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Orange Devil
Sep 30, 2010

CUNT


cletepurcel posted:

I've always felt its quite deliberate that the head enforcer for all 3 of the major organizations - Wee-Bey, Chris and Sergei - all take the most heat for their bosses, with life sentences. I think Wee-Bey and Chris at the prison fence is a reflection of the message here; it all goes back to the "self-serving institution" theme. Though I'm not sure - all of them seem quite at peace with it, that its their duty to take the fall, unlike the lower level pawns like Bodie and D'Angelo.

The lower level pawns seem in it to make money or status or whatever for themselves usually though. Some of them even dream of being smart-rear end pawns making it to the other side of the board. Wee-Bey and Chris are all about protecting their bosses, and taking the fall is fully in line with that.

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Frostwerks
Sep 24, 2007

by Lowtax


Jerusalem posted:

There is something utterly terrifying about how Chris and Snoop so calmly "force" a person to walk to what they know is their death, making their victims seem almost apologetic about the trouble they are causing them. To reach that point where you are so convinced of your death that you'd grasp onto every single second even if you knew it was just making things easier for your murderer, just so you could still be alive even a little longer.... goddamn, I can't even imagine it.

I mentioned it a while back but they are figurative lambs going to their slaughter. If Old Face Andre had made a jump at Chris or Snoop he would have doubtless been killed but I doubt they would have moved the body into a vacant, if only for thematic consistency. I mean he would still get eaten by the rats. And the body would have been exposed to the elements. And nobody would have really cared about a dead gangster. But at least he wouldn't disappear.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Season 3, Episode 9 - Slapstick

Freamon posted:

...while you're waiting for moments that never come

McNulty gets a late night phonecall from Theresa D'Agostino, looking for a quick hook-up. McNulty lies, saying he wasn't asleep and she instantly, laughingly calls him out on it - Theresa is smarter than McNulty and she knows it, and he's starting to suspect it himself. His kids are staying with him at the moment but he figures they'll be fine for an hour or two while he pops out for a quickie, so he wakes the eldest and tells him he has to see "a friend" and has left his cell number on the drawer if they need him for any reason. Elena would (justifiably) have a fit if she knew McNulty was doing this, but he seems to figure they're asleep anyway and if he'd been at home he'd be asleep too, so it's not like it's a big deal or anything! We join them in D'Agostino's hotel room after the fact, she's watching a political program in the nude (this never happened to me when I watched political programs in the middle of the night!) while he's cleaning up in the bathroom. Interestingly, the show is a retrospective on the 2004 Presidential Election, while this particular episode aired only a couple of weeks AFTER the day of the election itself. D'Agostino playfully tells McNulty to stay, she isn't kicking him out THIS TIME because she doesn't have work the next day. He tells her he is kicking himself out, neglecting to mention the main reason is because he left his kids home alone, and asks if next time they make a date and at least have dinner or something first before they gently caress each other's brains out. She laughs at the idea that he wants to be "cuddled" but he laughs it off, telling her he'll see her again, only in the daytime next. There's an element here of McNulty trying to take some control of their "relationship", which has all been under her management so far. He returns home and checks on the kids, then settles back into bed and switches on the television, finding the political show she was so taken in by. After only a few seconds though he grows bored and switches over to a show on World War II and Pacific landings, watching that instead. The obvious concept here is that McNulty is somewhat intimidated by D'Agostino, especially her intelligence in areas that he is completely ignorant of. There's also something to be said for how little interest McNulty shows in a program that is discussing very real and modern issues with the country - the reelection of Bush over Kerry and the tacit approval of the "War on Terror" including the highly contentious invasion of Iraq in addition to the more favored invasion of Afghanistan - in favor of looking back at a historic war instead, one viewed quite favorably and even with nostalgia by many as a time of American greatness.

The next morning is Sunday morning, and Sunday is a special day even in the modern age. The Deacon pops in to see Cutty at his gym, dressed up "correct" because it's time to get to Church, which remains one of the few standout community staples of life in Baltimore. Cutty is paying the Mexican day-laborers he frequently works with to help him clear out the gym, and looks very happy to be making progress in his efforts. The Deacon is impressed too, but gives Cutty reason for concern when he casually mentions that all Cutty needs now is the permits from the City to run the Gym.

Omar is "correct" today as well, dressed up as he visits his grandmother in her home to take her out to Church. The comical double-act of Gerard and Sapper are still sitting on the house and spot Omar (or think they do anyway, Sapper quips that if its not him they'll have only wasted a bullet), but Gerard shows that his screw-up on his last big job has taught him at least a little self-control. It's a Sunday after all, do they really want to break the long standing unofficial "Sunday Truce"? They try to call Slim Charles but get no answer, complaining that HE is probably getting to sleep in while they stake-out an old lady's house. So they try Shamrock instead, who is sitting in on a New Day Co-Op meeting with Shamrock, drawing nude women on his legal pad instead of taking notes, a fact that Stringer checks up on before continuing to address his fellow Co-Op members. While it was foolish in the past for Shamrock to "take notes on a criminal loving conspiracy", there is an element here of Shamrock being taught it's okay to take shortcuts (Stringer wants them to follow Roberts Rules of Order exactly, except for when he doesn't), which in turn leads him to take a laxer attitude towards things like checking Bernard's receipts. As Stringer faces some justified anger from his fellow Co-Op members about the Avon/Marlo feud causing them all problems/getting police attention, Shamrock takes the call and has no choice but to interrupt Stringer to quietly let him know what is going on. Stringer ponders for a second, figures taking out Marlo would make Avon happy and remove a longstanding thorn in his side and gives the go ahead, sealing his own fate.

As Omar leads his grandmother towards the cab that is going to take them to Church, he is saved only by Gerard and Sapper's ineptitude. His own guard down for a change due to the Sunday Truce, he looks up and spots the two approaching, but they haven't drawn their guns yet and Gerard is struggling to get around his baggy clothes to get to his weapon. Realizing what is coming, Omar shoves his startled grandmother into the cab ("Oh my goodness, my goodness!" she gasps) and dives on top of her as they open fire, and the cab tears away, running over her hat in the process. Gerard and Sapper empty their clips shooting after the cab, and Sapper proudly proclaims that he definitely hit him.



The Deacon pops in to see Colvin, where the Major proudly brags about now having a 14% drop in crime across his entire district. But what happens when the open secret of Hamsterdam gets out there? Colvin laughs that this isn't his problem, passing the buck by saying that whether they choose to keep it going or shut it all down, that's on the bosses, not him. He's retiring, and his official offer from John Hopkins also came through - Colvin is very much pulling a "gently caress you, got mine", he won't have to deal with any of the fallout and has a high paid job to retire too. The Deacon isn't pleased by this though, Colvin has started something now and he isn't going to finish it? He admits that sure it might be impossible to achieve any real change, Colvin still has a duty to look after his "soldiers" who don't have the benefit of a 30 year pension and a six figure job at a university to fall back on. Even moreso, while Hamsterdam is a nightmare, if he sticks with it and pushes it, there is a very real chance that the Health Organization reps who are there now are going to be able to reach a number of junkies and help them, and maybe even some of the hoppers too. Colvin ponders that for a moment, then smiles and says that maybe the Deacon will, but he won't.

McNulty arrives at the Detail office and is surprised to find Freamon and Prez there too, dressed in a security company's uniforms and working on a security camera. Elena has taken the boys out meaning that he's at a loss for what to do today (he's probably even a little pissed off that he couldn't spend the night with Theresa) so he figured he would come into the office. Rather pathetically he proudly boasts that he has no marriage, no kids, no life.... and thus no problems. So what are THEY doing there? They're planning on putting up the camera across the road from Stringer's print shop so they can get a record of his comings and goings, and they figured Sunday morning was the best time to get it done without too many people being around. McNulty is impressed, and goes on a bit of a happy rave about their talent, "their" in case meaning himself and Freamon, asking who out there can really do what they do? Caught on camera as Prez fiddles with the controls, McNulty makes a drink and contentedly lists off the numbers of the police in the BPD, dismissing most of them as either useless, "housecats" or stuck chasing stats and working in the "shallow end" of the crime pool. So who is there who is good enough to pursue and execute a high quality major case like they are? Don Worden, Ed Burns, Gary Childs out in the county, John O'Neil and Steve Cleary at Woodlawn are the names he lists off, at least two of whom are real life detectives including fellow showmaker Ed Burns. Greatly satisfied, he leans back in his chair and declares that these guys can bring in cases, but there aren't many, and McNulty and Freamon are amongst them, the guys who can bring in really good cases.

Freamon - a far better detective than McNulty as far as I'm concerned - is flattered but he's also no fool, and he punctures McNulty's ego with a disturbing reminder. What happens when it's all over, he asks, what happens then? A confused McNulty asks what he means and smiles when Lester asks if he thinks they'll hold a big "Jimmy McNulty was right!" parade, but his smile fades when Freamon warns him that cases end, and that he can't just wrap up his everything in casework - eventually the cuffs will go on and then he'll be left alone in his room the next morning with nothing else. Until the next case! points out Jimmy, but Freamon notes that case will end too, and he can't just live his life from one case to the next, he needs something more. Not liking his good mood and high sense of self esteem taking a hit, he taunts Freamon by asking if he should make miniature dollhouse furniture, but Freamon won't be distracted. He's talking about a life, that thing that happens "while you're waiting for moments that never come". Unknowingly paralleling Burrell, Freamon tells him the job won't save him, he needs something more. Did you notice that McNulty didn't mention Bunk in his list of great detectives? Probably a large part of that was because Bunk is not only one of those guys willing to go along with the status quo/do as he is told, but because he doesn't let the job define his life. McNulty has been hit with another reality check, and walks away from the fridge with Freamon's warning about finding something else to cling to ringing in his ears.... and the camera holding on a picture of Beadie, the female port authority officer who worked with them in season 2.



At the Funeral Parlor later that night, a disgusted Slim Charles is tearing Gerard and Sapper a new rear end in a top hat. Not only did they break the Sunday Truce, not only did they shoot at a woman in her "Church Crown" but to top it all off they didn't even hit Omar! Gerard and Sapper try to explain, blaming it on Charles not answering the phone and Shamrock giving them the go-ahead, but he isn't taking any excuses. He's furious that they shot the crown off of a "bona-fide colored lady" and asks them if they even know what a "colored lady" is, declaring that obviously their moms weren't because otherwise they'd have been raised better and never attacked anybody on a Church Sunday. There's something else that needs to be considered too, they're out there representing Avon Barksdale and loving up, they're trifling with Avon's reputation and that especially cannot be allowed to stand. If the two idiots weren't scared before, they better be now, because Avon already has a low opinion of them based on showing up high to his welcome home party.

At Omar's, the distraught stick-up man is equally horrified by his grandmother being shot at on a Church Sunday. Kimmy can see the funny side of the situation, after all she wasn't hurt and there is some humor in imagining Omar leaping onto her body in the cab as they were driven away and wrecked her "crown", plus she finds it hilarious to discover that Omar has been hiding his real life from her by pretending to work in a cafeteria way out in the airport where she'll never visit. Omar is serious though, complaining that he was preparing to walk away from his feud with the Barksdales but now they've broken the Sunday Truce and put his grandmother at risk, it's too personal to give up on. That's why Kimmy is out though, she surprises Omar and Dante by saying she is only in this for the money, there are easier targets out there than the Barksdales, and she isn't joining him on this. Dante immediately goes to Omar's side, telling him that it'll just be the two of them like it used to be, and casting a defiant look Kimmy's way. Omar isn't having that though, upsetting Dante by saying that this has become personal so this is now something that he has to do alone, he's cutting Dante loose for the time being while he deals with the Barksdales by himself.



Monday morning sees the Detail ready to launch into the next phase of their operation against the Barksdales. Daniels lays out what they'll be doing and hoping to do - they need to firm up probable cause on the burners being used to run the drug operation so McNulty and Kima are going to work on getting a CI (Bubbles) to help them with this while Prez and Freamon type up the affidavits they need. Sydnor's job is to shadow Bernard and give them as much time to work with as possible when the new burner network goes up, and when Massey returns from vacation she is going to be sitting on the mini-cam recording Stringer's comings and goings and hopefully getting a line on where and what Avon Barksdale is currently doing as well. Pearlman is going to be attempting to get cooperation from the notoriously difficult wireless companies, and everything is a race against time - they need to get up on their wire and get as much information as possible before it all starts over again. Before they leave, McNulty tries to reach D'Agostino for apparently not the first time and fails, she's apparently been busy ever since he suggested they spend more time together on real dates instead of just having casual sex. As he's on the phone though he notices Stringer on the mini-cam approaching his store and gets Prez's attention, and Prez (importantly) jokes about, his confidence soaring over the last couple of episodes.

Cutty's Monday morning quickly goes downhill as he goes to a Municipal Building and discovers the great joys of dealing with bureaucracy. A dizzyingly list of forms, requirements, zoning laws etc are blankly read out to him by bureaucrats who have long since lost any enthusiasm or joy in their work. While of course these things exist for a reason - fire evacuation plans, licenses from the State Athletic Commission and correct zoning etc - you can see the justifiable exasperation on Cutty's face and the defeat in his shoulders as he leaves the Municipal Building having achieved nothing but a headache and an extensive list of new things to do beyond just cleaning out the Gym and putting in equipment.

Bernard and Squeak arrive at the same car hire place he always uses, and Squeak is right on him from the very beginning, complaining that he is hiring out a midsized car only and loudly exclaiming that if they're going to be in the drat car all drat day they could at least use some extra room. He ignores her and fills out the forms, but does give the clerk a,"See what I put up with?" look as he hands the form back over. They leave to get into the car, photographed by Sydnor who sets off to tail them.

Kima puts a wire on Bubbles, who is greatly enjoying his current role. They need him to go down to Vincent Street (Hamsterdam) where they no longer even bother to hide the ground stash and watch for when they're getting low before asking to buy 30. That's the most important part, they need the Barksdale dealers down there to use their burner to make a call for more drugs. McNulty gives Bubbles a large wad of cash to make the purchase and Bubbles happily asks if he can keep the drugs he buys. Of course not, McNulty jokes that it would kill him and Kima warns that what he'll get to keep is the money they give him when he gets back with the drugs. Blowing a kiss Kima's way, Bubbles heads off jauntily to do his thing, clearly in a great mood.

Daniels and Pearlman are having a day more like Cutty's than Bubbles', as they meet with an executive at Bay Wireless to discuss the wiretapping of their phones. Much to their chagrin, the smooth talking executive explains that due to backlogs in law enforcement requests and delays of communication between themselves and their billing department etc, there is no way that they can respond to a court order for a wiretap in anything less than.... a month. An entire month. Daniels and Pearlman are disgusted but the executive insists this is the best that can be done, and if they don't like it they can take it up with their lawyers. He dismisses their accusations that they're knowingly providing anonymous disposable phones to criminals, insisting that they're provided for poor college students, and Pearlman retorts that anybody who can afford to go to College can sure as hell afford a proper cell phone. When he still proves intractable though, Pearlman finally hits him with the one thing he actually fears - bad publicity. She takes a leaf out of McNulty's book in his earlier threat to Levy in season one, warning that the State's Attorney will hold a press conference accusing Bay Wireless of protecting the identity of the most dangerous and violent drug organization in Baltimore. Caving in surprisingly quickly, he offers a still unsatisfying compromise - they can respond to a wiretap request in 4-5 days at the very least.

Cutty receives a more kind-hearted version of the lesson Clay Davis was supposedly trying to give Stringer in the previous episode. Complaining to the Deacon that his attempt to get permits deflated him like a balloon, he is introduced to the Reverend Frank Reid, and in Baltimore the Reverends are a powerful political force. He asks Cutty if he gave the Reverend's name when asking about forms? Did he give anybody's? Cutty makes a lame attempt at a joke by saying in the old days he would have used Smith & Wesson, and then caves in and asks a simplified version of what Stringer has been asking - how do people in the regular world get things done? With a grin, Reverend Reid gets on the phone and asks to be put through to Odell Watkins.

Sydnor has followed Bernard and Squeak on their trip, and at each stop he waits for them to leave before taking one of his signed subpoenas into the store to get information on the purchases just made, including the numbers of the phones just purchased.

In Hamsterdam, Bubbles sells whiteys from his trolley while keeping a close eye on Bodie's ground stash. Hamsterdam has become such an accepted part of the Western now that Bodie himself is now running things as opposed to a couple of disposable young'uns. Noting that they're close to being out, Bubbles approaches and asks for 30 vials, instantly getting Bodie's attention (and suspicion) who asks how he got hold of $300? Bubbles shows off his trolley, he may look raggedy but he's been selling these whiteys for weeks now and it's a cash business. Bodie accepts this, helped by the fact that Bubbles is a familiar face, and motions for his burner, putting in a call for more drugs and telling Bubbles it will arrive soon. Unable to help himself, Bubbles asks if a bulk purchase like this warrants a discount, say $250? Bodie counters with $275 and a couple of the white t-shirts, and Bubbles happily agrees, listened in to over his wire by a bemused Kima and McNulty, impressed that he's made another $25 for himself. McNulty's mood fades though when he tries to call Theresa again and is once again told she's not available.

Gerard and Sapper have been made to sweat all day, sitting in the funeral parlor directly beside an open casket and across from two strangers who are clearly muscle - replacements for themselves? Shamrock meets up with Bernard in the hallways and picks up the new burners, and is delighted to see Gerard and Sapper squirming, asking if they're waiting to see Avon and if it is true they shot the crown of a Church lady's head? He tuts at them, shaking his head, knowing he's free and clear since it was Stringer who gave him the okay to give them the okay, and as he leaves Avon himself comes down the stairs. Gerard and Sapper are instantly up to their feet but he ignores them, going straight to the other two muscle and greeting them as best he can with his arm in a sling, telling them they've got work to do so they'll talk upstairs. As they head back towards the steps they pause momentarily before Gerard and Sapper, Avon giving them a dirty look that is sure to leave them even more terrified than they already are before continuing on up the stairs.



Sydnor returns to the Detail office with 24 numbers from his subpeonas, explaining the route he followed up to West Virginia. Prez is interested to note he took the Interstate instead this time (something Bernard was actually careful to let an indifferent Shamrock know) and Freamon suggests it was probably because it was a more scenic route, which leads me to believe it was probably all Squeak's idea. Now all they have to do is get the wireless company to respond to their subpoenas for DNRs on the phones and hope that one of them is going to Bodie, since they know he's involved in dealing drugs and they'll be able to form the basis of the network from him and build more information from the other numbers and get up on wiretaps. Kima asks who is hungry and they suggest getting Chinese, and Prez helpfully offers to go pick up whatever they order in, and McNulty says he'll come along too.

At the funeral parlor, Stringer arrives as the two new muscle leave, and he wants to know who they are. Avon explains they're East Side muscle willing to work on retainer for him, and happily declares they're going to go take out Marlo and then spread out like they did in the past. Stringer doesn't care about that side of things at all, of course, territory is meaningless to him, but Avon is pleased to be getting proactive. Considering the last time we saw them together Stringer had just admitted to having D'Angelo killed, Avon seems surprisingly relaxed and happy around Stringer. Has he accepted or even approved of Stringer's decision, does he believe Stringer's insistence that D'Angelo would have eventually turned? Family is supposedly everything to him, but he seems quite content to have accepted this and moved on.

In this scene though we get a really interesting look at how Avon isn't as one-dimensional as he might sometimes appear. While he casually dismisses the New Day Co-Op's concerns and the idea of Prop Joe organizing a sitdown between him and Marlo, he does seem to be troubled by the incident with Omar's grandmother and asks Stringer why he gave Gerard and Sapper the go-ahead. Stringer's reply seems reasonable enough - Shamrock came to him in the middle of the meeting and told him they had Omar in their sights, nothing was mentioned about his grandmother or her Church Crown and hell - and this last part seems thrown in for Avon's benefit - he hears that cocksucker is in their sights, of course he is going to give the go ahead. Avon - kindly at least - points out that the Sunday Truce is something bigger than all of them though, and even though sometimes you can do some poo poo and "be like, what the gently caress", you never do it on a Sunday. Stringer nods, and Avon lightens the mood (while also hammering home the danger of what they did) by explaining that stories about the whole thing are escalating - he swears that Fat Face Rick heard they deliberately shot Omar's grandma in the rear end, whipped their dicks out and pissed on her crown!



Stringer says he heard the same thing from Prop Joe when he heard and complained about the Sunday Truce being violated too, but what can he say, it's hard to get good help. Avon commiserates, saying that's why he's had to branch out to the East Side to get help. The two friends - brothers in all by blood - casually discuss their business, all animosity between them apparently burned away by their confrontation last episode. If they're beefing with Marlo does that mean they're still off the corners? Yeah? Then why not put some more crews down in the free zones? Avon asks if Stringer really believes in those things and Stringer says so far they seem to be working, and even if it all goes south, what do they lose? Maybe a couple of crew chiefs? Avon nods, both of them casually tossing aside the hard work of loyal members like Bodie - after all, they're just pawns.

Just as an aside on the above scene, can you imagine Marlo giving a single gently caress about the Sunday Truce?

Ouside Tang's Szechuan Carry Out, McNulty is pissed off that they have to wait for the Sweet'n'Sour, and Prez is tired of waiting and has already eaten his Fortune Cookie. His fortune says a new friend will make himself known and McNulty jokes it would be fortune if it was a her, and after an odd pause Prez replies that he's married with lawn furniture.

Daniels and Pearlman meet with Fitzhugh and his Supervisor Amanda Reese in the hopes they can bring additional pressure to bear on the phone companies. Unhappily for them, Reese admits that a 4-5 day turnaround is about the best the FBI can do as well, and the US Attorney won't help because his only interest is in political corruption - "ghetto" problems don't bother him.

McNulty and Prez have finally got their Sweet'n'Sour and are preparing to head back when they hear an emergency request for back-up over the radio, only five blocks from their current location. Prez drives to the spot and drops McNulty off as they hear gunshots being fired, and then drives off to get around the other side of the block and potentially cut whoever the runner is off. McNulty, gun drawn, heads down the alley and hears dogs barking, and continues on down the alley listening in on his radio to get further updates. He hears gunshots and rushes to the source, arriving just after a patrol car and finding Prez standing over a dead body, having just shot the man and identified himself as police. But as other officers arrive, McNulty spots that the gun the dead man had was a glock, and a closer inspection finds a police badge on a chain around his neck. Other plainclothes officers arrive and cry out in horror, they know him, that's Derrick! That's Waggoner! Prez just killed another police officer!



McNulty phones Kima with the news, hitting her with it all at once - Prez shot another cop in an alley, it was an accident! and leaving her to pass on the news to everybody else, who seem to sense immediately from her demeanor that something has gone wrong.

At Vinson's rim shop, Prop Joe has taken matters into his own hands and gone to see Vinson - it seems it is an open secret who Marlo's adviser is, or at least that Prop Joe is so in the loop that he was easily able to find out. Seeking to make peace purely so they get back to business, he tells Vinson that Stringer knows he is here (which lets us know that Stringer is still trying to work a runaround on Avon) and he's come to offer Marlo a place on the New Day Co-Op. He can sit in on their meetings as an equal, have access to Prop Joe's far superior product, and is guaranteed to keep all his corners (is this why Stringer pushed to Avon to send their guys down to Hamsterdam?). It's a drat good offer, and Vinson knows it, but he warns that Marlo has ideas all his own, and right now he thinks Avon is weak. Joe raises his eyebrows at that, and asks Vinson if he's ever known Avon Barksdale to back down from anything? On that ominous note, he ends the meeting.

Daniels arrives at Homicide where McNulty is sitting in a daze, while not far away blood (by marriage) is proving thicker than water, as Valchek has seemingly forgotten his distaste for Prez to argue passionately for his cause to Rawls and Foerster - it was a dark alley and a plainclothes officer who didn't identify himself coming at Prez with a gun, what else was he supposed to do? Rawls has to walk a fine line here, the victim and the shooter are both cops, the shooter is linked to the politically powerful Valchek AND there is the extra added wrinkle of the shooter being white and the victim being black. Daniels intrudes to ask if Prez has seen a lawyer, and tries to head into the office where Prez is being kept, and is stopped by Landsman who tries to warn him about the legal ramifications of getting Prez to say anything without reading him his rights. Daniels won't put up with any of that though, he's Prez's Commanding Officer and he's going to see him. He enters the office where Prez sits in as much of a daze as McNulty and tells him right from the get-go that before he says anything he should call the union and talk to a lawyer. He says he knows that Prez didn't intend to kill Waggoner but administratively he has to protect himself because of the racial component. Prez finally speaks, saying that he didn't shoot Waggoner because he was black, that wasn't in his head... then admits that who knows, maybe it was, he didn't have time to think, only to act. Daniels carefully tries to establish with Prez what he needs to say, he didn't shoot until he saw the gun, and he identified himself as a police officer first, right? Prez says yes to the first but he doesn't know about the second, he isn't sure if he identified himself first or not, or if Waggoner said anything, or if they both just saw each other coming at each other down an alleyway and reacted, and Prez happened to shoot him first (if Waggoner was going to shoot at all). Daniels insists again that Prez call the union and get a lawyer, but he refuses, admitting what they both know to be true - at best his career as a police officer is over. Daniels goes to leave and Prez makes on last heartbreaking request - please tell Lester that he's sorry.



Daniels leaves and lies to Landsman for Prez's own sake, saying that Prez is requesting a lawyer, then tells Rawls that he needs somebody with him when he goes home, because for tonight at least he is a suicide risk. A subdued Rawls nods and Daniels continues on, not dignifying Valchek with an answer when he asks if Daniels will back up Prez as it'll look good if this becomes a "black/white thing", and continues to McNulty, asking if he's alright. McNulty shrugs and Daniels heads on, and McNulty overhears Landsman and Holley complaining about what a great detective Waggoner was, the complete opposite of Prez whom they only know from his file, and they assume he's just a gently caress-up coasting by on Valchek's support - something that was true up until he became involved in the Detail and fell under the mentorship of Freamon.

Fallout continues through to the next day, where the Detail is seeing the fruits of their labor but are struggling to get any enthusiasm from it. 8 of the 24 numbers identified by Sydnor are now coming up on their pen registers, and they just have to wait to pick up which is Bodie's (probably through a call to his grandmother) since he is a known drug dealer, tie that to the other numbers and then hope they get wiretaps on these phones in time to hear and record them speaking about drugs before the phones are thrown away. Kima comments that Prez would love this, and Freamon pauses and nods slowly - they're talking about him like he was dead, and for all intents and purposes, he is.

Cutty meets with Odell Watkins, something that many politicians would give their right arm to manage. Marla Daniels is also present, and Cutty explains up front that he really doesn't know anything about running a gym beyond the actual boxing part. Watkins laughs that Reverend Reid thinks he'd be a big help for some of the corner boys causing such a problem in their district, so it's a worthy cause, but he'd need the support of his Councilwoman, Eunetta Perkins, to get the permits he needs. Cutty admits he doesn't know who that is, and Watkins jokes that few of them do anymore, and that's why Marla - Eunetta's opponent in the upcoming elections - is here. He writes a note on a card saying that the gym has his full support, and Marla is going to go with him and help him get his forms so she can learn the importance of constituency support. Cutty is happy to admit he's in over his head here, he doesn't understand the nuances and levels of political backscratching going on, and asks why exactly they're doing this. It goes unsaid but Marla is doing this because she wants Watkins' highly valuable support, and Watkins freely admits why he is helping out - does Cutty know who Reverend Reid is beyond "simply" being a reverend? He's an important source of political support, he and the other reverends in the city have been mentioned previously as important in their support of Burrell and Royce, and even a political rainmaker like Watkins needs their support. So writing his name on a card in return for valuable support from a respected community leader? That's a no-brainer.

Cutty just wants to open a gym!

On the flip side of this genuinely helpful support, Stringer Bell's eyes are finally starting to open to the lack of support he's been getting from Clay Davis. Meeting with the Senator in the city, he shows him a letter he received showing his paperwork is insufficient to certify him as a developer in the impoundment zone. Clay attempts to play it off, admitting it's hosed up but attempting to continue to string Stringer along, insisting that this isn't like a drug deal, he can't just expect to make his money back immediately. Stringer has had enough though, he gave Clay $250,000 believing it would go to bribing him into developer status and he's starting to realize that Clay isn't going to deliver, just keep taking. He dismisses Clay's attempt to remind him of the lightbulb contract, that was a paltry $30,000, and tells Clay that as far as he can see all that Clay is doing is putting one hand into Stringer's pocket while playing with himself with the other. He storms off and Clay frowns, realizing that this particular golden goose/money faucet is probably closed off to him now - he took too much, too fast.



McNulty and Kima sit in their car, Kima trying to get her head around Prez's situation when Santangelo pulls up in the wagon to say hello. He commiserates with them over the situation with Prez, though he didn't know him well and left before Prez really came into his own. McNulty asks how Santangelo is doing with his "punishment" and Santangelo raves happily about how great his life now is, surprising McNulty. Being busted back down to foot patrol was the best thing that could have happened to him, joyfully he explains to a surprised but intrigued McNulty how he works 8 hour days and goes home unburdened by any of his day's work, and is working towards exactly the same pension with none of the heartbreak, stress and tension of his previous work - he's genuinely happy. McNulty's phone rings and Santangelo waves goodbye, and McNulty gets some good news at last as D'Agostino finally returns his phonecall and asks if he wants to get together for dinner "first" this time, and they set up a date.

Her latest client, Carcetti, is getting good news from an oblivious Tony Gray, who is showing off some of his proposed campaign material for his run for Mayor. Carcetti likes the colors, and Tony tells him his proposed platform is schools - he wants to be the Education Mayor. Carcetti tells him he's pleased for him - and probably moreso because sadly education is pretty much a yawn-fest in politics - and wishes him the best, even giving advice on how to feel out Odell Watkins and hope for his support. He doesn't seem to feel the slightest bit of guilt at all about setting Tony up as a sacrificial lamb, even when Tony offers to bring him along on his ticket and get the Council President spot - they can be the handsome emerging young black leader and the great white hope. Carcetti asks him why he thinks he wants Council President, and Tony smirks, what the hell else is there for him in Baltimore politics?

In Hamsterdam, something terrible has happened, and something even worse is going to happen as a result. Somebody has been murdered, and - knowing that's a violation of one of the only rules in the free zone - the junkies and dealers have disappeared "like roaches when you turn the lights on". Carver and Herc arrive behind two patrolmen and Carver stops them from calling it in, taking Herc aside and quietly asking him to help him move the body. Herc is horrified and refuses, and when Carver makes the symbol of his Sergeant stripes, Herc still refuses - there is only so far he is willing to go and Carver is crossing the line here. Carver wants to move the body just out of the general vicinity of Hamsterdam so that when the homicide detectives investigate it the bosses won't get wind of what is happening, but Herc thinks that there would be nothing wrong with that happening. He leaves, unwilling to be any part of this, while Carver tells the uniforms to help him and, when they hesitate, insists he'll be the first responding officer on record and deal with any heat that comes down. So a dead body - a person who, whatever his faults, was a living, breathing individual - is moved from the scene of the crime by the police who are supposed to serve and protect, all to protect their own interests.



Cutty and Marla leave the Municipal Building, a spring in Cutty's step in contrast to his earlier demeanor. He thanks Marla for all her help and they part happily, Cutty making a little fist-pump - he's successfully done what Stringer couldn't, used political influence to bypass bureaucracy.

Herc has joined Colicchio and Truck, the latter reading about Prez shooting Waggoner, the story being reported that Prez fired three times without identifying himself. He asks Herc if Prez was scared of black people or something and Herc - thinking of something else entirely - snaps that things have gone too far. Truck agrees, thinking this is about a white guy being scared of a black guy and shooting him, but Herc heads straight for a payphone and calls the operator, asking for the number to the Baltimore Sun.

Carver sits watching as Crutchfield investigates the new scene he has created, and it is obvious that Crutchfield isn't buying that this is where the murder happened. Carver puts through a call, asking for Colvin to come and meet him - they have a problem.

So does Avon. Brianna has finally gotten her meeting with him, and she lays out everything McNulty told her, desperate to believe that D'Angelo didn't commit suicide even if the alternative is that he was murdered. Avon, of course, cannot let on the that the idea has any merit whatsoever, and between him and Stringer the two ruthlessly strip away a grieving mother's last hope. Brianna is desperate, pushing Avon to accept the possibility, unable to believe that McNulty would lie about something like that. She begs him to consider it, and then coming to an almost accurate conclusion based on his attitude, she quietly asks him to tell her that he accepts that D'Angelo wasn't going to turn on them, that he had accepted his fate and was going to serve out his years, that he was no threat. Avon realizes that she is implying that HE killed D'Angelo and flies into a rage, taking the chance to lash out his own rage and guilt... and in the process makes a mistake, angrily yelling at her that he had nothing to do with it. To do with what? she asks, picking up that Avon knows something, and when Avon won't reply it is Stringer who steps in, telling her that Avon had nothing to do with whatever happened to D'Angelo, that's all. Miserable, she leaves the room unsatisfied and with more questions than she had before she came in. Stringer, who once helped bind the three of them together, is now the thing that has come between the previously unbreakable bonds of family.



Colvin argues with Crutchfield as Carver paces outside the "scene", and the Major finally leaves with an assurance to Crutchfield that he'll make it up to him. Taking Carver aside, he makes it clear how badly he hosed up changing the scenes - there was a smeared blood trail leading all the way back to the original scene, and they missed one of the spent shell casings which was found up there. So now what? Colvin has managed to buy them some time, but unless they can bring Crutchfield - who has allowed his desire for clearances to overcome his outrage - a slam-dunk conviction by tomorrow, then he's going to contact IAD. Carver is furious with himself, and so is Colvin, but he calms himself down and tells Carver that he appreciates the thought behind what he did. Proving that Carver's earlier admonition to the other members of the DEU about Colvin having their back is true, Colvin tells Carver that no matter what happens, he will take the blame for the body being moved because the buck has to stop with him.

Carcetti has taken Tony up on his offer to go and see Watkins on an issue in order to make him think of Tony favorably and support him at a later date. Poor Tony is so out of his depth that he doesn't see what is happening as Carcetti proceeds to be the one to shine, doing all the talking and going on about the dead eyewitness and his efforts to get Royce's support on putting more money towards the program. Tony gets to speak up towards the end to ask if Watkins can help, which just causes Watkins and Carcetti to share a laugh over how intractable Royce can be. Tony is the odd man out, but like Stringer with Clay he isn't going to realize he has been conned until it is too late.

Colvin meets with some of the Crew Chiefs in Hamsterdam, now getting back into the swing of things. He reminds them that the police kept their word but they didn't keep up their end. One complains that it wasn't his people, but Colvin snaps back that he isn't making that distinction, it's on all of them. So here is how things are going to go now - tomorrow they're going to produce the shooter, and if they don't then Hamsterdam gets shut down. He'll bring his police in and sweep them out, and then they're going to sit on every corner with a crew on it and gently caress them harder than they've ever hosed them before. They've enjoyed making money hand over fist and not needing to worry about bail, and he's got to enjoy clean corners everywhere else in his district, but that all ends tomorrow if they don't find the shooter for him. They break up and head away and Carver asks Colvin if he thinks that'll work - Colvin just shrugs, does Carver think it'll work?

At Georgia Brown's in DC, McNulty and D'Agostino share an awkward dinner as they struggle to find things to discuss. After getting the basic "getting to know you" stuff out of the way, they both quickly realize that neither is interested very much in what the other does. McNulty explains he works high end drugs and violent offender cases, starts to reel off his bit about how few can do what does and quickly deflates, shrugging and saying you have to love your work. She attempts to explain how being a political consultant works, brightening up considerably as she talks about her passion, but he clearly doesn't grasp it. He does offer to support whoever she is working for in Baltimore (she is careful not to mention Carcetti's name) and she asks him who he voted for last time. He finally admits he voted for neither, though he had considered voting for "what's his name" (a ringing endorsement of Kerry!) but decided there was no point since Bush wasn't going to win Maryland anyway. It's the second worst thing you could say to a political consultant, with the worst being what he says next as he goes on a brief tirade about how neither Bush nor Kerry would have any effect on things in Baltimore. There's just no connection there, he says, and they sit in awkward silence together.



The Crew Chief goes to see Shamrock and Stringer and fills them in on the situation regarding Hamsterdam. Of course they are fully aware of who the murderer is, and when Stringer ascertains that the shooter is a recent addition to their workforce and that he shot the victim for laughing at his shoes, he quickly gives the go-ahead to sacrifice him. Very soon, the shooter is escorted to the police station where he offers to turn himself in, getting the Desk Sergeant's attention when he says he shot a boy. Having heard what he wanted to hear, his escort leaves the station - Hamsterdam has been secured for another day.

McNulty drops D'Agostino off at her home, then returns to his car and sits outside it - there's be no night of crazy sex for them, his desire for them to get to know each other better has wrecked the "relationship". He leans against the car and looks over to the Capitol Building in the distance. Simultaneously in Baltimore, Prez is driven to the Detail office where he asks for a brief moment along. He goes inside and sits down in the wire room, listening to the familiar sound of the registers, knowing this will be the last time he ever sits in the place where he was happiest in his work life. Both men are isolated and alone - one with his personal life in tatters, the other with his career in tatters. McNulty stares at one of the symbols of the political world that cost him his relationship with D'Agostino. Prez stares at the phones that were so recently a major part of his life.

Now, for either of them, there's just no connection there.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Episode 9 - Slapstick <-- Link for the OP

Ainsley McTree
Feb 19, 2004




I always thought it was confusing the way they phrased "Prez shot another cop" in that episode. The first time I heard it I thought "he's shot other cops?" and it still throws me a little every time I hear it again.

grading essays nude
Oct 24, 2009

so why dont we
put him into a canan
and shoot him into the trolls base where
ever it is and let him kill all of them. its
so perfect that it can't go wrong.

i think its the best plan i
have ever heard in my life

Had the series ended with season 3, Prez' shooting would have seemed so bizarre since it seemed so random at the time. Kind of cool to me that the groundwork was being laid for season 4 even as they had to desperately fight for that season. IIRC season 4 was the most difficult one to get greenlit, at least one HBO exec was convinced the story had nowhere to go after Avon's imprisonment.

I never realized that bit about this episode actually being produced before the 2004 election. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if its ever said outright that Bush won (though the political show seems to imply it). Or maybe they just took a depressing but accurate guess that Bush would win.

algebra testes
Mar 5, 2011




Lipstick Apathy

A drat this show moment: In season 4 the kids say "I'll take any mother fucker's money if he givin' it away" after the get money from Marlo.

Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit.

edit: In that same episode he echoes the same line. This show. This. drat. Show.

algebra testes fucked around with this message at 10:06 on Jul 19, 2013

escape artist
Sep 24, 2005

Slow train coming


LordPants posted:

A drat this show moment: In season 4 the kids say "I'll take any mother fucker's money if he givin' it away" after the get money from Marlo.

Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit.

edit: In that same episode he echoes the same line. This show. This. drat. Show.
You never noticed that? A lot of lines are repeated like that by different characters.

Example: Stringer's last words, and Bunny's last words (as a cop):
"Get on with it motherfucker"

algebra testes
Mar 5, 2011




Lipstick Apathy

I never noticed that that particular line was echoed in the same episode by the kids, no. :downs:

SixFigureSandwich
Oct 30, 2004


Exciting Lemon

cletepurcel posted:

I never realized that bit about this episode actually being produced before the 2004 election. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if its ever said outright that Bush won (though the political show seems to imply it). Or maybe they just took a depressing but accurate guess that Bush would win.

Maybe they thought (accurately, in my mind) that it wouldn't really matter either way. Not for the characters on the show, at least.

ChubbyPitbull
Dec 10, 2005
Awww....look how OHMYGODMYHAND!

Nearly caught up with this thread, I've been loving all the in-depth episode recaps you guys are putting together. I'd watched the whole series before, but just reading the recaps felt almost like watching them again! Especially with all the extra details of things I missed on my own watch-throughs.

One of the discussing topics that intrigued me was the mystery of the symbolism of the train. Has the idea that the train simply represents McNulty himself already been discussed? I don't immediately remember all the train scenes, but after this thread inspired my own partial re watches, I started looking at it. In Episode 1, Season 1, when Bunk and McNulty are by the tracks discussing Bunk's shooting the field mouse story. No trains are moving or train horns are heard.

At 1:13 ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKwkDCJ6ox8#t=73s ) we hear the first horn of the oncoming train as McNulty starts thinking about the investigation started and silently wanders on to the tracks to take a piss.

The second time the train horn sounds is at 1:32, where he tells Bunk "I'm going to do this case." Bunk is visibly shaken by this, even before he turns to see the train rushing towards McNulty. Bunk knows that the bosses don't want serious work done here, and McNulty is getting up to speed on his rails to reach his target. Even as the train is now clearly heading for McNulty, Bunk isn't yelling at McNulty to get off the tracks, he's telling him "It's buy busts get in and get out!" McNulty tells him "gently caress that" as McNulty steps off the tracks, the train/McNulty now railroaded onto it's/his course, and there's no stopping till he reaches his destination.

Fast forwarding 2 seasons to the finale of Season 3 (Episode 12). The episode opens with McNulty coming to terms with the fact that he finally got Stringer Bell on the wire, and before he could do anything with it, Bell is dead. Additionally, thanks to Bell betraying Avon to Bunny Colvin before Bell died, he has a shot at Avon now as well. At around 19:30 into the episode, McNulty finds himself back in the same position he was in Season 1, standing on the tracks. Except now he reached the destination he first started towards in the first episode. Instead of facing a train setting out building up steam, he finds himself sitting staring at a stationary train; the lights are on but it's "run out of steam". Bunk yells at McNulty "More, MORE", but McNulty just says "I'm tired, Bunk", and steps off the tracks as the train sits stationary.

I think this ties in again during the Season 3 ending montage. Previously, when Danles and McNulty are discussing McNulty remaining on the Major Case Squad, Daniels is still mad at Daniels but gives him an opening to stay if McNulty gives Daniels his word. McNulty cuts him off though, telling him "...Thanks, but it's better for me if I do something else." Then, a few minutes later the montage music starts as scenes play out around Baltimore. However, the very first lyrics of the song don't come until we see McNulty getting briefed as a uniform in the Western District ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcl40sIGN1s#t=40s ). Almost explicitly, just as McNulty comes into view, the lyrics start "Oh, you been on a fast train / and it's going off the rail." Then the camera zooms in on McNulty, the lyrics continue. "And you can't come back, can't come back again."

Does it sound plausible in light of other train scenes I may be forgetting?

Orange Devil
Sep 30, 2010

CUNT


escape artist posted:

You never noticed that? A lot of lines are repeated like that by different characters.

Example: Stringer's last words, and Bunny's last words (as a cop):
"Get on with it motherfucker"

"My name is my name", Marlo.

"He knows my name, but my name is not my name", Vondas

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?




It sounds very reasonable to me. There have been other theories about the meaning/significance/symbolism of the train in the thread, and I think one of the great things about it is that it's so open to interpretation that it can work in any way for the viewer to see.

In regards to your theory that it represents McNulty, it's interesting to think about the scene in season 3 where Kima joins McNulty at the stationary train (I think, hopefully I'm not misremembering) and they discuss her possibly cheating on Cheryl - there's a sense to the scene that Kima is becoming more and more like McNulty, and the train may be representing both of their arrested developments in regards to their personal/romantic/married lives.

pokeyman
Nov 26, 2006

That elephant ate my entire platoon.



Oh poo poo, Jerusalem replied to The Wire: The Rewatch thread!

...

That's not the next episode :(

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



pokeyman posted:

Oh poo poo, Jerusalem replied to The Wire: The Rewatch thread!

...

That's not the next episode :(

Coming soon! (some within the next 24 hours, I promise!)

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Season 3, Episode 10 - Reformation

Proposition Joe posted:

Call it a crisis of leadership.

There's a dead body on the otherwise unusually quiet streets of the Hamsterdam-era Western District, and Homicide Detective Vernon Holley knows exactly why the young dealer has been murdered, even if he doesn't know exactly by who. Holley knows enough to know that the Barksdale and Stanfield crews are feuding, and the Barksdales have scored a hit tonight. Fruit arrives amongst the onlookers and observes the body, distressed and angry to see one of his crew is the victim. Far from the other observers, detached by his out-of-town status and the fact he's sitting in a car, the notorious Brother Mouzone amuses himself with a crack about their location to his confused driver Lamar (played by the late DeAndre McCullough) - Lamar doesn't know exactly where they are, and Mouzone - inspired by the dead drug dealer and police presence - cracks that they're in Baltimore, Maryland.

The murder causes different reactions throughout the city - while Avon is delighted when Slim Charles arrives at their safehouse and gives the sign they've dropped two Standfield crew-members, Brother Mouzone seems less amused as he tries to read his magazine at the hotel they've finally found, with sirens constantly blaring in the background. The police - freed up by Hamsterdam - are able to crack down hard in the early morning on those corner crews still operating outside of the free zones as punishment for the murder. These crackdowns are observed by Co-Op members Fat Face Rick and Philboy, who complain to an attending Proposition Joe that they are the ones suffering for Avon's ego. Meanwhile, young Stanfield dealers Justin and Jamal are out on the street but paranoid as hell about the now very real danger of a resurgent Avon. That said, when they hear gunfire their first reaction isn't the panicked fleeing it appears to be, rather they race to the source of the gunfire where they find another of their crew lying dead on the street - LaTroy, a drug lieutenant - Avon is scoring more important targets now. Snoop pulls up in a truck driven by Tote and snaps at them to get in, it isn't safe on the street for them at the moment - the Stanfield crews are currently on the run and hunkering down for defense - Avon Barksdale is ascendent once more for the time being.

At the former site of the drug towers he was once hired to "protect", Brother Mouzone and Lamar stare at the demolition site and Lamar openly ponders what happened to the towers. Mouzone is again bemused, despite having lost his only known access point to the street level dealers he was hoping to make use of. He cracks that there is a slow train coming - reform - and laughs at the absurdity of it all. Mouzone knows that demolishing towers is only dealing to the symptom, not the cause, and he'd probably react the same way to Hamsterdam if he was aware of it. The slow train of reform is only dangerous if you're too stupid to see it coming and get out of the way.

At the Detail office, you'll be just as shocked as I was to discover that McNulty is bitching and complaining about things not going his way. While Sydnor and Greggs go over paperwork and Freamon and Massey make miniature furniture/cut coupons respectively, McNulty is seething. Their pen registers are picking up an almost constant barrage of phone-calls going back and forth across the burner numbers that Sydnor picked up while tailing Bernard and Squeak, but they don't have a wire on any of them. McNulty thinks they have enough PC to get a wiretap and start mapping the network, but Freamon corrects him and reminds that Pearlman is the one taking this to court, and she wants them to be able to kick things off from a known drug-dealer's phone... and that's Bodie. Until they can positively ID which phone is his (by calling his Grandmother's number presumably), they can only wait.

Meanwhile, Pearlman and Daniels are sitting in a meeting with Judge Phelan explaining their own frustrations - the burner network is going down fast and the phone companies aren't playing ball and accepting the disposal of the burners as exigent circumstances. Phelan is not unsympathetic, especially since Pearlman is there, and he flirts unashamedly with her while offering the best he can - he'll sign off on boilerplate paperwork and allow them to update the numbers on the paperwork every time the dealers dump and replace their phones. That still leaves the problem of being unable to get the phone companies to bring them up on a wiretap before the network is about to go down, but there is only so much Phelan can do for them. They leave his office and joke about Phelan's flirting, Pearlman admitting it's been going on since the first time she appeared before him for a jury trial, and Daniels - completely unthreatened - jokes along.

Carver is called in to see Colvin in his office, where he has the most pivotal encounter of his career. What follows is a massive turning point in his life, even more than Daniels' warning at the end of season one. Colvin starts by thanking him for his loyalty in moving the dead body out of the free zone, but then proceeds to calmly and gently lay out some cold hard truths to him - Carver isn't worth poo poo as a police officer. Carver's initial arrival had an air of a nervous student summoned to the principal's office, and now he sits and listens as he is insulted in an oddly amicable fashion. Colvin explains it isn't Carver's fault, harking back to Daniels' own warning by noting he has had nobody to offer him guidance, and plenty of bad examples to follow. He lays the blame squarely on the "war", explaining that the idea for the Free Zones came to him after Dozerman was shot over the "bullshit" of a simple buy-bust. "This drug thing, this ain't police work. No it ain't," he insists, and lays out just why. This episode was written by former police detective Ed Burns, and I have to think that Colvin's reasoning is very close to his own dismay over the way the system worked while he was there. You call something a war, people start thinking and acting like "warriors", they start to think of the dealers they're pursuing as the enemy, as the corners they're clearing as occupied territory. It becomes them and us, the "good guys" vs the "bad guys" and all sense of community is lost. He speaks nostalgically of how in the old days a patrolman walked his beat and knew his neighborhood - it wasn't occupied territory, it was their beat, and they built relationships and established networks. When a crime happened, there were people the patrolman could talk to/rely on for information. Nowadays though? Carver can bring him stats and organize buy-busts and running dealers temporarily off of corners but every time he comes to him for information on what is going on out there... he gets nothing. Carver is his Drug Enforcement Unit Sergeant and he doesn't know anything about what is actually happening on the street. They're interrupted by Mello, who has bad news for Colvin - a reporter from the Baltimore Sun has been through all three of the drug zones and he wants a statement. Colvin takes it in stride, he knew it was only a moment of time, and leaves Carver to sit pondering what he's just been told - everything he knows about being police is absolutely, 100% wrong.



McNulty sits in with Daniels and Pearlman to discuss (rant about) his dissatisfaction with the way the case is going - or more precisely, how impatient he is when he isn't in constant motion and able to create the illusion he's doing something important with his life. He lays out how he thinks they should rewrite the affidavit so they can start making progress, and Pearlman shuts him down immediately by reminding him that he doesn't have a law degree and until he does, she'll be the one to decide how they build their case. Daniels chimes in that they're going the extra mile for Phelan so they'll have a strong foundation for the case, and they don't want to get screwed over in motion hearings later by a shortcut they take now. McNulty is disgusted to learn that Phelan is involved and dismisses Pearlman's defense of the judge by saying he hosed him over on the original Barksdale case, he's a piece of poo poo. Daniels causes a deeply uncomfortable silence when he snaps that they're ALL pieces of poo poo when they're in McNulty's way of getting what he wants, and after a long, awkward silence McNulty concedes the point.

In one of the Free Zones, Herc and Truck are talking with the reporter from the Baltimore Sun - Banisky - and laying out the full scope of what Colvin has done. They explain that they took part with the understanding they would be rounding up all the dealers to arrest them, not to leave them to run a free and open drug market, and that as far as they know none of the BPD higher-ups are aware what Colvin is doing. Banisky is horrified and tantalized by the story that has been dropped in his lap, while Herc and Truck are eager to see everything go away so they can return to what they consider to be "real" police work.

In Cutty's shabby, rundown but now clean gym, an impressed Deacon tells Cutty that now all he needs to do is get some kids in to train. Cutty laughs that he makes it sound easy, but he has no idea how to deal with the hoppers, which makes the Deacon laugh, telling Cutty not to lose any sleep over them... nobody else does. That's kind of depressing, really.



Things finally get into gear in the Detail Office when Bodie receives a call from his Grandmother complaining about not picking up his laundry. The detectives joke over this possibly being code and then play an archived recording from the original Barksdale case of Bodie on the wiretap. Confirming that the voices are the same, Daniels tells them to note the voice comparison on their paperwork while he lets Phelan know they now have confirmed one of the burners is being used by a known drug dealer. McNulty is delighted, now things are happening he can lose himself in his work again.

Colvin and Mello arrive to see Banisky, and takes him for a walk through the Free Zone, assuring him that Command is well aware of the situation. He spins a good line of bullshit, this is all an enforcement strategy, the troops underneath him aren't aware of anything above their pay grade, and he wants Banisky to hold off on reporting or talking to anybody downtown in case they panic over the possibility of a leak and force them to make their move early, costing them the full benefit of the secret operation. Banisky buys it, even though everything is telling him this is wrong, because the lie is just so big the truth is unacceptable - Colvin himself laughs incredulously at the notion that the Free Zones are exactly what they appear to be (a legalized drug market), hiding the enormity of his actions behind their own ludicrousness. Mello stares with a mixture of disbelief and irritation when Banisky finally shakes Colvin's hand and agrees to hold on on the story... at least for another week. After that, he has to write something. For Colvin, that's enough, Hamsterdam is on borrowed time and he knows it, he's just trying to keep it going as long as he can by this point, and keep those clean corners/happy neighborhoods for at least a few more days.

At Vinson's rim shop, Brother Mouzone explains he has returned for unfinished business. Vinson appears to be one of a small number of known and trusted advisers/middle-men who exist within "the game" in Baltimore - like Butchie he is known by all but enjoys a protected status as a neutral player. Avon will come close to breaking that understanding at the end of this season (though you could argue he was going to wait for Marlo to have left Vinson's rim shop before striking) and Marlo will violently upset this "natural" order in season 5 when he orders the torture of Butchie to draw Omar out of retirement, but for the most case these types are only able to operate because people understand the necessity of neutral ground and independents who can be trusted/safe. He's come for revenge on whoever was responsible for his injury the last time he was in Baltimore, and his description to Vinson immediately brings Omar to mind. Mouzone betrays his suspicions when he asks if Omar works with the Barksdales, and is surprised to learn he is usually at war with them. Michael Potts does a great job here portraying Mouzone's self-control, his surprise is registered only by a slight lift of his eyebrows. Similarly, when he learns that Omar is gay, his disgust/moral offense is represented by the barest widening of his eyes.



Carcetti shares a drink with D'Agostino and his political friends, where they discuss Tommy's decision to take a run for Mayor of Baltimore. Theresa tells them she really does think he can win it, though it will require hard work, a lot of money (he'll need to start the fundraising phone campaigns pretty much immediately) and the hope that 1000 things don't go wrong. He's also going to need black people in prominent positions and the support of black political/community/religious leaders to offset the fact he's white in a city that isn't. There's also the issue of Tony Grey, they need him to be a viable contender in the race for as long as possible to split the black vote. Tommy is starting to feel a guilty about this, though whether it is genuine guilt or a byproduct of not wanting to face up to the fact he's not a particularly nice human being I'll leave up to your individual interpretations of the man. D'Agostino reminds him that it's nothing personal, but it is a necessity, he NEEDS Tony to stand and stay standing to avoid the bulk of the black constituents give their votes to Royce.

Freamon, Massey, McNulty and Pearlman listen in on Bodie making a seemingly innocuous call about picking up two tickets to the Apollo Theater. It seems even with all the precautions being taken in regards to the phones, the Barksdale Crew are still operating under the impression that they're being listened in on and are talking in code. It's simply enough broken by the Detectives though, the Apollo Theater in on 125th street, they're asking for 2x125 grams as a re-up. The only codeword that is confusing them is the word "Hamsterdam" that keeps popping up, and so far all they've been able to pick up from context is that it must be one of their stash-houses. McNulty heads out to join Kima on duty, and Daniels arrives and asks Pearlman for some privacy so he can broach an uncomfortable subject with Freamon and Massey - Prez shooting Waggoner is being investigated by IAD, and for the report he MUST ask both of them if they ever got a sense that Prez harbored a racist mindset. Massey immediately replies in the negative and Freamon asks Daniels if he is REALLY asking them that question, and an embarrassed Daniels leaves. Once he is gone though, Massey brings up the issue to Freamon... does he think Waggoner would have been shot if he was white? Freamon immediately defends his friend/protege, but he's left looking uncomfortable nonetheless. As Prez himself said, who knows what was racing through his subconscious when he saw a black man in an alleyway.

Omar meets with Butchie in a neutral area of the city, an old man and a young man sharing a bench together and having an amicable conversation. The topic at hand is anything but mundane though, Butchie is just as outraged as Omar about the breaking of the Sunday Truce. Omar tells him that the Barksdale people actually purchased a new Church Crown for his Grandmother and left it on her porch by way of apology (imagining Gerard and Sapper delivering this cracks me up) but that changes nothing, he is going after the Barksdales harder than ever before now. He wants Butchie to go into Omar's "bank" and start spreading the word that he is paying cash-money for information on how to get to Avon, but Butchie tells him he doesn't have to do this. He doesn't mean he's trying to talk him out of the idea, he knows that is a fool's errand, he's saying he doesn't have to pay any money - Butchie has known all along about the funeral parlor where Avon and Stringer have their office, but never told Omar for fear that Omar would kill himself going after them. To his credit, Omar doesn't front and declare himself invincible, he admits that he is probably going to his death, but this is something that he needs to do - he MUST go after Avon, the insult to his grandmother and the violation of the Sunday Truce demands it. It's a mindset that Marlo and Avon could understand and condone, the type of thing Prop Joe could understand if not condone, and the type of thing that Stringer Bell would never understand.

In that same funeral parlor, Stringer Bell arrives to find strangers guarding the count-room, hired on by Slim Charles. He's upset both by the change of faces as well as the fact that Slim Charles made that call without going through him first. Shamrock informs him the count is down for the third week and the shelf-life of the product they still have available is rapidly shortening - all bad news, and all the result of Avon's relentless push for a way over territory they no longer need. Slamming the clipboard down he turns to leave and is irritates to see two of the muscle immediately move to follow him. Shamrock shrugs, it's on Slim's orders, they're to stick with him from now on. Stringer sizes them up and then moves on with them behind him, slamming the door open as he goes - there can be no doubt now, Avon is firmly back in charge and Slim is taking a more pro-active stance in the operation, and Stringer doesn't like it.



Carver is expanding on the one community-minded gesture he has made in his career to this point, perhaps as a result of Colvin's "pep-talk". As young'uns play basketball on the street he shouts instructions and encouragement while keeping an eye on his "time-out" corner, where he has forced those who couldn't play nice to sit out the game, looking more like sulky kids than tough, street-hardened dealers. Cutty approaches Carver and notes the kids aren't in school, and Carver challenges him immediately, who is this stranger and has he come to talk poo poo or offer some help? Cutty explains he's looking to start teaching boxing at his gym, and Carver offers him the time-out kids to talk to. Before he can though, two of the older boys - one with a bloody lip from their earlier fight - start arguing and look set to throw down again. Carver motions to an approaching uniform to back off and leave this, and watches on as Cutty steps between them and calms them down, successfully taunting the more successful fighter to try sparring a little with him, allowing Cutty to expose his dropped right hand and explaining that if the other boy had training, he'd have been able to whip him. That demonstration out of the way, he doesn't press the issue, just telling everybody where his gym can be found, and that they're all welcome to come by if they want to learn more. With that he's gone, leaving Carver impressed.

Kima rejoins McNulty in the car where they're watching the corner, hoping to catch the re-up mentioned on the wire. McNulty complains about being forced to wait and when she presses him to see what's got him so riled up, he admits it is D'Agostino. Kima laughs at first at his complaints - the fact he needed to get permission from a person on the hotel desk to even get the lift to go to her floor when he wanted to get laid (I wonder if he sees the parallels with the whorehouse he went to in season 2?), the way she talks about things that make him feel irrelevant, treating him like a breathing machine for a dick. Kima, who probably has plenty of experience with being reduced to a series of body-parts due to her gender, laughs at the notion, and indeed his angry complaint about HIM - Jimmy McNulty, the smartest guy in three districts (how he can say that when Freamon exists is laughable) - being treated so dismissively at first smacks of arrogance. But then he turns despairing eyes on her, and says what really gets to the heart of the matter. She makes him feel like an idiot and a nobody for placing value in the things he does, for staying in Baltimore, for not making big money or getting elected to political office - in short, she looks right through him. He doesn't say it (or maybe even realize it) but Freamon's words to him really did hit him hard. He's come face to face with the fact that the job will not save him, and that outside of the case (which will end) he has nothing. There is nothing in his life, and the thin hope he pinned on D'Agostino being the key to an intellectually stimulating relationship have been dashed as he realized that he was at best nothing but an object to be used for her gratification, and at worst his personality/beliefs and values are repugnant or otherwise alien to her. If he doesn't have the job, and he doesn't have her, and his own personality/beliefs are so "wrong", then what does he have? What does it mean to be Jimmy McNulty, and does he matter?



Stringer arrives at a liquor store and grumpily tells his muscle to wait outside, and when the man reminds him that "the tall man" told him to stick with him, Stringer gets in his face and roars that the "tall man" (Slim) won't be there when he's stomping in his face. A professional enforcer, the muscle isn't remotely intimidated by Stringer raising up, but he does as he is told, contenting himself with turning around and blocking the doorway so nobody will be able to get in. Stringer heads inside, barely glances at the man behind the counter (and a screen of bulletproof glass) and heads straight to the back without a word, where he finds Prop Joe, Fat Face Rick and Philboy waiting in the backroom at a table for them. He curtly tells them to hurry up, he has other meetings, outraging Fat Face Rick and Philby who are after all his equals in the Co-Op, leading to the utterly hilarious line,"You're harder to get at than my fat wife's oval office!"

They complain that while the Barksdales might be big enough to be able to sit back off the corners and war with Marlo, others in the Co-Op need that constant flow of money to keep in business and Avon's war with Marlo is bringing down police attention on all of them and costing them money. Stringer complains that they're hurting too, but that just allows Joe to question if Avon is willing to deal to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution. Not wanting to admit he can't control Avon, Stringer changes the subject and asks what about Marlo, and they tell him that Marlo has expressed an interest in making peace so long as he can keep his corners (Stringer's heart must fall at this proviso, it's the one thing that Avon will never allow). Joe then hits him with another body blow, the Co-Op got together without Stringer and formed a quorum, and they've decided that if Stringer can't "call off his dog" and make peace, then the Barksdales are out. Not just out of the Co-Op, but out of the package as well - they're not going to continue to provide them with the drugs to finance a war that is costing the rest of them money. Stringer stares through them, knowing the impossible situation they're putting him in. Avon has to be forced to make peace, with the unspoken suggestion being that if Avon can't be made to see reason, he needs to be removed from the picture entirely. "Call it a crisis of leadership," suggests Joe.

Colvin is facing his own crisis, admitting to Mello and his Community Relations Sergeant, he has to admit the truth to the top brass. There's no way to keep Hamsterdam from leaking out, his desperation play with the reporter only brought him a week at most, and with the disgruntled troops he is trying to keep in line it's just a matter of time now. The CR Sergeant suggests making some arrests so they can spin Hamsterdam as a tactical operation, but he dismisses that - arrest a few dealers and the rest will scatter and spread out across the whole district again, a district that is now enjoying clean streets and lower levels of crime. No, if Rawls is going to have his rear end, Colvin is going to take the chance to show him everything that his actions have accomplished.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Devonne is leaving her pleasant suburban home when a voice calling her name gets her attention. She turns to see Marlo appear from beside her porch, and before she can react he lifts his gun and shoots her twice, one in each breast. She hits the ground and he moves up, putting the gun in her open mouth and firing a third shot, the symbolism as obvious as it gets - she used sex as a weapon to ambush him, and he he has exacted revenge in kind. Chris steps up beside him and tells him it needed doing, but Marlo didn't need the reassurance, the look on his face as he stares down at her isn't remorse, regret or despair - it's a blank-eyed fascination. To quote from a wildly different piece of media, he has dead eyes, doll's eyes. Marlo is a shark.

The timing is about as bad as it can get for Stringer, who arrives at Avon's safehouse where he is instructing the more conservative Slim to pay out a full bounty to the man who took out two of Marlo's crew despite missing Marlo himself, because the guy stepped up and did his job. Stringer demands to speak with Avon alone and Avon gives the go ahead, Stringer still has enough authority to warrant this type of reaction. He tries to butter up Avon by pointing out how his name is ringing out again and Marlo has been taken down a notch or two, and now is the time to have a sitdown and work out a peace. Avon dismisses this, telling Stringer they'll be back to business as soon as Marlo is dead, and Stringer has to just lay it all out on the line - the Co-Op took a vote and they've cut them out of the package, and that means even if they win they lose. While they're fighting over meaningless corners and a nobody like Marlo, the best source of drugs in the city has been taken from them. This DOES seem to get through to Avon at last, but we'll never know what would have happened next because that's when the news about Devonne is broken. Slim returns to the room, Stringer horrified to see that Slim has the temerity to interrupt them, and even more that Slim chooses to whisper the information to Avon rather than say it out loud. What's worse is that Avon then waves off Stringer's question as to what was said. Thrown off balance, Stringer returns to the familiar refrain that means so much to him and so little to Avon - pointing out that the territory system is defunct, that corners mean nothing and that there are games beyond "the game", and they're ready to move up into that stratosphere, why throw everything away on Marlo? In reply, Avon reveals what Slim just told him - not just that Devonne is dead but HOW she died, and asks if Stringer still thinks that Marlo is somebody they can deal with.

It's an interesting conundrum, because both of them are absolutely in the right. Stringer is right about Avon's views on the corners/territory being short-sighted and old-fashioned, and how the war is costing them far more than they could ever gain. In fact at one point he tells Avon he is like a junkie, shooting up without needles, glorying in being a general waging a war (he even has grenades picked up by a soldier coming back from "wherever" - Avon's ignorance on America's international wars compares nicely with McNulty's ignorance of candidates Presidential and below). But by contrast, Avon is the only one to immediately recognize the huge threat that Marlo represents, as well as understanding the nature of "the game" they're in not allowing anybody to remain in it while trying to change up the rules - you're either in or out, you can't be both, even for a brief time. Even Prop Joe will underestimate and mistake Marlo's motivations, while Avon knew right from the beginning that Marlo was too dangerous to let live. What's really interesting is in how quickly Stringer has been removed from a position of authority, and how his existing authority has been undermined. Shamrock is still there, but surrounded by men brought in by Slim, and Slim himself is now Avon's go-to man for dealing with their wartime problems. Stringer, who once enjoyed Avon's complete confidence and even ran the muscle (including Wee-Bey) is now considered the business guy, a person who is respected but not considered an authority in the current situation - nobody listens to him anymore without first getting the nod from Avon or - maddeningly - Slim Charles. It was only a couple of episodes ago that Stringer was still the final authority in the Barksdale Organization, even if he was technically beneath Avon.

Elsewhere in town, a VERY reluctant Lamar is admitting to Brother Mouzone that he accepts he has to work on his discipline, but he can't handle what Mouzone is asking of him now. Mouzone's plan is actually kind of adorably naive, without the familiar ground of the Towers to work from and not wanting to approach the Barksdales, the only thing he has to go on is that Omar is gay. So how does that help? Well gay people go to gay bars, right? So Mouzone is sending Lamar in to look for Omar, telling him that he's perfect as his homophobia is so visceral that it will make him appear conflicted. Humorously, Lamar, not understanding what homophobia is, complains that he hasn't even gone in yet and already Mouzone is calling him a human being. He goes inside, his whole body tensing up, his face cringing as he looks around at the happy, content and self-assured young men enjoying themselves. The bartender instantly picks up that Lamar doesn't belong, and when asks tells him that he doesn't know any scarface named Omar, and somebody like that would stand out. Happy to be done but dreading the next time, Lamar leaves.

In bed, Carcetti's wife questions whether he can wait four years to take a stab at Mayor, but he knows that it's now or never - a 3-way race against two black candidates is his best shot at winning and is unlikely to ever come up again. He mentions Tony being his best friend and she suggests he approach him and talk about his plans, but Carcetti's guilt only goes so far - if Tony figures out what is going on then he'll drop out and that will ruin Tommy's chances, but Tony can't win on his own. He has to use him as a sacrificial lamb, but it makes him feel really lovely, it really does. Jen doesn't answer, she just turns off the light and rolls over to go to bed, and he does the same. Why does she say nothing? Does she have nothing to add? Or is she aware enough of Tommy's nature that she knows that whatever he says about how lovely it makes him feel, he hasn't for a single moment considered NOT doing it?

The next morning, Cutty is shadow-boxing when the "time-out kids" arrive at the Gym, laughing that it doesn't look like much, it's some weak-rear end poo poo. He smiles and says they have lockers and they have gear, and watches with a mixture of pleasure and concern as they rough-house and play about with the gear. He's biting off a hell of a lot.

Kima and McNulty return to the Detail office in a great mood, they caught the re-up on camera, recorded car tags and followed the re-supplier back to what they think is a stash house. But their happiness fades as they see everybody else's faces, and turn to see all the burners they were up on have gone down. The burners have run out of minutes and been tossed aside, and now they have to get up on a whole new supply and get the phone companies to honor the court order, which will take at least four days. The phones had been lasting two weeks at a time, but now they're down to being replaced in a week. They've spent $9000 on 18 intercepts over 30 hours, and five of them were non-pertinent, working out to $700 per drug deal. Sydnor suggests getting back on Bernard but this just gets them back to the same problem - with that four day period to get the wire-tap activated, they're looking at barely 30 hours of coverage before the network goes down. Could they pre-wiretap the phones? Well sure, but then how do they get the phones to be purchased by Bernard? McNulty complains that 4 days to hit a couple of keys is bullshit, but those words give Freamon a flash of inspiration. He shakes his head, thinking it won't work, but a gaping McNulty tells him to follow through, he knows what Freamon is thinking because he just thought it too.



Maybe it's just me, but I always figured McNulty's,"Say your brilliant idea but I had exactly the same brilliant idea too don't ask me what the brilliant idea was" was a bit of bullshit, but maybe that's just me :)

Cutty's initial good vibes quickly fade as he lines the boys up to prepare them for training, and makes the mistake of not explaining what he is doing. As he checks their footwear they crack jokes about him touching them, and when he tries to roll with the punches and crack wise back to one of the boys - Justin - the insults get louder and bawdier, accusing him of being a junkie and probably pimping his own rear end to get high. Furious, Cutty gets right in Justin's face but the boy is not intimidated, reminding him that he's a juvenile and Cutty will get into enormous trouble if he touches him. They head out of the gym, laughing at Cutty, who can only stand back ineffectually and watch them go.

Sydnor spots Stringer on the surveillance camera pacing back and forth in front of his copy shop and smoking. It's the first time they've seen him smoking, and they notice the pacing is demonstrating considerable stress, and Freamon quips that heavy is the head that wears the crown. The problem being, of course, that Stringer isn't wearing the crown. At the copy shop, he heads inside and stands clutching his head in his office for a moment before grabbing his phone and preparing to dial a number. He pauses, considering for a moment, with the show's camera filming him from outside the door to his office, making us the outsiders looking in as he struggles with a momentous decision. Finally he comes to a conclusion, puts down the landline and picks up his cell, and the camera cuts to inside the office and a close-up on his face as he asks the operator to put him through to Baltimore's Western District Police, but not an emergency call.

Cutty visits the other Gym, where the trainer is amused but not surprised at Cutty having gotten the bum's rush from the boys - that's what they do, they're expert at plucking nerves. Cutty says he doesn't understand just how wild they were, but to demonstrate the trainer gives one of his young boxers instructions and they watch as the two boys in the ring begin boxing. The trainer explains that when the boys came in they were wild, but now they come in every day and respectfully respond Yes sir/No sir when given instructions. How did he do it? He messed with their heads by refusing to give up on them, and now he believes with the right breaks that they'll make it, even though they're still wild, because he won't let them fail. He points out another boy to Cutty, this one weak looking and barely able to throw a punch. Cutty says he looks weak but the trainer corrects him - that's not weak, that's the starting point.



Kima and McNulty meet with Bubbles and show him pictures of Bernard, but though he recognizes him he doesn't know the name, and says he definitely isn't a drug dealer unless he's doing so on the quiet. Kima suggests Bubbles make a play at him anyway and see what he can find out, but Bubbles says while he could try, Kima is really reaching if she thinks he can make anything from it. Discouraged, they show him Squeak's picture too and he lights up, identifying both her and the crew she used to run with, and comments that she's lost weight and is looking good. Delighted, Kima asks Bubbles if there is anything he DOESN'T know, and he shrugs and admits he doesn't know any civilians. They return to the Detail Office with the good news for Freamon, Bubbles knows her and can make the advance they were hoping for, and he's smooth enough to pull it off. Freamon has some interesting news for them too, showing them Stringer's cell (that is listed on his business cards) made a call to the Western District police - maybe he's surrendering? McNulty scowls, saying that if Stringer ever did that, he'd never forgive him.

Cutty returns to Hamsterdam where Carver is tossing a football back and forth with some of the hoppers, who have started calling him by name now. He spots Cutty and asks if nobody showed up, and Cutty admits they did but left, and continues to see Justin as Carver goes back to his game. Approaching Justin, he explains he is here to apologize over how things went, what with him being new at the coaching game, but he doesn't want them thinking he gave up on them. Justin mocks him since THEY were the ones who walked out on him, but he just shrugs and says he's here now, and Justin is unsure how to react, turning his head and looking away so he can continue to appear indifferent.

Daniels and Pearlman see Phelan with their side of Freamon's plan - they want him to sign off on affidavits for phones that they're planning to sell to drug dealers, phones that - at the time he signs the forms - will not have been used in the commission of any crime or criminal conspiracy. Pearlman admits there are no precedents and that the PC is circumstantial at best, but as she says this she quite deliberately uncrosses and crosses her legs right in front of him, and Phelan is so pleased by this appeal to his basic instinct that he chuckles what the hell and agrees to sign off on the forms - sure it isn't the rock-solid foundation to the case they were looking for, but it's better than the alternative of spendings thousands of dollars on 30 hour windows of wiretaps. He says they'll let the Court of Appeals sort it out if it ever gets that far, and after Daniels and Pearlman leave, they joke about Pearlman having quite the legal mind.



At another gay bar, Lamar stares uneasily around, particularly alarmed to see gay porn playing on one of the television screens. When one hopeful man taps him on the shoulder and asks if he can buy a drink, Lamar leaps away in horror and demands to know why he is coming up behind him. The man apologizes and Lamar, furious and confused shoves one guy at the bar before getting the hell out of there. As he leaves, the commotion catches the attention of one particular man at the bar, in a fantastic little unexpected "cameo", we discover that Bill Rawls is gay. The best thing about it for me? This never comes up ever again in the show. Ever. It never becomes an issue. It never changes up his character. It just turns out that Rawls, while he is married with a kid, is a homosexual. You can read all kinds of things into what this means about his attitude/character etc if you like, or you can just see it as another facet of who he is - important, yes, but not the end-all/be-all of who and what he is. Like Omar, he's a complex and interesting character who also happens to be gay. And it's great that this was just thrown in there like that.



McNulty arrives at the Western District where he has been called to see Major Colvin, who is preparing for his COMSTAT meeting the next day. He asks if McNulty is still investigating the drug war, and whether the name Avon Barksdale means anything to him. Of course it does, McNulty explaining he's the main player in Baltimore, recently back in the game from jail, and his presence probably goes a long way towards explaining the recent violence on the streets. Colvin is intrigued, so news that Avon had recently been shot would be valuable to McNulty? Of course it would, and he asks for more information so he can check up on it, but Colvin dismisses that idea, there's no way that Avon would have gone to a hospital or a regular doctor. McNulty admits that they're investigating the Barksdale Organization but aren't any higher than street level operatives, and Colvin hands over an address he has - apparently that's where Avon can currently be found, and even more amazing, it's apparently owned under his own name. McNulty is grateful of course, but asks if Colvin is giving him this info to test the credibility of a new CI. Colvin won't be drawn of course, even though McNulty already knows exactly who the CI must be given that Stringer recently rang the Western District police. He asks him to check the address and get back to him on if it is accurate, and he may have more information from that CI for him.

The CI in question is at the funeral parlor, scowling as he reads a newspaper report on development grants being funded to local property developers, and of course he isn't included. Coming to another important decision, he calls Shamrock into the office and hands him all his folders on his B&B Developments, and tells him to get them to Levy to read - he wants fresh eyes. Shamrock does as he is told, and Stringer tells "Mr. Bodyguard" to come along, they're leaving. They head out of the parlor and get into the waiting car, driving away and watched from across the street by Omar, smoking one of many cigarettes he has already burned through. Omar has been watching the funeral parlor for a long, long time now.

McNulty and Kima sit with Bubbles in their car, discussing their plans with Bubbles who is, as always, looking for a way to make some extra cash for himself. As they talk, a Port Authority car pulls up alongside them before taking the turn, and McNulty is convinced the driver is Beadie Russell. Taking off in pursuit (Bubble's trolley is jammed into the open trunk) he pulls up alongside and bellows out a happy greeting... before realizing the confused driver is NOT Beadie at all, but another female Port Authority Officer. She drives away and McNulty shrugs to a laughing Kima, telling her he just wanted to say hello.

At the COMSTAT meeting, Colvin is showing Burrell and Rawls photos of the empty, clean and peaceful streets of the Western District, one of which is Rawls' old patrol route. Rawls beams at the sight but he's been around long enough to know there has to be a catch - where is the Western District drug trade? Burrell is also wary of what seems too good to be true, and asks if the photos are staged, but Colvin assures them they're not - he found a new way to deal with things. So what is it? Well he moved the drug trade of the corners, basically. Rawls demands a real answer, how did he move them and where are they now? Colvin now faces the moment of truth and for a moment hesitates, unsure exactly how to put the enormity of what he has done into words. He stammers and refers to "we" before shifting to "I", making sure all the responsibility comes down on him, though for somewhat selfish reasons - with 30 years, a Major's pension, and a six figure job waiting in the wings, he's as secure as can be. So slowly he begins explaining his strategy to move all drug trafficking into those areas of his district where they would do the least harm. Burrell takes a little longer to get to grips with what he is seeing, but Rawls understands immediately and the horror on his face is a sight to behold - he knows exactly what is happening here, and shuts down a confused Major Reed as he struggles to get to grips with how Colvin kept the corners clean without a constant police presence - Colvin has legalized drugs.



Colvin corrects him, he didn't legalize them, he just ignored them. Burrell, finally getting to grips what has happened - or the shock has finally worn off, perhaps - leaps to his feet and roars at Colvin that he'll see him in his office, and the COMSTAT meeting comes to an abrupt end.

On the street, Squeak approaches her car and McNulty and Kima give Bubbles the signal to make his move (as an aside, is this just a coincidence?). Crossing the street in front of her car with his trolley, he "spots" her and rushes over to say hello, Squeak pleased to see the amiable old junkie from back in the day. They catch up quickly, Bubbles putting on the charm ("he could charm a cat off of a fish cart" notes McNulty) before they amicably part ways, Bubbles saying his goodbye but then "remembering" at the last moment something that might be of use to her. He shows her a phone that is exactly the same as the ones she watches Bernard buy every 1-2 weeks, and tells her he can sell it to her for a discount if she could make use of it. The bait is out there now, it just remains to be seen if she'll take it.

In Burrell's office, the Commissioner is facing the realization that his career is over. This time Reed corrects him, telling him they're ALL dead behind this poo poo, but Colvin insists that what he did, he did knowingly and on his own, he'll fall on his sword if that's what is needed, he's good with that. Burrell is quietly furious, he's. good. with. that? Colvin explains he has vacation time and only a couple of months till his 30 comes up, and he can take his pension so he's happy to take the full responsibility... so long as nobody beneath him suffers for HIS plan, if they do that then he'll get on his soapbox and wreck all of them. Burrell demands to know if he's threatening him and Colvin admits that he believes he is, then offers about the lamest balm possible in the form of a stack of positive feedback letters from civilians, businesspeople and community leaders who are delighted with the corners being drug-free now. Barely restraining his rage, Burrell maintains control and informs Colvin that he WILL have his badge, but not now, he wants to avoid any attention until he can figure out how to deal with this mess. Till then, Bunny is on vacation and will remain so until ordered to report for duty. He dismisses Colvin who goes with a salute... and then one final warning from the doorway.... a Baltimore Sun reporter is aware of the free zones, believes it is an approved deployment, but will report on it within a week (tops) if no visible action is taken.



Intrigued by Bubbles' ability to get cheap phones, Squeak has convinced Bernard to meet with Bubble's connection, who is of course Lester Freamon. Lester explains to Bernard that he works short cons of various types, and Bernard proves to be something of an expert himself, familiar with the type of operations that Lester is suggesting and asking about a few different types as well. Bubbles plays his part well, acting agitated that Bernard is questioning his man and asking if they're going to deal or not, and Squeak unwittingly joins in on the assault by demanding Bernard stop sabotaging their chance to make some extra money. Lester tells him he appreciates a cautious man though, his rear end is hanging out there on this connection with two strangers as well, but in answer to Bernard's question, yes he can read numbers - it's a skill he picked up working scams at the airport in the past. To test him, Bernard randomly dials a number on his phone keypad while Lester stands beside him and holds a phony conversation on his own phone, all the time carefully watching Bernard dial. After a brief moment to collect himself, he reads back each digit from memory, leaving Squeak gaping in amazement and Bernard reassured - Lester is clearly what he claims to be, because who else would have all the skills/talents of a long term con-man/scammer? Unfortunately for him, the answer is a clever police, but he won't find that out until it's too late.

Cutty gives direction as the one kid who showed up to the Gym throws punches in the ring. Justin enters as well, a late and lone arrival, and when Cutty notices him he doesn't make a big deal, just saying hey and giving a nod before going back to giving the other kid direction. Justin settles down to watch, wary but interested.

Burrell, meanwhile, has had to deliver the insane news to Royce and his Chief of Staff, and their reaction is the disbelief you would expect. Parker is incredulous, though Royce manages to maintain his composure, warning Burrell that NOT knowing this was happening makes it worse, because it makes him look incompetent. Burrell plays the only card he has, appealing to Royce's need for votes. He hands over the pile of positive letters Colvin gave him (adding voters to the descriptors) as well as the very real 14% reduction in crime. Despite himself, Royce perks up at the idea of positive votes and a 14% crime reduction, and Burrell seizes his chance, saying that if they can spin this as an initiative to capture high-end drug dealers they could ALL get out from underneath without any mud on them. Royce teeters on the edge and then draws back, no no no, this can't be spun, Burrell blew it and now he has to walk point, that's just the way it is. Burrell deflates and Parker moves in for the kill, telling him he'll be over soon to see a detailed plan on how Burrell is going to fix this, and the Commissioner is dismissed. The moment he is gone though, Royce is back to staring fascinated at the figures, wistfully noting that if they could just sell this as something other than what it is.... Parker shuts that down though, he can forget it, it's a crazy idea.

At a discount electronics store that night, "Calvin" explains the way his scam works, a probable mixture of real facts and common beliefs that sounds just right to Bernard and Squeak. According to him, any phones that don't have their minutes extended have their numbers recycled by the phone companies every 60 days. "Calvin" pays street people $2 for every discarded phone they bring him and gives them to his "niece" (Massey) who adds minutes through a bonus account, which automatically causes the phone company to add another 60 days to the lifetime of that number before it is recycled. He pays his niece for her work, then onsells the phone for $100 which is at least $50 less than they cost from a store, and realizes at least a $50 profit for every phone he sells. Bernard likes the idea, but insists that he still get receipts for the phones, if he doesn't have receipts that look like they're from different places to show then he can't "play". "Calvin" shrugs and looks to his niece, who complains that she's supposed to have bingo tonight.



Just like that, two otherwise cautious men have been drawn in by a seductive shortcut - a potential 14% drop in crime for the Mayor to be able to boast about, and a potential large profit for Bernard and Squeak to enjoy over and above what Bernard already gets for his vital job.

Lamar returns to the gay bar, this time with more swagger in his step and confidence. The bartender complains that he's getting tired of seeing him, and Lamar retorts that by now the bartender should have realized he has no desire to be around "cock-sucking faggots" but he's going to keep returning till he gets pointed at Omar. Shoving a bottle onto the floor he turns and swaggers out, and the bartender exchanges a glance with Dante, who is sitting at the bar. Dante leaves, following Lamar in the rain, and as Lamar prepares to get into his car he rushes him and presses a gun to his neck, saying that maybe he can help him. Out of nowhere, Mouzone zips through the rain and leaps up to club him in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground. With an oddly affectionate stroking of the surprised Lamar's chin, Brother Mouzone smiles down at the unconscious body and tells Dante that he has no doubt he can. Omar once nearly killed Mouzone believing he had tortured and killed one boyfriend, and now Mouzone has another.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 10:15 on May 17, 2016

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Links for the OP

Episode 10 - Reformation - Part 1
Episode 10 - Reformation - Part 2

Ainsley McTree
Feb 19, 2004




Was anyone else freaked out by how much Banisky (the Sun reporter) looks like Hugh Laurie? Every time I've watched this episode I've had to check imdb just to make sure it isn't him (it isn't).

escape artist
Sep 24, 2005

Slow train coming


Jerusalem posted:

slow train coming


:smug:

boner confessor
Apr 25, 2013

by R. Guyovich


Hey Jerusalem, I know i'm just some random internet person to you but i want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to write these synopses. They're top quality for internet posts.

In fact I'd like to thank practically everyone who posts in this thread for contributing insightful and useful commentary on an amazing show. Every once in a while SA manages to transcend the typical tedium of forum discussion.

Thanks, peeps. :)

Dice Dingus
May 3, 2010


The first time I watched The Wire, there were a lot of breaks in it, and I ran out of free time and interest just a couple of episodes before the end.

As of tonight, I have watched the entire series, beginning to end.

Those loving panning shots over the city at the very end of -30- sealed the deal without question. For all the dirt it digs up, for all the corruption it seeks to underline and the co-opting of human agency by the institutions of the city it builds it's thesis on, it is a love letter to the city, and specifically to the city of Baltimore.

After that, I had to waste a little gas and drive along the Swan Island Bluffs just to get a good look at my own city of Portland. Nowhere near as stricken with hardship, and fair to say not possessed of the same kind of community roots, but mine, and therefore irreplaceable.

Frostwerks
Sep 24, 2007

by Lowtax


If you love it so much, why don't you marry it?

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Is there anything I should be doing differently in these write-ups, by the way? I had hoped that they were extensive enough/asked enough questions/raised enough points that they would generate a little more discussion on the episodes themselves, the overall themes of a particular season, contrary opinions on how particular scenes played out and what we should take from an episode etc, and that doesn't really seem to be happening.

Andy Cancer
Jul 31, 2006
the possibilities are endless!

They are so amazingly thorough that no one has anything to add. Keep on writing, dude. They rule.

RYYSZLA
May 11, 2013


Andy Cancer hit the nail right on the head there Jerusalem, reading these posts is literally a completely acceptable alternative to actually watching the episodes when I don't have the time! Keep up the good work mate.

pokeyman
Nov 26, 2006

That elephant ate my entire platoon.



Jerusalem posted:

Is there anything I should be doing differently in these write-ups, by the way? I had hoped that they were extensive enough/asked enough questions/raised enough points that they would generate a little more discussion on the episodes themselves, the overall themes of a particular season, contrary opinions on how particular scenes played out and what we should take from an episode etc, and that doesn't really seem to be happening.

I'm a lazy gently caress who prefers to enjoy your hard work and contribute nothing in return. The write ups are great.

I am starting to get that semiannual itch to rewatch, though, and I plan on doing so with your write ups in hand. Maybe I'll start necroing your old write ups and add to them as I go?

Ainsley McTree
Feb 19, 2004




This is unrelated but it's a weird thing that I've randomly decided is bugging me: There's an episode in Season 4 where Dukie and the crew are at a Chinese food place and he orders something like "Yakimi with turkey grease", and the other kids laugh at him because the turkey grease thing is a thing his addict parents use to make themselves throw up so they can keep drinking.

Putting that aside for the moment though, what the hell is Yakimi (or whatever he says)? I tried googling it but all I can find is other people wondering the same thing. We must all be spelling it wrong.

edit:

Jerusalem posted:

I appreciate those kind words, but please do bring up any and all different takes you might have on anything I write! There's no way I've covered everything, I've probably missed a bunch of really important things, and it's always helpful to get alternate views on a scene/character/theme - plus the discussion it generates is fun to read! :)


I'd say it's Yaka Mein, the linked article says a Baltimore variant is called Yat Gaw Mein and it sounds like it fits.

Yeah, that sounds right. That looks...like something that would be good when you're drunk I suppose.

Ainsley McTree fucked around with this message at 03:21 on Jul 25, 2013

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I appreciate those kind words, but please do bring up any and all different takes you might have on anything I write! There's no way I've covered everything, I've probably missed a bunch of really important things, and it's always helpful to get alternate views on a scene/character/theme - plus the discussion it generates is fun to read! :)

Ainsley McTree posted:

This is unrelated but it's a weird thing that I've randomly decided is bugging me: There's an episode in Season 4 where Dukie and the crew are at a Chinese food place and he orders something like "Yakimi with turkey grease", and the other kids laugh at him because the turkey grease thing is a thing his addict parents use to make themselves throw up so they can keep drinking.

Putting that aside for the moment though, what the hell is Yakimi (or whatever he says)? I tried googling it but all I can find is other people wondering the same thing. We must all be spelling it wrong.

I'd say it's Yaka Mein, the linked article says a Baltimore variant is called Yat Gaw Mein and it sounds like it fits.

Crumbletron
Jul 21, 2006



IT'S YOUR BOY JESUS, MANE


^^^ damnit!

Ainsley McTree posted:

This is unrelated but it's a weird thing that I've randomly decided is bugging me: There's an episode in Season 4 where Dukie and the crew are at a Chinese food place and he orders something like "Yakimi with turkey grease", and the other kids laugh at him because the turkey grease thing is a thing his addict parents use to make themselves throw up so they can keep drinking.

Putting that aside for the moment though, what the hell is Yakimi (or whatever he says)? I tried googling it but all I can find is other people wondering the same thing. We must all be spelling it wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaka_mein it seems like. Must be a pronunciation thing.

Gyshall
Feb 24, 2009

Had a couple of drinks.
Saw a couple of things.


Jerusalem posted:

Is there anything I should be doing differently in these write-ups, by the way? I had hoped that they were extensive enough/asked enough questions/raised enough points that they would generate a little more discussion on the episodes themselves, the overall themes of a particular season, contrary opinions on how particular scenes played out and what we should take from an episode etc, and that doesn't really seem to be happening.

When you're done, you should put them on a website or something. There is an alarming lack of good episode by episode, full series analysis out there.

Yo, they got that honey nut?

Bird in a Blender
Nov 17, 2005

It's amazing what they can do with computers these days.



Desperately trying to catch up and just finished Season 2 last night. Those last two episodes are so devestating. The close calls, bad choices, FBI agent backstabbing is just so awful, and it's probably poo poo that happens all the time.

Sam.
Dec 31, 2008

"I thought we had something, Shepard. Something real."
:qq:


Gyshall posted:

When you're done, you should put them on a website or something. There is an alarming lack of good episode by episode, full series analysis out there.

Yo, they got that honey nut?

Does Omar ever manage to find any Honey Nuts?

ragle
Nov 1, 2009


Hi all. I am at the beginning of Season 3 in my re-watching of The Wire, and am slowly working my way through this excellent thread.

There's an interesting scene in S2 I've not seen anyone mention. Rawls has Daniels in his office and tries to roll over him, but Daniels has a newfound sense of career preservation and refuses Rawls' demands. When Daniels leaves, Rawls says to a subordinate - I think Landsman - that Daniels is smarter than he looks.

Apparently it's ep20

quote:

DANIELS: I gave your man some room is all.
RAWLS: You gave him a home. Detective Moreland's target e same as yours.
DANIELS: No.
RAWLS: Yes. You could take these 14 homicides and turn that half-assed detail you got going into something that matters. And I'll be honest, you solve the murders, I'll love you for the stats. And if you don't, I've made it so the homicide unit doesn't have to bear the whole brunt of a lower clearance rate. It's win-win for me.
DANIELS: No.
RAWLS: C'mon, Lieutenant. A good turn here forgotten.
DANIELS: I'm trying to dig myself out of the basement with something simple and clean here. Drug arrests, maybe a prostitution bust if I get lucky and I'm out from under with Burrell. Sorry, Colonel. You keep the murders and my rear end stays covered.
RAWLS: Smarter than he looks.

Daniels, to the extent I might judge someone's intelligence by their appearance, looks smart. Do you suppose there is anything deeper to Rawls describing a well-dressed professional black man as "smarter than he looks" after he leaves? :)

Minister Robathan
Jan 3, 2007

The Alien Leader of Transportation

Jerusalem posted:

Is there anything I should be doing differently in these write-ups, by the way? I had hoped that they were extensive enough/asked enough questions/raised enough points that they would generate a little more discussion on the episodes themselves, the overall themes of a particular season, contrary opinions on how particular scenes played out and what we should take from an episode etc, and that doesn't really seem to be happening.

Overall, write-ups are amazing. You do a great job of getting to the meat of a scene and conveying a visual media in text. Occasionally I disagree with your take on a scene, but that doesn't make it wrong or anything, it means that I'm having to re-examine my own interpretation which can only be a good thing. I really should participate more in here, but I'm lazy.

The only complaint I have, and it's minor, is that there are a number of typos in every post. You're doing a fantastic job!

DarkCrawler
Apr 6, 2009



ragle posted:

Hi all. I am at the beginning of Season 3 in my re-watching of The Wire, and am slowly working my way through this excellent thread.

There's an interesting scene in S2 I've not seen anyone mention. Rawls has Daniels in his office and tries to roll over him, but Daniels has a newfound sense of career preservation and refuses Rawls' demands. When Daniels leaves, Rawls says to a subordinate - I think Landsman - that Daniels is smarter than he looks.

Apparently it's ep20


Daniels, to the extent I might judge someone's intelligence by their appearance, looks smart. Do you suppose there is anything deeper to Rawls describing a well-dressed professional black man as "smarter than he looks" after he leaves? :)

It's pretty clear from the show that Rawls is a pretty casual racist.

Lugaloco
Jun 29, 2011


I would've partly thought it was because Daniels got himself in the basement in the first place too. Rawls would've seen it as someone who doesn't know how to maintain their career, but with this he's started to see otherwise. Also probably because Rawls is a casual racist, a mix of stuff really.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I just see "smarter than he looks" as being Rawls being surprised at Daniels - who did after all get himself exiled to Evidence Control after deliberately withholding information/evidence from the then Deputy-Ops - showing political acumen. Daniels explains he is doing the Detail as a favor to Burrell and is looking to do what Rawls himself does so well, assuage the ego/demands of a higher-up by providing the impression of relevant policework, leaving him free and clear to pick up his career where it left off. Rawls had taken Daniels to be a firebrand looking to shake things up and rock the boat, and is surprised and impressed to discover he's actually "smart" - he's looking to climb the career ladder and isn't going to let Rawls gently caress him over by complicating what is a rather simple operation.

Fragmented
Oct 7, 2003

I'm not ready =(



Yeah remember he was in the loving basement before he was requested by name. And i'm pretty sure Rawls remembers what happened with the Barksdale case from season one.

It's not a racial thing. Wasn't he even saying that to a black guy?

Fake edit: Everyone always words things better than i can.

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Closet Cyborg
Jan 1, 2008
Our love will rust this world

I'm really digging the write-ups. I wish I could contribute more to the thread, but I'm waiting for a friend to watch it so I can get my set back.

A Minor contribution that I don't think anybody's mentioned in the thread yet: In season 2, when we first see the bar and there's a band playing, the song they're singing is 16 Tons, which is about a mining corporation grinding the working man to dust in a company town. Company towns are a thing of the past for now, but the blue-collar workers still get hosed to death. It encapsulates a lot of the same struggles the dockworkers face. "Another day older and deeper in debt."

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