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twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
Other dovetail thing I noticed just watching episode 2 season 1 now:

When Levy goes to pick up D'angelo from homicide, he's bitching that he's missing Yvette's Brisket. As he offered to Herc on the last-ever episode.

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twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Randomly Specific posted:

I'm the same way. I enjoy Breaking Bad, though the last half-season and especially the mid-season finale kind of killed it for me. (Not going to get into that here.)

However, while Breaking Bad is good TV, it's not the best in my admittedly purely subjective opinion. What really makes The Wire the best of all time for me is that there is not one single episode that I feel like skipping on a rewatch. Even the not-as-awesome newsroom scenes are still perfectly watchable, they really mostly pale by comparison to the excellence that everything else was executed with. I don't have any other TV show that I've ever watched.

It's kind of like Star Wars, which is not a piece of high art. However, the genius of the original was that there were no slow moments, no place in the movie where you feel like it's slow enough to run to the bathroom and skip the scene.

The Wire is like that, as a series. All the pieces really do matter in the end.

ETA: I will say this, though: The Wire is heavy. There are a lot of shows that I'll throw on as casual background noise, popcorn fun stuff. The Wire always makes me think every time I watch it, which in a weird way does make some other shows more fun on occasion.

One thing I love about the wire is how with very few exceptions, e.g. the montages wrapping up the seasons, there is no artificially inserted music. Everything is being listened to by someone in-scene.

I think this is one way in which the Wire is better than Breaking Bad. If there were a Moh's scale of hardness for drug shows, Breaking bad might be a whole lot harder than Weeds, or almost any other show. On the other hand, the Wire took it to a whole other level. There are astonishingly few TV-show conceits, relatively little glorification of violence, it's just real, or as close to real as anyone's fit onto a TV.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

chesh posted:

Simon mentions this on the commentary for s1e1, and I wish I had taken notes. I can transcribe it when I get back home if you guys want, but basically, he says that it was important that the higher ups be human - they aren't evil, just out for number 1, and the first time they truly show this was Kima's shooting.

This is interesting in terms of his later depictions of Marlo: doesn't he get to be a higher-up eventually?

Also, don't they foreshadow a Marlo-esque future for Kenard, who is about as close to evil as anyone portrayed in the series?

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
One thing that I'm sad never came up again was the East/West basketball game. I mean, I know that Marlo's not the type to care about some dude's jump shot, but I feel like there's more to say about AAU sports than one crooked coach skimming an extra 5k off of Barksdale.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
I found out today that the McNugget scene was ever-so-slightly bullshit.

The actual creator of the Chicken McNugget was the first Executive Chef for McDonalds, Rene Arend. He was also the creator of the McRib and Sausage McMuffin. Before his time at McDonalds, he was a very accomplished cook, serving the Queen of England, Cary Grant, etc. He held positions as head chef at the Drake hotel and the Whitehall club in Chicago before leaving for the better hours, better pay and challenge of McDonalds.

The point is, while he certainly didn't get any sort of percentage, he did better than anyone depicted in The Wire.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

escape artist posted:

I've always read that scene as the earliest indication that "Wallace is sharp, and could excel if he weren't born into such dire conditions."

Likewise. David Simon had an essay which essentially asked, "Who among you moralizers would really go to school every day, study hard under the _clearly inspirational_ teachers of the Baltimore school system and fight through the tremendous social pressures from both blacks and whites to just take the easy money that's out there on the streets?"

And the meaning of the McNugget scene isn't really changed. No one's pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. As I said, even though the McNugget chef had a better life than the Greek or any politician depicted, he never got a percentage. The king stay the king.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
I started watching "The Corner" on youtube and I'm not done with it yet, but here's me in every episode:

:psypop: Dammit DeAndre! What kind of fools raised you?

:crossarms:

:( Oh... I see

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

escape artist posted:

I don't think Colicchio ever did anything outright racist, but he really struck me as a racist character. Watching him throw young black kids against the wall, and pulling that black teacher out of his car because he was frustrated.

Walker's character was deliberately written as a black man, to show the disdain that can arise from different classes. More specifically, he probably grew up in the same circumstances as a lot of people, but feels that becoming a police he rose above them. Walker was downright evil, for sure.

Colicchio definitely seemed racist. Honestly, Herc was a bit racist too. That's not to say he was a hateful racist like Colicchio, which was really good, but he had some slightly messed up ideas about race.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Jerusalem posted:

Episode 6: The Wire
McNulty leaves a card under the wipers on Omar's van, his only way of communicating with the stick-up artist.


Pure poetry.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Jerusalem posted:

Oh man how could I forget Sydnor helping place the fake call :doh:

I still don't think he knew about the serial killer being fake. I think that as far as he was concerned the serial killer was out there. He, McNulty, and Freamon were just adding to the hysteria to get at Marlo as far as Sydnor was concerned. At least that's my reading of it.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
This article here made me think that Don King must have been a really primary inspiration for Clay Davis:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9123674/don-king-faces-end-career

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

EvanSchenck posted:

The show doesn't come out and say this directly, but you if you pay close attention it's clear he's bent. We know that Koutris was an agent in San Diego (I think) when he started using Glekas as an informant and by implication hooked up with the Greek. It is very important to note that it is Glekas who is on record with the FBI, while Spiros and the Greek are unknown. Koutris deals with those two directly and on a face-to-face basis, so he must have deliberately omitted to put them on paper with the FBI. He also directly lied to Fitzhugh when asked about Glekas. This is all very suspicious and all but confirms that he is not acting on the legit.

This is actually why I didn't know the greek was really an informant the first time or two that I watched it. I thought (borrowing from the Departed) that Koutris was Matt Damon's character to the Greek's Nicholson.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

I'd read this before, but this little tidbit is something amazing that I missed the first time.

quote:

But four days later my cellphone rang and Triandos was on the line.

“I get it. It’s pretty funny.”

“You get it?”

“Yeah, he feels sorry for me ’cause I had to catch Wilhelm.”

“Exactly.”

“Hey, I feel sorry for me. Catching Wilhelm was miserable,” he laughed. “Go ahead. It’s not like you’re making me out to be gay or nothing. It’s just a joke.”

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Randomly Specific posted:

I tend to read Carcetti's sex scene as a reflection of his narcissism, in that sense that he's got the mirror in front of him because deep down he really really makes love to himself, no matter who else is in the room.

This is what I always took as well: when he catches his own reflection he gets stuck admiring his own sexual prowess.

I always felt like Carcetti's deal was that he felt like he really seriously cared about the people of Baltimore. He felt their pain and saw their problems and he did want to solve them. Sure enough he's a talented guy. Great speaker, real gift for politics. But he also had that narcissism, which I guess lots of young wannabe politicians have, but not everyone looks into the mirror as if to say "Look at how good I'm loving her. I'm the best there is."

I also feel like Carcetti's character changed over the course of season 4. The process by which he turns from a talented but slightly narcissistic and ambitious young guy of season 3 into the soulless creep who turns down the governor's money in season 5 is the phone room of season 4. The endless and dull crusade for money I think breaks young politicians. They either stop trying to advance or the ones who are really into themselves figure it out and learn to put important issues for the people on hold. After all, if you're clearly the best person for the job, then it's a little rough now, but you'll be able to do them a ton of good in a higher office! After all, you're the best! Look at how good you're loving that city/state/etc.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Randomly Specific posted:

Cutty's farewell is what hits me the most in this ep. He goes in knowing full well that he's quite possibly in a 'leave feet first' situation, but he looks Avon in the eye and is completely straight about it, and Avon being Avon lets him walk. Avon knows he's going to finish out the game dead or in prison, but Cutty doesn't have to end up that way.

Cutty's farewell has always gotten to me too. It always seemed crazy to me how much respect Avon has for Cutty, even after he's lost that killer instinct.

I think there's an interesting parallel here between Cutty in this episode and Cheese's Dawg turning cur. Cheese loves his dog, but when it's of no more use to him, Cheese dispatches it. Avon, despite being pretty cold-blooded, even gives Cutty money out of the goodness of his own heart.

Much like the basketball scene, this is one of those things that sharply delineates Avon from Marlo. There's no question that Marlo would have figured that Cutty knows too much and would have boarded up his corpse in a vacant.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Jerusalem posted:

Marlo was doing it for purely selfish reasons - he wanted his name being spoken by people out on the streets, and people to look up to him. Avon was genuinely invested in the whole East Side/West Side thing and put all the money into the basketball game because he wanted West Side to prove their superiority over East Side.

In Season 5 when Marlo ends up meeting Avon in the prison visitor's room, Avon explains he's willing to help his former enemy because they're both West Side and he wants to help gently caress over the East Side. Marlo doesn't give a single gently caress about East Side or West Side, and when he finally gets to meet Sergei, you can see his reaction to Avon throwing up the West Side symbol is an almost incredulous,"The gently caress is this guy doing?", barely repressed because he needs to keep on Avon's good side to bypass Prop Joe and get right to the source of the power.

I think this makes Prop Joe all the more interesting. He didn't have that pathological need to be king and have his name ring out like Marlo or Avon. He didn't even seem all that interested in having anybody speak his name. He wasn't all that interesting in making people into "cadaverous motherfuckers." Yet he was pretty much king of Baltimore for awhile there, and didn't have to deal with some young buck biting him from behind till Marlo came along. Can't say I know how that happens.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Jerusalem posted:

Poot leaves the corner store with some chips and good-naturedly apologizes for forgetting to get his muscle the Newports he asked for, and tells him he'll pop back in soon to get him some. The muscle hears a bike engine and turns his head to look - he's on the ball and alert - but it's just a guy riding a bike with his girlfriend clinging tight to his back. This dismissal is a mistake though (Omar will make a similar one in season 5), the girlfriend is actually Snoop, dressed in as non-threatening a way as possible. The bike pulls up beside them and she whips out a gun, balancing back and firing as Poot dives for the ground. As quickly as the attack began it's over, leaving two bodies lying on the ground in a pool of blood, the other muscle watching impotently as they disappear up the road. On the ground, Poot lies motionless alongside his would-be protector, but then opens his eyes and leaps to his feet, shirt covered in blood and checking to see if any of it is coming from him. Miraculously he is unhurt, the other guy not quite so lucky, and he and the surviving muscle throw their arms wide over what to do next.

I remember this being a legitimate "Oh poo poo!" moment when I was watching it. Still though, it seemed like a one-time sort of trick, so it still wasn't clear why this little... girl was hanging out with Marlo all the time and was clearly in a position of power. I thought that would be like a sidearm pitcher in baseball. Devastatingly hard to hit the first time you see it since you're not used to that kind of release point, but eventually you figure it out and can be prepared. Little did I know!

I think it's also interesting how the advent of the handgun has changed the way that violence is done. Certainly Snoop is far less able to lay a beatdown on someone than a big dude like Cutty. Still, it's no contest who's more effective as an enforcer at this point. No way Snoop would just let some little punk like Fruit take away her money like it was nothing. There's a certain ruthlessness there that you can't teach.

It makes me wonder what women like Snoop did before the advent of the handgun. In the Game of Thrones show for instance they don't have guns of any sort, but there are still a few women who act as muscle. They however, tend to have an amount of muscle comparable to a man. Certainly a woman can often use sex as a weapon to bring down the defenses of others, but that never seemed to be Snoop's style.

Finally, one more thing about The Wire that makes other shows look like a cartoon is that on any other show, a woman like Snoop who killed people would basically only have sex as a weapon. Of course the downside of that is that you have to have a legitimate real-life murderer like Snoop on your payroll.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/15/AR2007031501664_5.html

quote:

It's been nearly 12 years since Kia was killed, but the wound is still fresh. Hearing about Snoop on "The Wire" ripped off the scab. One of Williams's daughters saw the show and called Williams, crying.

"She said, 'That girl that killed Kia is on "The Wire." She's still acting violent.' "

Williams can't bear to watch the show. How did this girl get to be on TV? Why are they letting her grandbaby's killer play a killer? As Williams sees it, Pearson didn't do enough time -- "she came out of prison, bragging" -- and now she's on TV?

" I could be on 'The Wire,' Mama!" her son tells her, shouting from the kitchen. "It's called acting!"

Not just anybody can be on the show, Ronald concedes. "Not everyone can act. She might be good at acting."

Pause.

"A lot of people get breaks and it changes them," Ronald says. "But I don't know if [playing an assassin] just makes her worse. She's still living the hell that she was back in the day when she killed Kia."

...

Snoop was 16 when she went in.

There, in a weird bit of serendipity, was Carlene Smith, Kia's mother, serving 90 days on a parole violation. Corrections officials quickly herded Snoop into protective custody to keep them apart, Smith says.

"They thought I was homicidal," Smith says, starting to cry as she recounts that time. "They thought I was a threat to her."

And was she?

"I know I was a threat to her."

But Smith, who struggles with drug addiction and bipolar disorder, says that Snoop approached her one day during a church service at the prison, softly touching her on the hand as she said, "I'm sorry."

Don't be sorry, Smith told her, be careful. Live by the sword . . .

In that moment, Smith says, she felt some peace. Like God was trying to tell her, "This isn't your battle." Telling her it was time to forgive.

It proved to be a temporary peace. Now Snoop's television role is bringing the memories back. Here she is, recently married, wrestling with sobriety, trying to make a go of life, but she feels like she's been catapulted back to 1995.

"I was devastated," Smith says. "It's like they're glorifying it."

Would she feel differently if Snoop weren't playing an assassin?

"If she were playing a different role," Smith says, "I know I'd feel differently."

The article goes on to describe the difficulty she's had continuing her work as an actor - playing a girly-girl and working on her diction to get rid of the die-cast Baltimore accent that served her so well on the show. In the end, she seems to have spent some time trying to use her good fortune to crawl out from under a terrible crime she committed as a teenager, with sometimes mixed results. In 2011 after the article was written, she was arrested during a Baltimore drug raid.

twerking on the railroad fucked around with this message at 17:15 on Jul 7, 2013

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
You did a fantastic job capturing just how unlikeable Colicchio is. You're kind of with him when he's pissed about his fellow offices joking with Tucky and making faces on the computer. Then the thing that makes him crack is... a kid with a peanut butter sandwich.

What an rear end in a top hat.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

geeves posted:

In The Wire alumni news, Nick Sobatka plays a great creepy, corrupt correctional officer, named Pornstache, in the Weeds meets Oz Netflix show "Orange is the New Black".

Aka Pablo Schriber Aka Liev's half-brother ( I totally don't get the family resemblance)

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
One thing that really dates the show for me, almost as much as the use of pagers in season 1, is the constant use of the word "yo" to describe dealers or muscle or whatever. I remember this being the terminology of high school and although in my personal experience it was applied equally to black or white people, there's definitely a racist tinge to the word. In the wire for instance, I don't believe it's ever used to describe a white person.

Basically it's a word that I'm glad to see has fallen out of favor and it kinda gives me the willies to see it used regularly when I rewatch the show.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Fragmented posted:

Double edit: I guess they do call the kids "project yo's" a few times.

This is the usage I'm referring to. "What up yo" is way different.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

3Romeo posted:

I hate to pull out after specifically asking to do this episode, but real life obligations (to wit: a thesis/novel I'm really, really starting to sweat) have taken priority in my daily writing. I'm happy to do a smaller addendum to someone else's writeup, but I don't currently have the time to do any kind of scene-for-scene summary and analysis that can match the quality of your (and others') past recaps. :(

I've kind of looked longingly at these posts and I might be able to squeeze it in some time this week if people want.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Frostwerks posted:

Well Omar was just an old timey guy

He kind of is actually. "Farmer in the Dell" (or "a-hunting we will go") is clearly his jam.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
"...we fight on that lie." - Slim Charles

This is the 12th episode of season 3 of the Wire, or "Mission Accomplished." As David Simon says in the DVD commentary, by this point he felt like he really had to hammer it over peoples' heads that this season was an allegory for the Iraq war. Hence the decidedly un-subtle title which I've honestly never liked. That said, I'm extremely glad that if I'm going to write up one episode, it is this one. There are some big moments, sure, but there are also little moments and characters which I'm sort of amazed by. Also, in watching this a few times, it's kind of neat to see the camera work, which in this episode is filled with long, lingering zooms and pans along with a general sparse feel. Let's start with the opening scene, or the "BNBG scene."

"Just one witness so far. You know what that means. Right now it's all BNBG." - Bunk





Here we land at the aftermath of Stringer Bell's murder. Andy Krawczyk is sitting on the edge of an ambulance receiving oxygen while Bunk, Rawls, and others gather round and try to find the culprit. Bunk despairs at the fact that the lone witness is a rich white guy who doesn't belong in the neighborhood and probably can't tell too many black faces apart. He tells this to Rawls with four simple letters, "BNBG." Rawls merely muses that "There's a whole lot of campaign contributions sitting on the back of that ambo!" Already city hall has called multiple times, perhaps giving a nod to Avon's assessment that you can't just kill a politician. When Krawczyk is asked about his dealings with known drug-trafficker Bell, he gives an amazing look and says that he never inquired about where the money came from. When he described to detective Holley the one shooter he saw as "Black. Big, I thought ... with a large weapon," then Holley can only chuckle when Bunk glares and states "BNBG." Or as Holley lets out of the bag, "Big Negro, Big Gun."







Upstairs we see the victim. Apparently at the time of airing, audiences did not really believe that Stringer Bell would die, perhaps that he was wearing a vest or some such thing. Looking upon the body forlornly is McNulty, as we see when we pan up from Stringer's corpse and zoom in on his face for what seems like forever. Watching the scene with commentary, or essentially without sound was like watching an art film, Kima and Stringer and Bunk laid out like peeled fruit in a still life. Bunk lights a cigar and sidles up to McNulty, who can only quip "I caught him Bunk! I caught him on the wire and he doesn't loving know it." McNulty's hubris is still getting the better of him. Whatever crimes Stringer committed, he certainly can't be prosecuted anymore. Yet still, all McNulty can think of is how he got 'im.

"He seems a bit more contemplative than George Bush"- Simon



After the theme song, Cutty tries once more to make a connection with a long-lost love. She admits that she's proud of him and kisses him on the cheek but she's ready to let the past be the past. Still dealing with the present is Avon, who sits in silence in his office. In a nod to Stringer's favorite line, when disturbed by Shamrock, Avon barks "Shut that fuckin door!" This is not the only Bell line that Avon repeats. While Bodie tells Slim to just say the word, and the rest of Avon's crew strokes guns, Avon tells Slim the truth that Marlo had nothing to do with Bell's death and more to the points "gently caress Marlo. gently caress this war. All this beef over a couple of corners?" This of course leads to the the epigraph. It truly doesn't matter who did what at this point. Avon started a war and now it's truly gotten away from him. "If it's a lie then we fight on that lie, but we gotta fight."

Again in the commentary, Simon spells out the parallels between the Iraq war and the Barksdale/Stanfield war. The analogy is not perfect. If you were going to compare Marlo to bin Laden or Hussein then the best you could do is Hussein in the first Gulf War. At least in the early 90s, Hussein was making a power grab for Kuwait as Marlo grabbed for corners. After the towers fell, Hussein was more trying to keep his fiefdom and life. Still, once you find yourself in a war, especially with a stronger power than you thought going in, it can be very hard to pull yourself out.

We briefly flash back to Bell being zipped into a body bag and Jimmy still moping around. Bunk brings the contents of Bell's pockets to Jimmy who is unmoved until they bring up the possibility of serving a warrant on the late Bell's apartment.

"Come on, Tommy. They dealt you a winning hand and you act like you forgot how to play." - D'Agostino



Meanwhile, Tommy is making a case to Teresa for Hamsterdam. Teresa is hearing none of it. Everyone is just too entrenched in the drug war to allow drugs to even be de facto legalized anywhere. Again as Simon says, this is another war that has gotten away from us. Even if you start off with a somewhat-legitimate aim to get people off of drugs, if you declare a war then you've essentially declared a war against the underclass of society. And you can't really win that war, so you just keep on fighting, even if no one has ever stopped taking drugs because of someone hitting them over the head with a stick.



As the scene goes on, it becomes clear that he really wanted D'Agostino to talk him out of it. We end the scene with Carcetti staring into space, trying to "shed his guilt," as put so masterfully by David Simon. This is what I would call the turning point between Councilman Carcetti and Mayor or Governor Carcetti. He hasn't yet begun the long process of having all his morals ground into a fine powder which is season 4 for him. As of right now he just wants people to love him and he knows that some people will deservedly not love him after he betrays Colvin. But the monster urge for power just under Carcetti's skin is ready to come out.

"Harm reduction... sounds good, hmmm?" - Royce



The current mayor is also unable to restrain himself. Despite warnings from various offices that he cannot call it legalization and that anything like Hamsterdam is going to require significant gussying up, Royce cannot let go of the 14% drop in the crime rate. More to the point, he can't let go of the idea of being the mayor who solved drug crime in Baltimore. So they try to play it as an enforcement strategy. Maybe they're using it to go after the high level players? One advisor astutely points out - the BPD has been doing street rips for so long, there might not be high-level enforcement left. Royce knows such a line would be bullshit, but anything he could do to get the public to swallow Hamsterdam would let him in on the crime drop that he can't let go.

"How'd he take it?" - Freamon

On the Wire, all the talk is that Marlo dropped Stringer. It really doesn't matter who did what in a war. As Lester notes to Kima, this only means the drug war is going to rachet up. Kima and Lester both know of McNulty's obsession with Bell and wonder what's happened now that Stringer won't be able to say "gently caress you, Detective," anymore.





We switch over to McNulty getting ready to "rifle through Stringer's apartment" as Kima says. First though he takes a call from Bunny Colvin, who is about to give McNulty the key to Avon's empire. What a surprise we get just behind the door though! Like some dream of Tyler Durden before his personality split, Stringer's apartment is really nice. It's not all tasteful, the samurai swords are a bit of a silly choice, but all in all, it's not what Bunk and McNulty were expecting. Rather than the CEO of the underworld, Stringer Bell was a Gatsby. Although born into poverty and massively successful in the trade of illegal drugs, Bell desperately wanted to go legit. Also as Gatsby, he had a full shelf of books which seem to almost never have been cracked. The one McNulty pulls down is Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations." The generally accepted main point that Smith wanted to make was that there are two main ways to create the wealth of nations - to either enhance existing markets or to use labor more productively. The first point is something Stringer definitely took to heart, which minimized the Gatsby analogy (since it sure seems like Stringer read the book!), but that analogy is at least completed by how he was blown away by the lover of someone Bell killed.

"What's done is done." - Mouzone



Their work completed, Omar and Mouzone return to the hotel room so that Omar can pick up Dante. Dante is looking a bit worse for the wear, having taken it as long as he could. Omar seems a little disappointed, but glad to have his lover back. On the way out, Dante glares at Mouzone, who gives a handgun to Omar, who says that since Baltimore is his city, Mouzone trusts Omar to "do it proper." I wasn't quite sure of what to make of this exchange - was it merely a gesture of respect or was it encouragement for Omar to kill Avon if he wasn't arrested? Difficult to know! As a final note: in the commentary, Simon notes how glad he is that DeAndre has survived these past ten years. As you may know, DeAndre's demons did eventually catch up to him.



Elsewhere, the meeting between McNulty and Colvin is going down. Colvin is on break for the forseeable future but gives McNulty the tip on Avon's safehouse. As he notes, that may be his last bit of policework in a long and storied career.

"Pretty cool that Daniels' wife is running for council, huh?" - Sydnor



In what was apparently an expensive bit of video to have on the show, Cutty shows his students the Ali-Patterson fight. One boy notes that Ali is whippin rear end so Patterson must be soft. Cutty retorts that if you're standing at the end of a round, you aren't soft. This is clearly inspirational to some of the boys. Inspirational to the rest is what McNulty brings to the detail - the contents of Bell's apartment, and to Lester in a side room, the address of Avon's safe house. In the apartment, there are only signs of how cautious Bell was - about 100 SIM cards. Outside, the tip Stringer gave to Colvin. McNulty tells Freamon to raise Daniels, who is at Marla Daniels' candidacy press conference.





Sydnor looks at the scene on TV with admiration, while Perlman looks on in dismay. She's glad to be with Daniels, but it sure seems like she can't take being the other woman for much longer.

"I'm thinkin it might be what you call one of them good problems" - Partlow



Back at the rim shop, Marlo discusses Stringer's death. He is all too happy to take the blame and have Avon provoked into action. This part seems funny to me because Fruit formed a substantial part of Marlo's muscle in later seasons and would have been gone here if not for Cutty's inability to pull the trigger.



Meanwhile, Hamsterdam rages on, the police who watch it discussing the fate of Bunny Colvin. A couple of Carver's underlings also suggest that it might not just be Colvin who falls for it. Clearly Carver's moving the body out of Hamsterdam has not gone unforgotten. Speaking of falling for it, Johnny tries to bum Carver for five bucks. Carver asks if he looks stupid - why would he think that a crackhead going into an open-air drug market would use that five bucks on bus fare? Well as Johnny says, he's already got his hit!



Far away from Hamsterdam is a Kima sex scene. I was very mad at myself for missing this scene on the first watch. First, well it's a sex scene and no one likes to miss those, especially with the two actresses involved. Second, it's pretty important for character development - the woman Kima is with is NOT Cheryl. In fact Cheryl interrupts with a phone call. Kima disregards it, and the scene switches to Bunk and McNulty, standing at the train tracks where the train is on, but is not moving. In terms of the "trains as institutions" metaphor, this would seem to symbolize everyone sitting and waiting to move on Hamsterdam. In a bit of poetry, Bunk notes that all night, McNulty's been drinking like his "rear end is candy. Shameful poo poo." McNulty is still in mourning over his white whale.

Bunk correctly notes that the pumpkinballs probably mean that it was Omar that got to Stringer. McNulty downplays it though, correctly noting that "Execution style" does not play like Omar Little. Combined with the chatter on the wire, it sure seems like Marlo did Stringer. Little do they know all the intrigue that's been happening! Bunk notes that the city is hosed and they're going to pass 300 murders by New Year. While he says that, a train crows in the background like a rooster.



McNulty gets a phone call, and covers for Kima as McNulty has described others doing for him before. The cycle of cheating continues. Bunk says that he needs more and the train crows again. McNulty stands in the tracks and says that he's tired, basking in the glow of the train's light. What a scene.

"Failure to properly identify myself as a police officer. Sounds like what I was guilty of for most of my career" - Prezbylewski





Prez meets with Freamon in a park. Apparently only 6/10 black officers think he's a racist shitbird. It was noted in the commentary that every time the cops meet on a bench, their back is to the camera and every time the dealers meet on a bench, they face the camera. Simon responds that was not planned, rather it is merely a function of where the respective groups of people meet.





We flip back to the detail, where McNulty lets out of the bag that Bell is Colvin's CI. While the previous info McNulty was able to give didn't quite bring the case down, naming Bell really does it. What's sort of funny here is that the fame Marlo is chasing is again going to escape him. It wasn't Marlo that brought down Avon, but the police, and they could only really do that if they raided the safe house that day. So Marlo gets an empire, and he gets to live, because otherwise Avon's crew would have jumped on him. But he doesn't get that recognition.



Back in Hamsterdam, a police officer is reading an amusing sports page for the surroundings, which are about to change in a hurry. News vans pull up like a bunch of cop cars getting ready to do street rips. For some reason, no one tries to talk to the cops, but instead to the junkies.





Tony Gray and Carcetti take interviews while Royce looks on in horror. "What the gently caress was I thinking?" He meets with Burrell, who for once will not be thrown under the bus. He negotiates a way to stay police commissioner for the full five-year term and Rawls is more than ready to move on Hamsterdam.





In a nod to Apocalypse Now, Rawls turns on "Ride of the Valkyries" and gets on the walkie-talkie. The response is swift and brutal. The dealers and users ask what happened to the deal while chatter over the radios is entirely positive.









"That poo poo was worse than fuckin pathetic" - Pearson

Once again, the truth does not matter in war. Snoop spins a yarn about how Stringer Bell died. It is not truly so far from his actual death, except replacing Chris and Snoop with Omar and Mouzone. Slim is casing the place though and spots that this would be a good time to hit Marlo. He calls it in to Shamrock while Lester and McNulty know exactly what this means - it's time to move!





Before Shamrock can tell Avon it's time to move, Kima and Sydnor and casing Avon's safehouse. Avon waves off Shamrock and reluctantly grabs his gun. Meanwhile Rawls plans the demolition of Hamsterdam "So the loving reporters don't have anything to stand in front of tomorrow." He is then informed that they found a body. It's Johnny, dead apparently from overdose. Because his face is bloody, Rawls asks if there is any trauma. The medic tells him that they can't tell with all the rat bites :stonk:. Rawls demands that his body be carted out in a paddy wagon so that the reporters don't see an ambo coming through.



Outside Avon's safe house, Sydnor spots a new entrant and McNulty counts at least 10 people to bust in the safehouse. This motivates Daniels to call in the wrecking crew. Meanwhile, Colvin gets the word that his job at Hopkins has fallen through.



Burrell _personally_ called the chief academic officer to say that Colvin makes his own rules. It's ironic because it was Colvin's action that gave Burrell the leverage to get the full five-year term. I see it as distinctly likely that Royce would have just kept on stringing out Burrell until he found someone better if not for Hamsterdam. At the end of the scene, Colvin gets more good news - he's up at Comstat in the morning.

"If y'all ask me, you ugly-rear end niggas shouldn't be all in here fuckin with all these guns an poo poo, y'know what I'm talkin about?" - Barksdale



Carcetti and Teresa are gloating over their new victory. The story is about to go national and Tommy's face is on the front of it. Teresa warns Carcetti to save the best questions for Gray though. He needs it.






Outside the safe house, Herc - one of the few cops that Baltimore could drag out given the move on Hamsterdam - wonders why exactly they should be knocking - seems like they'd get lit up! McNulty notes that a) you can't flush guns and b) given that they're at war, if they don't knock they WILL get lit up. Simon goes into more detail in the commentary, bad gangster movies play it like all drug dealers will go out Scarface-style. In reality, if you're stuck in a house with a bunch of guns when the police knock, you're eating a charge one way or the other. Might as well take it like a man. And indeed when the knock comes, they know they've got all the exits covered so there's no choice but to go peacefully.




For now though, they're minutes away from the hit on Marlo. Word comes in that except for a skeleton crew, Marlo's muscle is out. Guns and grenades of all things are everywhere. What are you going to do with a grenade in a drug war anyway?Another reason I love this scene is for this character.




Why is he so willing to take Avon's weapons charges?



Who couldn't love him?



I'd shrug too.



Avon will do the rest of his seven without seeing a jury, and a conspiracy to murder charge might also be coming. Make no mistake, this is a huge bust. Lieutenants will roll on Avon and the Barksdale drug organization is done. Barksdale is flippant - you only do two days anyhow he says. This is when McNulty pulls his trump card - the warrant.



Across town, Slim knows they missed their shot. He will live to fight another day, mostly because David Simon loves the guy's voice.

"Get on with it, Motherfucker." - Colvin

Colvin gets to sit and watch Rawls and Burrell tear down Colvin's career. They're busting him down to lieutenant, forcing him to retire before he gets to the vesting age for his pension and if he doesn't, they'll poo poo on his supervisors for the rest of their careers. As Rawls says "What part of 'Bend over' didn't you understand?"



Back at the gym, the older boys are back on the street, working Marlo's package. Marlo happily takes possession of the Barksdale corners while Carcetti goes wistfully into council meeting and Royce gets some crap from the federal government.







As the commentary says, the messengers are a perfect acting performance of someone who drove up from Washington to annoyedly give a speech. Royce is looking at a half-billion dollar price tag to the Hamsterdam experiment if anything like that should reappear. Odell Watkins is not happy about it and wants Burrell out. That's not an option for Royce though. Royce instead throws Watkins a bone by agreeing to back Marla Daniels. Eunetta Perkins has had her day.

Over in Comstat, Colvin is bending over.



Not much else to say there.

"You've got to be the stupidest motherfucker that I've ever gone out with!" - Squeak

"I can't wait to go to jail" - Bernard




Over in Homicide, Freamon admires the tie graveyard with Bunk while Squeak and Bernard know they've been had. Shamrock rolls, Bodie not so much. "This must be one of them contrapment things?" he protests when asked about Hamsterdam.







Daniels meets with Burrell and hears that he's getting a promotion to Major. Burrell wants to somehow pin Avon a little bit more on Colvin, so Daniels doesn't blow the lid on the fact that the bust was almost entirely Colvin. As Stringer said, he only came to Colvin because of the free zones. Daniels is confused regarding Eunetta Perkins' seat and Burrell reassures him, "Good policework maybe. Not everything is politics. Immediately thereafter, Burrell is short on a putt, reinforcing what Burrell doesn't know.





Jimmy meets with Bunny for beers outside the station house. When Jimmy asks about the family, Bunny quips that his wife "lost 30 pounds and got a real estate license, so I guess she's fixin to leave me." Jimmy shares a Natty Bo with Bunny and admits that since Stringer was shot to death, Jimmy stuck Bells name on it to tighten the Probable Cause. This hurts Bunny because it's not really good police work. They share a bit of rebellion and toss their crushed beer cans on top of the roof, joining hundreds of others.



On the nice side of town, Daniels and Perlman share wine and dinner in public. Having learned about Marla being put on the mayor's ticket, they both know she wins without him. So Daniels and Perlman are free to be out in the open. At Beadie's place, McNulty has come a-courtin. He seems to have some idea of what's wrong with him. Amy Ryan makes a great face/motion when McNulty asks to meet her kids in lieu of a nightcap. There's a dichotomy between a Daniels/Perlman sex scene and Cutty on the punching bag. I was kinda... whatever about this scene.







And now the council meeting. It's again ironic that Colvin's bust gives Royce and Burrell an out. Oh, we didn't move on those buildings for six days so we could conclude an investigation by major crimes! Burrell again tries to pin it on Colvin, but Carcetti goes all-in. Check out the sweet eyeroll by Eunetta Perkins! He says some bullshit, but through the power of television he looks downright mayoral, getting an ovation from the crowd, the attention of Watkins, and a glare from Tony Gray.



"It's not you, it's me"-McNulty



Over in the detail, McNulty puts in his papers. He backstabbed Daniels and now he's going to a spot where he doesn't feel the need to backstab. Back on the street, Cutty goes to get his boys, who are now working for Fruit. When Fruit spots Cutty, he remembers the time he was almost shot and the boys agree to come back after Cutty stares down Fruit.





This leads us into the ending montage, set to Van Morrison's "Fast Train" as performed by Sol Burke.



















Seriously, look at that guy.

"It's like someone took out a big eraser and rubbed it across" - Bubbles







After the montage, we get a teaser for the famous fourth season, with Bubbles trying to school his new protege. He runs into Colvin, who at least knows that even a druggie like Bubbles is a human being and deserves to be treated like one. Bubbles backs off of calling it a good thing, but says that at least you weren't messed with. Colvin says "Thank you" and the season is over.

I'll just make one note here: I thought the treatment of Hamsterdam was interesting. As Simon said in the commentary, he really didn't want to make Hamsterdam seem like some liberal perfect solution. He claims that it has the same basic problems as the drug war - instead of actively waging war on the underclass, you just give them a hole you don't look into where they can die like Johnny. His claim is that it's all a little hopeless until we start as a society caring about our underclass and treating them like people. I don't know that I exactly believe that, but I don't disagree that the basic way of doing that is just to do what we can for the people around us - and not just the folks in our same social class.

Album - http://imgur.com/a/hXH6L

twerking on the railroad fucked around with this message at 23:38 on Aug 2, 2013

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

quote:

However, since we see Omar tossing the guns in the harbour at the end, I think the simplest explanation is best - he gave him the gun used to kill Stringer to get rid of.

D'oh! That's almost certainly it.

Grumpwagon posted:

Really nice write up! Thanks for the guest spot. The only thing I'd say is, I had some issues with a few of the pictures being very small. timg is your friend.

Done!

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Ainsley McTree posted:

I really enjoyed the snippets from the commentary that were injected into that recap; I never really listen to commentary tracks, so it was nice to hear what I was missing, I wouldn't mind more of that in the future.

Thanks. I knew I had to put some of it in there when Simon sang the praises of Avon over Dubya. That said, not all commentary tracks are created equally. I remember one from season 5 where Dominic West was talking about the shot he tried to get of the lawyer where he could position the horns behind his desk into devil horns... and then gave up. I love Dominic, but I soured a bit on his directing prowess after that one.

Another bit I saw from the commentary. Simon notes that he did hear that a few communities here and there did try to implement Hamsterdam-lite solutons after the episode. He however does not know how they ended up.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Bulls Hit posted:

Thanks, not what I was hoping for, but it will have to do. I hate waiting for the DVDs in the mail.

What exactly were you hoping for? :filez: ?

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
While we're talking about the Wire's non-liberal stances, I'm currently watching the HBO special on the Cheshire killings, where the perpetrators are portrayed as the "Poster Children for the Death Penalty." Let's talk about the Wire's supportive stance on the death penalty. The Wire portrays the Death Penalty as a wrench to obtain confessions from hardened killers who can't be reached any other way. Essentially, it portrays the death penalty as necessary. Weebay confesses to avoid the death penalty. Although much of what he confesses to is bullshit, he leads the police to information which makes the case. The entire port case is made off of Sergei trying to avoid the death penalty.

I'm personally anti-death penalty, but to what extent do people agree with the Wire's portrayal?

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Jerusalem posted:

Elsewhere, one of the most terrifying things I can imagine is happening. The truth behind Marlo's lack of bodies is revealed as Chris and Snoop calmly, in a business-like fashion, set up a killing area inside an old vacant house... with their target right there in the midst of it, blubbering and begging for life. Lead like a lamb to the slaughter (the episode's epigraph), the victim has gone along and entered the home with them despite knowing his death is coming. Tearful, terrified and desperate for life, he doesn't fight or try to run, he just kneels there shaking and crying, throwing up at one point, pleading for his life but not doing anything - the kind of terror that Chris and Snoop can engender in a person to bring them to this state is just utterly chilling, as is the indifferent way that Chris cuts off the pleading, noting in his businesslike way that the victim need not worry, they're taking care of everything and will make sure it is quick and clean - a humane death like you might see at an ethical butcher's. "Chri-" starts the victim, and then he's shot through the head by Chris' silenced pistol, then a couple more times to be sure before they pour quicklime on him to help break down the body faster and cover him in plastic sheeting,.. and then they go, nail gun in hand to board up the house and leave it just another vacant home along the rows of vacant homes, nobody any the wiser that Marlo's victims are inside.

So as I recall, part of this scene made it into the opening credits. If so, this is a scene which had to be reshot. I guess they shot it once, figured out that in the setup they had there would be Chris and Snoop DNA all over the place, and reshot it with rubber gloves and some other stuff. This actually turned out to be a key detail since one of the things which catches Chris is the bareknuckle beatdown he gave to Mike's dad.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
If people want to get into Michael's frame of mind in anticipation of this season, you can check out Clarissa comics (:nms: http://imgur.com/a/mDf8c :nms:) which were introduced to me by this thread ( http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3563443 ). The one that gets me the most is "Sorry we couldn't play pirates" in the Bunny comic.

They aren't especially graphic and the swearing in them is relatively mild. But the subject matter makes them one of the most :nms: things I've seen. For real, they will ruin your day - but they might also (thank god I don't know personally) give you some insight into the hate and fear and self-loathing that goes into making a murderer like Mike or Chris Partlow. Or what Mike felt like he needed to save Bug from.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
http://www.avclub.com/articles/a-robot-is-making-random-gifs-of-the-wire,101642/

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level
I spoke with a friend about the wire recently. Basically, I'm kind of weird in that I don't mind the 5th season too much. What happened was that I got HBO in time for the 5th season, so that was the only one I watched live (well, not live as he pointed out but whatever).

From that perspective, the 5th season was an interesting take on the usual crime procedural. It didn't occur to me how out of character it would be for Lester to go along with all those terrible and poorly planned out parts of the homeless murder storylines. For TV shows that aren't the wire, having someone as unmitigatedly evil as the newspaper bosses is not too out of the ordinary. Most importantly, it wasn't something that I saw immediately after Season 4. I of course realize now how subpar it is as a season, but I still kind of find it fun. Also, without the heartbreak of Season 4, Bubbles' storyline is a pleasant aside with a happy ending :kimchi:

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

the black husserl posted:

It was absolutely in character of Lester to go along with a hairbrained scheme. People act like he is infinitely wise but he loves loving over the big dogs more than anything else, including the rules or his career. He got put in the basement for 14 years once for it and went right back to it after he got out. He's McNulty with slightly more patience and better carpentry skills.

Well that's the point. He waited to gently caress over the bosses for 15 years. It's pretty clear that over those 15 years there were lots of times that the police force was de-funded. Violent crime had been much higher in Baltimore in the 80s and 90s than 2000s. If he was going to blow his load on loving over the bosses, why not then? The true Freamon play was the one we just saw where he got out-manoeuvred by Rawls and Marimow. I agree that Lester is not above hare-brained schemes, but in the serial killer business, there was no exit strategy. As Rawls said, at some point the police would "actually have to catch this loving guy." And for what? You knock out Marlo and he'll just get replaced with someone worse.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Jerusalem posted:

It really is a testament to the writing on the show (and J. D. Williams' performance) that we feel so bad about his fate even though in season one he (and Poot!) murdered the sweet and "innocent" Wallace. Normally there would be no coming back or redemption for a character after something like that, but Bodie becomes somebody we feel a personal investment in, and Poot becomes a fun and almost comic character despite his own part in the brutal murder of one of his closest friends.

I still chuckle about the conversations between Poot and Bodie about Poot's various venereal diseases. Burn them bitches back!

cletepurcel posted:

Also the first time I saw it, I thought it was Michael that killed him (a lot of people make this mistake) so it was like 2 gut punches in one.

First few times for me. I wonder if that was intentional at all, because it also felt like a loss on innocence for Michael.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

escape artist posted:

No, it wasn't intentional. There's a conversation in an important scene where Marlo suggests Michael do it, and Chris counsels otherwise-- "boy worked for Bodie-- first time best be someone he ain't know-- and Marlo agrees. It's O-Dog who kills him.

Sure sure, but was it intentional to cast O-Dog to make O-Dog look like Michael?

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Basebf555 posted:

This is how I feel about Bodie too. Wallace's murder is the most affecting and memorable of the series to me, it never left my mind even by Season 4. By then I had sympathy for Bodie's lot in life, as I do with most of the characters on the show, but when it came down to it my first thought when he died was "Hey, you get what you give, he finally got what was coming to him." Just not with that satisfied feeling you usually get when some rear end in a top hat finally gets their comeuppance, this was more a depressed sigh.

I never faulted Bodie for Wallace's murder. If there's any one person to fault it is Stringer. But even that's not exactly right. Stringer wanted to build a drug empire. A drug empire doesn't treat each person as a special case - if a drug empire catches a whiff of snitching, it demands the snitch be killed. Bodie and Poot certainly didn't want to kill their friend, but since they were specifically asked by the head dude, they did it. And yes, they could have said no. But the best case scenario there would be that their boss gets to think of them as having no heart. Stringer gets some actual muscle to kill Wallace and Bodie/Poot stop advancing in the Barksdale organization. Their apparently hopeless lives get a little more hopeless. Worst case, Stringer thinks they might be snitches, and has them offed as well.

Now certainly the human thing to do here would be to say no and to make Stringer go get actual muscle. Just as in season 5, the human thing for Carcetti to do would be to take the money from Annapolis. Each of these people made terrible decisions, but their decisions are at least understandable.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Boywhiz88 posted:

Honestly, the worst parts of Season 5 are the serial killernewsroom bosses, but otherwise everything else is great.

Well, OK not everything. But McNulty doing some dumb poo poo like that made sense. As did the press going along with it. Everything else though...

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

geeves posted:

Margin of Error is one of my favorite episodes in that the subtext show how vulnerable these characters are, especially Omar and Randy. I can't fathom Donnelly's horror in hearing Randy know and was involved with, even tangentially, a murder. I really like what Carver tries to do for Randy and while it doesn't work out, we get some sort of catharsis with Colvin and Namond

Jerusalem, you compared De'Londa to Donette, and while fair, I think that Squeak is more of a De'Londa in training.

The gently caress you say?

Personally, the thing that gets me about Omar's trouble this season is how ingenious Marlo's (Chris's?) plan is. If Omar didn't know McNulty, he'd be one dead dude. Well, a year before he'd be dead anyhow.

twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Hammy posted:

The parallel of course is Donnelly flipping Randy. It's something that seems so harmless from a suburban perspective - a teacher using her cunning to get information from a student - but put into the context of a poverty ridden inner city reeling from the drug war, it basically ends a human life. Was Donnelly wrong to flip Randy? I just don't know. It brings me back to the discussion earlier about Bodie...everyone's just stuck in the game.

Well this is the other side of "stop snitching." While many rightfully decry the culture that encourages people to never go to the police, there is a real danger to putting your life into the hands of a police officer who doesn't necessarily have your best interests at heart. In the real world, you have cases like this - http://www.democracynow.org/2013/2/20/throwaways_recruited_by_police_thrown_into

In fiction, you can now see a situation like this playing out on Breaking Bad (Breaking Bad spoilers only) where Hank tries to use Skyler and Jesse as informants on Walt, pushing them not to go through lawyers in his single-minded pursuit of Heisenberg. In each situation, once a police officer gets his or her claws into the informant, that's only an excuse to dig deeper the next time. So it is with Randy - once Donnelly knows that she can come to him for information, she knows that she can go right back to that well. It's like that for Bubbles as well in some sense, given how Kima and McNulty use his addiction. You just don't notice it so much since he's already at the bottom of the food chain.

In a way the school setup is worse in that minors miss many of the rights that adults do. When you are read your Miranda rights, the bit about a lawyer is in acknowledgement of the fact that a police officer need not have your best interests at heart. If Randy had a lawyer at that meeting, he would be counseled to certainly not give up anything about his tenuous connection to Lex's murder.

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twerking on the railroad
Jun 23, 2007

Get on my level

Jerusalem posted:

And in fact, later on when Lester and Bunk show up to get information from Randy, Prez refuses to let them talk to him and tells Randy not to tell the police anything, because he knows the police either can't or won't do anything to look out for him. He remembers what happened to Wallace, and that was when competent and committed officers were involved.

I may need to refresh my knowledge, but I felt like at that point it was a mistake. Prez almost certainly could have found a lawyer friend who could take a couple of pro bono hours for Randy. At that point, Randy was in pretty deep with the police and could have used a little bit of the extra help that law enforcement could give him.

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