Friday, August 19, 2016

There Isn't Always a "Quick Fix" (Episode 2.1)

Last season: Assistant Chief Gilroy was arrested for corruption after a landgrab scheme resulted in a double homicide, a race riot, and three dead police officers. Vic's wife Corinne left him after she and the children were endangered by Gilroy. Vic himself shot and killed fellow officer Terry Crowley and stole some drugs, getting away with both. He also formed an alliance with a drug dealer named Tio. Julien started sexual-reorientation therapy. Captain Edgar-veda decided to run for city council and tried everything he could to bring Vic down for corruption.

Some gangbangers tag a wall and sledgehammer two wooden posts to the ground. They tie a man to each post and put a tire around him. This is going nowhere good. The gangbangers pour gas onto the men and set the first tire on fire. Season 2 is certainly off to a brutal start. The gang leader is played by Danny Pino, AKA Scotty from Cold Case. He turns up the music to muffled the first man's agony.
The second intended victim pleads for his life in Spanish.

Vic meets with a private investigator named Gordie in a hotel parking lot. The PI sent Corinne's photo to hotels with weekly or monthly rates; Corinne checked into this one last week as Jan Murphy. There's something else Vic needs to know: Corinne isn't by herself. Vic knows that; she took the kids too. The PI says the kids aren't with her. However, a guy named Steven is. He owns a local yoga studio.

Gordie isn't surprised. His own ex-wife started working out right after their divorce. The thing is, Corinne and Vic are still legally married. Steven's been visiting Corinne every night. Vic asks which room. "209," says Gordie. As Vic heads upstairs, Gordie half-heartedly tells him to stop.

Vic breaks down the door of Room 209, where a man and woman are having sex. Vic throws the man off the bed. "Who are you?!" screams the woman, who's definitely not Corinne.
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Vic none too gracefully removes himself from the situation and chews out Gordie in the parking lot: "You've been on this for a month. You can't find 3 kids and a housewife?" Gordie thinks they need to expand their search beyond Southern California. Matthew and Cassidy haven't been in school, Corinne isn't staying with a friend or relative, and there's no financial trail. Vic opposes the idea of checking accident reports and hospital records.

In a garage, a guy is about to pop open a crate that came from Mexico. Lem is the lookout, kneeling next to the partially unrolled door. "Come on, hurry up," he says anxiously. Mixed in with the Mexican blankets are bricks of drugs. Shane, sporting a stylish brown leather blazer, says two shipments in a week isn't too shabby.

Tio tests the merchandise with a police kit and nonsensically announces to Shane, "We're pregnant." Shane follows Tio home in his truck. Lem is riding shotgun and nervous: "You know, if we double up on shipments, sooner or later, someone's gonna notice." "Hey, Vic put me in charge," says Shane, "So just roll with it." A sheriff's car changes lanes, getting in between Shane's truck and Tio's car.

"What're we gonna do if they find that coke?" Ronnie pipes up from the backseat. Shane says they'll lose $50 K each. "Three black guys with a trunk full of coke can't drive the goddamn speed limit?" asks Ronnie. Apparently not. The deputy hits the lights and sirens. Lem mutters, "I knew this was a mistake." Shane tells him to shut up, then asks what they should do. Lem shrugs, "Hey, you're in charge." "Hey, we're in this together," Shane disagrees.

Cut to Tio and his crew facedown on the pavement while the car is searched. "Hey lookie here, Clark," says one of the cops, holding up the bag o' coke. Shane pulls over and the cop draws his gun. Lem holds up his badge and is all "It's cool, we're cops too." Shane takes over, saying the deputies just busted his informant and they're on their way to a bust; the coke is theirs.

"Who's in charge of the sting?" asks the deputy. Vic Mackey. Shane would be more than happy to call him and have him come down. The deputy wants to know who their CO is. Edgar-veda will be getting a phone call too. Shane hopes he doesn't mind waking up a captain.

"Burning necklaces have been gaining popularity in Central and South American drug cartels," Dutch informs his partner. She tells him they've also been used in South Africa to kill police informants. She learns that Dutch, who couldn't speak a lick last season, is now taking Spanish classes.

Vic arrives at the traffic stop in his shiny Dodge Ram. The patrolman asks if Vic knows Lem, Shane, and Ronnie. Vic unwisely attempts to lighten the mood: "Depends. What'd they do?" The patrolman explains how he pulled over Tio and found guns and cocaine; the rest of the Strike Team says it's for a buy-bust. Nobody notified the sheriff's office about the operation, so the deputies have to wait for Edgar-veda to give them the all-clear. Vic says it's not necessary; they're already late.

No sooner does he say that than Edgar-veda pulls up in a sedan with a cherry-drop light on the dash. For once, Edgar-veda's not wearing a shirt and tie. The deputy tells them about Tio's trunkload of blow. The captain owes Vic a favor; he got all the credit for taking down Gilroy and the cop-killers. Edgar-veda lies that it's his fault because he forgot to forward a form. He promises it won't happen again. The deputy apologizes for delaying them and goes back to his car.

Edgar-veda approaches the Strike Team: "You're on your way to a bust, right?" Shane says yes. The captain tells them to go arrest someone. Shane, Lem, and Ronnie get back in the truck. "You and I need to talk," Edgar-veda says to Vic.

In the captain's office, Vic thanks him for cutting them slack on the supposed paperwork snafu. The captain asks if something is wrong with Vic; he's been working fewer hours and his arrest numbers are down. "Bad guys must be hibernating," says Vic. Dude, nobody hibernates in Los Angeles. "Why don't you just give me a demerit and call it a night?"

Edgar-veda informs him a civilian auditor is coming to the Barn and will probably shut the place down if she sees what he sees. Vic shrugs that it's the captain's problem. "I don't think she'll be as understanding of your paperwork snafus as I am, which makes this our problem," Edgar-veda says, "This drug thing tonight--" Vic promises that Shane and the boys are totally arresting some people for that.

The burning necklace victims have been identified as Pablo Fernando and Christopher Reyes, street names Bang-Bang and Cucha. One was a Los Mag, the other a Toro, but both were high-ranking. Edgar-veda reminds everyone to be on their best behavior; Lanie the civilian auditor starts her observations today. Everyone groans. He can't help that the city council called her, given the recent public scandals.

By the cage, Shane mutters to Vic, "Say hello to Fall Guy #1 and Fall Guy #2." "Why are you turning in Tio's stash?" asks Vic, eyeing the cocaine brick on the counter. Turns out the drugs belong to the Spanish fall guys. Vic heard the dealers in the cage were small-time. Lem guesses they aren't anymore. Edgar-veda wanders over, praising the Strike Team for the arrests. Once he's gone, Shane says the fall guys bought their coke from Alvarez, another supposed small-timer.
Wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be THIS Alvarez.
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Vic wants to pay Alvarez a visit and find out why he's "moving from the minors to the majors." I'm not sure if this is an unintentional reference to another project Kenny Johnson and Walton Goggins worked on together: Major League: Back to the Minors. Vic's phone rings and he's all "what now?!"

The Strike Team arrives at Tio's and Vic asks what the problem is. Tio says, "That," indicating a guy on all fours throwing up blood. He jumps out of the way as the guy pukes again. "What'd you call us for?" Shane demands. Tio points out that he can't exactly have the paramedics stop by his stash spot. Tio's underling says the guy snorted a few lines of product to check the quality. Tio isn't happy about his "employees" giving out free samples.

"Shit, he's going into cardiac arrest," Lem says from the floor. He calls for a towel. When Shane hands one over, Lem wipes off the guy's face and starts giving him mouth-to-mouth. Shane and Vic groan in disgust as Lem continues CPR, managing to revive the guy. Vic tells Lem to drop him off at the ER door and not answer any questions. Two of Tio's guys pick up the overdose victim and carry him out.

"How much did he do?" Vic asks another of the "salesmen." He swears it was just a couple of lines and the guy isn't allergic to it or anything. Shane thinks he could've been mixing drugs. "Maybe the coke's bad," Lem suggests. Shane insists nothing is wrong with the cocaine except maybe that it's too pure. "You're so sure, do a line," Vic tells him, because Shane isn't nearly volatile enough. He asks Ronnie to take a sample to the lab.

Tio asks who'd contaminate his drugs. Vic surmises it was someone with enough coke of their own to put Tio out of business. They might as well forget about the hospital after spending all this time arguing.

Vic parks halfway on the sidewalk to Alvarez, out for a stroll with his angry pitbull. It's not the guy who played Kurt Sutter's other Alvarez either. He wants to know how a minor crack dealer got a hold of high-quality cocaine. Alvarez insists he's clean. Vic says they picked up some of his guys. Alvarez is all "I don't know what you mean." Lem grabs the pitbull's leash and as strong as he is, even he can barely hang onto the dog. He's lucky the thing didn't take his hand off. Vic tells Alvarez they're taking him for a little car ride.

They head down the street, Alvarez up front with Vic and Lem in the back with the dog. Vic is sure Alvarez doesn't visit One-Niner territory often; I'd say so too, what with the One-Niners being a rival gang and all. Vic stops and yells out an insult about the sister of a One-Niner named Mo, claiming Alvarez said it. Quickly rolling up the window, he asks if Alvarez messed with Tio's latest shipment. Alvarez won't say.

One-Niners have started to surround the car. Vic tells Alvarez he'll have to find another ride. Lemming, hugging the dog (yes, really) hopes Alvarez's expensive sneakers make him run faster. Alavrez says he got the coke from Navaro and Armadillo Quintero.
I know these little guys are cute, but naming your kid after one?
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The Quintero brothers are major coke dealers from Tijuana, trying to flood Farmington with their product. Alvarez nervously tells Vic to get him away from all the angry rival bangers.

Back at the Barn, Vic gives Claudette his lead about the Quinteros. He buzzes in Gordie the PI. Upstairs, Edgar-veda asks his secretary if she knows who Gordie is. She doesn't. Edgar-veda tells her to check the visitors' log. I'm surprised Corinne running out on Vic hasn't hit the precinct grapevine. In the clubhouse, Gordie explains that he's part of a PI network. He can give Corinne's information to all his friends (in exchange for a fee, of course). $20,000 will get Vic half of Gordie's contacts, $50 K for everyone.

Despite doing this for a living, Vic can't seem to tell he's being shaken down. Either that or he's so desperate to find his family he doesn't care what it costs. Given his reaction in the Season 1 finale, I'm going with the latter. There's just one snag: Gordie's contacts will want half the fee up front. Vic promises he'll have the money in an hour.

Claudette asks Cucha's family if they know of anyone who'd want to kill him. Cucha has a teenage brother, a female relative who could be a mom or aunt, and a little sister dressed up in a Catholic school uniform. Cucha's brother says he doesn't know anything and denies knowing the Quinteros. "Armadillo?" pipes up little sister Mayda. Cucha repeats that nobody knows nothing. Dutch leaves his pocket notebook on a side table, presumably for Mayda to find.

Vic meets Shane at a self-storage place, asking to make an emergency withdrawal from their retirement fund. Shane says there's nothing left in the storage locker, the remainder of the Strike Team pulled it out and invested it. A likely story. Vic is none too happy that he wasn't consulted. Shane shrugs that Vic put him in charge and that investing the money was supposed to be a surprise. "It is. A bad one," says Vic.

Shane thinks Vic should be more appreciative that his best buddy has increased shipments and assisted with distribution. "Distribution?" Vic cries. The Strike Team were supposed to be middlemen, not dealers. Shane insists that all he's doing is taking their game up a level. "What level is that? Prison?!" Vic demands. Shane says Vic's money is currently tied up in a cocaine investment, specifically the coke "that had Tio's guy bleeding from every orifice."

Vic needs his share of the money. Shane counters that they all do. Vic reminds Shane that he's trying to track down Corinne and his kids. Shane had no idea they were missing. Vic bellows that he needs $25 K to give to his PI. Shane screwed him. They argue back and forth. "What am I supposed to do?!" Vic screams in frustration. Shane has no answer.

Claudette asks a pretty white girl, Jessica, if she recently left her boyfriend Cucha to be with Armadillo. Jessica says no. She has an interesting tattoo on one cheek: a small white dove in flight. Jessica is not your typical gangbanger's girlfriend; she's a senior at the exclusive-sounding Whitney School For Girls and her father is a chiropractor-to-the-stars. Claudette wonders how Dad feels about her changing from "Westside cheerleader to barrio gang babe." Dutch makes a comment about the face tattoo. Jessica works hard not to cry.

She explains that two weeks before, she and Cucha were going for a walk when they were accosted by Armadillo and his homies. They asked if Cucha had changed his mind about something. When he said no, Armadillo took Jessica to his house and raped her. Afterward, he held her down while someone else gave her the dove tattoo. When Cucha saw the tattoo later, he called Jessica a puta (Spanish for slut). Crying, she asks them to have her dad pick her up.

Danny wakes up naked in bed. She checks the alarm clock, almost knocking over a glass of wine, and groans, "Oh God, I fell asleep." Vic stands nearby, getting dressed. She asks what they're gonna tell Corinne. Vic lies that she's out of town for the 5th time this month. Danny doesn't mind them having a thing; she just doesn't want them to "have a thing," a statement that makes no sense whatsoever. Before Vic leaves, he gives her a quick kiss.

At the stash spot, Vic informs Jasper that he got a batch of coke tainted with rosary pea. Rosary pea, a woodvine native to Florida, is also extremely toxic. They're lucky more cocaine didn't hit the street or they'd have a lot of dead bodies to explain. Tio is sure Jasper messed with the drugs. We learn Jasper isn't just a coke runner; he's a customs agent. Jasper insists the drugs must've been laced in Mexico. His supplier uses a store called Rosillian Imports in Tijuana as a front for Navaro Quintero.

In the Barn's back parking lot, Gordie asks for his fee. Vic explains he hit a snag getting it and asks Gordie to front the money. Gordie doesn't have an extra $25,000 sitting around, but thinks he can stall until that night. He gives Vic a deadline of 10:00.

Vic goes into the clubhouse. Ronnie is chilling on the couch and Lem is playing solitaire or something. Vic tells everyone to take off their guns so they can make a quick trip to Tijuana. Lem immediately stands up and heads for his locker. Shane is more reluctant, even though he always sucks up to Vic. Edgar-veda sticks his head in to introduce Lanie the civilian auditor. She has a few question for Vic, who replies that he's busy and leaves.

Edgar-veda follows him, asking where Vic is going. "Tijuana," he answers. Edgar-veda wants to know why. Vic tells him that someone has been smuggling poisoned cocaine into Farmington. The captain points out the Strike Team doesn't have jurisdiction in Mexico. Vic will take a personal day to go down there. Edgar-veda says he won't sign off on it. "If you want dozens of potential voters keelin' over, so be it." If the captain didn't know Vic so well, he'd think that tone was actually calm.

Vic drives the guys to the border in a generic sedan. The border patrol agent on the Mexico side asks about the nature of their visit. "Little bit of everything," Vic answers vaguely, somehow not throwing any red flags. The guy waves them through with a "Welcome to Mexico." Vic drives further down and stops the car in the middle of the street. He tells the guys to find guns. Shane looks around dubiously: "They got gun stores?" "It's Tijuana, use your imagination." Vic retorts. Lem and Shane get out. Next to Vic, Ronnie is studying a map. Vic asks if he knows how to get to Rosillian Imports.

Our boys on foot are immediately accosted by a chubby middle-aged Mexican man. "Nice girls, hot girls," he says. Lem absolutely towers over the guy and surprisingly doesn't tell him about his Latina girlfriend Tigre. Shane starts to drag him away.

Rosillian Imports looks closed. Ronnie tries to climb the metal security door. Vic swears. A plainclothes Mexican policeman appears and wants to know what they're doing. Ronnie jumps down. Vic tells the guy they're cops from the U.S. The Mexican offers says they should be more careful; this isn't a safe part of town for tourists. It doesn't look particularly safe for the residents either. Vic claims he's looking for a friend's sister who got kidnapped two days ago. His friend wants to pay the ransom and not fool with a police report.

Vic says they're looking for Navaro Quintero. "I'm not surprised," says Mexican Policeman, "He and his brother are our biggest problem." Navaro has an open federal warrant in the U.S., but he can't be arrested as long as he's in Tijuana.

Lem and Shane are following a different guy through the streets, a guy who says he knows where they can buy guns. Shane thinks it's sad Tijuana isn't living up to its potential as a community of friendly senoritas and white-sand beaches; instead, it's the "asshole of South America." "Mexico's in Central America," Lemming corrects. Shane asks where the guns are and finds out less than a second later.

The Mexican and his companions surround them with weapons drawn. "Where is your money?" asks the leader. Lem and Shane both have a can-you-believe-this-shit look on their faces. Lem gives up his wallet first, which also happens to have his big shiny badge in it. Shane shows them his own badge. The Mexicans are unimpressed.

Shane is reluctant to fork over his wallet. One of the muggers puts a gun to the base of Lem's skull. Surprisingly, Shane doesn't make some crack about how he never liked Lem anyway. I suppose he figures the Strike Team won't be able to explain yet another corpse of one of their own. He hands over his wallet. The Mexican muggers tell them to hit the road. Oh, explaining their missing badges to Edgar-veda is gonna be fun.

Back at the Barn, Lanie introduces herself to Dutch. She asks for his personal notes on Gilroy's land fraud case and the hit-and-run; his bail hearing is coming up and the D.A. doesn't want any surprises. Dutch promises to get it to her ASAP. Cucha's little sister Mayda shows up to return Dutch's notebook. She's changed out of her school uniform and into jeans and a yellow T-shirt with a matching barrette shaped like a butterfly.

Mayda asks if Dutch caught Armadillo, revealing "he's the one who killed my brother." Upstairs, Mayda takes off her barrette and plays with it. Armadillo apparently paid the family a visit and told Cucha that "he could join him or he could die." She's rather calm about this, even though it was said right in front of her. Mayda thinks Armadillo wants her to be scared of him, but she's not.

Claudette comes into the room and talks to Dutch just outside the door. Dutch explains that Mayda came forward on her own. "You're interviewing a minor without a guardian present," Claudette reminds him. Dutch tells her that Armadillo threatened Cucha in front of his little sister. Mayda could testify to the grand jury. However, her family objects. Claudette throws out the old "You'd understand if you had kids argument."

She walks Mayda downstairs and says she'll take her home. Claudette praises Mayda for being brave enough to tell them what she heard. Mayda notices she forgot her barrette. Claudette promises to buy another one.

In Tijuana, Navaro is eating lunch on a restaurant patio. Ronnie is surprised there are only two bodyguards with him. "Probably thinks nobody's crazy enough to mess with him," Vic says sagely. Shane and Lem walk up. Vic asks for one of their guns. Lem tells Vic they didn't get any, but doesn't mention the mugging.

Vic shrugs that they'll go after Navaro anyway, ignoring Lem and Ronnie's protests. He tells Ronnie to get the car; Lem and Shane will tackle the bodyguards and take their guns. When they get within shouting distance, Vic calls to Navaro: "Hey, can you tell me where the donkey shows are around here?" then punches the drug lord in the head. Shane and Lem disarm the bodyguards.

Ronnie drives up, the car's brakes screeching. Shane pushes Navaro into the backseat. Lem gets in on the other side and Vic rides up front.

Julien has a young boy named Randall in the cage. The kid's mother shows up and Julien explains that Randall was caught trying to shoplift spray paint from a hardware store. Randall's also been spotted tagging buildings. His mom Vanessa is upset and disappointed.

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Julien adds that it isn't normal procedure to arrest kids Randall's age, but they couldn't get a hold of Vanessa and the store owner wants to press charges. Vanessa doesn't know what else she can do to help her son be a good person; she cut back on her work hours so she can be home with him at night, is active in his PTA, and they go to church. Julien will see what he can do.

"She seems pretty upset," he mutters to Danny. She replies, "She should be." The kid's only 10 and he's stealing and tagging buildings and "before you know it, we'll be mopping him off a sidewalk." Julien thinks he can break the odds.

Down in Tijuana, the Strike Team has parked atop a deserted hill that looks like an illegal dump. Ronnie is siphoning some gas out of the sedan. "I ain't paying you nothing, ese," declares Navaro, who's played by Sons of Anarchy alum Emilio Rivera. If they let him go, they can go back to California alive.

There's a handy pile of tires nearby. Vic asks Lem to give him one. Vic puts the tire over Navaro's neck. Ronnie pours gas on him. Vic menacingly flicks a cigarette lighter. Navaro changes his tune and asks how much money they want. $350,000 American, plus another $50,000 for ruining Vic's day. Lem tells Vic not to push it. "Shut the hell up!" shouts Vic. Poor Lemming must get sick of hearing that.

When Claudette goes to Armadillo's house, the other half of the Quintero drug cartel answers the door holding a thick book, wearing nothing but a black Speedo, a watch, and a gold chain. Lovely. Dutch takes note of the bruises speckled across Armadillo's torso. The next time we see Armadillo, he's dressed and in the interrogation room. Dutch asks, "What brings you to Los Angeles, Armando?" He just can't take a guy named after a desert creature seriously. Nor could I.

Armadillo is looking for new opportunities, like many other immigrants. Claudette asks if that includes putting the Los Mags and Toros out of business. Armadillo thinks it's a little early in their chat for her to be showing her hand. He claims he has no idea who the gangs are.

Armadillo has also been reading up on American law; he has stacks of law books at home. He knows the longest they can detain him without charging him is 6 hours. Dutch informs him that they can hold murder suspects for 24 hours. Armadillo says he has multiple alibis. "You're not here to fight the Toros and the Los Mags. You're here to unite them," Claudette realizes.

In observation, the captain poo-poos the idea of rival gangs working together. "They stop pissing on each other and turn their guns on everyday folks, it's not good," says Claudette. Edgar-veda asks how they can hold him when Jessica won't testify about her rape. Dutch says Mayda will testify. Claudette isn't comfortable with putting a 12-year-old girl in the middle of this. 12? Mayda's 9 if she's a day. They'll find some other way to get at Armadillo.

Vic drives Ronnie's car to a cemetery. Navaro is sandwiched in the back between Ronnie and Lem, the latter holding a gun to his head. Ronnie has a bad feeling. "Keep it yourself," says Vic. Navaro talks to his men in Spanish, getting them to put their guns down. As soon as they put a duffel bag of cash in the trunk, Vic drives away. "What are you doing?!" asks Shane.

Navaro's guys start shooting at the car. The backseat is too cramped for Lem and Ronnie to force the drug dealer to the floorboards. "Let's toss him!" yelps Shane. Vic parks on a different trash-strewn hillside. Nobody's been shot. They get out to inspect the damage to the car. "Holy shit. I just leased this car!" cries Ronnie.
Pictured: the least of Ronnie's problems.
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Vic knows Navaro has a federal warrant and wants to turn him in on it. However, they can't arrest people in Mexico. Vic is sure that once they get Navaro to the States, nobody'll care too much how he got there. "This is insane!" shouts Shane. And if Shane Vendrell is questioning your sanity, you're doing something pretty damn stupid. He thinks they should just leave him on the side of the road somewhere.

Vic says that Navaro was willing to poison dozens of strangers with bad coke. If they leave him, he might come back for revenge. Lem wants to know how they're supposed to get him across the border. Oh, that's easy: in the trunk. "That's if we even make it to the border! Look at the car!" Shane is good and agitated now. All I see are some holes in the trunk and back windshield and broken taillights.

"How am I gonna pay for this?" moans Ronnie. Lem adds that Navaro will be kicking and screaming the whole trip.
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Vic has a solution: Stop by a shady drugstore for some roofies. "The date rape drug?" asks Shane. No, the breath mint. "Don't pretend like you don't know what they look like," says Vic. Wow, that was uncalled for.

Claudette has more background on Armadillo. He was an orphan who grew up on the streets. His social worker had his IQ tested when he was 11 and got Armadillo into a school for gifted children. Two weeks into the semester, he was expelled for raping and beating one of his teachers. I'm sure the social worker tried to claim he was still basically a good kid. Armadillo did two years in Mexican juvie hall and hasn't had so much as a parking ticket ever since.

Dutch will put in a call to INS to find out if rape is enough to get Armadillo's visa revoked. I certainly hope so, good Lord! Lanie comes over to ask for Gilroy's file. Dutch says he's busy and will give it to her later. Lanie snippily informs him that she asks politely the first time and is a lot less polite if she has to ask again.

Cue a major power trip. Lanie's bosses want to know why Farmington is the epicenter of corruption, lawsuits, and riots. She could get people fired or even have the whole precinct shut down. Dutch thinks she's hot, so he folds like a cheap suit, mumbling, "Yes, ma'am." He looks up and sees Edgar-veda looming from his office perch.

The Strike Team waits in a long line of cars to cross back into the United States. Lem fidgets, noticing the heavily armed Border Patrol agents and roving drug dogs. The back of the sedan has touristy new bumper stickers covering up some of the damage. "How do we explain 400 grand in cash and a doped-out drug lord in our trunk?" asks Shane. Vic says pointedly, "If nobody breaks a sweat, we won't have to."

Lanie asks Edgar-veda where Vic is. The captain vaguely answers, "Still in the field." Lanie wants to know if that's code for....
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Edgar-veda gives her a shark's smile: "You're not after Mackey, are you? You're after me." Lanie claims nobody is being persecuted, buuuuuut the captain has enemies on the city council. Despite the scandals and rioting, Edgar-veda currently has a point lead over opposing candidate Karen Mitchell: "They know I'll be fair, but they also know that if there's something to find, I'll find it."

Julien lets 10-year-old thief Randall out of the cage; the hardware store owner agreed not to press charges if Julien vouched for the kid. He takes Randall upstairs and asks why he should be let go. Randall says stealing the spray paint was his friend Henry's idea and promises he'll never do it again. Julien seems to believe him, but warns that Randall will have to answer to both Julien and his mom if he keeps being a little punk.

Vanessa is waiting outside the interview room and asks if her kid is on the fast track to nowhere. Julien is sure Randall will think twice next time; he knows Vanessa is doing her best. They discuss their respective churches. Julien awkwardly asks if he can stop by her house that night. It's against police regulations to ask someone out while on duty. Vanessa is flattered and flirts, "Come by. Maybe I'll be home." She leaves with her son.

Dutch puts Gilroy's file on Lanie's desk. He looks like he wants to say more, but walks away. Passing by the observation room, he sees Armadillo laughing to himself on CCTV. That's odd. He goes into the interrogation room and asks what's so amusing. Armadillo's like "nuthin'". It's been 6 hours, so he's free to leave. Armadillo says, "I guess what I did when I was 11 doesn't stop me from visiting your country."

It's the Strike Team's turn in the U.S. reentry line. A dog sniffs the car while another agents asks for their IDs and to pop the trunk. Vic flashes his license as well as his badge because there's no way to explain why Lem and Shane don't have their licenses. Everyone in the car looks sick and miserable, so the agent asks, "You guys have a rough time on the other side?" Vic lies that they've spent the last two days blackout drunk at a bachelor party.

"Pop the trunk, please," the agent repeats. Vic says the trunk latch doesn't work and starts to get out of the car. Bad move. The agent puts out his hand for the keys. Walking around to the trunk, which is held shut with some wire, he asks what happened to it. Vic laughs that they were at someplace called Rosarita, which sounds like a brothel and I'm even more sure of it when he mentions Madame Maria: "...came out this morning and it looked like that." Lem looks ready to throw up.

"You boys are lucky you got off with just a few stickers," says the agent. Lemming gives the guy his most earnest this-was-a-boys'-weekend-gone-bad smile. Vic thinks he has some pliers around if the agent needs to cut the wire. The agent tells Vic not to worry about it, then asks if they have anything to declare. "Just that it's great to be back in the States," says Vic. The agent waves them along with a cheery "Welcome home."

At the Barn, Vic puts Navaro in the cage and takes a Polaroid of him, saying, "Quesadilla!" It would've been hilarious if Lem had popped around a corner like "Where???" Seeing a Polaroid camera makes 2002 feel like forever ago.

Dutch tells Claudette about Armadillo laughing creepily to himself. Claudette is sure nothing happened; Dutch is equally sure he was reacting to something. Vic apologizes to Lanie for giving her the brush-off. He had a tip that a Mexican drug lord was in town and had to pick him up. According to Vic, they arrested Navaro as he was about to go back to Mexico. Lanie says her questions can wait another day.

Claudette asks if anyone talked to Armadillo when he was upstairs. Nobody was supposed to, but they'll go to the tapes. When Dutch goes back over the footage, he sees Armadillo pick something up off the floor. Mayda's barrette. Oh God no.

The Strike Team goes to the storage unit to deposit their bag o' cash. They came out ahead, even though Ronnie's car is now totaled. Ronnie has gotten over the ruined lease, high-fiving and shadowboxing with Lem. Vic comes out and Shane locks the storage unit. "Gimme your keys," Vic orders. He can't trust them anymore. Even Shane doesn't argue. I have a slight suspicion Vic is gonna clean out the storage unit to keep paying the PI.

Claudette knocks on Mayda's family's apartment door. Her older brother answers. Claudette asks where Mayda is; her brother says a friend's house. She tells him to call and check. Dutch lets him know that Mayda told them about Armadillo, even though her brother told her to shut up about it. They tell him Armadillo knows Mayda talked. Mom reports in Spanish that Mayda never got to her friend's house. Oh shit.

Understandably, her brother is angry and panicky. Dutch promises they'll find her. But in what condition? Claudette is about to jump in the car when she spots Mayda walking dazedly up the sidewalk. She asks if the girl is okay and notices she's wearing her yellow butterfly barrette again. When Claudette gets down to Mayda's level, she sees a Band-Aid on the little girl's cheek. Underneath it is a fresh dove tattoo. Fucking hell.

Her older brother starts crying, picks her up, and runs back into the house with her. "Topo, let us get her to a doctor!" calls Claudette. She thumps on the closed door. "Let us help her!"

Gordie has new information on Corinne. She was given a warning for blowing a stop sign in Colorado Springs. His Denver contact took a photo three hours ago of Corinne and the kids shopping for groceries. Gordie shows it to Vic and it's them all right. Vic asks to keep the picture and Gordie is like "whatever."

At home, Vic eats a disgusting-looking TV dinner while listening to "Blue On Black" by Kenny Wayne Shepherd, an underrated song of the early 2000s. Seriously, YouTube it. There's a knock on the door and it's Edgar-veda. "I didn't know you made house calls," Vic says in a faux-cheerful tone. The captain asks if Gordie has tracked down the rest of the Mackeys yet: "I assume if they were here, your place would be in slightly better condition." Rude.

Edgar-veda makes some bold predictions. Next year, he'll be a city councilman. In 6 years, he'll be mayor. He asks how they can solve the problem of Lanie: "As much as I'd love for her to take you down, I don't need a scandal right now." I think you mean another scandal. They need to reach an understanding. Vic says, "Yeah, right." Edgar-veda doesn't think Vic has a choice. He'll watch Vic's back until the election if Vic gets the boys under control and doesn't embarrass the captain.

I think Vic mostly has the first part done. Lem and Ronnie don't do anything without the boss's say-so. Shane, however, is a loose cannon. "How do I know I can trust you?" asks Vic. Edgar-veda tosses the question right back. Vic says they have a deal. "This doesn't mean I like you," says the captain. Vic's well aware of that. He leaves. End of episode.

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