A season finale that was kinda low key compared to past ones.
The Strike Team kicked their usual amount of ass and it seems all is well within the family again. It's truly a long way to have come after how things were at the end of season 3 and beginning of season 4. The Barn as a whole was united in this show, rallying around the memory of Carl and Scooby, which was nice to see.
Rawling's departure was interesting. The one thing she figured she'd catch hell for didn't play a part in her firing, and the thing she figured would win points all around was what did her in. Her reaction to the fact that it went totally opposite of how she figured it would was so well played when she was in the assistant chief's office. She couldn't imagine he wouldn't back her up on catching the big drug kingpin and being able to put Mitchell away for the cop killings, but it played out in silence as they let her twist in the wind. After everything she had accomplished, she was gone with the proverbial whimper instead of a bang. I don't suppose the assistant chief had much choice unless he wanted to join Rawling on unemployment given that the Justice Department was so bullshit over what happened.
The loose threads left dangling are: Who will be the new captain? Will something develop from the whole Aceveda/Mitchell/Rizano deal with Vic possibly looking into it? Will something develop from the IAD investigation that found the heroin in Lem's glovebox?
Also interesting to me is that after having so much change from season 3 to 4 with the new captain and big focus on the new seizure program, they're set to have to do it all over again with a different leader and (one assumes) the shut down of the seizure program. The whole focus of the place seems destined to be readjusted again. I can't help but wonder if the Barn itself is in jeopardy because it was started originally as an experimental precinct. Now that so much has gone on during it's existence, does the department get tired of always having the Barn at the center of controversy? Does it find that cost of the Barn's successes is too high to live with?
Dammit, I knew Lem was going to get into trouble with that heroin in his glovebox. If he winds up the fall guy, it sucks, especially because he's probably the most ethical of the Strike Team (if a Strike Team member could be ethical, that is).
I love seeing Dutch come into his own, but I'm sure it's not going to last long. Him as the head of the precinct would have been interesting, but I'm glad he didn't take the job. He's so much better hunting down wackos with Claudette.
I enjoyed the episode as well. It really tied up some loose ends, although it wasn't as exciting as the three previous episodes, with all of the Emmy-worthy interrogation room scenes and exploding Russians.
Could Lem really get into trouble over the whole heroin thing? I don't claim to know much about street law enforcement, but it was revealed that this heroin was used to leverage some bigger bad guys, and then went to a dealer to keep a scared H-cutter from getting into danger, is it really worth IAD attention? I don't know, but it is ironic how Vic is often led astray by his BEST character traits (occasional kindness and a desire to help). Ben Gilroy temporarily had him over a barrel during the end of Season 1 when Vic tried to help him, and he had to cover up a murder for (and not to mention beat the hell out of in a disturbing and great scene) Connie. Now, this cute little Amoulio is gonna bend Vic over a barrel when he is trying to help her and her sick kid out. Disturbing.
I was surprised that Monica didn't just out and out tell Vic what was up when he was at her house. It is hard to imagine her having any loyalties to the brass in Farmington after what they did to her. It is sad to see someone good fall due to politics, and this show, known primarily for hard-hitting action and intense storytelling, did this very well. It is ironic that Acevada's politics only played a small role in Monica's termination, as it was the DEA and Mayor who really took their ball and threw the tantrum.
Dutch rocks. It was great to see him and Vic mend fences in an understated way. It was pretty unusual to see him turn down the Captain's job as well...he's never been one to shy away from the spotlight. Of course, it just amplifies his loyalties to Claudette, and pretty much solidifies the fact that much like the Strike Team, they belong together.
Speaking of which, has the Strike Team been reformed and I just missed it? I know they have been running together with the Antwon thing, but have they had a straight up official reformation that I'm not aware of?
Nice to see Julian and Danny on the same page again, or at least looking out for each other. Danny did have a good point...any dickhead can sit there and say that this guy is fucked up or whatever, but it takes a lot more to actually be there for someone when they are hurting. Julian was there for her, and that was nice to see. A little predictable, of course, and I hope that the writers give them something to do next year.
Acevada took a HUGE risk in getting Antwon to take out Juan. I don't blame him for wanting Juan dead, or even acting on it, really, but now Antwon has something on the guy, and Vic was already smelling something stinky - but was too interested in nailing Antwon to worry about it. Would it have been too hard for Acevada to find some other schmuck to do his dirty work?
Regardless, great season. Everyone nailed it. Lem was the breakout character of the year, and I would say that Monica and Shane were the most interesting to watch. I hope Anthony Anderson gets some well-deserved recognition as well.
As you said, they fell back in together when everyone was focused on taking down Mitchell, but there wasn't anything official like a reinstatement by the boss.
Without the common cause of the seizure program and pursuing Mitchell, though, I don't know if it could have happened. At the end of season 3 when Vic told Aceveda that Lem was thinking of leaving the team, Aceveda said that slot wouldn't be refilled because the department was phasing out units like the Strike Team. They do fill a niche, combining detective work with some duties of a special enforcement unit, and God knows they get the job done one way or another.
About the heroin, I think anything that smells a bit improper involving the Strike Team would get IAD interested given their history. Rawling didn't know, and didn't have any evidence to possibly back it up until the heroin, that there was anything bad currently happening with Vic and his guys. BUT, she had to consider the possibility in order to have the investigation going in the first place. Even if she was doing it to eliminate doubt for her own peace of mind, that still means she had doubt on some level.
I think the reason Rawling didn't warn Vic was answered when she asked, "So, where do you see yourself going?". She clearly respects Vic's abilities as a cop, but being a straight shooter & clearly having some doubts about Vic, she wouldn't feel right "warning" him about the IAD investigation.
Very understated finale, but as is the norm a great hour of television. They tied up a lot of loose ends & really did a good job of showing how no matter what goes on in the station house, when the chips are down cops look out for each other.
It will be a real shame to lose Close & Anderson, but I'm confident they will either replace them with more great actors, or more likely, refocus the show around the core characters. They have so much back-story to work with at this point & so much depth to their characters, there are simply so many directions they can go without having to add more pieces.
Let's hope when they say "The Shield returns in 2006", they mean January... ;-)
So, when we last left our heroes, they were getting attack on all sides. Episode 2 primarily deals with the aftermath of everything from the home invasions to Jax and the others at Jimmy Smit's aka Nero's whorehouse to Gemma/Terra.