This was one of the single hardest episodes of television to ever sit through. Just one heartbreak after another, especially with the four kids.I was thinking the season was going to end with Michael having to kill Randy and then Bunk/Lester find Randy in a vacant. But the stuff that did happen was so much more open-ended and bleak. It really is awful to watch unfold. Brilliant show, but not for the feint of heart.Dukie seeing his family leave town and his stuff in a trash pile on the street, the same week he finds out his safety zone in middle school w/ Prez has been stripped was awful. Prez coming to terms that there's even more kids like him in the pipeline and he did all he could to help Dukie was also heartbreaking. And that was nothing compared to the final scene with Randy going off on Carver who knows there's nothing he can do except realize that, despite his best intentions, he helped destroy this kid's life.The Michael/Kennard/Namond/Cutty scenes were haunting, also. Namond's hair-cutting reminded me a lot of Carmella's change of physical appearance mirroring her change of relationship with Tony at the end of Season 4. Namond with the ponytail looked like a cocky, entitled prick who got whatever he wanted because of his family name. Namond in the braids looks like a confused, scared kid who realizes that he is completely not prepared for the adult world -- especially the adult world as defined by the streets of West Baltimore. Which is exactly what he is. I hope Bunny ends up adopting him, but that's the easy answer that some John Hughes movie would provide. While Nay was having a nervous breakdown, Michael looked like one of the zombies from earlier in the season. Not cracked out, but complete soulless in his brutality. I'm guessing him offering to stay with Cutty for the ambulance was the last compassionate move of his life.This season has been absolutely marvelous. I think a lot of credit has to go to Jim True-Frost for the wonderful job he's done with the Prez character this year. And all four of the main kids have hit absolute home runs with their roles. It takes a while for me to realize the characters on this show are actors and aren't real life people, since it feels so real.
Watching adults make mistakes and suffer for them is tragic; watching children do the same is unbearable. I knew this was coming when I learned that season four was covering education and, therefore, children, but all four children in this episode are absolutely breaking my heart. What will happen to Randy? It looks like the spectre of a group home may come back to haunt him; with his foster mom, miss Anna, in critical/stable condition with 2nd and third degree burns, she is no condition to take him back. And Duquan is in no way emotionally ready for high school; it doesn't matter how brilliant he is, and he is one smart kid in many many ways. Every time there is some sort of confrontation, Dukie handles his business and does the right thing (running to get Prezbo when Randy and Mike got in that fight; the way he looked at Namond when he came out of his face like an eeejit). But he is in no way ready for a new school environment. And Michael, Michael. I will tell you that I cheered when Bug's dad checked out in such a spectacular way even knowing that he would owe Marlo and Chris basically for the rest of his life. And I will get to Namond in a moment. But.... a lot of people have elected Namond's mom as evil mother of the year status, but there is a reason that Michael and Bug have moved out on their own. Michael's mom gave the welfare (Independence) card to Michael because she knew she did not have control over herself and her desire for drugs. She made a play to get all that back by moving Bug's dad back into the house. She as much as made that clear by telling Michael that he had to hand over the card to Bug's dad now that a "man" was in the house. Michael, having eked out some stability for himself and Bug, lost ground badly in that battle when Bug's father came back around, even though he "won the war" by having him erased. So he cut out everything from under his mother by moving out of the house and depriving her of his and Bug's presence. His uneasy truce with her was totally destroyed from his point of view by her angling to get the welfare card and using Bug's father to do it. At least DeLonda is open and straightforward in how she is ruining Namond's life; DeLonda reminds me of the Klan while Michael's mom is like Reaganomics; the end result is the same but the second method is a little more subtle.Either way, Michael now trusts just about nobody. But character shows through; his offer to stay with Cutty until "the ambo" came and just plain saving Cutty's life shows that he is no Marlo -- yet.... and perhaps never. One can hope.Namond. I have never seen a child that needs the suburbs more than Namond. There are children who are born bright-skinned out of Mandingo-dark parents and vice versa; Namond reminds me of one of these children. He is a throwback for sure, because he has taken nothing gritwise from either Wee-bay or DeLonda. He just has no stomach for any of this mess and I fear for his very life if he continues. Michael has given up on him and Michael, because of his history, takes care of EVERYBODY.Like I said, tragedy abounds for the children. And I cannot even look at Bubs right now. My heart is in pieces for both him and his Sherrod. It's like Sherrod is the precursor for what will end up happening to Namond. This is killing me to watch. And I cannot imagine sorting this all out in one episode. I hope and pray that we will see more of these children in Season Five. They just can't drop them. That would be unforgivable.
Was that ex-MD gov Robert Ehrlich in a cameo role as the security guard who stops Carcetti in Annapolis? I love this show...
The finale is even harder to watch. It won't surprise anon #1, but its bleakness will just suck the life out of you. There are some positive developments, with one of the boys escaping the "life" and an old friend returning, but it's nary enough to leaven the dour mood of the last fifteen minutes.
Here's a question I haven't seen raised: In the character list on HBO's site, it lists the last name of Cheese (Method Man) as Wagstaff. Is he supposed to be related to Randy in some way?
Edward, go read this.
(Hey ucf jounalism student and others -- please keep the finale hints to a minimum. It's The Wire and we know it won't end with flowers and rainbows, but the fewer details the better.)Interesting fakeout in the opening scene with the paint guns. Then of course it's doubly sad as clear evidence of how Michael's "education" continues successfully.In the midst of heartbreak after heartbreak, seeing Bubbles break down over Sherrod's body just undid me.Nice namedrop of Junior Bunk! Any Homicide reference is a welcome one.Daniels: "Lester Freamon is not in the business of selling wolf tickets." No doubt. What will happen to Hauk? And it seems Kima might get pulled back into the game, despite her better judgement. Can't wait for next week.
"You have my back Mr. Carver?" "Do you?"That broke my heart.
Was Lester referring to Daniels selling "wolf tickets" or "wharf tickets?" I assumed the latter, since it takes place in Bawlmer, but I don't know the meaning of either phrase anyway.
Woof tickets here, wolf tickets here.Anon
Michael seems to have a "code".Maybe instead of becoming another Marlo or Partlow he'll be another Omar.all in all, still a pretty crappy life, but a bit more honor.This was the most depressing episode of The Wire ever. It was like Wallace getting killed in season one, but over and over again in the same episode.
PS - my favorite moment of the episode was Prez doing all he could not to laugh at his student's "tickle my nuts" comment.
Tina,I hardly think I gave anything away, what I said was more on the level of Superman being Clark Kent instead of Darth Vader being Luke's father.
Could that be an allusion to Billie Holiday in the title? I'd like to think so.
it's interesting to note that George Pelecano's last two episodes (Middle Ground and That's Got His Own) have either ended or started with two characters chasing another in an old warehouse.
Oh c'mon ucf. You felt the need to say that one boy would "escape the life." That certainly is giving something away, and those who haven't seen it and want to be surprised would rather the discussion be limited to episode 12. Thanks.
Anon 16:Come on, escape the life could mean arrest, execution, adoption, accidental poisoning, or escaping poverty, the streets, the straight-and-narrow path, what have you by any means. I won't say anymore, but my original comment was that anon 1 won't be surprised, by what, I wasn't clear.
UCF,I feel your pain. It is incredibly hard not to talk about once you've seen the whole series and it gets harder every week. I asked Alan back around episode six to create a place for those of us who have seen the whole thing but he felt it would be too tempting for peple to look. Lately I have become obsessed with episode 13, watching it over and over. Oh well, only a few more days.
Oh, it's not that I don't understand. I am amazed at my uncharacteristic self-control, as I've seen the finale listed on, ahem, certain sites that would enable me to get it early, and I've held off.I did rewatch season 2 over the holiday weekend, and in that finale, in the bar scene, is an extra who looks like Omar's boyfriend this year. I haven't gone back to see if it's the same actor or one who looks incredibly like him.Yeah, jd, the first thing I thought of when I heard the title was the Billie Holiday song. Got to be a connection, given the episode, and a nice touch.
Ms. Holliday, of course, is from Bodymore...
None of the kids has a home. Dukie's been evicted, Michael's moved out, Randy's burned out and Namond can't go home because he can't handle his mom.Just like the school budget crisis the accumulation of decisions and paths taken has finally erupted for these characters. Same thing with the bodies. Marlo is going to have more heat from the police with a bunch of bodies being discovered than if Chris and Snoop had disposed of them in the usual way.What we are seeing is that the institutions that barely keep their noses above water when things are going reasonably well get swamped when the eruptions occur.
Interview with David Simon on where The Wire is heading:http://www.slate.com/id/2154694/
i don't have the "on demand" and don't know how to get it, so i never see anything in advance. and most of the discussion about every episode, except for alan's summary, seems to take place here rather than on the regular thread. that said, however, i've never been upset about anyone giving anything away. in fact, i just learned tonight that one of the kids "escapes the life" next week in the finale, and at this point, after watching tonight's penultimate episode, that's better news than money in the mail.
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