Friday, June 19, 2009

The Wire, Season 2, Episode 4: "Hard Cases" (Veterans edition)

Once again, we're revisiting season two of "The Wire" in two versions: one for people who have watched the entire series and want to be able to discuss it from beginning to end, and those who aren't all the way there yet and don't want to be spoiled about later developments. This is the veteran post (click here for the newbie version).

Spoilers for episode four, "Hard Cases," coming up just as soon as I buy a leather coat...
"You ever miss it, Pop?" -Nick Sobotka
"Wouldn't do no good." -Louis Sobotka
I want to start by continuing last week's discussion of the parallels between Nick and D'Angelo, which only feel more overt in "Hard Cases," even though their situations here are in some ways opposite. Where Nick is plunging even deeper into this criminal business than his uncle wants, D'Angelo is rebelling against his uncle's entire way of life. In both cases, we have the young men rebelling against what their uncles want, though for Nick that means getting more involved in dirty business, while D'Angelo is trying to live cleaner.

Beyond that, what's interesting is that each man has been raised in a very insular community where he's been taught by family and friends that there is one and only one way to live (picking up shifts at the port for Nick, slinging dope for D'Angelo), and that there's no point in even trying anything else.

D'Angelo learned last year that the world doesn't have to work that way, and that lesson is driven home as he realizes that Avon arranged the deaths of a bunch of inmates who meant nothing to him (more collateral damage) so he could scam some years off their sentences.

Nick, meanwhile, is realizing that his uncle's way of life (and his father's, for that matter) is dying, and because no one wanted to see that coming, no one prepared young guys like Nick and Ziggy to do anything else. And while Nick's options in life are probably greater than D'Angelo's (he's uneducated and unskilled, but a white guy with no criminal record still gets through more doors), he can't fathom what they are, and instead has to glom onto his uncle's side business with Vondas and The Greek.

And in rebelling against their respective uncles, albeit in different directions, both young men are placing themselves in dangerous situations: D'Angelo because Avon and Stringer (particularly Stringer) are already wary about his loyalty, and Nick because he's getting more into bed with The Greek and company at the exact moment that police investigation into the port is about to intensify.

(A bit lost in the shuffle of all this family drama is that Frank treats Nick more like a son than he does Ziggy -- or, at least, that he treats Nick more like a man than he does Ziggy. He's mad at Nick, but they have a conversation about it, albeit a heated one. Ziggy he just slaps and scolds.)

Now, the danger isn't that great for Nick just yet, because both the Bunk/Lester/Beadie team and the reconstituted version of the Sobotka detail have a couple of hard (as in difficult) cases in front of them.

Having let the Atlantic Light sail away from Philly (even though they really had no choice), Bunk and Lester have set themselves up to be scapegoated by Rawls, and neither man realizes that Lester's about to be reassigned to the detail -- nor that Lester will wind up investigating the same case from a different angle. (And, again, you either have to admire the patience of "The Wire" or grow frustrated with it. How many other series would be a third of the way through their season without having all the good guys realize they're essentially chasing the same bad guys?)

Daniels, meanwhile, takes advantage of the leverage he realizes he has with Burrell, arranging not only to have his own people (instead of some Rawls-handpicked humps) work the case, but to turn the detail into a permanent Major Crimes Unit should they make any kind of case here. But they have no idea what Frank is up to, or what kind of cases are available for them to make. By this point in season one, the detail had at least made a little bit of progress with the Barksdale crew, where here we're basically starting at square one.

But one thing we learned from the first season is that, just as it seems like nothing is happening, many things start happening at once. Daniels knows what he's doing this time, doesn't have deadweight like Polk and Mahone, and when Lester shows up, he's going to realize there's a lot more to the case than he thought.

Buckle up, folks.

Some other thoughts on "Hard Cases":

• McNulty's quest for his Jane Doe's identity doesn't seem to be getting anywhere, but his search for Omar at least brings Bubbs and Johnny back into the picture. Who doesn't love Bubbs? (And who wouldn't want to see a CBS sitcom with that title, starring Andre Royo as a charming homeless dope fiend?)

• I haven't had a chance yet to really sing the praises of Chris Bauer as Frank Sobotka, but this is an especially strong episode for him, between the opening scene where he tells off Nick (and again reiterates that he's not doing any of this for personal gain) and then the closing where he studies his reflection in the grubby bar mirror and realizes what he's becoming and what he's invited into his world. Bauer tends to get cast as two-dimensional jerks who yell a lot (see "Third Watch"), and while Frank certainly raises his voice from time to time (several times in "Hard Cases," in fact), he's a much more nuanced character, and Bauer finds every single layer of him at the same time he's holding the screen by just standing (or sitting) still. A great, great performance.

• Lester and Bunk together make a rare-for-TV partnership between two black cops. Back when I watched this episode the first time, I suggested to David Simon that some of the stevedores' discomfort (Horseface in particular) with having them in the bar stemmed from that fact, but Simon more or less reiterated Beadie's theory that the stevedores are enough of a melting pot that their only issue was with the badges, not the skin color. All these years later, I see that interpretation more than I did at the time, but I'm curious if anyone else had my initial reaction, if only because it's still kind of startling, unfortunately, for a show to feature an African-American duo.

• A nice moment that the show doesn't feel the need to underline: as Ziggy is explaining about how the digital camera works, Nick realizes that they're going to make photo developing shops obsolete, just as advancements in technology are endangering so many other traditional businesses, including the port here, and newspapers in season five.

• Speaking of forced obsolescence, this episode introduces Nick's father, Louis, who was a shipbuilder forced out of work when that industry died in Baltimore. Note that despite spending his "retirement" working on a gambling system, Louis never actually places wagers; his wins and losses are all hypothetically recorded in his notebook.

• Can any Baltimoreans identify that giant wall at the end of Nick's block?

• Two bits of "It's not TV. It's HBO"-style humor in this one, first with Nick indelicately copping a feel off baby mama Aimee (not Amy, as I spelled it last week) because, quote, "They were staring right at me!," and then with Ziggy getting revenge on Maui (the beefy checker who sits next to Johnny 50 and resents Ziggy for stealing stuff and making life harder on the honest guys) by leaving a digital photo of Not-So-Little Ziggy as Maui's computer wallpaper.

• While struggling to work their case, Bunk and Lester also get Beadie to give up some background on herself, and discover they're working with someone who has neither the training nor, apparently, the desire to be a real investigative cop. She's nice, and she means well, but at this point, she seems in it for the bigger paycheck than she got as a toll-taker.

• While Avon is busy cutting a deal to shorten his prison stint, we get a brief glimpse of how desperate things are growing for his operation out in the real world, as the quantity and quality of the package Stringer has been getting from Atlanta keeps getting worse.

• I love that Prez, a character considered a joke by the rest of the detail for most of season one, gets to have his big moment where he stands in a corner of the new detail HQ and asks everyone, "What kept you?"

• This episode also features the hilarious montage of Daniels and Kima telling their wives about the detail, as the camera keeps swirling around each table to make it look like they could all be at the same dinner party. The candles, the wine and the use of classical music neatly illustrate how Marla Daniels and Cheryl both have different tastes and ambitions from their respective partners. They want them to be lawyers, but as Cedric and Kima show by signing up for the detail -- and as Kima shows by slapping bracelets on the d-bag at the traffic light -- these two are natural police who don't want to be anything else.

• I always forget that Jimmy gives Bubbs' stolen Walkman to Elena, and it always makes laugh.

• Also worth some chuckles in a particularly funny episode: Lester and Bunk's reaction to Beadie asking who Omar is. How exactly do you explain Omar to someone like Beadie?

• Maury Levy again shows that, while he's a disgusting sleaze, he's an incredibly talented sleaze, getting Avon's seven-year sentence reduced to only one. Even the prosecutor seems to acknowledge the state cop's theory that Avon is responsible for the hot shots, but Maury recognizes that, in the system, the charge you can make is sometimes more important than the charge that's right.

And now let's have some veterans-only talk about how some of this episode's developments will play out through the season and down the road...

• Whatever her interest in policework is now, Beadie will turn into a pretty good cop over the course of the season, and one of the small tragedies of the year is that, after all she learns from Lester and Bunk, she has to go back to driving around the stacks with her headphones on.

• Ziggy keeps piling on the reasons for Double-G to dislike him, which will eventually lead to the "Malaka" breaking point.

• Louis doesn't appear much this season, which only makes it more amazing that he has such presence and impact when he shows up to tell off Frank in "Bad Dreams" and to make Nick turn himself in in "Port in a Storm."

• We see the beginning of the end of both Kima and Daniels' relationships here, though his will end before hers.

• For that matter, D'Angelo's refusal to go along with Avon's plan no doubt sends a dangerous signal to Stringer.

• McNulty is an idiot for signing that separation agreement.

Coming up next: "Undertow," in which the detail's roster expands, Stringer tries to work around his inferior product, and Ziggy again tries to get into The Game.

What did everybody else think?

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

From a veterans P.O.V. I disagree with you about McNulty's signing the agreement. His and Beadie's relationship turns out to be a very good thing for him in the long run and although the end result is total alienation from his sons, I still feel it ended well..or at least as well as things can go on this show anyways.

Jarvis said...

This episode showed just how cunning Avon is. When he decided to go after the prison guard Tighlman, I thought it was just revenge for the officer disrespecting Avon and Wee-Bay. But no! Avon also used it to shave some years off his sentence - what a masterstroke. He also wanted to teach D'Angelo a lesson, something that doesn't work out so well. It's one of the things I love about this show - it allows its characters to act based on a complex set of motivations.

Alan Sepinwall said...

From a veterans P.O.V. I disagree with you about McNulty's signing the agreement. His and Beadie's relationship turns out to be a very good thing for him in the long run and although the end result is total alienation from his sons, I still feel it ended well..or at least as well as things can go on this show anyways.

No, he and Elena were better off apart. My point is that he signs the agreement, which he knows will force him to pay more than he can/should pay, because he thinks this will lead to Elena taking him back. And she's just playing him so she can get a better alimony deal.

Fernando said...

I love that your showing the parallels between Nick and D'Angelo. After watching this season, and then watching "The Sopranos", I would often think what is the deal with all the Uncle/Nephew pairings on HBO? I then realized that structure goes back to at least Hamlet, but still interesting that these 2 great shows would have that same dynamic around the same time.

As a Maryland resident, not really Baltimore, an associate used that building for a film he did, but I don't know what it is.

I agree with you about Bunk and Lester in the Bar scene. I don't think white cops would have gotten any further, but its gives the scene a subtle tension underneath the surface, especially with Bunk's line about country music.

I also caught that line about the photo mart last night when I was watching it. I knew it meant something but I didn't make the parallel until this last viewing (probably cuz im watching the episodes one at a time and not in 6 or 7 hour chunks lol)

Kevin said...

Line of the episode for me: Rawls telling Bunk and Lester: "I don't care if they were speaking Mandarin with a C-sucker's lisp…"

I forget where the reveal comes, do we know yet why that line is particularly funny coming from Rawls?

Anonymous said...

Line of the episode for me: Rawls telling Bunk and Lester: "I don't care if they were speaking Mandarin with a C-sucker's lisp…"

I forget where the reveal comes, do we know yet why that line is particularly funny coming from Rawls?


Kevin thats episode 10, s3 where the reveal comes.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment from Frank to Nick, saying "don't be throwing any money around, you know that much at least, right?".

Yet he and Ziggy both throw their money around, and it ends up leading to Frank's downfall. Because if he hadn't bought the church window, the initial investigation would never have started. Small things.

Lynn said...

Leavy is the kingpin. Avon's enterprise is sustained through him. I imagine that the hot shot plan was even instigated through him and that he was not just exploiting it to get the sentence reduced. Give the man some brisket!

mikeb302000 said...

Wasn't Avon's first intention to give the sentencing reduction to D'Angelo? Only after D refused it, did he decide to take it for himself. I thought it was an incredibly slick move and that it marked the end for D'Angelo.

I keep flashing ahead to the time Marlo came to see Avon and they talked though the glass.

todmod said...

It came up late in the last episode thread - but does anyone else think Pablo Schreiber as Nick Sobotka is the weak link of Wire actors? His "pop" line Alan quoted made me cringe a little, and he just doesn't seem up to the rest of the cast. Not Sophia Coppola in Godfather 3 level bad; he just never sells me with the character.

GMB said...

I thought that too about Pablo Schreiber when I first watched Season 2. Now that I've seen them all, I think he's the only actor they ever missed on for a major character. There are some obviously weaker actors in minor roles, but that's often only when they're using real people and it's forgiven. Maybe it's not that he's bad, it's just that everybody else is so good (and particularly those with whom he primarily works). But he's significantly weaker, in my opinion, and doesn't come close to making me feel for Nick what I felt for D'Angelo.

Theresa said...

A nice moment that the show doesn't feel the need to underline: as Ziggy is explaining about how the digital camera works, Nick realizes that they're going to make photo developing shops obsolete, just as advancements in technology are endangering so many other traditional businesses, including the port here, and newspapers in season five.

I also saw this scene as another parallel between Nick and D, in a way, because it reminded of the scene in season one where Wallace schools D on the fact that Alexander Hamilton wasn't a president. Limited worldview of both these characters is interesting.

This is the second time I've viewed this episode, and I definitely didn't catch on first viewing that Jimmy gave Elena the Walkman. Classic McNulty.

Also, you say you liked that montage, but having seen the whole series, it felt out of place to me. It seemed a little too sitcommy or something. Clever, yes. Still jarring? Definitely.

That last scene with Frank in the bathroom? Awesome, awesome acting.

This episode is where the ball really starts rolling on the investigation, but it also got me really excited about one of the funniest scenes that ever occurs in The Wire which is coming up in a couple of episodes: Omar's court appearance.

troy said...

Some nice observations as always, Alan.

To answer your question, I only thought of Bunk and Freamon being cops in that scene, never about their being black.

Frank Sobotka in season 2 is kind of in Avon's role in season 1, but he's more likable for me because his crimes are lesser. He doesn't want anyone to get killed or beaten. So while Avon too has a kind of charming side, Sobotka's charm seems more genuine.

One place I've got to disagree with you is where you say D'Angelo is trying to live cleaner. That's one interpretation, but I saw it more as his trying to get out from under his uncle -- more personal, than about lifestyle. Then he starts using, and if he'd kept on that path, assuming he ever was released, he'd have gone from having been a bishop to being less than a pawn.

Chaz said...

I don't whether it was the way it was shot or just the way Lance Reddick holds himself but Daniels seems to look meeker and smaller in the dinner montage. A nice little touch.

Jim King said...

Alan, I disagree that the backseat scene with Beadie was all about money and her being over her head. There were subltle touches about family, self-esteem, and frustration all bundled into that wonderful scene where you got a close look at Beadie's back story as a result of some superb acting by Amy Ryan.

I was astonished to see a similar backseat scene as character expose a few years later in "Gone Baby Gone," again nailed by a superb performance from Amy Ryan.

Zohar said...

Great as ever, Alan.

Also: does anyone know what Johnny is telling Bubbs about, before they encounter Omar?

Anonymous said...

hey alan u should have an answwer for this since ur a wire expert

in the first season opening credit sequence theres a picture of white mike, an image we dont seee till the 2nd season, did they shoot the first 2 seasons back to back?

Alan Sepinwall said...

They did not shoot the first two seasons back to back. I have no idea how (or even if) White Mike is in the s1 credits.

Eldritch said...

"The Wire" is the first time I've heard the expression "a police" used. "A cop" sure, but never "a police."

Is this a regional expression, say around Baltimore? Or am I leading too sheltered a life?

Anonymous said...

The montage is an odd deviation from the show's aesthetics, not least for the use of non-diegetic music. I do groan though everytime my beloved Bach's music (here the over-played and overly-commercialized Brandenburg 3) is referred to as "classical." Now when a car horn (I think it's a car horn) sounds out Beethoven's 'Fate' motif (da-da-da-dum) when two characters come together in the night in season 5, that's classical and diegetic.

I have to say I think the parallel is misleading. Cheryl wants Kima not so much to be a lawyer as not to be police officer because she wants her to live. It's possible she loves her. And the motives of Daniels and Kima are quite different. Daniels sees the opportunity to create a police unit that will go after the right people and not make stats. Kima, chastened as "pussy-whipped" by Herc, sees the opportunity to do what she does so well, show that hyper-masculine stupidity is not gender specific. I can't help but think Cheryl was correct: "We're gonna be there in five minutes and they'll still be dumbass frat boys." Kima's brutality was unnecessary.

And since mention was made -- in a fashion anyways -- of the 2nd season's theme of "the death of work and the destruction of the American working class in the postindustrial era" (David Simon):

"The Wire" made the argument, from its first season, that the modern world is becoming increasingly indifferent to individual catharsis and individual dignity, and human beings are worth less. Every day, human beings are worth less. That's the triumph of capitalism. The money gets made, and the fewer people we need to make that money… I come from a city where 47 percent of the African-American males are out of work. They're not needed. We've constructed an economic model that doesn't need a lot of human beings. It doesn't need as many as it once did for certain people to attain wealth. (Simon)

Hatfield said...

Oh Nick, I feel for you. I wouldn't be able to resist either. I never get tired of the fact that Dominic West and Michael K. Williams make a point of bringing Kristin Proctor (Aimee) up in their commentary for episode 6.

Anyway, forget my breast obsession for now. I think the race thing is more a card that Lester and Bunk are trying to play, by killing the country music in favor of (vastly superior) soul/funk, but the stevedores are a pretty mixed group, and remember later in the season when Frank is talking to Nat and either says nigger or something like it then says "Pardon my French," to which Nat replies, "Or a Pollock, pardon mine." It sounds bad, but they're clearly comfortable with each other and not overtly racist.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The montage is an odd deviation from the show's aesthetics, not least for the use of non-diegetic music.

I'd argue it's no less diegetic than the "Walk the Line" montage later this season, or the "Move On Up" election day montage in season four, or even Herc doing a series of hand-to-hands to a specific rap song in the next episode. Marla strikes me as very much the kind of person who would be playing Bach at dinner.

Anonymous said...

I'd argue it's no less diegetic than the "Walk the Line" montage later this season, or the "Move On Up" election day montage in season four, or even Herc doing a series of hand-to-hands to a specific rap song in the next episode. Marla strikes me as very much the kind of person who would be playing Bach at dinner.

That's true. It also occurred to me while reading your reply that they might be eating at the same time and listening to the same "classical" radio station, in which case I'd be doubly wrong.

Andrew said...

Re: White Mike -- he was played by a set dresser for the Wire. So while I've never noticed him in the Season 1 credit sequence, it would make sense if he is there, since he was working on the show during season 1.

Link here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0947092/filmoseries#tt0306414

Eric said...

I love the moment in this episode, where when D'Angelo confronts Avon, Avon references how they can use the incident to get reduced sentences and "... get some of our lives back." Right then you see a little flicker of decision in D's eyes, to get his life back in a different manner than his uncle intended.

paul said...

I'm pretty sure that wall at the end of Nick's street is a grain elevator. You pass it on the way to Fort McHenry. Google maps says that is is the grain pier of the show.

Someone actually went through the trouble of placing flags on Google maps for various locations from all five seasons of The Wire, including Nick Sobotka's house and the grain pier. Though, I have to say some of the flags are pretty far off. My sister and her husband lived in the Jamestown Apartments (where Avon had a girl in Season 1) back in 1976. The flag for it is about 30 miles away from its actual location.

dronkmunk said...

Can we get some Cranston or Paul up in that header?

dronkmunk said...

@Zohar,

I have been wondering the same thing for years.

Muz said...

Regarding Nick's father. It's funny, I never really thought of it as a bad performance just that maybe the part was a little small. But when I think about it there's a lot of guys on the Wire with small yet compelling performances in pivotal roles.
I always wondered what was wrong with him. I kept waiting for some reveal that he was crippled in his old job or something (was there one? I don't recall). I guess he was a bit too mannered for this show.

mikeb302000 said...

@ Eldritch, I've been wondering that too. "A police" is a curious expression, one which I'd not heard before.

Muz said...

A transcript of Johnny's anecdote in case it rings any bells for anyone.

"Him and this lady had this daughter. The daughter was born a mute.
The wife doesn't like that at all, so she breaks it off, right?
So he's stuck raising this daughter; She has her period; She freaks out, goes to him. He thinks she was raped."


There it ends when they find the radiator.

paul said...

I was right. That was the old B&O grain elevator (I never knew who owned it), now the Silo Point Condominiums.
http://www.silopoint.com/flash.html
Frank's worst nightmare.

I guess it's been longer than I thought since I've been to Fort McHenry.

Paul B. said...

Wasn't Avon's first intention to give the sentencing reduction to D'Angelo?

I don't think so. I think Avon's intention was for both of them to step forward as informants and have their sentences reduced. It is easier to make a case with multiple witnesses, so the State's Attorney probably would have liked to have another witness to back up Avon's claim. Both Avon and D had a chance to make a deal. It didn't necessarily have to be one or the other.

mikeb302000 said...

Yes Paul B., I think you're right about that. I'll keep it in mind the next time I watch that part.

debbie said...

To answer your question, I only thought of Bunk and Freamon being cops in that scene, never about their being black.

Me too. I guess because it never seemed to me like there was a race hang up among the guys at the pier.

Frank Sobotka in season 2 is kind of in Avon's role in season 1, but he's more likable for me because his crimes are lesser. He doesn't want anyone to get killed or beaten. So while Avon too has a kind of charming side, Sobotka's charm seems more genuine.

Watching this season again has made me a big fan of Frank Sobotka, too. I love the way he gets all excited to see Beadie when she sits down next to him at the bar and says “HEY!” all enthusiastically before he realizes the Bunk and Lester are there too. Then he breaks my heart a few moments later with his breakdown moment in the bathroom.

And Alan, I really appreciate your “no one prepared young guys like Nick and Ziggy to do anything else” insight. As much as I love the Frank and Louis characters, it was really their fault for not seeing the writing on the wall back in the late 70s and to make sure their kids got lots and lots of education so they could do something that didn’t involve the docks. Then Nick and Ziggy wouldn’t be in this mess.

"The Wire" is the first time I've heard the expression "a police" used. "A cop" sure, but never "a police."

A friend of mine is a Chicago police officer and she uses the phrase “the police” a lot and never the word “cop.” For instance, in describing a friend of hers, she’ll say “He’s the police.” Or she'll say “Are you police?” when asking the profession of another potential cop. So it’s pretty common among officers here. But not really among citizens.

"Him and this lady had this daughter. The daughter was born a mute.
The wife doesn't like that at all, so she breaks it off, right?
So he's stuck raising this daughter; She has her period; She freaks out, goes to him. He thinks she was raped."


What a crazy anecdote…what’s it even referring too?

Jrod said...

I guess I'm the only person who liked Pablo's Nick. Felt very genuine and authentic to me. The final scene of the series with him at the fence is outstanding. I liked him and was delighted at his appearance in S05 (and was saddened by Johnny 50s).

Tom said...

mikeb302000 and Eldritch,

In Homicide, David Simon wrote that this is how Baltimore cops referred to themselves. In my youth in Baltimore of the '70s, it wasn't uncommon to hear black people speaking of "a po-lice," though I can't say whether that's still true.

mikeb302000 said...

Thanks Tom for that background on Baltimore. I grew up in Elizabeth NJ and I don't think I'd ever heard "a police" used like that. I suspected it had a solid basis in Baltimore linguistics. I'll bet some of the other expressions and accents are accurate too.

Tom said...

mikeb,
You're most welcome. There are a good few Baltimorisms that make it in, like people saying "behind" instead of "because of," as in "Jimmy, you'll never get off the boat behind this mess." As for accents, the best ones belong to Stan Valchek, the assistant principal in season four and Lt. Mello (played by the real Jay Landsman). Ziggy's is pretty good, too, though at times he sounds like what he is: a guy who grew up in a nice part of Towson (a northern suburb, where I'm from) trying to sound like a dock worker from Locust Point. They are entirely different worlds.

One thing they absolutely nailed throughout was the local obsession with food and some of the local delicacies: pit beef, crabcakes, steamed crabs, fried lake trout (which is not trout and comes from the sea, naturally). I think a lot of that, but not all of it, can be attributed to George Pelecanos.

More credit to him for that, because he's actually from D.C., and as the show makes clear on several occasions, the two places aren't that far from each other in physical terms but the relationship between them is anything but close.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice the scene in this episode with Stringer in the same room as the dope? I'm watching Seasons 1 and 2 back-to-back, and after all McNulty's Season 1 talk about how they'll never catch Avon or Stringer around drugs or guns (not to mention the extreme care Avon and Stringer take), it seems kind of out of character.

Ako Banton said...

The Barksdale Organization at this point is in crisis, as it will remain until its total breakdown at the end of next season. You'll notice how Stringers focus is on commerce and installing a sense of that in his underlings, whereas Avon, or Weebay for that matter focussed much more on discipline and militancy.

Matthew said...

Agreed on your point about McNulty's signing the separation agreement. Despite the fact that the decision turned out well in the end, the decision itself was obscene based on his motivation at the time. I don't see the logic in thinking that signing an agreement legally saying that you're no longer together means you're going to get back together.

Anonymous said...

Coming late to the party here but I like the way this season's setup kind of mirrors season 1.

In season 1 the detail knew a whole lot about avon's operations and what he did but didn't know who he was or what he even looked like.

In this season the detail knows nothing about the guy except what he looks like. I think it's the previous episode to this where the detail's board is empty except for Frank's passport photo.

So it's the same job but coming from completely the other side. In this episode they show they can wander up to the guy and have a chat but they don't know him. Whereas in season 1 "gameday" they finally get a chance just to take a look at the guy but Jimmy says he doesn't want to go along because "he feels like he knows the guy".

Anonymous said...

"and after all McNulty's Season 1 talk about how they'll never catch Avon or Stringer around drugs or guns (not to mention the extreme care Avon and Stringer take), it seems kind of out of character. "

But they do catch Avon on a drug charge because he's too close to the order that D picks up, and then, later, they get him on guns. The point is, they're incredibly careful, and, in both cases, it's a fluke that they get the chance.

Also, I believe McNulty's point is that you aren't going to kick down a random door and just get them on a buy-bust. If you spend the time to get all the surveillance that they have, then sooner or later, you'll get them on something, because those flukes will happen once in a while.

RaeRay said...

I have a few comments...
First: when Aimee and Nick are in bed and the radio alarm goes off - the announcer says "It's 6:38" in the morning. I am at work most days by 6:38 and in the wintertime, there's no sunlight streaming in the window, nothing but stars still in the sky. I noticed this my during my first viewing of the series, and now that I'm in the second it jumped out at me again. You don't see sunshine that bright during the winter until after 8. I thought it was a small detail, but one they goofed. Feels sacreligious to say they goofed, but there it is.

Second: I don't exactly hate Ziggy, but he makes me cringe. Now that I'm watching this again, he has my sympathies because his fate isn't unknown. Back when I was watching the first time I wondered constantly why Nick would bring him in when he's such a complete doofus (a dangerous one - I always felt that; he adds so much tension to everything Nick/Frank/The Greeks are up to); his striped toque reminds me too much of a jester's hat.