Monday, February 18, 2008

The Wire week 8 thread for the On Demand'ers

Talk about "Clarifications," the 8th episode of "The Wire," here. Do not talk about this episode in last night's review thread and do not discuss anything you might know about the season's final two episodes. If you can't play nice -- and feel free to e-mail me at asepinwall(at)starledger.com if you're seeing problems -- I'll turn off comments and you all can wait until Sunday night to discuss the episode with everybody else.

243 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Terrific episode. R.I.P. Omar. As a big Wild Bunch fan, it's intersting to see keep track of all the references to that classic Western.

JP said...

Kenard? That little turd?

Shit.

Anonymous said...

Alan called it in his episode 7 review. But it makes perfect sense. Marlo was unimpressed with the reigning kings of the West Side street, i.e., String and Avon, so he was fearless in his engagement.

Same with Kenardd and Omar. That's how the game goes on, not with a state funeral and designated heirs, but with violent endings and upheaval.

You don't win the game, you just try not to lose more quickly than the either side.

Prez knew that last season.

JZ said...

When he wasn't limping, I thought, "Man, Omar's going to win."

I stared at the TV in shock for the next three scenes.

And how great was Scott as a petulant, pouting reporter going to dad when mom said no?

Easily the best episode of the season.

mywaydimag said...

I had been lukewarm towards pretty much all of this season, but that was the best episode of the season by far and maybe even the best episode the show has ever done.

First of all, obviously,the death of Omar. I love the fact that Simon and Co. had him go out not in a blaze of glory but with a bullet from behind by a scared kid. Even the scene at the end in the morgue where for a split second we were supposed to believe that maybe Omar had somehow survived only to realize it was just a mix-up in body tags. For 5 seasons Omar was seen as almost invincible.....not the case.

But that was only a small part of what made this episode great...all of the McNulty stuff was great. The last scene with him and Beadie was done perfectly. Even with all of the shit McNulty's done I'm still rooting for the two of them. Even the stuff at Quantico, while certainly a little less subtle than we're used to from The Wire, was excellent.

I loved the scene with Barlow and McNulty. While it may be true that institutional politics prevent real police work from getting done, incompetent/corrupt cops like Polk,Mahone, Walker, Barlow are responsible quite a bit of the time as well.

Nice to see Poot. Most of the "soldiers" no longer in the game have either been killed (Stringer, Bodie, Prop Joe, Omar), gone to prison (Avon, Wee-Bey) or had a great come to Jesus moment where they turn their lives around (Bubs, Cutty). Poot was a lot more mundane he "just got tired."

Finally I think the Balt. Sun storyline was the best it's been all year. The stuff with Scott and Gus and the spiked lead was a lot more subtle and mundane this week which I think made it more effective.

Can't wait till next week.

Mr. Chimp said...

With each episode of this season I feel as if I'm witnessing the mother of all wishing well coin funnels in which someone has dropped a fistfull of change. And each coin spiral circulates dangerously close to one another, under conditions where the smallest penny can knock out an Eisenhower dollar. And sometimes does.

And the rotations just keep growing tighter.

Damn.

Omar, without saying.

Freamon's man against the city, unwilling to not take the next step.

Bunk recognizing that despite it all, a fake magic ticket is sometimes still a magic ticket.

Syndor, codebreaker, Kima's hard line.

Templeton's pathological massaging of even a real story, and Gus taking it all in when the vet calls the paper on it. And how Templeton's fabrications can cause heavy damage.

The Carcetti, Davis & Nerese conversation.

And McNulty - from the beginning being reminded of just how good of police he is when in the grill session with the top brass to the Hilton Head arm twist; from the profile (which had me dying, including the giant toolbox of a deputy FBI director) to coming clean to Kima and not making the case, and realizing it.

And then trying to do a better job of it and failing 10 times worse with Beadie.

What an episode.


[FYI: I had to look up the name of the above device, here is a link: http://www.divnick.com/]

Mark said...

We knew all along since last season that Kenard not only had a big mouth, he was willing to put up or shut up. Kids his age are fearless and therefore dangerous, because they are very bad at estimating risks. He can only feel emboldened now (in fact, he must feel pretty much invincible, having taken on a living legend), which could spell a lot of trouble for Michael or Dukie, who've had run-ins with him before.

I loved McNulty's trip to the FBI Academy. I thought this was going to be a complete waste of time. The bits about the Unabomber and the senior FBI guy selling books seemed a little too overt. But in a funny break from reality, McNulty's FBI profile was, ahem, spot on.

Many posters in earlier threads thought Lester was too by-the-book to go along with McNulty's scheme in the first place. It's time to let go of that idea. Lester is McNulty, or perhaps a slightly smarter version of McNulty. I was going to say "more successful version", but then again he was in the pawn shop unit prior to the first season. Like McNulty, Lester has had enough, feels superior (justifiably so), and righteous: the bad guys cannot be allowed to get away with it. He's got the Clay Davis situation completely figured out, and I love seeing the smooth con man out-conned by someone smarter, while at the same time I shudder to think what else Lester is capable of.

Things are not looking good for Marlo. Bunk has a warrant for Chris. Sydnor figured out the clock code, and it seems it's now really just a matter of time before Lester will catch Marlo (i.e. we're back to the state of affairs circa episode 2). I see trouble ahead for Snoop: it's clear she somehow manipulated Marlo into giving the orders on Junebug. At the time she made it sound that Marlo was very concerned with his reputation, and Junebug was killed on a rumor or less. Omar on the other hand repeatedly tried to provoke and insult Marlo, but his taunts were not passed on. (Selectively hyping intelligence, anyone?) Also, the lady does protest too much: Snoop gets defensive (in her own special way) when questioned by Michael about the Junebug killing and the Omar situation. Looks like she's pursuing her own agenda here. We could see a more direct confrontation between her and Michael when his mentor Chris is arrested.

Meanwhile at the Sun, Scott is shown to be petulant and sloppy. I have to go back a few episodes and rewatch his original conversation with Terry. I don't recall whether they talked about a firefight or not, but I do recall the milk vs. coffee issue. So it looks like Scott was very sloppy on the details -- he instinctively knew that there was an interesting story to tell (and he was right), but didn't bother to get his facts straight (the story was just too good). I have to agree with a poster in another thread that this makes Scott a somewhat less interesting character. If we has smart and meticulous, yet entitled, he would be a much better parallel to McNulty and Lester, plus he might find himself in the situation where he figures out McNulty's ruse but can't tell anyone about it because of his own lies.

Instead the parallel in this episode is between McNulty and Gus: both use the new focus on the homeless to divert resources to projects they consider worthwhile. Gus sends Fletcher to spend some time with Bubbles, which hopefully, finally will be a Good Thing for both.

childermass said...

R.I.P. Omar. At the beginning of the season, HBO released 3 prequels, and two of the characters have now been killed, and the third has seen a rift between the two characters. That, combined with Beadie's speech to McNulty last night makes me worried for his future.

I agree that I hope the newspaper story with Bubbles works out well for him as he's been MIA for a little while now.

I wonder what Freamon's ultimate motive with Senator Davis is?

Ron Epstein said...

In one word... Dread.
Thats the feeling I got when I saw Omar hobble by a bunch of kids torturing a cat. Kind of the same feeling I had when I saw Butchie get worked over by Chris and Snoop. Only this time, all the kids scamper away only to leave Kennard methodically pouring an irritant over an alley cat. For the next 5 minutes I knew exactly what was going to happen. Some relief came when he left the Barksdale corner without incident; but once I saw him walk into the corner store, I knew his time was up. How fitting that Kennard is the one who does him in. He's extremely motivated and lacks any kind of remorse. What he grows up into will make Marlo look tame in comparison. And now he's got cred, and supposedly a $200K bounty coming to him for ending the legend of Omar.

Doug S said...

I have rarely been as emotional over a character's death as I was with Omar. I really wanted him to "win," and hate that the kid will not only gain massive street cred for killing him but will never see real justice, being a minor.

I also am riveted by how the writers are unraveling the three stories of McNulty, Davis and Templeton pretty much simultaneously. Will all three suffer a downfall? Will Jimmy be the one redeemed? With this show you just never know.

Did anyone else think Sydnor was going to get shot while he was looking at the map? The framing of that scene, looking from the passenger side with all that empty space to the right of the screen, had me nervous.

Great also to see Amy Ryan again saying the words of Dennis Lehane. Those two make a potent pair.

Mark said...

I wonder what Freamon's ultimate motive with Senator Davis is?

I can only assume it's blackmail. I don't think Freamon will be able to persuade Davis to turn himself in. Freamon has dirt on Davis. He know he cannot use it to get Davis in federal court, but he also knows that Davis doesn't know this. Freamon must figure that as far as Davis knows, he's not off the hook yet. Freamon must also figure that Davis will never turn himself in voluntarily, so Davis must see this as an attempt to extort money, which it probably is.

Anonymous said...

Wow, great episode. It's pretty clear now why HBO only released the first 7 episodes to critics at the beginning of the season. Alan's predicition of Kenard killing Omar was right on. As soon as they showed Kenard sitting and watching Omar (while the other kids were running away from Omar), I knew he was going to take him out. However, it was a surprise that it happened so early in the episode. Alan, do you have access to any of these final three episodes before the general public?
I have no knowledge of future episodes, but the previews make the final 2 episodes look pretty explosive. I still am worried of what Michael's fate may be, now that the Homicide unit has Chris Partlow's DNA evidence from Mike's stepfather's murder. I wonder if Marlo, who famously has people killed to avoid the slightest bit or risk, might order Michael killed to prevent him from giving information to the police about that murder. Speaking of Marlo, he truly is a sniveling coward. Only after Omar has been killed, he comes out of hiding and fires his typical homophobic insults at him. Also, I guarantee that Kenard won't see a dime of Marlo's promised $250,000 bounty. Marlo has no honor whatsoever, but sadly, those are usually the people who come out on top in The Wire (and in real life).

Childermass asked:
"I wonder what Freamon's ultimate motive with Senator Davis is?"

I wonder that too. I think for now, at least, Freamon just enjoys getting the best of Clay Davis in whatever small way he can, since he was denied the chance in the trial as well as before the FBI. One thing is clear, Freamon is arguably the most shrewd character alive on the show (now that Omar has been killed).


I wonder what Freamon's ultimate motive with Senator Davis is?

Anonymous said...

In terms of Freamon's motive, I just assumed he was trying to get Davis convicted of bribery (for this to be true, Lester would have needed to be secretly wired for their conversation). I doubt Freamon is trying to actually make money off of Davis. I bought Freamon going along with Mcnulty's plans, but I'd be disappointed if he became actually corrupt. That wouldn't feel true to the character in my mind.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to list that question again at the end of my post. I'm not sure what happened.

Tina said...

Great last scene with Jimmy and Beadie. And her speech about the non-glory of a wake ties in well with Omar's death by the hands of Kenard.

RIP Omar. As he was standing at the counter I actually thought, well, it will happen sometime like this, and then it did.

The last shot of Omar being zipped up brought to mind the last shot of All That Jazz. And by the way, according to the tag, Omar was born in 1960, which means he was lying on the stand when he said he was "29, thereabouts."

Loved Kima's reaction to the whole plot. And Lester and Clay's conversation in the bar? Blew my mind; I will have to rewatch that one to wrap my mind around it.

Chuckled a bit at Rawls admitting to appreciating kinky stuff.

So next week is the penultimate episode? Uh-oh.

Harris said...

Maybe this was figured out on here, but I finally realized a fw days ago that Kima was the one whom would make it out with her morality and ethics intact. I thought back to when she wouldn't finger Wee-Bey as one of the shooters in her ambush for Bunk. I should have posted last week because I think that this episode made it quite clear:)
Man, it was hard to see Omar fall, but once he came back from PR his ticket was punched.
What is up with Chris? He's acting a little wierd, no? I wonder where thats leeading...

sosad said...

Omar!! It can't be over like this.

Bunk's reaction was great, though. First shock, then

"You were on the hunt again, were ya?"

Great episode.

RIP Omar

dcdame said...

Dread is spot on.

I loved the smile on Dukie's face when he got on with the Arabber and later when he saw Bug in his school uniform -- you could see the wheels turning in Dukie's head thinking that maybe this was a way out of the game, even if it doesn't take advantage of his brain. Just seeing him try so hard to find an escape, it breaks my heart to think that it might not work out for him & I dread the thought that DS won't let him. I realize the odds are slim that two of the four S4 leads will get through, but I can hope (I expect Michael won't, we already know what happened to Randy, & I really hope Namond has taken advantage of the gift of an escape that Bunny has provided).

I was so horrified by the (unshown but inevitable) cat torture & killing -- the message that we were seeing a psychopath in the making was unsubtle and I got the point (& I'm not naive to think it doesn't happen), but I wished Omar had intervened. Simon certainly brought home the point that the torture of helpless creatures evokes compassion, yet we ignore the helpless children trapped in their surroundings (harkening back to the message on the doors of the vacants re: trapped animals). Exhibit A: Kenard and Dukie (please please please let Dukie get free).

Just before I started the ep, I made a mental list of characters not seen yet that I'd like to see at least one more time (Bunny, Namond, Wee-bey, Poot, Prez, Donut, & Shamrock came to mind, but I'm sure there are more if I "think on it" for awhile). So, I was glad to see Poot is out of the game - perhaps the demise of Bodie was the nail in the coffin, so to speak, in Poot's direction. Hope to see more of Slim, too, even though we've had lots of him so far.

I'm worried about what Kima will do now that she's in on the homeless scam (McNulty should have left her out). Great to see Sydnor crack most of the Greeks' code.

Lots of humor in the ep - can't even begin to list, but the guys patrolling in a G35 (or 37) cracked me up (I think that's what it was, or maybe a Lexus coupe?) cracked me up. Oh, & Norman's line about Carcetti having to kiss a lot more than the PG County Exec's ring. Rawl's comment about some kinky shit was good. Great to see the ironic sign in the newsroom near Gus's desk about supporting staff when he was in the midst of tangling with the Managing Editor over Scott's coverage of the vigil.

Loved seeing Freamon put fear into Clay Davis (but if Clay does consult with Billy Murphy, the latter will see right through the bluff). No way is Lester trying to get $$ out of Davis (other than perhaps trying to catch him in a bribe, in which case the headshot is useful). Lester's a true believer that the BPD and the public, not the criminals, get to win.

Ditto the comment about the possibility of Jimmy's demise, given the demise of the show's other rogue. Beadie's speech about funerals followed shortly thereafter by seeing Omar in the morgue - the foreshadowing is obvious, so I'm hoping that it's just more dread for us, not a precursor to McNulty going out.
R.I.P. Omar - at least his name is on the right body bag.

Jammed packed episode -- really incredible, with all the strands coming together, but giving no real hints about how the big stories will end up.

Bodie Broadus said...

Jeez, I saw it last night and woke up with a pit in my stomach still. I've come to accept Omar's death, putting me through all 5 steps of the grieving process. That said, I had one small issue with the way he went out:

Omar had just hit up the corner Kenard was working when he delivered the news about Savino. He was face to face with him while delivering his message to Marlo through Michael. Given how meticulous Omar was in his preparation, I just don't buy him not recognizing Kenard, both when he saw his would be assassin with the cat and later when he walked through the bodega door.

Anyone else feel this way at all? Maybe I'm not as far along in the grieving process as I thought

JP said...

I think Omar recognized Kenard, but he just didn't care. Who knew Kenard would carry a gun around?

straight outta silver spring said...

I'm also trying to figure out what Lester was up to. Could he, in any way, need Clay Davis as an ally if/when the homeless murders case goes to shit? Could this be the help Lester is hoping to get from Davis. I too can't imagine it has anything to do with money.

^Bodie, IMHO, I don't think Omar would have remembered Kenard, and even if he did I don't think he ever would have took him seriously. In the store, while Omar is at the counter, you hear the cowbell signal that someone has walked through the door. Omar immediately takes a look at who the person is coming through, but, in my mind, Omar gets a look and immediately figures there is no threat. This ties in pretty well with Omar syping Michael last season and referring to him as "just a kid".

The FBI serial killer profile was heeeeeelarious.

What is Kima going to do? I know she won't snitch but how will she manage to pretend to work the serial killer while she is, understandably, so pissed at the guys pulling off the ruse?

Great scene with Jimmy and Beadie. Was his addmission to Beadie one small step in the right direction for our anti-hero?

With that being said, Jimmy just seems to be running his mouth way too much.

looking forward to reading all the comments here, as well as Alan's recap next Sunday night.

The Markitect said...

Well, the moment so many of us saw coming, but hoped otherwise, finally came last night. Am I the only one who is somewhat relieved it went down the way it did? I mean, Marlo, Chris or Snoop didn't get him. He went down abruptly, at the hands of a child he probably wouldn't have been able to kill in the first place. And the scene before cemented how far off his reservation truly was; the old Omar most likely would not have ignored some kids about to start a cat on fire (an incident taken from The Corner, for those who haven't read the book). It was a rough scene, but I guess, given Omar's position as of late, it just seemed inevitable. Now there are 2 and a half hours left to tie up the other, more complicated story lines.

Now I think the questions to ponder before the end of the season is what role Kima will play in McNulty's scheme. This is the same person who refused to finger her own shooter, of course she's not going to go along with a lie as big as this.

And of course the big thing is what will happen to Marlo. My fear is that, due to McNulty's nonsense being found out, the troop will get off scott free. I hope, however, that at least Chris is taken down for the murder charge. I just rewatched the episode in which he beat to death Bug's dad, and now the significance of Chris spitting on his body has all the more significance (of course it was probably hair that gave the DNA, but it showed the folly nonetheless).

As for Freamon's motive, I just assume its a last ditch effort to at least show the guy that they got him. Maybe, if he takes this information to his lawyer, he will be told he's SOL. Who knows what that could mean for his allies in city hall. He might not be so back from the dead after all. I do wonder, however, if Freamon passing that information to Davis could implicate him as the leak from city hall. Anyone think thats possible? I'm not really sure of the privacy that information has.

Also, I kind of forgot about Poot; I just sort of assumed he wouldn't be back for his curtain call. I have to admit, that cameo seemed a bit too obvious, or at least too coincidental to go over smoothly. Thats not to say I didn't dig the scene. I'm just hoping the last two people we haven't seen, Prez and Colvin, are given their due.

Anyway, great episode. In true Wire fashion, it seems the penultimate episode will once again be the action climax. Given the focus on the homeless though, will drugs on the table even matter?

David said...

David Simon is doing a good job of giving much loved characters their curtain calls. Nick Sobatka, Avon, Cutty, Randy, and now Poot. I would be surprised if we didn't see Prez, Bunny Colvin, and Namond once more before the season ends.

I am also glad Poot made it out. Every time I see him I just feel sad about the deaths of Wallace, D'Angelo and Bodie.

Anonymous said...

the episode write-ups pretty much guarantee that we see bunny, namond, and prezbo again and we could've assumed as much. they're tying up all the loose ends as we go along, at least giving us enough information where we can make assumptions about their future.

regarding freamon and clay, my first thought was that freamon was looking for leverage in case things do go bad on the illegal wiretap, giving him an escape route. but, some have mentioned that he might be extorting clay. could it be that he's the courthouse leak? some say it doesn't fit his character, but how much do we really know about him? something we all forget is that he parlayed the undercover stripper/witness into being his girlfriend. i don't know, this could go anywhere from here and i wouldn't be surprised.

also, i feel the need to mention the scene with carcetti, clay, and nareese. carcetti reluctantly getting into bed with the corrupt, only to drop a beauty of a line, "it frightens me to think about what you can do with two liquor board seats, clay." clay's face slowly goes from serious into his big grin and cackle. too good.

MyWayDiMag said...

On Omar's age: I'm inclined to believe his "29 there abouts" only because when we see him in that prequel from the early 1980's he definitley is NOT 22 or 23 years old which is where a 1960 b'day would put him.

I too am worried about McNulty....especially considering the fate of both Prop Joe and Omar (the other two with prequels.)

Anonymous said...

When Alma told Gus about Omar's murder in the new room, didn't she refer to him as a 34 year old male? Which would make his "29 there-abouts" in season 2 pretty accurate. Also, interesting to see that the death of the most feared and respected gangster in Baltimore doesn't even get an article in the Baltimore Sun because there wasn't enough room.

dcdame said...

As outlandish and perhaps seemingly out-of-character some scenes have been this season, there's no way in the world I can believe that Lester is blackmailing Clay Davis (in the sense that he's doing anything other than trying to vindicate the public interest). LF is letting CD know that he (LF) has the goods on CD for a future prosecution and is holding them in his back pocket, so either Clay has to go straight, find a way quietly to resign or (more likely to me) he's being set up by LF to think that LF is dirty when actually LF is setting CD up for a sting (because the headshot will stay unprosecuted unless LF can get at least one other good charge on Clay).

As for courthouse leak? No way, as well. LF doesn't work at the court - I can't see him having the grand jury indictments (even if he testified). Maybe Glee Club Burrell . . . nah.

James Cardis said...

Doug S. said...


Did anyone else think Sydnor was going to get shot while he was looking at the map? The framing of that scene, looking from the passenger side with all that empty space to the right of the screen, had me nervous.

I "preview" the episodes so I can warn my girlfriend when there's going to be violence - she's a bit squeamish and the violence in the Wire is too real/creepy for her to handle, which I understand. During that scene, I felt like her, wondering "oh god, what the hell's going to happen." I tend to overlook that sort of framing / style in most episodes (the scenes of Lester alone on surveillance were nowhere near as "dreadful," nor were the shots of Omar + partner (the RL Omar) but for some reason, at that moment, it really got to me. Must be a hangover from Season 1 / Kima's shooting, even though that was so clear in advance.

A friend pointed out the following:
Kenard, phonetically sounds like canard, which is French for duck, but also is an idiom for a false or unreported story. Oh the irony.

Poot used Namond's name, the first time it came up this season; I wonder if he'll be showing up in the next two episodes.

As for what everyone's been saying re: Templeton vs. McNulty, I feel a lot has been overlooked. Templeton has been getting away with his game everywhere he's been (likely even in school), where McNulty has been trained by the police beauracracy. Templeton can't be meticulous, as it's not in his inventory of skills, where McNulty, sloppy as he's been, knows that he must be - at base - meticulous in order for any of this to work, whether it be w/r/t paperwork or maintaining a consistent story.

vadmspartan said...

The emotions I got out of this episode matched something David Simon said in an interview, you either laugh or you cry. Definitely more of the latter than the former but you get the picture.

I'm beginning to think that Lester might be using Clay Davis as leverage as someone mentioned earlier. If the homeless thing goes to shit, which it probably will, he has an inroad on city hall. I'm not sure on how he might actually do it, but Lester could figure something out.

There was just this overwhelming sense of dread this whole episode, things are beginning to fall apart for McNulty's little crusade. I seriously can't see how he's gonna survive this. Too many people know about his deal, and some like Barlow are willing to blackmail him for it. McNulty's done some pretty awful things this episode but seeing him with Beadie you can see that he's breaking down, that his facade has cracked. Speaking of which the FBI scenes cracked me up, especially the too true personality profile.

Of course RIP Omar Little. The powers that be decided that you could only go so far being invincible before reality pulls you back. I knew when he walked into the grocery something was gonna happen, the camera just lingered on him too long. At the end I was still hoping he would get up at the morgue. Goodbye to one of the greatest characters to ever be on television.

P.S. I hope Kenard does something stupid and gets popped for no good reason. It won't happen of course.

lls said...

"P.S. I hope Kenard does something stupid and gets popped for no good reason. It won't happen of course."

seriously? he's a child.
coincidentally, as kenard et. al. were torturing the cat in the alley I was thinking how kenard reminds me of students I've had, (I'm an inner city teacher), flippant, hardened, damaged. Two seconds later, he's a murderer. I would hope that that is what most viewers take away from it. Not "Kenard is an asshole" but, "look at how society creates Kenards.. and more importantly, how do we stop it?"

-I thought the FBI agent pimping his book was overt and annoying, but I couldn't help but to laugh at the FBI profile.

-I don't want Jimmy to fully get away with it, do you? I'm not necessarily rooting for him to go to jail, but he deserves some sort of punishment.

-Lester expressly stated he wasn't using the info for financial blackmail, didn't he?

Mr. C said...

Re: the death of Omar
I'm mildly amused to recall some of the hand-wringing I read from a few fans on various Wire fan sites when Omar jumped from Monk's balcony following the shootout in the condo - generally followed the line of "too fantastic - he's not a superhero - the writers are ruining the gritty realism" At the end, he was shot in the back of the head by an undersized teenager while buying cigarettes in a convenience store - a victim of the life he chose for himself. The last image we have is before the ME zips up the body bag, making it hard to believe our favorite westside freelance gangster is dead, yet easy to understand why it was inevitable.

Mr. C said...

Re: the Baltimore Sun
This episode is where the newspaper storyline gelled for me and became compelling. The one piece of work Templeton did Gus (not to mention the audience) felt was authentic, genuine journalism - the Iraq vet story - turned out to be less than we thought it was. The scenes between the vet, Gus and Templeton were first rate - it is a measure of Gus' journalistic savvy and street sense that the detail of what was drunk with the donuts convinced was what convinced him who was right and who wasn't. I loved the fact that Gus held his ground with Marimow while the newsroom watched - all of them, especially Scott, aware that Gus' changes will stay.
Something tells me that by the end of the final episode, Gus will no longer be an employee of the Baltimore Sun

childermass said...

I'm going to guess that Kenard doesn't live until the end of the season. The same way that Omar killed off everyone before who could link him to the murders, him putting a bounty on Omar's head could implicate him in his death. Not sure who would do it Chris is locked up, but I imagine that with the police coming down on him, any loose thread will be eliminated. I see a very bloody final 2 shows.

re: Lester, as I said earlier, I wonder what his motivation is and the comments here have made me think it could be numerous angles. Obviously, I hope the crooked angle does not happen, but you never know. I wonder if his GF makes a final appearance as well.

Anonymous said...

* Could Lester be the courthouse leak? Could he have been funneling papers to Prop Joe and others to ensure that the MCU kept getting cases?

* Chris didn't seem too happy that Omar had got got---he seemed more afraid of what Marlo would do once Marlo found out Omar had been calling him out. Can Marlo's rep recover from avoiding a confrontation with the man who got taken out by a kid?

* McNulty asking Bunk to wait on serving the warrant makes me very, very nervous...

Anonymous said...

I too am thinking that perhaps Lester is figuring out a way to use Clay Davis to help him get out of the mess he and Jimmy created. All along, he has only been about getting Marlo, so I would have a very hard time thinking it was about blackmail money.
Also, one small note on Omar's passing...I had the same debate with my girlfriend about whether he saw Kennard or not, and I've watched that scene 5 times....there was no "ding a ling" of bells from the door a la the Sopranos ending...it was bottles clanging together probably by the store clerk behind the counter. And Omar does look over before we hear the shot, and he almost makes a small nod...poor guy never even saw it coming.
For you Omar fans...he has a small role in Gone Baby Gone...watched it this weekend, and it is the first time I have ever seen Michael Kenneth Williams not play a bad guy (whether on the Wire, Law & Order, etc.).
Alan, one question...how the hell did you even THINK it would be Kennard, of all people?
Can't wait for the last 2 eps...will they both be ON Demand, even the finale?

The Markitect said...

Just to clarify, I wasn't suggesting Lester was indeed the leak, only that, if Clay were to present this information to the court house and explain his source, it might make some think Lester had done it in the past. Of course Pearlman would know Lester wasn't responsible, but it could add something to his situation with McNulty (that is assuming it goes south).

I know Lester wasn't the leak, nor would he be. At the same time, he doesn't know they're currently looking for one.

Anonymous said...

"For you Omar fans...he has a small role in Gone Baby Gone...watched it this weekend, and it is the first time I have ever seen Michael Kenneth Williams not play a bad guy (whether on the Wire, Law & Order, etc.)."

I know Omar has killed, robbed and done things a typical "bad guy" would do, but I would call Omar more of a "good guy" in terms of his role on The Wire. I haven't met a single fan of the show who didn't root for Omar. In the sense that everyone roots for him and he lived by a moral code (albeit one he broke towards the end), he is a "good guy". Obviously good guys and bad guys are defined differently on The Wire, and that is one of the things that makes it great.

SJ said...

Ah I was hoping it wasn't true that Kenard was the one. Some asshole posted a screenshot of Kenard with the gun online all over some forum a while ago saying that he kills Omar. And when I saw Omar pass Kenard and Omar enter the store I knew it was going to happen....damn it the surprise was gone! That's it...I'm staying away from all discussions.

Anonymous said...

Usually I feel like this is a wonderfully depressing show, but this episode was just depressing. I feel like I need a drink. What an overwhelming sense of dread I have! I am comforted only by knowing that at least one storyline HAS to end hopefully. Right? Right?! Sigh.

Mrglass said...

This may be the most depressing episode of The Wire... and also one of the best.

And no, not because of Omar's death. He had it coming for long enough, and somehow I feel his exit is, partly, DS giving the middle finger to those of the fans idealizing this great character to the level of a super-hero with his "code". He was just a thug, he died like one, and no one will come to his funeral.

The Wire is about institutions, and that is why this episode was so sad. Everything is going to hell, from the City Hall to the police department. Carcetti has no redeeming quality at all anymore, even his wife is disgusted. Everything that could go wrong for McNulty has happened, and it is hard to believe his scheme will last long enough to charge Omar, or the Greek. Senator Davis is off the hook, Lester can just hope to keep him in check for a while.

But even if Davis eventually falls we have seen in this episode 10 more crooked politicians who would rise to fill his shoes, just like in the drug business if Marlo somehow dies. That seems unlikely to me given the last few episodes, but who knows. It wouldn't matter in the end, the Game doesn't change and Baltimore will stay the same when the end credits roll, in two episodes.


To those who didn't like the beginning of the season, have you changed your mind? I liked it from the start, over-the-top, and it will end like I imagined, completely absurd and pessimistic. With a little hope for the individuals, but not the institutions.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, one question...how the hell did you even THINK it would be Kennard, of all people?

Because, as with The Sopranos, nothing on this show is accidental or extraneous. I knew Omar wasn't going to succeed in killing Marlo -- been there, did that with Stringer -- and the entire tone of his return to B'more storyline has been unglamorous and anti-legend. It just seemed apropos -- and very much in the Western movie spirit in which Omar is written (see "The Wild Bunch" or "The Gunfighter") -- that Omar would die at the hands of someone "unworthy" of killing him. And who's lower on the totem pole of the game than Kenard, who utters a line expressing complete disrespect for Omar's legend?

I had not seen this episode at the time I wrote the episode 7 review.

SJ said...

This season has definitely been "farcical". So far I would say it has been the weakest season yet, though obviously it's still outstanding.

Anyone felt a twinge when Gus decides to not include Omar's homicide in the newspaper? The above poster is right...he was just a thug who was going to die and nobody will come to his funeral.

It was definitely a depressing episode but I laughed so hard when the FBI guys profile the guy to be the same as McNulty. The direction of that scene was spot-on too.

I have to say, the political aspect of the show has been one of the best aspects ever since it started. They showed how an idealistic guy who wants to do good is bogged down in playing politics, giving favors to people who don't deserve it, and ultimately he disappoints everybody, including his wife (who is sooo adorable). I honestly thought we would see Carcetti redeem himself somewhat but then again, this is The Wire.

SJ said...

Kenard quotes:

-"Package up my ass gump".
-"They kicked my muthafuckin door in, dat how dey do."
-"Bitch, I can jail."
-"She a muthafuckin dope fiend..."
-"I'm out here gettin shit done, while you up in some house."
-"Oh shit Dukie bout to cry."
-"Dat Omar? Dag...gimpy as a mothafucka."

Mrglass said...

And I watched the episode again (damn, I am going to miss The Wire), there is a bit of hope left in Baltimore: the cat does get away.

Reviewer X said...

If Omar was 29 at the time, then Bunk was what 33-34? I thinks not, I thinks not.

Man these last few episodes with Omar hobbling around, a lone man out on the street remind me of Wild Bill in Deadwood, no longer able to play poker. Both shot dead by some straight up busters.

With all the characters getting curatin calls, I was hoping to see Brother Mouzone (Marlo and his crew killed all those New Yorkers), Kimmy (although she did retire), Brianna, Donette, Bernard (who said he couldn't wait to go to jail), Bird, Bey, and Ziggy. That's along with Namond, Bunny, and Prez. I wouldn't mind seeing Zinobia too.

childermass said...

The one question I have is this: Was Omar affecting his limp? in the store, he's fine, but right before then, he's limping in the street. Was he doing that to seem weaker to draw Marlo out?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Speaking of The Sopranos. Anybody notice the similarities between Omar's death and Tony's death?(Chase pretty much confirmed Tony died with his Gerry Torciano reference to the final scene in an interview he recently did) Im not just talking about the bell ringing but the way a mythic character gets offed by someone seemingly insignificant? The quick bullet to the back of the head. The never see it or hear it coming aspect. The meaningless nature of death for these gangsters. "Man in Members Only Jacket" and Kenard are one in the same. Two figures dismissed by their victims but actually symbolic of the inevitability of sudden death for these people. Most of time they dont go out in a blaze of glory, and Omar and Tony didnt.

Nelson said...

Freamon is not using the "head shot' file to extort money from Clay Davis - he said he doesn't get paid that way and that when he comes back he'd better get answers. Freamon is following the money. He's going to leverage the dirt he has on Clay to expose the financial corruption, the drug money that Clay and his cohorts are laundering. It's the financials that Freamon will use to take down Marlo (similar to how they got Capone for tax evasion.)

Anonymous said...

Omar's murder now confirms Tony Soprano as the luckiest character in TV history (and no, I don't believe TS was killed by the "Members Only" guy, or anyone for that matter...but this is not the forum to beat that dead horse).

Anonymous said...

I can't figure out the scene between Michael, Chris and Snoop. Why are Chris and Snoop so hostile? Just because Michael is questioning Marlo's tactics? Are they disgruntled about having to draw Omar out of hiding? Are they upset because they missed their chance to get Omar? Any good ideas out there?

Nelson said...

Someone asker earlier, "Can Marlo's rep recover from avoiding a confrontation with the man who got taken out by a kid?"

I think there's going to be some kind of blow back from the fact that a kid took out Omar when Marlo appeared to be afraid to "dance". Marlo's going to be deeply embarrassed and, rather than pay off the bounty on Omar, he may just have Kennard greased. This will offend Micheal's sense of justice and it will be Marlo (or Chris or Snoop) that Micheal goes after.

Belle is... said...

Can someone break down for me what excatly is the "head shot" they have on Clay Davis. I know it has to do with a mortage on a house, and Ronnie sums it up in an earlier episode at the same thing any recent college grad does to buy their first house. So if it's the same thing that everyone does, why is a "head shot" for Clay Davis and not for anyone else? Is this kind of like how they get major gangsters/murderous psychopaths on income tax because that's the easiest thing to convict on? And what makes it federal and not state?

Kenard. Wow. I saw the clip weeks ago and hoped to God it was a fake scene or one that landed on the editing room floor. I was looking forward to Marlo -not his muscle--going to the streets, but since it hasn't happened in the 3 seasons he's been on the show, I guess it would be a jump for it to happen now. RIP Omar aka one of the greatest character's TV's ever seen.

Lester. I get the feeling he's setting up his cards to use Clay to help get McNulty-- and himself-- out of the mess they've created. I felt sorry for McNulty last night. There was a point where he really did think he was doing the right thing-- even though he was driven by a need to be superior. The whole lie has gone way bigger than he ever thought. He has to pay for it-- but I hope he can get out of it alive and out of jail. Last week, I hated him (leaving the man who couldn't even eat a sandwich was just wrong.) This week, I just want someone to save him from himself.

Kenard. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I hate that kid. I wonder what his story is for him to end up like that at what... 10? 11? If you've ever seen City of God, he's pretty much Lil' Ze. Go watch the movie and see how Kenard ends. He's just tragedies waiting to happpen.

God. I'm going to be thinking about this show all night.

Robert Ullman said...

This final season of THE WIRE has delivered everything THE SOPRANOS lacked the stones to. It's a well-tread and tired observation, but that David Chase and co. get all the attention, awards and accolades while the Baltimore crew continues to languish in comparative obscurity really burns me up. Everybody should be talking about this, if only cause there's something to talked about! Instead, we explicate a gutless, final scene cop-out. Grumble, gripe...

Not much more to add, 'cept, of course, RIP Omar. I suppose it had to happen, but I was rooting for it not to. And Kenard, that little turd, to think I actually felt sorry for him when Michael beat his balls off in S4.

And I was so nervous and anxious when Syndnor was looking at that map in the car that I had to get off the couch and walk around the room.

Algernon said...

I've got to say, I've been loving this season so far with very few complaints but several scenes in this episode just grated. The FBI guy's speech about his book and TV work, the scene with the homeless vet, Beadie's speech to McNulty... none of these worked for me. I did really like seeing Poot though.

Nelson said...

The 'head shot' is when you get money from a friend or family for a down payment on a mortgage - money which you declare to be a gift but later turns out to be a loan when you pay the money back. Apparently, it's a federal law that you can't use borrowed money for a mortgage down payment. "Everyone" doesn't do it - many do, but mostly it's just ignored. The Feds can choose to use it to prosecute ne'er-do-wells they can't otherwise nail.

byron said...
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Childermass said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Childermass said...

also, since the head shot was brought back up, that's the most unbelievable thing about this season: how quickly they tried Senator Davis. From when Bond decided to do it and the resolution was like 2 weeks, it would be months, if not longer in real life for that scenario to play out. I think Simon et al should have started that sooner on, maybe last season even.

dcdame said...

I posted the comment below a few weeks ago, but since the "head shot" has resurfaced & the points haven't been digested by all, I'll repost some of it: , especially in light of the "ne-er-do-wells" comment:

Ed Norris, former Maryland State and Baltimore City Police Chief (and “Detective Ed Norris” on The Wire)found out the hard way. If the only charges against him had been the two counts for misusing a slush fund that had been in existence long before he took office, he’d have probably been able to avoid jail time or maybe even get the case dismissed because it wasn’t clear that what he’d done was criminal (there were no rules regarding use of the fund – it wasn’t taxpayer money and the Chief traditionally had total discretion over its use). The slush fund charges were so much b.s. Read what a columnist at The Sun had to say:

http://tinyurl.com/25xpud

Instead, the feds hit Norris with the third count for mortgage fraud, which carries a 30-year sentence (as noted in the show), for identifying on his loan app that $9,000 he received from his father was a gift, when, if fact, it was a loan. His plea bargain dismissed Count Three in return for a plea on the first two counts, but the prospects of being convicted on Count Three drove the deal (esp. because he couldn’t afford the legal fees he’d need to defend himself effectively). IMNSHO, the U.S. Attorney leading the charge against Norris was interested in headlines, not justice.

The scene between Sydnor and Lester about the mortgage fraud, including the “head shot” line, was basically “ripped from the headlines” (albeit not recent ones) and the experience of Norris.

Just read this excerpt from an interview of Norris by the City Paper (published in 2005) (the quoted text is from Norris):

I met with some experts in Washington who were former U.S. attorneys, and I told them the entirety of what I was facing. When I talked about the mortgage, the female [attorney] said, “Oh, that’s the head shot.” “What?” “That’s the one they got you good on. I’ll tell you what they’re going to do. They’re going to indict you for that, because they got it solid on that. They’re going to pepper the indictment with a whole bunch of things they maybe could or could not prove. But they have you solid on that.”

Click here to read the full (lengthy) interview:

http://tinyurl.com/28teh5

Anonymous said...

"I can't figure out the scene between Michael, Chris and Snoop. Why are Chris and Snoop so hostile? Just because Michael is questioning Marlo's tactics?"

I think Snoop lied about Junebug having talked trash about Marlo. That's why she jumps down his throat everytime he questions the wisdom of that particular murder. She did the same thing when they were sitting in the car waiting for the right time to carry out Junebug's murder.

Daniel said...

I felt on edge for every second of Omar's scenes, just an overwhelming sense of impending doom, and it basically carried on for the next 10-12 scenes after he was shot.

I thought for sure Sydnor was done for. Not sure if it was the way the scene was filmed, the angles or eerie silence as he stopped to check his map. Or maybe it was just the lingering shock of Omar being dead that made me feel as if the rest of the episode was just going to be total chaos.

I think that was the intended effect of putting such a significant plot development so early in the episode. Omar's death affected the way I interpreted the rest of the scenes.

I admired the way the episode played out, but I can only say that a few hours after I watched it and settled my thoughts. My immediate reaction to this episode was that I'd felt duped by the writers.

Omar was supposed to win -- he lost, and in the most unheroic of ways: shot in the back of the head by a young'n, albeit a cold-blooded one who tortures cats.

I'd given up on McNulty after the way he treated Larry -- but by the end of this episode, I slowly began to understand the method behind his madness. Although his way was reckless and immoral, it's given the department the funding it desperately needed, and it's leading to good po-lice work getting done on Marlo's case.

Now I actually find myself rooting for McNulty to get out of this shithole he's dug for himself. You get the sense that he now realizes his sin. I suppose that's the first step toward redemption.

Finally -- earlier, I figured Scott's character paralleled Lester's and McNulty's, that he actually had decent skills but resorted to fabricating stories out of desperation. Now I know that he truly is a no-talent hack, and the worst kind of no-talent hack -- one who doesn't realize that's what he is, one who lies to rationalize his unrealistic ambitions.

That's three huge developments. I mean Omar's death was more than enough to take. But the McNulty scenes? The Scott-Gus scenes? In one episode?

What an incredible payoff. It was all worth it.

I suppose that's what makes a show worth following, and what keeps me coming back to The Wire. It doesn't stick to a predictable formula, but its surprises are done elegantly and intelligently. They stick with you for hours upon hours after you've finished watching an episode.

Couple of more thoughts:
--I probably shouldn't say that Omar lost. We don't know that yet, especially in light of what Bunk uncovered in Omar's pocket. Plus, maybe this is just me hoping, but I think Omar's character was far too important for him not to have an impact on this season's resolution(s).

--I've been pretty down on the newspaper storyline this season, but I have to say that the scene in which Gus deletes Scott's fabricated lede, then gives Klebanow the business + the "we have a standard here" speech was unbelievably inspiring. We'd sat there with Gus all season long knowing that Scott was full of it, and all season long we'd waited for him to call Scott out on it. For it to finally happen was darn near cathartic.

Baltimore Chick said...

Random Thoughts:

No mention of the woman in the store robbing Omar after he died? Nice touch...(I thought). So many of these urban corner markets charge outrageous prices (.50 cents for a single cigarette??),taking advantage of the residents that don't have a car to "shop" elsewhere.

The postings about 2 of the 3 characters (who had their own prequels), being dead, does make me fearful. Not for McNulty, but for Bunk. He & McNulty have their own prequel too. Bunk dying would be perceived by McNulty as punishment for this fake serial killer sham. (Even though Bunk used the benefits of it to get the goods on Chris).

Why didn't Bond go with the "headshot" charges against Davis? It was a guaranteed guilty verdict.

I agree that something is "off" with Chris. Perhaps he got inside info that a warrant is coming his way? Or, he just wants to go back to his family & not "socialize" with Omar.

The FBI profile of the serial killer was a joke. Of course it described McNulty to a T, but in reality, "Profilers" are seldom accurate. EG.-"The Beltway Sniper(s)."

The ongoing lack of recognition for this show (from the Hollywood community), actually reversed recently. At the SAG awards, "The Wire" did win for best writing in the TV drama catagory.

Alan, with all due respect, your "guess" that Kenard would be the one to take out Omar, seems a bit "Templeton"(ish). As someone posted, the photo of that scene has been floating around cyberspace for the last month or so, (along with several other spoiler shots & print information). Maybe you figured it out on your own, maybe not.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Guys, no discussing the previews, okay? Some people don't watch them, and it would appear this one was more spoiler-ish than HBO's previews usually are.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, with all due respect, your "guess" that Kenard would be the one to take out Omar, seems a bit "Templeton"(ish). As someone posted, the photo of that scene has been floating around cyberspace for the last month or so, (along with several other spoiler shots & print information). Maybe you figured it out on your own, maybe not.

Believe me or not, I don't care. But I go out of my way to avoid spoilers for this show (and all my other favorites), and it's not like I'm going to win awards or a promotion or appearances on Nancy Grace because of that guess. (Nor was I the only one to be in that ballpark. The commenters at The House Next Door have been predicting a "Wild Bunch" ending for Omar for a few weeks now.)

childermass said...

"Why didn't Bond go with the "headshot" charges against Davis? It was a guaranteed guilty verdict."

It's a federal crime and Bond isn't federal. If he went with the headshot, he would have given up the case to the feds, which meant he wouldn't have gotten the headlines if he'd won

dcdame said...

Why didn't Bond go with the "headshot" charges against Davis? It was a guaranteed guilty verdict.

It's a federal offense - Maryland state courts don't have jurisdiction. That's why Freamon tried to get the case passed to the feds early on, but Bond wanted a headline case to boost his chances for becoming Baltimore Mayor. Back in the 4th ep this season, Perlman discusses the jurisdiction issue with Freamon and tells Lester not to worry because they've got a tight case against Davis, so Bond thinks they'll get enough time against Davis without the need of the headshot.

Bond didn't want to give up the case, but the head shot standing alone isn't going to get a conviction or long sentence for lying about a down-payment loan to buy a house (hence the feds unwillingness to take jurisdiction once the other charges were resolved). It's used as leverage to extract pleas on other charges (Exhibit A: Ed Norris). Freamon knows that if he wants to get any mileage out of the headshot (other than bluffing Davis), he's got to come up with another charge.

Dan said...

I can't help but calling BS on everyone who was posting last week about Kenard taking out Omar. Now that I hear about the screen shots and rumors floating around about Kenard popping Omar...I feel like I can't read these comments anymore because people want to post their "guess" but in reality they are just relaying information they get from the rumor mill.

However, I do believe Alan when he says he had no inside knowledge. But as for the others posting last week...BS. Please keep the rumor mill where it belongs and not in Alan's spoiler-free blog.

childermass said...

"Bond didn't want to give up the case, but the head shot standing alone isn't going to get a conviction or long sentence for lying about a down-payment loan to buy a house (hence the feds unwillingness to take jurisdiction once the other charges were resolved). It's used as leverage to extract pleas on other charges (Exhibit A: Ed Norris). Freamon knows that if he wants to get any mileage out of the headshot (other than bluffing Davis), he's got to come up with another charge."

Actually, it will, hence why it's called the headshot. They do use it as leverage, certainly, for other crimes, but it wouldn't work as leverage if it wasn't going to get the person jail time. The prosecutors get the person to plead guilty to the charges they want them to plead guilty to, and in return, the person gets a shorter sentence than he could get if it went to trial on the mortgage application.

This is why Freamon's gambit with Davis may pay off. The Fed's didn't want to take the case now because of the political ramifications, not because they couldn't convict and get him jail time. It depends on how smart Davis's lawyer is and how much he wants to push it.

Anonymous said...
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Alan Sepinwall said...

What did I just say about not talking about the previews? This happens one more time and I'm switching to comment moderation, and I'm not exactly going to have tons of free time this week to approve comments.

Anonymous said...

"No mention of the woman in the store robbing Omar after he died? Nice touch...(I thought)."

Woman in the store did not rob Omar. Norris said that hoppers came around, raided Omar’s pockets and took his shotgun (obviously Kenard’s gun, too, but only we know that); lady did not do a thing.

I am surprised that so many people actually expected some kind of showdown between Marlo and Omar. Mr. Simon has never glorified violence and writing Omar/Marlo (or Chris or Snoop) spectacle into the story would have done exactly that. I, obviously, am not glad that Omar died, but I am glad that he died the way he did. Abrupt and random…Just like that; there goes a character that brought relief and justice to, otherwise, merciless world of The Wire. He was a thug and a murderer, but he also was the only constant personality in a sea full of erratic and volatile characters. His individualism balanced the grim and dismal institutional suffocation and destruction of everybody else in the snow. I, certainly, will miss him and my respect and thanks go to Michel K. Williams and all the writers who gave us one of the most memorable figures in television history. All in the game yo, all in the game…

What a wonderful episode! Old skool Wire style.

Kima worries me now.

JZ said...

I watched this episode again last night and was struck by how different Michael, Dukie, Randy and Naymond were in the first episode of Season 4 when compared to Kenard in this episode (and all along).

When we are introduced to the boys, they're trying to trap a pigeon.

When we see Kenard, minutes away from taking out a legend, he's about to light a cat on fire.

I get shivers just thinking about it. And it's why I continue to root for Michael and Dukie to either get out of the game or live in it beyond the final episode.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Alan its really not that hard to figure out who would kill Omar.Its not original if you watch movies like the Wild Bunch and many many other films. The unbeatable gets beaten by a child- full metal Jacket anyone? Absolutely nothing new here.

And why couldn't we expect a showdown with Marlo and Omar. Theres been a bunch of hero moments that Simon has created building the myth. Because Simon may feel ethically he's made a mistake he takes him out. I call cop out on Simon. Omars personality change was Simon getting weak kneed. There are a bunch of other ways to have dealt with this. Simon messed up on this because of guilt.

marcus said...

Loved the episode, hate myself for watching the previews for next week. I don't know why HBO (or any other network) can't consult with the showrunners to make sure the previews don't give away too much...especially for a show like the Wire. It's not like some amazing preview is going to increase the ratings at all. After today I am going dark regarding all Wire blog comments and previews until the finale just to be safe.

Congrats on everyone who actually predicted Omar's death and didn't pass off their spoilers as phony predictions. I wondered for years why no one that Omar robbed ever stuck a gun out of a window and got him in the head but have to admit I was shocked when it actually happened (I assumed it would be at the end of an episode or the end of the series).

Mike said...

"Alan, with all due respect, your "guess" that Kenard would be the one to take out Omar, seems a bit "Templeton"(ish). As someone posted, the photo of that scene has been floating around cyberspace for the last month or so, (along with several other spoiler shots & print information). Maybe you figured it out on your own, maybe not."

Well, I for one only read this site when obtaining my Wire fix, and I guessed that outcome too. Doesn't seem like too big of a stretch. As many posters have mentioned, Kenard's complete disregard for Omar and his legend, and his past history of brashness did allow for a little foreshadowing in regards to Omar's demise. Just my two cents defending Allen's integrity. (not that he asked, or needed it)

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Alan its really not that hard to figure out who would kill Omar. Its not original if you watch movies like the Wild Bunch and many many other films. The unbeatable gets beaten by a child- full metal Jacket anyone? Absolutely nothing new here.


I'm surprised nobody's pointed out the delicious thematic irony in Omar's killing that recalls Seasons 3 and 4. The reasons for his death go far beyond the simple "unbeatable gets beaten by a child."

Does anyone recall the promise Omar made to Bunk (that he would cease killing) and the reasons he made it? Bunk saw the kids in the street emulating him, and he appealed to his heart. He told Omar that real kids viewed him as a hero and, as a result, wanted to be him.

So Omar commits his first kill (Sevino)since this conversation - thereby breaking his promise - in the previous episode. Who's the first person he tells about it? A bunch of kids on the corner.

And in the very next episode, who's the one who ends up doing him in? One of those kids.

Simon has been quoted time and again saying that The Wire is more in line with Greek tragedy than Shakespeare or Dickens. And the constant themes in Greek tragedy are the sense of inevitability and fate and their continuing impact on the course of events. Omar's death dovetails just beautifully with this - it was pretty much destined to happen when he made the promise to Bunk, and his breaking of the promise sealed the deal.

Perfect.

television inspection club said...

Anyone felt a twinge when Gus decides to not include Omar's homicide in the newspaper? The above poster is right...he was just a thug who was going to die and nobody will come to his funeral.

Yes, very much so. I felt like yelling, Don't you KNOW who he is?

I felt as though Beadie's speech to Jimmy was the same speech Omar needed to hear before he came back to Baltimore, avenging people's deaths. I'd like to remember Omar's brief moment of sunshine, just before he found out about Butchie.

That was cold. I felt like Bunk was the only one who was upset. I was expecting a little more from Jimmy, at least.

I was also very upset that the kids went through Omar's pockets and took souvenirs. There is something biblical or Shakespearean about that. That upset me the most, I think.

No fanfare, no sentiment. But I guess the message is, the Game spits you out, no matter who you are. I know Omar was a killer, but he did live by a code, and I am so sad to see him go. I feel as though it is taking a while to sink in.

The kid who plays Kennard did a good job. He looked freaked out that he had killed Omar after he did it.

In other developments, Kima is PISSED! She's the one who interviewed the "victims"'s families. She knows how awful it was for the families when they heard their sons were molested. She did not agree with McNulty's "no harm, no foul."

I guess McNulty is going to "carry the water" for everyone on this one, even though his transgression is helping lots of other (unrelated) cases.

Algernon said...

This was too bleak an exit for Omar, so I think there's more to come with him. I can't believe that this classic character would exit the show without having some sort of influence on the show's ending. I know that "that's how life is" and "that's the game" but Simon & co. write drama, and they wouldn't make Omar's plotline just be a dead end.

So I think Omar's going to get the last laugh from beyond the grave and lead to Marlo's downfall by ruining his reputation. He was calling out Marlo for weeks while Marlo hid, and even the way he died (taken out by a little kid) makes Marlo look like a "bitch." I think this was why Chris acted so weird when Marlo told him the news about Omar -- he hasn't told Marlo that Omar's been calling him out.

But what do I know -- I thought that Episode 7 took Clay Davis out of danger and that the last few episodes would be Clay getting payback. Lester threw me a curveball -- I sure hope he manages to get something useful out of the Davis thing.

Also, I'm still waiting for Daniels's inevitable downfall (which must result from Narese having the file). We haven't seen any foreshadowing of this in recent episodes, but come on, this has been set up since Season 1.

Anonymous said...

You know, I don't think the serial killer thing will blow up big. It can't at this point; it's ensnared too many people. I think the bit about the Unabomber (16 years, and then his brother ratted him out) foreshadows the way the department will handle it. They'll find out, sure -- maybe Kima tells Daniels? -- but then they'll let the trail go cold.

McNulty will pay for it, but he'll get fired for some other reason.

OK, this all sounds way to optimistic. But at this point, who wants this story to be told? The Sun, the cops, the Hall, they're all implicated, or at the very least invested, in the story as it stands. Carcetti especially would look like a fool. This story will get buried.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, maybe Daniels's and Freamon's problems come together at the end? I mean, maybe Narese uses the Daniels file to defend Clay against Lester? And then when Daniels makes Lester back off, she's got Clay AND the rising commissioner in her back pocket....

Algernon said...

Oh shit! That's all-too-plausible, 11:53 AM anonymous. Yeah, I guess it's clear that Narese will try to use her dirt on Daniels to make Lester back off on Clay. The question is, what will Daniels do? Daniels sticking to his principles and being forced out is plausible, but so is Daniels caving and becoming another corrupt boss (another Burrell).

Also, that's a great post about Omar and the kids from 11:38 AM anonymous. That definitely helped me better understand the meaning of Omar's death.

thomas roz said...

I was telling my wife last night that McNulty going to jail, as Beadie alluded to, wouldn't seem to be the appropriate downfall according to Simon's logic that that institutions always win. McNulty's real downfall would be to lose his badge. Being a cop is the only thing he's ever loved, been good at. To lose that would be to lose his very identity. God knows he's chosen being good po-lice over everything else in his life that mattered. I know I'd be more depressed to see him ripped from the force than to sit and stew behind bars because of what he's done.

Kudos to the viewer who pointed out the Omar-hero worship parallel, then his death at the hands of Kenard. (Also kudos to the individual who listed Kenard's sparse quotes. When he double-crossed Namond back in Season Four, you knew Simon was grooming Kenard for a bigger role. The kid was already brazen and trying to make a 'name.' And the cat torture-serial killer parallel. Just phenomenal. And sad. Maybe one of the saddest 'Wire' scenes ever.)

As someone also pointed out, Simon is really going out of his way to show how unimportant these characters are in the grand scheme of things. Prop Joe's name didn't ring a bell at the Sun. Alma is told to write a brief on the fire death, not Omar's murder, because of space. Ouch. Yet the man's name will ring out forever in those streets.

I still think someone would have recognized the homeless man by now thanks to the national media, which inevitably would tie McNulty to him. Maybe that's still to come ...

Best episode of the season, maybe one of the best ever. Can't wait for the final two.

Steve said...

I think Snoop lied about Junebug having talked trash about Marlo.

Hmm, why'd she really kill him, then? Was Junebug snitching? Kima said something a few episodes ago about having a CI close to the Marlo crew- who is it?

Also, doesn't Kima's girlfriend (Cheryl) work for a TV news station? Might she find out from Kima about the killer being fake?

My prediction- since McNulty is handing out overtime and putting his name all over every homicide case, including the Marlo rowhouse murders, every single one of those cases will fall apart when it comes out that McNulty faked the killer.

Austin said...

I got a prediction, and believe me, I haven't seen any future episodes or anything...

The Bunk/McNulty showdown has been looming. Bunk's kept his mouth shut and now that Freamon and co. look to have decoded Marlo's clock code, there's a good chance Lester's going to have enough on Marlo/Chris/Snoop to bring them in. However, when it is found out that all information came from an illegal wiretap, and even Bunk's charge on Chris came from a DNA sample that was done out of line, all charges will be dropped. After they screw it all up, Bunk will finally have words with McNulty, and we'll have one final drunken drive out to the tracks, and the self-loathing Jimmy McNulty is going to commit suicide. The anti-hero dies at his own hands in our Greek Tragedy, I'm calling it now.

I just hope his wake has more people than Beadie predicted

Andrew said...

There's not any way that Bunk's evidence against Chris could get thrown out. He lied to the tech in order to get a rush on the results, but that isn't in any way illegal. All evidence against Chris was obtained in a completely legal manner.

driches said...

Very few people have mentioned the scene with Carcetti and his wife, where he's more interested in his TV appearance than the truth about his prospects for helping Baltimore. I think they've done a great job showing how idealists like Season 3 Carcetti turn into the me-first bureaucrats like Royce, Burrell, etc. He had good intentions all the way through, and still generally does, but staying in the system essentially means selling out is inevitable.


A lot of people seem confused about Lester's motives with Davis; he is using him for information, since he can't get him otherwise. He likely wants info about the money trail and connection between politicians, drug dealers, etc...


Also, I noticed people conjecturing that Snoop lied about Junebug to get him killed, hence her being short with Michael when he questioned Marlo. This seems unlikely. More likely, she and Chris were frustrated because he was showing contradictions in their logic (why go after Junebug for nothing but not Omar for a ton??), and they knew it, and didn't like it. They are part of an institution--same as police, politics, media, schools--and we've learned those institutions don't like challenges to the way they operate.


One question: if Lester was right about the clock code, in that the time simply means "within an hour or so," and Sydnor has all of Marlo's crew under constant surveillance--what need was there to crack the code? Couldn't he have found out where they were meeting simply by following them?

(it reminds me of Bubbles' hat game to identify the drug dealers in season 1: they were taking photos, and then discussing them with Bubs afterwards; what need was there for the hats when they simply could have shown Bubs pictures and he says who they are?)

Anonymous said...

austin, I think you're right that the Bunk/McNulty rift will come to a head in the final two and will figure heavily into the Greek tragedy themes. But I think it plays out a different way (I also have seen/heard nothing of the next two episodes - not even the post-episode preview).

In the entire season, Bunk has been against McNulty's fake-serial-killer charade. But in this episode, McNulty reminds Bunk that his extra pull was the thing that got the lab work expedited, resulting in the arrest warrant for Partlow. So now that he's got the warrant, I think Bunk's going to go to make the arrest and end up getting killed in the process - probably by Snoop, possibly by Chris.

Think about it – the other prequel short was Bunk first meeting McNulty. McNulty brought up the line that he was “no good for people,” but the one constant in his life, and the person that he’s been closest to in the entire run of the series is Bunk. So how perfect would it be? How much would it kill McNulty for his scheming to be the thing that gets his best friend killed? From that perspective, it would destroy him more than if he himself was the one taking the bullet. You may be right in thinking that McNulty steps in front of a train because he can't live with himself after this - I hadn't really thought that far ahead.

I hope I’m wrong.

(and just fyi, I'm the guy who posted about Omar and the kids)

Dharmawati said...

The first thing that I thought of when seeing that Carcetti scene was his introduction in the third season, when we see him watching himself in a mirror while having sex. Sure, he has, on occasion, seemed genuinely idealistic, but the narcissism has always been there.

television inspection club said...

(it reminds me of Bubbles' hat game to identify the drug dealers in season 1: they were taking photos, and then discussing them with Bubs afterwards; what need was there for the hats when they simply could have shown Bubs pictures and he says who they are?)

I think when Bubs put the red hat on someone, he meant for them to take close-ups of that person, while they were shooting photos.

The first thing that I thought of when seeing that Carcetti scene was his introduction in the third season, when we see him watching himself in a mirror while having sex.

My husband and I were reminded of that in this episode when he comes home, turns on the tv, and doesn't even kiss or touch Jen to say hello. No affection whatsoever.

As far as Bunk and McNulty go, I hope they survive. I felt like Bunk forgave McNulty the littlest bit in this episode when he had McNulty sign off on the labwork.

Anonymous said...

something is up with Marlo and im pretty sure it is something that we the audience have not been shown in previous episodes that will connect the dots for his conclusion because you never know where this guy is when he is not on screen, something is off about that really off

driches said...

I think when Bubs put the red hat on someone, he meant for them to take close-ups of that person, while they were shooting photos.

yes, but they could have simply taken close up photos of everyone on the corner, w/o bubbles there, then showed Bubs the pictures back at the office, and he tells them who's who.

can anyone explain why the clock code breaking was necessary if they were constantly tracking all of marlo's crew?

childermass said...

"Kima said something a few episodes ago about having a CI close to the Marlo crew- who is it? "

I missed that. When did that happen?

Also, I made the connection with kids and Omar, but not explicitly with Bunk, nice call! I just found this site a few weeks after having only the Slate site to read for people discussing the Wire and it's like night and day. Wish I would have found it earlier.

Re: Nerese and Daniels. I wasn't certain if Simon would use that this year or not, or just keep that in the back of our minds that Nerese would likely be mayor and no matter how principled Daniels may be, he'll still toe the line to save his skin, like most of the people in the show. But the scenario laid out above is a good possibility for how it may work.

Anonymous said...

Here I go again with my surprises with people. Do that many people really think that Carcetti was supposed to be some kind of savior or idealist of Baltimore city politics? From the moment we met him, he was just another empty, void of ideas and real desire for change, albeit well spoken, Machiavellian politician. I mean, the speech that announced his mayoral aspirations was as rhetorical, bland and meaningless as anybody else’s running for any public office. The kind that makes one turn the TV off or walk away from the rally. He did not really care about any of the causes he "fought" for in the past; he was just tired of being ignored. This boy, too, likes, more than anything, for his name to “ring out”. Carcetti’s character development this season is not a depiction of destruction; it is a depiction of natural progression. The moment he sits (if he sits?!) in that gubernatorial chair, he will start thinking about the next vertical option for his political carrier. Who gives a fuck about witnesses or homeless people or children of Baltimore...

Dax Mahoney said...

I just thought it was interesting that Kenard's name was removed from Wikipedia. I guess someone wanted to prevent anyone from posting a spoiler about him.
I couldn't remember his name when he was torturing the Cat.

childermass said...

RE: breaking the code. The less you have to follow them, the less chance they have of getting onto you would be one reason. I'm a little confused why Sydnor was not able to make more progress trailing Monk or Chris before this though.

If that scenario works out like you predict anonymous, then it still would be by McNulty's scheme. Bunk still did the work himself, and even though McNulty expedited the request, without McNulty's scheme, it gets done a lot sooner anyway. Bunk would have already had his result if McNulty didn't create the serial killer.

Anonymous said...

Wow!

What an episode what a show. The Omar scenes were great as well as McNulty. I can't believe people have complained about this season. Simon and Co. are wrapping up the show perfectly.

Alan you should do everything in your power to make sure this show gets a nomination. This show deserves all the acolades of the Sopranos. How can something this great be ignored?

paul b. said...

"Do that many people really think that Carcetti was supposed to be some kind of savior or idealist of Baltimore city politics? From the moment we met him, he was just another empty, void of ideas and real desire for change, albeit well spoken, Machiavellian politician. I mean, the speech that announced his mayoral aspirations was as rhetorical, bland and meaningless as anybody else’s running for any public office. The kind that makes one turn the TV off or walk away from the rally. He did not really care about any of the causes he "fought" for in the past; he was just tired of being ignored."

Good point. Remember when we first met Tommy in Season 3? He was reaching out to Burrell and stirring the pot a little, and I believe he actually confessed he was only doing it out of boredom.

He had spent a year in the city council and wanted bigger and better things. Kinda like Templeton, who after a few years in the mid-west still feels he deserves better than the small-time Sun.

Anonymous said...

"can anyone explain why the clock code breaking was necessary if they were constantly tracking all of marlo's crew?"

The whole point of the surveillance was to figure out the code so that they wouldn't have to follow them. It costs money to put cops in cars and have them follow people around all day when they could be out busting heads and making stats (the Western district way)---haven't you seen the show before?

Anonymous said...

On a lighter note, I was thinking today about how the word "gump" was the hot insult to use in Season Four whenever one of the guys wanted to call someone out. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't remember it being used at all in Season Five. Hopefully it'll show up in one of the final two episodes.

Anonymous said...

"can anyone explain why the clock code breaking was necessary if they were constantly tracking all of marlo's crew?"


They have also got to catch them in the act of something illegal. There is nothing wrong with monk and cheese meeting up in front of some west side carry-out. What Lester and company need to figure out is which clock codes are for meetings where drugs and/or money will be exchanged.

Belle is... said...

Was anyone else highly disturbed by Kenard's reaction after he shot Omar? Like he looked so baffled, so confused, like he couldn't even believe what he'd done. Was that the first time he pulled a trigger? Was it because he really, yes really, shot and killed Omar? Was it just to be a reminder that for all his cursing and tough talk, Kenard it still very much a child.

Anonymous said...

belle,
my take was...all of the above. the cat burning/torture is suggestive of a socio/psycopathic tendency in his future, much like what allowed chris and marlo to advance in a system that rewards the coldest, most heartless.

my guess is the cat being let go, notice it walking out as marlo peers around the corner at the hoppers, is that Kenard moved onto bigger prey.

Andrew said...

Guys, check out this screencap from season 3. It's of one the kids who's imitating Omar at the crime scene of his shootout with the Barksdales.

http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i11/jrodesiler/kenard.jpg

I'm about 99% certain that the kid in that picture is Kenard. That adds a whole new level to Kenard killing Omar. What do you guys think? Is that Kenard? According to the resume of the actor, he was in season 3.

http://imdb.com/name/nm2569419/resume

Anonymous said...

Andrew, that is Kenard. And now that you mention it, he is the kid that says: My turn to be Omar!
Good huntin' detective :)

Anonymous said...

i just popped in season 3 episode 3. I'll raise that percentage from 99% to 99.999% That is Kenard who takes the stick from the taller kid shouting, "MY TURN TO BE OMAR!"

Anonymous said...

PS. Jeff Price (name off the top of my head) the city hall reporter makes an appearance in s3e3 when Carcetti spills the beans about no academy classes as well.

Baltimore Chick said...

Carcetti actually showed his "good, non-political side in season 4. During the height of his campaign, he went to that dead man's viewing. The press was waiting outside, expecting a statement from Carcetti. He ignored the press & refused to use his appearance as a campaign move, reversing his original intent of showing up.

Has it ever been revealed who Michael's biological father is?

For those who are "upset"w/HBO for showing coming attractions (On Demand), there is more than enough time to change the channel (or turn your TV off), before the scenes are shown.

lls said...

andrew- great catch, I think that is totally him. I assume it's not a coincidence which really underscores the story in a more poignant way. As we all recall, Bunk admonished Omar during their bench meeting for inspiring juvenile copycats. Now one of those copycats takes him out.

-also I hope everyone read that post about the real John Norris and the head shot. I missed it the last time you posted it- super interesting!

-I'm impressed with those of you who don't watch the previews. normally I can't help myself, but I'm mad I saw this week's. Don't watch it!

Anonymous said...

one detail i love about the photography/direction in season 5, notice how every time Carcetti makes an impassioned speech in front of microphones, the camera always, ALWAYS holds on him for a second or two to allow him to turn (as if to turn his back on the city) and walk away...and [cut].

omw said...

"my guess is the cat being let go, notice it walking out as marlo peers around the corner at the hoppers, is that Kenard moved onto bigger prey."

yeah, a bigger cat. omar seemed to have at least nine lives. and survived a jump from a great height recently.

lls said...

crap- i forgot one other thing i was going to say.
Agreed that Carcetti has never been wholly pure. I feel it has always been clear he would put political ambition ahead of policy (that scene outside the funeral home notwithstanding).
But his speeches are wonderful, his press conferences masterful, and WHAT he says publically is aligned morally and politically with many viewers, and certainly the showrunners.
If I were a citizen of his Baltimore I bet I would definitely vote for him, maybe even campaign for him. Given that I'm a teacher, I would be unknowingly screwing myself.

paul b. said...

"one detail i love about the photography/direction in season 5, notice how every time Carcetti makes an impassioned speech in front of microphones, the camera always, ALWAYS holds on him for a second or two to allow him to turn (as if to turn his back on the city) and walk away...and [cut]."

The opening credits end with that scene. But I never noticed it during the actual show. The credits are in slo-mo so it's easier to see. I'll have to look for it now.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why it didn't strike me until now, but I assume the clock code is a nice little shout-out back to prop joe. Where better to stage clocks for photos than joe's shop? Had Marlo not taken him out, Freamon might have snared him too eventually.

Childermass said...

Great catch! but the one problem I have with that is Kenard's quote upon seeing Omar again. It seemed like he'd never seen him before, so maybe he hadn't yet seen him and was only going on reputation in Season 3? Also, I wonder if Simon had that plotted out that far in advance?

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice in the end that Omar's DOB was in 1960??

I am thinking that was meant to be a mistake, as the paper mentioned a 34 year-old murdered in a grocery store and Omar, of course, said was "about 29"

Most importantly, he is clearly not 46 :)

Andrew said...

Also, I wonder if Simon had that plotted out that far in advance?

Here's how I see it. Before HBO renewed the show for a fourth season, they asked Simon to outline his plans for a fourth and fifth season. That means that he probably realized that Kenard would eventually kill Omar in season 5 while he was making season 4. When it came time to cast that part, he probably seeked out the young actor who was pretending to be Omar in season 3. I can't imagine that he actually had it planned way back in season but it is possible. This is all speculation keep in mind.

Anonymous said...

All of Marlos crew are not under surveillance. Thats why the Omar paper was important. Its Cheese they have to follow. Thats whose making the connect with the Greeks. They were not following Cheese. Omars revenge. And I oh so want the Cheese to melt.

childermass said...

Omar may have had his code, but compared to when he and Bunk grew up, it's a lesser code in many ways. He did not look out for the children in his time like Bunk was looked out for. This erosion through the generations is brought into the fore with this new crop of people who are significantly less beholden to codes than Omar, and one of them who idolized his gun-toting ways but not his codes, brought him down. It could be Simon and Burns way of showing the degredation of community and ethics brought about by capitalism. I'm not certain if there's a parallel within the police.

dcdame said...

my guess is the cat being let go, notice it walking out as marlo peers around the corner at the hoppers, is that Kenard moved onto bigger prey.

Different cat. The cat being tortured was a solid grey long-hair. The cat that came around the corner was a short-hair with a white chin (looked like it might be a tabby - also looked like it had on a collar, which I wouldn't expect). There was also another cat in the background when Omar was coming through the alley.

Other observations/amusements:

The car rental company. Carcetti mentioned Hertz & Avis, but when Carver said "Enterprise" all I could think of was RICO and "continuing criminal enterprise" - plus the enterprising nature of McNulty & Marlo/the Co-op. Plus Enterprise's slogan - perfect for the police ("We'll pick you up.").

The comment by Gus on the loading dock re: the calendar year being applicable to Pulitzer Prize submissions, so that a story has to be wrapped up by December or they'll be on to the next big thing -- reminded me of the priorities in governmental annual budgeting.

Loved the irony that Sydnor cracked the clock code because he had to turn to a map versus Dozerman digging the GPS system in the Infiniti from Enterprise. If Sydnor's car had a GPS, he wouldn't have cracked the code.

Loved how McNulty told Kima that the FBI profile would reveal "some shit you already know" and then, after the fact, Kima asked him what he thought of the profile and he said, "they're in the ballpark." Home run is more like it.

Then there was that jerk detective (whose name I've forgotten) who extracted OT and a car out of McNulty to check out a bogus similar homicide in SC when what he really wanted was a free trip to play golf in Hilton Head - a junket, which he got by blackmailing McNulty. Unbridled corruption - a familiar DS theme.

It was sad to hear the dialogue about the Mark Steiner radio show because he's just been canned (a shocking development - he's a local institution).

Happy Contrarian said...

childermass said...

"Omar may have had his code, but compared to when he and Bunk grew up, it's a lesser code in many ways. He did not look out for the children in his time like Bunk was looked out for. This erosion through the generations is brought into the fore with this new crop of people who are significantly less beholden to codes than Omar, and one of them who idolized his gun-toting ways but not his codes, brought him down. It could be Simon and Burns way of showing the degredation of community and ethics brought about by capitalism."

With all due respect, if this is "Simon and Burns' way of showing" the degredation of community through capitalism, then they have not been very convincing. Let's not lose sight of the fact that this is a television show (read: entertainment) and Simon is a producer. It's great that the show encourages dialogue on so many important topics but at the end of the day, the social problems that the show tackles are extremely complex. A tv show cannot hope to address all of the history, nuances and counter-points in any of these complex tv shows and it's unfair to expect it to do so. And, again, Simon is tv producer - a great one, but he's a tv producer...not a historian, scholar or philosopher king.

David Simon and company may lean strongly to the left politically, but what I see on the screen is a lot more nuanced than what I read in Mr. Simon's interviews. There has always been a strong sense of nostalgia among many of the older characters - Avon/Stringer/Wee-Bay, Bunny, Frank Sobotk, Gus, Butchie, etc. Now, I'm about to say something political so if that type of thing offends you...please skip the next paragraph....

These nostalgic yearnings, the mourning for the loss of the civility are bedrocks of modern conservatism (and they remind me quite a lot of "No Country for Old Men, which was beloved in conservative circles). An intellectual foundation of liberalism is the perfectability of man and the desire to keep pushing through for change. Think about the labels - progressivism (and the implication that tinkering with this or tinkering with that will bring progress) and conservatism (the idea that much of the social fabric is worth conserving and skepticism that change will really bring progress). The debate about how best to interpret the Constitution - original meaning vs. a living constitution is in large part an argument about whether the march of time necessarily means that things have "progressed". It's late and I'm tired and this is incoherent but I think it's worth noting that the sense of nostalgia on The Wire has conservative undertones...and there's nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, if Simon's thesis is, in fact, that capitalism has caused a decay in our social fabric, I'd have (at least) two questions for him. First, which (less capitalistic) nations would he have us emulate? Second, at which point, in his esteemed estimation, did things start to go downhill in this country due to capitalism?

Thanks for letting me type, this was cathartic. Sorry if I offended anyone (Childermass - your post was thoughtful and my response wasn't directed towards you).

Happy Contrarian

Dennis said...

What did they find in Omar's pocket and who came across Poot and where he's working?

Algernon said...

When it came time to cast that part, he probably seeked out the young actor who was pretending to be Omar in season 3. I can't imagine that he actually had it planned way back in season [3] but it is possible.

FWIW, there's an interview with Simon where he says that he and Ed Burns have known how Season 5 would end since the end of Season 2. Obviously we don't know if that means they knew the general ending of the last episode or if they had specifically planned out every character's fate (though that's certainly a possibility given the show's track record on long-term plotting).

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's the same kid in season three. He looks the same, but his voice is very different. I also know that George Pelecanos, who was a producer on the 3rd season, wasn't familiar with the character in the 4th season when writing him, since he says in his commentary track that he didn't realize Kenard was so young when he wrote about his beating. So I don't think it's the same kid.

And, as for Freamon, I think he's looking to get information beyond Clay Davis. In the beginning of episode 5-2, Freamon says that what he wants is to get information from Clay Davis about the people above him [I think of them as the political equivalent of the Greek].

Possibly this will be the governor, helping Carcetti get elected?

Steve said...

"Kima said something a few episodes ago about having a CI close to the Marlo crew- who is it? "

I missed that. When did that happen


When she realized the 22 rowhouse murders whould actually be 25, since a CI of hers had told her Marlo and Co. had done the triple-homicide as well.

childermass said...

Happy Contrarian, thanks for the thoughtful reply. No doubt that Simon et al are not philosopher kings, and I'm very happy that the show is not as blunt or free from nuance as Simon is in many of his interviews nor is it didactic in preaching some supposed prophylactic remedy. However, with that said, Simon has used the drug trade, I think, as allegory for his theme that people are worth less today than they used to be. Here, with Omar's death, I think he succeeds, albeit in a subtle way by tying it to Kenard in season 3, in showing that the current generations quest for power and notoriety above anything else, again proxies for pure capitalistic behavior, has its roots in the previous generations choices. I look at it almost like I look at other problems caused by large groups of people acting individually where that damage remains small but in the aggregate becomes something few individuals wanted but now have to deal with anyway. Whether this mirrors real life or not, that's another question and probably a discussion beyond what this forum is meant for.

Simon has said the disappearance of manufacturing jobs from Baltimore decimated the urban population, which makes sense, but in cities that relied less on manufacturing, they still have the same problems as Baltimore. So, his thesis there is not complete. One of Simon's oft-repeated phrases is "unfettered capitalism is not a social policy," but I've also wondered who he would entrust to run that social policy since institutions often fail to serve the people they're meant to serve.

Re: when Simon thinks that may have existed in the US, probably when it was a manufacturing economy and not the service economy it currently is. As Frank Sobotka said to the lobbyist, paraphrased, "we used to make stuff in this country, now we just stick our hand in the next guy's pocket."

You mention the nostalgia for the past exhibited by numerous characters and Simon himself. One thing this season that has been spectacularly unconvincing about the newsroom scenes is the internet's absence, and I think that speaks more to Simon's desire to inhabit a world that no longer exists.

Andrew said...

don't think it's the same kid in season three. He looks the same, but his voice is very different. I also know that George Pelecanos, who was a producer on the 3rd season, wasn't familiar with the character in the 4th season when writing him, since he says in his commentary track that he didn't realize Kenard was so young when he wrote about his beating. So I don't think it's the same kid.

It's possible that Pelecanos wasn't aware of the kid since it was such a small part. We know for certain that the actor did do some work on the third season because his resume says as much:

http://imdb.com/name/nm2569419/resume

So we have two pieces of evidence. A photo of someone that looks incredibly like him and proof that he worked on season 3 in some capacity. It's not proof, but it's certainly signiciantly circumstantial.

Mrglass said...

HappyContrarian why do you keep posting those reactionary rants? There is a reason Baltimore is 80% democrat, it is because conservatives like you are the cause of all problems for the less fortunate members of the community.

I mean, David Simon shows week after week the damage the ravages of savage capitalism, and you choose to use his own work to prove the opposite. That is just silly, like an atheist quoting the Bible.

So please find a nice AnnCoulter blog to post your peculiar views and stop polluting a TV forum.

Mrglass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D. said...

I rarely agree with HappyContrarian, but I find his contributions thoughtful and worthwhile.

Tim Masterson said...

Thank you, Time Warner Cable of Brooklyn, for not letting my see this episode until Wednesday.

This episode ran the gamut of emotions for me, ending with my feeling drained by Beadie's dressing down of McNulty. She hit him hard, where it hurts and she was 100% right. That was a great, great scene. I rarely get choked up, but I was close there.

Omar came as a shock, even though it shouldn't have. A lot of it had to do with the how and the when. I guess there was no way Omar was going out in a blaze of glory (or on top).

On the other hand, the scene where the feds give McNulty their report was highly amusing. The look on his face as they described him to a T was one of the show's funniest moments.

Finally, I'm glad Kima Greggs is not going along. I know there are two episodes left for that to change, but I hope she sticks to her guns. I've always felt her character was a bit unheralded (she took a bullet, for chrissake!). I hope she does the right thing.

Jarvis said...

Before I watched this episode I couldn't see how they could possibly wrap it up in 3 episodes. That episode was a work of genius - but then they've done a similar thing in previous seasons. I guess it's the "novel quality" of The Wire. Kudos to the writers, though.

Re: breaking the clock code - It is very important to know the codes because that might allow the police to get teams in place to catch Marlo and Co in an illegal act. I can't see how Lester will get Marlo though because Mr Stanfield has insulated himself so well (although with Chris and Monk gone he would be very vulnerable).

Is anyone else excited to see whether the trail of the wire leads from Cheese to the Greeks? Remember that the detail would have had Spiros/Vondas in season 2 were it not for that corrupt FBI agent.

As for Kima, given her history with Daniels there must be a strong chance she would go to him with her displeasure. And then what will he do?

Anonymous said...

And, as for Freamon, I think he's looking to get information beyond Clay Davis. In the beginning of episode 5-2, Freamon says that what he wants is to get information from Clay Davis about the people above him [I think of them as the political equivalent of the Greek].

Possibly this will be the governor, helping Carcetti get elected?


I highly doubt Davis could lead anyone to the Governor. The Governor is Republican and Davis is the moneyman for the Democrat machine.

Dan said...

"What did they find in Omar's pocket and who came across Poot and where he's working?"

Dennis, do you just come in here and read the comments without watching the episode? Wow - I could never do that. Patience is a virtue I guess.

They found a list in Omar's pocket that had names on it: Marlo, Chris, Snoop, and Cheese (maybe others?). Basically its purpose was to allow Lester and McNulty to figure out that Cheese must be working with Marlo. Also, it helped explain why they don't see any West Side action after some of the clock code messages, i.e. the messages are for Cheese who is running the East Side - where they aren't monitoring yet.

Poot was working in a Foot Locker type shoe store (maybe it was Foot Locker) when Dukie entered looking for a job. Poot mentioned being out of the game b/c he was tired of it or something and then recognized Dukie as one who used to run with Namond.

Joef said...

Happy Contrarian:

Not that I can answer your question, but David Simon has identified himself as Social Democrat - I would assume nations such as Norway and Sweden would be potential candidates for emulation. But I'm not an expert.

In reference to your other points, I will say this; those people who thought No Country for Old Men was a nostalgic "things were better way back when" story completely missed the point.

mr.smee said...

Dcdame, the detective who blackmails McNulty into covering the Hilton Head trip is Barlow, whose case against D'Angelo Barksdale began the entire series. He has consistently remained an asshole, albeit one who has an inordinate interest in home improvement.

Anyone notice how comfortable Tommy Carcetti now is extracting campaign money from his constituents? I recall his extreme discomfort in doing this from Season 4, when he was locked into a windowless office by Norman and told not to come out until he had raised $30,000. That was a great scene, with him throwing darts, calling pals to discuss baseball, and basically doing anything to prevent asking for funds, including some awesome whining.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but feel that Gus telling Fletcher to talk to Bubbles will lead to him unburdening(SP?) himself re:Sherrod. Is this good? will it make the paper? Will a Gus firing or Templeton controversy kill it wit TPTB? Could that story, when proven to be true after thorough fact checking, get The Sun its Pulitzer? Will Landsman not verify the whole story b/c he kicked Bubs to rehab?

i think next week (ep 59) will maybe tie up Marlo/Chris/Snoop and maybe FSK storyline. Leaving The 90 min. finale to tie up all loose ends. Just my thoughts

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice the man in the bodybag next to Omar? The ME switched tags back. It looked like the drunk Det. from season 1 that Daniels pushed out b/c he was useless. forget the name but most of you know who I mean for sure

Anonymous said...

"So we have two pieces of evidence. A photo of someone that looks incredibly like him and proof that he worked on season 3 in some capacity. It's not proof, but it's certainly signiciantly circumstantial."

If you're going to use that resume as evidence, I'd have to point out that (1) the character you're saying he played was not part of a drug crew (which is what the resume says he did), and (2) the resume specifies that he wasn't playing Kenard, which is my point, that it wasn't Kenard even if it was the same actor, which i don't believe.

Alan Sepinwall said...

From David Simon himself:

"It's Kenard, beginning his storyline. Good catch by some of the viewers."

Damn. That there is some amazing long-term planning.

television inspection club said...

Thanks, Alan. Wow. I would not have caught that, and I can't tell you how many times I've quoted that line - "It's MY turn to be Omar!".

Thank you to all the other posters for your eagle eyes and your thoughtful, intelligent commentary. Kudos.

More and more, I like the idea that Omar's list will help to nail Marlo & Crew from "beyond the grave."

Anonymous said...

That is amazing Alan. I was reading an interview with Dominic West and he said Simon told him about the serial killer plot during the 3rd season. I always wondered why tv shows didn't map things out long term, so good job to Simon and co.

On the Omar front it helps me out to know that his boyfriend is at least safe and has $ to live on. I can't believe I actually care about it, but Omar not getting a chance to come back actually got me a little upset. They were so happy when we saw them again this year. Does anyone else think Kenard is the next Omar, he ends up being a stick up boy.

Also anyone else have any ideas what is going on between Chris and Marlo. Something seems to be up. I can't wait till next Sunday night at 3 AM when it comes on-Demand.

Jeremiah said...

Alan,

Do you plan on interviewing Simon after the series wraps? Maybe take some fan questions?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yes, I do, Jeremiah. I'll put up a post soliciting questions next week. (Please don't start putting them here, folks.)

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone else think Kenard is the next Omar, he ends up being a stick up boy."

I don't know if we're supposed to speculate about such things but... well, suffice it to say, I have a feeling Kenard is going to be killed.

Looking at it from Marlo's POV, why pay out $250,000 when you can kill the person you owe it to instead?

Indeed said...

This episode on the one hand left me speechless, but on the other hand so much to talk about. Wow. That might have been the best episode to date (and I've had plenty of favourites).
So many questions - but here's one that I'm pondering. Does Lester know that Prop Joe was killed? I'm not even sure how that information would help in the case against Marlo, but I would think that alarm bells must have been ringing when he saw Cheese on Omar's list of those-connected to Marlo. Surely Lester is well aware that Cheese was connected to Prop Joe, and with the information now out that Marlo is supplying both the east side and the west side, wouldn't he want to explore more deeply how that came to be? Lester would be asking - how in the hell did he get Prop Joe out of the picture?

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind, Major Case never knew about the Co-Op, so it wouldn't be that Marlo took over for Prop Joe, it would be that Marlo is in control of the East Side which surprises him. Freamon would never have known that Prop Joe was essentially in control of all that territory, but in a more benevolent way.

Added to that -- there's been nothing to suggest that Freamon even knows that Cheese is Joe's nephew.

Jeremy said...

Not sure if anybody is going to make down to the bottom of this thread (I didn't), but I have a prediction and a comment.

First the comment - now that Bunk has the DNA on Chris from beating Micheal's dad/stepdad/whatever to death, does anybody think its even a little funny that Chris is going to go down for the only thing he's ever done that could possibly be described as a good thing? (Beating to death a pedophile before he has time to abuse another child) Another "No Good Deed" moment.

My prediction about Freamon and Clay Davis - Freamon is getting some backup to save his and Mcnulty's asses when the fake serial killer investigation gets blown wide open. Clay Davis is back, and more powerful than ever, and he is going to pull Lester and Jimmy out of the fire.

Rhayader said...

anonymous: Added to that -- there's been nothing to suggest that Freamon even knows that Cheese is Joe's nephew.

Uhh, actually in season 2, when we first meet Cheese, they all discuss the fact that he is Joe's nephew. Lester even makes a joke about he is Joe's nephew "on his mama's side".

Indeed said...

Exactly, the Cheese Prop Joe connection is known - and even if it wasn't known as family, he was known as a Lieutenant to Prop Joe.
True that Major Crimes isn't aware of the Co-op, but I do believe they knew that Prop Joe had a direct 'connect' to the Greeks, did they not? In season 2 wasn't Joe photgraphed outside the warehouse? Anyway, my point on this is that ever since Joe's death, I've been waiting for more to be made of it by Lester, et al. To Major Crimes, he wouldn't just be seen as another drug-related death.

xxxent said...

This came to me last night, not sure if I believe this theory or not yet but it's a possibility.

We know Daniels did some dirt in the eastern a long time ago. Something bad enough that he still worries about it coming out. Prop Joe ran the drug trade in the east side for a very long time. They find leaked information in Joe's desk after he's popped, something that could have come from a high placed cop. Major Crimes also never showed any interest in the east side or Joe but did always seem to go after his major competitor.

Could Daniels possibly be the leak?

Anonymous said...

"Uhh, actually in season 2, when we first meet Cheese, they all discuss the fact that he is Joe's nephew. Lester even makes a joke about he is Joe's nephew "on his mama's side"."

That was actually Drac, and it was in season 3, not 2. Cheese was never referred to as Joe's nephew until season 4, and never by Lester.

Anonymous said...

"Major Crimes also never showed any interest in the east side or Joe but did always seem to go after his major competitor."

Major Crimes investigated Joe for six months or so in between season 2 & 3 (they say how long it was, I just forget off-hand).

Anonymous said...

"True that Major Crimes isn't aware of the Co-op, but I do believe they knew that Prop Joe had a direct 'connect' to the Greeks, did they not? In season 2 wasn't Joe photgraphed outside the warehouse?"

True, but they don't know that the Greeks are still/back in town.

What I'm saying is, Major Crimes never knew anything about the fact that Joe, through the Co-Op, took over the East Side. They know now that Marlo has taken over the East Side, but they don't realize that all he had to do was take over for Joe. Therefore, they wouldn't care at all about Joe. Whether Lester knows Joe died or not, he'd have no reason to care. It wouldn't have anything to do with the case he's making, unless he could connect it.

Rhayader said...

That was actually Drac, and it was in season 3, not 2. Cheese was never referred to as Joe's nephew until season 4, and never by Lester.

I am almost certain you are wrong. I don't even know who Drac is, but I distinctly remember the entire MCU discussing Cheese and his connection to Joe early on in season 2. I will take a look tonight and get back to you with an episode title, but in the mean time anybody can feel free to back me up here. I'm not crazy, am I?

Anonymous said...

Trust me -- I thought the same thing you did. There's a scene in season 2 where Sergei and Nick get money from Joe; Joe talks about his nephews, but does not say that Cheese is his nephew at that time (anybody who knows that he is his nephew assumes it -- I did the first time I saw it, and had this same argument arguing your side a few weeks ago).

Pop in episode 3-01 and you will see the "on his mama's side" line, and you can confirm that it refers to Drac, who is (as far as I remember) only featured in episode 3-01.

Anonymous said...

PS: MCU would not have had any reason to be discussing Cheese in season 2, if you think about it. Cheese is introduced as the guy who lent Ziggy money, and later used as a guy selling near the Barksdale towers who gets shot by Mouzone. Major Case is investigating the port stuff all through season 2; very late in the game, they catch Joe, but that only confirms that there are narcotics in the building. They don't investigate Joe at all until after season 2.

Rhayader said...

Ok I may be slightly crazy: I think the conversation I was alluding to took place in season 3. However, I am sure it was Cheese, not Drac (whoever that is). My Bad.

Anonymous said...

Drac is "the most talkingest motherfucker [Lester] ever heard on a wiretap". They have nobody tapped who will say anything over the phone, so Sydnor goes undercover to bust a guy whose name eludes me (I'll remember it as soon as I hit "submit") who is a Lieutenant, hoping that Drac will be promoted. When people ask why would he be promoted despite his obvious inadequacies, Lester answers "This is Prop Joe's nephew... on his mama's side."

Cheese is promoted instead of Drac, at which point Drac is heard complaining over the phone about that "off-brand nigga Cheese". Some people have said that his dialogue here directly contradicts Cheese being Joe's nephew, while I maintain that the two are not mutually exclusive.

At any rate, I promise you that, no matter how hard you look, you will not find any reference to Cheese being Joe's nephew until the 4th season.

Anonymous said...

I should say "any direct reference".

Daniel said...

No doubt this point has been raised before, but the theme in "Gone Baby Gone," the movie based on Dennis Lehane's novel, is remarkably similar to one of the main themes in The Wire this season -- does the end justify the means, even if the means are reckless, even immoral?

Lehane, of course, is one of the show's main writers, and the movie stars Amy Ryan (Beadie) and Michael K. Williams (Omar).

I watched the movie for the first time last night, and couldn't help but notice the similarities.

If The Wire ends the same way "Gone Baby Gone" does, I'm guessing Bunk reprises the role of Casey Affleck and does what he believes is right, having McNulty and Lester arrested. That, of course, would lead to Marlo's case being destroyed.

Anonymous said...

I think that, if anybody snitches on McNulty, it will be Kima.

Though last week, I would've said it was Carver, knowing that McNulty would bring him in ("who in the district do we trust?") and based on what he had previously said to Herc.

So maybe next week, it will be Bunk.

Dennis said...

Dan: I don't have access to the on-demand feed so I'm one ep behind, ie last one I saw was 7. But The Wire for me isn't just about the happenings, it's about the execution of the happenings. So, I can read now about Omar "getting got" but that still doesn't take away from the scene.

Plus, back when I was watching Season 3, I went out one Sunday night and taped the ep. So, the next day I logged onto the NY Times and checked out their entertainment section and their headline was that Stringer Bell had been shot;) After something like that's been spoiled for you, it's hard to really shock me and you realize that's the way Simon works and in the wire it's not a question of "if", it's of "when" and I appreciate the "how" even if I see it after I've read about it. I'm the same way with movies as well.

Sorry for the rambling:)

Anyway, first time I heard about the connection between Joe and Cheese was when Joe referred to him as "my sister's boy." Not sure what season that was but that's first time I can remember it.

BTW, it's sort of spoiler-related but on the LA Times TB blog section there's an interview with Dominic West. He clears up the whole mystery about the season being downsized from 13 to 10 eps and just when Simon knew about it and how it changed the complexion of the season.

I'd discuss it a little more and it probably wouldn't phase most of the die-hard's, but I'll leave it alone for now. You'll know what I mean if you read the interview.

Finally, I'm shocked that everyone isn't picking the same guy for Omar's heir apparent, if there is to be one.

Anonymous said...

"Anyway, first time I heard about the connection between Joe and Cheese was when Joe referred to him as "my sister's boy." Not sure what season that was but that's first time I can remember it."

My memory says he calls him that in 4-13 (in the "I can't give him up" part with Marlo), and probably in either 4-10 or 4-11, when talking to Omar.

I can't remember the first time it's said either, because I lent out my season 4 DVDs.

Anonymous said...

Alan,

Un-freaking-believable, and I had actually thought that it might be Kenard (thought of throwing in my S3 DVDs last night to check but was too lazy - and again, I'm the guy that originally drew the Omar/Bunk promise/Greek-tragedy parallel in the above post).

Forget "amazing long-term planning." It may be the single greatest piece of storytelling I've ever seen on television. The layer upon layer of weight and thematic richness in that one event/arc is almost too much to comprehend. My mind is blown right now.

Nick said...

I agree the wire is a great show, but a lot of you do not seem aware of the fact that the main plot points of many shows are laid out far ahead of time. For example, David Chase had the major storyline of the Sopranos written before the pilot went into production.

Anonymous said...

Chase has also publicly said that he didn't know how the show was going to end until he spent a month or two over the final hiatus figuring it out.

I think it's amazing that, if the show *had* been cancelled in the third season, Simon would've said, years later, "Hey, you remember that kid who was holding the stick? he was gonna kill Omar if the show went five seasons."

Logan said...

"Could Daniels possibly be the leak?"

Unless I'm completely confusing something, I don't see how that's possible. The folder with the indictments was discovered when Joe died. I don't remember the exact order, but we then see the folder move through the hands of some cops before it gets into Daniels' hands (I'm pretty sure we never saw it placed into his hands). Daniels then gives it to Rhonda, who shows it to Bond. If it was Daniels, he was holding all the evidence of the leak. Why would he then put it into the hands of the people whose reputations could be killed if the source of the leak isn't discovered, when he could've just destroyed the evidence without anyone finding out (thinking that it went up the chain of command and then went nowhere)?

Anonymous said...

Let me put forth a speculation on that... Ilene Nathan.

In that, she's the only significant character on the court/legal side of the character list who hasn't appeared again yet.

Anonymous said...

Someone made a good point about prop joe, omar, and butchie being throwback gangsters..street guys with respect and integrity..whose respect and integrity cost them in the end..

Think about it.. Wee Bay got out of the game (effectively by pulling his family out of that life), Prop Joe got hit just after showing marlo the ropes. Omar got it because he expected others to follow the code, marlo didn't and kenard was too young to know it. It's out with the old and in with the new...This show is giving us a glimpse at uncontrollable circumstances of change. When people try for change (Carcetti) they find out that things will inevitably stay the same regardless of effort. When people believe things are the same (omar) they find out that the world has changed around them. I don't like it, but to push that message across, the writers needed these things to happen.

domino87 said...

For example, David Chase had the major storyline of the Sopranos written before the pilot went into production.

Hate to be a nitpick, but this couldn't be more untrue. Here is a quote from David Chase himself:

"I had no plan beyond the first season because I didn't expect it to be well received at all. I mean, the chances of success in television are minuscule....So, we didn't have any long-term plans. In fact, I used to say that The Sopranos was like the Mir Space Station. It wasn't supposed to stay up there for five years. It wasn't built for that."

Interview located here:
http://tinyurl.com/24vm6h

I think it's amazing that, if the show *had* been cancelled in the third season, Simon would've said, years later, "Hey, you remember that kid who was holding the stick? he was gonna kill Omar if the show went five seasons."

Actually David Simon has said that if the show had been cancelled at any point before its 5 season run, he would have finished the story by writing it in novels.

Zach Haldeman said...

Nick said... I agree the wire is a great show, but a lot of you do not seem aware of the fact that the main plot points of many shows are laid out far ahead of time. For example, David Chase had the major storyline of the Sopranos written before the pilot went into production.

Uh, of course creators know the major storylines of their shows (well, at least a couple season's worth) before the pilot goes into production. You don't get picked up if the network doesn't think you've thought the series out at least a couple years ahead. But it's one thing to just know specific storylines for the first season and have an idea of where the show's going afterward. It's another to briefly show a few kids pretending to be the show's most famous character, have the most prominent of them not really show up again until the following season, and then the season after that have him kill the character he was impersonating.

By the way, I wonder how Senator Obama felt when his favorite character on his favorite show bit the dust. But I guess that's just assuming he has OnDemand. Maybe he has yet to find out.

Anonymous said...

but why would the leak be eileen nathan? what is her motivation? she's making good money, i know they're wrapping up story lines, but does hers need to be "wrapped up?" wouldn't it make more sense for it to be somebody who feels slighted in some way?

the thought of daniels might make some sense if it wasn't for major crimes investigating prop joe in 3 and him turning over the evidence. i'm guessing we're in for a surprise whomever it might be.

i know this isn't the forum, but it was brought up, so i feel the need to bring some closure to it. and the naivety of it, doesn't deserve more than a few sentences. but, the idea of nostalgia for some better time in the past that is propagated by the rush limbaughs and sean hannitys of the world is pure bunk. they always point to the fifties as if it was some glorious time.

first, these are people that can't even remember the fifties. second, this was a time when african americans were in the woodshed, women were in the kitchen, and gays in the closet. hardly a utopian society, i'd say. these myths are always propagated by white males, and i'm a white male myself, just not an ignorant one. and to be honest, this trend isn't too far removed from the islamic extremists yearning for an 8th century that never existed. funny how wars start when two false memes or mind viruses clash and we're all caught in the middle.

lastly, progressivism as a bad thing is just plain laughable. if the world (and science) can teach anything it's that systems evolve in two ways: slow incremental progress or through systemic collapse (and in turn, equally severe change/adaptation). static societies eventually find that collapse, again, hardly a healthy society.

there's always a better world out there. the real beauty of the wire (and the reason i'm somewhat like dennis above - not caring about spoilers) is that the wire shines the flashlight on america. this ISN'T the shining city on the hill. there are better ways, without treating half of society like animals.

Anonymous said...

well, most tv shows are a product of the same capitalistic system (and i believe in capitalism, but am not too dogmatized to realize when it's broken - i might suggest the book The Cancer Stage of Capitalism) that lasts just as long as there is a market/audience. shows are written ep by ep, season by season. HBO is mostly an exception, but even sopranos was only written for 3 or 4 seasons, whatever it was (which explains the drawn out nature of the last few).

speaking of Senator Obama, call me stupid or slow, but was Clay Davis's "O-Bond-a" line a shot at State's Attorney Bond wanting to follow the footsteps of Barack, as a fast climbing African American politician, strictly focused on advancement, like Carcetti (driven by ambition)? Lot of ways to interpret it, can't quite put my finger on it.

Anonymous said...

"speaking of Senator Obama, call me stupid or slow, but was Clay Davis's "O-Bond-a" line a shot at State's Attorney Bond wanting to follow the footsteps of Barack, as a fast climbing African American politician, strictly focused on advancement, like Carcetti (driven by ambition)? Lot of ways to interpret it, can't quite put my finger on it."

My feeling is that this was a shot at him for "selling out" to the white establishment. It's easy to forget now, since Obama has huge support among the African American community, but early on, many African-Americans were distrustful of Obama, and he actually trailed Hillary among black voters in the beginning. He was accused of not being "black enough". It makes perfect sense for Clay Davis to use that reference as part of playing the race card, and show that he is "one of the people". I think this is partly an issue of the episode being filmed months ago, before Obama started getting 80 percent of the black vote.

Rick said...

Dennis said: Finally, I'm shocked that everyone isn't picking the same guy for Omar's heir apparent, if there is to be one.

If I got to pick one, I got to go with Michael. Sure, he's been living the life of a gangster for a bit now, but he seems to have kept the good heart he's had since we first saw him.

lls said...

I feel like Omar won't have an heir. Perhaps the idea is that when Omar died, his "Robin Hoodian" Code died with him.

Also, Andrew- it appears Alan asked David specifically about your catch.
you are the coolest commenter ever.

Happy Contrarian said...

Childermasss –

Fantastic post; really made me think of a few things I hadn’t considered. Your entire post is worth quoting here but instead, I’ll just quote a few bits and pieces….

“Simon has used the drug trade, I think, as allegory for his theme that people are worth less today than they used to be. Here, with Omar's death, I think he succeeds…”

I agree, in part. My take on Omar’s death (in trying to follow the logic of the show’s themes) is as follows. Omar was retired and had all of the money he wanted/needed. A character like the Greek (i.e., Simon’s metaphor for pure capitalism) – who has no emotional ties to anything other than money – would have stayed in Puerto Rico and lived happily ever after. Omar, on the other hand, was done in by his humanity. His downfall was his moral code, his emotional ties to another person…. Or maybe I’m completely off. In any case, part of the show’s brilliance is its richness and complexity.

I completely agree that Simon has focused on the theme that people are worth less today than they used to be (unsurprising confession – I disagree with him). The episode where Marlo/Chris/Snoop killed Fat Face Andre did a great job of fleshing out this theme. The theme was especially hit home in Joe’s quote “throw it out, get another”. I haven’t seen it commented on here, but Joe’s death was a brilliant bookend to the aforementioned episode. In the episode where Joe died, it very well could have been the Greek that uttered the line “throw it out, get another.” In fact, I wish the quote at the beginning of that episode had been the Greek’s line, to the effect that “in these troubled times, we all need insurance”.

“One thing this season that has been spectacularly unconvincing about the newsroom scenes is the internet's absence, and I think that speaks more to Simon's desire to inhabit a world that no longer exists.”

I completely agree. Gus’ speech about his father reading the morning paper while drinking his morning coffee is a case in point. Simon clearly has a lot of nostalgia for a world (particularly, a newsroom world) that no longer exists. From where I sit, there are a host of things Simon could have done to make the newsroom storyline more meaningful but I think he missed a great opportunity by not touching on the internet, blogging and that fact that around the globe – via the internet, satellites and digital cable – people have access to news/entertainment 24/7 and the dominance and importance of newspapers will never be what it was (sorry, Alan). I sound like Little Big Roy from the first episode of season 2….

Your references to the civility of previous generations (my wording, not yours) got me thinking. Back in the day, the typical American may have lived in the same town all of his life, worked with the same company all of his life, etc. All of this probably resulted in a closer-knit community (think of the Locust Point of Frank Sobotka’s parent’s generations). I don’t think Simon ever made this point convincingly on the show (though I would suspect he’d agree with the argument), nor could one have expected him too. There are some things a TV show can’t do…although The Wire has certainly shown that a TV show can do more than people previously thought.

“As Frank Sobotka said to the lobbyist, paraphrased, "we used to make stuff in this country, now we just stick our hand in the next guy's pocket." “

That’s one of my favorite Sobotka quotes (and he had some great quotes. I must admit that I’m a little curious why the age of manufacturing (assembly lines!) elicits nostalgia in Simon about the eroding value of human beings but, as a great scholar once said, whatevs.

“One of Simon's oft-repeated phrases is "unfettered capitalism is not a social policy," but I've also wondered who he would entrust to run that social policy since institutions often fail to serve the people they're meant to serve.”

Me, too. That’s probably my biggest issue with Simon and his frequent pontifications. If institutions and beaurocracies are so corrupt/inefficient and if government is the worst offender, isn’t that a strong argument for not entrusting the government to solve all of the individuals’ problems?

Great post. I’m off to watch the second half of Shaq’s debut. Go Suns!

Anonymous said...

Long Live Omar! Shantih. Shantih Shantih.

Anonymous said...

One question still bugging me about this episode, is that I thought that in the meeting in the Carcetti's office early in the episode he said that he was going to fully fund the police (by pulling money from snowplows and such). If that's the case, then why does all overtime, etc. have to run through McNulty and why do they have to continue their charade?

I'm sure I'm missing something, but don't know what.

Anonymous said...

"If institutions and beaurocracies are so corrupt/inefficient and if government is the worst offender, isn’t that a strong argument for not entrusting the government to solve all of the individuals’ problems?"

So you're saying that, since the government can never work, there's no point in trying to make it work or expecting it to accomplish anything?

"I thought that in the meeting in the Carcetti's office early in the episode he said that he was going to fully fund the police (by pulling money from snowplows and such)."

He's fully funding this investigation. Everybody else is still supposed to be operating on a budget. The difference is, prior to this, Jimmy only had authorization for unlimited overtime for two detectives, eventually also getting a wiretap (which costs money).

larchlion said...

to keep the o-bond-a/obama line going..

first, i guess i should state that the "is he black enough" question, seems more like a media (corrupted media by some established entity, presumably DLC - and i'm a democrat) creation. i've never heard any actually state that. but, to me, maybe the not black enough/not white enough/whatever, is just what we need. anything to bring us together again, to get away from the "team game" politics that takes away from actual problem solving, anything to get people to care again, rather than electing a joke as a governor or a president.

and this is from a guy who just walked out of a corner store with an "obama is my homeboy" shirt in dallas (where by the way, he had an enormous showing first thing in the morning for a noon speech) and every african american was eager to at least comment or ask if i'm really going to vote for him.

hell yeah.

any politician brave or honest enough to say a complicated, in your face show like the wire is his favorite, will get my vote. not b/c it's the wire, but b/c he didn't pander or waver. hillary...american idol. please go away with that lowest common denominator BS.

and the idea, or should i say ideology, that libertarianism will save us all always cracks me up. libertarianism (and i'm a civil libertarian) is another huge naivety, nothing more than a religion.

first, the strongest democracies AND capitalist systems AND healthiest/happiest people are all in nordic countries. perhaps we could learn something. i highly recommend trips to denmark or sweden. just in the late spring to early autumn, b/c it's brutally cold.

second, founding fathers, particularly GW, believed in a government that uplifted people, that didn't grind them down. we need to be aware that money/corporations have overrun policy and politics. that's the definition of fascism, which is ONLY interested in bottom line, ie the inhumanity that Simon is referencing. infinite profits. which, i'd argue, is actually possible with the right economic model, ie cradle to cradle, the problem is that powers that be fight to maintain the same model, coal/oil/nukes/gas etc. this is where people were lost. and at the end of the day, is the fundamental statement The Wire is making.

capitalism at the end of the day, is a game, and their must be rules of the game established by the state, which isn't AND SHOULDNT be some overbearing all powerful entity - which is why Jefferson et al gave us power to change it, but merely the collective representatives of We The People.

----

and dude above is absolutely right about worrying about people no longer aging in place, within the same community. there is a certain amount of sustainability in neighborhoods and communities when there is long term stability brought on by individuals embedded within it, like a tapestry woven together. This reminds me of the decision making process i recommend to cities across the country and the world, strictly economic equations are encouraged to leave out immeasurable factors in favor of the bottom line. for example, rather than "externalizing" costs such as waste and pollution as industries do, which merely push costs off onto later generations, typically at greater costs, we have to establish rules that mandate these "costs" are accounted for. all of a sudden the cleanest and greenest companies are the most profitable.

we have to ask ourselves with everything we do, how is this profitable economically, socially, and environmentally? only when we can answer all of those questions with the same answer, can human civilization become sustainable.

Anonymous said...

"Has it been revealed who Michael's biological father is?"

Well, if you put stock in "spoilers"-yes. Don't worry, I wouldn't think of posting it. One spoiler site (that I will not name or link), has been spot on all season.

Anonymous said...

What?! Are you saying we'll finally learn the identity of Michael's biological father this season? Is this man a character we already know??? Or just some name that will come up later?

Anonymous said...

Gonna miss Omar. I do think they missed quite a few better paths to take with his storyline for this season. This season seems the weakest of the series to me. Omar went from being cool and calculated to being somewhat deranged acting this season. Kenard taking out Omar came off to simply have shock value to me. And for all his attention to detail why in the hell does Omar go from having his double-barreled shotgun when he walks past Kenard to a pump action when he reaches the other end of the alley? Why is his DOB so off on his toe tag? Why wasn't Michael on his death list when low level muscle like O-Dog and Savino were? Sloppy. It was harder for me to watch how pathetic he was robbing his last stash house than when he was shot.

Dax Mahoney said...

I had a dream last night that Lester takes the fall and announces he has cancer.
He said he would die a happy man if they took down Marlo.

Anonymous said...

Anybody here been checking in on Slate's TV Club?

Gawd! It's been awful. No insight whatsoever to what has been happening this season.

anyway, a commenter over there made one hell of a hilarious blog entry in which he breaks down Jeffrey Goldberg's blunders from each week of the TV club.

You'll only want to check this out if you've been reading Slate, and be warned that the enries are very long, but damn it, they are so worth the time, IMHO.

http://thefirstannualkrogblog.blogspot.com/

now I'm going to go post this at the HND too.

Anonymous said...

From David Simon himself:

"It's Kenard, beginning his storyline. Good catch by some of the viewers."

Damn. That there is some amazing long-term planning.


Alan, how can you honestly say that? There was nothing at all built upon that storyline until he glared at Omar and referred to him being gimpy. Amazing development there. This season is rushed and it shows. From the abandonment of established character traits to the parading out of characters from previous seasons. I honestly expect to see McNulty trip over a body at the morgue and say "Hey, what the hell is Stringer Bell doing here?" Then take a swig of Jamison's and tie a red ribbon around his wrist.

Algernon said...

Kenard's storyline is Omar's storyline. Bunk tried to change Omar's ways because he saw Kenard and some kids pretending to be Omar. Omar didn't change his ways, and the kid Omar inspired kills him. Here's a longer interpretation:

-Bunk sees Kenard and some other kids pretending to be Omar. Bunk gives Omar a speech about how he's helping to destroy the community and feeding the cycle of violence, saying he saw kids pretending to be Omar. Omar is disturbed.

-Next season, after Omar's stay in prison, Bunk repeats his previous speech and Omar promises to stop the killing. He does, for the rest of the season.

-Through Season 4, Kenard is always portrayed as the ballsiest kid around -- he's small, so he gets a beatdown from Michael, but he's not afraid to take on those bigger than himself who he's sized up as weak, as shown when he punks Namond in S4 and picks a fight with Dukie in S5.

-Omar can't stay away after Butchie's death. After the apartment ambush, he loses it and is completely back to his old ways of shooting down people in the street. He's willingly entered back into the violence created by the drug trade. He kills Savino and brags about it to a bunch of kids -- including the same kid who was pretending to be him years ago. Kenard sizes Omar up as weak -- maybe he's grown disillusioned from his previous recollection of the legend of Omar -- and kills him shortly afterward. Full circle. I wonder what's ahead for Kenard in the final episodes?

Anonymous said...

Omar's death is clear case of reaping what you sow. As much as the TV audiences loved Omar and put him up on a pedestal, he was a violent and reckless man who terrorized the neighborhood.

There's a reason children ran screaming, "Omar's coming!" and fled. It's because he instilled fear. Omar was a thief. He shoved that big shotgun in people's faces and robbed them. Just like Levy, he was a vulture. A parasite who fed off drug dealers.

Who are these drug dealers? Kids like Wallace, Bodie, Poot, D'Angelo, Michael, Namond, Spider, Dukie and Kenard. Those are the people working the corners who fall prey to Omar's profession.

In Season 1, Omar and his crew robbed the pit when D'Angelo makes a food run. Omar shoots a kid in the leg. How would you feel if the kid he shot was Wallace? Does that still make Omar such a great hero? There's a reason the corner kids are scared of him. Omar earned that reputation by using violence.

Then the legend of Omar grew to mythical proportions. Some impressionable kids - like the apparently sociopathic Kenard - started to emulate him. They wanted to be Omar. They wanted their turn to be that badass who gets to kill and steal.

That, my friends, was some shameful shit right there.

Bunk tried to warn Omar. He wanted him to see how his own violence affected his community. That some children looked up to him for the wrong reasons. And other just hated him.

Unfortunately, Omar couldn't change. He is what he is. In the end, it came back at him.

Anonymous said...

Potential spoiler!!!

if you look at the stills from the morgue seen with omar..he has a scar on his chest and not on his face.

No Heart Anthony?

could be photoshop, anyone seen the episode more than once that can verify the facial scar in "omar's" death scene? Or could Omar actually be no heart Anthony from the get go?

Anonymous said...

nevermind, he does have a facial scar...but the chest scar is obvious as well..is omar actually no heart anthony? either way he is gone.

Anonymous said...

You can see the scar on his face in the morgue. He had a scar on his chest in the 4th season and I assumed that the stitched looking scar was from an autopsy, even though I would not think he would get one with such an obvious cause of death. I entertained the notion of it not being Omar for about 2 seconds after seeing the DOB of 1960 but will chalk it up to this season being so sloppy to begin with. Omar limps when he feels like it, has a transforming shotgun and abandoned four seasons of well crafted development. Don't look too much for enlightment.

Anonymous said...

I might be reading too much into this, because I refuse to believe that is the end of Omar's storyline...but the scar is old..according to the picture..

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b178/kerrzy/omardead.jpg

Anonymous said...

you people complainig about the show are silly. Just enjoy the last 2 episodes. This is as good as any other season.

Alan do you think the show is ending on a low note.

fork said...

man, y'all be reachin. like adriana from another series. omar dead. ya feel me? no need to speculate, read into, conjecture. there's no special dead. there just dead, yo.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who liked Omar understood that he wasn't all good or all bad, like every character on this show and like all the people we know in real life.

Yes, Omar used violence as part of his profession but he had a code. Life on the street in Simon's Baltimore doesn't allow the characters to be pacifists. "It's either play, or get played."

Marlo has no code, do anything and and kill anyone who stands between him and one more dollar. Omar and even Avon and Stringer to a lesser degree, are representative of the old school street code where there were still rules and boundaries.

Simon's point all along has been that morally ambiguous gangsters like Omar, Prop Joe, and Avon are being replaced with cutthroat capitalist gangsters like Marlo. In Simon's view, people are worth less and less everyday in our capitalist system, be it on Wall Street or a West Baltimore corner.

Omar didn't get what was coming to him. He was simply the last of a dying breed.

Anonymous said...

happy contrarian said
“From where I sit, there are a host of things Simon could have done to make the newsroom storyline more meaningful but I think he missed a great opportunity by not touching on the internet, blogging and that fact that around the globe – via the internet, satellites and digital cable – people have access to news/entertainment 24/7 and the dominance and importance of newspapers will never be what it was.”
I’ve heard this line of reasoning a lot since the season started, and I could not disagree more. Mr. Simon’s goal of this season is not to show, in great detail, how and why print media declined. The goal of this season is to show how that broken institution fits with the rest of Baltimore world and how it affects the society. To serve the narrative he only needs to show that the print media institution is broken and juxtapose it to other ill functioning institutions of the city. And he did that.
Another thing. Introducing internet to a world that showed us explicit internet usage only twice in the entire run (Ziggy & Nick and Dukie & Raymond) would look utterly forced, imho. Yes, internet is an important factor that necessitates change for the newspaper business but where is the connection between that world and world of the corner? How does internet affect lives of Mike, Dukie, Kenard, Chris & Snoop? Jimmy, Bunk or Kima? It doesn’t hence there is no place for it in The Wire. Also, personally, I think that your internet/newspaper importance statement would be a great subject for a great discussion (since I would disagree with the absoluteness of your conclusion) but this is not the place. Or is it? :)
“I must admit that I’m a little curious why the age of manufacturing (assembly lines!) elicits nostalgia in Simon about the eroding value of human beings but, as a great scholar once said, whatevs.”
Would you care to elaborate a little? I’m not sure I see your point.
The age of manufacturing was also the age of higher living standards for a larger number of people than we have today. Those were well paid jobs with benefits and pensions and provided their holders with middle class living and the ability to ensure better education for their children (just to name a few things and not even go into significance of production of goods for foreign consumption and effects that has on a structure of country’s economy and resulting state of county’s current account). Working on an assembly line is eroding a value of human beings more than today’s jobs with lower pay, no pension and benefits and possibility to end up on a street at any point in time (while trying to carry a mortgage and send kids to school)?! Losing a job in today’s world, in a lot of cases, does not result in a lateral move to another place of employment but a step down and acceptance of whatever is available.
Mr. Simon is not offering any solutions; he is just pointing at the problems and trying to make people think. Or as it was said so many times before, he is just holding a mirror for America to take a serious look at itself.

Anonymous said...

"I’ve heard this line of reasoning a lot since the season started, and I could not disagree more. Mr. Simon’s goal of this season is not to show, in great detail, how and why print media declined. The goal of this season is to show how that broken institution fits with the rest of Baltimore world and how it affects the society."

I think you've hit the nail on the head. I've read a lot of complaints from people who don't find the newsroom engaging enough, but it seems to me to be one of the more important threads in the entire run of the series. We've seen the huge disconnect between the people who live in poverty and governemntal institutions, but not much with how this world is disconnected from the rest of the country. And the press is the key to that. By showing how one newsroom decides which murders to cover, you get a glimpse into why there's a huge gap in understanding between the urban poor and suburban middle class, not to mention between races. Speaking for myself, when I now read my own local newspaper and read about a drug or gang related murder, I wonder about the background details the press never gives, or perhaps isn't even aware of.

I also see the newsroom sotryline as examining another industry in decline. In season 2 we hear about how the dock workers all began losing their jobs in the late 70's - that period is happening right now for the newspaper medium. We've seen the younger generation of stevedores turn to slinging for lack of other opportunities, just as it happened in West Baltimore a couple generations past when the jobs moved out; now we're seeing yet another industry in a different stage of decline.

Anonymous said...

Another parralell between Kenard and Omar. In season 4 at some point, Namond and Kenard are on the corner when slangin' and Namond was getting his hair braided from the fro he had. I remember he asked Kenard something along the lines "Do I look alright with this hair" and Kenard replied "Do i look like a fag to you". Thought that was funny along the lines of all the other things that the Kernard story has developed.
Another thing that has been bothering me is the fact that Omars "code" never involved restraining from swearing, and also he never broke his "code" about not killing people in "the game" he never killed civilians. Also the Bunk promise went out the window when the things with Butchie happened. So he broke his promie to Bunk but like he said in season one "you either play, or get played".
Man i miss him.

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