, dangerous games The Strike Team has played to get rich, solve cases, or save their own necks. If the games of "Money Shot" seemed a little stupider and more dangerous than usual, that probably just means we're getting really close to the point when the merry-go-round finally spins itself out of control. At times the action tonight seemed too fast, almost manic. First Vic was acting as a lookout for the gun robbery. Then he was called off to look after his wandering son. Then Ronnie needed backup. Then his wife was being arrested because Cassidy was drinking beer under her roof.
Every curveball tonight brought solutions that clearly are short-term not likely to hold for long. The pipe dream that they all will "be in the clear" once this all finally blows ever seems sillier by the minute. The money train secret is out and can't ever be forgiven. The Mexicans are being played and are going to find that out eventually. Vic alerting the feds to the gun shipment is a little too cute, even for him, and some kind of blowback seems inevitable. (If not for that, then take your pick of any number of other crimes waiting to bite Vic in the ass.)
Then there's Ronnie, who–like my Milwaukee Brewers with former manager Ned Yost–has realized too late that he's placed his loyalty with the wrong man, and it is dragging him down into an inescapable quicksand pit. Vic was so busy stealing guns and bailing his ex-wife out of jail that his actual, you know, police work had to be delegated to Ronnie, who ended up with 19 stitches from a pit-bull during a bust where he was undermanned and outgunned. (Tonight's lesson: Never trust a guy who fucks grandmothers on film. I'm so glad Axl was brought back from last season to remind us of one of The Shield's most disgusting cases.) Say what you want about Shane, but he figured out Vic's true nature a long time ago, even if he's still pining for Vic to trust him. Shane would love to be buddy buddy with Vic again, but he isn't about to hand over his only copy of the blackmail file. (Though even if he did I'm guessing Mara has the thing memorized by now.)
So, again, "Money Shot" shows that The Shield is in no hurry to get to its conclusion. It's going to be a slow build to the bottom. The more outlandish it gets, the closer to the end we'll be.
—What is Dutch up to with Danny and Whims? And how long before he gets caught?
—Last week Tina was dumb. This week she was slutty. Next week, she'll be dumb. The week after that, she'll be slutty.
—Where did Aceveda put the box? And do you think he still masturbates to rape videos?
—What do you dudes think?