This episode I think really reinforces how important continuing character arcs and interpersonal relationships are within The Shield. While the actual plot of the episode is a standard gang war, with Vic and co. attempting to stem the violence, what's much more interesting is how the characters react and relate to each other, and I don't just mean the main cast - even the minor characters such as the evicted mother and her dysfunctional family have important roles to the plot and that tie themselves to each other.
Two great examples of this: Dani tells Monica how grateful she is to be working her new shift, only to hear that she got the gig due to Vic's recommendation. In any other police drama, her reaction would have had little to no meaning, but because of their shared conflicted past, her reaction is a perfect portrayal of what she'd be thinking. It's all about the layers!
The same goes for when the evicted mother leaves the station after harassing Monica, who appears shaken from the woman's emotion. The camera zooms in on Claudette standing nearby, who looks smug! Without knowing Claudette's background and opinions of Monica getting the captaincy over her, her reaction would seem very out of place. But by building on previous seasons, the writers are able to create really dynamic scenes using characters we've known and followed.
We see a little more into the mind of Monica Rawling this episode and it does not disappoint. It's nice to see the writers humanising her when the evicted mother shouts her down and Monica appears visibly shaken by it, even to the point of doubting her own methods of seizing property bought with drug money. What's even better, though, is the fact that she is able to take stock, let people know that she doesn't want to appear to be similar to Aceveda, and so sticks to her guns in a great twist at the end.
Although light on action so far this season, the writers are more than making up for it with great drama, which I think only makes The Shield that much better to watch. I've been waiting for The Shield to get to this point, where they really utilise character interaction based on current and past events. Now, if they only create an overarching storyline like Season 2, then this might become the best season of The Shield yet.
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