Monday, February 04, 2008

The Wire week 6 thread for the On Demand'ers

Once more, with feeling: talk about the sixth episode of "The Wire," "The Dickensian Aspect," here. Do not discuss it in the review thread for episode five, and do not discuss anything you might know about future episodes. Any inappropriate spoilers will be deleted.

114 comments:

Tim Masterson said...

Too much to take in as a whole, but the Randy scene was heartbreaking. The smile is gone. Baltimore destroyed another life.

The Markitect said...

Glad to see the show is back to a more carefully drawn pace; things can be put back into perspective. I think the further this serial killer nonsense gets blown out of proportion, the more believable it becomes. The obvious question now is, what (or, more directly, who) will finally break? Will the trail discovered by actual police work lead to McNutty? Or will Bunk just finally have his fill and set the gears in motion himself? We're quickly approaching the final downward slide.

quipu said...

For me, one of the most depressing moments in this whole season was watching McNulty watching his homeless decoy attempting to eat bread. Any word on the actor playing that part? His spasms and rocking back and forth were eerily convincing.

For the first time we see McNulty pausing for thought whilst still in the middle of the act. More of a "What the fuck am I doing?" than a "What the fuck did I do?"

Rottin' in Denmark said...

"I think the further this serial killer nonsense gets blown out of proportion, the more believable it becomes."

Exactly. I think this season has revealed one of the weaknesses of serial television as a medium of storytelling. A week between chapters designed to be immediately sequential leaves too much room for questioning and nitpicking. I wonder how our opinions of this season would have changed if we, like Alan, had seen the first seven episodes back-to-back during one week. I wonder how I'd feel about the Hamsterdam plot of season 3 if I hadn't watched all 12 episodes on a fluey weekend.

This show makes me wish for a model of TV distribution where an entire season was released at once. I think of all my favorite books, and the experience of devouring them in a short amount of time, sprinting the the conclusion. If I had to read them with a week in between chapters, would they have grabbed me as much?

I've been a bit iffy on this season so far, but after the first six installments (more than halfway done already? Argh), it's got a hold on me. Scott has shown a bit more depth by now, Omar is indeed human, McNulty's in way over his head, and the overall arc is really coming together.

Anyway, I'm not complaining, really. It's just a feature of the medium that doing what Simon does leaves him open to a lot of week-by-week criticism that is instantly moot once the next episode airs.

Writing from the thick of it now, though, most of my doubts about this season have disappeared. I'll wait until I can see this season, and this show, as a whole.

Snot Boogie's Dad said...

I just wanna know, why is Nick Sobotka still hanging around the docks? After ratting out the Greeks it doesn't seem smart to even be in Baltimore. Obviously we all know they didn't get caught, but they killed Frank just to avoid him doing exactly what Nick ended up doing. Surely revenge is bad for business, but also surely Nick could still testify in court if something else went on wrong down the road and someone got caught. Just a though anyway. Two more things though: the actor who played the homeless man deserves a sackful of Emmys for that stuff, and the look Slim gives Cheese after Cheese accepts what Slim rejected is truly priceless. Oh, one more thing actually: how can Monk be hanging around Marlo and going about his business when the bank robbery scene from "Heat" just took place in his home, leaving one dead and tons of police in his apartment? One figures he would lay low for a while. I don't mean to be overtly critical of I show I love, but it's sometimes more fun to discuss these things than to simply tell each other how awesome the show is.

Tim Masterson said...

The obvious question now is, what (or, more directly, who) will finally break? Will the trail discovered by actual police work lead to McNutty? Or will Bunk just finally have his fill and set the gears in motion himself?

What about Gus? He's suspicious of Templeton. I think he's the one who figures it out first.

Anonymous said...

was it really monk's apartment? listed to him or anyone else in the organization by name? or was it part of the bait-and-set by the stanfield crew. it's almost irrational for them to lure omar to monk's actual residence so as to ambush and murder him. my guess is they rented a spot, maybe pre-furnished, suitable for an ambush and monk played that he was living there just enough to lure omar in.

Anonymous said...

Some things I liked about this one:

* now that McNulty "controls" the purse strings, he finds Lester as aggravating as every other commander.

* Fat-Face Rick's calm, business-like demeanor in the scene with Omar. Obviously he's been through this many times before. An interesting contrast to Marlo, who would take personal offense to being accosted like that.

* Snoop trying to cheer Chris up.

Kathy said...

McNulty was shown to be a truly evil man in this episode. I would be very happy seeing his ass in jail come the finale, though no one ever gets what they deserve on this show, so I doubt that will happen. And Lester is no better - wise old Lester turns out to be just another McNulty, though he keeps his hands a bit cleaner. It's almost worse with Lester because you know he knows better. A lot better.

I think the straw has finally broken Bunk's back, finding out his case wasn't getting worked on because of the homeless "murders". He's definitely had it but I can't see him going as far as ratting out Jimmy, but I don't see him tolerating this bullshit any longer either.

I've resisted piling on the hate train for the newsroom sub-plot and its cartoonish villians and heroes, but for some reason, it got to me last night. When Gus praised Scott's writing on the story that Scott didn't make up, it was just too much - it's so heavy-handed and predictable and that feels very out of place on this excellent show.

theblankscreen said...

"Anyway, I'm not complaining, really. It's just a feature of the medium that doing what Simon does leaves him open to a lot of week-by-week criticism that is instantly moot once the next episode airs."


Completely agree...you'd think that after 5 years of the show people might actually figure out that David Simon and his writers might actually know what they are doing....hmqea

Donny said...

If this comment shows up twice, please just disregard one. I've been having problems posting comments today.

Does anyone else think that Bunk/Kima may solve the Marlo murders before Jimmy and Lester's plan does? Now that Bunk is on to Michael, Snoop and Chris for the murder of Bug's dad...maybe he'll make some headway into the investigation. And wouldn't it be ironic if it turns out that a "by the book" murder investigation actually accomplishes what a fake serial killer plot can't?

Does anyone know why Omar was using a bottle as a fake gun when he confronted Fat Face Rick? Doesn't Omar have guns anymore? This seemed a bit odd to me.

I can't wait for the next episode. This is my first "live" season and it kills me that I can't just pop back to the main menu and start up the next episode....

Narrim said...

Wow.

Wow.

Is... is that... Did Omar just break his code? He called Marlo a ***** twice. Is that the first time he swore on the show?

I haven't been spoiled for anything down the line, but I'm hoping that the parallel cases of Bunk and McNulty/Lester will lead to Bunk solving the cases against Marlo using good old fashioned, hard knuckle po-lice work and McNulty/Lester's bull being hit back hard.

I also hope Templeton starts being a better reporter like we saw later in this episode or, barring that, gets his comeuppance (which would never happen).

The Randy scene is indeed terribly heartbreaking. Oh man, group home did him in. I wonder how Miss Anna is doing. And it's good seeing Nicky Sobotka again, even if just for a moment.

Good, solid, well-paced episode with the usual Wire quality of subtle foreshadowing.

Anonymous said...

Is that the first time he swore on the show?

Omar said the word "s**t" way back in his very first scene in the first episode he appeared in.

Anonymous said...

donny - my friends and I were making blind predictions on what's gonna end up happening is it won't be omar or mcnutty/lester that take down marlo, it will be bunk doing old fashioned police work. i can't imagine a happy ending for omar in all this (though i could've predicted that before the season - no way does simon let him ride into the sunset untouched right?), 'scott gets away with it' seems obv. i will say i'm surprised how much mcnutty's plan has 'worked' so far, the one thing i still can't figure is how he or lester are planning to 'close' the case, surely they're not going to frame somebody but at the same time 'the killings have stopped. alright, everybody back to normal, nothing to see here, move along move along' doesn't seem a plausible option either.

television inspection club said...

Does anyone know why Omar was using a bottle as a fake gun when he confronted Fat Face Rick? Doesn't Omar have guns anymore? This seemed a bit odd to me.

This confused me a little, too; I think it was meant to illustrate that he left his guns behind and hasn't been well enough to get more. It made me feel sad and sick to see Omar so low. I'm really scared for him. I loved Fat-Faced Rick's calm assessment of the situation, though: "Hey Omar, did you do Joe? Thought not."

I feel like Omar is hitting back hard but he seems kind of desperate. It reminds me a little of when Stringer wanted to put a hit on Clay Davis. I don't like it one bit.

I have a similarly sinking feeling about what McNutty and Freamon are doing. With national coverage of these "murders", what makes McNulty think that shelter worker in Richmond won't see the "kidnapped" guy's picture on the news? And what's to stop her from then immediately remembering the "nice" man who brought him in to the shelter?

I'm pulling for Bunk and Kima to solve the murders. And please, please please let it happen without Michael getting murdered.

Withnail said...

I don't see Bunk or Lester catching Marlo. Not, to say, that they'll ever get him bracelets. The Co-Op will assassinate him long before that happens. Just like Ceasar.

Toby said...

I'm not sure I'd call a hit on Marlo an assassination. It's like Chris Rock said: MLK Jr. was assassinated, JFK was assassinated. Tupac and Biggie got shot.

JP said...

Agreed that the co-op is the bigger threat to Marlo than all other threats. Marlo's the connect to the good dope, but cutting him out and going to a weaker package (they must all have connects of their own somewhere) will put Marlo in a bad spot with the Greeks and could set off a war for territory.

The actor playing the homeless man with the tremors was outstanding. The only time I ever felt sadder for a character was Randy going to the group home in the last epsiode of last season.

Anyone know who the guy Omar shot and bombed was? Was he someone we knew, or was he a new face? For that matter, the young-un was Kenard's size, was that him?

television inspection club said...

I think the little guy was Kenard, JP. And Withnail, I hope you are correct, and the Co-Op takes Marlo down. I'm just a little worried they make take Omar down too.

Mrglass said...

Another great episode in the funniest season of the Wire, but I am starting to worry about the ending. Usually in this show, the main plot of a season is resolved in the next-to-last episode, and the last one shows the aftermath and ties things up.

But there are only 4 episodes left, so that leaves 3 to resolve the fake-serial-killer story, Omar's vendetta and Marlo's fate? I just wish this season had the usual 12 episodes, although with their track record I trust the writers to do "more with less".

vadmspartan said...

I didn't know who Omar was attacking either. It could have been Kenard I suppose, maybe it's someone who we haven't seen as the Stanfield organization has grown since he's gotten the crown. I just liked that Omar took the fight to them. Btw it does seem that Chris has some sort of formal training with guns seeing as how he's usually accurate and by the way he was clearing out that warehouse with a shotgun.

Sucks about Randy though, another one lost in the system. I guess Namond is the only one to truly get out.

It's also bad that McNulty has realized the bad he's done and that it's probably to late to save himself. I can't see him and Lester ending up in a good place.

Geoff said...

There will be enough time. The final episode is supposed to be 93 minutes in length, from what I heard. Hope this doesn't constitute a spoiler...

Mr. Kima said...

"Is... is that... Did Omar just break his code? He called Marlo a ***** twice."

I interpret this as either being the beginning of the end for Omar, or a sign of his realizations that the old rules won't work on an adversary like Marlo.

I also noticed that Omar's emotional approach to his interaction with Rick and his later attack on some of Marlo's boys was a far departure from the calm and collected demeanor he usually shows when he attacks.

Toby said...

Regarding Chris Partlow's formal military training: he had no trouble throwing that knife, point-first, into the floor, when he was venting to Snoop. That is one scary murderer.

Mike said...

So how did Omar survive that fall? He broke his ankle and then hid in the basement of the apartment building?

Did I miss something? That doesn't really make sense.

Bob Reinquist said...

Speaking of, when are we going to get our obligatory check-up on Namond and hence Bunny? I am assuming it will be one of the few uplifting moments from a streets storyline.

Maybe I was not paying enough attention but I did not understand what the deal was with Gus asking Templeton to check up on those rumors about the charity money. Was Gus trying to sniff out a lie or was it referencing something from earlier this season?

And I must say I am having a hard time with this season. I truly wish I had the patience to wait the ten weeks so I could marathon this season in one fell swoop. Though I am looking forward to waiting a few months then starting over from the beginning.

Mrglass said...

"So how did Omar survive that fall? He broke his ankle and then hid in the basement of the apartment building?

Did I miss something? That doesn't really make sense."

The Omar character never really made any sense. Seeing him survive that long is completely "unrealistic" and distracting.

Sorry if I offend the many Omar fan, but just like Bubbles, I feel he has been unnecessary for a while now.

Anonymous said...

Donny -

"Does anyone know why Omar was using a bottle as a fake gun when he confronted Fat Face Rick? Doesn't Omar have guns anymore? This seemed a bit odd to me."

Omar ran out of bullets in the gunfight. He spent a day hiding out in a basement and then had to run. The first thing he needed was a gun, in order to stay alive. If you think about it, there would be very few places he could go with no money and no guns in order to get a gun. Plus, you figure he can't go back to Butchie's friend, because he knows they will be watching anywhere with any known connection to him.

"I just wanna know, why is Nick Sobotka still hanging around the docks? After ratting out the Greeks it doesn't seem smart to even be in Baltimore."

We know, as of the end of season 2, that they left him in Baltimore. I would assume that, like Sergei, the fact that they never tried the Greeks, and that the FBI mole (played by The Mole from Oz) never got their names, The Greeks would have nothing to worry about and wouldn't want to attract attention to themselves by taking him out.

So it goes said...

I hope you are correct, and the Co-Op takes Marlo down. I'm just a little worried they make take Omar down too.

I wouldn't worry about the CO-Op trying to take the Omar down since he poses no threat to them at this point, he is only gunning for Marlo's people. The possibility of losing the connect to the good package is the only thing risked if Marlo goes down. Considering everyone realizes Marlo took out Joe and Hungry man I bet they would happily sling low quality dope if it meant getting rid of Marlow without any effort or risk on their part. As they say the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Anonymous said...

JP -

"Anyone know who the guy Omar shot and bombed was? Was he someone we knew, or was he a new face? For that matter, the young-un was Kenard's size, was that him?"

Based on the fact that that didn't seem to be Michael's corner (which the preview for next week's seems to confirm), I don't think it was Kenard. I thought that, if we've seen the kid before, it was the kid who rides around on the motorized scooter, but, really, I just thought it was some hopper who watches the stash. Same as the little kid in season three ("We do not lose!") or anywhere else.

domino87 said...

Donny said...
Does anyone know why Omar was using a bottle as a fake gun when he confronted Fat Face Rick? Doesn't Omar have guns anymore? This seemed a bit odd to me.


He had a gun too, not just a bottle.

Mrglass said...
The Omar character never really made any sense. Seeing him survive that long is completely "unrealistic" and distracting.

Sorry if I offend the many Omar fan, but just like Bubbles, I feel he has been unnecessary for a while now.


Wow, you may be the only one EVER to be of that opinion. Omar's the only character in the show not at the mercy of an institution. I think he is completely necessary in a show about how the institutions ultimately determine everyone's fate.

A suited McNulty among the plainclothed Lester and Sydnor reminded me of a suited Stringer among Avon and Slim Charles in their plain clothes. Not too mention the actual suit and it's color itself resembled String's suit.

Anonymous said...

This was my favorite episode so far this. It definitely had the most genuine wire feel.

Randy got hard quick. I watched this episode last night right at midnight after my Giants won the big one. Needless to say, I was in a pretty good mood and this scene brought tears to my eyes. I sat up in bed and said, "He is totally right, he should never talk to police again". He was always my favorite character from Season 4 and I thought he had the best chance to make it out of B-More.

I could see an Omar/Co-Op alliance taking out Marlo. Marlo's own stupidity will be his downfall. Clearly, he has never read Machiavelli.

Anonymous said...

"He had a gun too, not just a bottle."

No, he took the gun from Rick. He had the bottle, and Rick said "Take whatever you want" and Omar said "I'll take you [piece?], for one."

Donny said...

Re: Gus making Scott check out leads.

Yes, I think Gus did this to try and "flesh out" Scott's lies - to see what he's been up to. My guess is that the number Gus gave Scott was bogus or the person he was supposed to contact is dead; something that, when Scott makes up the story about contacting them, will confirm to Gus that Scott has been full of shit all along.

And yes, Omar got his gun from Fat Face Rick after using the bottle to scare him.

domino87 said...

Oh my mistake thanks for the correction.

Also I took a screen cap of McNulty and put it next to a pic of String to illustrate my point:

http://tinyurl.com/26hrk3

JP said...

I don't think Omar gets the whole co-op to work with him - he's burned too many of them in the past, and with a huge bounty on his head, all it takes is one guy thinking of a quarter mil to take him out.

I could still see Omar woorking with Slim, or the co-op working together to take out Marlo, but I don't think they'd work together.

I could even see the Greeks taking out Marlo if business dries up.

Anonymous said...

One thing I did notice -- Omar is keeping his promise! He shot the dealer in the leg instead of killing him outright, just like in 'Terminator 2'.

Tim Masterson said...

One thing I did notice -- Omar is keeping his promise! He shot the dealer in the leg instead of killing him outright, just like in 'Terminator 2'.

He also wanted to keep him alive so he could deliver the message to Marlo.

I wouldn't mind if Omar got his emotions in check real quickly. If he wants to get at Marlo, he's going to have to be more careful.

Alan, is the next episode the last you've seen? Will HBO send you advance sceeners for the last three?

childermass said...

As a commenter noted earlier, I see Omar dying this season because he has broken his code, not only the not swearing but his code to Bunk of no more bodies. He not have an institution he's beholden to, but he did follow his own ethos. You could say his loyalty to Butchie supercedes that, and it likely does, but it will also cause his downfall. Additionally, it's not going to be Marlo who takes him out, or Chris or Snoop. It will be someone else that we're not expecting

jaymytro said...

Heartbreaking. That scene in the homeless shelter was just devastating.

Just as heartbreaking is the decline of Omar. I didn't realize it until I finished the episode, but I think that this episode is the first time I heard him swear. The word "Bitch" sounded so unnatural coming from him. It also made me realize that the three shorts that were posted before the season started had more meaning than I think anyone has realized. We see how Bunk and McNulty met and this season we see how their friendship is ending. We see how a young Prop Joe began making propositions, this season we see the last proposition he's ever made. Then we see Omar. We see how he was moral and lived by a code even as a youngster, and this season we see the end of his morality. It's a shame. But it makes for great television.

Anonymous said...

"One thing I did notice -- Omar is keeping his promise! He shot the dealer in the leg instead of killing him outright, just like in 'Terminator 2'."

"He also wanted to keep him alive so he could deliver the message to Marlo."

Well, he also shot up those unseen people in the truck and blew them to smithereens. I think he said something to the effect that you just got buckshot in your leg those dudes wish that was all they got.

I'm a little surprised that everyone else is so surprised at how Omar is behaving. He's almost literally on his last leg. He's got no bank, no support, no weapons, nothing. He's I think for the first time on the show truly and utterly on his own. Cursing, breaking Bunk's code everything makes sense to me. He's acting like he's desperate because he is.

I don't think the others in the co-op would help Omar at all. Although I was wonderin if Ricky wasn't thinking about it for a second. Not because they don't want to but because they don't want to wind up with a bullet in the back of the head from Chris or Snoop. Technically it's not really a co-op anymore anyway. Marlo's more of a Wal-Mart kind of guy. Crush the little guy and control the supply chain. Stringer probably read him but Marlo is one Milton Friedman followin' motherf*cker.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:17, if Stringer -- or you, for that matter -- had actually read Milton Friedman, you would both realize that markets free of coercion don't bear much resemblance to the illegal drug trade.

domino87 said...

"Well, he also shot up those unseen people in the truck and blew them to smithereens. I think he said something to the effect that you just got buckshot in your leg those dudes wish that was all they got."

He did shoot out the back window out of the truck, but the only thing inside of it when he blew it up was the money. What he said was:

"That buckshot in your leg should help you some when you explain yourself to Marlo. As for them other two, they gonna wish I peppered them a bit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:17, if Stringer -- or you, for that matter -- had actually read Milton Friedman, you would both realize that markets free of coercion don't bear much resemblance to the illegal drug trade.

Gee, thanks. If you have ever heard of a joke it might have dawned on you that was what my comment was. I know Friedman was staunchly against the war on drugs and no I haven't read much of his work mostly because I don't have trouble sleeping.

lls said...

-in contrast the anonymous giants fan who posted--- the ineptitude of the patriots offensive line this weekend rivaled only that of the lab tech intern. I felt equally enraged at both.

- I found it hilarious that nancy grace of all people asked scott about "getting in the middle of the story"

-Bunk was always a solid detective, but I bet none of us would have guessed that as the series wrapped he would perhaps rise to greater esteem in our eyes than Lester Freamon. He is based on a real detective, so it's not completely surprising, but nonetheless cool to cheer on a man who once tried to drunkenly burn his philandering clothes.

-I love how one reporter asked if the homeless killings were related to the bodies from the vacants, yet no one in the press corps seems to notice that a year has passed and nothing has been solved, or even run through the crime lab. Those are the pieces of the media storyline that resonate the most with me.

- Today I read my local paper (on its website for free of course) to try to get information about the candidates on the ballot tomorrow (appellate court judges and the like), and of course there was no newspaper coverage on any of them, no archived stories, just links to the newspaper's endorsements. Maybe I'll vote for everyone the Tribune DOESN'T want just to stick it to the media. W.W.D.S.D? (what would david simon do?)

Siddhartha said...

I apologize but I missed a couple of things in this episode...

1) Does Ronnie think that her boss is the leak? Do we as the audience know who the leak is already?

2) I don't get what Gus was trying to get Scott to do either.

3) What was the pile from which Bunk pulled Michael's name? How did that pile of cases connect to his 22 bodies?

It would be a bad ending if Bunk's tying everything to Marlo got impeded/fucked up by McNulty's fake serial killer plot. It would be too on the nose. It's one thing for David Simon to show the inefficacy of an individual butting up against an institution - it's another to show an individual (Bunk) failing against the weight of an institution of purely Simon's own making (the fake serial killer plot).

I do love the fact that Simon/Burns got Nancy Grace to imply herself as a 'real journalist' without her seeing the sarcasm with which I'm sure Simon/Burns wrote that line.

Happy Contrarian said...

Someone asked:

"Is... is that... Did Omar just break his code? He called Marlo a ***** twice. Is that the first time he swore on the show?"

As has been pointed out, he has sworn before. I know he swore in the third season episode that featured the big shoot out outside of the Barkesdale stash-house. Someone (Shamrock, maybe) said "oh shit" when they realized that the old man in the wheelchair was Omar in disguise. Omar grabbed the guy's gun and repeated "oh, shit".

But as has been pointed out, this episode showed Omar as we've never seen him before. I was hoping that after he was ambushed, Omar would take a step back, re-calculate and try to outthink Marlo's crew. Instead, Marlo seems beholden to is own rage. We've never seen him out of control like this.

Anonymous said: "Anon 9:17, if Stringer -- or you, for that matter -- had actually read Milton Friedman, you would both realize that markets free of coercion don't bear much resemblance to the illegal drug trade."

Thank you. I tried to make the same point a few episodes ago when Alan, if memory serves, tried to compared Marlo to pure capitalism.

This episode was great in that we finally got some po-lice work going in the direction of Marlo. Kima, The Bunk, Lester and McNulty are all, in one way or another, on Marlo's trail. On the downside, too much silly serial killer stuff again. Nice to see that six episodes in, it finally dawns on the biggest brains in the Baltimore PD (Lester/McNulty) that perhaps there are holes in their plan.

The genius of The Wire came through in the scene with Bunk and Randy. As viewers, we've been dying to see Marlo put away for the better part of 1.5 seasons. Randy can help put him away. Yet I'd venture to guess that NO ONE wanted Randy to talk to Bunk. Very powerful scene and heartbreaking to see what's become of Randy.

Nice to see Nicky (and the other Stevadore) again. I'd been thinking how neat it was that here we are, back at the port from the second season and then, pow, we see Nicky again.

Hard to believe there are only 4 episodes left. I've got to convince myself to enjoy every minute of it b/c soon, there won't be any more new episodes left. But before I switch into pollyanna mode, a quick rant: The fourth season ended with such great momentum. Marlo was taking over and the cops were focused, hot on his trail. For this final, and shortened season, the writers could have focused on The Street (Marlo, Joe, Omar, Michael, Dookie, etc.), the Investigation (Major Crimes vs. Marlo), the Hall (including Burrell, Daniels, etc.), Cutty, Bubbles, and the other loose ends of the series. That would have been MORE than enough. Introducing the whole serial killer plot (the weakness of this season) led to the introduction of the whole newsroom...really just overkill that has perhaps caused this season too be too unfocused and watered down.

I miss Bodie.

lls said...

happy contrarian:
"Yet I'd venture to guess that NO ONE wanted Randy to talk to Bunk."

Great point.

"Introducing the whole serial killer plot (the weakness of this season) led to the introduction of the whole newsroom...really just overkill that has perhaps caused this season too be too unfocused and watered down."

On the flip side, I would have been very disappointed if they didn't open up a new "world". "All the pieces matter" after all. Further, The Wire will serve as significant (albeit fictional) social commentary for our time, it would feel incomplete without a look at the media.
I will say however that a fair, yet intricate critique on the media today could have been conducted without a stephen glass/scott character. The story of one lying reporter is not as compelling as analyzing the media as flailing, misdirected system (corporation).

Happy Contrarian said...

IIs said: "I will say however that a fair, yet intricate critique on the media today could have been conducted without a stephen glass/scott character. The story of one lying reporter is not as compelling as analyzing the media as flailing, misdirected system (corporation)."

Me: I completely agree. We've seen The Wire cleverly weave the media into storylines before (for example, the first season with the dead witness and the third season with Hampsterdam). Rather than focusing on the Stephen Glass character, I would have thought the writers would have focused on how the media spins the every days decisions of the politics and the PD. For example, the media could have focused on Carcetti's decision to leave the $54MM on the table or on a new Daniels-crime initiative. Perhaps I'm nitpicking...but focusing so much on one crappy reporter isn't all that interesting to me.

sr said...

First - I stand corrected, McNulty appeared to have seen through Templeton. I still can't see how or why, but that's what they wrote, so be it.

Aside from that, I think people are taking Omar's use of language a bit too seriously. He's sending messages to Marlow all over town, despite the enormous bounty on his head. Of course he's going to use demeaning terms designed to provoke Marlow, code or no code.

Fluffy said...

McNulty/Freamon are going to get away with their fake serial killer. Why? Because too much is at stake for it to implode. Now that Carcetti has embraced homelessness as a campaign issue, one more party is on board. (Remember Slim Charles's lecture from the end of season 3: "If it's a lie, we fight on that lie.") It's very easy to see that sooner or later the Hall, the Sun papers, the BPD, the ministers, perhaps even the academics from season 4 will be on the same bandwagon. My guess is McNulty will get away with it, but it will not have any impact on his ability to catch Marlo. We've already seen that ratcheting up the serial killer story has no impact on his bottom line. I have no knowledge of future episodes, just a guess: McNulty's efforts won't achieve anything (nor will they be punished), Bunk/Gregs will accumulate enough evidence to indict Marlo, but the case will be abated by Marlo's death. Nobody wins.

Omar is pursuing a rational strategy. His only option is asymmetric warfare, where he makes incursions into Marlo's territory, causes maximum damage (he even uses improvised explosive devices), then retreats and hides. His goal is to anger and irritate Marlo to the point where Marlo loses his calm and starts to make mistakes. In effect Omar is doing to Marlo what Marlo did to Avon Barksdale in season 3. If Bunk gets enough evidence to arrest Chris, and if Omar takes out Snoop like he almost did, Marlo would suddenly appear much weaker.

cingersoll said...

Amazing watching Omar bootstrap himself back into operation: wrap his broken bones, build a crutch, turn an empty Heineken (nice touch) into a gun, send a message, send a bigger message.

That looked like a 6 story fall when they panned up. I counted five seconds from the window jump to Snoop looking over the railing. They would have scoured every possible close-by hiding place. Had he planned the hideout ahead of time, got a key to the otherwise inaccessible janitor closet?

After this, I don’t see Omar dying – but if he does it will be in some kind of anti-climatic way – a sudden accident, could have happened to anyone, or off-screen like Sobotka.

Baltimore Chick said...

I wouldn't be surprised if Kima is the one to take down Marlo & Co. Her visit to her ex's son (after watching the frustrating process of the only witness to the "home invasion"- the traumatized little boy), yield 0 results was quite telling. Seems like she's trying to find a way to get through to the witness, and as we've come to see in Kima's work-she's quite adept getting results in unconventional ways.

No comments about the "camera" communication????

cingersoll said...

It will be interesting to see what happens with Slim Charles in the coming episodes. Marlo had clearly identified him as key to consolidating power with his calculated shout-out in the early co-op scene. In this co-op scene, he’s sitting at the head of the table, isolated next to the two empty seats of the two missing members. Had he accepted the promotion, his cool head would have provided a smooth transition for Marlo – versus the lack of respect and likely suspicion Cheese garners.

I see Bodie in Slim’s snub of Marlo. He is likewise imminently loyal (the line Fluffy quoted above) and finds himself stuck between a rock (Omar, if he finds himself next to Marlo) and a hard place (Marlo, who doesn’t play by the rules) with no place to land.

I see him making a move shortly (Omar, co-op coup, police), and it will be a smarter play than Bodie’s.

Cheese is Burrell/Rawls, ineptitude backstabbing up through the ranks. Slim is Daniels, great at his job, content to sit back below the helicopter blades. Marlo is Royce, corrupt to the core. And Omar is Carcetti, the idealist who will defeat Marlo enabling the Slim Charles era of peace and prosperity in the co-op and cheap free-flowing heroin for all of Baltimore.

Here’s a possible manifestation – Slim sets up an Omar-Chris meet where Chris gives up Marlo. Chris then becomes the guy with the connect (Vondas: “we only deal with you and your second”), bringing in Slim as his second. Slim takes over when Chris and Snoop get nailed by Bunk. Last scene: Chris and Avon bumping into McNulty and Lester somewhere in the penal system.

cingersoll said...

actually, last scene is McNulty getting visited by his sullen, embarrassed kids ("I hate you dad") while Chris's kids are in the next booth, telling him how much they love and miss him...

quipu said...

I have to disagree with the majority of the comments which are picking apart the newsroom story. Everybody seems to be focusing more on the whole "lying reporter" story, but missing out on the subtle details, mainly things like the way that we have seen numerous "dope on the table" scenes this season, but this time refracted through the newsroom. For instance, Lester and McNulty playing up the serial killer ploy in order to capture Marlo. Ironically, the focus on the fictitious serial killer not only takes Lester's focus away from the Clay Davis case, but it takes the Media and the whole city's focus over what Clay's doing. This allows him to effectively launch a massive charm offensive with Royce.

Ronnie Mo said...

OK here's what I don't understand. Marlo's crew and the Greeks are communicating by sending pictures. But it would seem to me that pictures would be no more difficult to intercept than voice. I mean it's all just data, right? And it appeared to seem that way to Freamon as well, when he said all we need now is PC to intercept pictures and the technology to do it.

My point is, why would the Greeks encourage communication that is only trivially more difficult to tap than normal phone conversations? The Greeks have a guy in the FBI. They know technology, they know the intricacies of wiretapping, they know the legal system. Why would they think using images would offer any protection?

The only thing I can think of is that they are setting up Marlo to get busted. Or maybe not setting up, but indifferent to it. Are they communicating with Marlo using the picture system, or is that strictly internal to Marlo's crew? I wouldn't think they would immediately set-up their new connect to the streets of Baltimore, but I also wouldn't think they would use an easily tappable electronic communication method.

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Everyone keeps saying that the guy at the dock heckling Carcetti was Nick, but that was definitely not Pablo Schrieber, the actor who portrayed Nick. So why does everyone think it;s him?

Ronnie Mo said...

Yeah, it was Pablo. You can see the credit on .

I wonder what ever happened to that girlfriend of his....

Ronnie Mo said...

Hmmm, messed up my HTML there. I was linking to , where you can see the credit for this latest episode.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yeah, it's Pablo Schreiber, who's mentioned in the guest credits at the end of the episode. He's lost some baby fat or something, which is why he doesn't look quite like we remember him from season two, but that was definitely Nick.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, is the next episode the last you've seen? Will HBO send you advance sceeners for the last three?

Yeah, I've seen through episode seven. Rumor is we'll be getting the final three episodes in advance, but I don't know how far in advance. There's a part of me that almost wishes I could be getting these episodes relatively close to airdate so I wouldn't have to keep my trap shut about things. Like, with episode five, I knew as soon as Jimmy reacted to "He made another call?" that Jimmy knew Scott was full of crap while Scott was clueless about Jimmy, but I had to tiptoe around it in my post for that episode because people knew I had seen two more episodes. (And this one makes it clear that Jimmy knows Scott's making stuff up.)

television inspection club said...

Like Cingersoll above, I think the last scene might involve Avon and McNulty running into each other in the penal system. Don't know about Freamon and Chris, but it would be fitting for McNulty and Avon.

Anonymous said...

Alan, if i remember right, you said that you were satisfied by the explanation for Omar's surviving his spiderman episode. Was that just based on this episode or does something else come up in the future? Because I still don't understand how he survives the fall and slips into the janitor's closet in time.

Steve said...

Amazing watching Omar bootstrap himself back into operation: wrap his broken bones, build a crutch, turn an empty Heineken (nice touch) into a gun, send a message, send a bigger message.

This remind anyone else of Chigurgh in "No Country For Old Men," treating his own wounds?

I also saw no one mention Kima having a CI with the Marlo crew. Are we supposed to think this is someone on the streets (like Bubs), or one of the characters we actually know?

Also, my biggest problem with this season to me is that Jimmy and Lester are doing all this illegal stuff to "nail Marlo"- but won't everything they gather be totally inadmissable? How will they use any of the wiretap evidence when the wiretap itself wasn't legal? And if Lester gets caught, won't both the Clay Davis prosecution and anything they do against Marlo fall apart completely?

Anonymous said...

Like the earlier poster, I must have missed this: Exactly how to Omar survive that fall, and then get away so with his broken leg before Chris and Snoop got to the window?

Anonymous said...

"Also, my biggest problem with this season to me is that Jimmy and Lester are doing all this illegal stuff to "nail Marlo"- but won't everything they gather be totally inadmissable? How will they use any of the wiretap evidence when the wiretap itself wasn't legal?"

Their stated plan is that anything which they get over the wiretap they will claim came from a CI. I think part of the point is that it makes sense to them as an abstract but, as the case becomes more complicated, it will make less and less sense.

I thought it's interesting that Pearlman didn't think it was strange that Freamon (claimed that he) had a CI coming, since she knows as well as anybody that Clay Davis is the only case he's supposed to be working on.

Anonymous said...

"And if Lester gets caught, won't both the Clay Davis prosecution and anything they do against Marlo fall apart completely?"

I would guess that Lester doesn't care about the Clay Davis prosecution anymore. He gave the prosecutor the "headshot". If the prosecutor chooses not to use it, that's not Freamon's fault.

Bond (or the Feds) were supposed to take the headshot to Clay Davis and say, "Look, we've got you cold on a thiry year charge. You have to plead guilty to all this other stuff, or you will fall for this." That's how the headshot works.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Co-op will deal with Marlo by bringing in Brother Mouzone. Avon/Slim might still have some ability to talk to him, and a lot of the bodies Marlo put into the vacants were New York dealers.

Harris said...

What's weird to me about the "Super" Omar jump is that it didn't have to be filmed that way. It could have easily been in a first or second story apartment/condo/house. Even Marlo and his crew don't believe that it happend!
The writers had to know that it would get this type of scrutiny, so I wonder why they did it.

Anonymous said...

The writers definately knew it would get exactly this type of scrutiny--I laughed out loud at Marlo's comment: "It's not possible. That's some Spiderman shit"--especially given all the Spiderman/Batman references on boards this week. I think they did it b/c it builds the legend of Omar...on the show the word probably is he jumped and just kept running. I thought the scene with him in the basement was one of the most lonely/desperate in the whole series.

Andrew said...

Maybe it's me, but I don't buy that the Co-Op will bring Marlow down. They are one of the ineffective institutions of Baltimore, and they have no reason to go after Marlow. They have no loyalty for Prop Joe. That's the game. Sure Marlow is raising the price of the package, but they know they rely on that good stuff. If they go to war and find another source, the free market suggests they won't be able to compete.

I'm actually dissapointed that Marlow got rid of the New Day Co-Op. I'd have loved to see Freemon's face when he hears (from Bunk who heard from Omar) that every drug kingpin in the city gathers at a hotel conference room to incriminate themselves.

I think Omar was calling Marlow a bitch because he knew Marlow would have to respond. Just like earlier this season when Marlow called for the hit on the guy that was talking trash about him, Marlow can't let that stuff slide or he risks losing credibility.

Was I the only one who thought McNulty, when he first saw that homeless guy in the street, was thinking about killing him? I kept saying over and over again "Don't do it, McNulty...No..."

As for Gus asking Scott to follow up on the college fund for the dead woman's kids, I have trouble buying that it was some brilliant sting operation disigned to trap Scott. One of the other reporters got a call about it and told Gus, who told Scott because it was Scott's story. I never worked in a newsroom, but that seems pretty straightforward to me.

I think we give Gus too much credit. Sure he spotted the trouble with the EJ/Orioles story, and second guessed the quote on Daniels, but I don't think that he knows Scott is fabricating for sure. When he said he thought the serial killer stuff was BS until McNulty confirmed it, he didn't mean he thought it was all made up. He meant he thought the call to Scott was a prank. He's damn good at his job, but he isn't omniscient.

Mary said...

"Introducing the whole serial killer plot (the weakness of this season) led to the introduction of the whole newsroom...really just overkill that has perhaps caused this season too be too unfocused and watered down."

I completely agree. I'm one of the die-hard fans posting on this board, but "trusting Simon" and his writers isn't enough for me right now to overlook the many problems with this season -- unsubtle jabs at the media (Simon's fault), overly fast-paced episodes because there are only ten of them (HBO's fault), the ridiculous serial killer storyline (go watch Season One and compare McNulty's character with how he is behaving now -- I feel NOTHING for him. Everything he does, his meltdown, his cheating on Beadie -- it's all happening too quickly, it's not believable, and it's boring to watch after a while). In Season One McNulty was an asshole but everything he did was believable; now nothing he does is believable.

The actors in the newsroom are doing what they can with the Jayson Blair reporter-serial killer plot, but every time the managing editor and editor-in-chief appear, I wince -- I know that they will be automatically evil, and that Simon will have written something ridiculous for them to say about covering the "Dickensian" side of the city inside of publishing more intricate articles (something like...The Wire!)

I am so disappointed in this season. Not even Michael K. Williams can save it. I'm happiest whenever he is on the screen -- at least all of the ridiculous unbelievable things happening to him are slightly more acceptable because he's Omar, and accountable to no one. Lester and McNulty behaving the way they currently are -- NOTHING in past seasons suggests they would do this (no matter how many times in previous seasons they've bucked at authority/been punished for going outside command/etc.)

fork said...

yeah, either that or we've set our expectation bars unreasonably high. 1. have some fun with it. don't get all trekkie. 2. as long as we get a relatively good season with a quality series finale that packs a punch, the wire is way ahead of the soprano's and not a lot of television can say that it has all that going for it.

So it goes said...

Maybe it's me, but I don't buy that the Co-Op will bring Marlow down. They are one of the ineffective institutions of Baltimore, and they have no reason to go after Marlow. They have no loyalty for Prop Joe. That's the game. Sure Marlow is raising the price of the package, but they know they rely on that good stuff. If they go to war and find another source, the free market suggests they won't be able to compete.

The Co-op has plenty of reasons to go after Marlow. It has been shown that they rightfully don't trust him. He has no problems going after anyone on the smallest whim, which considering the muscle behind him has to make everyone else more than mildly uncomfortable. Marlo has done nothing but gain more power and right now the rest of the power available for the taking lies in the hands of the former Co-op members. Marlo's actions while taking over and then dissolving the Co-op was explicitly tyrannical, he was even appropriately talking about wearing the crown not to long ago. Tyrants can only stay in power if they can properly keep people under their thumb. I think the only question is whether or not the former Co-op members have the intestinal fortitude to try and take him out.

You also have to remember that Marlo was certainly competing when he didn't have the good quality dope that he has now. I think they would rather sell a lower quality package than deal with Marlow who just raised the price of the Greek dope on top of everything else.

Anonymous said...

"As for Gus asking Scott to follow up on the college fund for the dead woman's kids, I have trouble buying that it was some brilliant sting operation disigned to trap Scott."

Now that you mention it, I don't even think the point was that Scott was lying. The point was, the woman was lying, Scott accurately reported her lies, but is now so busy that he doesn't feel the need to follow-up, he's just going to fake an explanation as to why what he wrote in the first place was okay.

Anonymous said...

No offense meant to long-term fans who are disappointed with the tenor of this season, but...

How else would this show wrap? This is the point; this is the bottom line of Simon's message--the institutions are broken and they chew up the people involved in them. Yes, the show has sacrificed some amount of realism in order to reach this level of absurdity, but this is Simon's show and this is his point. Anything less would be a dilution of his message. How can a show this angry have anything but an apocalyptic ending?
Don't get me wrong--healthy debate on a great show like this is good for everybody involved, but complaints about stretching the show's hyper-realism from here until episode ten are going to be redundant or unnecessary--at this point you're either on board with the wire apocalypse or you're not.
However--I do agree that Simon's anger makes the Sun plot sadly one-dimensional, but its a small price to pay for the rest of this season, which I really love so far. I don't know a show that's ever done the sad and ridiculous side by side like this before.

Anonymous said...

"In Season One McNulty was an asshole but everything he did was believable; now nothing he does is believable."

I would say that, if you can't believe the way he's acting, then you've led a charmed life and never had to deal with people like that.

"but every time the managing editor and editor-in-chief appear, I wince -- I know that they will be automatically evil"

Well, you obviously can't get over it now, but in a few years, you should really go back and watch. I imagine that, removed from your own feelings, you will be incredibly surprised at how not-automatically-evil the characters are. They're both far more rounded than Maury Levy, Clarence Royce, Marquis "Bird" Hilton, Polk & Mahone (at least the one who got hit, if not the drunk too), Namond's mother, Bug's daddy, anybody at the FBI other than Fitzhugh (and maybe Koutris, that's a tough call), The Greek, Carcetti's white advisor, Eunetta Perkins, Andy Krawcyk, or Bruce DiBiago. And, until two episodes ago (forty episodes after first appearing), I would've added Clay Davis to that list.

but, then, some people think Ziggy Sobotka is one-dimensional too. I'm not sure what people want -- surely you recognize that there is a hierarchy of characters, and not every character can be as well defined as Cedric Daniels. Right?

"Lester and McNulty behaving the way they currently are -- NOTHING in past seasons suggests they would do this (no matter how many times in previous seasons they've bucked at authority/been punished for going outside command/etc.)"

I also disagree with this. I think the characterization has been entirely consistent. You just liked McNulty more in the first few seasons, and want to believe that he was a better person then. He's the same person he was, but he's been pushed further.

As for him cheating on Beadie -- yeah, you're not supposed to like that he's doing that. It's *supposed* to be a bad thing. The point is, he did the exact same thing to Elena, but we all chuckled about it and thought it was cute and charming, because we hadn't been made to like Elena (a completely one-dimensional character) the way we like Beadie.

Anon said...

I was hoping someone who watches The Wire very closely could help me find a bit of information (a little off topic, sorry, but this is the best place to find like-minded people who care for the details).

In season 4, when Chris and Snoop were killing the New York dealers, Chris asked a few people about a news morning show, and a few people about Baltimore club music. Does anyone know what song(s) he was referring to (If I remember correctly, it was something like "Yo, who young wig be?" and there was a sentence about "shake it, jiggle it")?

I am about 3000 miles from my season 4 DVDs so I can't check subtitles for another few months.

Appreciate it very much

Kevin said...

It was Young Leek and the song is called "Jiggle It". You can hear the song on his MySpace page:

Link

ComeAtTheKing said...

Some of you people are being too harsh on this season and on the newsroom storyline in particular. They only have 10 episodes to wrap up the story lines of one of the biggest/deepest ensemble cast's in TV history AND introduce a whole
new set of characters and arcs. Give the writers a fucking break already. Yes the writing has been a little faster paced this season, but I'm not complaining, even if the addition of the newsroom turns out to be the weakest addition to a season.

Season 4 was quite easily(IMO) the best season of a TV drama ever, and I really don't see how it can be topped. That obviously plays into our expectations for S5.

David Simon envisioned a 60 hour movie when he signed on for ONE season of "The Wire". Guess what we got? 60 hours of the greatest show EVER. Let's wait until the end to critique this season, please? And until then, be grateful that HBO didn't cancel this show after one season when they easily could have.

Oh yeah, and I'm LMAO at the person who had the balls to call "The Wire" watered down. Watered down? Are you fucking serious? Can you even compare "The Wire" to anything else on TV? Didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

So, Bunk has set his sights on Michael's part in the death of Bug's father? This could be the way out for Michael- give up Marlo for ordering Chris & Snoop to kill the father, get immunity,

he & Bug go into witness protection (I guess the Mom will have to join them, since she's Bug's Mother), and the bad guys go away. Will Michael make the smart move or has being a LT. (and enjoying the good life), clouded his better judgement?

How long till Gus figures out the serial killer is fake? McMulty can't get to "fresh" bodies (first), anymore. I'm scared for Bubbles.

cingersoll said...

As I ponder Super-Tuesday, what about the expression on Carcetti's face as he considers the completely out-of-left field possibilities of "homelessness"? He vaulted to mayor by capitalizing on a witness killing that turned out never really happened. Now, his path to Annapolis (and beyond?) is paved by a series of murders that never really happened.

We see the micro-impact of McNulty's Jamison-fueled-fuck-you-to-the-system in Larry's plight, Carcetti gives us the macro-impact.

Baltimore City Resident said...

Am I correct that this episode was the first time "Mayor Carcetti" mentioned Martin O'Malley when talking about former Baltimore Mayors? Interesting...given that Carcetti is clearly based on O'Malley. He was Baltimore's Mayor (for 4 years), until last year, when he wupped the 2 term Maryland Republican Governor (Erlich). The new Mayor? Sheila Dixon, former city council President, (who like her "Wire" counterpart), is also known for shady deals within the administration. She's currently under investigation (for the second time),for giving city contract$ to companie$ who do her favor$. I love how David Simon is showing the good & bad not only in the obvious criminals, but in the people (police, elected officials, lawyers, etc.),that think their power & connections give them a free pass to break the law. The man must have ba*ls the size of grapefruit!

Anonymous said...

This season presents an important philosophical question: Who is more evil, drug dealers who kill in cold blood, or middle managers of newspapers? Is there an answer? I an anxious to see who Simon tells me I should believe is the more vile.

Andrew said...

Here's why I think that the idea that the two head editors are two-dimensional villains and Gus is an undisputed saint are off base. In this episode, Scott comes up with an idea for a story that Whiting and Klebanow think is a good one. Gus clearly thinks that it's a lousy idea, but Scott actually goes out the homeless hangout and comes up with a good story. In other words, Gus was wrong in this episode, and Scott, Whiting, and Klebanow were right. Doesn't that kind of go against what many have been accusing Simon of?

Logan said...

What Andrew says is 100% right. I think people are relying way too much on two things: 1) Our knowledge that Simon used to work for the Sun, and therefore "has an axe to grind." If he was just the former cop and told the same story of the newspaper, criticism would be much lighter. 2) People are basing their thoughts on the two Sun execs for the past 6 episodes completely on what we learned at the onset. They have been much "less evil" than they were originally portrayed.

dcdame said...

All this harshness I've been reading about The Wire having slipped, being off its game, etc., reminds me of teenagers who are hypercritical and rejecting of their parents the closer they get to having to separate - a classic self-defense move. It hurts less to lose something you love if you convince yourself that it's not so great anymore.

Maybe the criticism is on target, but I suspect there's something more going on in the heart of the critic.

Anonymous said...

The Wire seems to get things so right so often, that i was shocked to see the 1 dimensional homeless fellow appear. They drag him to the office and start spilling their beans in front of him?
And he has an anti-psychotic medication? It was just plain hokum

Anonymous said...

The Wire seems to get things so right so often, that i was shocked to see the 1 dimensional homeless fellow appear. They drag him to the office and start spilling their beans in front of him?
And he has an anti-psychotic medication? It was just plain hokum

fork said...

it didn't occur to you that this was one of the best acting jobs, say EVER, and that it is part of a larger opening into the subject of homelessness from a economic/political/sociological point of view and at the same time this topic helps weave together what up to this point have been three different plot threads? i thought our fan community represented some of the best and most thoughtful that this r0ugh and tumble world had to offer. these hypercritical critiques are availing me of that notion...

television inspection club said...

Getting back to the episode. Is anyone else worried by the fact that the crime lab is testing the "homeless murders" for DNA evidence? The crime lab told Bunk they would get to his 22 vacants once they worked up the DNA from the "homeless murders". Yeah, McNulty wore gloves, but shoot, his DNA is all over the ribbon, and you can't tell me that none of his hair could be found.

I don't know if they will be able to tie that to McNulty, but ....

Anonymous said...

amen, fork. It's really disheartening to see that the best TV show ever--in many of our opinions--has finally gotten some kind of critical recognition (just a little) to the point that its generating some significant amount of online debate and discussion...then to see the subject of much of this discussion is whether a character onscreen for ten minutes is one-dimensional or whether this or that would ever actually be said in a newsroom. Speaking of the 'one-dimensional' homeless guy, you were hoping for what--a homeless stock broker? An enlightened philosopher who chooses to live on the street? If that's what you got, I imagine you would be criticizing the show's realism. You can't have it both ways. Look, great art thrives on healthy debate, and I am by no means suggesting the Wire is perfect--it's often preachy and it takes frequent artistic liberties--but it is a TV DRAMA after all, and the best one I've ever seen. So this is why I get frustrated, and apologies for the hackneyed cliche, but some of you seem to be missing the forest for the fucking trees. I don't mean to be a Wire fanatic blasting all criticism aside, because some of it is very justified. But most of what I read--like the guys over at Slate--is so much smarmy and self-righteous nitpicking. The whole theme of the season, and the culmination of the series was put in our faces from episode one--"the bigger the lie, the more they believe." If you're not on board, "I understand completely" as Freamon would say. But you are missing out on what I think is an amazing season (in terms of where they are taking it and how tightly they have been able to control it) in order to debate the plausibility of two versus three-story falls and the like.

thebigchet said...

Chris is giving up Marlo to Omar. The only question will be if Snoop rats out Chris first.

thebigchet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donny said...

TV inspection club:

McNulty is the homicide detective who is assigned to the "murders" of the homeless men. Of course his DNA will be all over the crime scene. He has to work the "crime." Even if his DNA happens to show up moreso than in other murders...he's investigating a serial killer and therefore must go over each crime scene with precision.

television inspection club said...

Um, duh. Thank you Donny!!

Childermass said...

I'm still guessing that nothing whatsoever happens between Marlo and Omar and that Omar gets killed by someone we don't expect, possibly someone associated with Marlo looking to make a name for himself, like someone on Michael's corner, since those are the only other one's we really know.

Also, Gus missed the connection with Prop Joe, so he's not all knowing either. Although I found that somewhat strange since he knew Fat Face Rick, but hey, Prop Joe did keep himself inconspicuous.

Anonymous said...

"The Wire seems to get things so right so often, that i was shocked to see the 1 dimensional homeless fellow appear."

Any individual homeless person we have seen on the show this season is fairly one-dimensional, but together, they paint a fairly accurate picture of the disparate natures of homelessness.

JM said...

I think the biggest problem in this season of the wire (which was pointed out by the people at the heavenandhere blog) is that the story is just too crowded. None of the characters or plots get enough attention, so everything seems superficial and one-dimensional. Whereas in season 1, there were two main perspectives (Barksdale and police), now there are at least 4 (police, Marlo, politics, and newspaper), and each of those has more going on because the cast of characters within each perspective has grown. Then they add more plot movement than in Season 4, and they have fewer episodes to do it in. To top it all off, they decide to let every important character from past seasons have a final curtain call. There's just not enough room for the show to accomplish that and still present a rich story about each element. This exacerbates the undercurrent of preachiness that the show's always had, because more messages are trying to be fit into less time. The problem with the media story isn't that the bad guys are one-dimensional (though they are); it's that every character is one-dimensional - 2 evil editors 1 saintly editor 2 good cub reporters 1 evil cub reporter 1 good old-timer (fired) 1 curmudgeonly old timer. That's the newsroom. Compare that to the richness of the investigative unit in the first season of the wire (or D'angelo's crew or the Sobotkas or the school kids) and I think it's clear why people are frustrated by this storyline.

Indeed said...

JM, agree with your comment about. The show is spread a bit too thin this season.
I'm definitely not as enamored as usual, but I also blame that on this being the first time I'm watching week to week vs. on DVD. I can say without a doubt that The Wire is much bette when you can OD on it over the course of a week or two.
Now - about Episode 6, which I just watched tonight. I'd say this was my favourite so far this season. I felt like it connected me to some of the things I love most about the show.
How much do I love Bunk's good work? Good po-lice.
I wish Kima had heard the news about Prop Joe. I feel like she could have made something more of that information.
For some reason, today I really missed Bodie. It occurs to me that we'll have to see Poot sometime before the season is out.

Regarding Nicky...I had to rewind that scene three times to see if it was him, and still I wasn't convinced until I saw the end credits. I'm not sure why - but I've always thought he was in some sort of witness protection. Wow, I missed the boat on that. Or did I? Can anyone explain why I might have thought that?
Four more...

johnnever said...

"In this episode, Scott comes up with an idea for a story that Whiting and Klebanow think is a good one. Gus clearly thinks that it's a lousy idea, but Scott actually goes out the homeless hangout and comes up with a good story. In other words, Gus was wrong in this episode, and Scott, Whiting, and Klebanow were right. Doesn't that kind of go against what many have been accusing Simon of?"

And Scott actually does real reporting. The guy is an asshole obviously but not without talent and this episode kind of went to show that. He simply sat there and listened to Terry (?) the Iraq vet and reported on a real homeless guy with a real story. I think one-dimensional as a description for characters this season got tossed around a little too liberally. Some of the comments on the episodes here are a little too close to the kind of pablum the imbeciles at Slate's discussion of the Wire have been writing for this season.The Sun guys are about as one-dimensional as Rawls, Valchek, Foerster, D'Angelo's girl, Dozerman or any host of characters in the show. To be fair Klebanow and Whiting are bosses and bosses are never given the kind of nuance that middle tier and lower tier characters are, that's always been one of the Wire's strengths. It took three seasons for Burrell to get a chance to explain himself or why the pressures that are put on him would affect how and why he does his job? So why would the Sun guys be any different.

paul b. said...

One of the co-op members made the comment on their way to the meeting that whoever has the connect is the same one that did Prop Joe.
So did they not know who would be running the co-op now? They didn't know who had called the meeting, but were about to find out? Or did they already suspect Marlo was responsible?

SJ said...

Btw I should give props to Bill Zorzi for the political aspect of the show. The guy has done a stupendous job of giving a very accurate feel (though I can't really tell) to the inner-workings of Baltimore's government. I thought the political aspect of the show would be boring when I first heard about it but it has been very fascinating for 3 seasons straight.

And it is kinda funny that he is playing himself this season.

mywaydimag said...

I guess my problem is that the serial killer plot is just so far out there that it's hard to believe regular cops would do this. The Wire has always prided itself on realism and this is anything but realistic, and it seems to get more far-fetched with each week's episode.

television inspection club said...

Regarding Nicky... ...I've always thought he was in some sort of witness protection. ... Can anyone explain why I might have thought that?

Indeed, you're not alone, my husband thought the same thing. I'm not sure, but I think Nicky was only allowed to live because Vondas liked him and thought of him as a son. Witness protection has been a need for the BPD, but so far an unrealized need. Of course, the case with the Greeks was FBI level (?), so perhaps there would have been more resources available for protection. I need to re-watch the end of S2.

John O'Marra said...

I don't think the Wire has ever been as realistic as many folks feel. Hamsterdam, Omar's omnipotence, Stringer's eruditeness, and the Co-Op Board are all pretty far from reality.

The show is so engaging, the characters so dynamic, that the show often feels more realistic than it is.

So to me, the serial murder plot is very much in the tradition of the show. I have mixed emotions about whether it works as well as some of the previous season's plots, but I'm on board, and feel better about it each week.

Childermass said...

I don't think Stringer's eruditeness is so foreign, and co-ops are common enough for drug dealers. Maybe not the level that is seen on the wire, but certainly for large connections so that the dealers can be certain of getting a consistent source, that part is completely legit. Maybe they don't meet at hotels?

Anonymous said...

"Regarding Nicky... ...I've always thought he was in some sort of witness protection. ... Can anyone explain why I might have thought that?"

Well, the end of season 2 does show him being give some limited protection... he's been moved to a motel and is being guarded by a few people. But they didn't move him very far, since he was still working at the docks *while* being protected. And the police (or Feds) protecting him apparently took the threat so not-seriously that they let him walk into the union hall alone.

Keep in mind, this is four or five years later, so I really don't think they'd still be protecting somebody who didn't even testify in a case that was never made against somebody who seems to have left the country.

The Greeks also didn't kill Sergei, who actually did give some testimony against them (at least enough to not get the death penalty), I don't see why they'd go after Nick Sobotka now and risk attracting attention to the fact that they're back in business.

I do have to wonder how they get their supply through the port now...

Anonymous said...

By the way, I recently re-watched the ending of season two, and, knowing what winds up happening to Johnny Fifty, there are a few shots in it which are really, really sad.

Patrick said...

"The Sun guys are about as one-dimensional as Rawls, Valchek, Foerster, D'Angelo's girl, Dozerman or any host of characters in the show."

The difference is, D'Angelo's girl isn't the subject of an entire storyline, while these Sun Guys are. I have no problem with the one dimensionality of Rawls because he's a fun character to watch, the Sun characters are generally uninteresting, and that's what makes people critique the flaws more.

It's the same reason that I had no problem with Hamsterdam, but the serial killer thing feels off. Hamsterdam raises a lot of interesting philosophical and political questions, and feels tightly linked the show's themes, so I'll forgive the lack of 'realism.' The serial killer thing is a bit of a one joke story, it's not bad, it just doesn't have the depth, or the entertainment value of Hamsterdam, so it's logical that it'll get knocked around more.

straight outta silver spring said...

^I think the serial killer plot line addresses the issue of why we care about certain murders more than others, and that is a very important issue, IMHO.

trob said...

johnnever said...


And Scott actually does real reporting. The guy is an asshole obviously but not without talent .... He simply sat there and listened to Terry (?) the Iraq vet and reported on a real homeless guy with a real story

You were right when you called Scott an asshole. He's not redeemed by having talent. Indeed, I'm not so sure he does have any. He's lazy and impatient, that's why he has to make stuff up. And I wouldn't be surprised if his one good story ended up being bullshit, too, because his source ending up snowing him and he didn't bother verifying what he'd been told.

Scott has violated the code of journalists as McNulty has violated the code of police as Herc has violated the code of defense counsel (by selling out his client). The show has made much hay of living by a code. In prior seasons, Bunk has discussed it with Omar (his former high-school classmate) and Omar has repeated it back to Bunk. Seems to me they're still living by the code.

The question is, does this series end with the people who stick by their code surviving? That's how a commercial program would end, certainly. But given the hopelessness we've seen before, the people we've seen fall before and Simon's well-documented cynicism, I'm betting not. As Michael K. Williams said on "Fresh Air," "It's Baltimore, baby--everybody dies.

Belle is... said...

"Scott has violated the code of journalists as McNulty has violated the code of police as Herc has violated the code of defense counsel (by selling out his client). The show has made much hay of living by a code. In prior seasons, Bunk has discussed it with Omar (his former high-school classmate) and Omar has repeated it back to Bunk. Seems to me they're still living by the code."

great observation. i don't think codes count for very much in The Wire. The people who have them usually end up thoroughly screwed over. Yhe ones who work the system to their advantage seem to survive. Doing the "right" thing and having a sense of loyalty and honor hasn't gotten anybody very far for very long- d'angelo, bodie, lil kev, randy, lester, the witness from ep. 1. Bro. Muzone might be the only one it's worked out for and even he got shot. Ironically, his life was spared by someone who is also outside an institution. Maybe the message of The Wire realy is Me-Me-Me is all that works.