The Shield – 702 – Snitch

“After last weeks brutal opening episode which had Ronnie falling to new depths we get a rather lackluster episode this week. Now I adore The Shield, but if I’m honest “Snitch” is not really the best episode of the Shield – in fact it’s probably the weakest one ever – But it still had it’s fair share of brilliant moments.

The main thrust of Vic’s storyline continues with his need to deal with Aramboles. For some reason he’s decided that the man is innocent enough to be allowed to live and Shane even more surprisingly agrees. The rest of the Strike Team time is spent juggling between Vic pushing the Mexicans and Shane playing off the Armenians, but it immediately spirals out of control and they end up having to run damage limitation.

In an unusual twist, the real gems in “Snitch” come from the two side stories. The first of which deals with the fallout from a “Top Ten Gangs” list – which of course results in some of the Spook Street gang (who were not ranked in the top 10) members taking it upon themselves to try and move up the rankings by shooting innocent civillians. This storyline has two stunning performances from guest actors; the first one being from an elderly witness, a woman who’s just tired of the violence and has nothing left to lose. It’s a heartfelt performance that hits all the right notes. And the second is from one of the two young lads responsable, once caught he puts on the face of a “playa” and gets right under Claudette’s skin. Her response naturally lands her in hot water and is summed up with a classic Dutch line. “So, you’re a racist now. How’s that working out for ya?”

The second side-storyline has Dutch and Billings investigating a young woman who was killed when someone dropped a concrete cinder block onto her head. While Dutch is working his fingers to the bone trying to get something, anything from the tenants; Billings is just “Putting in the Billings” and provides the bare minimum help. Instead of investigating he’s chatting up a pretty young witness, selling people food from his own vending machines and just getting right up Dutch’s nose. But as soon as Dutch calls Billings out on it he turns the whole thing around and cracks the case immediately. David Marciano is nothing short of brilliant in this episode, spineless jellyfish or no – Billings rocks!

In all it’s an unusual episode for The Shield, the good material all seems to be located in the non-Strike Team storylines. This wouldn’t have been a problem in an earlier season, but right now – with the number of episodes left before the end dwindling – it sits a little oddly. Fortunately for us every single episode coming up after this one is a lot stronger.

Here’s hoping Jay Karnes and David Marciano get their own spin off with “Dutch and Billings”.”

Read Rev’s extended review.