Squad cars and helicopters are in a tense stand-off at Wings 'N Things restaurant. Vic, Shane, and Ronnie suit up in their vests. Santonino comes sprinting out the front door, yelling, "It wasn't me! They got guns in there!" Vic asks Asher for the CliffNotes version of events. They can't see inside the restaurant, so no one knows how many suspects are involved or what they might be packing. His best guess is semi-automatic. Situations like that are Vic's specialty.
Claudette pulls up, a young white man accompanying her. She introduces him to Vic as Kevin. Another shot is fired. Vic tells Kevin and Claudette to stay down. "Uh, did he just give me a time-out?" asks Kevin. Claudette raises her eyebrows, like That's Vic for ya...
Vic, Shane, and Ronnie enter. They find several armed suspects, who all look dead. A young woman with a shoulder wound lies on the floor. A guy with a gut wound is behind the counter. "One of them Niners shot us up and then took off," whimpers Chellie, presumably an employee.
There's a crash from the back, near the kitchen. "Hey! Hands on your head!" shouts Vic. Kevin has come in, carrying a shotgun: "I was gettin' splinters in my ass sitting on the bench." In 30 seconds?
A short time later, Vic brings out the guy in the black hoodie, the only one who's "not colored up." Shane isn't happy that Kevin was handling Lem's favorite gun. Vic doesn't think the kid meant anything by it; he probably just got it out of the trunk. Ronnie can't believe the department is getting rid of Vic to bring on "some cop in diapers."
Vic makes nice-nice as best as he knows how, introducing Kevin to Shane and Ronnie. Shane wastes no time in relieving Kevin of the shotgun. Kevin tells them how sorry he was to hear about Lem: "I lost my partner on the border 3 years ago. It's a bitch of a thing." "Lem was more than a partner," says Shane the Traitorous Bastard. Vic wants Kevin to ride with him; he'll fill the kid in on the Niners.
Claudette has reassigned people to uphold the One-Niner injunctions from Season 4. Working with Kevin will give Vic a chance to show he "can play well with others." Vic thinks "it's a little late in the game for me to win Miss Congeniality." Kevin already has a theory: "Spookstreet heard the Byz Lats and the One-Niners were having a square dance, decided to crash." Why don't you leave the square dancing to Shane?
Claudette tells Kevin he'll eventually be able to expand the team, handpick some more help. "What about Shane and Ronnie?" asks Vic. Kevin plans to keep them. Claudette's long-term goal is to have Kevin supervise two teams. She also arranged for Vic to see an appeals panel about his impending forced retirement.
Vic knows Edgar-veda won't okay that. Claudette wouldn't be so sure; a lot is riding on the Barn's success. He's free to continue pleading for supervisory privileges. Vic leaves to deal with a scuffle in the cage.
Up in the office, Claudette has a secret for Kevin: "I lied to Mackey. In three weeks, he's gone. Period." Vic would be sniffing for loopholes if he knew. "Well, that's kinda cold," Kevin opines. Claudette asks how much he knows about Vic. Kevin shrugs that he's just heard rumors and knows two guys have died inside of the last few years.
Claudette tells him about Tavon's unfortunate run-in with a windshield, but assures Kevin, "You'll be just fine as long as he doesn't have a problem with you." Kevin wants to start adding to the team ASAP.
Corinne stops by the clubhouse with something she wants Vic, Shane, and Ronnie to all hear: "I feel really stupid saying this out loud and normally I don't even believe in this stuff. But I woke up this morning and felt like I was given a message." She had a dream the night before. They were all having a barbecue in the Mackeys old backyard, "only it was this beautiful place by this precipice." I'm gonna stop you right there and say the old backyard was pretty damn nice.
Corinne goes on: "Lem was there and he was wearing his usual jeans, but he had on this pinstriped shirt. And his hair was shorter. And he was younger, like when I first met him." He was wrestling with one of the guys, but she doesn't remember who. "And then he wanted burgers for you guys." (Because of course). Lem requested them well-done.
"The thing is, when I handed him the burgers, he got really mad. He said I made them all wrong." Corinne had never seen Lem like that. In the dream, Vic told Lem everything was okay and he'd learn to like burgers that way. "Then [Lem] got really calm and he said, 'Okay. It's all gonna be okay.'" Then Lem stepped off the cliff and disappeared without going up or down.
I can't tell if Shane's expression is one of guilt or Shut up, this is crazy. Who the hell cares? "I know this sounds crazy, but I think it was Lem," Corinne finishes, "Maybe it means that everything's gonna be okay." Nobody says anything.
Vic tells Shane not to make himself nuts about Corinne's dream: "We've all been hurtin' lately. She thought it would give us some comfort. Just go with it." "He didn't disappear up in the sky. He disappeared sideways, How is that comforting?" asks Shane, who will most certainly disappear down below.
Vic sees Kevin in the observation room, watching one of the gangbangers on CCTV. Vic wants to work the losing friends angle but not show sympathy; gangsters can smell weakness. Kevin reminds Vic this isn't his first rodeo. "Well, this isn't the Valley or the Rio Grande. It's the majors," says Vic. He doesn't think Kevin is ready for Farmington. Kevin cuts Vic off; he saw plenty during his 4 years with Border Patrol.
Vic describes Farmington's cultural melting pot: "Mexis that were too smart to get picked up," black gangs, Russians, Asians, and let's not forget our old friends the Armenians. Kevin asks Vic to make him ready for the neighborhood.
Vic takes note of their suspect Ray's altered One-Niner tattoo: "Either you're founding a new set or you're trying to jump out. Both are punishable by death." This gives me flashbacks to another scene from a Kurt Sutter show involving gang ink.
|"Fire or knife?"|
Ray claims he's been out of the life for 4 months. Vic asks him to explain the .22 they caught him with. The guy shrugs it's for self-defense and wants to know if his friend Vantes made it out alive. He starts waxing philosophical: "Oppressors are oppressors," no matter their skin color. Guys who deal for the One-Niners would probably make more money working at In 'N Out.
"Breaking ties with [them] over drug money ain't exactly noble," Kevin says. Vic adds, "Banging doesn't come with an out clause." What was his grand scheme to escape? Ray and seven other guys were gonna jump out together; the meeting at the restaurant was to discuss terms (possibly the aforementioned "fire or knife" scenario). They had guns just in case and the Niners shot first.
Danny and Julien jog toward a screaming woman. Fresh off maternity leave, the newly-minted sergeant is having trouble keeping up. A heavyset man in a nearby yard pulls up his pants. It appears they're interrupting a rape in progress. Julien tackles the guy, who keeps protesting that he didn't do nothing. The female victim is semiconscious, so Danny radios for paramedics.
A neighbor on his balcony calls down, "Hey! I was watching that!" "Hey, get a life, asshole!" Danny shouts back.
Cervantes is familiar to Vic, who sent him on a year-long retreat to Corcoran for dealing. The gangbanger "spent his 8 months reading Malcolm X, Huey Newton." (In case you're wondering, Huey was one of the founding members of the Black Panthers). After Vantes got paroled, he started helping friends get out of "the life." The meeting at the wing joint was a setup.
Vic wants the survivors to have a chance to atone for their mistakes. Kevin thinks Vantes and the Niners trying to jump out need to be off the streets. "Yeah? Thanks for weighin' in," pipes up Shane. Maybe they can convince Moses to declare a cease-fire. Vic tells Kevin not to take Shane's attitude personally: "He's still real raw about Lem." I believe the term he's looking for is "guilty conscience."
"50 bucks says Mackey and the new guy get into it by the end of the day," Billings wagers. Claudette tells Dutch about the interrupted rape. The victim, Graciela, recently ran away from her fourth foster home. "I love the smell of underage sexual assault in the morning," says Billings.
|Basically Claudette's reaction.|
Moses' girlfriend Tilli shows the Strike Team to the backyard, where people are barbecuing and pitbull puppies are wrestling with each other. Shane worries about talking to Moses in front of Kevin, given his and Vic's history with the guy. What if Moses mentions he killed Kern? "For Christ's sake, hold it together," says Vic. He can't afford for anything to go wrong with his appeal coming up.
"Mackey's lackeys," drawls Moses. Ronnie is crouched on the ground, playing with the puppies. Moses claims, "Low-level shit ain't my concerns." He's also not responsible for what his lieutenants do. Vic asks why Moses would care if Vantes and seven other guys quit the Niners?
"You got an eye cramp?" Moses asks a glaring Shane. The Southerner thought he was clear about Moses staying away from underage girls. Moses dismisses them.
Corinne reports that Graciela's drug test showed high levels of GHB. "Why write a girl a sonnet when you can slip her a Mickey?" shrugs Billings. The teen's rape kit was positive and someone carved the words "GO HOME" into her stomach. Corinne guesses the cuts are a couple of days old.
"There's no use in lying, Mahud. Two police officers saw you raping her," says Dutch. Mahud asserts, "I screw her, I no rape her." Billings asks if Mahud roofied Graciela. Mahud thought she looked like a hooker and she accepted his offer of $20 for sex. Was he supposed to stop when she passed out? "Yeah!" shouts Dutch, the "duh" quite obvious.
Mahud tells them to check Graciela's pocket for the money, then starts yelling at them in some other language (presumably Arabic). Dutch doesn't think he cut up Graciela.
Vantes framed his mugshot, supposedly to remind him of his wrongdoings. His mom isn't interested in helping the guys find him; he's safer on his own. Two carloads of suspicious men creep down the street. Vic tells Mama Vantes to go inside, then orders the gangbangers to move along. Mama Vantes says Niners have been driving back and forth all day.
Vic asks for helping finding Vantes so he doesn't get hurt. Mama Vantes isn't worried: "A lot of people think my boy is a hero." Vic gives her a business card: "If you want your son to be a live hero, not a dead martyr, have him call me."
"If I woulda known I was gonna see you today, I woulda worn that little top you like," flirts Tilli. Shane thought she'd stopped dating Moses: "I don't want him touching you." Tilli wraps her arms around his neck.
Shane wants to know who's after Vantes. Tilli thinks Angelo is only doing that because Moses has been hard on him. She gives Shane his address, hoping this won't get her in trouble. Shane says anyone who messes with her will be the one in trouble. They kiss. "End it with Moses today," Shane tells her.
Vic, Ronnie, and Claudette ponder their next move. The new captain wants to send a message that the police will protect people who want to get out of gangs. Vic wonders what happened to Shane. Ronnie thinks he's talking a CI from his Vice days. "Shane was in Vice? That explains a lot," says Kevin. Vic tosses Kevin's earlier words at him: "Just picture Shane with a puppy."
Vic tells Ronnie that's Kevin's interrogation technique. Ronnie laughs. Is Kevin try to get answers or get laid? They all have themselves a chuckle. "Glad to see everybody's havin' fun." Shane is back. "'Course, Lem's still dead. Anyone else give a shit?"
"Hey, man, we were just--" Kevin starts. Shane snaps that Kevin doesn't belong on the Strike Team; he isn't half the man or cop Lem was. He's tired of everyone pretending everything is normal: "I actually give a shit that he's gone."
Vic needs Kevin on his side. The rookie needing more guidance could sway the appeals panel in Vic's favor. They avenged Lem by killing Guardo. (Never mind that he was actually innocent). Shane can't stop thinking about Corinne's dream: "She said he was pissed. Said she'd never seen him like that." Vic wants to find Angelo and "save who we can save today."
Vantes calls Vic from what looks like an abandoned house; he wants to handle his own business. Vic offers protective custody. Moses knows Vantes talked to the cops. "DuBois wrote about the path of honor and humanity." If he dies, he'll still have that. Vantes wants Vic to stop looking for him and hangs up on him.
Edgar-veda is getting lunch from a taco truck on the outskirts of a construction site. He helped his friend Cruz get the project pushed through the housing commission. Cruz heard Edgar-veda has been promoting a "cleaner, kinder" police force. Edgar-veda nods that a bad apple recently "got himself killed." It's a hard sell when 12 Mexicans were murdered and there have been no arrests.
Edgar-veda can't help with that; the case was handed off to robbery/homicide. Cruz thinks if the department cared about murdered illegals, the case would already be solved. Construction workers on the site have told him a Salvadoran gang, La Raza Guanaca, was behind it. Farmington catching the murderer would make Edgar-veda's voters believe the police care about the Latino community. Never one to miss using a race-baiting opportunity for political gain, Edgar-veda smiles.
Dutch pulled the videotaped statement of a different runaway who said she was kidnapped. When he opens the observation room door, Danny is in the midst of pumping breast milk. Dutch's "oops" sounds a little disingenuous. Fellow mom Claudette says, "You can use my office anytime." Billings makes a crude gesture referring to how big Danny's breasts have gotten.
On the tape, Princess says, "He kept saying, 'Go home now. Go home.'" The same phrase that was carved into Graciela. One morning, Princess woke up lying in the street and she went home. Dutch shuts off the tape. Things didn't add up for him; Princess refused a rape kit and her drug test was negative. Their perp cut Graciela; he's escalating. Claudette will have Princess's mom bring her in to be interviewed again.
Vic almost T-bones Moses' car. He doesn't believe Angelo set up the hit without being told. Vic reminds Moses he has two strikes; one more means life in prison. Moses is all "you wouldn't plant anything on me, would you?" Vic and Kevin get out of the car. Moses refuses to talk in front of the new kid.
When Kevin leaves, Moses flatly states Vantes has to die, but he'll let the others go. In return, he wants Vic to back off the One-Niners for 6 months. Vic will leave them be for 2 months, but he can't guarantee the uniforms won't hassle them; however, he can keep Kevin on a leash.
Kevin rejoins Vic, who fills him in on Moses' terms. Kevin thinks they should arrest Moses for conspiracy to commit murder. It's a no-can-do from Vic: "I took the deal. At least, that's what he thinks." He can't teach Kevin all his tricks right away.
Dutch passes out pictures of Princess. Her mom reported she's run away again. Dutch apologizes to Danny for walking in on her: "I know it's all perfectly natural."
"Wow! They put Hanlon on a poster," says Billings. The latest wall art shows her standing next to a Latino uniform. The slogan above their heads reads: THE NEW FACES OF YOUR POLICE. "Oh, great. She gets to be Miss Farmington, huh?" Danny grumbles.
Dutch asks the secretary where the poster came from. The department, stupid. Claudette elaborates, "The old 'new face' was caught filing bogus OT." Besides the posters, Tina will be making citywide public appearances.
Dutch is confused; he thought Tina wanted to be a detective. Claudette cryptically replies, "This is straight from the chief's office." Tina was selected after yesterday's publicity photo shoot.
Billings tells Dutch that Graciela just woke up and was able to describe her kidnapper to a sketch artist.
Julien drives the patrol car while Danny speaks Spanish into her cell phone. When she ends the call, she laments, "Can't afford a babysitter that speaks English." What happened to Vic's under-the-table child support? A gold car rolls past with a man lying across the hood and nobody driving. Julien gets out, puts the car in park, and shuts off the blaring rap music.
Vic knows Angelo has hits out on Vantes, Marlen, and Jason. "Fine way to treat your friends. What do you do on birthdays?" quips Kevin. Vic says Angelo can end this with one phone call. Angelo won't cooperate: "I didn't push the button. I can't un-push it." Maybe Kevin can make a deal if he gives up Moses.
Angelo chuckles, "Cop says 'deal,' you go to jail." If he goes along with this, he and his family are next on the hit list.
Vic's car and Shane's truck screech to a stop at Julien's crime scene. The victim isn't Vantes; his name is Danyel. A guy across the street is filming the cops with his camcorder. Looks like Moses didn't keep his end of the deal. "One down, three to go," drawls Shane.
A short time later, Vic has learned Vantes sent Danyel on a peace mission. Clearly, it backfired. Handcuffed Ray is dragged over to the car. Vic asks if Ray wants his friends to die like Danyel. Whoever killed him also stole his phone, so they'll know who he's been talking to. Vic says, "Vantes might be a revolutionary, but he ain't bulletproof." "How many funerals you wanna go to?" asks Ronnie.
Vic knows Ray's done a lot of bad things. Is he willing to do one last good deed for his friends? Ray thinks Vante's cousin Aquille might know where Marlen, Vantes, and Jason are.
The guys knock on Aquille's door. When he doesn't answer, Kevin mutters, "Hell with it" and kicks it down. Vic spots a gun on the coffee table and asks, "Sending your cousin on a little trip? Where's Vantes?"
Graciela only remembers one other detail about her rapist: a red mask. Billings pulls Dutch to a corner of the room: "Girls this age need a gentle touch." That came out much creepier than I hope he intended. Billings thinks she'll open up to him because he's a great father. "Two weekends a month?" asks Dutch.
Out in the hall, Dutch says to Corinne, "Sometimes I think humans need a subspecies to categorize these bastards." She reports that Vic seems better. Dutch tells her about Kevin taking over when Vic retires. "That's not for years," says Corinne. Dutch asks if she's aware the department is forcing Vic out on his 15th anniversary, which is less than a month away.
Edgar-veda wants Claudette's take on Kevin. "He's nothing like Vic. I love him," she says. The councilman has learned from an anonymous source that a Salvadoran gang committed the San Marcos machete murders.
Kevin's stint with INS makes him the perfect guy to investigate; he had the case kicked back to the Barn: "Handled correctly, this could be the big PR win we need." "Or a crime stats nightmare that shuts this door forever," says Claudette. To Edgar-veda's way of thinking, a dozen solved murders could keep the door open.
Ronnie wires Ray for sound. Claudette brings Kevin to her office and hands him the personnel file of a possible Strike Team addition. Kevin has noticed Vic likes to deceive suspects into thinking he'll do things that aren't exactly legal and then flips the script on them. Vic's reputation could have more to do with perception than reality. Claudette doesn't think so: "Vic is showing you his good side because it's in his best interest."
Vic tosses Ray in the cage. Billings overhears Dutch leaving Tina a voicemail. Dutch has a profile on whoever abducted Graciela: a single dad whose daughter died prematurely or disappeared and is trying to teach his victims a lesson. Going home would be "good advice if it didn't involve kidnapping, rape, and torture."
Billings hits Dutch where he lives, opining that profiling is overrated. Dutch just likes to make up stories "like the one about you and Tina." She's out of his league, especially as far as appearance. Dutch points out his partner isn't exactly Adonis. "Helping her improve her skills had nothing to do with any interest in her," Dutch lies. Other people don't see how talented Tina is.
Billings thinks Dutch took advantage like their perp, "except your drug of choice was power and the false hope of career advancement." Dutch has developed a reputation for wanting what he can't have: Corinne, widows of murder victims, female uniforms. Dutch argues his job is time-consuming, so where else is he supposed to meet women?
Princess is bitter: "Congratulations on getting another girl ass-raped." Claudette apologizes for not believing her. "Ain't no never mind to me. I cried my tears all out," says the girl. Mom isn't happy either: "I gave this girl a whipping based on you telling me she lied. And now you're telling me she didn't?"
Claudette explains there was a lack of corroborating evidence at the time. Can she remember any new details that may help them? Princess's kidnapper her kept her locked in a girl's bedroom, "only from a long time ago. The posters on the wall were all whack. White boys in these gay poses."
|Kinda like these?|
In the clubhouse, Vic stares morosely into a box of books that just arrived. Shane reads a note stapled to the packing slip: "Not looking forward to the 8-by-10 cell or fighting for the top bunk...but I figure the least I can do is come out smarter than when I went in. Send these to me wherever I land. I'll miss you. Lem."
"Vantes is a big reader, right?" asks Vic, "We're gonna find him and the other two. We're gonna send them someplace peaceful. Safe." He's sure Vantes will appreciate the books.
In the Barn parking lot, Corinne confronts Vic about his impending forced retirement. Does he think his child support checks will magically show up in her mailbox? "I've always taken care of the kids," says Vic, which is true, at least financially. Corinne agrees with that assessment, but knows it's cost Vic more than dollars.
Shane comes outside with a location on Vantes. Before leaving, Vic tells Corinne, "I'm not gonna lose my job." Don't make promises you can't keep.
Danny hopes what she pumped today will be enough to last Lee through tomorrow. She snaps at Julien, accusing him of being judgmental about her being an unwed mother and almost immediately apologizes. Julien smiles, "It beats riding with Tina." I imagine anything would be.
Claudette has suggested that Julien be brought onto the Strike Team, but he doesn't want to work with Vic. Claudette tells him he'd be working for Kevin. The job comes with a pay raise and prestige. "It may still be called the Strike Team, but it's a different animal."
Julien agrees to the promotion. Claudette smiles and tells him he starts tomorrow. Let's hope things work out better than they did for Lem, Terry, and Tavon.
Vic and the guys cautiously walk through the abandoned house seen earlier in the episode, looking for Vantes. "He's here!" cries one of his friends, "He's hurt! He got shot this morning!" Vantes is lying on a dirty mattress, a red stain on his white T-shirt and a hole in his stomach. "And you just let him bleed?" snaps Vic. He should know gangbangers avoid hospitals, mandatory police notification and all that.
One of Vantes' friends says he was afraid Moses would find them. Vantes wouldn't even let them tell Aquille. Vantes moans something about the Niners. "Shit, he's going into shock," says Vic. Kevin calls an ambulance. Vic talks to Vantes, a steady stream of "Stay with me."
Vantes passes out, his breathing sounds funny. Vic knows there's no time to wait for EMS. He and Shane carry Vantes out to the car. Vic drives erratically while Shane sits in the backseat with Vantes. "Stay awake!" Vic shouts, "Your mom wants you to come home." He adds through gritted teeth, "You're not gonna die on me. I'm not gonna let you die."
Vic and Shane haul Vantes' limp form through the ER doors, screaming, "We need a doctor!" Vic spots Corinne in one of the trauma rooms and knocks desperately on the glass. Shane, who put a blanket over Vantes' upper body, shakes his head grimly.
Vic clutches his head and starts babbling: "Lem--In the dream--Did Lem--Your dream was--" Corinne frowns confusedly; she can't hear him. Vic punches a hole in the wall and throws a chair. Corinne leaves the relative safety of the trauma room to deal with her overwrought ex-husband just as Vic turns over a table. A security guard tells him to cut it out. "It's all right, we're cops," says Shane.
Vic heaves around an end table and a few more chairs. Out of furniture to throw, he paces, grunting and panting. Vic turns around. He realizes Kevin, Shane, and Claudette all witnessed his breakdown. Patients stare as Vic leaves. He just gets in his car like nothing happened. End of episode.