UPDATED – Goodbye to “The Shield”: Vic Mackey’s Fate

Jonathan Toomey of TV Squad has another excellent post in which he reviews the series finale for The Shield. But watch out for spoilers!!

Interesting comments his readers have left for him.  I thought the episode wrapped up the series in excellent fashion, but you can’t please everyone; and there is only so many lose ends a writer can tie in 90 minutes.

What strikes me as odd from reading the comments is that several other people seem to have been as emotionally engaged in the show as I was.  I thought I was weird that way, but seems Shield-induced Post Dramatic Stress Disorder is not that rare.

As for my own impressions of Vic’s fate,  (click below for more ONLY if you are spoiler-proof)what ended up happening to him is certainly not worse than prison.  But never being able to see your kids again has to be some sort of hell.

That and losing all your friends, alienating all your colleagues, losing all the power that comes with carrying a badge; knowing that you ruined or ended several lives – take your pick – all that has to hurt pretty bad.  And Chiklis did a great job of communicating a profound pain (solely with his eyes, as Toomey remarks), especially when Claudette confronted him with the photos of the suicide.

Some people may not be entirely ok with the open ending, a la Sopranos.  But things are rarely that cut and dry in real life and anything else would seem hackneyed, I think.  In the end, our last impression of Vic is that of a violent, corrupt man – armed with a gun – who has nothing to lose.  It’s a hell of an end to a checkered career, but it certainly is not the end of Vic Mackey.  If you are looking for finality, you may then want to focus on – to paraphrase Claudette – what the “big hero” left behind on his way out the door.

UPDATE: Shawn Ryan answers burning finale questions.  Nice.

I must confess I totally missed the fact that Vic was smiling when he stepped out of frame in the final scene.  I saw a grimace instead.  I’ll have to review that last shot.