This is a show I started watching before season 5, so I am a late-comer. However, in that short time I've become as passionate a fan as one can get. Last night was the series finale. I've got so many thoughts & emotions on the show that it's probably going to be impossible to consolidate them, but here's a preliminary shot anyway:
The kid implicating Dutch as his mom's murderer was the last thing I expected and the perfect way to go. I loved the irony that Dutch's fate was initially placed in Billings' hands. Dutch almost seemed content to let the guy go down in flames despite needing his help. I was a little surprised to see Dutch revise his statement instead of just retracting it altogether. It's been nice to see the Dutch/Claudette reunion over the end of season 7.
I don't know what to say about Claudette. That poor woman doesn't seem to have much good coming to her. I certainly appreciated the final squeeze she put on Mackey with the suicide letter, the photos and arresting Ronnie. I hope she felt some satisfaction in seeing the way Vic ended up. She doesn't have a lot of energy left to be focusing it on the fact he's 'getting off' right now.
I felt bad for Ronnie, but only because he had the rug completely yanked out from under him. Not at all because I wanted him to run or get away with anything. This episode was the most expressive we've ever seen Ronnie. Never have we seen Ronnie so happy (the Beltran bust), which really seemed to intensify his anger. Not even when/before Armadillo burned half his face off do I recall David Rees Snell having this strong a reaction.
I'm also not sure what to make of Corrinne and the kids. Did Cassidy's relationship with her dad begin "improving" when her mom told her that she was trying to get rid of Vic? It seemed that Corrinne still couldn't really forgive herself for selling him out. Either that, or she was still very terrified. Could it be that she cut the federal agent short because she didn't plan on ever really leaving the house? If so, what a miserable existence.I guess you can only sleep with the devil (literally and figuratively) so much before you pay a price, regardless of your own guilt or innocence.
The Vendrell murder-suicide was both expected and shocking. Over the last couple weeks they had really shown the futility and hopelessness sink in. I was not surprised to see Shane appearing more and more in public or offering to turn himself in. In the moment that he returned home I had a feeling he was about to take his own life. I really didn't expect Mara's though. I loved his letter. It was as though Shawn Ryan was speaking his mind directly to the viewer. I totally forgave Shane in the end because I felt he was the first to become honest with himself. It felt miserable watching him be who he could have (loving family man) had he not met Vic Mackey.
Wow. I should have seen that coming but I never did. They truly found a way to appease ALL Shield fans. Those who wanted him to get away with his sins, as well as those who wanted him to pay. We were all happy and disgusted at once. I truly didn't know what I wanted to happen and somehow Shawn Ryan knew what I needed. The Perfect Storm of Vic's demise was incredible. He alienated/killed all of his friends, is officially known as a dirty cop, lost his family and is stuck wearing a suit in a cubicle doing menial grunt work... typing memo's, not even talking to agents. For a guy who's made his living talking to people this has got to be the worst way to go. Even moreso than prison.
I also thought it was great that Vic was taken down by two women. He spent the better part of this series objectifying more woman than Wilt Chamberlain. I could have sworn he was going to take Olivia Murray to bed right up until his confession. Now I know why he never did. She HAD to be the one to make his career a living hell. Claudette put away Vic's personal life with everything in her power. Between these two women, they single-handedly made Vic Mackey pay for every time he's misused, mistreated abused or objectified a hooker, a coworker, his wife, you name it.
I'm not sure where Mackey will end up in 3 years or even 3 days. It was pretty telling that they told him to go home, change clothes and leave his gun... but he never could bring himself to part with the gun. I wondered for a second if he might even kill himself as well. Then I realized that wasn't the Vic Mackey way. No matter how many times he found himself cornered, Vic always had a way out. The final look on his face almost seemed to imply that he was already on his way to helping himself forget what he'd done. A new chapter is being written in Vic Mackey's life, but nothing tells me it will be an ounce different than the last chapter. Vic Mackey will always see himself as larger than life and that will be the thing that ultimately does him in. Yes, at the moment his life is a living misery, but it WILL get worse. Vic will not take his free pass and turn a new leaf. We've already seen that in the simple fact that he's still carrying his gun.
What an incredible show. I've never seen anything like it. I will truly mourn the passing of this show, but I'm so thankful that they never had an episode where intensity lacked or they sold themselves short. I'm excited to see where Walt Goggins, Michael Chiklis, Michael Jace, CCH Pounder and Jay Karnes end up. Watching this series in its entirety almost makes me want to go rent The Commish as a compare/contrast. I remember loving it as a kid, but wonder how I'd respond to seeing Chiklis in that role now.
Much like Vic Mackey, I have no idea what to do with myself now. I imagine I'll retreat back to The Office, Lost and Family Guy, but I don't know how any of them will fill the void that's just been opened up.
Update 02/24/11: Never got back into Family Guy, I finished out Lost and I bailed on The Office towards the end of last season. Currently, the only show I keep up with is Glee. Glee is not a legit substitute.