Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Things to consider/discuss!

Even if they'd had round-the-clock surveillance and high-tech gear, was there anything the MCU could have done to counter the Stanfield's Organization's high level of discipline and refusal to use phones? Or did they always need time to pass in order to wear down the vigilance of Marlo's soldiers so they would start to get "sloppy"?

What are the legal ramifications of NOT paying out all that overtime that is owed. McNulty is close to a month's worth of unpaid overtime, that's work that he has done, that was approved and signed off by his superiors - surely they MUST pay him even if it breaks the bank (again).

Is Carcetti allowing his own political aspirations to get in the way of solving the city's problems? Even if the US Attorney and Governor are playing politics themselves, it seems to me that Carcetti won't play ball because he knows it would damage his own standing with the Democrats - but he's still barely a year into his term as Mayor, does everything have to be so drat fast? Why not serve a couple of terms as Mayor and let your record speak for itself? Or is that politically naive?

What options does Dukie have? Would returning (or going for the first time!) to High School be possible at this point? Or has he already slipped through the cracks?

Once McNulty saw the writing on the wall, why not just return back to Patrol? gently caress the overtime, gently caress the MCU, gently caress Marlo and gently caress making the big cases and proving you're smarter than some drug kingpins? He says himself he was happy in Patrol. His drinking was under control, he had a happy and stable family life etc. I can feel sympathy for McNulty's rage to a certain extent, but nothing is forcing him to stick in this high tension/frustrating and emotionally damaging position other than his own pride and stubbornness.

Am I being too hard on Gus? Especially so early in the season?

Do you commiserate with Scott's frustration? Is Alma being too accommodating? What about the way Gus covers for Jeff and gives him the credit PLUS the react piece when he didn't really do anything at all? Is that fair, especially when Jeff so clearly didn't want to do the Council meeting in the first place and Scott is so eager to get his teeth into a real story.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 06:20 on Nov 7, 2013

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

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
1. I think one of the ironic things about this season is that Marlo's downfall was assured even without McNulty's bullshit. Bunk had Chris dead to rights on the Devar murder, and Marlo's takeover of the co-op directly led to his arrest (on this note, though, I've always been annoyed that Lester never catches on to the co-op until the last second, let alone the death of Prop Joe.) So yeah they would have gotten sloppy, just not in a way that Lester would have anticipated.

3. I feel like its pretty unambiguous in intent that Carcetti is only concerned with himself at this point, even if he won't admit it. Particularly since its emphasized later that Lester could have had Clay dead to rights on the "headshot" charge - the only problem is that it's a federal charge. Overall the show seems highly skeptical of the underlying Republican/Democrat politics undercutting the Clay case. In fact, he specifically cited this as one of the "stories the Sun completely missed" which is the underlying message of the Sun story.

If it's "politically naive" to expect Carcetti to serve a few terms before trying for Governor...perhaps it is, in the sense that nearly any politician with Carcetti's talents and ambition can't be expected to be that patient.

5. A good question. I feel that McNulty has just completely reverted to his season 1-3 state, with all the accompanying anger and self-destruction, and he's incapable of self reflection at this point. So basically your interpretation speaks for itself, I think.

6. Two things that can be said in Gus' defense - he clearly is not perfect - note that while he catches the Fat Face Rick /Nerese story, he completely misses Prop Joe's murder, the real story behind the Clay case's bungling, and many others. This goes back to the intended theme of the newspaper story. Re: giving Jeff credit - the reason he's doing that is because he knows that the Sun writers could be bought out at any moment (as happens very soon) and he wants to make an effort to keep the good writers recognized by the bosses (at least, this is how I interpret it.) As editor, he's in a safer position than the reporters, but even though Jeff didnt actually find the story, we can infer he's still a good enough reporter (though it should be noted, last we saw of him, he blew his chance at the Hamsterdam exclusive before Carcetti leaked it to the rest of the press.) I won't dispute that Gus is a bit too perfect and definitely an annoying mouthpiece for David Simon, but I also feel that Bunny Colvin was a mouthpiece for Ed Burns, yet for a variety of reasons Bunny works as a character and Gus doesn't. Overall, I feel that the thing killing the newspapers plot is less Gus and more the bosses - I think having the villains be too one dimensional (yes, the only thing they care about is winning awards, but unlike the policy's similar stat games, this isn't put in proper context - it just appears to be two out of touch, privileged white guys and its barely implied who THEY answer to) is a worse crime than having the last doomed Wire hero be too perfect. Put another way, the show might have still worked if McNulty was an actual decent person, but definitely not if Rawls and Burrell appeared just plainly corrupt/incompetent.

Scott is very clearly a hack (though maybe an even worse character than the two strawman newspaper bosses) so I don't really sympathize with him. While he's a terrible character overall, a good reporter doesn't go up and beg his editor for stories, he finds them himself (as we see with the guy who eventually replaces Gus). The reason Alma gets the good parts of the story is that she's a better reporter and Gus knows this.

grading essays nude fucked around with this message at 06:27 on Nov 7, 2013

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

Jerusalem posted:

Others felt that the newspaper storyline was weak and too detached from the main story - to be fair it seems that the latter was entirely Simon's intention, but I do believe he was just a little too close to the subject matter to give it the even balance of institutions in previous seasons. This final season was only 10 episodes long, though David Simon has always insisted that had he felt he needed more episodes, HBO would have given them to him. That said, I can't help but feel that the first episode title of the season isn't just a reference to the newspaper downsizing/police financial restrictions, but also to the final season of their own critically lauded but low-rated television series.


Simon's claim about the 10 episodes is refuted by Brett Martin in his recent great book, Difficult Men (which is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the great HBO/FX/AMC shows of the last 13 years.) So yes, that subtext may be there. That being said, I don't think that a full season could have fixed the flaws in season 5. Martin's book also argues, based on interviews with the other writers, that Simon was basically the only one on the staff who cared that much about the newspaper plot, which is why it was written so on-the-nose. Apparently the serial killer plot was overall the more divisive one.

Toph Bei Fong
Feb 29, 2008



cletepurcel posted:

Overall, I feel that the thing killing the newspapers plot is less Gus and more the bosses - I think having the villains be too one dimensional (yes, the only thing they care about is winning awards, but unlike the policy's similar stat games, this isn't put in proper context - it just appears to be two out of touch, privileged white guys and its barely implied who THEY answer to) is a worse crime than having the last doomed Wire hero be too perfect. Put another way, the show might have still worked if McNulty was an actual decent person, but definitely not if Rawls and Burrell appeared just plainly corrupt/incompetent.

And yet, they are though, aren't they? Outside of a brief flash of Rawls at the gay bar, and the awesome scene in season 1 after Kima gets shot where Rawls assures McNulty that if he could be loving him harder on this, he would be, do we really see them being anything but self-serving and corrupt jerks? We get to see more of it, certainly, but I can't recall a single instance of Burrell being given anything sympathetic or any dynamic beyond "selfish ladder climbing political force who will do whatever it takes to keep himself in power for his own sake".

Perhaps if we had gotten to see more of Klebanow and Whiting's personal dynamic, any of their interpersonal conflicts or dealings with their bosses, or even a few little flashes like the aforementioned Rawls at the gay bar shot, we might think of them a lot differently.

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

Spoilers Below posted:

And yet, they are though, aren't they? Outside of a brief flash of Rawls at the gay bar, and the awesome scene in season 1 after Kima gets shot where Rawls assures McNulty that if he could be loving him harder on this, he would be, do we really see them being anything but self-serving and corrupt jerks? We get to see more of it, certainly, but I can't recall a single instance of Burrell being given anything sympathetic or any dynamic beyond "selfish ladder climbing political force who will do whatever it takes to keep himself in power for his own sake".

Perhaps if we had gotten to see more of Klebanow and Whiting's personal dynamic, any of their interpersonal conflicts or dealings with their bosses, or even a few little flashes like the aforementioned Rawls at the gay bar shot, we might think of them a lot differently.

The difference is that we get the overall sense of why they are that way. Self-serving, absolutely. but calling them corrupt for always undercutting the MCU in favor of the stat games isn't really accurate. To me, the political storylines are key to this. If the main thesis in The Wire is that all institutions are inherently self-serving, a huge part of what makes them that way is having to answer to other institutions. The other reason the "corrupt" label doesn't work is because it implies that if they were removed, the underlying problems of the BPD could be solved. Daniels' story makes clear that this isn't the case. I agree that Burrell is throroughly unsympathetic - to me, he's just a more refined version of Valchek - but I'm looking forward to discussing the upcoming episode where he finally gets fired, because the way it happens always makes me oddly sympathetic to him.

On the other hand, this crucial context is missing with the newspaper bosses. In the next episode (I believe), they announce the big round of layoffs, and one of them mentions that the Internet, as well as the paper's owners in Chicago, are what drives such tough decisions. This is the first and only time this is mentioned or even alluded to; instead, the rest of the time we get stupid scenes like Gus being admonished for swearing too much in the newsroom.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Spoilers Below posted:

And yet, they are though, aren't they? Outside of a brief flash of Rawls at the gay bar, and the awesome scene in season 1 after Kima gets shot where Rawls assures McNulty that if he could be loving him harder on this, he would be, do we really see them being anything but self-serving and corrupt jerks? We get to see more of it, certainly, but I can't recall a single instance of Burrell being given anything sympathetic or any dynamic beyond "selfish ladder climbing political force who will do whatever it takes to keep himself in power for his own sake".

Before Rawls gets McNulty back up on his feet, you also see his clear head and leadership skills at the crime scene. He arrives and takes charge, cuts through all the bullshit and clears out the superfluous men on the scene who are just getting in the way because they feel like they have to be there. He also demonstrates he has investigative talent, as he spots how the sign was shifted which explains the wrong directions the following cars were given. Later, he picks up on Lester's talents and eventually headhunts him to return to Homicide instead of going back to the pawnshop unit.

Burrell is the guy who comforts Cheryl at the hospital when the old Commissioner is indifferent to showing sympathy to somebody who is "only" a "friend" - it's not just a people skill but an example that he understands how to put the best public face forward possible for the police. His reactions at the hospital also strike me as genuine, he really is horrified that this could happen to one of his own, and is quick to offer every resource possible to an underling who he was having big personal problems with at the time.

By comparison, all we see of Whiting is that he will bury stories on behalf of a friend and is obsessed with getting a Pulitzer, while Klebanow might as well walk around with a KICK ME sign on his back and wearing a dunce cap. The press conference scene where The Sun staff are watching it on television while Gus regales them with his "wit" before completely owning dumb ol' Klebanow with some sick burns is probably my least favorite scene in the entire series, and I'd say the worst scene in the entire run of the show. It's pretty much poo poo That Didn't Happen: The Wire Edition.

Toph Bei Fong
Feb 29, 2008



cletepurcel posted:

On the other hand, this crucial context is missing with the newspaper bosses. In the next episode (I believe), they announce the big round of layoffs, and one of them mentions that the Internet, as well as the paper's owners in Chicago, are what drives such tough decisions. This is the first and only time this is mentioned or even alluded to; instead, the rest of the time we get stupid scenes like Gus being admonished for swearing too much in the newsroom.

Which was kinda my point: toss in one scene with Klebanow being yelled at for not hitting the advertising and circulation quotas (the paper is making money, but not enough money that the investors are happy), and two of Whiting on the phone to Chicago trying to justify reporting local news that doesn't sell papers in light of the internet and television, and boom, problem solved.

We didn't get that, of course, which is why it stands out so starkly. But I seriously doubt that were Gus suddenly handed the EiC chair all of the Sun's problems would evaporate. If they expanded on Gus' tendency to think he sees the big picture, but is really missing a lot of the details (Templeton scamming him numerous times, missing both Omar and Prop Joe's deaths, his concerns with grammatical accuracy and being seen as right over taking the proactive steps that might actually cause change in the organization, etc.), it'd be a much stronger plot line.

But they didn't, so it isn't. Which I suppose ties back into Jerusalem's point about the season needing to be a little longer, and requiring a bit more distance, as Simon really does seem to have it out for the guys that Templeton, Whiting, and Klebanow are based on.

http://observer.com/2008/01/whose-bastard-isuni-if-ithe-wirei-is-wrong-why-is-baltimores-paper-so-bad/

bucketybuck
Apr 8, 2012
Firstly this line:

"where the homeless intiative was shelved at Carcetti's request because it's not something the city can afford right now"

Holy poo poo, I missed that in my rewatch and it really puts into perspective Carcettis actions later in the season. He jumps on the homeless thing as a political tool, even going so far as to lambast the Republicans over cutting homeless aid and all the while he had done basically the same thing! I am kinda surprised it wasn't thrown in his face on screen, but then I gues it works better as a little detail.

On Saintly Gus, I actually found him a lot more bearable on my rewatch because I noticed just how many times he effectively says "Sir, yes sir" to the bosses. There are actually quite a few instances were he might start to raise a concern, but Klebanow will say something and then Gus will basically say "Ok, you're the boss". (Sorry I don't have any concrete examples). For me that made him seem less like a guy fighting the good fight against incompetant bosses and more just a guy trying to get on with his job.

DarkCrawler
Apr 6, 2009

by vyelkin

(and can't post for 29 days!)

Jerusalem posted:

Before Rawls gets McNulty back up on his feet, you also see his clear head and leadership skills at the crime scene. He arrives and takes charge, cuts through all the bullshit and clears out the superfluous men on the scene who are just getting in the way because they feel like they have to be there. He also demonstrates he has investigative talent, as he spots how the sign was shifted which explains the wrong directions the following cars were given. Later, he picks up on Lester's talents and eventually headhunts him to return to Homicide instead of going back to the pawnshop unit.

Is Rawls the only competent character in the show that willingly chooses to not exercise his talents so he can advance politically? I can't remember many others (Well, Carcetti sacrificed his beliefs, but I wouldn't call him that competent).

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

Spoilers Below posted:

Which was kinda my point: toss in one scene with Klebanow being yelled at for not hitting the advertising and circulation quotas (the paper is making money, but not enough money that the investors are happy), and two of Whiting on the phone to Chicago trying to justify reporting local news that doesn't sell papers in light of the internet and television, and boom, problem solved.

We didn't get that, of course, which is why it stands out so starkly. But I seriously doubt that were Gus suddenly handed the EiC chair all of the Sun's problems would evaporate. If they expanded on Gus' tendency to think he sees the big picture, but is really missing a lot of the details (Templeton scamming him numerous times, missing both Omar and Prop Joe's deaths, his concerns with grammatical accuracy and being seen as right over taking the proactive steps that might actually cause change in the organization, etc.), it'd be a much stronger plot line.

But they didn't, so it isn't. Which I suppose ties back into Jerusalem's point about the season needing to be a little longer, and requiring a bit more distance, as Simon really does seem to have it out for the guys that Templeton, Whiting, and Klebanow are based on.

http://observer.com/2008/01/whose-bastard-isuni-if-ithe-wirei-is-wrong-why-is-baltimores-paper-so-bad/

Well we actually agree then. I wasn't arguing that Gus taking over would have solved things - and I agree completely, the fact that he misses nearly all of the big stories the viewer sees is what makes him somewhat defensible a character (and, of course, is the actual main point of season 5). What I was saying was, the problem is that the portrayal of the bosses gives that impression (even if it clearly isn't the intent). There's a similar phenomenon with Scott making up stories - the fact that he's the only one in the newsroom who does this gives too much of a "bad apple" impression. Simon claims he is based on an actual guy he knew at the Sun who everyone knew made poo poo up but the editors protected, but either way it was an ill conceived character. (Edit - reading that link, the IRL Templeton appears to have been a guy named Jim Haner)

Come to think of it, another irony of season 5 is that even if Gus had succeeded in exposing Scott, it wouldn't really have affected the deeper issues with the paper. Kind of like how the 3 season pursuit of Avon is immediately negated by Marlo taking his place.

grading essays nude fucked around with this message at 23:33 on Nov 7, 2013

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

bucketybuck posted:

Firstly this line:

"where the homeless intiative was shelved at Carcetti's request because it's not something the city can afford right now"

Holy poo poo, I missed that in my rewatch and it really puts into perspective Carcettis actions later in the season. He jumps on the homeless thing as a political tool, even going so far as to lambast the Republicans over cutting homeless aid and all the while he had done basically the same thing! I am kinda surprised it wasn't thrown in his face on screen, but then I gues it works better as a little detail.

It's great because, honestly, don't most people just tune out/stop paying attention when they hear,"Let's discuss the plight of the homeless" - the reporter is clearly less than enthusiastic about having to report on the meeting, when the subject is brought up at the Sun Budget meeting nobody shows the slightest interest and Gus' own interest is piqued purely by the property transfer. When the homeless DO become a major issue and Carcetti jumps on it as a cause, nobody at the Sun stops to think,"Hang on... weren't we at a council meeting where he delayed funding for the homeless....?"

That's another example of The Sun missing a story, and once again I do find it laudable that Simon was trying to show how Gus' priorities weren't straight - but with everybody seemingly on Gus' side except for the one-dimensional "bosses", it's way too easy to lose sight of the subtleties (just like Gus did!) and focus on what seems to be a rather hamfisted "Heroic journalist vs sniveling bosses" storyline.

Alec Bald Snatch
Sep 12, 2012

by exmarx

Jerusalem posted:

What are the legal ramifications of NOT paying out all that overtime that is owed. McNulty is close to a month's worth of unpaid overtime, that's work that he has done, that was approved and signed off by his superiors - surely they MUST pay him even if it breaks the bank (again).

There really isn't that much the police can do beside leave for other jobs. The union can pressure the mayor/city council/maybe the state legislature, but if the money's not there the city can't just print more. At best the city could issue bonds or go on a round of grant-seeking, but both are very short-term solutions. They could file suit against the city, but that doesn't mean they'd ever get back pay.

This is actually used as a tactic in reducing public employees in general, mainly teachers- cut the budget crying that there's no money, kill scheduled raises and extra pay for continuing training/qualifications, force everyone into short-term contracts, etc. Basically ensure a near 100% turnover rate so the vast majority of the workforce is perpetually at the bottom of the salary scale.




cletepurcel posted:

Scott is very clearly a hack (though maybe an even worse character than the two strawman newspaper bosses) so I don't really sympathize with him. While he's a terrible character overall, a good reporter doesn't go up and beg his editor for stories, he finds them himself (as we see with the guy who eventually replaces Gus). The reason Alma gets the good parts of the story is that she's a better reporter and Gus knows this.

The lovely part about the Scott Templeton character is fabrications and plagiarism are somewhat common in journalism. Jayson Blair, Jack Kelley, Patricia Smith, Stephen Glass, Ruth Shalit, etc; there's tons of high-profile cases, quite a few around when David Simon first began writing the Wire. It would've been nice to look deeper into what makes someone on a personal level decide to start going that route for advancement or a Pulitzer. At best we're left with a failing paper run by negligent outside entities allowing people like Templeton to flourish due to their own greed, which is only half the story.

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!

Fun Shoe
Holy poo poo as much as I love The Wire I always assumed it was still somewhat hyper-realistic in the way it portrayed the police department's non-stop politicking and stat games.

I work in a law firm outside a city that will remain nameless(lets call it Schmaltimore), and today a detective client of ours came in with a referral for us to call one of his fellow officers. I don't want to say the guy's rank, but he is a mid to high level guy who is responsible for several units. Apparently he reported a subordinate of his multiple times for juking the stats, changing aggravated assaults to regular battery or some poo poo like that. The third time he reported the guy he(the potential client, not the stat gamer) was demoted, he is now a regular beat cop.

Frostwerks
Sep 24, 2007

by Lowtax

Basebf555 posted:

Holy poo poo as much as I love The Wire I always assumed it was still somewhat hyper-realistic in the way it portrayed the police department's non-stop politicking and stat games.

I work in a law firm outside a city that will remain nameless(lets call it Schmaltimore), and today a detective client of ours came in with a referral for us to call one of his fellow officers. I don't want to say the guy's rank, but he is a mid to high level guy who is responsible for several units. Apparently he reported a subordinate of his multiple times for juking the stats, changing aggravated assaults to regular battery or some poo poo like that. The third time he reported the guy he(the potential client, not the stat gamer) was demoted, he is now a regular beat cop.

If he is from Schmaltimore I'm sure he's familiar with the show, especially at this point in time. Did he mention it in any way? I'm always curious to hear about LEO's impressions of the show. Given that Ed Burns was former Po-lice and David Simon was a crime journalist and had a close contact with the police, I always figured that it was drat near spot on (with the exception of dramatic liberties of course) representation of police culture. My friend's stepfather was a narcotics and SWAT guy and I know he owned the box set. Never spoke with him directly about it but I assume he liked/loved it if he had the box set.

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!

Fun Shoe

Frostwerks posted:

If he is from Schmaltimore I'm sure he's familiar with the show, especially at this point in time. Did he mention it in any way? I'm always curious to hear about LEO's impressions of the show. Given that Ed Burns was former Po-lice and David Simon was a crime journalist and had a close contact with the police, I always figured that it was drat near spot on (with the exception of dramatic liberties of course) representation of police culture. My friend's stepfather was a narcotics and SWAT guy and I know he owned the box set. Never spoke with him directly about it but I assume he liked/loved it if he had the box set.

I didn't mention the show specifically, I figure cops around here get asked about The Wire non-stop and they're probably sick of it. I did say something like "Wow I never thought T.V. was so close to how things actually work down there" and he totally agreed.

Quarterroys
Jul 1, 2008

Loving 'Difficult Men,' thanks to whoever recommended it earlier in the thread!

Just finished the section on the Wire, and it was really great- though pretty hilarious to hear that John C. Reilly was an favorite to play McNulty at one point :lol:

Thaddius the Large
Jul 5, 2006

It's in the five-hole!

Cervixalot posted:

Loving 'Difficult Men,' thanks to whoever recommended it earlier in the thread!

Just finished the section on the Wire, and it was really great- though pretty hilarious to hear that John C. Reilly was an favorite to play McNulty at one point :lol:

Man, he's very talented and capable and all, but the way his career has developed makes it seem like McNulty would have been a MUCH different character.

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!

Fun Shoe

Thaddius the Large posted:

Man, he's very talented and capable and all, but the way his career has developed makes it seem like McNulty would have been a MUCH different character.

Yea it is hard to say how he would have played McNulty because at that time in his career he hadn't really found his niche yet. Now its hard to see him as anything other than a comedic actor.

escape artist
Sep 24, 2005

Slow train coming
He's a great dramatic and comedic actor. Immensely talented man. But, it would be difficult to see him as the womanizer that McNulty is.

Alec Bald Snatch
Sep 12, 2012

by exmarx
Steve Brule as McNulty would've been glorious, even if only as an outtake.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Jerusalem posted:

Things to consider/discuss!

Even if they'd had round-the-clock surveillance and high-tech gear, was there anything the MCU could have done to counter the Stanfield's Organization's high level of discipline and refusal to use phones? Or did they always need time to pass in order to wear down the vigilance of Marlo's soldiers so they would start to get "sloppy"?

I actually feel like the discipline of Marlo's crew was a bit of a writer's conceit in this season. Namely it was way too good. I mean, Chris was certainly an asset as he really seemed to know how the police worked in a deep and personal way. But everybody under him was just as liable to make mistakes. Sure, they didn't use cell phones, but that opens other weaknesses. You have records from gas stations, you have people meeting face-to-face very frequently. Plus the way Marlo was pissing everybody off in imposing his will, eventually someone's going to crack and help the police.

Jerusalem posted:

What are the legal ramifications of NOT paying out all that overtime that is owed. McNulty is close to a month's worth of unpaid overtime, that's work that he has done, that was approved and signed off by his superiors - surely they MUST pay him even if it breaks the bank (again).

As far as I know they have to pay it, presumably with interest as well.

Jerusalem posted:

What options does Dukie have? Would returning (or going for the first time!) to High School be possible at this point? Or has he already slipped through the cracks?

I thought this is something Michael should have pushed. High school, bad as it's going to be in Baltimore, is going to be a much better environment than the streets. Plus it's something Dukie is actually good at. Plus, since high school tends to get out way earlier than grade school, Dukie could still pick up Bug and stuff. Plus Michael has been around corners long enough to know the value of somebody working as a bank.

Of course that might not be realistic. I never got the sense that Michael valued an education in the least.

Jerusalem posted:

Once McNulty saw the writing on the wall, why not just return back to Patrol? gently caress the overtime, gently caress the MCU, gently caress Marlo and gently caress making the big cases and proving you're smarter than some drug kingpins? He says himself he was happy in Patrol. His drinking was under control, he had a happy and stable family life etc. I can feel sympathy for McNulty's rage to a certain extent, but nothing is forcing him to stick in this high tension/frustrating and emotionally damaging position other than his own pride and stubbornness.

I think this is also a writer's conceit. Certainly this was something Beadie and McNulty would have talked about.

Jerusalem posted:

Am I being too hard on Gus? Especially so early in the season?

I actually feel like Gus himself is just fine. OK, so he's a grammar nerd, but I think you kind of have to be to work in a newspaper these days. Who else would have you? The problem with Gus is that his rogues gallery consists entirely of cardboard cutouts. Incidentally, this "who else would have you" business is something that gives me some sympathy for Scott's frustrations. My guess is that he's just as much of a grammar nerd as the old folks in the writers room. He's probably heard the old adage that if you CAN do something else besides journalism then you'd better do THAT. Probably heard it a million times.

So if you absolutely HAVE to make it in the newspaper business, you'd better damned well get up to one of the newspapers that will last for the next 30 years as quickly as you can. As far as I can tell, this is the NY Times business plan: sure all the newspapers around the country are dying, but the name NY Times is going to be worth something no matter how the format changes. Similarly, the Washington Post will last because people will always want to know what's going on with political leaders in the US. A smaller city like Baltimore? Well maybe they're close enough that they can get most of their news from the Post. Now if you need to get to one of these papers how do you rise fastest? You beg, borrow, and steal the biggest stories - and that's exactly what Scott does.

Similarly, looking back I almost see Alma as having her head in the sand not to see that coming. That bureau she got shipped to forecasts a quick layoff when the Sun closes it down in 5 years or so. But the show treats it more like Lester's demotion to the basement rather than the death sentence that it is. This may be another artifact of Simon's work at the Sun occurring in the early 90s. Back then, buyouts and cost-cutting were happening but the full-on death of the industry was not something people saw coming.

Finally, one thing that I really appreciated was the shuffling of people in between politics and teaching and the police force and journalism. Gus starts on the police but goes into journalism. Norman starts in journalism and goes into politics. Prez starts in the police and goes into teaching. It's like a game of "Where does your idealism take you?" Do you fully give into cynicism and end up in politics or do you rage against the dying of the light in teaching?

Octorok
Mar 27, 2007

Hideous Anime Dog

escape artist posted:

He's a great dramatic and comedic actor. Immensely talented man. But, it would be difficult to see him as the womanizer that McNulty is.

Agreed. He would've made a great, very human McNulty, but it's hard to picture him as the scheming, self-serving, and self-indulging McNulty who cares little else about anything except besting criminals.

It's been awhile since I've watched The Wire, but a couple notes on this season (apologies for the length):
One of the things that bugged me was the lack of foresight McNulty and Lester had. The frustration of leading to an extreme act of sticking it to the system is understandable, but it was pretty ridiculous how little they thought of the risks or consequences of getting caught and how incredulous they act once things start blowing up in their faces. Their entire plan is to gain as much attention as possible, and then comes a moment when they act completely shocked when the amount of attention they get sprawls out of control. They initiate a city-wide manhunt with full media coverage for a serial killer who doesn't exist, and then they what, hope to wait it out until it all blows over? Not once do they ever think that this is going to get them into deep poo poo or that this will be the last case they'll ever work.
McNulty, ok, but Lester?

The second thing was the spectacular escalation of Scott Templeton's lies. For someone who presumably had been working as a journalist for a number of years, he goes from fabricating juicy quotes to personally witnessing a fictional kidnapping in a matter of months. I understand the point of one shortcut leading to another and the difficulties of pacing that throughout a single season, but drat.

On Rawls/Burrell vs the Sun executives:
I think the best way to look at Rawls and Burrell is how they are shown the circumstances of their existence. One of the best features of The Wire was demonstrating who answers to who coming full circle.
    Beat cops & detectives answer to their direct superiors, the middle management
    The Lts and majors answer to the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner
    The commissioner and deputy commissioner answer to the city councils and the mayor
    The council members and the mayor answer to their political contributors/benefactors and the electorate/common people
    The common people live under the enforcement of the beat cops.

So throughout the show, we are clearly shown the consequences of NOT being an rear end in a top hat. Without the stat juking, the politicking, the sabotaging of potential threats, etc. anyone sitting in the commissioner's seat is liable to be eaten alive by forces above and below them. And on the flipside, they wouldn't have ascended to that position if not for those same factors. Not only is their career advancement at stake, but their survival too.

On a very general level, the show is about what actions are rewarded with success and at what cost.

None of that is demonstrated in newspaper executives, which is a shame. Season 5 portrays them as isolated and unattached, when it's more likely that pressure is raining down from all around. I think there was a big missed opportunity in showing how newspapers are a profit-seeking enterprise just like everything else, and demonstrating how everyone is affected when success is dwindling.

Ixtlilton
Mar 10, 2012

How to Draw
by Rube Goldberg

I've been watching this show for the past month or so, and I'm finally caught up with you guys. This is my first watch and I'm not going to pretend I read all of the summaries you spent so much time on, but the ones I did were excellent, I especially liked the S3 E1 post.

I'll probably go back through this thread when I'm finished and not worried about spoiling it for myself, but it's really cool to see that this show is still getting talked about, and a rewatch thread is a great idea. I'm kinda sad I missed out on Bodie chat, since he was my favorite character on the drug side since D'Angelo died and they really killed him over some bullshit (just like he did Wallace). The knight/pawn movement stuff is brilliant and I never would've thought of it on my own.

Other than that, I don't know why I thought McNulty was gonna stay sober and faithful after going back, I really don't. I guess it's the same reason I was hoping so hard Bubbles was gonna stay clean in Season 1. Speaking of which, I really hope he can stay clean this time, I just want him to end on a good note after the poo poo he's been through. And gently caress Herc, he was never good police and now he's in bed with the slimiest lawyer ever.

Boywhiz88
Sep 11, 2005

floating 26" off da ground. BURR!

Ixtlilton posted:

And gently caress Herc, he was never good police and now he's in bed with the slimiest lawyer ever.

Yeah Herc is probably the street-level officer I dislike the most. McNulty is obsessed with his ego but at least his pursuit is admirable and he's attempting to bring BIG cases through hard work. Herc is self-serving because he wants to have glory and bust heads. He's not about cases, he's about cuffing guys.

And his negligence is just so infuriating. From the beginning of Fuzzy Dunlop to the end of his career. I agree, gently caress Herc.

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 7 years!
Hair Elf

Ixtlilton posted:

I've been watching this show for the past month or so, and I'm finally caught up with you guys. This is my first watch and I'm not going to pretend I read all of the summaries you spent so much time on, but the ones I did were excellent, I especially liked the S3 E1 post.


That was mine. When you finish the series, go back and read the rest (or read them as you do another watch). Jerusalem's and Escape Artist's are far more insightful than the one I did.

Boywhiz88 posted:

Yeah Herc is probably the street-level officer I dislike the most. McNulty is obsessed with his ego but at least his pursuit is admirable and he's attempting to bring BIG cases through hard work. Herc is self-serving because he wants to have glory and bust heads. He's not about cases, he's about cuffing guys.

And his negligence is just so infuriating. From the beginning of Fuzzy Dunlop to the end of his career. I agree, gently caress Herc.

There's a scene early in season one where Herc ransacks a woman's house, and after he finds nothing, apologizes profusely to her. It's an overlooked scene since he turned out to be such a poo poo later on, but still a good one to mark, if only because it shows how greatly his arc and Carver's diverged.

Asbury fucked around with this message at 00:22 on Nov 11, 2013

Asbury
Mar 23, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 7 years!
Hair Elf
quote is not loving edit, btw

Orange Devil
Oct 1, 2010

Wullie's reign cannae smother the flames o' equality!

Boywhiz88 posted:

McNulty is obsessed with his ego but at least his pursuit is admirable and he's attempting to bring BIG cases through hard work.

To a limit. McNulty is more interested in outsmarting a high level yet local criminal than he is in bringing in the really big cases.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 5, Episode 2 - Unconfirmed Reports

Bunk posted:

This ain't Aruba, bitch.

Bubbles attends a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, where an addict called Dee-Dee is telling her story. We first saw Dee-Dee being driven into Hamsterdam to score dope and telling the dealer she didn't want to talk to him, only to appear again later hopelessly hooked and working as a prostitute for an abusive pimp in order to keep getting high. Now she's clean, but she details what all the other addicts know - she will never be clean, and that inner addict will always be there whispering in her ear to get high, that it is all right, that she was doing fine out on the street turning tricks and should go back to that life. She tells a sad story about how when she started using she made a list of all the things she would NEVER do, and now has to admit she was really making a list of all the things she eventually WOULD do in order to get high. Getting a little emotional, she begs off continue and Walon - leading the meeting - thanks her for her time and lets her go back to her seat. They still have some time left and he asks if anybody else would like to share, and singles out Bubbles to contribute. Bubbles is horrified, but we should give Walon the benefit of the doubt, he knows when to push and when to let off, and the warm response of the attendees convinces Bubbles to get up. Once there though, he can't bring himself to really open himself up to them, and instead entertains them, telling funny stories about how his life as a junkie saw him become a prop for neighborhood advertising. He trails off and tells Walon he isn't ready to give any more just yet, so Walon - disappointed but understanding - lets him go and asks for anybody else with a burning desire to share to come up. A woman heads up and is greeted warmly, while Bubbles returns to his seat and disappears into himself again, still trying to come to terms with himself over his life - he's been clean for 15 months now, but he'll always be an addict, and he still hasn't gotten over the death of Sherrod, a death that he blames himself for.

At the MCU, Lester sits and drinks in the chart on Clay Davis and his many, many, many, many, many scams and tax dodges and bullshit charities. Sydnor is there too, complaining about the quiet and trying to get his head around the complexities of the case. To him it seems relatively simple - Clay raises funds for various causes but none of the causes ever get any of the money - but Freamon schools him on the deeper issues. They can easily prove theft and tax evasion, but that isn't what this case is about - Clay is a big fish that can be flipped to give up information that is near and dear to Freamon's heart - it's about following the money. He taught this lesson to Prez back in season one and it was his active pursuit of "the money" that caused the MCU to be gutted by Burrell and Rawls back in season 4 when he sent out the subpoenas. Now, Lester is back after his own white whale, and tries to get through to Sydnor just how important this is, because all that dirty money flowing around makes them all complicit - this is a career case that, if he can bring it in, would let him feel like his whole career and every obstacle and roadblock he ever faced was worth it. Still, despite himself he can't help but imply agreement with Sydnor about regretting the "suspension" of the Stanfield case. Sydnor wonders what Marlo is doing right now and Freamon bitterly grunts,"Celebrating."

He is, too! Marlo meets with Chris where they discuss what they've suspected for a week or so now - the police aren't on their asses watching every move they make anymore. They've had no sense of being watched, seen no cars or helicopters or familiar faces. There has been no sign of cameras, and Snoop has been roaming freely without anybody paying her any mind - they know that they're free and clear to act again. In the last episode, the argument was made that despite the MCU's lack of progress their very presence was an effective form of "crime suppression" and it seems they were right. Because now that the police aren't actively on them anymore, Marlo immediately decides the time has come to "get back to business". Snoop is delighted, tired of too much talking and not enough action, and a clearly relieved Chris laughs and says she has been "out of work" for too long. Marlo quickly gives out his instructions - one independent dealer was "offered" to take their package and hasn't taken them up on the "offer", so he wants them to hit the corner a couple of times and teach them the price of non-capitulation. Somebody called "Junebug" is to die for something he said about Marlo, who coldly notes that Junebug was dead from the moment he said it, he just didn't know it. Exposing an old wound, Marlo also instructs Chris to track down Omar and make him pay for robbing from Marlo (and the Co-Op, but that's irrelevant, especially in light of Omar forcing Marlo to give up his own ring), though that seems to be more of a problem. Chris and Snoop explain that Omar retired and is gone from Baltimore, but Marlo is indifferent to these facts, simply stating that they need to bring him out of retirement. Chris nods and accepts this dangerous assignment, though he does his duty by reminding Marlo that going after Omar means that Omar will go after them in turn. That doesn't bother Marlo in the slightest, who points out that wearing the crown means nothing if the one wearing it "keeps getting his poo poo took". They bring up Prop Joe during this conversation which reminds Marlo of his own efforts to take Joe's "poo poo" from him, how are things progressing with Jessup? Chris hands him the photo he stole from Sergei's folder at the courthouse and tells Marlo he is now on the visitor's list, he can go up and see Sergei any time he wants. With all these directives given, Snoop lets out a shout that sounds remarkably like,"Yaaaaa HEEEEEERP!" to get the attention of the young soldiers they are training, telling them it is time for them to earn their keep.



Outside of the Narcotics Anonymous meeting, Bubbles is smoking a cigarette when Walon joins him to talk about his contribution. He appreciates Bubbles' humor but reminds him that in amongst all the funny things you hear during NA meetings, you also hear a lot of truth, and that is what is missing from Bubbles at the moment. Walon had hoped that Bubbles would open himself up, that he would talk about Sherrod. Just the mention of the name causes Bubbles to recoil but Walon grabs him and won't let him move away, reminding him that part of the program requires a fearless and searching moral inventory. Bubbles complains that he lives with the knowledge of what he did every day, but Walon presses on, saying that as his sponsor he can't allow Bubbles to wall himself up - he has to speak about what he did and what happened or else it will just continue to eat away at him. Bubbles is indignant, he never misses a meeting and is clearly committed to staying sober, but Walon won't let him get away with that - this isn't about the meetings, it is about Bubbles' mental and emotional well-being. Angry and afraid, Bubbles yells that he doesn't feel nothing and stalks away, Walon calling after him that even at his lowest lows as a dope-fiend, Bubbles never had a problem with feeling, and it would be a shame to start now. Bubbles just keeps on going and Walon is left behind, knowing that he can only press so far, Bubbles needs to be the one to make that final decision to open up.

At Homicide, the detectives discuss Carcetti "throwing them a bone" by taking the cap off of secondary employment. They're bitter that this is necessary since there is no money to be made from solving murders, and McNulty asks Bunk what exactly he is qualified to do other than be a Homicide Detective. Bunk gestures to his crotch with a,"C'mon, man, you have to ask?" look, and Crutchfield suggests Bunk come in with him on maybe working security for a jewellery store. Kima is disgusted, get paid for standing around shiny poo poo or work murders and starve. Pearlman arrives to ask what potential cases there are to deal with, but it's most been quiet. A bitter McNulty notes that this won't last, since they're no longer watching Marlo Stanfield there are sure to be plenty of murders to come. Pearlman bites her tongue and sweetly reminds Jimmy that it was the police who made the call to suspend that investigation, but he complains that the State's Attorney didn't offer any resistance or kick up a fuss, and complains further about Chris and Snoop getting their gun charge delayed twice. She reminds him this is pro forma for that type of case, which just irritates him further, and Pearlman again has to restrain herself from rising to his bait. Instead, she pointedly ignores him as she offers a friendly,"Gentlemen" to Crutchfield and Bunk and a nod in Kima's direction before heading away. McNulty, pissed off, insists he is tired of being jerked around and takes the next call for a body even though he's not up, causing Bunk to note the wisdom,"There you go, giving a gently caress when it's not your turn", and Kima adds the insightful,"Pissy little bitch today, ain't he?" after McNulty has gone. His bad day just gets worse though when he struggles to find an unmarked car that matches his keys. Eventually he finds one only to discover it has a flat tire, and gets out and kicks it in a fury, hurting himself in the process as music blasts out of the car radio. McNulty only hurting himself as he takes out his aggressions on an indifferent, unfeeling object is a pretty drat good representation of his career in the police department.

At City Hall, Steintorf has some good news for a change - 3rd grade reading scores are up 15%. Of course, given what we learned last season about the test scores it is hard to feel like this is an accurate portrayal of real progress made in the education system. Carcetti is not impressed either, all he has to show for 54 million dollars is a 15% rise in one grade's test scores? He has no choice but to run on it though, he can't run for Governor on crime figures like they currently have, and there is no way in hell they can expect a double-digit decline any time soon. Also worrying is that Nerese's recently exposure on the front page will put people in two minds about voting for Carcetti as Governor if it means Nerese finishes up his term as Mayor. Norman says she has been playing the old trick of blaming it on the previous administration, and says this is true to an extent but that she DID get paid for her role in things too. Watkins pushes past all that though, focusing on the real issue for Carcetti, how do they make the Governor look vulnerable? Whether Watkins believes in Carcetti's line that becoming Governor will enable him to assist the replacement Mayor of Baltimore or not is unclear, but he is committed to helping him get what he wants. After Carcetti and Norman leave the meeting though, he voices his justified discontent.... why the hell is Carcetti running for Governor only two years into a four year term as Mayor? Steintorf grins and agrees it is "thin", but so is everything, the world shines poo poo and calls it gold.



At the loading bay at the Baltimore Sun, Gus is holding court with the other smokers as he tells the story of a former Mayor and a journalist who kept bothering him and blaming his editor ("my desk"), leading to the Mayor putting his ear to his own desk and replying,"My desk tells your desk to go gently caress itself." One of the other smokers laughs that this story is too good to check if it is true, a joke that will come true soon enough as the Sun chases a sensational story from an angle that puts them directly into the story itself. Scott Templeton returns from the city and tells Gus he has a story about a mother of four who died from eating blue crab, and notes casually that the sister is looking to start a scholarship fund for the kids, the first example of what will prove to be many "additions" to his stories in the same way the photographer from episode one likes to add burned dolls to his fire photos. Gus compliments Scott on the story and tells him to throw in some stuff about shellfish toxicity and other freak deaths. The smokers share a few more jokes before Gus heads inside, he has a meeting on a big story about the school system that Whiting is organizing in his pursuit of a Pulitzer Prize for the paper.

McNulty arrives at the crime scene.... by bus. He limps to the patrolmen (one of whom - Brown - stormed out of Carver's meeting in episode one) and heads inside, explaining that he didn't take a cab because he knows the Department wouldn't reimburse him, and there are only two other working cars for the entire unit now. Upstairs, a grandmother lies dead in her bead, with Brown telling McNulty he thinks it is probably a natural death but the placement of the pillow over her head bothered him. He called the crime lab and was told they were on the list, and McNulty indicates how bad things have gotten by noting that they'll be lucky if that means TODAY's list. He concurs that the death was probably natural, people wake up with their pillows over their heads all the time, this lady presumably just died in her sleep with the pillow happening to be on her head at the time. McNulty jokes that when he's hungover he sometimes clutches the pillow even tighter to his head, but Brown says he just throws up a couple of times and then gets on with his day. McNulty, maybe thinking of the happier, easier life he had in patrol, grins and notes this is the Western District way.

Despite his earlier talk to Sydnor about the Davis case being the be-all and end-all, he drives himself to one of the regular meeting places for the Stanfield crew and watches it himself, reading a magazine on miniatures to pass the time - after already being forced to give up on the case once before this, it seems he just can't let it go, which will be important when Jimmy finally loses all sense of reason. He stays there till nightfall, singing along to his radio, eating snacks and watching as a young mother angrily puts one child inside her house and storms down the street after another. Lester had asked Sydnor if he would really prefer to sit in a surveillance van eating snacks and watching drug deals go down as opposed to working the Davis case, but it seems that Lester wants to have his cake and eat it too. His patience pays off too, as late into the night a meeting does take place, photographed by Lester even though the case is suspended and he technically doesn't have any right to be there.

At the Sun, Whiting seriously declares that he wants the schools story to focus on the "Dickensian" aspects. Others in the meeting note that it would be wrong to take a simplistic approach to the issue, there are many aspects to explain the difficulties and problems faced in education, including the parenting or lack of parenting of these children and other societal pressures outside of the school system itself. Gus agrees that the schools could use a good "beating" from time to time but if they really want to address the issues, they need to actually address the issues and not focus in on one particular issue as if it was the end-all and be-all. Whiting's responses are full of buzzwords like "tangibles", and he gets support from Scott who agrees that you probably don't need a lot of context to focus on a classroom. Gus retorts that you need context for EVERYTHING but his snarky attitude (particularly a venomous comment about Pulitzer bait) finally pushes Whiting too far, as he complains that he isn't simpleminded like Gus is trying to imply and he knows about the problems in the school system because his wife volunteers at one. He wants the schools project to focus on the schools, and he thinks that Scott (the only person who backed him) should be the one to write it. Later that night, Gus is back at his desk, noting Scott chatting amicably with Whiting and Klebanow. He stops a passing reporter to ask about the numbers for her port story, and she apologizes for forgetting to get them to him and gives him the numbers there and then. Cargo is down 12% but roll-on, roll-off gained 6.4%.... it seems that the docks are still fighting a slowly losing battle to find work for all the stevedores, only 3 years or so since Frank Sobotka died trying to restore them to their former glory. Gus takes down the numbers, a seemingly inconsequential moment that is key in two respects. Later in this episode, Gus will wake in the middle of the night in a panic, sure he has reversed the numbers when he wrote them down, and will call the Sun to confirm he got it right before it goes to print. From the show's point of view, this scene shows us that Gus really does sweat the small stuff, that he is by necessity a detail man who believes in getting every little fact right, while his bosses are concerned purely with the bigger picture, broad strokes style of journalism. However, the way it is written further compounds the problem of Gus and his bosses as believable, well-rounded characters. Jay takes Gus' late-night call with bemused pleasure, noting how great it is that Gus worries so much about such small things, about what a great journalist and editor it makes him - wow, what a guy! Meanwhile, Whiting is all buzzwords and surface-level shallow stories while he embraces and pushes the career of kiss-asses. Klebanow even brings Scott over to Gus to ensure that he gets the story on the Orioles opening game the next day, ready to show favor to Whiting's new pet. Both these things are probably somewhat true-to-life, but they just seem like such shallow and one-dimensional representations of characters in a show noted for its complexity.

At the morgue, McNulty is still waiting for his victim's body to be examined but it is going to be awhile. He decides to head out and get some breakfast, but in the corridor finds a furious county homicide detective arguing with a coroner over a cause of death. The coroner is convinced that the death was a murder due to what appear to be strangulation marks around the neck, while the detective is adamant it was an overdose. The two part angrily and the detective's partner - Nancy - spots Jimmy, greeting him as an old acquaintance and explaining to him the cause of the argument. The victim shot up in his bathroom and overdosed, falling between the toilet and the wall and getting wedged in there. When the paramedics arrived on the scene the detectives were there to witness them haul the dead body out by gripping his neck for leverage, which caused bruising consistent with strangulation. But because the coroner is new, she insists that the strangulation must have been the cause of death, and now Nancy's partner is losing his mind because the coroner is going to insist on calling it a homicide which will put the pressure on him to "solve" the case. McNulty is intrigued, you can't tell the difference between pre and post mortem strangulation? This new information dives into the back of his brain along with his frustration and bitterness.



Marlo arrives at Jessup to visit with Sergei. He takes a seat and waits for Sergei to arrive, and instead out comes.... Avon loving Barksdale! A surprised smile crosses Marlo's face in spite of himself, but he still looks around as if to see if this is a trap or maybe Avon just happens to be visiting somebody else at the same time. But the former King of the West Side sits down across from the current King, and everybody else (including guards!) vacate the room - Avon may no longer run the streets, but in Jessup his word is still the law. He greets Marlo cheerfully, the man he came within a hairsbreadth of wiping out forever before Stringer's betrayal cost him his freedom, whose death once obsessed him. Now though, Avon is philosophical and in control, mostly because he is in complete control of this situation despite being the prisoner. Marlo maintains his best poker face but it slips at times as Avon reveals just how much he knows, and just how easily he has worked out Marlo's own plan. Sergei came to him for advice because somebody called Marlo was sending him cash to get on his visitors list, and Sergei wanted to know who it was. Avon volunteered to meet with Marlo first and find out what he wants, even though he guessed immediately - Marlo wants to use Sergei to get to the Greek, bypass Joe and cut everybody else out of the Connect. That Avon can see this so clearly while Joe is so blinkered says a lot, probably because it is exactly the type of thing that Avon would do or may have actually done in the past. Avon goes on a bizarre little rant about how he is willing to let bygones be bygones because Marlo is West Side and he has nothing but love for West Side (but gently caress those East Side bitches! :argh:), with Marlo trying to maintain his composure but showing his utter confusion - Marlo doesn't give a gently caress about West Side/East Side, what the gently caress is Avon going on about it? A slight smile returns though when Avon then brings up the notion that he does need to be financially compensated for his help though - that is something that Marlo does understand. Avon's price is relatively low for what Marlo will get in return - he simply has to get 100k to Brianna Barksdale and the next time Marlo comes to visit, Sergei will be waiting. Business conducted, Avon asks Marlo how he is doing, really more desperate for information about the everyday world going on outside during his "two days" in prison. Marlo, hardly a conversationalist, replies that the game is the game, and Avon's face falls slightly as he remembers how often he and Stringer would share that exchange. "Always," he replies quietly.



McNulty has finished his lunch with Nancy and finds Lester standing out on the street waiting for him. Nancy heads on while Freamon tells McNulty about his own surveillance the previous night, and the fact that Stanfield people had TWO meetings in the one location at different times during the night. As they had hoped, they're finally getting sloppy, but now there are no police there to watch them - Lester is sure, utterly convinced, that some bugs and surveillance cameras would get them a resolution on the case in 2-3 weeks at the most. McNulty is quick to believe it of course, but has to admit that Daniels already made it clear he can't get them the support they need, so what do they do? Freamon's answer is obvious - they go to somebody else.

Scott Templeton discovers that his excited ideas to get an optimistic piece from a lifetime Orioles fan on opening day are a little harder to realize in reality. People either don't want to talk to him, or they're not natives, or they're indifferent to his questions. The only person he can get to talk for any length of time is bitter and resentful, shifting from complaints about steroids and strikes and Barry Bonds to just out and out declaring,"gently caress baseball!" Scott is left dejected, he was so enthusiastic for the story that he WANTED to write that his failure to find a reality to match has left him without any fallback measure. Rather than going to the opening day, talking to people and forming a story out of what they said, he showed up with a preset idea in mind and looked around only for anything that matched it.

At Viva House - a Catholic charity - Bubbles sits with other homeless, junkies and people living below the poverty line in hopes of getting a good meal. Everybody sits around waiting for their ticket number to be called, there are only so many seats available. He is greeted by name, one thing that hasn't changed between being a junkie and being sober is that everybody knows Bubbles and everybody likes him. He grabs a seat and is given a plate of food, and sets to eating when a screeching child gets his attention, the mother angrily telling the toddler to stop crying or get a beating. One of the workers arrives and asks if she needs a hand, and then adds forcefully that she's asking because they absolutely do not tolerate physical abuse in this place. The mother nods silently, holding her child close, and Bubbles goes back to eating his meal.

FBI Agent Fitzhugh pulls up in a car parking lot where McNulty and Freamon are waiting. He apologizes for being late but they pull away, and he has to go through a hazing for about half a minute as they zip back and forth in the parking lot and he has to continually back up to get into place. They laugh that soon he'll be ready for a radio car, then let him in on why they requested the meeting... and why they didn't want to go on record signing in to see him in his office. The Rowhouse Murders case has been suspended, because 22 murders doesn't cut it anymore and they can't keep their funding - but they've done all the legwork and would be happy to bring the FBI in to get a nice juicy headline off of barely 2-3 weeks worth of work. Fitzhugh noted that they're really only interested in political corruption and terrorism, but he has to admit that they offer a tantalizing case, and he promises to take their file to his superiors to discuss it. He tries to leave and they cut him off one more time just for the hell of it, and he flips them the bird before finally being let go to do THEM a favor.

Scott returns to the Sun and tells Gus he got some good stuff, but Gus calls him over to give him the synopsis now so he can take it to the budget meeting. Scott explains how he met a 13 year old kid in a wheelchair stuck outside the game because he couldn't afford a scalped ticket. Gus is impressed, it sounds like a pretty good story, but being detail oriented he hits Scott with requests for background and explanations - why wasn't he in school? (he cut) Where are his parents? (they're dead), how did he get into the wheelchair (he was shot) etc. Scott was unable to get a photo because the photographers were all booked up in the game itself, which irritates Gus since they need "art" for a piece on the opening day, could they send somebody now? Scott says there is no harm in trying but he imagines the kid is gone by now. He doesn't have a name either, the kid would only give his nickname - EJ - but if Gus wants him to get the story written he has to start now. Gus gives him the go-ahead, but he's still unsettled by the lack of specifics about the kid and asks another staffer to go through the archives for the last 2-3 years for a story about a kid nicknamed EJ who was shot and ended up in a wheelchair. He knows it is a longshot, but he really wants art on the kid if they're using it as their opening day baseball story. At this point, Gus doesn't suspect Scott has made up the kid, but he's just doing what every good editor should do and looking for more information, more details, more specifics - and these are what are going to make him aware of Scott's fabrications.

Fitzhugh takes the file to his superiors who take it to theirs, all of them agreeing that it is a hell of a case and that the Baltimore Police Department could really use their help. Unfortunately for them, the man they take the case to is the US Attorney, who just got told to go gently caress himself by Carcetti the previous episode. We don't see him give his answer, but we don't need to, politics trumps what is "right". Unaware that his last best hope is a no-go, Freamon returns to the MCU where Pearlman and Sydnor are waiting, and they discuss how they'll be handling the Clay Davis case. Does Clay know what is coming? Pearlman smiles broadly, Clay has been waiting his whole life for the other shoe to drop.... oh yeah, he knows.

The man himself is losing his mind, meeting with Commissioner Burrell to rant and rave about the fact that people from HIS city are the ones coming after him now. Burrell does his best to keep things calm but Clay is clearly losing it, the always smooth and slick Senator's voice now trembling as he demands Burrell do something, he's the Commissioner he must be able to stop this? He reminds Burrell that he got him a paybump (neglecting to mention he did it as much to get an in with Carcetti) and that he has always been there for him to carry his water. Burrell keeps pointing out the problem though - Carcetti has his eyes on Burrell and the case is under the watch of Carcetti's current favorite - Daniels. If Burrell was to get involved, they could both get charged with obstruction of justice - this isn't a subpoena for campaign finance reports, this is a Grand Jury Investigation into financial irregularities. Paranoid and upset, Clay declares that Burrell thinks he is finished, and promises that he will remember this lack of support in the future. He storms out past a bemused Rawls, who has worse news for his Commissioner - they've juked the stats as much as they can without giving away that they have done so, and the figures do not make for good reading.

Fitzhugh meets with McNulty to give him the bad news, everybody agreed the case had legs but the US Attorney refused to take it, and all that Fitzhugh can figure is that there is some kind of personal issue... which means that there is NO department that will take the case from them, because the US Attorney absolutely will not give them assistance. He returns the folder to McNulty with his apologies, there is nothing he can do, and McNulty has to face up yet again to the notion that there is nobody out there who will do the "right thing" and actually investigate a murderous drug kingpin.

Gus interrogates Scott, agitated that nobody can find any sign of the existence of this mysterious EJ. He reads out some of Scott's story, the language is a little flowery but Gus compliments it, but notes that they shouldn't give such a strong play to a kid they know so little about. Scott, on the defensive because he clearly made the kid up, says he resents the implication but Gus honestly replies that he isn't implying anything - but as an editor he can't in good conscience approve a story without knowing more about this EJ. Unfortunately for him, Whiting arrives on the scene full of praise for Scott's story, saying he wouldn't change a thing. Scott, full of the false-offense of the guilty, grunts that not everybody shares the Executive Editor's enthusiasm, and Gus admits that he is concerned about the lack of background on EJ. Whiting admits it isn't the best scenario but assumes that EJ's reluctance to give his name is because he is playing truant and puts Gus in the awkward position of asking if he has a problem with this? Gus hardly stands strong as an oak here, telling his boss,"A little bit, kinda, yeah...." and Whiting just dismisses his concerns, saying he is sure they're on solid ground and walking away. Gus swallows his pride, tells Scott that the man made the call, thanks him for his time and sits down at his desk a defeated man - his boss spoke and he did as he was told.

Monk, Snoop and one of the young trainee soldiers pull up to the corner of the independent who didn't capitulate to Marlo's "offer", and Monk calmly explains how they're going to do things. The young soldier, enthusiastic, suggests they do this "West Coast" style, making Snoop laugh. He wants to do a drive-by like they did in Boyz in the Hood, and Snoop is so amused that she gives Monk the nod to go ahead. They pass by the corner, the young'un opening up wildly and missing every single dealer, all of whom scatter at once as Monk stops the car. Snoop gets out and calmly takes aim, waiting patiently till she knows she has her shot and then pulling the trigger, dropping one of the dealers dead in the street. "In B-more, we aim to hit a nigga, ya heard?" she laughs, and gets back into the car which drives away, leaving the corner deserted.

Bunk, Freamon and McNulty drown their sorrows at the bar, where they comment on the fact that killing young black men doesn't rate much attention nowadays. Now if Marlo was killing white women or white children, white tourists etc, things would be a hell of a lot different. McNulty gets distracted by a passing woman and comments about a white ex-cheerleader tourist missing in Aruba, and Bunk notes that this ain't Aruba, bitch. Though the main reason for the case not getting picked up is a political spat between two rich white men, they are making valid points. If 300+ white men were killed in Baltimore every year, they'd be sending in the 82nd Airborne to fix the problem. McNulty ponders how to get the faucet turned on, still not quite grasping the fact that the money isn't being held back out of spite or indifference, but because there literally isn't any money to spend. Bunk reminds him he is supposed to be the smartest guy in the room so why doesn't he figure out how to get money from this broke-rear end city, and McNulty's reply is to go join the two women in the bar and see if he can pick one up. Bunk and Freamon, who put so much pressure on him to go back to his hard drinking ways in season 4, comment to each other that they thought he was "married or some poo poo", making a joke of his infidelity to a good woman who he was recently so happy with.

The next morning at the Sun, Gus can't help but notice that Scott is hanging out with Klebanow again. The Regional Affairs Editor - Rebecca Corbett - reads the paper and asks if he edited Scott's piece, and he explains that Whiting gave it his blessing to go out unedited. Despite making clear his own reservations, she seems to take pleasure in pointing out the many troubling aspects of the story - the lack of background information on EJ, the lack of art etc - leaving Gus to seethe over allowing the story to go to print, even if it was his boss' call.

Snoop continues her rough education of young soldiers, this time with Michael. She, Chris and Michael are sitting in a car on the street, having been there for over an hour now. Chris asks Michael how long they've been here and asks him WHY they've been there so long, and Michael correctly guesses they're getting the lay of the land and seeing who is around. Chris approves, saying he always makes a point of being somewhere at least an hour early, sometimes two, so he can make sure nobody is setting up on him while he sets up on them. Snoop agrees, there is no such thing as a good surprise in their line of work, like Gus they believe in making sure all the details are covered. However the downside of this is that it gives some people too much time to think - Chris and Snoop are professionals who know when to talk and when to shut up, but Michael is young and curious and eager to learn, not necessarily always a good thing. He asks why they're going to kill Junebug, and is alarmed at the response - somebody said that Junebug said that Marlo sucked dick... so Junebug is going to be killed. Michael is appalled, they're going to kill Junebug because of something he MIGHT have said? They note that it doesn't matter if he said it or not, people think he did and Marlo can't leave him alive or he'll look weak. Michael disagrees, Marlo doesn't suck dick so what does he care if somebody says he did - the unspoken (and probably not consciously thought of) suggestion from Michael being that Marlo reacting so strongly to this rumor indicates maybe he has something to hide - hell, just look at how defensive Scott got when Gus wasn't actually accusing him of fabrication. Snoop snaps at Michael that Junebug is dying because he has a big mouth and Michael better learn not to run his, and Chris peers carefully at Michael in the rearview before noticing Junebug's arrival. He's only brought the one large Muscle with him, leaving him outside the door, and Chris gives out his orders - he and Snoop will handle the front and Michael will wait in the alley and take out anybody who flees out the back. In season 4, McNulty volunteered to take the back and was mocked for it, but here Michael is assigned that role because he is the youngest and most inexperienced, they need their very best out front. Snoop heads down the road and stops by a car, where she uses a small handheld drill to open up and cut the wires on a CCTV surveillance camera put up to prevent crime - another one of those little details that Chris and Snoop always deal with.

At Homicide, McNulty suffers through a miserable hangover, certainly not getting through things "the Western District" way like Officer Brown does. Bunk figures it was a result of the brunette that he picked up in the bar, and an amused Kima points out he is wearing the same shirt as the previous day, so the brunette must have been pretty drat good. She leaves and Bunk quietly asks if McNulty is catching hell from Beadie for his drinking and all-night disappearances. McNulty grumpily replies no, though since he hasn't been home does he have any idea what is waiting for him? Landsman appears with a DOA and McNulty complains that he only caught a body 2 days ago, but Landsman laughs that off, the old lady came back a natural death and doesn't "count". Miserable, McNulty says he is hungover, but all that gains him is Landsman saddling Bunk with having to go along as well.

Michael waits in the alley and hears shots fired. The back door opens and somebody bursts out, and he prepares to aim and fire when he spots it is a kid, roughly the same age as Bug and getting the hell out of there. Cries of a younger child sound from inside and he shakes his head in disgust, this was a murder that he can't accept was necessary, especially not in Junebug's own home with his children present.

Marlo returns to Jessup, where Avon waits by the door and gives him the nod before knocking to indicate that Sergei can now enter. Sergei sits and barely suppresses a wince when Marlo greets him as "Boris", then explains something very carefully to Marlo - in Russia he was in a REAL prison for 4 years, and by comparison this is nothing. He doesn't need Marlo's money, he doesn't need Marlo, and he isn't scared of him. Marlo accepts that all, but namedrops Avon and Vondas and demonstrates the very real power of names, a power that he believes in with all his heart. Avon may be a prisoner whose empire was destroyed, but his name alone is still enough to warrant respect from prisoners and guards alike, and his influence remains very well. By namedropping Avon, Marlo (who once tried to kill him) is demonstrating to Sergei that he is connected to the most powerful man in Jessup. Vondas is Sergei's old boss, a man who Sergei gave information on to save himself from the death penalty, though he knew that Vondas would probably easily escape capture. By namedropping Vondas, Marlo shows that he is already privy to privileged information, and offers Sergei an opportunity - maybe he doesn't need Marlo's money, but a word to Vondas puts the ball in Vondas' court to see Marlo or not. If Vondas agrees to see him, if Vondas appreciates getting Marlo's money.... then Sergei is the guy who made that happen. Sergei turns and looks to Avon for guidance, gets the nod and signals his own acceptance. Marlo offers Avon the look of gratitude and respect he deserves for his part, and Avon throws up a West Side gangsign that is utterly irrelevant to Marlo's own concept of what is important. To Avon though, it's a sign of solidarity with the current King, and a mark of their connection and his own continued relevance... or at least the perception of it.



Outside the latest NA meeting, Bubbles can't take his eyes off Dee-Dee playing with a young toddler - maybe her own or somebody else's. Dee-Dee and the other single mother must be bringing his own "son" to mind - Sherrod who was a victim and also a source of much happiness to him. Walon arrives and asks Bubbles if he is willing stand in for a speaker who couldn't make it, but Bubbles is once again resistant to the idea of sharing. Walon won't let it go, and tells him that if he won't get up and speak then he needs to find some other way to make a contribution - it doesn't matter what, but he can't continue to exist in his own head, he needs to connect with others and open himself up to the world again.

Kima arrives at Junebug's with Crutchfield, passing Alma without a word as she desperately tries to get some kind of statement for the paper. Inside, three dead bodies including a woman lay on the floor or furniture, all of them having taken at least one bullet to the head to make sure they were dead. As they look around, Kima hears a cough and checks the closet, and to her horror finds a blood spattered child hiding inside. Scooping the traumatized child up she wheels on the uniforms and scowls at them, demanding to know how they missed this, and all they can offer is a lame reply that the kid must have been inside the closet the whole time. There are no media out the back, so she carries the child outside to wait for a car and a DSS Worker to come and do something for this innocent victim, whose family was killed because Junebug MIGHT have said something about Marlo.

Bubbles returns to Viva House, but not for a meal. Taking Walon's advice he has decided to make some kind of contribution, and asks the man who hands out tickets if he can do the same. He suggests that Bubbles serve instead, dishing up food to people, and Bubbles is resistant, not out of any social awkwardness (nobody would ever accuse Bubbles of being unsocial) but from an as yet unspoken belief that that he must have AIDS. The worker is sympathetic though, and leads him out back to show him how he can contribute. Soon, Bubbles is scrubbing clean the pots, pans and other dishes in the kitchen, cleaning up the mess left behind by the charity work, sweating as he puts muscle into scouring the muck away... and get clean himself. He hasn't used drugs in 15 months but emotionally and mentally he is still a wreck, and Walon was right, he has to do something to break himself out of his funk and open back up to the world. This is the to start, giving something back to those who provide for him and others in need.

Bunk and McNulty arrive at the DOA, who appears to be a homeless man who has overdosed in a vacant. The uniformed officer has called the crime lab but it is a three hour wait, meaning they'll all need to stand around with the dead body until they arrive. McNulty kneels down beside the body, hungover and frustrated and bitter... and comes to his point of utter desperation. He tells the uniform to wait outside, there is no need for him to have to suffer through this when he could be outside. Telling Bunk he has to get something from his car, he heads outside and takes a swig of whiskey from the trunk, getting up his courage for what he is about to do. Returning inside, he closes the door and moves about the scene, knocking over objects on the floor and then slamming his hip against the broken drywall. He rubs pieces onto the body and rips parts of the clothing as a horrified Bunk watches on, then turns the body over, stands over the top of it... and begins to strangle it!



"Oh Jesus Christ, you sick gently caress," moans Bunk in horror. McNulty stands up, surveys his faked scene with satisfaction and takes a swig of whiskey. "There's a serial killer in Baltimore," he tells Bunk,"He preys on the weakest among us.... he needs to be caught."



Bunk walks away, telling Jimmy in horror that he wants no part of this. McNulty, completely committed now, further stages the body in place - pushed to the edge he was left with the choice of returning to the happy place he'd found in life or doubling down to force the bosses to "do what's right". He chose the latter, and now he's completely lost all touch with reality and committed himself to a course of action that will destroy careers and lives and ultimately cost him Marlo's scalp - the one thing he supposedly did this all for in the first place.

omg chael crash
Jul 8, 2012

Macys paid for this. Noodle Boy and Bonby are bad at video games and even worse friends.

Two quick things:

Did we ever find how long Avon got the second time around? Not that it matters too much in the end, but I wonder if he ever got out and what would happen then? Back to the game? Try to enter into Marlo's organization? Try to topple it? Throughout the whole show he had to have been my second or third favorite character so I was really happy to see him in, at the very least, a cameo.

Second, not to be that guy, but I didn't realize until I read this that the girl from the meeting was the girl who bought dope in Hamsterdam! Everything really does matter!

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

Jerusalem posted:



At the Sun, Whiting seriously declares that he wants the schools story to focus on the "Dickensian" aspects. Others in the meeting note that it would be wrong to take a simplistic approach to the issue, there are many aspects to explain the difficulties and problems faced in education, including the parenting or lack of parenting of these children and other societal pressures outside of the school system itself. Gus agrees that the schools could use a good "beating" from time to time but if they really want to address the issues, they need to actually address the issues and not focus in on one particular issue as if it was the end-all and be-all. Whiting's responses are full of buzzwords like "tangibles", and he gets support from Scott who agrees that you probably don't need a lot of context to focus on a classroom. Gus retorts that you need context for EVERYTHING but his snarky attitude (particularly a venomous comment about Pulitzer bait) finally pushes Whiting too far, as he complains that he isn't simpleminded like Gus is trying to imply and he knows about the problems in the school system because his wife volunteers at one. He wants the schools project to focus on the schools, and he thinks that Scott (the only person who backed him) should be the one to write it. Later that night, Gus is back at his desk, noting Scott chatting amicably with Whiting and Klebanow. He stops a passing reporter to ask about the numbers for her port story, and she apologizes for forgetting to get them to him and gives him the numbers there and then. Cargo is down 12% but roll-on, roll-off gained 6.4%.... it seems that the docks are still fighting a slowly losing battle to find work for all the stevedores, only 3 years or so since Frank Sobotka died trying to restore them to their former glory. Gus takes down the numbers, a seemingly inconsequential moment that is key in two respects. Later in this episode, Gus will wake in the middle of the night in a panic, sure he has reversed the numbers when he wrote them down, and will call the Sun to confirm he got it right before it goes to print. From the show's point of view, this scene shows us that Gus really does sweat the small stuff, that he is by necessity a detail man who believes in getting every little fact right, while his bosses are concerned purely with the bigger picture, broad strokes style of journalism. However, the way it is written further compounds the problem of Gus and his bosses as believable, well-rounded characters. Jay takes Gus' late-night call with bemused pleasure, noting how great it is that Gus worries so much about such small things, about what a great journalist and editor it makes him - wow, what a guy! Meanwhile, Whiting is all buzzwords and surface-level shallow stories while he embraces and pushes the career of kiss-asses. Klebanow even brings Scott over to Gus to ensure that he gets the story on the Orioles opening game the next day, ready to show favor to Whiting's new pet. Both these things are probably somewhat true-to-life, but they just seem like such shallow and one-dimensional representations of characters in a show noted for its complexity.

I can see this interpretation of the scene - certainly, the scene with Gus' deadline nightmare doesn't serve much purpose other than highlighting how perfect he is. However, I feel that the earlier budget line meeting with the "Dickensian" line and the decision to attack the schools without looking at any deeper context is highly significant, thematically, because it's a great bit of meta-commentary. It's not coincidental that this is right after season 4's school story - which would not, of course, not be nearly as powerful without the context of the other 3 seasons. Also, I never noticed that the deadline nightmare he has is about the port story - which is pretty much the only time the port's decline is mentioned since season 2! A few episodes later, Nick Sobotka heckles Carcetti, and we can presume he was not mentioned in the Sun's story on the development either.

It should also be noted that Whiting's use of "Dickensian" (as well as the title of an upcoming episode, "The Dickensian Aspect") was probably a jab/nod at critics who often described The Wire as "Dickensian". I think Simon was trying to make the same "You people are missing the point" thing that he's done recently with people who watch The Wire and then just argue over who was the best character or whatever.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Jerusalem posted:

Bunk reminds him he is supposed to be the smartest guy in the room so why doesn't he figure out how to get money from this broke-rear end city, and McNulty's reply is to go join the two women in the bar and see if he can pick one up. Bunk and Freamon, who put so much pressure on him to go back to his hard drinking ways in season 4, comment to each other that they thought he was "married or some poo poo", making a joke of his infidelity to a good woman who he was recently so happy with.

I'm reminded of the current Incognito/Martin scandal in the NFL. You've done a really good job here in noting how it's not just McNulty who's hosed up here, but that his friends are pushing him deeper down the hole. In the Incognito/Martin case, people are suggesting that the younger man who has been harassed by the crude older man on the Dolphins should resolve his differences by getting into a fight or something. Neither course of action would help a damned thing but this is "how it is" for either an NFL player or a western district police officer. And at first I didn't even notice this messed up little detail in McNulty's story because I don't know "how it is" for a Homcide detective. Nice catch.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

cletepurcel posted:

I can see this interpretation of the scene - certainly, the scene with Gus' deadline nightmare doesn't serve much purpose other than highlighting how perfect he is. However, I feel that the earlier budget line meeting with the "Dickensian" line and the decision to attack the schools without looking at any deeper context is highly significant, thematically, because it's a great bit of meta-commentary. It's not coincidental that this is right after season 4's school story - which would not, of course, not be nearly as powerful without the context of the other 3 seasons. Also, I never noticed that the deadline nightmare he has is about the port story - which is pretty much the only time the port's decline is mentioned since season 2! A few episodes later, Nick Sobotka heckles Carcetti, and we can presume he was not mentioned in the Sun's story on the development either.

I'm coming down maybe a little hard, but I think what it all comes back to every time is the fact that the surprisingly one-dimensional nature of Whiting and Klebanow overshadows the idea that the newspaper is missing the point/not getting the "real" stories. They're treated as so pathetic and obtuse that they draw attention away from the fact that the heroic Gus and his super-journalism powers aren't unaware of the very real dysfunction in the schools, or the bigger story about the docks, or that Marlo Stanfield is making his move to corner the drug trade across the entire city, or that a notorious stick-up artist who pulled off one of the biggest street-heists in Baltimore history is back in town out for revenge, or that a pissed off Homicide Detective has fabricated a serial killer in order to funnel funds out to the Major Crimes Unit, or even that the Department's crime lab completely screwed up the evidence collection for the Rowhouse Murders case. Simon has suggested in the past that this was intentional, but I think that this is less down to him being too subtle and more that he didn't have the personal distance or the episode room to fully develop Whiting and Klebanow as realistic characters.

As an aside though, how funny to think about that "15% improvement in test scores!" line by Steintorf. Carcetti has made such a big deal to Rawls and Burrell about clean stats but is either completely unaware or simply doesn't care that the improvement in results is just a straight up lie.

ChikoDemono
Jul 10, 2007

He said that he would stay forever.

Forever wasn't very long...


I think a lot of those "real" stories boil down to all of them being in the wrong zipcode, like the Junebug murders.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

ChikoDemono posted:

I think a lot of those "real" stories boil down to all of them being in the wrong zipcode, like the Junebug murders.

Good point. That's echoed in the bar-room scene too where they talk about how people would react if 300 young white men were being murdered a year in a city.... or just one white female tourist.

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

Jerusalem posted:

I'm coming down maybe a little hard, but I think what it all comes back to every time is the fact that the surprisingly one-dimensional nature of Whiting and Klebanow overshadows the idea that the newspaper is missing the point/not getting the "real" stories. They're treated as so pathetic and obtuse that they draw attention away from the fact that the heroic Gus and his super-journalism powers aren't unaware of the very real dysfunction in the schools, or the bigger story about the docks, or that Marlo Stanfield is making his move to corner the drug trade across the entire city, or that a notorious stick-up artist who pulled off one of the biggest street-heists in Baltimore history is back in town out for revenge, or that a pissed off Homicide Detective has fabricated a serial killer in order to funnel funds out to the Major Crimes Unit, or even that the Department's crime lab completely screwed up the evidence collection for the Rowhouse Murders case. Simon has suggested in the past that this was intentional, but I think that this is less down to him being too subtle and more that he didn't have the personal distance or the episode room to fully develop Whiting and Klebanow as realistic characters.

As an aside though, how funny to think about that "15% improvement in test scores!" line by Steintorf. Carcetti has made such a big deal to Rawls and Burrell about clean stats but is either completely unaware or simply doesn't care that the improvement in results is just a straight up lie.

I won't dispute that Klebanow and Whiting are terrible characters, or that Simon simply had too much of an axe to grind against his old editors, which killed season 5 more than anything. What I was trying to point out was the intent of the scene more than anything. Basically it's one of the few scenes with the strawman editors that worked - kind of - for me on rewatch.

Regarding the newspaper missing stories - one point that gets underemphasized in season 5, I think, is the "more with less" thing. In the next episode (I think) Alma, who's pretty inexperienced, has to take over the crime beat from Twigg, who is bought out. This is another point that, if it had been hammered home better, would have made the newspaper story a lot stronger. Hell, they present Gus as having a relatively secure job amidst the buyouts but in reality I think the editors are now getting squeezed just as much as the writers.

The bogus school stats - I like to think that just as Carcetti knew about beforehand, but eventually came to accept, juking the crime stats, Tony Gray would have done the same thing with the school stats (since he ran on an education platform). Maybe that's too cynical even for The Wire.

grading essays nude fucked around with this message at 09:14 on Nov 11, 2013

DarkCrawler
Apr 6, 2009

by vyelkin

(and can't post for 29 days!)

Jerusalem posted:


Monk, Snoop and one of the young trainee soldiers pull up to the corner of the independent who didn't capitulate to Marlo's "offer", and Monk calmly explains how they're going to do things. The young soldier, enthusiastic, suggests they do this "West Coast" style, making Snoop laugh. He wants to do a drive-by like they did in Boyz in the Hood, and Snoop is so amused that she gives Monk the nod to go ahead. They pass by the corner, the young'un opening up wildly and missing every single dealer, all of whom scatter at once as Monk stops the car. Snoop gets out and calmly takes aim, waiting patiently till she knows she has her shot and then pulling the trigger, dropping one of the dealers dead in the street. "In B-more, we aim to hit a nigga, ya heard?" she laughs, and gets back into the car which drives away, leaving the corner deserted.


The young soldier is O-Dog, who killed Bodie. Also interesting to see Monk get his hands dirty, sort of, though we've obviously seen that he's a hardcore killer too just from the way how he casually was about to waste Cutty just for disrespecting him. But he seemed more to be an administrator type, handling the corner people while Chris dealt with the soldiers.

Boywhiz88
Sep 11, 2005

floating 26" off da ground. BURR!

Orange Devil posted:

To a limit. McNulty is more interested in outsmarting a high level yet local criminal than he is in bringing in the really big cases.

But that's the difference isn't it? Herc is satisfied with street rips, McNulty wants to bring down a kingpin. Ultimately it's because of their egos and ultimately it doesn't make a difference what either does. If anything, I think Season 2 really drives home the idea that things will keep moving no matter what. It's one of the themes we haven't really talked about too much in this thread recently.

I mean, we've talked about the train tracks and the imagery and metaphor of the train, but that's the other thing about trains, they can only go the path they're guided on. And without major changes to the track, without a few switches, it's gonna keep going back and forth the same route.

The schools continue to be poor and underfunded, undervalued, and just plain ignored. The police continue to bust guys trying to make a buck on the corner. The drug syndicates find a way to recover, to replace, to restart their business. The newspaper continues to shrink, to lose value in our society. The unions and docks continue to die.

And when you think about it, aren't most of the intentions of our characters purely ego? Avon wants war because he doesn't want to lose face on the street. Lester wants to best Marlo because he doesn't like being beaten, same with McNulty but with Stringer. Gus is about the integrity of the newspaper at some level, but he also has his pride as an issue. The closest I can think of characters that are selfless in their pursuit are Kima and Carver. Kima never invested much of her ego into the job, but she IS invested in the job. Carver starts out having to kick rear end and take names, and then he realizes he's part of something bigger, more impactful.

It's no different on the street side either. We talk about how "The Wire" is a study of institutions etc, and I think a great job has been done in the recaps to highlight the human element of how the plot moves forward. However, I don't think we've really talked about how human pride and ego is an effect on institutions. How it affects them and allows them to change.

The stat juking? The politics in the police force? It's all out of ego/self survival. Hell, Colvin begins to reject that and understand his place in the institution but ultimately, his pride is his downfall. He has to prove himself right, and it turns into a liability in the form of Hamsterdam.

Sorry, it's just frustrating to think of the pride of man as factor in these decisions that affects thousands, if not possibly hundreds of thousands, and to know that, well, that's how it works.

bucketybuck
Apr 8, 2012

omg chael crash posted:

Two quick things:

Did we ever find how long Avon got the second time around?

I don't think he gets sentenced for any new crime, but being in the room with all the guns was a parole violation and so he has to finish the 7 years he originally got after being arrested by McNulty in season one.

bucketybuck
Apr 8, 2012

Jerusalem posted:

I'm coming down maybe a little hard, but I think what it all comes back to every time is the fact that the surprisingly one-dimensional nature of Whiting and Klebanow overshadows the idea that the newspaper is missing the point/not getting the "real" stories.

Its a point that has been made, but I do have to wonder what the dynamic of the Newspaper plot arc would have been like had Whiting or Klebanow come straight out and said to Gus (or anybody) that they know Templeton's story is a lie, but that a pulitzer winning article could increase sales and save peoples jobs, so they have no choice but to back him?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Alec Bald Snatch
Sep 12, 2012

by exmarx

Skeesix posted:

So if you absolutely HAVE to make it in the newspaper business, you'd better damned well get up to one of the newspapers that will last for the next 30 years as quickly as you can. As far as I can tell, this is the NY Times business plan: sure all the newspapers around the country are dying, but the name NY Times is going to be worth something no matter how the format changes. Similarly, the Washington Post will last because people will always want to know what's going on with political leaders in the US.

Washington Post would've gone out of business a decade ago if they hadn't bought Kaplan, and there's tons of other publications which do a better job covering political news like The Hill, Roll Call, even (ugh) Politico.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply