Sunday, March 2, 2008

"The Wire," Season 5, Ep. 9: "Late Editions."

There's something about the unrelenting, downbeat nature of "The Wire." And that something is this: Sometimes, it really, really brings you down.

Part of the allure, of course, is that the bleakness of West Baltimore, the futility of the war on drugs, of inner city crime itself and that nature of underfunded, underappreciated and mismanaged institutions meant to add something of worth to society (police, the press, politicians) is so brilliantly portrayed in its realism. "The Wire" is the ultimate example of failure analysis in a drama. Going on the ride is thrilling in its dramatic twists and its dead-on indictment of all that is wrong.

But eventually, well, it just brings you down. Talk about a punch to the gut in this, Ep. 9 of 10. Just as the cops appear to have their biggest victory yet - almost all of Marlo's crew goes down, including the slippery Marlo himself - but the episode ends with the case appearing to be very much in doubt, thanks to Kima outing McNulty's elaborate, ill-advised ruse.

Damn. I haven't watched the finale yet. I've held off, to savor it. I didn't watch any promos, of course, because I have this on DVD. So I have no hint of what's to come. And HBO has promised not to air the last episode On Demand, so that everyone will see it at the same time and the spoiler parade that has plagued this series will be slightly stemmed.

But it looks, just on the face of it, that Kima clearing her conscience could unravel the entire affair, spell enormous trouble for McNulty, Freamon and Sydnor and possibly put everybody - sans Chris - back on the street. (All hail Bunk for old school po-lice work.)

So you get the much-delayed gratification of having the police win one - smiles all around (haven't seen those in some time) - reduced to the ultimate in premature positivity.

Then, as Bubbles appears to be the lone character David Simon and company are going to let off with some redemption, a positive story amid the unrelenting bleakness, we're left with the suggestion that Dukie is the next Bubbles. And the cycle continues.

At least Bug looks to be safe. But what happens when that cash stops coming? Doesn't it look like Michael himself knows the end is near? In a wonderful but heartbreaking scene, he sends off his brother to a possibility of happiness and safety (but no older brother left to lean on), then turns and drops off his best friend at what is, for all intents and purposes, a dead end life. As a viewer, you're just left gutted.

And over at the Baltimore Sun, even though Gus is closing in on Scott, you just have to know that won't end with satisfaction. It can't. Gus will get him on a pattern of lying and if the McNulty fabrication goes public, that gets Scott pulled in even deeper - but still. Simon has talked about serial fabricators skating with the lightest of punishments, so don't expect anything too close to justice on that end.

(By the way, it's just sad to read the Baltimore Sun TV critic write story after story about how bad the ratings are for "The Wire," and saying it could have something to do with a less than compelling newspaper storyline. It's almost like you can see management's puppet strings. "The Wire" has never been about ratings. And every critic knows that ratings are no indication of quality. Besides, in this final season, ratings are of no importance at all. The series is done, in the can, over. Its legacy is not mega-viewers. It's quality content, well-told over five seasons. Period.)

Now, back to the story and, well, where to continue? The return of Namond? Bunny Colvin? The Kenard story being replaced by three outside thugs with machine guns blazing - a story getting bigger, no doubt, every time it's told. Is Herc back to messing things up again?

Oh, and Michael killing Snoop? Yeah, there's that.

The only ray in all of this, and it may be something so small as to be inconsequential, is that Lester could end up getting something on Levy and the leaked grand jury papers that might, just might, prevent the whole Marlo bust from coming completely unraveled. We'll have to see. In the meantime, some quick thoughts:

+ George Pelecanos wrote this one. Stellar.

+ “Deserve got nothing to do with it.” – Snoop. Yeah, except that she deserved what she ultimately got.

+ “The case is in the phones.” – Freamon.

+ “Marlo runs a tighter ship.” – Levy on the difference of how being shot in the line of duty applies to cops and bangers. His people are back out there.

+ Loved the smiles on all the cops faces after finally having some success. Loved Bunk lighting up the cigar.

+ Also a great look from Freamon to Marlo, as if he was thinking, mo-fo, I’m so mad at you right now I can’t even smile. And Marlo, ever the slightest look of being down.

+ One of the most stunning elements of this episode was Marlo coming completely unglued. He totally lost his long-held cool when he found out Omar was calling him out. "My name was on the street?” And getting louder and angrier. When Chris said he didn't need that on his mind, Marlo just explodes. “What the fuck do you know about what I need on my mind, motherfucker.” Man.

+ “My name is my name!” Yep, and Marlo is just now realizing that Omar left him a little present on the street. Maybe Kenard - and all the little Kenards just like him - don't have the same fear of Marlo now. And when they don't have the fear, down comes the crown.

+ “I don’t see the boy snitchin’” – Chris. Marlo: “Neither do I. But you’re ready to bet your future on that?”

+ Landsman says they’ll get more arrests because Chris went down on Bunk’s good po-lice work…And they’ll get more. “And from what? From the Bunk! Just workin’ a file.”

+ “There you sit, like a genital wart. Come on McNulty, show me something.” But McNulty looks like he's got nothing left, literally. Not even the urge to take a drink. One of the well-played directions in this episode was to leave McNulty on the sidelines, everything crashing in front of him.

+ Kima to Jimmy: “Fuck Marlo. Fuck you.”

+ “The Dickensian aspect.” – Scott. “Exactly.” – Whiting. You don’t think that’s going to be repeated in newsrooms for the next few years, coast to coast?

+ Freamon on why McNulty seems so down: “Post-partum depression. It’s the journey, not the destination.” Well, not for McNulty. He wanted the destination to be filled with glory.

+ Good to see Lester tie one on and let it out. Daniels asked him to be up on stage there but he wouldn’t do it. (And maybe that's a good thing if Lester falls, too...)

+ “No need to bring your 9.” – Snoop. Well, Michael can’t be that stupid. He learned from Chris.

+ Naimond! On the Urban Debate League. In a tie, no less. Still got the hair, though. And Bunny. Proud Bunny. Great to see.

+ And yet, Carcetti comes in and looks to steal glory. If the writers wanted to send a strong message about the stench and desperation of politics and politicians, well, message recieved. This was not a good episode for Carcetti.

+ Bunny Colvin is not going to shake the mayor’s hand. No how.

+ “Me, I’m just small potatoes.” – Clay Davis, who, as it turned out, talked about how he bled Stringer Bell dry. A good call back.

+ Freamon just gave Davis a little bit of the old business. A turned table, that’s all.

+ “Reginald? Reginald? I’m you’re fucking sponsor and I don’t believe I ever got a Christian name out of you.” – Walon.

+ Ah, the Bubs speech. Ladies and gentlemen, that's your feel good survivor - probably the one and only - of this hard, cold series.

+ Snoop: “How my hair look? Michael: “You look good, girl.” Sounded like Chris. And: Bang.

+ Dukie watching “Dexter” and laughing. Funny.

+ “I don’t.” Michael choosing not to remember his innocence. And THAT made Dukie sad. He knew then that they could never be on the same level anymore. There's no trips to the amusement park for Michael anymore. He's lost forever.

+There may not be anything more heartbreaking than Dukie's ongoing story. And now, the next Bubbles? That might be too much to take.

And so here we are, on the verge of the finale. I expect a lot, but maybe not all, of the storylines to be wrapped up. The question is, how are you going feel next Sunday at 10 p.m.?

117 comments:

Anonymous said...

What episode do I need to watch again to place the cameo in the evidence room? "Beats Workin'"

Alan said...

The finale is actually going to be 95 minutes long, not 1 hour. So hour last line should have referenced 10:35, not 10, assuming you can't view a feed from a more eastern time zone.

domino87 said...

anon, that was Poke from the first half of season 1 and briefly in season 2.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_of_The_Wire#Augustus_Polk

pnm said...

Glad to finally see Namond and how well it turned out for him. Happy endings for Bug (we can assume?), Namond and Bubs. Is it asking too much for Dukie? We have yet to get our last season shout out to Prez. If Prez can rescue Dukie, I will be happy, regardless of whatever they throw at me. Although knowing how this show can break your heart, maybe I shouldn't speak too soon.

Anonymous said...

I just love how the show seems to draw in older elements, bringing you around full circle. From Clay talking about Stringer Bell or seeing the old detective from Ep. 1 running the evidence shop. But the best had to be seeing Namond going all toast masters in his nice suit. I had been wondering about Namond and Bunny and it was gratifying to see how they turned out. It adds a few rays of hope to this bleak story in the process, but even without that, it's just nice to see they haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Seeing Snoop die like that was oddly affecting. Here she was talking about it's not about what people deserve, sometimes it's just your time. And she understood that completely when Michael got the drop on her. Just the way it ended, both of them knowing it was the last words they would share. "You look good girl." Eerie and familiar in a way that conjures up Marlo's last words to Prop Joe. I've been wondering about how i feel about Kima ratting on Jimmy. On the one hand, it's in her nature. As she said in Season 1 when Bunk was trying to get her to falsely ID her shooter, she said sometimes you gotta let things play hard. (Thanks Alan Sepinwall). But she's also the one who went out of her way to beat up one of the corner kids in the pit in Season 1 when he hit a cop, saying you can't do that. She's the moral compass in a sense, but you always felt that if she had to rat out someone, she'd do a little better than this. At least give Jimmy some warning, right? I am still in doubt about how effective Gus will be in bringing down Templeton. It would seem Templeton's star can't ascend so easily with McNulty's lies about to be exposed and his trajectory should be headed down quickly with the stuff Gus has on him. I just don't see him wriggling out of this and i'd be disappointed if Templeton comes out of this unscathed. I know Simon has a grudge against the Sun, but if he's prepared to have McNulty go down, exposed by an inept bureaucracy, then Templeton should face a similar fate. That would make the newspaper storyline redeeming in my mind. Can't wait for the finale. I just wish we could see Avon come out and take up where Marlo leaves off. More Bunk, more Bubs and more shoutouts to Season 4.

bdgavin said...

Whooo, weee! This was the best episode of this season... by far! And I'm not one of the complainers from Salon.com or Slate, who wouldn't know a Shardene call-back if it hit them in the face (I'm sure glad for Lester in that regard, she's got a greaaat ass). I think this season has been as good as season 3 and season 1, which I rate as a tie. Season 4 is still THE masterpiece.

Nevertheless, hitgirls and hitmen, for all the haters and agitators whining about the trajectory of season 5, let Freemon ring: "It’s the journey, not the destination.” This episode reflects that quote. Some may have thought this season went along without the same "The Wire" flavor, but in my mind, in the end, everything came together beautifully.

Carver's turning in of Collecio morphed into Kima's ratting on McNulty. I wished she wouldn't have done it, but I think it was totally believable, if not fitting.

Herc's momentary lapse of justice reverted to his tendency to f--- everybody over.

Dukie became Bubbles.

Mike presumably (if the case goes to sh-- and Marlo and folks get out) turns into Omar (he was never one of them anyway).

McNulty's Frankenstein monster will kill him (literally or figuratively).

Namond proved saved just in time for Carcetti's apology to Colvin for not being able to align his political ambitions with reform.

Colvin realized there are some institutions still worth saving (family, y'all).

Bubbles escaped the trail of fire he left behind.

Bunk got in another McNulty-esque sh-- eating grin, with a cigar to boot.

And David Simon proved that the only way to effectively run an institution is to operate beyond its grip.

This was the genius part. Simon achieved this in both his execution of "The Wire" and in the story itself. People are going to be writing books and taking college classes based on this show. Simon put together a show that completely ran outside the parameters of Hollywood. The writers are for the most part a former Baltimore journalist and former police officer/school teacher. The actors are mostly well-trained but arguably ignored thespians and some un-trained, non-actor, humanists. The story revolves around people operating, legally or illegally, outside the system in order to survive. And usually, the only ones that survive, if not thrive, are the ones that operate outside the system. Talk about symmetry.

Congratulations on a fantastic fifth season, and second to last episode. In my mind, this last episode was the season 5 finale. The next one will be the epilogue to 5 glorious seasons.

"IT'S ALL CONNECTED," people.

The Watcher said...

Great post bdgavin - cosign.

Quick point Tim: I think Bunk's file on Chris Partlow may also be compromised by the serial killer mess. Recall that episode 8 Bunk was forced to channel through McNulty's investigation to get the lab work done that tied Chris to the scene... If Levy digs deep into the the corrupt investigation looking for links (as he's surely bound to do given Chris' seniority within Marlo's crew), there must be a strong chance that any evidence uncovered from that improperly granted lab work will be held inadmissable. So the impression I got was that this was to be part of the tragedy of the season climax, i.e. a case that was honestly investigated ("just working the file") gets dragged down with everything else. And all because Bunk holds off on making the arrest out of kindness to Freamon - a typically harsh Wire-style outcome...

Anonymous said...

Anyone think that McNutty screwed up by putting Marlo's real number in the paperwork to the court when Lester specifically said they'd put a bs number in the paperwork to the court and then get up on Marlo's real number? Re-watch episode 5, and you'll see what I'm talking about. If they had put a bs number in the paperwork, Ronnie and Daniels never would have known for sure on the cell phone ruse, and the case might have still held up, even if McNutty otherwise went down for manufacturing the serial killer. One stupid mistake and Marlo's back on the street. And The Wire gets to remain one of the darkest and certainly the best show ever made.

leftymn said...

Kima had to blow the whistle. Bunk couldn't do it, because, well, he and Jimmy had been partners, and you just don't rat out a buddy. But the homeless thing had spun so far out of control--well beyond Jimmy's wildest--that, as Carver noted, it was a forced move. Can't blame her.

As others have often mentioned, this series is like no other in the way they bring back characters from seasons past, even if only to mention their names. Lester's reference to Shardene was a subtle reward for loyal viewers, as was the scene in the evidence room, where Cedrick gave a nod to the cop who he had once ordered get into a program. (Apparently he did just that.)

With only one episode to go, they've got a lot of wrapping up to do. Maybe they'll do some of that with the sort of montage they used to conclude season 1.

I wonder what Michael will do from here. He's got brains and a heart, but he's probably in too deep to make any kind of deal with prosecutors. If he remains in town, it seems likely that he'll be murdered.

Finally, I don't see how Gus doesn't nail Templeton. They've put a lot into that part of the story; I'd hate to see a good guy like Gus not get a schmuck like Scott.

Anonymous said...

I love this show, but I can't keep up with it the way y'all do. I didn't get the bit with the phone in the evidence room. Meanwhile, Scott is going to win. Marlo will get back to business. Bubs is out of the game. Dukie's fate is in the air. And McNulty's going to hell, pretty as he is.

Anonymous said...

Three things:

The Greeks use a clock with Roman numerals; Marlo, et al, use the clocks with Arabic numbers. Classy, always classy.

**

The paperwork isn't going to mess up the bust, it's going to be Herc. (You knew you hated him for a reason). Some people are smart enough to play two sides and get away with it; Herc is not one of them.

**

Freamon's bs. "Journey, not the destination," right when he's hollering about how he 'got' Marlo. If the Marlo bust turns sour, Freamon won't be so happy about his journey. (And don't no one go talking about how this is some little twist in the side of the Soprano's finale.)

-anon457

Anonymous said...

Tim, good as usual. I didn't watch with captioning, but I did watch twice--and I felt that Michael, after a long pause when Dukie tried hard to get him to acknowledge the summer pass incident, finally said, with lump in throat, "I do.." Sounded just like a wedding vow to his new life without his two best buddies.

Anybody else hear it that way?

Casual Observer

Over on the other blog someone had a great analysis of the use of the theme of names and what people are called. Not just Marlo, but Vondas, Colvin, and Bubs, having (or no longer having) other names and titles. I thought that was brilliant.

Kima has been dissed for ratting out, but Kima also has info source outside of the fake serial killer case tying her triple to Marlo's crew, so she has a lot to lose. I have mixed feelings but understand her blowing the whistle. Daniels was her mentor, and when she went to him she didn't know the timing of the resupply bust.

The Tap said...

Great episode, and I agree with bdgavin that this was probably the best one so far.

Some thoughts:

- I can't see McNulty and Scott going down. This episode closed with the 'lie' being found out by superiors, and the writers gave us the feeling that the noose was closing on McNulty and Scotty. But I can't see it playing out that way - there are too many people invested in the 'lie' now. The Mayor is running his campaign off the back of it. This is Daniel (and possibly the DAs) biggest bust (the sort that make careers). The Bmore Sun is running this story for the pullitzer. No way the whole structure is coming down. My take is Lester puts the squeeze on Levy, and the illegal wire issue never sees day light. Thats the real world people, and the Wire has been true to that every step of the way.

- Seeing Dukie in that final scene ripped my heart out. Great decon by Tim; Dukie will become Bubbs, because there's no way out to the rest of the world!!! Gut wrenching.. I would love Prez to somehow make his appearance in the finale and save Dukie, but I can't see it happening - too hollywoodish.

- Anybody see Michael surviving this thing now that he's on the run?

- Is the finale really going to be 95 mins?

-

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add that Kima was angry at McNulty because of the real damage (time wasting, having victims' families believe their sons didn't merely OD but were sexually molested and murdered)done by the fake serial killer case. Sure, it opened the funding floodgates, but with much collateral damage, and the possibility of future collateral damage to Daniels, who was her mentor.--CO

sgw55 said...

I have a couple of questions which would help me out: whose phone was that in evidence, and why were Daniels and Ronnie so disappointed when they dialed the number and it rang? Finally, is it possible in any way that Ronnie is the link to the bad guys that is in the prosecutor's office? Do we know anybody else that it could be?

No Dobut said...

The Bigger the Lie, the more they believe, and remember when you don't see the endings that you want, it's not about the end its the journey. So get ready to feel like McNulty a week from now at work.

Anonymous said...

The real wiretap manned by Lester goes to Marlo's real phone, with another phone's number on the paperwork for the phone wiretap warrant which was granted.

The bogus phone number on the wiretap paperwork leads instead to the unplugged phone that isn't hooked up to a wire and so will not yield actual evidence (won't catch any calls). It was only used once, by McNulty making the fake serial killer call (I think) which gave them the juice to tap it.

By turning on the evidence room phone and dialing the paperwork number, Ronnie verified (when it rang) to her own satisfaction that the paperwork was forged and so the actual wiretap of Marlo's phone was illegitimate, having been gotten under false pretenses with false affidavits.

That's it, more or less. And that means that the "fruit of the poisonous tree" may make them throw everything out. Ronnie is a prosecutor and doesn't want to see that. The leak was at City Hall, not presumably in the State Attorney General's office. I'd be surprised if she were dirty, but not surprised if she were being used.

Tom said...

Tim, I loved Lester silently in Marlo's face, too. McNulty, after Bird's trial, called it the "ceremonial eye-fuck."

I'm used to deep callbacks on this show, but I was still delighted to Lester mention Shardene's name. Especially in that context, and since I couldn't remember her name last week. It's also nice to see that at least one of our favorite murder po-lice can maintain a relationship.

The signs don't point to Gus succeeding in getting Scott the hell out of the newsroom, do they? As an editor at a much smaller newspaper myself, that Pulitzer meeting was revolting. Gus is, sadly, mistaken; the Sun is in the business of manufacturing the news. They just don't know that when Scott is parroting "the Dickensian aspect," he's thinking "making up whatever is needed to make the story better."

Bubbles, er, Reginald! Finally, a catharsis. That warmed my heart, honestly. A fitting ending (presumably). Thank you, Andre Royo. Bloody brilliant, you are.

And I needed it, because that was just heartbreaking with Bug, then Dukie.

Tom said...

(Long posts can be a slog.)

This show has not given me cause to be optimistic ... well, ever. But I'm hoping Lester can make something stick to Levy. Because that's seemingly the only way Jimmy doesn't take a hell of a lot of people down with him.

Jimmy's going down, right? Doesn't he, at minimum, almost have to end up in bracelets?

I'm still, to my surprise, trying to figure out Herc's game. Is he just a double agent now? Or was he just feeding Levy bits of information to see where the latter took it? It seems as though he thinks he can help out Carver et. al. and cash fat checks from Levy at the same time.

It was great to see Marlo lose it. Transformative, as with Omar (R.I.P.) after he took flight.

Michael's always been a few seconds smarter than everybody else, hasn't he? That's good. With the snitch label still on him, he's going to need to be.

Anonymous said...

I keep checking back and having questions about callbacks. I wasn't sure, but I thought that Bubbles' sister who won't come to his anniversary and won't let him climb the stairs mentioned being late to go to her job at the hospital. She looked familiar--is it the same nurse that thought Cutty (Dennis, another dual name!)was still in the thug life and was set straight by Colvin, after which the montage last season showed them dating?

And Prez--has it been long enough that he could have gotten a foster parent license and come back to save either Dukie or Randy, who may still be redeemable?

Don't know if that's Hollywoodish, but this cast is so large that maybe more than one gets redeemed, and it may not be who we think. We already have apparently Namond and Bubbles, why not one more?--CO

Mike@PVL said...

I totally agree with The Tap - the wire's "happy ending" is that the corruption can work for the good guys once and a while with a coverup saving Scott and McNutty.

Maybe Lester will have to back off Levy to keep him quiet - making it not a clean happy ending for us.

Anonymous said...

My guess is the Post calls and offers Templeton a job right before Gus can bring him down.

Anonymous said...

Loved the woman at the NA meeting reminding Bubs that he didn't call her in his moment of despair: cause I'd have got all up with you Reginald...(or something like that). Very sweet.

Also, Snoop in Levey's office: Go down the way and see if Wal-Mart will take care of your gimpy ass when you laid up.

Anonymous said...

Loved the shout-out to Dexter

Alex said...

Amazing episode -- take that, Season 5 naysayers. As always, the build-up is slow and methodical and the payoff for the audience's patience is more than worth the wait.

Namond seems to have come a long way. If I remember correctly, when we first met him he was so obnoxious that he said he didn't want to touch Dukie because he didn't want to "get AIDS." Now he's speaking in a well-informed way about the AIDS crisis in Africa.

Don't be so sure that the Marlo bust is going to fall apart. Things look bad now, but Lester is scheming to hold the bust together and the man has been at the top of his awe-inspiring game lately. Plus, the Mayor and his people are not going to look kindly on any public official who sees the case the way Kima does.

If I were Levy, I'd go on a long vacation right about now. Marlo is whip-smart and all he has to do is put 2 and 2 together -- he gave his cell number to Levy and Levy employs Herc, a former cop whose career was destroyed in part by a previous attempt to put Marlo under electronic surveillance (the stolen camera).

Good for Omar: the price was too high, but he did succeed in his campaign to make Marlo pay for his crimes. Marlo would rather face a firing squad than be openly called a "bitch" and a "punk" day after day by a gay man who's ready to square off against him on one leg. Marlo can tell people he didn't know as much as he wants, but the fact is that his reputation, which means everything to him, has taken a major hit.

industriousboy said...

The woman who Michael dropped Bug off with, have we seen her before? Who is she?

The shout out to Dexter was classic and classy, I will miss these writers.

Templeton will skate I predict, he will get by with a slap on the wrist. He is the worst kind of wrong. And it is just amazing Gus is still at that paper, he is a fossil of a long forgotten time I fear.

I for the life of me can not tell if Daniels will blow this thing apart. He has corruption relativism in his past so maybe he runs it up the flag pole to see if the Mayor/Gov-wannabe Carcetti lets it pass. Does he want the double digit drop at the price of the crime getting swept under? What is his soul really worth?

The Michael becoming Omar, Dukie becoming bubs, Kima becoming Carver-esque, they all ring true to me. I love the parallels of people being influenced by the actions of others they see, it is as real as it gets.

Davis shouting back to Stringer was truly classic. No one lives in a vacuum, they all know everyone, and they all have crossed paths of people the others know, again, reality.

See you all here next week for our WireCryfest 2008.

Brian Ekberg said...

Wasn't the season originally going to be 13 eps? As much as I've enjoyed this one, I can't help but wonder what it could have been with those extra three episodes. I hope we see Prez once more...

Anonymous said...

Loved the episode and the hightlights people have mentioned, especially the scenes with Bubs and Dukie. A couple of other points:

Loved McNulty's comment "I think he evacuated" a callback to the newsroom in episode one. Not as subtle (with a b) as some of the other callbacks, but still nice.

For those of you looking for a little more Wire-esqe TV, WGN the Chicago superstation, is showing Homicide at 9:00am every weekday. A regular stop on the DVR schedule. They're about halfway through Season 1. It's just a little more of good Baltimore police in action. I think Pembleton and Omar are the characters most alike. Both are good at what they do, both have a definite code. We just saw the Homicide episode where they do the copy machine lie detector scheme, which in fact is out of David Simon's book that started it all.

Anonymous said...

man, that episode f-ed me up.

I watched it on Tivo after the kids had gone to bed, fell asleep soon thereafter, had dreams about it, woke up at 4:30 and couldn't go back to sleep b/c I kept thinking about it.

Uh, maybe I have a problem.

But still, that's the definition of a great episode.

yea for bubbs, and my heart was ripped out for dukie. damn.

damn damn damn.

can't wait for the last one. actually, i almost prefer i never learn how it ends...

seaphoto said...

"Glad you landed on your feet"

Augie, the Detective who was trying to work up the courage to fall down the stairs in the first season. Classic

ferrethead said...

My dream scenario - Scotty gets the boot, and Fletcher gets the Pulitzer for his series on Bubs.
.
Despite his flaws, Michael's love for Bug remained true. Without that anchor, I fear for what is left of his humanity.
.
Damn, I wanted more than anything for Dukie to break the cycle. I knew it was too much to hope for, that he would be able to get to the world outside, but he started at such a disadvantage, it may be too much for him to overcome.
.
To think I used to have a modicum of respect for Carcetti. The great triumph that Carcetti was proclaiming to the press - the Urban Debate League - was won by someone who was a direct product of Bunny's program. You remember the one, Tommy - you couldn't even be bothered to take the meeting, weasel!!!
.
RE: Snoop. She actually got better than she deserved... Give her credit, though, she went out with class.

CasualObserver said...

Here's a thought: I see the Michael being the next Omar that some of you are saying. But it could go another way. Chris is likely to stay locked up because of his DNA on Bug's father's unrelated murder. Michael is actually likely to gain favor from Marlo because he was the one who "thought" Chris and Snoop should have told Marlo his name was being dragged. Michael has now taken out Snoop (one of the authors of the bad decision to shield Marlo from the trash Omar was talking)by being a step too smart.

Maybe Marlo will make Mike the new Chris, the "gentle" killer ("you look good, girl...".

sfnrh said...

Pretty sure it was "no need to bring your iron" rather than "9" from Snoop to Michael.
- -
Does Chris know how to read?
- -
Loved the nod to the other amputee at Walter Reed - that guy was featured in a compelling Esquire piece last year.
- -
Why was Marlo okay with Herc's presence in Levy's office in the first place earlier this season? I understand attorney-client privilege, but he had to have been suspicious fresh off the camera incident.
- -
Nerese must be the leak...remember Carcetti's comment about the side development deal with one of the ministers earlier this season?
- -
Why was there still one refrigerator full of dope at the warehouse when both Monk and Cheese were busted away from the meet? Since it was in the boonies, two SUV's would carry 100 bricks easily so two trips wouldn't seem necessary and the desire from both sides to do the exchange quick and easy.
- -
Gus needs four, count 'em four, instances of questionable reporting by Templeton to make the outright accusation? The crab cake lady, the wheelchair kid at Opening Day, the military guy and the fake Nerese quote re: Daniels/Burrell. Plus his suspicions on the serial killer interplay the last time McNulty visited the Sun.

Anonymous said...

Got to agree with the "Watcher" re: the case against Chris Partlow. Because Bunk channeled a crucial piece of evidence analysis through McNutty's scam a slick laywer like Levy could probably get it throuwn out. I actually woke upe in the middle of the night with that sudden realization after watching the episode the first time.

Anonymous said...

Love the show...Love the Decon...

BUT, something about this episode just doesnt ring true.
1. Lester makes it PERFECTLY clear to Marlo that it was the phones/clocks that got him busted. So, WHY does he question the "source of information" while in the jailhouse? He already knows how he got busted.
2. Keeping that in mind, why go after Michael? He knows Michael knows very little (if not, nothing at all) about the clocks. Sure Michael could have snitched about the beat down on his "step-father". But, only Chris would be in jail on that...not the whole crew.
3. Levy and Marlo deduce in the interogation room that only Snoop could have been the snitch. So, why wouldn't Marlo either call off the hit OR have Michael "take care" of Snoop.
4. Finally, the scene where Snoop lets Michael know about the hit is just wrong. From Snoop's perspective, Michael is the snitch. So, why does she give him so many clues about him being the target..don't bring your gun, bit player that wouldnt know much is the "target", etc. This would set off numereous "alarms", even to the most dimwitted of people...and Michael aint no dimwit.

Anybody else see it this way?

Anonymous said...

"A man's got to have a code."

On this show, the minute that people start straying from this truism, they either self-destruct or poison things around them.

Jimmy was always good police until he stopped having a code. Omar paid dearly when he stopped having a code. Following this logic, Gus is going to have to pay, in some fashion or another.

Lester has something up his sleeve. Whatever it is, I think it might be enough to save the case, but not their jobs.

I'm not so sure that Chris didn't know the damage he'd be bringing on Marlo's name by keeping him in the dark about Omar calling him out.

There's no way Marlo will cut Michael some slack. He won't take that chance, and according to the previews, Marlo somehow makes bail.

I thought the scene at the VA hospital was brilliant.

There's one more dead homeless person in the previews. I've got a bad feeling about that.

Am I the only one who thought Michael should've done more for Dukie? Just dropping him off like that was cold and hard. Dukie helped him raise Bug and was his best friend. He could've dropped him off with Cutty... or something. I'm not feeling the love for Michael, anymore.

It's going to be hard letting go after five years of watching this show. Never thought I'd be typing those words about a television series.

Anonymous said...

Someone had to give the cops Marlo's cell number.

That's the snitch he wants.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anon at 10:43 am

Marlo, Chris, etc. are sitting in jail reading their indictments. The indictments say that information was obtained from a "Confidential Informant." Remember, the wiretaps were supposed to be on the serial killer's phone, not Marlo's. The tap on his phone is 100% illegal and any evidence obtained as a result of the tap is inadmissible in court. So Lester claimed that their evidence came from a CI. Now Marlo and crew are trying to figure out the identity of the CI. Everyone who knew the code was sitting in jail with them, so attention next turned to Snoop (who they dismissed because, well, its really not her way I guess) and then Michael because he was the closest to the action without being too deep.

detroitnewsie said...

anonymous at 10:43, one thing I noticed was how, when Michael was
surveying her at the boarded-up corner store, Snoop was looking at herself in the rearview mirror and smoothing back her hair right before she pulled away from the curb; I thought at the time it might be a signal, but then she did that right before Michael shot her, out of vanity-did she think she might be hit at that corner meet?

Marlo doesn't need much to take someone out-recall the security guard at the corner store in S4?
Just the fact that Michael was questioning previous hits was enough. Chris, however, I don't think he could have taken Michael out, I think there is a bit of paternalism there, not to mention recognition of strength in Michael's character to question Marlo's game (and jealous he wouldn't do it himself?)

Even with Lester pointing out the clocks/phones to Marlo, Lester could have never gotten up on that without additional info and Marlo recognizes that.

Jesse D said...

This stuff is like drugs or sex. Once you're hooked you can never get enough. I feel sick without it, and when I watch it, it only brings me back up to a normal state of being. It is never as good as it once was, in the beginning, when you were really discovering it. It's time to quit.

No more doing the dope fiend lean on Fayette and Calhoun.

Now what?

George D from the 415 said...

I've only read a couple of comments so far, but rest assured I'll get through all of 'em when I've got the time. For now, I just wanted to comment on how many people bitched about Gus being to saintly. For me it hearkens back to Kima ala season 1. sure her relationship started to come unraveled but the real faults didn't start to show until season 2. before that, The only real tension was her girl wishing she'd stop being po-lice. As the show evolved her cracks finally started to show, but, with 10 episodes, Gus didn't have that luxury. I realize that this hasn't been a point of contention as much of late, but I still wanted to point it out.

Fittingly, they are the two characters who are taking their colleague's lies to their respective bosses.

Anonymous said...

industriousboy, that woman was new. she was michael's aunt that he'd mentioned in season 4 when namond was talking about "the klan being out in pg (princess george) county." michael's response was, "man (or n-), there ain't no klan in pg county, i got an aunt who lives out there. you're full of it" or something to that effect.

i wish i could write more. this episode and the weight of the entire series is weighing upon me, resulting in a great sadness about the state of urban america. it's one thing to intuitively know that there's a problem. it's an entirely different thing to see it portrayed so vividly on screen. i'm beyond words right now.

detroitnewsie said...

I finally saw "Gone Baby Gone" this weekend-couldn't help but notice the parallels between Kima and Kenzie. They recognize the social consequences their actions could have, but fear that too much power and misuse of it at the top is the greater danger.

lifeisgood67 said...

What an emotional rollercoaster last night!
Such ebullience & glee from the first minutes when the bust went down. It was almost too perfect -- Lester quasi fessing up and it still all work. I know that anything that seems to perfect on the Wire is bound to crunmble, but I didn't care! I needed the good guys to pull through.

Then a Bubs victory.

Then a Gus victory. (Confirmation!)

Namond victory.

Even a Michael victory, of sorts (get there early)

We are on a roll to the finish. Weeee! This is easy!

Then the scene with Michael, Bug & Dukie. I think the earlier 'victories' set me up for this heart-wrenching and tender scene the kids. I cried all through the scene. It's so easy to forget that these are still middle school aged kids (they're even driving cars for God's sake!)I won't soon forget that scene. If ever there we an advert for the benefits & need for Foster Parenting, this was it.

Anonymous said...

I loved the look on Lester's face when Clay Davis mentioned Stringer. That was priceless!

Will Kima and Bubs (I mean Reginald!) have a reunion? or will we hear bubs say McNutty again?

Also, I agree with the anonymous post right above me about how real this show feels and that it makes you think about the people that are living that life every day.

I've always told people about the show (who don't watch it!) and said the acting is so real, it's hard to even think of the cast as actors. I feel like an insider into something so amazing.

I don't have the words either - I sure will miss this show. I can't wait to start over on season 1 again though. I need to see Omar in that scene in the courtroom with the tie! There were so many good lines in that ep!
Liz

Anonymous said...

I think who is giving out the grand jury info at City Hall is key and I can't imagine who it is.
I'm sorry I watched the preview but it looks like McNulty is going to take out Scott about the lies if he's going down. They both got calls from the serial killer. And Prez does seem to make an appearance.

detroitnewsie said...

more thoughts: Daniels past and Marla's ambition will be critical in getting Daniels behind the cover-up and any compromise in how this case plays out.

We'll see Prez, undoubtably witnessing Dukie's new reality.

I never trusted Phalen; I know his name has been run here before as the leak at the courthouse; ditto.

Lester knew it ran deep, but I don't think he realized just how deep. Clay is just giving him a taste of what he knows, and even he probably can't get deep either. Great scene, Lester recognizing even the big dogs (Bell) are bit players in the game.

By the way, Marlo's out of the game. Even if he gets off, he lost Chris and Snoop, his street cred, all that product and his connect. Insurance???? Sheeeeeaaaat. He'll never get Vondas back, after Omar's hit and then this, no doubt the Greeks are looking to move with a new crew, probably imported, something totally new for the BPD to get up on.

Herc just needs love y’all. Guy is so insecure, wasn’t enough to give Carver the number, he needed verification that it mattered. Likewise, his talk with Levy, just fishin for an in so he can say “hey man, I’m the one who brought this to you, bigger and faster than if it came on its own.” Levy’s comment about how Marlo’s phone meant bucco dollars in the near future, Herc heard that....

Anonymous said...

Re: Anonymous @ March 3 7:19am

But they screwed up, which was my point in my post as Anonymous @ March 3 2:27am.

They were supposed to put a bs number in the paperwork, but they didn't. They put in Marlo's real cell phone number. Marlo reads his number aloud at Levy's office, and then Ronnie reads the same number aloud from the court paperwork as McNutty and Lester are exiting the utility closet. McNutty screwed up and put Marlo's real number in the paperwork, not some bs number. That's why in last night's episode Ronnie and Daniels were able to read Marlo's number from the court paperwork and then call Marlo's phone. McNutty ruined the whole case by putting Marlo's real number in the paperwork. Re-watch episode 5 and you should be able to pick this up. I think the writers purposely made it abundantly clear by having Ronnie read the number aloud. It was an uh-oh moment and it all came back around last night.

ferrethead said...

For people who watched the previews - a lot of people who post here choose not to watch them. I'm not one of them, but I refrain from posting what I see in them out of respect for those who want to go in completely fresh. Please, restrain your need to over share, and have some consideration. You might think it's not the case, since these are previews, but you are playing SPOILER, and it's just plain RUDE!!!

spearchamp said...

A thought or two now that my wife has talked me off the ledge after those final Michael/Bug/Dukie scenes . . .

Don't know if Nareese is the leak, but remember she still has the goods on Daniels (hand delivered by Burrell).

McNulty is pretty much dead - I see no way out of this for him, and stripped of his one true passion, it won't surprise me to see him step off the curb and into the abyss.

Casual Observer - I'm pretty sure Mike says "I don't" to Dukie, but I like your theory about Mike becoming the next Chris. Marlo has always been facinated with Micheal, from when Michael refused to wear his money to his bemusement at Micheal winding up with the ring that Omar stole from him. May not be what the viewers desire, but then again, what on "The Wire" is?

leftymn said...

This is a very good series, obviously, but I just can't relate to those who describe such emotional reactions to some of the characters. Maybe I've become jaded in my old age, but this is a work of fiction depicted by actors. Granted, it's supposed to reflect the realities of many of our inner cities, but didn't we all know this was going on? For that matter, haven't we known for a very long time that the realities are far more grim than even this series projects? For all it's supposed authenticity, in fact there is a certain unreality to The Wire, in that it projects onto even cold-blooded killers likability. Who didn't love Omar? Snoop? And we certainly embraced Michael, and even Chris to some degree. But their real-life analogs most of us would see as monsters.

By the way, the reason Michael left Dukie off at that lovely stop was because that's what Dukie wanted. Remember: "Why here, Duke?"

suzyq2 said...

Thanks ferrethead. I choose not to watch the previews and am bummed when someone mentions something in them here. I love reading everyone's comments so I'd like to second that request, please don't spill the beans.

How many different ways can this show break your heart? I am gutted. After season 4 I thought there must be something I could do, I was so devastated by the story of those kids. But I didn't. But now, if I don't do something I don't think I can live with myself. I think Simon is saying "this is how it really is, do you care? Are you going to do something about it?" I'm not sure yet what I can do but I'll figure it out. Imagine, a tv show inspiring someone to make the world a better place. Who'd thunk it.

I am haunted by what lies ahead for Dukie, and I am still in tears when I think about that last scene. When we met Dukie, Michael, Randy and Namond (thanks for THAT happy ending at least) it seemed there might be possibilities for them to not end up hardened, on the streets. They were still unformed. I guess one of out four is better than nothing but just imagine Michael, Randy and Dukie too in a home with caring parents, with guidance and love. I know I will.

I have tried to keep liking Carcetti but his sweeping in with his entourage at the Urban Debate League was the final straw. Good for Bunny not to shake his hand. Is it holding office that screws these people up or are just screwed up people running for office?

Snoop seriously underestimated Michael. He's smarter than she is. It's such a waste he has to use those smarts to stay alive. Just think what he'd be like in a nice suit on a debate team.

Somehow I think Lester's tying in Levy and Clay Davis is going to save this case from falling apart. And I agree with whoever said it, the mayor, the top brass, they're not going to let this one get away even if they have to cook some books. But as for McNulty, his goose is cooked.

suzyq2 said...

Leftymn, you must have posted while I was writing my post! As far as the emotional reactions to these characters, yes I know this is a work of fiction with actors saying lines. And yes, we have all been told before that this is what is going on in the inner cities, worse things even but this show has made it very personal and has brought home what I've heard and read in a way that nothing every has before. We have gotten to know the statistics as real people, a glowing testament to everyone involved in the show that it has the verisimilitude it does. I don't think it's so much a case of making these characters likable but showing different sides of them. They can be killers but also have traits we can relate to like caring about some people in their lives and living by a code. That's the point I think, that there are some decent good people out there warped beyond redemption by the circumstances of their lives. I'm sure there are also some stone-cold killers out there we couldn't find anything about which to relate to and there are some of them in The Wire too.

Peeeet said...

I figure the leak has to be Bond, or possibly Phelan. Who else would have access to Grand Jury testimony? Certainly not Narese.

Also, Did they screw up the clock code? The hands were on 8 and 10, which they read as G-10 on the map grid. Shouldn't that have been H-10? If so, how did they find the warehouse.

And last, what exactly are they telling us with that Dexter reference? I'll tell you what I think. They're saying that after this HBO is done & we should just switch to Showtime already

Peeeet said...

One other thing. Even if you've been good and avoided the On Demand stuff. I'd encourage you to look at the 1 minute announcement they put up last night (starring everyone's favorite state senator) telling those of us who've been looking ahead that we now have to wait.

I was kind of pissed as I waited up until far past my usual bedtime to watch the finale - but the announcement's really pretty funny.

Anonymous said...

leftymn and suzyq2: I think that what the show (like all good art) does is portray not just broken systems but the breadth of human experience.

Forget the thugs for a moment and think about Bubbles. He was a junkie for years, and he had a good and bad side. In one way, being an adult, he was responsible for his actions; in another way, being an addict, it was hard for him to find that responsibility. He is recovering (like some here I'll be upset if Simon has him relapse, but relapse is part of recovery). He now knows that his sister is "good people, been through a lot"--she'll give him shelter but has limits based on being burned.

Bubbles is a lens through which to see the doomed trajectory of many of the other characters/systems. He's one of the casualties of the drug war between the cops and the dealers.

B-More Wire Head said...

"How my hair look?" - Snoop

"You look good girl" - Michael

Right now this is my favorite scene. The end of Snoop. I truly enjoyed her character for good or bad. But in that scene, you could read the realization come over her, that it was simply her time.

The scene with Michael, Dukie and Bugs was tough. I actually fought back tears and I don't cry at all. It's actually been years since I really cried. But that one part almost took me there.

Despite the fact that I'm from Baltimore (westside to be exact) and despite the fact that some of these characters could've been friends of mine or relatives, I still feel like much of you - an outsider being given a special window and voyeuristic view into secretive world.

This show is f'in great. I am truly going to miss it. And not just for its "Dickensian Aspect."

B-More Wire Head said...

One finally thought...

I find it hard to believe that the cute young stripper Charlene is still kickin it with Lester. Young attractive girls don't stay interested in men old enough to be their daddy for that long of period. lol

Anonymous said...

Did anyone pickup that newsroom moment where the copy editor says they have to fill 4 inches in the metro section. Gus asks Marta what she's got for filler. She mentions a fire and a 35 year old homicide victim shot in a grocery store (Omar). Gus says to go with the fire! The murder of the legendary Omar doesn't even merit a couple of inches in the local paper.

This seemingly insignificant editorial decision demonstrates how the public misses out on the truly dramatic news stories, as well as the stories behind each story.

Anonymous said...

Yes, McNulty is going down but he will get his glory. Remember how on surveillance earlier this year, young detective heard tell of McNulty's describing his climax w/ Russian prostitutes into a police report?

Point being, McNulty will get canned, the deed covered up. But insiders, real po-lice will tell the tale of how McNulty brought down Marlo with a phony serial killer.

ALSO - Money on Phelan being the leak. Remember how storytellers like their bookends (e.g., "evacuation"). The ball got rolling in the first ep. of Season 1 because of a conference between McNulty and Phelan. As recent episodes have shown, Phelan is a pill-popper and hints at corruption. His interest could seriously complicate the collision course afoot between Freamon and Levy.

leftymn said...

suzyq2---I've concluded that you and others who emote over the scenes in The Wire are the lucky ones. I think that since I was a young boy I've put up a defense against feeling the pain of fictional characters. The only time TV or the movies hit me that way is when it's familiar territory, and even then I'm usually caught off guard. Though I must not be completely heartless (and I know you didn't suggest that I was) because, like peeeet, I'm rooting for Bubs to stay clean. Also, peeeet, I agree with you on the humor in the 1 minute on-demand announcement about the series finale. I think that's the first time HBO has made light of this series.

seaphoto said...

No chance that Michael goes back to work for Marlo. Snoop was under orders from Marlo to kill him - for him to trust Marlo for a minute would be a very stupid move.

No, Michael is the new Omar. Has to. He has a responsibility (Bug) that he is serious about, and that means he needs more cash than he will get working a legit job. He needs to stay in the shadows -working for another crew isn't going to happen either. Without the responsibility for his little brother, he and Dukie might have just left town, started fresh somewhere else. Or not, it must be hard to envision a life outside of Baltimore for those kids.

Boy Howdy said...

Kind of a sexist demise for Snoop, wouldn't you say? Of all the show's characters, you'd think she'd be the least likely to go out like a passive wimp. But there she went: turning her face from the line of fire, asking about how her hair looked, no attempt to fight back, etc. Maybe they were trying to make all the previous bravado merely a shell for the "gentle little girl" she really was inside, but I just can't buy it. Still, a great series...

suomynona said...

Kind of a sexist demise for Snoop, wouldn't you say? Of all the show's characters, you'd think she'd be the least likely to go out like a passive wimp. But there she went: turning her face from the line of fire, asking about how her hair looked, no attempt to fight back, etc. Maybe they were trying to make all the previous bravado merely a shell for the "gentle little girl" she really was inside, but I just can't buy it. Still, a great series...

Passive wimp? Really? She treated death when it came to herself just as she has treated it when it came to other people and she was the one doing the deed. No big thing. Prop Joe just closed his eyes. Stringer told em to "get on with it". She simply looked in the mirror and asked how she looked, perhaps the first time she slightly shows a touch of feminity. Great, great scene.

Dennis said...

- Phelan's cheap enough to expect someone to pick up a lunch tab that has what, a club sandwich and fries? Sheeet;) that's the kind of guy that will do anything to save or make a dollar. So count me in on him being the leak.

- Loved Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" playing in the background when Gus interviewed the vet.

- Staying on the music tip, how about some old school Tom Petty and "Refugee" accompanying the conversation between Carver and Herc? That tune's a shout-out to Herc because he doesn't belong anywhere.

- I have a bad feel about how Jimmy had to go check on homeless death; basically just to make an appearance. I don't think there are a lot of red herrings in Simon's kettle of fish so that felt ominous to me.

- My memory's pretty good now but it was really good when I was 14, that being said I believed Micheal that he didn't remember the piss balloon fight that Dukie referenced. For Mike, that has to seem like years ago instead of just months. I'm on board with him being the next stick-up boy, though. He's got the smarts to get the drop on people and he needs to keep the cash flowing to his aunt.

- The reason why I'm down on Kima ratting out Jimmy is that Jimmy told her himself in an attempt to stop from wasting anymore of her time. He felt like he owed it to her and this is what she's done in return. That's why I can't get behind it.

medinatime said...

I am really pissed off at Kima for what she did. McNulty can bury himself he doesn't need any help for that . I guess Kima forgot the times that McNulty would cover for her when she was cheating on her girlfriend. I can't wait for this weekend to see the finale. How will it end?

Jay said...

No doubt, the best episode of the season.

My favorite was the Marlo speech, where he comes unglued, then right back to normal. That was an awesome bit of acting.

It was also fun to see all the cops beaming when they had everyone in cuffs.

The Michael scenes were just stunning!

Anonymous said...

Until today, I found the media story pretty weak. It's been pretty much the only disappointing thing ever on The Wire, the rest of which I've found pretty much perfect. But now I think I get it.

I attended two live presentations by David Simon today at the University of Southern California, and he explained that the media theme of this season wasn't about whether they're getting the stories they report on right. Rather, it was about all the stories they're not reporting on at all. Then the following jelled in my mind:

Simon is showing that it doesn't matter how--whether in total fabrication a la Scott or in the real work that everyone else at The Sun seems to be doing--the media doesn't report the right stories, i.e., the ones they leave out. Scott strengthens that point by being so non-subtle. The key is that he is still merely a distraction. Obviously he gets it wrong. But so does everyone else, the rest of whom are generally playing by the books. Even Gus gets it wrong when he doesn't pick up on the importance of Joe, Hungry, or Omar, and when he tells Alma they'll run the story on the fire instead of Omar's murder in the 8th or 9th episode. Gus seems so saintly, but he still gets the story wrong. And then he goes hunting Scott like that's what's important. But Scott is merely a distraction from the more subtle, more mundane, more run-of-the-mill, more everyday, but much more important story that the entire newspaper gets it wrong even when, unlike Scott, they're trying to do it right. By contrast with Scott's overtness, the real story about the media is thrown into the shadows just like the real stories that the media should be writing about. But they misfocus us on the sensational crap that sells, just like Simon has us misfocus on Scott. Just as the media focuses our attention on the wrong stories while giving us little on what they should, Simon focuses our attention on Scott instead of the story he should be telling about the more run-of-the-mill failings in today's newsrooms. In the real media and in Simon's depiction, the important stuff is the stories that aren't told, and Simon paralleled that theme by telling us tons about Scott and comparatively little about the more mundane but more important failings in his fictional newsroom.

I still might have preferred to see more on the mundane everyday failings of the media, but at least now I see what Simon was trying to do. And I think it's a damned clever and successful approach. Even if it could have been done differently and perhaps better, it was still done well. I didn't think that until I figured all this stuff out (with Simon's help), but now I'm convinced. I guess I should always have complete faith in this show, the best thing that's ever been on television. Oh yeah, too late for that, it ends next week.

barbara74 said...

I completely support what Kima has done. When she was shot, she wouldn't identify WeeBay just because Bunk wanted her to. Carver did the right thing with the crazy violent cop. Ethics are ethics.

While we understand why McNulty has created this fantasy killer, it's still completely wrong. Can you really support his mutilating dead bodies? Taking the homeless guy to the Richmond shelter and pretending he was a victim? Having another homeless guy's family think that he was sexually assaulted? Funneling resources to the police (much of it wasted) that may lead to teacher layoffs? I want them to get Marlo, but I'm relieved that someone is putting a stop to "Cops Gone Wild."

One thing we see in this show is that it all matters. We need more people in The Wire, in the world, behaving ethically even when it's hard to do.

I hate that it's over. Love the show, love the discussion.

Treyman said...

What the fu*k is Kima doing? That was total bullshit .Why did she have to tell? Like the previous post said she was never outed by McNulty when she was trampin around. Great episode and I think I have to stop waiting for a "happy satisfying"ending because I love the wire because it is raw and real. But I always forget that real life is rarely happy or satisfying. Keep up the comments everyone I love knowing that other people are just as engrossed with this series as my lady and I are. Here is to a wonderful finale which of course will leave us wanting more. Thank god for HBO and David Simon. Tim was right. Simon does like to wrap story lines up. Good day everyone.

Anonymous said...

barbara74 has it right about why Kima has to tell. And one thing everyone is missing is that it's not easy for her to do this to McNulty for the greater good even though she's angry with him. Her questioning of Carver before deciding to act is twofold: First,she wants to know how it feels to do the right thing (like Carver did with the out-of-control cop:

First Carver tried to give him an out with a plausible story, and then insist on writing up the truth when the out-of-control cop doesn't take the out).

Second, she wants the work of the cops who weren't in on the deception to be shielded when McNulty falls. Watch her scenes again. She was pissed, but she agonized over all the angles.

She wants to right a wrong without creating others. And part of the motivation is in her being mentored by Daniels and having to visit the grieving families who think their sons were horribly murdered instead of drug ODs.

Anonymous said...

Bond, Phelan, or Ilene?? could be the leak, or maybe Narese. I don't know and wouldn't spoil; just speculating.

Of these, Phelan is the most interesting because of his finger-pointing (joking)to the Governor in a previous episode about the serial killer wiretap: check the governor's alibi, where was he when the serial killer called.

Irreverent humor or guilty conscience?

Anonymous said...

Jimmy's ruse opened the funding floodgates and not only paid for getting Marlo's crew (though that may be thrown out when the ruse is discovered), but funded some other police work. It also (like all money bounties in civic funding)got diverted in some instances (the golf weekend the other cop blackmailed him into). Forget Kima for a minute--are we all sure that one of the other cops isn't doing an undercover police corruption sting and Jimmy would have fallen anyway? Think about it.

Judging from Jimmy's demeanor, he may be relieved to be caught.--CO

k.papai said...

I have to agree that this was the best episode of this final season fibve. And hears hopig to confirm that Sunday night's fnial final dnial (damn!) show is a full 90 minutes.

Someone said that there are too many lies that the whole structure of season five is built on. True dat! So, all the lies will "hold up" and Marlo and crew are in jail for a long time.

Anonymous said...

I think Kima did the right thing by going to Daniels. She knows he'll do the right thing.
Maybe there's a way Daniels can figure out how to hold it all together without losing the case against Marlo, but somehow punishing McNulty. I think he'll go to the mayor too to see what he thinks.
It sure would suck if there was no justice.

Rachel said...

I saw David Simon speak at USC yesterday. A couple of rough notes on what he said:

- Calls The Wire an affectionate portrayal of end of empire
- Based the series on the Greek tragedies – each institution is a god. Didn’t want to say anything initially, but was afraid people wouldn’t notice and would just write about the series as a cop show.
- Also influenced by Kubrick’s Paths of Glory – best movie on politics ever made.
- Journalism is burning!
- The “solution” for newspapers is too late: the natl newspapers should have had the stones early on to charge more on internet to give value.
- Wow whatever happened to him at the Sun he has Not. Let. Go. He left in 95, but tells the stories like they happened to him yday.
- Describes his “meta moment”: all the TV critics have been writing about the Scott storyline, but the real journalism story is that they are missing the story. The newspaper has been stripped down so much that they have missed the shenanigans going on at the Mayor’s office (came in as a reformer and now cooking the books), the school system (teach the test – unsustainable score gains), the police (McNutty).
- Randy is Cheese’s son – if he had more time this season would have done more sidestories like randy and cheese and cutty.
- He nearly slapped a kid for asking why Omar was killed by Kennard – says that makes it “less fun”
- When asked if there will be a Wire movie: point-blank no.

Nice Dolphin said...

"Glad to see you landed on your feet"
Daniels to Poke
a not so subtle nod to him not being able to throw himself down the stairs in season one.
My favorite call back so far.

So many great comments beat me to the punch on Michael & Dukie.
Michael says "I don't" when Dukie asks him if he remembers (went closed caption to be sure) My take is that he does in fact rememeber but knows that saying no will be the push Dukie needs to get out of the car. Mike has no time for remember the care free days as he has seen more in the past 12 months than any kid ever should.

I hope Phelan is the leak, would complete the circle from season 1 ep 1. Seems like he has had a few too many scenes this season to not factor in the end game

Clay & Freemon..simply awesome!!

Anonymous said...

Everybody loves Gus (I love Gus) but Fletcher? young black reporter is one of the heroes of this. He voices that theme of "dead in the wrong zip code"--Simon's theme the other posters referred to of importance being partly a matter of what doesn't get covered and why, as well as lies and celebrity gossip.

Gus didn't know it was Omar killed, because Alma didn't know it; but pretty sure Omar was dead in the wrong zip code, almost with the wrong toe tag. Nobody knows about the abducted homeless guy because he was panhandling in the wrong zip before McNulty used him.

But Gus is still a good guy (not a saint) because he is trying to preserve the accuracy and integrity of what does get printed, and he is doing that against the money-hungry powers that be while still going to bat for his good reporters.

Kima is trying to preserve the integrity of the police process where she can, and still protect the guys whose work got funded.

As for owing McNulty something because her slutting around was covered up--her personal infidelities, and McNulty's, may have collateral damage in their own lives--but they aren't the issue of institutional whistleblowing. Personal and occupational morals aren't necessarily the same.

Anonymous said...

Like so many, I was completely affected by the Dukie-Michael moment in the car, and by Dukie walking away to his fate. I woke up in the middle of the night last night, and had a realization. Perhaps Dukie is more at risk of turning into Sherrod than turning into Bubbles. He's young, smart, never really got a chance at school/education, and now he's throwing his future in with guys who scrape by and are junkies. Made me even sadder to think this. Because Bubs is seeming to make it, while we all know what happened to Sherrod.

Voguette said...

Someone spoke of the "happy ending" for Bug. Crikey, he's the one that made me tear up. That young actor did a fine job. Bug's world fell apart losing his big brother. He may have his own room now, and a plasma tv, but he's lost Michael (and a great nannie).
-
And Namond still likes his bling.
-
Someone mentioned Bunk's grins. Yeah. And those groany purring sounds he makes. Love 'em.
-
Marlo on his knees. Took my breath away. Then his lost cool. Phew!
-
Brilliant last scene for Snoop.
-
"Deserves got nothing to do with it." That's from Clint Eastwood's 'The Unforgiven'. It's exactly what Eastwood's gunman character says to Gene Hackman (Little Bill) before he shoots him. It's such a great a famous line, no need for attribution.

Atomicrod said...

Tim you are so correct. The ending between Michael and Dookie is just brutal to watch. Knowing there is nothing left for either of them is difficult to take.

These are young men who should be athletes, leaders, students and instead their lives are pretty much over.

The only thing that came into my mind after watching it was a Pink Floyd song

When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown,
The dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.

Trixie said...

The part of that last scene that ripped my heart out the most was when Dukie, seeing the guy shooting up, turns around as if to change his mind, but Michael is gone (maybe forever). Man.

Well said, suzyq2. Watching The Wire, my mind often goes to 'There but for the grace of god, go I.' If I were born into a household where my "caretakers" were crackheads who sold my clothes for dope, how would I have turned out?

Thanks to Anon at 3:51 am and Rachel for sharing the insights from the David Simon lecture. Randy is Cheese's son! That makes sense. And since Cheese is Prop Joe's "sister's boy", that would make Randy Prop Joe's great-nephew.

Well done everyone. This episode really ran the gamut of emotions. I actually flipped off the TV when Carcetti gave his post-drug bust speech about never giving up on the investigation. Ackkkk. I laughed out loud at Bunk and his cigar and then at Freamon in the mood for love. I closed one eye (why?) watching Kima go in to spill the beans. Then was crushed at the end watching Michael drop off his family.

Oh, and thanks whoever it was who recommended the one-minute On Demand segment. I didn't want to watch it, fearing spoilers, but it's not and it's hysterical.

ferrethead said...

My favorite moment from the post-bust press conference: Zorsi hitting all the 'high' points..."Don't forget the community". I imagine it's hard not to get cynical when you've seen it all too many times before.

k.papai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
k.papai said...

** MINOR SPOILERS here **

Nothing all that revealing from HBO on the finale.

Final Episode 60 from HBO.com
==
For March 9, 2008
Running Time: 93 minutes

"In the series finale, Carcetti maps out a damage-control scenario with the police brass in the wake of a startling revelation from Pearlman and Daniels. Their choice: clean up the mess...or hide the dirt.

With his leads predictably drying up, McNulty asks Landsman to pull police off the homeless case--until a fresh homicide ramps up the investigation.

A frustrated Haynes finds his concerns about Templeton falling on increasingly deaf ears.

Convinced he has the upper hand but caught in a legal quandary, Levy plays a cat-and-mouse game with Pearlman.

Bubbles debates whether to greenlight a newspaper story about his life; Dukie seeks out an old mentor for a loan; Marlo oversees a new co-op order as he maps out his next move.

As the officers stage an Irish wake for another dearly departed officer, the seeds of the future are sown throughout Baltimore."

Not much there not already known. Nothing given away.

Anonymous said...

Tim, bravo for taking shots at that bum at the Baltimore Sun. I've noticed so many reports by people in the press in which they try to stick a knife in the show. Its obvious David Simon struck too close to home. They claimed Simon had an agenda but it turns out these folks have an agenda of their own. They certainly did not mind somewhat one dimensional portrayals of guys like Rawls, Burrell, Snoop, The Greek, etc. But as soon s Simon did that with some folks in the newspaper business the claws came out and they started whining about objectivity. No offense but these hypocrites are scum as far as I'm concerned. They've shown their true colors.

Peeeet said...

re: Kima blowing the whistle. I think some other characters in this story might understand: "(wo)Man got to have a code..."myxysebf

Peeeet said...

oops, sorry about the end of that post. I put the kaptcha in the wrong place.

George D from the 415 said...

Brian mentioned on the ep.3 board about the LA times and it's battle with The trib in chicago. I was watching a frontline piece which focused on the news and the way in which it is evolving (some might say devolving). They brought up the trib and the entire story was like a wire flashback for me. Click on "Trouble at the Los Angeles Times" on the link below

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/newswar/part3/

Anonymous said...

Although I disagree with the posters who slam Kima for her whistle-blowing, I just have to say:

It is a tribute to the story-telling on The Wire that posters, some of whom probably even didn't buy the actions of J. McNulty when he first desecratad the corpse of Victim Number One of the Fake Serial Killer, and even despised him and the writers for having made him do it, now 9 weeks in want the McNulty ruse to work and hate Kima for being a spoiler.

That's some fine story-telling.

sueinsf said...

I finally figured out why Kima's whistle-blowing didn't sit exactly right with me. After all she and McNulty had been through, I would have expected her to give him a shot at coming clean. Basically saying if you don't do it, I will - your call. So, Kima not going with the flow on something she finds morally wrong? Sure. Not giving her buddy a heads up that his world's about to explode? Nope.

Anonymous said...

sueinsf: I think you're right.

Even Carver gave Officer Colicchio a chance to influence what was written up for his incident. Kima just straight up jacked McNutty

Andrew said...

Warning - the series finale has just leaked online. I can't imagine people will blurt out spoilers here, but be wary if you discuss the show elsewhere online.

I suppose this was inevitable. Last year, the entire fourth season showed up online after just four episodes aired.

Anonymous said...

andrew, thanks for the heads-up. I'll limit my time online, and I have to say that the HBO website "description" of the series finale, which someone did post here, is upsetting to me. That thing about one more ritual. God, I hope that's misdirection.

bdgavin said...

The frontline documentary is fantastic. The best one is News Wars III: What's Wrong with the News. John Carroll is featured and is portrayed as noble for taking a stand against the L.A. Times. The documentary captures the problems with the current state of the news media more fully than does the current season of The Wire. Some of the best interviews are from Dan Rather and Ted Coppell.

Anonymous said...

sueinsf, Kima did give McNulty a chance, though not an explicit choice. There were repeated references to it, how long are you going to do this, etc., as if hoping he'd make a difference.

Remember how angry/guilty Bunk was at first, because Mc's telling him meant that he had a choice of saying nothing and being an accessory, or saying something and ratting out a friend? "Jimmy, we have house payments, kids..." Remember how angry Beadie was: "You have no right, it's my life too if you go to jail." Kima has just reconnected with her kid--she's not going to go to jail behind this, so she couldn't sit on the information when Jimmy didn't respond to her hints.

David said...

Micheal= the next Omar

Eric said...

If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend the HBO OnDemand placeholder for Episode 10, featuring Clay Davis. Absolutely brilliant. To watch it, just try to watch Episode 10 before Sunday.

Alan said...

David Simon will be interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air on Thursday, March 6. Check your local NPR station or the npr.org website that evening.

Note: Richard Price was interviewed on Wednesday, and about 5 minutes in the middle of the interview concerned writing for The Wire.

Andy said...

Hey guys I just saw an article by the writers of the Wire in Time magazine about their opinion of the drug war... good stuff as you would expect.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1719872,00.html

From the article"""If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of violence or intended violence are alleged, we will — to borrow Justice Harry Blackmun's manifesto against the death penalty — no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No longer can we collaborate with a government that uses nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens."""

Anonymous said...

Andy, in general I'd be inclined to agree with them, but in particular instances, not so much.

I'd be happy with a situation where drug use by fullgrown adults in their own homes would not be criminalized, but where the specific behaviors of people on drugs that harmed others (child abuse/neglect/in utero exposure, vehicle accidents, etc.)would be harshly punished. Same standard for sober/clean people.

That said, it's sort of like tax evasion and the mob--if the law can't prove the bigger act, it snags people on the smaller act. If somebody is doing murders and you can put him away for something else like tax fraud, OK by me.

Of course, if it were legal/decriminalized, people wouldn't be murdering behind it because there wouldn't be a profit incentive, so the whole thing is circular.

Anonymous said...

Their article is something they've said in almost every episodes politicians, judges, police chiefs etc. only care about stats. And Bodie, Wallace, Bubbles no matter how in depth and personal the show made them to be are only stats for these people. While real police work that can make significant changes but is more difficult is never encouraged. Their viewpoint is radical but the system is horrible and I really hope one day it changes so where the "poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens" can be set in the right path instead of used for stats and left for dead.

Dennis said...

No surprise that young Randy was a born young hustle given he had the blood of Prop Joe running through his veins.

It's too bad we didn't get to dig into that a little deeper along with some more Cutty action.

Dennis was one of the few who got out of the game and was managing to earn a respectable living.

Food Court Lunch said...

With respect to predictions for the series finale, we are pretty sure that none of these will come true. If so, it's going to be a pretty long and painful night for Wire fans:

http://foodcourtlunch.com/?p=656

detroitnewsie said...

alan, a big thank you for the heads up on Fresh Air. For those who missed it, you can catch the podcast at http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=13

Anonymous said...

Alan, piling on with Detroitnews to say thanks for the podcast Fresh Air link. I listened last night and just ate up every word.

There was one thing that I disagreed with but I don't want to spoiler it--maybe there will be a place to discuss when regulars have all heard it.

It had to do with a moral dilemma the Simon folks handled a certain way for what seemed to be partly idealistic and partly selfish reasons (very fitting for The Wire folks). I understood why they did it their way, but I think there was another route open.

But bravo to them for bringing us this all these years.

Anonymous said...

I just watched Season 5 Episode One over as a sort of introduction to tomorrow's closing. No spoilers here, but seeing it after having seen all nine gave me (and will give you) a feel for what may be coming. And it certainly made some of the other 8 episodes which we've seen so far make a lot more sense. Lots of episode nine stuff especially.--CasualObserver

Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused. I am re-watching each of the episodes in preparation for tomorrow's finale. Just saw the scene where Bubbles speaks at the N.A. meeting and he says that he's been clean for 15 months. That's odd because in Ep. 9, he was having the one year celebration. Anybody else notice this?

Dennis said...

Re-watching ep 9 and when Mike comes back from killing Snoop and Dukie's watching "Dexter", he says something like, "you gotta see this, Mike. This guy's a serial killer who only kills bad guys."

Is this a precursor to Mike being the new Omar, ie given that he'll need to keep the money flowing to the care-taking aunt and that Omar didn't touch anyone who wasn't in "the game."?

Anonymous said...

You heard it here first...no spoiler, just my intuition: I think Herc will be the dead detective whose wake they will be attending in the final episode. It stands to reason that Marlo will go after him; without the shield of the police badge and with Levy's obvious suspicion in Ep. 9, he has no protection. Also, rewatching Ep 5, I noticed the finality of his interaction with Carver: "A gift from your one true partner," as if to suggest and ending. While they had one other interaction in Ep 9 (also similarly final), this one seems like the goodbye move - as if he's trying to right things with his partner. Just an idea as I wait for the hours to pass.

Either that, or Jay has a heart attack...

Anonymous said...

anon at 4:01?-- I took the Bubbles timeline to mean his anniversary in the group. Remember that he was hospitalized for a nearly successful suicide attempt plus he would have had to undergo medical detox for his habit. You don't get to the outpatient group thing so quickly.

I could be wrong, but my knowledge of these groups (not exactly first-hand, but closer than reading) is that some of them give little tokens or smaller celebrations for each month anniversary of sobriety, and that one year is a really much bigger deal.

And there was a 9 or 12 to 15 month gap between S4 (not counting montage) and S5, judging from dialogue about a year of budget cuts and judging from the fact that Bubbles OD'd near Christmas and that Baltimore O's season opener occurred early in the season.

I'm thinking it took Waylon a little while to get Bubbles into open group meetings, as well.

Anonymous said...

also, I think your anniversary is how long you've been clean, not when you came into the group. Since most counselors consider addiction a chronic illness with relapses (hence the term "recovering addict" not "ex addict"), the anniversary is the time since the last relapse, and that's what you celebrate. One thing about Simon is he implies more than he hits you over the head with--even near suicide might not have cleaned up Bubbles in one step. His sister implies she's been burned on multiple occasions.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, if you watch the episode where the wire tap is approved and then you watch the first episode where they show the number being tapped on Freamon's screen, you realized that McNulty screwed up the paperwork. It was there for all of us to see! I love seeing the details after the big moments have been revealed. This is a GREAT show.

Anonymous said...

Herc can't die, after all, he's mishbuchah.....

seaphoto said...

Not to spoil it for anyone, but the ending was absolutely brilliant, and the final song, well, it made this old heart smile.

Bravo Zulu, The Wire.

Fair winds and following seas.

Kurt

Calinks said...

Randy is Cheese's son! Dayum! That kid can NEVER catcha break! Cheese is dispicable, I have always liked Method Man but cheese is making me not even want to see his face anymore.

Duquan... poor poor Duquan. Mr. Prez where the hell are you!? How old is Dukie? 16? 17? If I was Prez I'd take him in. It wouldn't even be that huge of a commitment, Dukie could be out of his own in 1-4 years. He would be savings his life.

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