The Shield...Why Lem?

april 26, 2007

BigMac: You were abso-fricking-lutely right about Season Five of The Shield. Cripes! Why Lem? SPOILERS AHEAD. If you plan on watching The Shield Season Five, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER. You have been warned. Every action has a consequence. Season Five of The Shield really put this into focus. The tagline for season five was, "Conscience is a Killer". But, why did it have to kill Lem? He was one of my favorite characters (next to Vic). He was the heart and conscience of The Strike Team. Now, he is gone and it is all because of that bastard Shane. Shane, in the first season (and I think part of the second) was a likable character -- that hick that said things that most of us would never let slip out of our mouths. But, as we began to know him better, we found that Shane was not a likable guy. He has a hot-head and no conscience -- he is most worried about himself. Shane is the opposite of Lem. He is a pivotal character for the series though and I cannot wait to see how things play out with his character. Walter Goggins, who plays Shane, is a brave man and pulls off the character without flinching. I feel for Goggins now that his character has done such an evil deed -- he must be a much hated man in public. When the season got started, I felt that the season was strong because of Forest Whitaker's Lt. Jon Kavanaugh. I was completely wrong. Yes, Kavanaugh is the fulcrum in which the season revolves around. The Kavanaugh character is well-written and does not come off as a pure-as-a-saint character. His weakness with his ex was well-written. But, he is not what the season is about and he is not where the season's emotional strings are tied to. No, the character in which the season's heart and mind is tied to is Kenneth Johnson's Curtis "Lemonhead" Lemansky. Johnson is great in the role and as things got worse and worse for Lemansky, Johnson keeps the character real. Lemansky is tormented by his situation -- being stuck between trying to do what is best for himself and what is best for his "family", The Strike Team. The tail episodes really had me feeling for Lemansky. The poor guy was a wreck and he was a wreck because of his conscience. I could not figure out how the writers were going to tie up Lem's storyline -- and the way that they did came out of nowhere, yet completely felt real. The death of Lem really puts a different spin on the show and the future of the show. Yes, Chiklis is brilliant as Vic Mackey again. Yes, Whitaker is awesome as Kavanaugh. Yes, Goggins plays Shane well. But, it is Johnson who gets the kudos for his performance as Lem. R.I.P Lemansky. In a year where my previous favorites have lost their shine (Lost has lost my attention. Battlestar Galactica got lost in space. 24 had a terrible breakdown), I am glad that The Shield has kept up its sharp and intelligent writing. The writers held back no punches with Season Five and I am glad. They took the show to new heights with what happened in Season Five. What amazes me about the writing in The Shield is that they are very carefully tying things that happened throughout the series' history together. Crowley's murder from the first season becomes the launching point for Season Five. Vic's affair with Soffer becomes a plot point for Corrine Mackey's admission about dirty money. Rawling's initial investigation into Vic, Aceveda's ties to Antwon Mitchell, Claudette's promotion to captain after years of watching what was happening. There were so many storylines coming together in Season Five. I cannot wait to see what happens in Season Six -- which is showing now on FX, but I will have to wait patiently for it to show up on DVD. Seasons One through Four of The Shield were great TV. Season Five of The Shield was brilliant TV.