I've seen no evidence that Vic pays any emotional cost for anything. IMO, he has long since buried his emotions to the point where he's pretty much willing to do anything to accomplish his goals. Did he care about his wife? Sure. But he'll lie to her and cheat on her. Does it hurt him to lose her. Sure, but he'll just fill the void some other way. Or maybe convince her to come back. What won't happen is he won't see the error of his ways and reform. Vic is Vic, for better or worse. I once knew a cop a lot like Vic, and the only thing that changed him was getting old (he no longer had the energy or physicality to do what he previously did, and he eventually was marginalized and "retired" from the force). God knows what Vic would do without his badge.
Great episode but no HD...ugh. Also, did anyone else think the video quality was extra poor? I know 'The Shield' has always gone for that "grainy" look, but this just seemed far below even past seasons. Not sure if it had something to do with being on FXHD, but the broadcast not actually being HD. (I have DirecTV.)
The PQ was definitely down from past seasons, but as I said, it could have to do with the fact that I was watching a non-HD broadcast on FXHD. I'm not sure what you mean about the show being 4:3...the bottom line is it wasn't filmed in HD, so it's not HD (regardless of aspect ratio). Even when they showed that season 1 recap it looked noticeably better than last night's episode.
If it was shot on film, an HD presentation should look better than an SD presentation (although for The Shield, it'll only be slightly better since it's 16mm) but since the show is shot 4x3, I believe you wouldn't get the same resolution as you would from a show that is shot 16x9. That being said, I freely admit that I'm no expert so I could be wrong about the lower resolution of a 4x3 picture.
EDIT: Just out of curiosity, when the Direct TV folks are saying that they didn't show it in HD, did they stretch the frame or show it in 4x3?
HD does not equal "16:9". A picture made up of 1080 or 720 lines from the top of the screen to the bottom is HD whether the aspect ratio is 1.33:1, 1.66:1, 2.35:1 or anything in between. Any series shot, edited and preserved on film can get an HD transfer, just as any theatrical film can get an HD transfer, regardless of apsect ratio.
I thought the opener was great. This season is going to be a wild ride. Didn't notice any difference in the quality of the 16mm photography, but then, in my area Comcast only carries FX on the digital SD tier, which pretty much sucks all the time.