Sunday, February 3, 2008

"The Wire," Season 5, Ep. 5: "React Quotes."

There's always something to love about "The Wire," but many times it comes back to how it doesn't pander. Early in this episode Chris tells Marlo - without using any names: "Sat outside of Monk’s all night. Left before morning, though. They’ll be back – no doubt.” What he conveyed, which was totally opposite of what the camera had been conveying for two episodes, was that they had already set up on Omar. When Omar thought he had the jump on them, he didn't. They were waiting for him. So the camera could catch a great line where Butchie's friend says, "Most likely, they're expecting you to make a move." Omar: "And here I am. How about that." It gave viewers what they wanted to see in the anti-hero Omar - that he had rode into town and his revenge was just about to happen.

But it didn't. Marlo had set him up. And the defining moment of that ruse was established in the middle of a scene with no garnish whatsoever. A network drama not only would have spelled it out for you, it would have beat you over the head with it. That's a pretty big development to all but bury.

And, of course, that led to the biggest moment in this episode, probably (though there were many others). That is - Omar can fly.

He certainly escaped death very narrowly in the apartment. The question is, did he survive the jump? Did he really jump. My guess is the HBO previews for next week probably gave that away (did they?) but it was a great moment no matter what.

We are now exactly halfway through the final season and I have to say that this was the episode where the conceit with McNulty and the dead bodies - stretch or no when it happened - has culminated in a wonderful strand to carry the rest of the episodes. The writers fully engaged the paper storyline with the cop storyline and let two lies stand as one. I mean, the look on McNulty's face when he realized Scott was lying about getting the call from the serial killer was a thing of real beauty. And then Scott's look when McNulty - who's the one in charge of all sides of this lie - says the killer called earlier. "He made another call?," Scott says, stunned. And that it all leads to a wire tap - illegal or at least manipulated - is another fine twist. It gets Lester back on the wire tap where he does his best work. It lets McNulty feel better that his ruse is paying off for some real po-lice in the face of the budget stagnation. And Scottie finally has his story with legs.

But there were plenty of other meaty moments as well. Clay Davis' drive to stay alive is lovely to behold (and listen to). Marlo's fascination with wearing the crown has him in business with the Greeks and wanting to celebrate, but the introduction of the cell phone and the interference of Herc (who passes the number to Carver, who passes it to Freamon, who in one call about pepper steak knows he's got the king cornered) makes everything that much more interesting.

We got a cameo from Cutty. And Royce. And Callie Thorne! And Beadie in uniform. We've got dirty journalism and situational ethics at the police department. We've got Bubs worried about serving people because he's convinced he's got AIDS (and what a negative test means for what he now has to confront - life).

And oh, yeah. What's really going on with Omar? Dead? Alive? Love it. Here's a few thoughts and quotes from the episode:

+ “Is the killer now sodomizing homeless men?” – Alma

+ “You’re gonna need a statement. Nothing too joyful. You don’t dance on Clay Davis’ grave until you know the motherfucker is dead.” – Norman to Carcetti.

+ Dookie’s beat down. He’s just not a fighter, that one. And Cutty knows it immediately. Hope and wishes. That's all anyone can give Dookie.

+ “Joe gave him to us just in time.” – Levy, because he knows the cell phone is going to be the downfall of Marlo.

+ Good to see Cutty, isn't it. I wish he'd get some more roles on TV.

+ “How do you get from here to the rest of the world?” – Dookie. “I wish I knew.” – Cutty.

+ “We need something with a twist.” – Scott. “A sexual serial killer isn’t enough?” – McNulty.

+ “He’s a biter.” – McNulty.

+ “Embracing the hard choice. It’s one of the burdens of command.” – Carcetti to Daniels.

+ “A gift from your one true partner.” Herc gives Marlo’s number to Carver, with echoes of Prop Joe’s salute to Butchie.

+ “Think I’m gonna be the scapegoat for the whole damn machine? Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.” – Clay Davis.

+ Dookie finds out that fighting will lead to more of it, guns will lead to more guns. He needs to get out. He doesn't have a map for that, however.

+ “Dead Meadow? What the hell is wrong with the Ramones?” – McNulty to his two sons, who are way past caring that he’s not there.

+ Royce and Clayton at the rally. Classic. Just classic. And timely in all sorts of ways.

+ “Yeah, well, 10 minutes ago I would have said this whole thing is complete bullshit. Shows you what I know, I guess.” – Gus. You knew, Gus. You knew. You just couldn't have any idea how fucked up it all is now. And how much weirder it promises to be.


George D from the 415 said...

Crazy to see a small glimpse of Chris' "People" and something that means something to him.

Anyone note how Levy couldn't contain his smile when he got Marlo's phone number.

Cutty was amazing in his insight into Dookie's life. "Ain't like the movies where you beat up one bully and the rest just back the hell up"

"I want some of tha pepper steak"

Too much Nutty in Lester's response to Daniels.

I loved how Royce stands by Clay Davis smiling while muttering how he will be unable to do anything in Bmore if he flips on this. Makes you wonder about what happens with real life politicians

Daniel said...

One thing I really love about the show -- something Tim frequently mentions -- is that it doesn't bullshit its audience. It doesn't exploit or overdo something that is obviously popular.

The Omar character has been built up to mythic proportions, at least from what I've read. He's the badass of the show. But the great thing about him is that he still deals with defeat. He IS a badass -- no doubt -- but he struggles, too. The audience sees him in a vulnerable state. We feel there's a chance he might not succeed.

I'm thinking about Season 1, when he pleads with McNulty to get him a doctor after the failed attempt at Avon and Wee-Bey.

This latest episode is another example. The image of Omar crouching behind the sofa, hundreds of bullets whizzing by him, was incredibly dramatic.

By the way, couldn't help but remember Omar's great line from that scene in Season 1:

"Come after the king, and you best not miss."

Daniel said...

One more thing. Until I see the next episode, I'm willing to believe the writers of the show will have a better explanation than "Omar can fly," lest my argument that "the show doesn't BS its audience" appear moronic.

The Tap said...

Daniel - I'm with you on the whole Omar thing, we need to wait for the next episode before taking judgement. But it is a bit thin (and surprisingly hollywoodish) by the Wire's high standards.

Omar's exit to one side, the twist of Omar being set up was a classic. The way the scene was shot gave you a feeling something wasn't right the second Omar busts through the door! One things for sure, if Omar is alive, he's going to be back, and hopefully he won't underestimate Marlo's Methods this tme round.


- Was the last scene Lester's realization that the wire tap isn't working (probably because the phone the Greeks gave Marlo is jamming it somehow)?

- What's everyones take on the Clay Davis situation, is he going to take the house down with him or go 'quietly' a la Burell?

- If Omar is alive, he knows he's going to need some help with Marlo's crew; anybody see a return of brother mozone? that would be CLASSIC. Although brother mozone is a contract killer, we are forgetting that Omar has the cash now, remember?

matt said...

I went back and re-watched (a few times) the scene where omar jumped, and if you look below the balcony to the right of the screen you can see shadows moving while chris and others are looking down for him. I'm guessing this is supposed to be omar?

EyesRight said...

I too think the shadow on the building at the end of the episode was Omar (Spiderman?). I can't believe that Omar wasn't expecting Marlo et al to be watching him. It just doesn't make sense. He is too calculating for that kind of mistake.

Did Levy give Herc Marlo's cell number? It was only Levy and Marlo in the office no?

The serial killler story is taking on proportions I never expected - a thing of beauty. Priceless facial expressions around the Sun table with Scott, McNulty et al...

The Tap said...

You think Omar saw it coming? I don't think so (I'd like to think so, but that's another matter!) - Omar wouldn't devise a plan where Butchie's friend (?) would get capped (he, obviously, didn't know about this plan). A bit too out of character for me.

CasualObserver said...

A word re: Omar. He is one hyper-real and mythic element of a series that is realistic in tone, but not always in fine points.

The Omar/Brother Muzzone (sp) confrontation in a past season, where they face off long enough to have killed each other, is a great scene that wouldn't happen in real life, but is a Western archetype. If Omar is alive now, I think he jumped to the balcony below (the shadow moving is visible from the TV viewer's point, but not from Snoop's viewpoint.

That was sort of a vampire archetype. And Omar wears a long duster.

If he lives, he will be injured. No doubt. But balcony to balcony is more survivable than balcony to ground, no?

Anonymous said...

my feeling is that Omar knew Marlo wasn't there and that he was after Chris. A few episodes ago he specifically mentioned he wouldn't go directly at Marlo but would go after the others first. and, as previously stated he knew they were expecting him.

CasualObserver said...

Sorry for the double post, but the new post above about the facial expressions around the press table with McNulty: concur. Also, Cutty is a favorite of mine, great expressive face.

And I loved the music on the setting up in the car: Solomon Burke, Temptations, Impressions, etc. All were songs about romantic delusion and loss--and foreshadowed Omar's troubles in the ambush.

quazi said...

I though McNutty was going to pop at the paper. He looked like he could barely hold the laugh or the glee. I don't have Ondemand just directv so this is not a spoiler, but to me it looked like omar hit the tree.

Levy did not give Herc the number Herc just saw levy putting the number in the rolodex. Omar was never goig after Chris they were going after Monk. They sat up on Monk's condo for several days. Did monks condo remind anyone of stringers? Not as plush but still a good ways from the street life image

Shane said...

Dead Meadow are actually Simon's nephew's band.

EyesRight said...

Apologies for double post:

What about Marlo asking Chris if he wanted to go to AC to celebrate - something you or I might do but Marlo?

Also, Narese is gonna have her work cut out for her in a mayoral run. She is a terrific and scary character, but Bonds may be too much for her to handle.

detroitnewsie said...

the tap, I think that last scene was a text message. Remember when Vondas was telling Marlo how to use the cell phone safely , he starts punching in numbers and a look of understanding comes over Marlo's face-he may be "king" but he is still on a very long learning curve whan it come to the real world (and I think allusions to the world outside the corners and dirty city hall should have been the basis of the episodes quotes; Dukie asking how to get there, Omar's money grab ("it was never about the money"-means of escape???) dirty politicians working to keep ties alive in B'more, while others seek escape , Chris's house, all a contrast of here and there and who can or will bridge it.

Anonymous said...

I mean.....they could have just put the condo on the 2nd or 3rd floor if they were worried about the realism of the jump. I don't think that was any kind of flub or misjudgment.....but we'll see how it all plays out.

Alex said...

Chris did the impossible in this episode -- twice. He made Marlo grin and, much more importantly, he made Omar look like an amateur when it comes to stake-outs, gunplay, and vengeance. Plus, with an assist from Snoop, he has trained Michael so well that the kid carried his weight in some serious combat. Hard to believe Michael was in Mr. Prezbo's math class just a couple of years earlier.

Forget about his "flight"--the writers are probably going to explain that--Omar really lost some of his legendary stature in this episode. Assuming that he survived, he needs to hire Brother Mouzone (Slim Charles might be helpful, too) or go back to San Juan. Or maybe he could join forces with Bunk somehow. The two of them have always had some rapport, and that way Omar could help to bring Marlo down without breaking his oath not to kill again.

Charlie said...

Chris pulled a double-bluff on Omar. Omar saw that Monk was bait, enumerated the clues to Donny: Monk in an out-of-character condo; Monk going to bed way too early; only one bodyguard leaving each night. Then there was the night when the lights stayed on and both bodyguards left... which was the REAL bait.

Tom said...

george d, that was wild, finding out Chris even has people. I presumed he was off on his own someplace.

eyesright, Herc went in Levy's office alone, at night, and pulled Marlo's cell number off Levy's Rolodex.

That made me happy, his giving it to Carver. I didn't like, and couldn't fathom, Herc going from po-lice to working for a gangster lawyer. For all his shortcomings, he had to know whom Levy represents.

Although Levy's comment about Prop Joe (R.I.P., big man) bringing Marlo to them just in time serves to remind just how mercenary Levy is. As Omar memorably, and eloquently, pointed out during Bird's trial, the only difference is that Levy carries a briefcase.

Loved, loved, loved the moment when Scott and McNulty look down the conference-room table at each other. Two lies meet ... but only one liar knows the depth of the other's lie.

Also loved the return of Callie Thorne (mmm ... Callie Thorne), and realizing, upon seeing Beadie in uniform, that one of "my Wire people" is an Oscar nominee. At least somebody connected with "The Wire" is getting their due.

Boom Dat said...

I just want to know where I can get one of those bullet-proof couches. Seriously. We should be sending those to our troops in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Omar: always has a plan.

We have seen this in every encounter. Always a way out. Always calm, always calculating. This was a close one for him, but whether he jumped to a tree or to some trash bags he purposely placed he always has an escape route or two or three. He has survived too long to not make those plans for every situation, every one of them. I bet even on the beach he had every line of sight covered, every out planned.

wiregroupie said...

Boom dat: I agree re: the couch. That whole scene with Marlo jumping out the window played a bit too Hollywood for me. That said, I can't wait for next week to see what happens.

Anyone else hoping Dookie seeks out his old teacher, Prezbo. Wouldn't it be great if Prezbo and his wife took him in and he was one of the corner kids who got saved, too?

The lie meeting the lie was priceless.

Alex said...

The serial killer story has been on the front page of the newspaper (and presumably on TV too) at the time of the meeting, so McNulty doesn't know for sure that Scott did not get a call from someone claiming to be the killer, or vice versa. Each probably suspects that the other is lying, but I've heard that it's fairly common for disturbed souls to "confess" to well-publicized crimes they have nothing to do with.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking that Marlo's new phone offers encryption.

From an article on the PC World website:

"After dialing a number, a user simply presses a button labeled "crypto" to establish a secure connection."

These phones are expensive, but I think the Greeks can afford it.

detroitnewsie said...

alex, I think Scott has to know McNulty is lying because of the reference to "12"; how could he get a call using a detail Scott made up? Be interesting to see how these two play each other.

Tom, that scene with Omar and Levy in court got more replay on my tv than any other Wire scene; my favorite Omar moment by far.

I am praying that Dookie has an out by the end of the season-I think his line about getting to the rest of the world was the most heartbreaking quote of the season.

I know there is probably not enough time left in the season for Freamon to get into tracking text messages , but how timely given the mayor of Detroit is currently twisted in scandal due to his trail of text messages. What Freamon needs is Dookie working by his side instead of the lame-o Leander. Now that would be a team!

talli said...

I agree with anonymous from 10:17PST. The noise we heard from Marlo's call sounded like a handshake between two systems, like a modem making a connection or a fax machine connecting to another fax. This suggests that two phones were establishing an encrypted line for communication.

Text messages float on the carrier signal anyway (the "bars" that you see on a phone) so my guess is that you would never hear a text message being sent.

I could be wrong of course.


Ghost of Bodie said...

One more nugget heretofore unmentioned here:

Alma in the newsroom, running down her notes to Gus on what news is coming out of the "cop shop." Among them are two homicides, including one of "Joe Stewart," found dead in his living room.

Gus assigns the serial killer story, along with a "couple of grafs" on the two homicides - newspaper-speak for two paragraphs on each killing for the City news briefs.

And thus ends the public legacy of Proposition Joe, one of the most important drug traffickers in West Baltimore history. "Coupla grafs" on the killing of anonymous Joe Stewart of the West Side.

Anonymous said...

Random thoughts:

1. Omar lives up to his epic reputation once again. I'll be surprised if the getaway is ever explained.

2. Tip top performances from the scene w/ Narese and Clay. With both actors executing so well, I wondered if that's the last time I'd ever hear "Sheeiiit!"

3. Scott vis-a-vis McNulty: Now that Scott knows McNulty is probably lying, Scott has his route to a Pulitzer Prize. Scott can pass off the "killer" having called him as a fraud claiming responsibility. But now he can blow open the REAL story at the police department about a fabricated serial killer and make national headlines. You know David Simon wants to send his viewers into another depression by rewarding Scott.

lieber said...

I couldn't read yesterday's article in the Chronicle about Sunnydale without thinking about The Wire, and I couldn't watch last night's episode of The Wire without thinking about Sunnydale.

I know any urban area has a mix of nice streets and mean streets, but I'd never heard of Sunnydale. I consider the Bay Area the best place I've ever lived. Given the competition-Detroit, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; Syracuse, New York; Birmingham, Alabama-maybe that's not much of a stretch. But I was pretty surprised to read about a place right here in the Bay Area where folks want desperately to escape.

"Christina Bryant, who works as a nursing assistant in the Western Addition and pays $160 a month for her Sunnydale apartment, is one of many residents who feels trapped.

The 22-year-old said she travels on BART every weekend to spend Friday night through Monday morning at her parents' house in Pittsburg. She sleeps in her Sunnydale unit during the week but she doesn't like it, and neither does her young son."

My Sunnydale reading sure made the conversation between Cutty and Dukie ring true.

Other ramblings:

• What exactly does Landsman do?

• Okay, Landsman does deliver some pretty rich lines. Loved when he called McNulty "Clarice."

• Wouldn't have figured Chris to go home to a place that looked so sunny, white picket porch and all.

• Also loved the soup kitchen guy's observation to Bubs "The reporter the Sun paper sent over, not exactly Bob Woodward."

• The Sun angle's been an education for me: A1 vs. metro, Gus chastising the writer for starting three graphs in a row with a gerund, etc.

CasualObserver said...

Just checking back in re the various takes on Omar--we don't yet know what happened. But in the "truth stranger than fiction" department, does anyone remember hearing about the two workers who fell from the sky when a scaffold collapsed? One died, and the other is really messed up, but rode a piece of the scaffold down and it broke his fall. Maybe New York City?

Of course, now I have to find that story and see whether Scott's byline is on it ;).

Also: I'm not sure that Scott knows McNulty is lying. His face looked like he was (ever the narcissist) more concerned about being caught in his own lie. Scammers sometimes don't know when they're being scammed.

novelera said...

When Vondas gave Marlo the phone he told him to never use it for "business". Based on that, how is Lester going to get anything useful from the wiretap? Loved Lester's major black English test call to Marlo, a complete departure from his normal speech.

I don't think our boy Scottie is shrewd enough to uncover Nulty's scheme. He looked like a deer in the headlights with the question: He called another time? I think he was just paralyzed with fear McNulty's supposed call would go in a different direction and reveal his lie.

I second Tim and other posters recalling Dukie's poignant remark about "getting to that other world". To me that represented a major summation of the whole arc of The Wire.

Anonymous said...

loved the last two lines of the show:

snoop: "what the...??!"
lester: "what the...??!"

Voguette said...

I saw it the first time, then rewound to be sure. When the three mooks are on the balcony looking for Omar, he's one floor below on the right (their left). You can't make out his face, etc. but you catch the flaring out of his duster in the shadows. I'm presuming he jumped to the lower balcony and out to the stairwell (where his coat flared out). Whilst the befuddled mooks scratch their respectively nappy heads, our hero is escaping (with his life at the very least).
What is brilliant, and perfectly suited to this show, is that the scene seemingly (only seemingly) presents Omar on a super-heroic level (as in Superman, Batman, Spiderman; take your pick though they're all white). We get to visualize and think on him, at least for a flash, as truly heroic and seemingly immortal (just like one of those Greek gods he loved as a child in middle school.
The use of the duster we all know and love, as 'wings', was right on (though obviously some here did not immediately recognize said garment).
We saw our superhero behind the sofa, out of bullits, his loyal and patient friend dead, scared and alone in the world. Then - he flies! Like the superman he's always been.

lieber said...

One more thing:

Omar would never use a body double.

Trixie said...

Lieber: Me, too, on the Sunnydale article in the Sunday Chronicle. Sobering.

Dukie: “Like, how do you get from here to the rest of the world?” My heart physically ached. Here’s hoping that was foreshadowing. Michael is too far gone. If he’s lucky, he’ll meet Wee-Bey’s fate, not Bodie’s. And, if we're really lucky, he'll arrange to have Dukie and Bug "cared for" as members of other families, including Wee-Bey's, are.

Herc finally being an asset instead of a liabililty. "Don’t ask, don’t tell." Wanting the last word about the camera, tho.

Freamon calling Marlo’s cell phone ordering Pepper Steak was SO great.

Nathan Levi Boston. The bigger the lie, the more they’ll believe. How did Gus not belly laugh in his face when he described the mother stroking the daughter's blonde hair under the bridge?

McNulty’s meeting with The Sun was such great fun. Speaking of music in the background, loved what was playing at the bar during the first meeting between McNulty and Scottie: "Everybody Wants to Rule the World."

Finding out why Bubbs didn’t want to serve food. And his disappointment that he tested negative for the "bug". Nice observation, Tim, that now he has to face living.

Harken back a couple of episodes to Chris schooling Michael on the art of the stakeout. Arrive an hour early and never be the last one to arrive at a party. It actually sent a chill down my spine to see Michael emerge from the darkness looking like the assassin he's become.

Thanks, Anonymous at 10:17 for looking up the technology on that crazy cell phone. Makes sense that it had some expensive encryption. I was with Freamon ... WTF?

I have officially taken your advise, Tim, and was actually able to restrain myself and not watch the upcoming previews. Last week they showed Omar firing, then Snoop firing, so I'm out. I figured this had to be the episode you were alluding to when you warned us not to watch.

Trixie said...

Good eyes, Voguette. I'll be rewatching that last scene tonight for sure (along with the Jacob's cabin scene from Lost - I so did NOT see Christian Shephard, nor Locke for that matter). Omar (Thugman?) vs. Chris "the Zombie" (remember the kids last season?).

ferrethead said...

I remember reading somewhere that if you are born into poverty, there is a 95% chance you will die in poverty. Also, 24% of African-Americans are living in poverty today. Things don't look too good for Duquan, wishes and hopes notwithstanding. One thing he has going for him is his intelligence, but how to exploit that to his best advantage?
I'll have to watch tonight' re-broadcast - I missed Omar on the balcony, I was enjoying the looks on Chris & Snoops' faces too much.
How McNulty kept from laughing when he realized that Scottie was 'playing' him, and the great irony of providing the impetus for his wire tap, I will never know.
When you see what is happening with the serial killer case, and the complete lack of interest in the 22 bodies from the vacants, you can certainly understand how Lester & McNulty could go that route. They understand how the game is played...

Derek said...

My prediction: We'll never see Omar again. This was his mysterious goodbye.

Tim Goodman said...

Just so people don't go blind looking for him - or develop some RSI issues by feverishly working the remote - Omar is not on the balcony.

Daniel said...

Someone commented earlier on the music in Omar's car while they were scoping out Marlo's crew, and how it foreshadowed danger for Omar.

Loved that. I guess I haven't paid as much attention to the music and its plot relevance in "The Wire" as I did with "The Sopranos." But that was very effective.

Did you guys also catch the use of the Tears for Fears song "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" when McNulty meets up with Alma and Scottie in the bar?

Anonymous said...

I don't think I could bear it if we never see Omar again.

Daniel said...

Just went back to check on other music that was used in this episode.

During the crucial scene in the rim shop when it's revealed Chris/Marlo are setting up Omar, the song in the background is "Party Like A Rock Star."

I'm drawing a complete blank. Anyone care to offer an opinion?

ferrethead said...

Tim - is that a 'spoiler' from a future episode??? BTW - I do watch the previews, I can't help myself. They didn't spoil anything about the Omar story...

Tim Goodman said...

No, it's not a spoiler. Omar jumped off the balcony. Everybody saw that. Nobody watching in real time knows any more than that, and HBO didn't go near it. I just wanted to make clear to people who might spend all evening looking for him on the balcony below that he's not there.

Voguette said...

Right, Omar is not on the balcony below Chris & co. But anyone with an HD tv can make him out (who the f**k else would it be) moving in what I'm presuming is a stairwell to the right of said balcony. Sheesh.

wiregroupie said...

I didn't see how he could have jumped with the speed he did and land on the balcony below.
That just didn't make sense. He would have been propelled forward and then down.

Anonymous said...

Omar's escape.

Only 2 ways Omar made his escape.

1- After his leap, he twisted in mid-air and caught the railing of the next balcony below. I consider this the most likely because of the moving shadows in the window of the next balcony below.

2- He dropped to the ground, injured himself, and was able to drag himself into the bushes.

This isn't Harry Potter; so these are the only 2 options.

CasualObserver said...

lieber (and other commenters on Sunnydale article): Like you, I read the Part 1 of the Sunnydale article before watching last night's episode, and I did find myself noticing the parallels. But that such places exist/existed in SF, not a surprise. Granted that SF doesn't have the decay of some of other urban centers, it has always had troubled housing projects. Some have been torn down, some remain.

The "Pink Palace" which I believe is now senior housing, was notorious in the 70's and 80's and was profiled in a series in this very Chron. There was also Valencia Gardens, Double Rock, etc. Police and child protective workers know these places well.

Trixie said...

Thank you, Tim. I'll stop looking for Omar and Christian Shephard on Lost while blaming my cougar-aged eyes and my non-HD TV. I'll just stay tuned..... (I did, however, finally get to do the freeze-advance frame on the Lost retrospective when you see Jacob the first time. Gave me the heebies.)

The scene with Chris, Snoop and Michael looking down over the balcony reminded me of the movie, Halloween, when Donald Pleasance and Jamie Leigh look out at the ground below and Michael Myers has vanished.

Anonymous said...

TG - "I just wanted to make clear to people who might spend all evening looking for him on the balcony below that he's not there."

In the scene, Omar got up, ran, broke through a glass window/door, stepped onto a railing, and went over and down from a 3 or 4 story balcony.

I freeze framed these scenes and never saw him on the balcony below. However, there are moving shadows in the window to the right of the balcony below. Thus evidence that it may have been a pathway for escape.

Otherwise, he hit the ground and managed to crawl into the bushes before Snoop, Michael and Cris looked over the edge. Omar is hurt if he hit the ground though.

ferrethead said...

"I just wanted to make clear to people who might spend all evening looking for him on the balcony below that he's not there." Great! Now what am I supposed to do tonight?!?! Thanks a lot, Tim.
Zorsi laying into Pearlman, only to have it come back on him because of management...they let someone go, and four (?) months later, their voicemail is still hooked up.
Bond looking more mayoral than Narese. Again, typical of "The Wire", all of her wheeling and dealing will most likely come to naught.

lifeisgood67 said...

Another great one! This was by far my favorite episode of the season. All the great cameo & reconnections. And maybe the clearest moments yet of what is to me the Wire's central theme: Dying's easy, living's hard.

..and another reason to hate texting.

Also, I had this odd sense about 3/4 of the way through the show that something was...different. Then I realized what it was: I need subtitles/ closed captioning. I usually miss about 1/4 of the dialogue, but not this episode. Not sure if this has meaning beyond the obvious (fewer street scenes)

Deli said...

That is not Omars shadow below and to our right. That is the shadow of Michael (or Snoop). The light comes from our left, and they cast a shadow as they lean over the blacony railing.

Besides, it looked like Omar went over the railing with a lot of speed, making a landing on the building almost impossible.

If he DID hit the gound, I don't see how he could have scurried away before Chris, Snoop, and Michael go to the railing.

I guess we have to wait.

Anonymous said...

" Deli said...
That is not Omars shadow below and to our right. That is the shadow of Michael (or Snoop). The light comes from our left, and they cast a shadow as they lean over the blacony railing. "

No, you're wrong. The moving shadows are from "inside" of that window. The shadows of Snoop, Mike and Chris don't match up and would be "outside" of that window.

George D from the 415 said...

To daniel: My guess is Marlo finally feels he can party like a rock star. The crown is his, all of the drug trade in Bal'more runs through him. In the words of Mel Brooks "It's good to be the King." However, in the world of the Wire, the crown should come with the inscription, "Wear at your own risk"

ferrethead said...

As much as I love Bubbles, and am interested in his journey, he's really separate from the main story. He has no ties, and unless that changes, it seems like a strange indulgence of Simon - of course, it's an indulgence to those of us who love Bubbles, but it still feels superfluous.

Daniel said...

to george d.:

I kind of like that explanation, and I think it's sort of consistent with the hubris we're beginning to see from Marlo. Not that he's getting sloppy, as evidenced by his calculated setup of Omar, but we see moments like Marlo, unable to disguise his giddiness after Prop Joe's death, telling Chris he wants to celebrate in Atlantic City.

That isn't the Marlo we've all come to know (and fear).

Rancho Loco said...

The cell phone call..

It was a cell phone picture of a message.

Nice Dolphin said...

First time poster. Been a fan of Mr.Goodman since his CC times days. This isn't Lost people!! Omar hit the ground and crawled to saftey. Stop looking for things that aren't there. Anybody else get the idea that USDA Bond is out of his depth against Clay. Norman had that right as always. You don't dance on Clay Davis grave until your sure the Mother is dead! Bond not taking it federal will be a big mistake. Ego and power grabbing always end poorly on the wire. Just ask Stringer Bell.
I'm with casual observer..hopfully Brother Mazzone rides in to help Omar do battle with marlo & company. Might do it for free if NY could take over in baltimore. There scene together in episode 11 season 3 where they took measure of each other and there hardware before working together to take down Stringer is still my favorite moment in Wire History

sueinsf said...

ghost of bodie mentioned the "coupla grafs" on the killing of Joe Stewart. Wouldn't it be great to have someone on the Sun's staff who knows the major players in the game, to maybe recognize the name of the eastside kingpin and creator of the New Day Co-op? Oh wait, they probably did - just canned him along with the rest of the deadwood. Too bad Gus didn't toss the story to Scotty, at least he would've invented a grand backstory befitting old Prop Joe.

lifeisgood67 said...

to ferrethead:

"As much as I love Bubbles, and am interested in his journey, he's really separate from the main story. He has no ties, and unless that changes, it seems like a strange indulgence of Simon"

My school of thinking about the Wire is that "everything matters" ---and everyone. For me, Bubs is about how much more difficult it is to live, to dream, to have hope than it is to die, or walk the path of to early death. To me, that's very relevant to the story.

Tweedy said...

Based on the newsroom discussion regarding where the body was found, I'm pretty sure the other homicide victim, besides Prop Joe, warranting just a couple "grafs" was Hungry Man. You've got to love the irony that the deaths of a couple big time dealers only warrant a couple grafs while McNulty's fake homicides are becoming front page material, in his effort to go after the gang that killed both Prop Joe and Hungry Man. Also impressive is how those details are so easy to miss. Like Tim was saying regarding Chris talking about staking out Omar's stakeout, Simon and the other writers are terrific at putting the "b" in subtle.

Nicedolphin, I could swear I saw Christian Shepherd in the window below Snoop, Chris, etc. on the balcony.

Daniel said...

to nice dolphin:
I laughed out loud at your nickname.

Dukie's storyline is just a heartbreaker. It's bleak, like pretty much everything in The Wire, but you sense the goodness in him. The actor who plays him has the perfect face for the character, too -- innocent and good-natured, yet sad and weary.

quazi said...

I hope this is not considered a spoiler cause I have no advanced info no Ondemand (just directv here) but I think the answer to what the phone from Vondas does is in the opening credits. There is a samsung smart phone with a clock on it. I wonder If it syncs time with others or just sends a txt to others with the time

Day-day said...

Nurse who took Bub's blood for HIV test was real life Fran from HBO's the Corner.

Prop Joe crank call for info on Herc same as Lester crank call to Marlo.

Sen. Clay radio interview was to real life radio host, Larry Young of WOLB, who mirrors Sen. Clay in that he was a state senator who had ethic violations.

panraven_fan said...

OK, so I cheated this week because of the Super Bowl and watched ahead. I've watched this episode at least 8-9 times, too.

BTW, does anyone know who is the redhead in the newsroom from a few episodes ago? She was questioning Gus about Templeton's first story that was pushed forward by the Managing Editor. Very pretty lady. Anyway, I digress.

I LOVE Freamon's "peppuh steak" moment. Also, the moment with Callie Thorne pleading on behalf of Amy Ryan's character was as touching as the scene with Beadie and Bunk was heartbreaking. Both made it clear how far Jimmy has gone from the point of "reform." I enjoyed seeing references to The Corner in the crab place and in the nurse who tested Bubs.

On to Omar. First, Omar was definitely hip to the setup on one level. He noticed that Monk stayed in a condo and that he had unusual sleeping habits. He also noticed the number of bodyguards entering and leaving. What he failed to see was what happened when he left in the mornings. Regardless, I think that he was flying too far and fast off the balcony to make it to the side or to the balcony below. He'd have to defy the laws of physics, I think. It was actually a bit surprising that he wasn't shot while jumping.

My hypothesis is that we do see Omar again. I also think that he had an emergency escape route that possibly included something like garbage bags. I'm with industriousboy on that one. It is likely that he broke a leg or something, only this time he has no McNulty and Kima to help him.

That entire scene was excellently done. I agree with Trixie that it was chilling to see what Michael has become. We saw hints of it when he was shooting with Dukie. The look on his face indicated that he simply turns on his rage when he needs to do so. The way Chris and Snoop closed in on Omar's partner was ferocious. It reminded me of the skillful shootout scene in Heat.

I was amused by the Davis-Royce scene. Reminded me of certain other so-called "black leaders" who play race politics the way some others play class politics or religious politics for the sake of power.

Even before that scene, the Narese-Clay moment was brilliant. Clay and his rant about "those graftin' mf's" was classic!

Gus is awesome. I've worked with a Gus before, but not long enough to really enjoy the sort of long-term development that a personality like his provides.

It was remarkable that he missed the references to Hungry Man and Prop Joe after having made the call on Fat Face Rick's deal with City Hall. I'd have expected him to catch one of them, but perhaps not, given all the other things on his mind now. Also, was I the only one amused at Hungry Man's real name and the fact that he was thin, hence, the nickname? Reminds me of Little Kevin!

re: Marlo and Vondas, I don't think that it is a data exchange, even though it sounds just like a modem connection. Perhaps it is, but recall that Vondas and Agent Koutsos (sp?) exchanged text messages in Season 2. At that point, there was no similar sound on the wire. Then again, they could have "changed it up" after the original investigation.

Anyway, I suppose that I'm covering well-trod ground so I'll end this post.

Rancho Loco said...

They are sending cell-phone photos of the messages they want to exchange.

Think it through, people..

gauchodebruin said...

Tim -- Your pick-up of the lines mumbled by Chris, Marlo, and the other gangsters is uncanny. Level with me - one white boy to another - do you have the subtitles turned on on the DVDs that HBO is sending you?

I'm just sayin'...

seaphoto said...

If it is a cell phone picture of a message, wouldn't cloning the phone circumvent the security?

Tim Goodman said...

gauchodebruin, I'll take that as a compliment, but no, I don't have the subtitles on. In fact, come Sunday, I'm mostly sticking it in the DVD player and hoping to remember what I saw the first go-round, with kids all wound up before bedtime and demanding's a crazy time. Five to go.

Tim Goodman said...

Also, I just wanted to add this note, since I've tried to refrain from slipping on anything I've already scene: I love the Bubbles storyline. It's a completely different level of storytelling. He's not battling institutional incompetence, overtime pay, City Hall cutbacks, a Grand Jury indictment, Marlo's encroaching on territory, etc. etc. Bubs is alone. His story is entirely personal. He's dealing with demons, with being sober and aware of his new life. I have no special knowledge of what happens to Bubs (or anyone else, really, for that matter). My guess is that in this truncated season, a whole lot of hell is going to break out in the 9th and 10th episodes. But I wanted to bring up that in one of Simon's MANY interviews - pertaining to the bleakness of "The Wire" - he allowed that one character will find redemption or some tiny element of happiness. One. Now, I have no idea if he was making good copy or just being grand in the moment, but I recall the sentiment being that allowing this one person a shot at redemption almost went beyond the code of "The Wire," but that Simon thought it important. As I look at this series, there are only two characters left who would be rightful candidates for that honor: Bubs and Dookie. Everybody else is either too far gone (McNulty), not needing divine intervention (Freamon, Bunk, etc.), too risky to save (Omar?) or too minor of a character, as they pertain to Season 5 (Cutty, Beadie). My money is on one either Bubs or Dookie "getting out," with the likely candidate being Bubs. I mean, he's been there all five seasons. And if you're a writer looking at Dookie - hell, he's the motherload of visceral pain. Something bad happening to him (based on the fact he's young and essentially pure innocence, as opposed to a recovering junkie) causes catastrophic anguish. And that's what you want if you're writing the end to this series. Just a guess. I'm already preparing myself, mentally.

Bo said...

When McNutty started this string of "homeless murders" I figured it would lead to some real tragedy, something that would weigh on him so much it would destroy him (not that it would take much at this point). Most likely a copycat killer.

Now with Bubbles getting all of this warm and fuzzy time - well, that's what writers do to a character they're about to off. And it isn't like Simon to spend precious screen time on something that starts as unrelated without some big payoff coming.

So...Bubbles either gets accused of being the serial killer, or becomes the victim of a copycat, probably the latter.

If there is someone due for redemption, it's Michael. Dukie doesn't need "saving", just protection. Michael is the one who has tasted the apple, but is still young enough and loved by the audience enough that he's worth redemption, in terms of story.

Maybe Omar will retire and take Michael, Dukie, and Bug with him, letting them enjoy the childhood they didn't get.

Whatever happens, after Chase's rip off non-ending of that gangster show that I won't even name, it will be some kind of closure. My blood just boils when I think about that last scene, thinking my frakking cable had gone out....grrrrr!!!!

Oh yeah, and loved the crabbing scene, I thought I was having "Corner" flashbacks. Nice little shout-out.

Alex said...

Having read all of the posts, I'm starting to think the theme of this episode is humiliation.

Dukie--humiliated on the street again.

Bubbles--humiliated to admit that he doesn't think he deserves to be HIV-negative.

Dennis--it must be humiliating for a man to admit to a teenager that if it doesn't have to do with boxing or being a thug, he doesn't know much.

Clay--humilated to admit (twice) that he is going to have to suffer the consequences of his crimes for once.

Beadie--how humiliating that meeting with Bunk must have been.

McNulty--should have found his sons' indifference humiliating, but he didn't seem to care.

Omar--you can say all you want about flying and superheroes, but make no mistake, Chris and Snoop beat Omar at his own game and beat him BAD. This was not Omar the immortal--this was Omar the amateur, Omar the failure.

spearchamp said...

Lots of great observations, as usual. I've not seen any future episodes, but I think we'll know more about Omar's fate than, say, the Russian in the Pine Barrens . . .

About Bubbles - Tim put it far more eloquently than I ever could have, but I'll throw in my 2 cents nonetheless. Bubs has been around since Day 1, he's always been an essential part of the story, and if any character deserves redemption, it's him. My fear for Bubs is that McNulty (now completely off the hook) somehow gets Bubs involved in his phony serial killer investigation - or worse, in going after Marlo. Either could have dire consequences for Bubs.

CasualObserver said...

Tim (and all): the "only one character gets (some)redemption" line is intriguing. Since we're only about 1/2 way through the S5, could that character be someone we haven't seen in a while but who was more central to another year (docks, school, etc.)? Just a thought--no special knowledge.

ferrethead said...

Re: Bubs - The point I was trying to make is that "it's all connected" used to be the mantra of The Wire. At present, his story is not connected to the 'main' story. I'm wondering if it will be, or if we are just being given this storyline to provide closure. I was heartbroken for Bubs, that he would be disappointed by being negative, that he felt he deserved to have HIV/AIDS. Now, without that 'punishment', he will have to find an active way to confront his guilt over Sherrod - the gods aren't going to do it for him. BTW - I am LOVING Steve Earle as his sponsor. I don't know who is advising on this storyline, but they seem to know from 12-step recovery.

Tom said...

Tim, it would be nice if you were right about Bubs. Your speculation on which character Simon meant makes sense.

Either way, Andre Royo is just knocking it out of the park every line, every scene, every episode.

Also, for a nonactor, Steve Earle is doing really nice work opposite Royo. (One episode of SVU, other than this role, according to IMDb.)

I'll happily join in the chorus regarding Lester and "peppuh steak." I have no trouble believing that Clarke Peters jets from Balmer to act on stage in London. I'd watch him read the phone book.

Tom said...

High-five, ferrethead! (Check the comment right below yours. I took too long to compose. Again.)

seaphoto said...

If only one character is redeemed, then I fear we have already seen him - Roland Pryzbylewski. He has been transformed - twice. He went from a bad cop to a good investigator, but despite this his flaw was that, at heart, he was just not good police.

We then saw him transform from an unsure, hesitant teacher into someone who managed to pull off a minor miracle, actually reaching some of the kids in his class.

A decent redemption in my book.

quazi said...

seaphoto said"If it is a cell phone picture of a message, wouldn't cloning the phone circumvent the security?"

I don't think so. One they are not cloning they phone they are just listening. To make use of the photo of the clock you have to know the meeting place etc. Also many phone companies do not archive txts just the fact that they were sent

Anonymous said...

Goodman: thanks for the post re. redemption. Makes me think on this visual novel as more Dostoyevskian now, vs. Dickensian ;=).
What a choice, Bubbles or Dukie. I do think you've picked the right candidates though, can't think of any other that might fit a big final moment in the context of the big picture (so to speak).

Voguette said...

I really get annoyed with how this blog works. I almost always have to retype the often difficult to read 'word verification'. Anyroad, it somehow prevented me from being Voguette above in Anon's Dostoyevskian mention. Ta.

spearchamp said...

ferrethead - for better or for worse, Steve Earle's depiction of Bub's sponsor Walon is hard earned, as Earle is a recovering addict himself. But I think he's doing a nice job in the role, as well.

ferrethead said...

Why choose between Dukie & Bubbles? Bubs can find his redemption by 'fostering' Dukie, and with Dukie's smarts "Bubbles' Depot" will quickly become "Bubble's Emporium"! It doesn't get Dukie off the streets, but does provide him with a loving 'home'. Well, a ferret can dream...
As for Michael, I fear he may be beyond redemption. Sure, he didn't shoot the little boy, but he's a pretty coldblooded killer now.
Besides Prezbo, I also think the Carver has found a measure of redemption during the series. From the slapdash, money stealing, snitch to real po-lice - even if he is becoming a 'boss'.

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree w/ poster alex's 'humiliation' angle. Omar did get beat bad and, again, I think its significant that he's departing from his 'code' -- he promised Bunk 'no more bodies' -- and now by going back on his word he's losing confidence.

I also agree w/ Tim's angle on Bubs. Bubs is a good candidate for redemption because he has truly lost everything. Bubs -- in marked contrast to McNulty -- has too much personal integrity to return to the dark places he's been to.

LE said...

am i missing something?

vondas tells marlo he should use his phone to call his girlfriend, his lawyer, but not business, and gives him a special phone... (intended for text or picture exchange or at least to establish encrypted connections)

marlo give his cel phone # (not the vondas phone) to Levy... which get to Fraemon by way of herc & carver, who checks it out... "Peppuh steak!"

they wire up the cel-phone

final scene is a call from the wired cel phone but with that mysterious fax machine sound and Fraemon goes "what the..."

judging by the mysteriousness, seems like he's pickin up the vondas phone, but it should be a run-of the mill cell-phone...?

ferrethead said...

le - what he said was that he could talk to his gf, lawyer, whatever, just not business. Then he showed him how to communicate with him using the same phone. That's why the discussion is about text or photo. It's not a special phone, just not a 'verbal' call.

barbara74 said...

Seems to me that the co-op members won't take too kindly to Marlo "taking over." He doesn't have Joe's experience or political skill. We don't know these other drug dealers very well, but they've got to be pretty ruthless to even be at the table. Marlo won't be allowed to buck the system any more than any other character in "The Wire." Everybody gets ground down one way or the other.

k.papai said...

Depending on how Omar works out -- did he jump to another building or below, or some sort of planned jumped to a spreaded blanket below? Will be how credible this thread of the episode works out.

McNutty has so many balls in the air I cannot see any good coming to him in the end. He may be good po-lice, but making shit up is gonna kill him in the end.

Just Me said...


Is Michael loved enough by the audience to deserve redemption? To me, he's become just another killer and I don't really care if he never gets out of the game.

detroitnewsie said...

I am for Bubs redemption as well. There have been two contrasting scenes where Bubs observed a mother and child; one with the mother being abusive and then repriminded, another with a loving mother fully engaged with her child; my hope is that this was a bit of foreshadowing and that he makes some type of connection there (w/mother 2). I don't see total resolution, but at least the suggestion of hope for him. In the grand scheme of things, Dukie is actually doing better than he did in S4. He has a home (remember how his mom was getting tossed out of one home after another), clean clothes and food, and people who actually see his worth and smarts and admire him for it. Now it still isn't a good situation, but it is a heck of alot better than last season. Redemption for me means a leaving of old ways behind and making amends;
Dookie doesn't have that history at this point, he just needs saving.

Anonymous said...

If you want to avoid having to watch scenes from next week's episode... Tivo the show. It runs 59:59 every week, so your Tivo will cut off somewhere near the end of the credits.

Speaking of which, I find it interesting that other hour-long Sopranos dramas run anywhere from 47 to 58 minutes, but The Wire is consistently 60 minutes long. OK, that about the 198th most interesting thing about the show.

Jesse D said...

In regards to Michael, is it hard being sympathetic. At this point I'd have to say the same for McNulty. They have made poor decisions. They are at that point in their lives. But we know they can be good. Some, like bubs are working on finding their way back. Cutty made his mistakes and is well on his way. It is the circle of life for all of us and for the characters on the show.

I also have to disagree with farretthead about bubbles. Bubs is as part of the game as anyone. He is an addict. He is as essential to the business side of things as a hopper. Also, he found a place on the food chain by hustling and by selling white t's in hamsterdam.

I love the use of his character too in that he is a victim of this failed drug war. He is smart, caring, gentile and gregarious enough, that as a clean person, he could have had a good life. At one time a failure, he could soon be a hero.

ferrethead said...

jesse d - I thought it was obvious, I meant Bubbles' story line this season, not overall... There were times when he was a crucial part of the main story, not apart from it like this year.

CasualObserver said...

Jesse, I agree that it was "hard being sympathetic" with Michael over how quickly he turned hard at the end of S4. I didn't know his back story when he went after Bug's dad (missed some episodes). But there's something else there.

There is an implication that Bug's dad abused him, and there is something in Michael that wants to create a "good" family (his tenderness with Bug and Dukie) though he has no real role model for it. I think it's implied that that's why he turned to protectors in Chris's family--and also why when they do something he doesn't consider fair (killing June for just talk)he challenges them at his own peril.

There's still a battle going on for his soul.

luckystuff said...

+ “Joe gave him to us just in time.” – Levy, because he knows the cell phone is going to be the downfall of Marlo.

Isn't it 'just in time' because it was right before Prop Joe gets popped?

luckystuff said...

Regarding Scotty and Jimmy, Let's throw it back to Bunk, ep 1:

The bigger the lie, the more they believe.

Setting it all up from day one.

suzyq2 said...

I want to know what the story is on the streets about how Prop Joe met his end.

George D from the 415 said...

As someone whose seen the next ep, the preview for this week didn't actually give much away. Not that it doesn't blunt some suspense, though the specific thing I refer to was blunted for me watching the The Last Word before the season began since the same clip from the preview was used in that show. Maybe HBO realizes that true Wire fanatics hate having any major developments given away

Anonymous said...

The name of the south side cop who is helping Lester and McNulty find the dead homeless guys is Oscar De la Queer (or something close). That's the real Bunk's name.

For what it's worth Prop Joe was East Side - remember the basketball game in season 1?

Rather than teaming with Brother Mouzone, I can see Omar and Slim Charles together getting Marlo and especially Cheese.

Anyone catch that one of the guys in the homeless encampment was from the Port - the guy Ziggy stole the Mercedes with?

Finally, when Don Perata's car got jacked, my wife and I looked at each other and said, in unison, BNBG.

Dennis said...

- I just cannot see this ending well in any shape or form for Jimmy. The guy's off the rails in all aspects and I think he'll bottom out in cuffs. I just wonder if Lester's spared at con's end.

- I'm usually pretty good at picking out the slang as well but I couldn't catch all of Marlo's conversation with Vondas at the beginning of this ep. What was his first line after Vondas talked about Joe being missed?

- Didn't see anyone else mention this but did anyone else love that line Omar threw out about where Monk was living these days? Basically said that Monk's too good for the rowhouses now.

- I know you can't see everyone but I want to know how Nay, Randy and Prezbo are making out.

- Mike's living the life now, where would be go beyond this? Out of all the guys we've been introduced to, who got out besides Nay? Maybe Marlo falls and and then when someone else invariably takes the reins, Mike lands work with them.

- You have to think that Clay Davis is gonna skate away from these charges. It seems like their federal case with an open-and-shut deal but their local case, while strong, isn't as definite. You'd have to think that Simon will puninsh Bond, sp, for not taking the sure bet and instead backing a charge that's as much about his own career progression as it is about justice.

- Also, Norman warns Carcetti not to get giddy just yet about Davis's fall. Then Carcetti says Bond's looking rather mayoral. Meanwhile, Narace has this ability and sway to talk sense to Burrell and Bond and she has that folder on Daniels and she wants to be the next mayor.

Alex said...

Dennis -- I believe Marlo, not sharing Vondas's sentimental feelings about Joe, says, "Yeah, tomorrow ain't promised to no one."

Anonymous said...

agree with detroitnewsie - that was a text.

The Watcher said...

Some random thoughts:

- Loved Chris and Marlo's little chat after the meeting with Vondas; Chris: "How'd that play?" Marlo: "The man overcame his grief".

- Also really enjoyed the scene with Marlo's crew in Levy's office, in particular the end of the scene; Levy: "Anything else?" Marlo: "No. Take me off your clock" [handshake]

In the first moment his dry remark typifies the man's self-assured coldness, and yet in the second he struck me as somehow quite earnest - as though he was speaking a recently learned language and wasn't quite sure of himself. I got the same sense watching him at the offshore bank dealing with the teller. That's no surprise of course (he is after all a street thug, though a very smart one), but I think it's testament to Jamie Hector's performance, as well as the writing, that these hugely different sides of Marlo's character always seem comfortably contained within the same personality, never forced (to me at least). Much of his internal state is conveyed through he expressions rather than his words.

Big thanks to Ghost of Bodie for picking up on the Prop Joe murder as a "coupla grafs". When the story was mentioned in that scene, my ears perked up and I immediately thought that "Joe Stewart" could be our very own Prop Joe, but for once I underestimated the Wire. I couldn't believe that they would include that connection without highlighting it in any way (ditto Hungry Man)... But that's why I appreciate this blog so much - there hasn't been a single episode where someone here didn't spot something that I missed.

One thing nagging at me though in terms of the story is the new drug hierarchy in B'more. Picking up on barbara74's really good point, it strikes me that the death of Joe and Marlo's takeover means the end of the co-op (in all likelihood), as we can all guess. But the other big dealers know as well as he does that good product is essential in the game (where there's no monopoly). As a matter of survival then, won't they have to go to war with Marlo? Even assuming that he controls Joe's eastside territory through the (soon to be deceased?) traitor Cheese, he doesn't hold all the real estate and he doesn't hold all the muscle. Back in season one, we saw the effect of rivals holding better product when all the dope fiends migrated from west to east to get Prop Joe's shit. If men like the co-op leaders can't eat, then they have to try and kill you, since they only have a small window in which to act before your better product chokes their businesses to death. Joe always said that the big idea behind the co-op was getting a bulk-buy discount, but wasn't he also striking a necessary balance between profit, power, and the other crabs in the barrel? By letting everyone else wet their beaks, insulated himself (at least til Marlo arrived). It's interesting that neither he nor even Avon in his pomp sought to rule the entire city; in the end Napoleon's enemys combined to take him out...

Of course the Wire never follows a big dramatic event like Joe's killing with it's full consequences immediately, but I wonder if the response of the other players in that violent ecosystem of the Game isn't actually the biggest issue for Marlo to deal with, more so than Lester or even Omar (aka "Thugman" - love that Trixie)?

Am I making too much of this - does the killing of Joe and snatching of his connect actually mean checkmate for Marlo (leaving aside the other threats)?

Trixie said...

(David Simon) "allowed that one character will find redemption or some tiny element of happiness..."

I agree that it sounds like Bubbs is the likely candidate. Redemption means "deliverance from sin" (looked that up Alma-style in my paperback dictionary). DuQuan has never done anything except be a sweet boy. (I have got to remember this is fiction and stop mentally making up my spare room for him and Bug).

detroitnewsie said...

My hopes for the upcoming episodes:

We will once again hear Omar whistle "Farmer in the Dell"

The Cheese will stand (and fall) alone

Scott will make the front page of the Washington Post, only not as a byline.

Liz said...

I'm confused - does Vondas know that Marlo killed Joe? Why would he and the Greek do business with Marlo and his "dirty" money? After all "he's not Joe"

Are they setting him up? What about Avon and Sergei being in jail together. What happens when Avon gets out? Do they all work together to get Marlo?

Then, and here is my prediction (or hope): Avon will go back to being the main drug gangster again like the first season when our favorite cops were on his tail. Maybe they'll all be together again and catch Avon as a team and everything will come full circle. I know - it's corny, but I'd love to see them all work together again. I miss Prez and Lester together at the wiretap computer because Prez could pick up things that nobody else figured out. He would have been able to explain that strange phone call Lester got at the end of the last episode.

George D from the 415 said...

Avon has to finish his seven year term which won't end until 09 since he started it at the end of season one, in 02, not to mention any time he might have picked up at the end of season 3. I'm not saying they won't use him at the end of the season, but it's unlikely he'll be on the streets before then.

panraven_fan said...

My guess is that Avon is attempting to set up Marlo (his "Westside love" as a little overplayed) regardless of Avon's prison status. Recall from the prison time from earlier seasons when D'Angelo, WeeBay, and Avon were in "the cut" together. Their experiences were quite unlike the standard prison experience, so Avon can easily do the time. Especially since he has no muscle on the street, no functioning organization, and no desire to start another costly war with Marlo. I'm sure that he's playing a form of chess to get even with Marlo but I can't quite figure out how he's going to use Vondas and Sergei to do it. Regadless, I think he'd get a lot of satisfaction from seeing Marlo defeated the same way (or worse) than he was beaten. Remember that Avon was really beaten by his own man (Stringer) and that he came withing minutes of defeating Marlo. That scene from the courtroom in Season 3 told it all: Avon coming face-to-face with his nemesis and Marlo nodding with the smugness of a Cheshire Cat. I think that Avon's been stewing on this for sometime and the $100K payment to his sister was subterfuge.

Anyway, I' such a silly fan. I got excited last month when I was in my Brooklyn neighborhood and saw Butchie (or the actor who plays him) being filmed in a small movie or video shoot outside of my neighborhood bodega. Now I'm in Boston and am excited that the actor who played Prezbo is Brutus in a production of Julius Caesar. I think I'd fall down if I saw Omar! :-) Speaking of which, I just got the soundtrack from the show on iTunes. I wish that they'd included the Steve Earle version of "Way Down in the Hole," as it's grown on me...

Daniel said...

Regarding Simon's remark that he'd allow one character "redemption or some tiny element of happiness":

I think the phrase "tiny element of happiness" should be emphasized here if we're referring to Bubbles and Dukie. Rather than a shiny/happy Hollywood ending, I think the most we should hope for is moral redemption -- which, as you know, doesn't always mean a pretty ending in The Wire.

Going back to previous seasons, there've been characters who wanted out of the game -- i.e. they saw the light -- but basically got raw deals in the end. D'Angelo was the main one. Wallace was another. You could make a case for Bodie, too.

That seems to be one of the overriding themes of the series, that there are people involved in the game who want out, but they either don't know how to escape it or they're too entrenched in the lifestyle to know that there are other options.

With Bubbles and Dukie, in a sense they're already redeemed. That's cheesy, I know, but Bubbles' inner struggle and Dukie's question, "How do you get from here to the rest of the world?" sort of back it up.

Given the way previous seasons have ended, should we expect more than that for Bubbles and Dukie?

How's this for redemption -- Omar takes out Marlo's crew, guns blazing. All in the game.

That makes more sense to me.

lizvoskanian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ray said...

Well, tonight's episode bears it out, but I watched those shadows to the right of the balcony a dozen times and they clearly sync up with the motions of Snoop, etc, on the balcony.

Andy said...

Sen. Davis shiiiiiittttt is one of the funniest Wire moments for me. He's used it all the time in his smug manner trying to get every penny he could and it was nice to see him finally caught and using it. Was at least 3 seconds long.

Calinks said...

Although Omar did get messed up and run into a serious problem I don't see how people feel like he has lost epic or mythical status. In my opinion that incident just further intensified the myth of Omar.

Omar did walk into a trap by he survived. That ambush would have had killed anybody else. Chris, Mike, and Snoop were holding pocket aces and they still haven't won the hand.

What struck me was the look on Chris' face. He seemed genuinely vexed and a bewildered. I am sure Chris has seen everything when it comes to this line of work yet Omar's escape left him speechless.

That little be of extraordinary, that added element to Omar's mystique works in his favor because it plants that little seed of doubt and added fear in his enemies. It's like batman. One reason why batman is so great is because he scares the hell out of the bad guys. Omar is simply amazing, I don't care if the escape was a stretch.

I really really really do hope you guys are right about Avon setting up Marlo. I personally doubt that is the case though. I never thought I would side with a Barksdale besides D'Angelo but the crap that Marlo is pulling is unacceptable. Avon at least had a code and respected the game. Really, Avon is probably the best gangster out there. He kept it real, his word was his bond, he built an empire the right way (as if anyway to create a huge drug corporations is right). Avon as bad as he is, is at least respectable in his profession. Marlo is not even close.