Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Wire, "Boys of Summer": Nailed shut

Spoilers for "The Wire" fourth season premiere immediately following this...

That nail gun. That goddamn nail gun.

I'm placed in an unusual situation in doing these recaps, since I've seen the entire season in its entirety. On the one hand, that means I can point out things people may not have realized they should be paying attention to, or help differentiate all the new characters during those first three or four weeks it usually takes to learn everybody's name. But it also means that I have to be very careful to not let my knowledge of what's to come -- for the Major Crimes Unit, for the election, for the middle school kids, Bubbs, Omar, etc. -- turn my analysis into unconscious spoilers. I'm going to try my damndest, but if at any point in this 13-week journey you think I'm talking about things that haven't happened yet, let me know and I'll do what I can to get that under control.

In particular, it's hard for me to delicately convey the horrors that will be perpetrated all because that helpful Hardware Barn employee pointed Snoop towards that nail gun, but I'll try. You already get a sense of it in the scene where Chris and Snoop, with absolute calm and care, kill that guy in the vacants, cover their tracks and board him up in one of Baltimore's hundreds (or is it thousands?) of vacant, condemned row houses. When Bunk, Lester and Norris are wondering why they haven't seen any bodies from Marlo's takeover of the west side, this is why. Chris and Snoop are putting the bodies in places no one would ever think to look, so rotten that the smell of decomposition will mingle in with several dozen other unpleasant odors -- and if, on the offchance, some citizen or junkie is looking for a place to squat, they won't be able to easily get into those particular houses because the boards are nailed tight.

The opening scene of each season has presented that year's key themes. In year two, for instance, we open with McNulty on harbor patrol, eyeing the decayed factories along the harbor (signposts of the death of blue-collar America that we'll see played out with the Sobotkas) before he and his partner have to give a tow to a party boat full of rich assholes (dilettantes turning what was once a thriving site of commerce into yet another place for them to party and enjoy their wealth). By putting that scene on Felicia Pearson, an untrained performer whose speech is hard to understand on a good day, David Simon's taking a chance on his message not getting across. But I've watched that sequence a half-dozen times and thought about it a lot as I watched the other 12 episodes, and I have several theories, any and all of which could be right or wrong:
  • Worlds passing in the night: There are two Baltimores (two Americas, if you want to get really poetic): the one the Hardware Barn salesman lives in, and the one Snoop lives in. Snoop may have been briefly raised in the salesman's world and the salesman may have heard of Snoop's on the news, but they have no common frame of reference beyond that. The salesman looks at the nail gun as a tool for building something; Snoop looks at it as a tool for destroying something (or, at least, covering up evidence of that destruction). A lot of this season's political storylines will deal with Carcetti and Royce and Tony Gray trying to raise up Snoop's Baltimore without ruining the salesman's in the process.
  • Teaching one thing, learning another: Education is the dominant theme this year. Whether it's Prez at the middle school, Cutty at his gym or Marlo on the street, you're going to see a lot of attempts at educating kids, but what they take out of those lessons isn't always what's intended. Again, the salesman is trying to teach Snoop how to use the nail gun for one thing, and she's going to use it for something else entirely. And when she comes out to show her new prize to Chris, she tells him, "I'm in school, dawg" (or, possibly, "I been schooled, dawg" -- like I said, with Felicia Pearson, it's hard to say).
  • The right tool for the job: We all know David Simon's theories about flawed institutions, and how The System is now too large, old and unswerving to fix all the problems it's supposed to. Time after time, we've seen and will continue to see cops and politicans and other well-meaning types try to do good and fail because of a bureaucratic snafu or some other chink in The System. But with our expanded look at Marlo's operation, we're seeing a perfect opposite to The System. Marlo is focused on one thing and one thing only: staying the strongest, baddest slinger on the West side. And he will do whatever it takes to hold onto that, in the most cold-hearted, efficient way possible. In that way, he's even better than Avon and Stringer, because Avon's pride and Stringer's desire for upward mobility created chinks in their armor. Marlo, with the help of Snoop and Chris and that nail gun, doesn't appear to have any weak spots. You're going to see a lot of people get boarded up into vacants for sins a lot smaller than Lex killing Fruit, but in Marlo's eyes, those people are potential problems, and this is the simplest way to be rid of them. No fuss, no agonizing, nothing: just kill 'em and nail 'em up in a place nobody's ever likely to look.
Those are just a few ideas. Now, howzabout the other 55 minutes of the premiere? Obviously, the most important element is the introduction of the four kids who are going to be our new main characters (and it's to Simon and company's credit that they're able to keep almost everyone else in play while shifting the dominant POV so significantly). For the benefit of those having trouble keeping track of who's who at this early stage:

  • Namond: He's the one with the ponytail who works (if you can call it that) for Bodie. His father is someone you'll be familiar with when you meet him. He's all talk and no action; when he picks the fight with Dookie about the pigeons, you can tell he's hoping someone will break it up, and when he spots Michael in trouble with the Terrace kids, he cuts and runs.
  • Randy: He's the kid with the cornrows and the huge smile, and the one who gets tricked into sending Lex to his death. He's the hustler and idea man of the group, as evidenced by his scheme with the urine-filled balloons and the glimpse we get of his candy-selling business. Has the healthiest home life of the four, thanks to a foster mother with a firm but caring hand.
  • Michael: The leader and the muscle; he's the one who baits the Terrace boys and (proudly) takes the biggest beating. He has enough sway over the others that he can shame Namond into buying Dookie an ice cream.
  • Dookie: Real name Duquan, he lives with a family of junkies, which is why he always smells bad and is made fun of by the other kids. Too smart to be stuck in such an awful existence.
At this stage, my favorite was Randy, probably just for that smile of his. Maestro Harrell has been performing professionally since he was six or seven years old (his first credit on IMDb is an episode of "Meego"), but he doesn't have that annoying narcissistic quality that plagues a lot of child actors; he's going to play a lot of happy and a lot of sad scenes over the next dozen weeks, and, as you already saw with him in the water balloon scene (happy) and then the bit where Little Kevin explains Lex's death to him (sad), he shoulders it all brilliantly.

You'll learn a whole lot more about all four of the boys as the weeks go along, a lot of it in their interaction with Prez, whose entrance actually made me yell out, "PREZ!" Now we know why Simon spent so much time late last season on the end of Prez's police career, at a time when it didn't seem to fit with the rest of the stories: he was laying the groundwork for Lester's protege, the code-breaking savant who knows all the words to "Brown Sugar," to move into a new career as one of the key figures of season four. Jim True-Frost is up to the added workload, and he has a really nice scene here in the premiere where the Vice-Principal (love her accent) shows him his classroom. ("So, this is me?" "This is you.") As we're seeing already, in that great cross-cut sequence where both the teachers and the Western cops have to listen to pointless speeches that have no practical application to their work, the two groups have more in common than being underpaid civil servants.

And speaking of the cops, get used to this amount of McNulty per episode, if not less. Dominic West was feeling burnt-out on the role, and even Simon felt the show would get stale if McNulty was the central character every year, so he's only in about half the episodes, usually as briefly as this. But there's a point to this new, well-adjusted Jimmy, and if HBO actually orders the fifth season, it will all pay off nicely next year.

Lester, of course, is up to his old tricks, finally issuing those subpoenas for the Barksdale property, taking advantage of his oblivious new boss to stir up trouble. What interested me more was our glimpse of a Carver who seems to have actually learned a thing or twelve from Bunny Colvin last year. He knows the names, job descriptions and personal foibles of Bodie's entire crew, and he understands that knocking heads isn't always, or even usually, the solution to anything. While characters like Lester and The Bunk and Omar (whom you'll see again in a few weeks) remain gloriously the same, I also appreciate that the show has charted the growth of people like Prez and Carver and even McNulty.

The election storyline is just warming up, but I love the sequence of Carcetti killing time instead of soliciting donations. Hard to have to spend that much time and energy on what obviously looks like a lost cause.

Since a lot of this is setting up things I'm hesitant to discuss yet, let's move on to some other random thoughts:
  • Last year, the popular brand of dope was WMD, which matched the Iraq war parallels of the Avon/Marlo war. This year, Bodie's people are pushing Pandemic. Not sure which name is more accurate in describing the effect dope has on these neighborhoods.
  • Did you catch Herc getting uptight when his new partner suggests a willingness to sleep with a man in order to have sex with the city council president? Methinks someone's still smarting from the Gus Triandos fiasco from last year. (Remember, Carver baited him into picking a man he would sleep with to gain the right to nail the Olsen twins, and he picked ol' Gus.) Chauffering Royce seems about the right level of responsibility for Herc, doesn't it?
  • RIP, Fruit. Since Cutty will be more of a factor this year, I was expecting to see another confrontation between them, what with Fruit having ripped off Cutty and then Cutty sparing Fruit's life. C'est la vie; you don't always get closure on this show.
  • Three of the four season premieres have now closed with discovery of a murder: D'Angelo finding out that Avon had the witness against him killed in season one, Bea Russell finding the Russian girls in the can in season two, and now Randy finding out about Lex.
  • Am I remembering right that the official name for the low-rises where D'Angelo, Bodie, Poot and Wallace slung was the Terrace? If so, that's where the kids who beat up Dookie came from.
  • Nice to see another face from "The Corner" turn up, with Reg E. Cathey joining the cast as Carcetti's #2 aide, Norman, who last voted for a white guy when Bobby Kennedy was alive. Or maybe not -- Cathey was 10 at the time of the RFK assassination, and he doesn't appear to be playing older. Side note: both Cathey and Larry Cedar, who plays Leon on "Deadwood," first came to my attention as castmembers on PBS' "Square One." Is Beverly Leech (aka Kate Monday) going to pop up on "John from Cincinatti" or the final "Sopranos" season or something?
  • This season's version of "Way Down in the Hole" is sung, I believe, by a bunch of Baltimore schoolkids, which fits the education theme. As always, the editing on the main titles is awesome, and I love the kaleidoscope of circular images at the end (the convenience store lazy susan, the spare tire, the kid playing with the tire, etc.).
Lines of the week:
  • School receptionist re: Prez's full name: "You say it, 'cause I ain't even gonna try it."
  • Carver to Bodie: "Where's the love, Bodie? Where is the motherfuckin' love?"
  • The Bunk, re: his true relationship with Lester: "To hell with Norris, Lester. You my real partner. My life partner." & "Look at that bow-legged motherfucker. I made him walk like that."

So, for those of you who made it to the end of this, what did you think? And, to repeat a question from earlier in the week, how many of you watched it for the first time tonight, and how many had already watched it with On Demand? As of now, my plan is to post these reviews on Sunday nights after the HBO premiere, but if I get a sense that the majority of you are seeing the shows earlier -- and if I can swing it -- I might move up the schedule.

46 comments:

Steven Rubio said...

Good work as always, Alan. Just posting to note that I'm one reader who watched last Monday On Demand. And then again on Friday. Only thing that would have kept me waiting until Sunday was if they'd switched to HD for the new season, which apparently they didn't.

Pete said...

I watched it tonight, Alan. Great work by Simon & Co., as usual. And I have no plans whatsoever to spend the money just to watch it a week ahead of time. I'm already paying for HBO, ain't I?

Pete said...

Oh, and one more thing: how cool is it that Marlo appears to be using homing pigeons to send and receive messages? I can't wait to see the look on Lester's face when he finds out why it may be entirely fruitless to wire up Marlo's phones.

RICK said...

Two quick items:

1) I have to say that I love the fact that The Wire isn't in HD (or at least widescreen), there's something incredibly objective about a show that's presented in 4:3.

2) I'm in the middle of reading Simon's "Homicide" because I'm a complete obsessive. Anyway, I just read a section where he talked about how one of the detectives he observed worked previously as a guard for the mayor. According to Simon, the fast track to becoming a detective is working for a couple years in the service of the mayor, then using your position to call in a favor.

I'm curious of Herc is actually trying to become a detective.

rd said...

I think a sort of closure with Cutty and Fruit actually came at the end of last season when Cutty stared him down
when he came to find his young boxing students.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Rick, Homicide the show already used the idea of being a driver as career advancement; Tim Bayliss got a position in the squad after driving the mayor (or was it the commissioner) for a year? Herc will explain his motivations explicitly in the first scene of episode two.

RD, I understand what you're saying, but that look between them felt like it was setting up more, like how Fruit would deal with Cutty distracting some of his guys with the boxing, or whether his pride would allow him to feel like he owes his life to this old man. I'm not saying the show needed to follow up on that, but there was certainly room to do so if Simon had wanted to.

Tina said...

Thanks for all the coverage, Alan. I watched On Demand and then again last night -- which will no doubt be my practice all season.

Jon said...

No doubt about it: "I been schooled, dawg." (Closed captioning is alternately informative and entertaining on this show.)

Lisa said...

Yeah, and there were a few places where the captioning just said "[unintelligible.]" I know at least one was a Baltimore place name.

Don't watch it "on demand" myself. I don't mind you posting reviews earlier as long as they're easy to find a week later. Also, I hope the discussion stays lively after a week but that's up to us now, isn't it?

John J. said...

Alan...Just a note: The staffer who couldn't pronounce Prez's name is Tyreka Freamon, the real baby mama to D'Andre (sp?) from "The Corner". It's cool how he used the real D'andre as Brother Mouzone's side kick for two seasons and now he is using Tyreeka for season four...this is the best television I have ever witnessed (it's to good to say I watch it) and I think Simon and co. should take it as a badge of honor that they don't get Emmy recognition...it shows how scared television is of REAL characters.

BTW - I would have watched it on ON-Demand the first day it was out...but somehow HBO wasn't able to give it to Comcast in Prince George's County, Maryland (how strange...I wonder...nevermind)until this saturday so I watched on Sat. I plan on watching the Monday on-demand, the Sunday telecast, and every re-run in between.

Michael S said...

thanks for the review. i dont watch until sunday, so if you can hold the reviews to monday, that's great. i'm excited for the new season.

Wallwriting said...

Great review as usual. As for the issue of watching on demand, I was actually thinking for a while whether I'd wait a few weeks to watch a bunch of episodes one after the other on a weekend. That's how I saw the first three seasons, and I was afraid that watching one episode per week would detract from the show, which I've always said is ill-suited for the Emmy nomination format because it has very few standout episodes, and rather forms its greatness through the whole of its 13 episodes.

The idea of waiting to watch the episodes lasted until the moment it was available on demand, when I lost all strength and watched it. It's going to be how I watch it all season.

UCF Journalism Student said...

Alan,

Great rundown. I watched it last Wednesday on On Demand and again last night, and I will watch "Soft Eyes" On Demand sometime today.

I know some people at a couple of magazines who have access to the whole season but are resisting the temptation, feeling it better to let the season wash over them and reflect on each episode. I think they're nuts. Settle it for us?

Alan Sepinwall said...

They're nuts. I devoured the entire season over a couple of weeks, and that was only because HBO sent six episodes, then the other seven a while later. I even delayed watching a bunch of network pilots that I needed to see for press tour.

Plus, I've always been a believer that the show plays better in chunks than in the weekly format, especially the early part of each season where you're still learning names and trying to figure out what's going on with everyone.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I think I'm going to have to skip your reviews of The Wire until after I've seen them all. I don't like the "the nailgun will come back later", "you'll find out that these are the kids' living situations", and "these characters will show up in a few episodes". These're very tiny spoilers (which I can guess already), but still enough to keep me away.

It's not your fault. You should keep on writing them the same way. You can't pretend to speculate "I wonder what happens next" like you would normally. But I don't think I'm down with the omniscient commentary.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I just deleted a comment by Mase because he confused events in two different episodes and gave away a small detail from show two.

And anonymous, I'm doing the best I can on this. All the stuff I explain about the home lives is discussed in the premiere, but it goes by so quick and there's so much information to absorb that I wanted to break it down for people. Bodie, for instance, refers to Namond's dad having been in the game, but doesn't mention his name -- nor did I.

rcobeen said...

I have Direct TV, so I don't get HBO on Demand. However, if the spoilers are below the fold, I don't think it matters if you post on Monday or Sunday.

Either way, great work. Thanks

UCF Journalism Student said...

Alan,

After watching "Soft Eyes," I fully support your point about watching the show in chunks. I get my friends' point about wanting to fully digest and analyze the episode, but getting through the expository episodes all at once is much more enjoyable.

As for "Soft Eyes," not to give anything away, I'm not sure Carcetti's "bomb" will have as much sway as Lester and Kima's subpoenas. And I wholeheartedly agree with you about Carver's evolution, it's fun to watch but a little disconcerting. It fully showed in the scene with the stolen car.

God I love this show.

Anon said...

For the record, I watched the episode on demand and then still watched the premiere on Sunday -- I'd prefer you post on Sunday, which gives me an evening to digest before facing the commentary.

Also, I feel your pain about giving things away -- and that's just from watching episode two on demand. I agree about watching the show in chunks -- the forward momentum of the show is really impressive. Just consider how many storylines are seeded in the first episode -- Carcetti's failing campaign (with the great "I don't want to make calls" sequence), Carver's growth as a detective, the parallel scenes with the teachers and the police, Bodie's building frustration, the insights into Royce's operating procedure via the groundbreaking ceremony and Herc's detail, the current status of Major Crimes (including Lester's gambit), Marlo's real-estate oriented kingpin status -- all this plus four new characters. Watching it the second time, I was amazed they got this all into an hour.

And every damn I see Larry Cedar or Reg Cathey in everything, in the back of my mind I hear "Mathman, Mathman, Mathman..." Same thing happened the first time I recognized Cynthia Darlow in an episode of _Law and Order_.

Anon

Dan Jardine said...

Yes, Carver appears to be evolving into good police. Unfortunately, for every step forward there are two backwards. Take Herc. Please. [rimshot]

It's one of the series delicious commentaries of bureaucratic bungling that that numbnut is in line for his Sgt's stripes rather than the much more competent Carver.

Teresa said...

I'm watching via On Demand and would love to see "early" reviews.

Adam said...

Carver already has his stripes. I think Herc passed the seargent's exam, but was held back because of brutality complaints or something along those lines.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Adam's right: Herc finished ahead of Carver on the Sgt.'s exam in season one, but Carver got promoted instead because he was doing some work on the side for Burrell.

John said...

Just finished watching "soft eyes". Fantastic stuff. It's hard not to want to discuss the episode! Is there a way to set up an "on-demand" comment post for those of us who have seen the upcoming episode? I so want to talk about the minor details, there's a little gem of a connection between cutty and prez, and the use of an identical statement between....DAMN! So how about that "on-demand" section?

Dan Jardine said...

Yeah, yer right re: Carver's stripes. I got fixated on Herc's annoying habit last (3rd) season of constantly laying three fingers on his shoulder, pulling rank on Carver.

Herc's still a numbnut.

TuckPendleton said...

Please wait to post until after the regular Sunday showtimes...

Great article. I love this show. And as a born and raised Baltimorean, I love that they haven't watered down the Bawler accent a bit...

dez said...

I loved the premiere and I think Randy's going to break my heart at some point (my heart was breaking for him already when he was told of his role in Lex's death). He seems like a sweet kid.

Was loving all the stuff with Carcetti, Prez, and of course, The Bunk. Too bad Dominic is burned out because I love me some McNulty and I will miss him when he's not in the eps.

Also, no on-demand here, so I vote for the Monday reviews after the Sunday shows. And as little "spoilery" info for upcoming eps as you & the other on-demanders can manage to avoid, please :-)

undercover black man said...

I just posted this on the On Demand discussion board (only fitting that they find out first, right?), but...

HBO has renewed "The Wire" for a fifth season!

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice how when Chris and Snoop (is that their names? the two in Marlo's crew) were boarding up another corpse in an abandoned apartment that spraypainted on the board was the message, "If there's an animal trapped inside please call xxx-xxx-xxxx."

Nice how the city bureaucracy has such concern for the animals, but not as much for the human residents of Baltimore.

nfieldr said...

Alan, Thanks for the great reviews. I've been reading your reviews since the early days of NYPD Blue. You and I seem to have very similar TV tastes and I think that's one reason why I enjoy your writing so much.

As for the question of the day, I'm one of those guys who figures he's paying for HBO, so why pay more to see an episode early. My vote would be to wait until after the Sunday episode to post the reviews. Of course, if you do post them earlier, I could just wait a few days to read them. :-)

Mase said...

My apologies for necessitating you to delete my previous comment due to an inadvertant revealing of one characters father. I do not have HBO-on-Demand, so that particular tidbit must have been revealed in one of the two half-hour specials HBO ran before the new season (believe one of them was entitled, "It's All Connected") and, incorrectly, thought I saw it in the first episode.

Again, my apologies.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Mase, no need for apologies. Between the pre-season specials and the On-Demanding and my own knowledge of all 13 episodes, sometimes I'm amazed that I can keep straight what is and isn't a spoiler.

This is the future, folks; we need to wrap our heads around it somehow.

DES said...

why is this season of the wire now available on bootleg dvd'S,ive seen the whole season im very disappointed with this leak i hope hbo is more careful next season

Anonymous said...

"Nice how the city bureaucracy has such concern for the animals, but not as much for the human residents of Baltimore."

I get what your saying about the bureaucracy and irony of that sign, but I'm from Baltimore and what makes that scene so messed up is what's specifically posted on THAT door is:

"If animal trapped call 410-844-6286"

That's the local phone number for the time, not the police or animal protection. It's a prank.

Anonymous said...

That's the local phone number for the time, not the police or animal protection. It's a prank.

Are you sure it's not just that the show wanted to use what could be a real phone number without Wire fans bothering anyone? If a fan calls that number, it's no big deal, and the show gets to have a number that looks real rather than something like 410-555-DOGS.

Jeff said...

Alan,

Thanks for keeping these posts up. I'm only now watching this series, and I am in agreement that burning thru them in chunks is the way to go.

My Netflix queue is all 5 seasons, and I felt mighty alone during seasons 2-3 when I didn't have you to turn to. :-)

I'd be inclined to watch them all the way thru at once if I had 12-13 hours to put together...

Anyway... since I figure I'm shouting into the wind here... thanks for the recaps.

cazzoduro said...

Was bored last night and re-watched this On-Demand -- such a brilliant episode. The opening scene with Snoop in the Hardware store is both chilling and hilarious at the same time. Her best line is when she hands the clerk $800 and says something like, "you earned it like a motha (bleep)".

Angela said...

Wait! What? Huh! I see a comment dated August 4th 2010. I really hope this isn't a glitch on the blog end, and we can still comment here.

You wouldn't believe how many times I wanted to ask if you could somehow leave "The Wire" portion of your old blog open for comments. In fact I mentioned it in the season 3 finale on Hitflix.

"The Wire" is one of few shows that I crave to dialog with others about what happens in each episode.

And I can't be the only one who finished season 3 with Alan for the first time through, but still have the 4th and 5th season to go.

If there is anyone else out there that wants to voice an opinion about "The Wire" please do.

It won't be the same without Alan on board, but you can be sure I'll be back here every episode to read all comments, old and hopefully new.

Devin Mitchell said...

Chalk me up as someone who is reading Alan's fourth season reviews after watching the first three seasons this summer.

I liked the kids, and I'm interested to see where that goes, but my favorite parts were of Carcetti and his torturing campaign. He plays that money grubbing scene so well.

Sad to see McNulty have a more reduced roll, but they've been building to that ever since the end of season 1.

Look forward to watching rest and reading the reviews.

Anonymous said...

Every time I'm unhappy with something on the show, or don't understand why they did something the way they did, Simon & co explain it later and then it actually makes sense.

I was mad at the end of Season 3 for the way they seemingly wrote Prez off the show. I felt the episode with chinese food was completely unnecessary, and after investing so much time and emotion into this character, he was going to dissapear for now no reason.

How wrong I was, and I couldn't be happier about it! I was SO glad he turned out to be the guy that walked into the school!

I can already feel this season is going to be amazing. Alan, I read all your reviews for seasons 1-3 on the newer site and going to be following here. Thanks for doing this!

Oaktown Girl said...

Yes, readers (if any be out there venturing here still), this really is 2011, not a typo or computer glitch.

Alan, I didn't read your whole post once I saw that it gave indicators for what happens in the season. I think I stopped after reading that McNulty plays a much smaller role this season. I don't mind knowing that, but I don't want any clues about anything else. All I know is that I've read here and elsewhere that Season 4 is believed by many to be the pinnacle of The Wire. So it's interesting that in what is supposed to be the best season, there's so little McNulty. And by "interesting" I don't mean bad or surprising, just simply interesting.

I've been so conditioned from reading your recaps to expect the worst for all the characters we care about. So to find out that McNulty and Beadie are happily playing house together struck me as odd. I'm waiting for the oncoming train which surely must be coming for that relationship.

On the lighter side, I don't mind a McNulty-lite Season 4. He does not look nearly as handsome in a standard cop uniform as he did in his Harbor Cop uniform in Season 2. Now that was delicious.

Oaktown Girl said...

One more thing since I've already started down this road:

Not only do we not have Idris Elba anymore - arguably the best looking bad guy ever put on the screen (large or small!), I see in the opening credits there's no mention of Wood Harris either. Harris was clearly a hunk, even buried under all that thug attire for his entire Wire tenure.

As far as I'm concerned this season, like the Devil, has already starting way down in the hole. Bottom line: Season 4 better really, really live up to the hype or else you can expect a sternly-worded angry email from me, Mr. Sepinwall!

@Riffiej said...

Second time watching the series since Breaking Bad is on hiatus and The Wire is the only show out there ever to beat it. This is the only season I'm sort of dreading being I know it's going to break my heart. AGAIN.
In case you ever see these late late comments Alan, already the season 4 blog seems strange without the Veterans addition. Was the perfect bookend to an epi on repeat watch for us super fans. Found it more interesting to talk about what's happening in the "now" in context with what we know is coming. Would be great if you could add an addendum to these...
On rematch noticed the animal control signs as far back as epi 1, season 1. Nothing just pops up on The Wire.

Anonymous said...

I've been on a re-watch since late 2011. I watched S1 as a chunk around Christmas and then S2+3 together in Feb-Mar. Now back to 4+5 as most shows are in reruns now.

This was a great episode to be first up after my 8 week break. It was so good to catch up with the regulars especially the Carver-Bodie-McNulty scene, Prez at the school, McNulty and Daniels, meeting the kids and McNulty and Bunk which led to my line of the episode when Bunk replied to Jimmy "Dinner?".

Off to episode 2.

Bill Ed said...

Hello...? Is anybody in here?

Well, I have a confession to make anyway. I never had HBO but I always wanted to watch "The Wire". This spring I finally bought and watched all 5 seasons through iTunes, and was almost through my second lap when I found this blog.

My analysis of "The Wire": Greatest TV show EVER made. Period. The experience of viewing every other show has henceforth and forever been ruined. About the middle of season 2 I realized as much would eventually be the case so I really tried to savor it.

I wish someone was still around to discuss it. It's like there is a onld sign on the door, "book club meeting tonight!" but inside there are only dusty remnants of what must have been a wonderful affair. Great commentary and great comments. I'm glad to see that this epic hit the same nerve with so many others as it did me.

Katie said...

Hi BillEd! I'm still around. I've been meaning to watch The Wire for ages, and I just started Season Four tonight (after zooming through the first three seasons in a very short amount of time). Off to a great start, and I'm super happy that Prez is still around. He seems like he would have the potential to be a good teacher.

It's funny, before I watched it I always thought that The Wire would be the show that I would respect and appreciate, but not really love. I thought it would be too disheartening. And it is! It can be ridiculously upsetting sometimes, but for some reason I still really love to watch it.