Monday, December 04, 2006

Wire week 13 talk for the On Demand'ers

And so we've come to the end of our week-ahead discussions of "The Wire." Comment on the finale here if you have the gift of On Demand (or time travel).

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you ever hear Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart?" Even though it's too obvious a choice, that's the song they should have used at the end.

Nearly everything about this was awful to unfold. Bubbles trying to off himself. The bodies. Bodie with his back against the wall getting offed by a kid he tried to recruit who is now 100% on the darkside. Michael having sex while Dukie has to look after Bug. Dukie getting a gift of Prez, only for Prez to find Dukie selling on a corner. Carcetti angling for Annapolis as opposed to sucking it up for the schools (and posing like he's on a throne at the end.) Randy in a group home having to fight for his life.

Even the final scene is rough. Namond is now on the stoop, doing normal kid things. But there goes Donut, driving by, with the lure of the streets always there.

This was a marvelous episode of television capping off a season in which there have been no peers. There's part of me that wish I never watched it because of how gutwrenching and painful it is.

Tina said...

First of all, thanks, Alan, for this outlet for discussion.

I agree with anon about the painful/wonderful season. As I was watching the finale, I was torn between not wanting it to end and thinking "no more, please no more."

Bubbles again breaks my heart. Nice scene with the detectives realizing there was no way to punish him beyond what he was doing to himself. When we first saw the scene of Kima in the car, I wasn't sure who was with her (quite a beard on Steve Earle). Then when I realized where they were going, I got choked up all over again. As with the end of season one, Bubs is lost and alone, punishing himself with his good intentions.

And speaking of season one, who would know we'd mourn Bodie so much? And that Wee-Bey would be the voice of reason? Bodie, like Omar, realizes that a man must have a code, but someone Omar always survives.

Prez's "I guess I'm still learning" -- yeah, and no more so than in that last shot on the street. So one kid out of four is saved, hard stats to juke.

Does anyone know, where do kids like Randy go when they can't make it in group homes? And we never did get the family connection to Cheese that I was expecting. I was hoping that connection to Prop Joe's crew might pull him out of danger.

Great shot of Landsman and the Board, with paper added on to contain all the new red ink.

More later, I'm sure.

JP said...

Michael didn't shoot Bodie. I think it was Ray-Ray. You have to look close, the face is in a shadow, but it's definitely not Michael.

His first kill was the one just before the music montage.

rick said...

Yeah, I also wasn't so sure it was Michael who killed Bodie. I'll have to go back to the tape...

What's interesting about this show is the only characters who make it out OK are the ones whose lives were directly affected by PEOPLE, not by the THE SYSTEM (i.e. Namond and Colvin).

It kills me that season 5 doesn't start next week.

Anonymous said...

GodDAMN. That last scene with Bubbles ripped my fucking heart out.

FWIW & FYI: The montage song lyrics:

"I Walk on Gilded Splinters" by Paul Weller (formerly of The Jam), from his "Stanley Road" album:

Some people think they're jammy
But I know they must be crazy
Can't see their misfortune
Even if they're lazy
Walk throughout the fire
Drive throughout the smoke
See my enemy at the end of the rope

Walk on piles of needles
See what they can do
Walk on gilded splinters
With the King of the Zulus

Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters
Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters

Here I go, now
Till I murder, till I'm dead

I rode out my coffee
By drinking poison from my chalice
Propped against my faith
I drink oil for my malice

Meet me on your doorstep
Soon we'll be in the gutter
Melt you just like butter
I'll make you stutter

Walk throughout the fire
Drive throughout the smoke
See my enemy at the end of the rope

Walk on piles of needles
See what they can do
Walk on gilded splinters
With the King of the Zulus

Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters
Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters

Till I murder, till I'm dead

Gish said...

Did anyone else notice that for the original core characters of The Wire, there has never been a more upbeat ending for the season? The cops are all gearing up for a new, exciting investigation under a new system that just might let them take it all the way. And yet, this still feels like the most depressing episode because of the sprawl of characters that have been added over the years.

Anonymous said...

Bodie. i boo-hooed. and i am not a crier. i just remember him wanting to be "a smart ass pawn" and getting across the board in Season 1. He played by the rules, did as he was told, always. and it still wasn't enough. snitchers (Randy, D'Angelo), reformers (Stringer, Bunny), and hard workers (Bodie, Cutty) all have the same fate. there is nothing you can do to change the system. the bleakness of it all just kills/killed me. RIP Bodie. I'm glad he was able to see that maybe he was wrong about Wallace (even though he wasn't, really.) but i liked that he had enough humanity to question it.

Randy. God, that last scene with him... he threw the first punch. he didn't just get kicked around again. he's hardened and he needs to be for where he is, but gosh, that pretty smile. it'll never be the same. it'll never hold that hope and naivety and optimism that made it glow. what a hand life dealt him. and carver's break down... it was exactly what i was feeling. there is nothing like the feeling of trying to do right and your efforts go wasted, or worse.

Namond-- he's out, but he's not out. Donout rolled up, showed him what he was missing. then the kid runs the stops and nearly gets hit. i hope namond got that. i hope he remembers what he is built for and what he is not. I wonder though what life will be like for him in his new environment. so much of his identity is built on flash and bark. does he know how to be just the quiet kid in the background? can he learn?

Dukie. It was inevitable that he end up on the corner. Where else could he go really? The look on his face when he went to give Prez the gift and Prez kinda brushed him off a little. Dukie has a blank way of accepting life's tragedies--like he's seen so much that he just goes through the motions of whatever it is with no emotion. Maybe that's why this character seems blank to me. He's pretty emotionless.

Bubbs- wow! i want him to go straight? but what is left in the world for him if he does? so he stops using. sharrod is still dead. and he's wasted 20 years getting high. what's left? really?he might as well die or keep getting high.

this is the best episode of TV i've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Great season. I rank it up there with season 1 (but i guess theyre all part of the big picture).

It seemed like Simon & Co. were trying to say that the only way to really help these kids (i.e. break the cycle of the drug trade) was for individuals to become personally involved almost to the point of adoption (Bunny). Even then, intervention is always successful (Cutty, Carver, Prez). Ms. Donnelly's comments to Prez pretty much summed up the season for me. Even if you care and do what you can for kids, sooner or later they will move on to the next phase of the institution.

It was dissapointing to see Carcetti make his decision regarding the school bailout. I wonder if it just a matter of time before those types of personal, political decisions are more frequent. I'm sure Royce was a young, idealist at some point too.

I'm excited for season 5. All of the pieces are in place for season 5 to roll ahead full steam. One thing I would like to see is Simon & Co. start to show how the crisis in institutions can be remedied (if they can). It's a stretch to expect West Baltimore to live happily ever after, but I think that would take the show somewhere it hasn't been before.

Also -- I loved the Deadwood appearance. Any fans of The Wire should check out Deadwood as well. It addresses on the origins of modern American institutions and community and serves as a great counter-balance to The Wire.

Anonymous said...

...as a crowd gathers 'round an angry young man, face down in the street, with a gun in his hand, in the ghetto...

Anonymous said...

Not sure if that was Michael or not...will have to take another look.
Anyone else see the irony and the look in Prez's eyes when his co-worker explains the test results to him? Sounds no different than the "po-po" "juking the stats" and doing what they need to to paint the picture they want.
They ought to have a 24 hour WIRE channel!!!
Is it time for season 5 yet????

Anonymous said...

michael didn't kill bodie. marlow suggests to chris that michael do it and chris says no, his first shouldn't be somebody he knows (or something like that.)

check bunny's hesitation when he encounters namond sitting on the bench. he goes to embrace him (or teh male equivalent) and then holds back. you can see the weight on him for what he wants to do but knows is a huge undertaking. bless him for standing up to the challenge.

i was so disappointed in Carcetti. i remember the huge sigh of relief i felt earlier in the season when he started to kiss his campaign manager and then backed off-- not b/c he didn't want to but because it was the right thing to do. he had a conscience. he remembered his wife. he had morals. he'd changed from the guy that sexed the woman in the bathroom while looking himself in the mirror. then he went right back to being him. maybe he only turned the chick down to avoid any scandal. what a disappointment. i can't believe he chose personal ambition over the kids. it's not a new day after all. (it hurst so bad to hear so many of the characters--even the smart ones like Lester-- buying into that line.)

loved seeing norman and his royce's chief of staff chopping it up about carcetti. that was a classic politic moment. at the end of the day, the smart workers realize it's just a job and can put the rivalry aside.

SJ said...

What an awesome, brilliant, magnificent finale.

I was disappointed to see Carcetti do that too, but it is politics...lots of people have to suffer one way or the other.

Also, I seriously doubt Namond is going to return to the "life". He has realized it's not for him, though Donut's appearance did show that he'll miss everyone.

I can't even think about Randy...horrifying.

I REALLY hope these kids show up again next season...I think Michael will definitely show up.

Bravo to David Simon and everyone else involved. What a perfect TV show.

Ryan said...

I couldn't tell, what was the verdict on Herc?

Steven said...

So many great comments here ... and let me second the thanks to Alan for providing this discussion area for "On Demanders." Don't mean to bring up trivia, but I have to note that Paul Weller did not write "I Walk on Gilded Splinters." That's a Dr. John song.

Anonymous said...

True dat. But it's Weller's cover on the soundtrack. You're right, though: I should've credited Dr. John as writer/composer.

Anonymous said...

"I couldn't tell, what was the verdict on Herc?"

Could only catch snatches of the verdict over the music, but it sounded like he was getting reamed royally. Doubt he'll get kicked off the force, though: Someone needs to be the resident meathead and blunderfuck on the BPD next season and Herc is just too good at this role for the writers to let him go.

JP said...

I was wondering about Herc as well, it's another cliffhanger for next season for sure. My guess is that the whole purpose of the trial board was to find a way to remove him, satisfying the ministers, and at the same time not angering the rank and file. That was Burrell's purpose in gringing the General Orders binder to Carcetti in his office. My guess is he's done.

Anonymous said...

Marimow was in the background during Herc's scene. He did say he would be there for Herc's execution. Conduct Unbecoming An Officer sounds like a dismissable charge.

Anonymous said...

Herc's T-shirt: "Wisconsin. Smell the dairy air."

Tee hee.

Through the soundtrack I could make out "conduct unbecoming", "intent to deceive", and "in violation of criminal statute". Sounds pretty serious, but whose gonna be the ardent drug-warrior knucklehead in season five if Herc gets kicked off the force?

That "morning in Baltimore" will last about two years, tops, at which time Tommy will run for governor and Royce or somebody like him will become the next mayor, leading to the re-ascendance of Burrell, the marginalization of Daniels, and the familiar old political games messing with Lester's rejuvinated MCU.

Anonymous said...

What a great episode! In the beginning credits we see all those circles (rims, merry-go-round, kid playing with a tire, drugs arranged around the spare tire) you can't help thinking that Avon was replaced by Marlo who will be replaced by Michael...The King is dead. Long live the King

Joel said...

Two years of "morning in Baltimore" would be miraculous, just enough time to compile a case against Marlo and perhaps change the whole culture of stats in the department. Unfortunately, Carcetti's run for governor begins right away, and it means creating the tough-on-crime illusion that will appeal to suburban Republican voters. He's ready to screw over the city in order to appear tougher to the county. What do you all think will be the "media" plot next season, with so many unresolved issues from this season. Something about the bodies in the vacants, which is fairly sesationalistic?

Anonymous said...

I'm so angry about Dukie that I could scream. Donnelly was looking out for him to begin with -- sending him clothes before school started and all that -- would it have been so hard for her to pick up the phone to someone in admin at the high school and ask him/her to look out for the kid? And then to tell Dukie to go to that person for help? It's what any responsible administrator would have done. If the kid knew there was someone close at hand keeping him in mind....

I think Bodie's death is karmic justice. He says he never killed anyone except for a reason, on orders. Well, that's why he was killed himself.

The rest of it--so sad. Our urban institutions are so messed up.

Anonymous said...

Donnelly's a hack, a lazy time-serving ass-covering hack. I hated her from the moment she exploited Randy's fear of losing his foster mom to get him to snitch.

Bodie's death was definitely Instant Karma getting him back for what he did to Wallace. Too bad he didn't have enough vision to see that what happened to him and Lil Kevin was exactly what he and String did to Wallace. At least Poot saw it clearly.

Speaking of clear-eyed Poot, remember when he mocked Herc & Carver for thinking that this young generation of slingers is "a whole new breed"? Along with Slim's comment that "the Game still the same, just got more fierce is all"? Their remarks go against the whole grain of season four and the rise-of-Marlo plotline. What up widdat?

Next season? Sure, all those bodies in the vacants plus a couple of righteous loose cannons like Lester and Jimmy doing what they do best will run smack up against Carcetti's gubernatorial campaign. Expect a very brief morning in Bawlmore.

Everyone's sure that Michael will be the next Marlo, but I wonder if brainy Dukie might not rise to the top, with Michael as his Chris-like enforcer.

Another question for y'all: Will Omar continue his career as invincible mythological hero and dispenser of divine street justice? Was Bunk's memorable rant in season three nothing more than a bit of theatrics with no implications at all?

Anonymous said...

They haven't wanted to let go of Omar because he is such a charismatic character. But I predict that once the end of the show is in sight, he will be dead. Because only a myth can survive the way Omar does.

Anonymous said...

"They haven't wanted to let go of Omar because he is such a charismatic character."

You know, I used to find Omar such a fascinating and compelling character, but toward the end of season three, I began to weary of his invincible, angel-of-justice persona, especially after his Sergio Leone team-up with Brother Mouzone (another unbelievable character). And after Bunk called him on it, I thought the writers were finally going to do something real with Omar. But I guess not. Maybe season five will prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

I was impressed that Michael made it onto the MCU's picture board, even though he is "unknown".

Anonymous said...

"I was impressed that Michael made it onto the MCU's picture board, even though he is 'unknown'."

Was that one of the pics from Herc's unauthorized camera?

What/who else could have taken it?

Anonymous said...

Anyone else find it improbable that Marlow would be able to put a tail on Vondas (Prop Joe's supplier) as easily as he seemed to in the finale? The Greeks operation always seemed highly professional and I would think they would notice someone following them. Especially in the less-than-subtle Escalade that Marlow was sitting in at the end. Thought this was the only blemish in an otherwise fantastic episode.

Alan Sepinwall said...

It did seem sloppy from Vondas, but on the other hand, he may not think highly enough of Marlo or anyone else to worry about being tailed.

And it's not like The Greek's organization was bulletproof the last time. I'm rewatching season two at the moment, and Marlo's people could teach them a thing or twelve about counter-surveillance.

real mv said...

How do we know the Greeks didn't have a tail on the tail?

James said...

It'll be interesting to see how (if at all) Marlo's and The Greeks' organizations play together next season. I didn't take it as some super genius move by Marlo's team, though honestly one sequence in the ending montage isn't enough to go on. It seemed to me keeping an eye on Prop Joe and Vondas meetings wouldn't be too hard. But I imagine they'd catch on pretty quickly if Marlo's people keep following Vondas exclusively.

Anonymous said...

"And after Bunk called him on it, I thought the writers were finally going to do something real with Omar. But I guess not. Maybe season five will prove me wrong."

Hey, Bunk got him to stop dropping bodies-- it's a start. Baby steps.

I actually think Omar's done for in S5. Butchie said it: "This ain't over"-- Marlo's gonna come back hard on him. And what would be the point of a "Marlo tries to get revenge on Omar" storyline if he doesn't succeed? Omar can't kill Marlo bc that would be Stringer redux. Now Omar might not die, but I think it's clear that Marlo will hurt him very badly somehow in S5. Maybe Omar manages to turn his life around somehow and do something good with the money before Marlo takes him out.

I think Prop Joe's a goner, too-- the S4 finale set up his fate just like it did Omar's. Marlo's just getting started.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if David Simon reads these threads to find out what everyone is predicting...and then takes the show in another direction just to confound us all.

He's a devious motherfucker once he gets going.

savethewetlands said...

i haven't seen it yet. as i've said, i come here to prepare myself for how bad it's going to be.

i would like to thank alan for providing this site, not to mention his wonderful analysis of each episode. i'd also like to thank all the great posters who have pointed out so much that i almost surely would have missed. i've never posted about a movie or tv show or anything like this before, but then there was never 'the wire' before.

i don't know as much as most of you about the background of the show, but this seems to me an extreme irony: my understanding is that simon and his partner (i'm sorry, i'm blank) have history, between them, in the public school system, police department, and daily newspaper in baltimore, earlier careers in those fields.

thus 'the wire' is being brought to us by perfect examples of how smart, perceptive, decent, caring, and far-seeing employees of those systems can be, while still being completely unable to make a real difference or turn things around. don't you suppose that simon and his partner were great at being a cop/teacher/newsman? and did they turn it all around? obviously not. how sad is that?

working hard and trying to do the right thing in a institutionalized public job, like prez or lester, will break your heart.

i think there is something wrong with me that i am this obsessed with a television show.

again, thanks to all.

kerlerec said...

Credit where credit is due. "I Walk On Gilded Splinters" is by Mac Rebennack -- Dr. John -- whose original version is vastly superior to Paul Weller's. As is Johnny Jenkins'.

Anonymous said...

"i think there is something wrong with me that i am this obsessed with a television show."

Well, it's more richly detailed and carefully constructed than any other TV series I've seen and stands up to multiple viewings. Contains lotsa food for thought.

But we gotta learn to temper our admiration or Monsieur Simon will accuse us of being "Trekkies" ;)

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't think David would ever object to abject worship of his show. On the other hand, if you want to see him get really mad, read the comments here.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for posting that, Alan. I'd not checked Matt's site in a few days and might otherwise have missed it. Simon's terrible swift sword is an awesome thing to behold.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I saw that. Righteous anger!

I do seem to recall Simon facetiously suggesting (over at Heaven & Here?) that some of his more detail-oriented fans might run the risk of turning into trekkie-style obsessives.

savethewetlands said...

it was i who said that about worrying about myself. lord knows i could never be a trekkie-type, though. i need this board just to keep up with what's going on - since 'the wire' has forty trillion details every week, i'm not likely to grasp even a tiny percentage of them. i'm the one who's forever reading the posts and saying, "um, tell me again, who's ray-ray?"

i was a huge "homicide" fan (and so glad to see clark johnson direct on 'the wire'). i thought it was the best cop show ever and still do. but 'the wire' is not a cop show. i'm not sure what it is. maybe it's just a life show.