Monday, December 31, 2007

The Wire week 1 thread for the On Demand'ers

As I understand it, HBO is again going to be debuting each episode of "The Wire" six days early via On Demand. (Last season, episodes tended to go live sometime after 9 a.m. on Mondays.)

Because the majority of viewers still see the show for the first time on its Sunday broadcast window, my own recap and analysis of each episode won't go live until after the Sunday airing. But because enough viewers watch early with On Demand and want to be able to talk about those episodes, I'm going to do the same thing I did last season, and open up a thread each Monday morning for the On Demand'ers to comment. I would also encourage any On Demand viewers to read and comment on the Sunday night posts, but only so long as you keep those threads free of spoilers from the next episode after Monday rolls around. (In slightly clearer English, in the post for episode one, don't start talking or even hinting about stuff you've seen in episode two On Demand.)

People were really good about this last season -- when, in addition to the On Demand airings, there was that matter of the entire season having been leaked on-line before a single episode had aired -- and hopefully that behavior will continue.

So if you've seen it, talk about episode one, "More With Less," here. My own column preview of the season will run Sunday morning, and I'll have my specific thoughts on this episode up Sunday night at 10.


joshjs said...

Hallelujah! Let the brilliance begin!

*runs to TV for on-demand goodness*

Anonymous said...

All in all a solid opening episode, though its goal was clearly to re-establish all of the characters as quickly as possible in order to let the later episodes do more to advance the plot. All the major players were present except for Bunny, Omar, and Cutty, if I recall correctly. A few notes:

The opening scene with the copier was lifted straight from David Simon's Homicide book (and the TV series as well).

The kid with the McDonalds food was one of the boys who payed Randy $5 to watch the door while he "got it on" in the boys room. I'll have to re-watch that episode again to see if the kid who's foiled by the copier was the other one.

The sight of the drunk McNulty felt too abrupt to me. Though it's not out of character, I suppose. It would be disappointing to me to learn that the only reason he drinks is because the department is so f*cked up. Last season you felt that the guy had a good thing going and might make a bigger effort to keep it that way.

Train symbolism: has anyone figured it out yet? Notice the Amtrak going full speed behind Marlo and Chris at the end of their meet.

Interesting to see Fat Face Rick getting some face time. It would be interesting to see if his role gets expanded this season.

I'm sure there's more but I watched it at 1am last night and need to re-watch to see what I missed because I was so drowsy.

A good beginning!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and also: I was surprised at how much of the first episode was highlighted in the trailer. I must have watched the thing a hundred times and I'm pleased that I'm in the dark on a lot of things going forward.

Anonymous said...

Herc is becoming the most despised character..

Anonymous said...

Mine was available at like 1:00 am last night...of course I watched it. Thought it was a pretty solid episode, the newspaper stuff I think was given just the right amount of screen time.

Great to see McNulty back, but it kills me to see him doing what he's doing to such a sweet, beautiful person like Beadie.

Curious why Marlo is so interested in how Prop Joe runs his internal business, probably the same kind of hubris that makes him kill a Security Guard just for the hell of it.

Carcetti seems to have turned into a complete and total prick....almost makes you see Royce in a different light.

Nice throwback to Homicide with Bunk and Norris using the Copier Lie-Detector Test trick just like Bolander and Munch did 15 years go.

What could possibly be the reason that Chris is pulling Serge Molotov's file at the courthouse? Looks like we're in for some interesting plot twists there.

Finally, give David Simon credit. He's not going to go "Sopranos" on us and leave a lot of plot points dangling. Last night we finally got an explanation of Herc's accent and an acknowledgement that Sydnor was left out of the port case.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of HOMICIDE, it's great seeing Clark Johnson again. I don't care what the Baltimore Sun TV Critic had to say, I really enjoyed the newsroom scenes (I work for a newspaper, and am happy to see one portayed accurately).

Anonymous said...

"Final Grades" aired on HBO2 last night, ended around 12:15am. I went straight to On Demand and episode 51 was there.

Great first episode. You can tell already that the show is moving in a slightly faster pace due to having just 10 episodes instead of 12 or 13.

I'm very intrigued by what Marlo is trying to pull. Slim Charles whispering to Prop Joe about Marlo "being up to something" actually got me thinking that maybe Slim is running a game with Marlo - nah, couldn't be. Also liked the way that Marlo throws off the detail when he shows up at the Co-op meeting.

How about Parlow walking up to Daniels, Pearlman and Bond and asking for directions. There they are one of the items their discussing being the bodies pulled out of the vacants and the man responsible for it casually walks up to them and they have no idea.

so much more to talk about, but I'll hold off to read more comments.

Anonymous said...

Poor Beadie, just turn the porch light off.

Anonymous said...

I love how the first episodes of each season of The Wire set the wheels in motion. All the different stories begin their journey and eventually it'll all come together. This year it's Carcetti and the budget crisis, Major Crimes disbanded, the Clay Davis investigation, Marlo's power grabs, McNulty's drinking, the struggles at the newspaper (editor killing a good story, people wanting more, etc...), Bubs going straight, etc... That's not even everything.

I swear I'm going to break down if Bubbles starts using again. I can't take it.

By the way, I love Herc's new job. Herc is always chasing fool's gold.

Elwood said...

Speaking of Herc's's been a long time since I lived in Baltimore, and it's possible that they remodeled the bar, but was that The Waterfront they were holding court in? It sure looked like it, but the front windows were all different. The brick looked right, though.

Anonymous said...

Great 1st episode. Really caught us up to speeed on all the major players and set up some of the major storylines. They really do a great job of balancing so many characters. You never really feel like your not getting enough of a ceartain character.

It was a great follow up with Michael and who these kids learn from-seeing him immitating Chris' posture and the bond between the 2. Herc is an idiot. I'm glad McNulty is back and I bought him being back to drinking. Looks like Prop Joe didn't get himself up out of that grave yet.

God,does any character have it worse than dukie, I hope he makes it.

What a great show!

Anonymous said...

Solid first episode. couple of questions:

1) Any thoughts as to what's up with Omar's heist repercussions. Blind Butchie indicated this ain't over but the co-op seems to have put it past them.

2) Does McNulty and co know they have been made by Marlo's crew? McNulty being so obvious in tailing Chris and Sydnor's comment about their influencing the crime rate simply by being so tight on Marlo seem to indicate that they realize marlo knows he is being watched...BUT, then Marlo losing them in the hotel makes it look otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Remember way back in the first season, either Herc or Carver said something like, "this is why we can't win. We fuck up, we get a pension. They fuck up, they get beat"? Whoever said it, it looks like it was pretty prophetic for Herc.

SJ said...

Excellent first episode. They pack so much story in one episode...apart from Omar they were able to give screen time to everybody else.

Btw the credits only mentioned Tristan Wilds and Jermaine Crawford, meaning Randy and Namond are not going to be in the show. And no Cutty or Bunny I guess that part of the storyline is done.

Anonymous said...

The kid with the McDonalds food was one of the boys who payed Randy $5 to watch the door while he "got it on" in the boys room.

Even better, he was the kid who wanted to go McDonald's after Colvin took him, Namond, and Zenobia to Ruth's Chris. Good callback.

Anonymous said...

Even better, he was the kid who wanted to go McDonald's after Colvin took him, Namond, and Zenobia to Ruth's Chris.

No, that's not right. The other guy was not Darnell. That guy had long hair and was kind of bigger.

One other observation. Frankie Faison is no longer included in the main credits. That leads me to believe that Burrell won't be commissioner much longer.

Anonymous said...

No, that's not right. The other guy was not Darnell. That guy had long hair and was kind of bigger.

Wrong; it was definitely Darnell in both the steakhouse and the homicide scenes.

Anonymous said...

no it wasn't. Darnelle had hair and shit. Totally different guys.

SJ said...

After watching it again I can confirm that it is not Darnell. And his name isn't's "Manow" or something which I can't make out.

Anonymous said...

It's Monnell or something like that. I know because I was just re-watching Season 4 and he was one of the kids promoted to the 9th grade with Dukie.

Anonymous said...

I've been scouring for people talking about the show, it's such a great series, you always find nuggets of things that you missed when you talk to others.

One character I haven't seen emntioned yet is Bubs. Those scenes were painful. Seeing him with nothing to live for was hard.

I thought all the newsroom scenes were well done. I enjoy the characters so far, and the acting is fantastic.

Looking foward to seeing Avon soon as well.

Unknown said...

I thought we'd see McNulty take longer to slide back into his old ways (it was never in doubt that he would, it was just a matter of time) but given that something like 8-10 months (I'm guessing) have passed in "Wire" time since last season, that's more than enough time for him to have fallen back into his old habits. Using a recovery analogy, I think he was white-knuckling it as the new and improved McNulty and going back into Major Cases signaled that he was ready to go back to his old ways - and have the job to blame it on.

Nice tie-in with Bubs hawking newspapers. I completely understand where his sister is coming from, she must have been burned by him 1,000 times in the past but still, it was pretty heart-breaking to see him locked down in the basement like a prisoner.

Herc is just a complete monster. How I'm hoping for bad things to befall him this season.

Michael and Dukie, why are you back this season to break my heart again, some more?

Anonymous said...

God is in the details, indeed.

The countdown is on, and there is not much time left. Unlike the Sopranos, I don't think anyone is coming in with the expectations that the show will tie all storylines together neatly with a bow.

The opening was classic Wire. Ironically, it brought back a familiar face from last season. Monell (the one eating McDonald's) was one of the kids who asked Randy to keep lookout last season while they had sex with a fellow female student in the bathroom. And now, just one year later, he's been arrested for murder. As for the copy machine trick, I don't think its far fetched at all to think that an uneducated youth has never seen a photocopier before. You'd be amazed what children don't know. Plus, I love Steve Earle's cover of "Way Down in the Hole".

Once again, Major Crimes is being gutted as a result of a decision made by a mayor. Carcetti has proven as effective as Royce, almost even worse, as his aspirations to become Governor have clouded his vision. He screwed over the schools last year, and now is screwing over the police force. Things are about to get worse, of course, I have no doubt that Carcetti will "win" in the end. Man, I wish Tony Gray had won the primary.

McNulty is a waste.

Bubbles breaks my heart. You hope and wish that he makes it... but you know that he won't. I wouldn't be surprised if the last shot of the season has him buying "Big Yellow Bird".

Michael ain't Michael no more. Funny to see Spider and Kennard as his corner boys. Even crazier, Dukie was clean, groomed, and wearing decent clothes. His lack of responsibility in the morning should lead back to his return to school. BTW, Michael was clearly identified on the MCU board.

Herc sold his soul. He gets fired, and takes up with the enemy. He definitely knows Levy from seasons prior. And now he will provide him with all the ammunition he'll ever need. I'm not sure if one character has wrecked as much havok in West Baltimore as Herc has, and will do.

Marlo. Prop Joe's days are numbered. Wonder if he'll reach out to Omar? Also, its a bad idea to investigate the Russians. Marlo and Chris have no idea what kind of monster they're dealing with.

The Baltimore Sun. In a mere 5 minutes, I was thankful to have never desired being a newspaper reporter. The job is incredibly pressured, and the level of research to pull a quote is extraordinary.

I love this show.

Anonymous said...

The way Herc operates he probably doesn't remember who Levy is. Remember how he saw Avon driving around in s3 and only barely remembered he was someone significant. Herc wouldn't connect the dots that he's calling in favours from his old buddies for a lawyer on retainer to drug lords, actively making their jobs harder.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite small touches on this show is the names of the heroin the hoppers call out on the corners. Season 3, with the parallels between the Barksdale-Marlo war and the growing Iraq mess brought us "WMD". Namond was out there with the other children slinging "big yellow bird." And now we get some "greenhouse gas."

Anonymous said...

Rhonda has never seen a picture of the guy who Major Crimes has declared the prime suspect on the vacants murders?

I find that one hard to believe.

Anonymous said...

Loved the first episode, but did anyone else find the first ten to fifteen minutes to be a tad too Wire-101?

It seems with each season the show finds a way to wrangle in more and more of an audience thanks to HBO reairing the seasons all fall on On-Demand or through DVD (I converted at least four of my friends this fall, who are now completely caught up), but since this is the last batch of episodes ever I'm curious if they intentionally made those first few scenes uncharacteristically expository to grab as many more viewers as they possibly could.

That, and I have to say I was a little disappointed in the opening scene this season. One of the joys to rewatching previous seasons is to see how the seemingly everyday conversations that are had between characters set up the framework for the following 13 episodes (or in the case of episode 101, the framework for the entire series). At the time it sounds like two people talking when it is actually much more of a thesis. This time around the "people will believe anything" line felt almost too on-the-nose.

Still, those complaints are minor. By the end of the episode I was thrilled with what I had seen and am dying for the next ep.

Filipe Furtado said...

Both Rhonda and Daniels have certainly seen pictures of Chris, but they are so caught in the attempt to defend their on turf they didn't recognize that one of the major suspects in the same case they are trying to save has just ask them for direction. I'm pretty sure that they both only registered a random black guy lost.

A few observations on the credits: Both Robert Wisdom and Jim True-Frost have being dropped. Not very surprise in Wisdom's case given that Bunny story got closure and I never expected him to get more than a cameo this season, a little on Frost's case because the show always tried to give the original cast members something to do and Prez was the best link the series had to the educational system. Then, when the episode ended I notice on the final credits that Frank Faison (Burrell) had being dropped as well. I guess this means one of the carachters most skilled at surviving has to be taken out of the picture somehow very early on the season.

Anonymous said...

I haven't paid much attention to credits in the past-- does the actor's absence in the opening credits mean we won't see them at all or just not regularly?

Either way, I thought this was a strong opening. Seeing the Major Case Unit back to working together was so exhilirating-- of course they had to get disbanded within the same episode!

Anonymous said...

Also, I think these were the best opening credits we've yet gotten-- musically, I think I like this Steve Earle version a lot (though maybe not more than the boys choir version in season 4), but more importantly it clearly draws on images from the past seasons, which suggests that things really are going to come together with this final season. I don't think we can hope for some tidy ending, but with Chris investigating Sergei, it's clear that things will be brought together in some way.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I absolutely love these credits.
Best yet IMO. Love Steve Earle's version and all the pictures that go with it. It's about time they used that shot of the cocaine being washed down the hole from S2. Right after the "Wayyy down in the hooooole." line is sung. Also love the shots of Sobotka, Wallace, etc. The part where Omar blows up whoever's SUV that is, its just tied perfectly into the song, much like the sound of the nail gun from last season. Also the last image of Carcetti turning his back on the people, so simple yet it has so much meaning.

Anthony Wilson said...

As loathsome as Marlo, Chris, and Co. are, there's a part of me that can't but admire such a well-oiled machine from top to bottom. Those guys got their ish together.

JMC said...

Also the last image of Carcetti turning his back on the people, so simple yet it has so much meaning.

I actually took that imagery as the media and their persistence. An important figure turns away from the mics, but they ain't budging. And they look like hentai tentacles, heh!

Donny said...

This is my first season watching "live" - I bought season 1 on DVD about 2 months ago and flew through all 4 seasons in no time. I have to say, as with other great shows that I've caught up on via DVD (24, Sopranos, etc.), the anticipation of waiting for the next episode is a killer!

That said, I thought the first episode was great. I hate seeing Major Crimes being dismantled again, but I'm sure we'll get some great McNulty homicide scenes now.

Also, if the comments ring true regarding the credits, I'll miss Cutty, Prez and Bunny for sure. They were all great in their own element.

I still can't get over Michael as Chris's heir apparent. Those last few episodes of season 4 were chilling...

Anonymous said...

Alan and all,

First, I do submit that I drank the Kool-Aid while watching Season 4 last year, and then caught up on all the past episodes through Netflix.

It's cliche but true, this is the best television show in the history of television shows.

I rewatched the premiere last night on On Demand, and something bothered me -- and it's the only thing in 51 episodes that has.

All this talk about newsroom authenticity, etc., and one thing stood out. When the council reporter comes back to the office, the clock behind Clark Johnson's character reads 6 p.m.

Do council meetings in Baltimore go from 4 to 6? I think not. Later, in the bar scene, the young reporter says, "Oh, (Clark Johnson's character) saw it at 9:30 and we were able to get it in before deadline..." or something to that effect.

I felt like the continuity police, and then I realized if that's my one nitpick issue about this show, Simon really is a freaking genius.

Anonymous said...

Question: All this talk about newsroom authenticity, etc., and one thing stood out. When the council reporter comes back to the office, the clock behind Clark Johnson's character reads 6 p.m. Do council meetings in Baltimore go from 4 to 6? I think not. >>>

Correct; they actually start at 5 pm.

Check out these links to the official Council website:

Anonymous said...

Comment: Later, in the bar scene, the young reporter says, "Oh, (Clark Johnson's character) saw it at 9:30 and we were able to get it in before deadline..." or something to that effect. >>>

Different editions of the paper have different deadlines.