The bigger the lie...yeah, well, it's pretty big now. And once a lie gets out of the bottle, it's hard to put back. Three people in "The Wire" are telling lies that look, for all the world, like they are going to come back and haunt them.
There's McNulty, who's homeless (sexual) serial killer story has blossomed (beautifully, by the way), from a kooky idea on how to get funded to do real po-lice work into all sorts of tragicomic turns. The original lie has now ensnared an unsuspecting liar and plagiarist at the Baltimore Sun, caused said real po-lice work to get put on the back burner while everyone chases a non-existent killer, forced McNulty to expand the lie because Lester can't get it done with the limited resources he once said he could, and has now led to a stomach-turning bout of kidnapping a mentally imbalanced homeless man. (It may not have technically been kidnapping, but there's no getting around the sadness of the act.) The only good thing the lie has done is give Carcetti an issue to ride to glory on. But that doesn't feel too good either - oily politics are just that, no matter who gets helped in the short term.
Scott's lie - check that, "lies" plural - are spinning sideways at just about the same rate as McNulty's. His are well documented, but picking up steam. Gus seems to be slowly playing his hunch that Scott is cutting corners and you can see him setting traps for Scott - and Scott steps right into them. "Star time," says Alma. But Scott looks like he's going to puke.
The other lie comes from Marlo, who tried to pin Prop Joe's killing on Omar (but most everybody else in the New Day Co-Op has a bullshit detector like Gus' and they are not buying it). Marlo's lies - being responsible for the killings of Hungry Man and Prop Joe and taken "the connect" from the Greeks while everyone else sat on their hands, has also emboldened him. But whereas the lie McNulty told has forced him to become ever more desperate, Marlo's lie comes from his belief that he wears the crown and everybody else must bow down. He's not desperate at all - he's overconfident and sloppy because he's all powerful.
No doubt the lies of all three men will guide "The Wire" to a careening, intense, intellectualy satisfying four more episodes. This is a train barreling along right now and it's a joy to watch.
Of course, Ep. 6 had other major developments as well, not just lies gone haywire. Omar lives. He didn't fly. But he survived the landing, though his leg appears to be a painful mess. It's clear that the writers wanted the legendary Omar to be hobbled in some way, to appear more vulnerable, more human and less the iconic street figure. Strange - or perhaps funny, depending on how you look at it - that they chose a near superhuman event to make him more human. "Don't seem possible," Marlo says, looking up at the balcony where Omar jumped. "That some Spiderman shit there."
I loved the opening scenes. Everybody staring up, silently, in wonder. Like, WTF?
Omar is definitely changed. And credit goes to Michael K. Williams for conveying the make-over. He doesn't have the swagger now. Coming out of hiding on the broom/crutch, he was probably the least dangerous man on the streets, more vulnerable than vicious. The writers' intent was to cut him down to size, chip away at the myth. That scenes alone did wonders - the gimpy walk. But Williams has even changed his way of speaking. Less cool, less assured. Omar now is a little bit hysterical (probably from the pain - and of course getting suckered into an ambush and nearly being killed). His voice is higher, with desperate tones in it. He's talking about how Marlo isn't man enough to come down to the streets. It's all about vengeance for Butchie (and friends) now - and Omar sounds like he's half wanting to cry in pain (and frustration) and half wanting to scream in anger. But he's certainly making the most of his injury. He's putting himself out there, disrupting Marlo's world. He's a man on a mission and no amount of searing pain looks like it's going to stop him. The question is, does he have the wits to see this through, or is blind rage making him take just as many chances as Marlo's feeling of invincibility?
Alright then. Some thoughts:
+ It's good to see Chris pissed that he failed. It's good to see him rocked. People have been waiting for this for two seasons now.
+ Marlo: “We missed our shot. Now he’s gonna get at us.” It's never good to disappoint your boss.
+ “Fuck you for tearing down the port of Baltimore and selling it to some yuppie assholes from Washington!" A great moment after Carcetti's speech about the dock renovation/gentrification.
“Who the hell is that?” – Carcetti says, after being heckled and his aide says, “Oh, it’s nobody Mr. Mayor. Nobody at all.”
+ Hell yes it's somebody. It's Nick Sobotka from Season 2! Still pissed!
+ Whiting: “Wonderful story, Scott!” Templeton: “Yeah, kind of wrote itself.” It sure did, Scottie.
+ The national news comes calling for Scottie. “Just remember you’re an ambassador for the paper,” says Klebanow.
+ “I regarded that decision as illegitimate.” – Lester on the cops pulling off Marlo because they couldn’t fund the investigation into the 22 murders.
+ “Somebody finally touched Prop Joe, huh?” – Bunk.
+ They found the sealed Grand Jury indictments at Prop Joe’s. Bunk: “Who don’t we trust at the courthouse.” Better yet, as Pearlman says succinctly to Bond: "We've got a leak."
+ “Homeless murders? How does that case tie into this?” Sydnor. “Hard to explain.” – Lester.
+ Loved the great, small acting of the people behind Carcetti when he went on a rage about the homeless killings. Rawls with a kind of, “What is he doing now” look. Daniels listening, then having his eyes roam while he thinks more. Pride welling in Norman with just the smallest muscle reflex smile on his face. Wonderful stuff.
+ Rawls tried to undermine Daniels – catching him off-guard – but Daniels rose to the occasion.
+ Randy – lost. Bigger, harder, without hope. Lost.
+ Going into the New Day Co-Op, two of the guys say that whoever has “the connect” killed Joe. “No doubt.” But Marlo pins it on Omar. Except Slim Charles ain’t buying it and wants no part of being a CEO for Marlo. Cheese jumps at it. And Marlo says that not only will there be no more meetings, if you’ve got a problem, bring it to him “or sit on that shit.” Worse, the price of the brick is going up – an extra $30,000. Cocky? When you’re the king, sometimes you don’t think straight with that crown on your head.
+ Scottie on Nancy Grace. Classic. “That makes you the Jimmy Breslin of Baltimore.” Ugh.
+ “I mean, fuck already. How many shitballs are there?” – Carcetti. He’s stressed. Very stressed. No wonder he wants a promotion out of Baltimore.
+ “Homelessness? Huh. I’ll be damned.” – Carcetti suddenly has a national issue.
+ Lester - “You’d be surprised what you can get done when no one’s looking over your shoulder.”
+ Scottie visiting the homeless and looking scared and put out. And wearing his Kansas City Star shirt…fame’s a bitch already?
+ I don’t know what was more interesting – Snoop talking about bringing toys to Chris’s kids or Chris completely off his cool.
+ Omar burns the money in the car. “It ain’t about that paper. It’s about me hurting his people, messing with his world." Message received. (Good to see the shotgun back in action, by the way.)
+ “You and Lester started some shit here. Now a DOA brings everybody in a heartbeat.” – Oscar, the Sesame Street Cop.
+ “How do I write that into my bullshit killer’s M.O.?” – McNulty, pained that he can’t get Lester the high tech stuff to land Marlo’s photo-sending phones. Lying is some complicated shit when it starts to spin.
+ “You’re a supervisor’s nightmare.” – McNulty to Freamon.
+ “As far as this guy? They’ll write it off as some fraternity prank.” – McNulty, taking a lot of desperate chances. It’s kidnapping, Lester says. But McNulty says it was an opportunity for dinner and a chat. There's a great shot of McNulty with his eyes lit, like he's just constructed the greatest ruse ever. Contrast that with the look on his face after the act is completed, just as the ending music kicks in...
+ That whole thing just leaves a pit in our stomach. How can it not? The homeless guy just evoked that sense of helplessness that made the whole thing seem sick and sad.
+ Bunk sooooo pissed off that the homeless killings are getting all the attention and diverting manpower. Especially from his DNA work. Wendell Pierce is playing all kinds of disgruntled. I love how he's washing himself clean of McNulty's ethical lapse by diving in to the row house murders with fervor.
+ “This one feels like the real deal. What I like most is that you didn’t overwrite it. No extra color, no puffy adjectives, just tight declarative sentences. And you really just let this ex-Marine tell the story.” – Gus. See Scott? Fact is better than fiction.
It's a lesson that might be learned the hard way by three people in "The Wire."