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May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

That's the thing, on the one hand it's kind of amazing how he manages to retain so much of his happy, friendly demeanor and just feel like a "normal" person but on the other it's a little troubling that he does seem to be so able to still be that type of person regardless of everything he's seen/been involved with. It may be just that he's one of those people who genuinely don't let things get under their skin and always looks on the bright side, but it may be that he's living in denial.

I think one thing that is clear is that he was only involved in the drug game because that is where his friends were. Once he had no friends left, he was out. He wasn't "made for this", he wasn't in it for "the game" or anything like that, he seemed to be just going along with what his friends were doing. His buddies are dealing drugs now? Okay, he'll do that! Gets out of prison, where is his friend Bodie? Still dealing drugs? Okay, that's what he'll do! Bodie is gone, Wallace is gone, even Little Kevin is gone? gently caress it then, he'll go get a job selling shoes and concentrate on the one thing that he is passionate about - sex!


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Fragmented posted:

But Kima saw him in the room with an illegal wiretap running, and she knew how they managed to get it running. I guess she just didn't mention his name because like you say it was McNutty and Lesters game?

From what I remember, Sydnor had no idea the wiretap wasn't legitimate, didn't he? Lester and McNulty kept him in the dark so that if things went south, only they would suffer?

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Ahh right, I did forget about that conversation, thanks!

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

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

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I've been deliberately holding back on watching new episodes till I can write them up (or escape artist has) so right now I pretty much look like this:

I'll have the final episode of season one up in a few hours, and I'll start up season 2 a day or so after that.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Episode 13: Sentencing

Traditional West Baltimore posted:

All in the game.

So something wrong has happened here. The season isn't over but the final episode has already aired? The bad guys were arrested, the good guys won, it's all over, surely? In most television shows, the bad guy being caught/defeated happens as a climactic moment that proves the valor and might and integrity of the heroes. But as we saw in the last episode, the arrest of Avon Barksdale proved a giant anti-climax. The case had been hollowed out by the time they finally put the cuffs on Avon, turning into a PR exercise in the wake of Kima's death and focusing on a sacrificial goat in Avon before the case could delve deeper into the powers BEHIND "the King". Lester wanted to follow the money, Daniels was willing to go along with him as a late convert to the cause, while McNulty was left with the befuddled realization that "winning" didn't fix him or give him the satisfaction he wanted. Stringer is off the hook thanks to the police letting Wallace slip through their fingers, nothing has really been achieved short of a sop to throw to the public that the police took down a "bad guy".

Kima wakes up to discover Detectives Cole and Bunk at her bedside, waiting patiently for her. Her voice is raspy but she can communicate, and they're here to show her two photo arrays and see if she can pick out her shooters. Bunk shows her the first and quite deliberately taps Little Man's picture with his finger, and Kima is quick to identify him. She signs under his photo (so happily the feared paralysis didn't occur) but when Bunk does the same trick with Wee-Bey, she is adamant - she saw Little Man because he leaned through the front window to get at the money (which is when he saw her and lost his cool) but the second shooter never came forward and she cannot confirm that it was Wee-Bey. Patient if a little flummoxed, Bunk explains all the evidence they have gathered that suggests the other shooter was Wee-Bey (but also the lack of evidence like the guns, as well as the problem of dealing with the jury), and offers her the photo again, but Kima won't play ball, telling Bunk that sometimes things just have to play hard. By the window, Cole looks upset but Bunk seems actually pleased, if not proud of her.

Cleaning up is continuing, lower level dealers in the Towers are being arrested including Ronnie Mo, the former Pit boss who moved into D'Angelo's old Tower spot at the start of the season. Herc is on the phone reporting their progress back, CCO hasn't been found yet but everybody else of any relevance/importance has been. Hanging up, Carver puns that they've fished their limit and should head home, and then stands incredulously as Herc responds with an admonition that Carver should be getting used to calling him Sir in front of the other men, since he'll be getting his Sergeant stripes soon. At the Detail, Prez is updating their chart with Herc's latest info - 12 of the top dogs in Avon's organization have been arrested, another 7 are still being searched for. Daniels takes this in but quickly moves on, asking what Freamon and McNulty have been able to work up - he knows that unless they can pick up information on what the Barksdales are doing next then the case would be shut down and they'll miss their chance to finish what they started. Avon's only choice is to get straight back into the game or give up the Towers, which he will never do, and McNulty figures that Stringer will be running things in Avon's absence. Freamon disagrees, Avon has no prior convictions and they only have him on a comparatively weak charge, and it's likely he'll be out on bail within a couple of hours and jumping straight back into running his empire - the "victory" of his arrest proven hollow again. Daniels is concerned about the time factor, even if they can find out where Avon/Stringer are setting up next, they won't have time to get an affidavit written up for a new wiretap before the Deputy Ops has everybody reassigned, so McNulty makes the kind of suggestion that would have made early season Daniels poo poo himself with rage - why not go to the Feds? Why not go to the Feds... without letting Burrell know? Daniels' reaction shows how much he has become invested in the case/the Detail, he's surprised by the audacity but doesn't dismiss it out of hand, in fact he smiles and laughs at McNulty being "a piece of work", his pleasure echoed by Prez and Freamon. A call comes through for McNulty, and for a change it's good news - Rhonda Pearlman has recieved a call from a New York Public Defense Attorney representing... D'Angelo Barksdale. Everybody instantly grasps what this means, they have a chance to talk to D'Angelo without Levy being present to shut him up - McNulty wants to meet Rhonda immediately with a tape recorder so they can get everything D'Angelo has to say on tape.

At Baltimore Central Booking & Intake Center, Freamon's prediction has come true as Avon is already a free man. Leaving with Stringer, his instant concern is that they had to show $250,000 in Bond money to get him out. Stringer tells him they can't meet Levy in the Club since it has been compromised, so they travel to meet him in a carpark, Avon in a calm and relaxed mood, greeting his driver warmly like he's just been picked up from one of his girlfriend's houses. Meeting Levy, he updates them on the amount of arrests so far (20) and how the paperwork reads - all arrests are based on information provided by a "confidential source". Stringer had been pushing the idea of a snitch for much of the season, but he freely admits that no one snitch could have known enough to warrant the arrest of so many people INCLUDING Avon, and Levy tells him his gut is saying there is a wiretap - maybe on a couple of phones, perhaps based in a specific location - did he ever talk business on the phone to D'Angelo? Avon is offended by the question, he only ever spoke to him face to face in the office in the back of Orlandos'.... :doh:

Levy tries to take a positive approach, saying it's good that they were in the process of moving out when Avon was arrested. Stringer wants to delve into this a little deeper though, pointing out that he and Avon often spoke business in the club but he hasn't been arrested. Avon agrees that this is loving him up as well, though there is absolutely no suggestion that Avon is considering that Stringer himself could be the snitch (if you think about it, Stringer is probably the only single "confidential source" that could have caused all those arrests) - there are some people that are just above suspicion, even to a man as paranoid as Avon. Levy gives Avon a note, he received a phonecall from Wee-Bey informing them where and when he would be available to talk on the phone, and then discusses what is to be done with the people who have been arrested. Getting them all out is showing even more money that they have to explain, but leaving them in creates the potential for making them into enemies who can hurt them. This line of questioning allows Levy to segue into discussing D'Angelo, but again the normally paranoid Avon is unconcerned, claiming that D'Angelo is family and while he might be bucking at the moment, a couple of days in holding will see him holding out his hand for bail money like everybody else. Satisfied (or diplomatic enough not to argue), Levy moves on to Avon's own defense - Avon might have to consider a structured plea in which he gives up the people beneath him to reduce his own sentence - so much for "no snitching", it seems that in the drug game, much like in the legit world, the rules don't really apply to the people at the very top.

At Homicide, McNulty is going over his files in preparation for meeting D'Angelo when Bunk tells him about meeting Kima. He learns that McNulty still hasn't been to visit her, and McNulty insists that he will once he returns from New Jersey... he will! Bunk tells him about her refusal to identify Wee-Bey, and both seem impressed, McNulty saying she's "real police". Rhonda arrives, tossing a tape recorder onto McNulty's desk and scowling at him before turning a sunny smile on Bunk. She leaves and Bunk asks McNulty what he did to piss her off, and McNulty (who forced her to lie about threatening an investigation into Levy's finances) being McNulty declares that he has no idea. Bunk points out driving up to New Jersey with the two of them is going to be a looooooong trip.

Avon and Stringer arrive at a funeral parlor where a family are picking out coffins and another family are viewing an open casket. Heading upstairs into the office, Avon isn't upset by the morbidity of running their drug empire out of a funeral home but by the fact it's too quiet compared to Orlando's. He looks out the window into an alleyway where a craps game is being played and kids are running through, and starts to talk to Stringer who quiets him, pointing at the open door - this is the first sign of what will become almost a catchphrase for Stringer. Avon whispers into Stringer's ear, telling him the office will actually work out okay, they just need to get a safe put in for him to keep money from the collected count. Brianna arrives, amused by the difference in location, and both quiet her and take her outside to talk on the street. She notes how careful they're being but Avon insists it is a new day, from this point on they will not talk business indoors. Speaking of which, Avon turns to his overriding passion - his Towers. He wants the word to get out that the Barksdale Organization isn't dead yet, he wants dealers slinging and junkies getting high, but Brianna and Stringer insist that THEY will be the ones handling things. This isn't a case of usurping power, both are looking out for Avon's best interests, until they can fix things up with his current charge he needs to be hands-off from the business, and Brianna will handle the money while Stringer handles the product. Avon agrees, looking touched by their loyalty (remember how much he values the notion of family looking out for each other) and tells Stringer he needs to tell "Roberto" to cook up the best quality imaginable, he wants to put out a product so good that the junkies will be knocked out, so that everybody knows how strong the Barksdales still are despite the very public rounding up of Avon and his top dealers.

Roberto is Avon's supplier, a connection made/cemented presumably during Avon's rise to the top as he stepped up to replace his comatose older brother. Next season we'll meet Prop Joe's connection, and it bears thinking about to remember that Joe and Avon, the "kings" of their respective turfs, are themselves getting product from people in bigger networks, who are probably "kings" in their own right but also pay up to some other higher level and so on up. Nothing is as simple as the "complicated" game of chess that D'Angelo showed Bodie, Poot and Wallace.

Avon, without Levy around, lets slip that he is concerned about D'Angelo, and asks Brianna what is going on with him. She assures him that D'Angelo will be fine as soon as she has had a chance to see him and talk with him. Avon, looking surprisingly vulnerable, tells her to let D'Angelo know he is sorry for putting him in the situation and that he'll make it up to him, and Brianna agrees wholeheartedly, he IS going to make it up to D'Angelo, most def.

Of course only a few hours later in New Jersey, a belligerent D'Angelo is getting revenge. His public defender is stressing that this is a proffer only, if they aren't able to provide him with a satisfactory deal then whatever he has told them stays in the room. Rhonda agrees, and lays out for audience's benefit what we've missed so far - D has indicated willingness to testify that he was a Lieutenant in Avon's drug distribution organization, that he sold large quantities drugs on behalf of Avon, delivered money, attended organizational meetings and was sent up to New York at Avon's request... but that's only the drug trafficking side of things. D'Angelo wants to know what else they want, and Bunk starts handing over files to McNulty - they want information on the murders. D'Angelo is tired of them trying to get information on the witness murder from him, but they reveal that it's not just one witness anymore, showing him a photo of Nakeesha Lyles' dead body, as well as Wallace's. D'Angelo is surprised to see Lyles was murdered too (remember her evidence in episode one helped FREE him) but most of his attention is on Wallace's photo, the final definitive proof that Stringer did what he feared he had. D'Angelo takes a long, hard look at the photo and then turns them over, trying to put them out of his mind, telling them that "they" (Avon and Stringer) are cleaning up/covering up. They agree, but McNulty won't let D'Angelo get away from the visual images so easily, turning over each photo in turn as he points out the reasons for their murders - Lyles was paid so she had to be killed, and Orlando was arrested and snitching so they killed him too... but why kill Wallace? McNulty uses Wallace against D'Angelo as he'd hoped to use him against Stringer, making no mention of the fact that Wallace confessed to them or even that he met them, making out that he was killed for absolutely no reason whatsoever and that the police are as baffled by the death as D'Angelo is. I was disgusted by McNulty's thoughtlessness when they found Wallace's body and complained that it killed the case against Stringer, but I'm not disgusted by this - McNulty is interrogating D'Angelo, he is going to lie to get D'Angelo to tell him the truth, he is going to say and do whatever it takes to get him speaking, and if that means using a pointless and horrible murder to his own advantage well... I have a hard time getting upset by it.

Simon goes into interrogation in depth in his book Homicide, just like everything else in his books it's well worth a read to see the ways the police get a suspect to start speaking. McNulty and Bunk between them are able to easily create the impression that they already know everything about Brandon's murder, thanks to a mix of the cloned pagers, their own investigation into the arcade and Wallace's confession they clearly lay out the timeline of the murder. D'Angelo starts talking and once he starts it is hard to stop, he reveals that Wallace is the one who made the call, stressing that Wallace didn't really comprehend the implications of what he was doing. D himself did, but complains that he had no choice but to put the call through to Stringer because otherwise word would have gotten back to him that D didn't. He tells how Brandon was laid out as a message for all to see that you did not gently caress with Avon Barksdale, and how Wallace was so hosed up by what he saw that he wanted to get out of the game. D'Angelo smiles as he recalls talking with Wallace about going back to school, another lovely bit of acting from Larry Gilliard Jr, and how Avon and Stringer called him in wanting to know about Wallace, and how he told them that Wallace was out of the game. He admits that he should have done more, and for one of the first times in the show fully owns up to his guilt instead of saying he had no choice or there were other extenuating circumstances. He doesn't know who killed Wallace though, despite Bunk's insistence that whoever it was made sure the "young'uns" weren't there when it happened (the unspoken suggestion being it was somebody who knew Wallace well) but Wallace insists he has no idea, and if he did he would say so. I believe D'Angelo on this one, I don't think he would have any problem accusing Bodie, but I also think he'd never in a million years think that Bodie would kill his own friend. Realizing that the well is dry on Wallace, they move on to Kima's missing shooters - Little Man and Wee-Bey. D'Angelo reveals that Wee-Bey is in Philly, that he dropped him off in the North End himself but he has no idea what the address is. When Bunk asks if he spoke about the shooting, D'Angelo sneers that they don't talk business in the car, that's a rule they have - it's a nice callback to episode 1 where Wee-Bey berates D'Angelo for talking business in the car, and typical of D'Angelo trying to make himself look bigger/better/more competent.

"Is that it?" D'Angelo asks, insisting there is nothing else when Rhonda says that the deal is based on full disclosure. They show him the picture of Dierdre Kresson, and again Bunk uses the interrogation trick of pretending he knows it all already, knocking on the desk to echo the tapping on the window that he and McNulty surmised must have happened from the "gently caress" crime scene. For D'Angelo, it must seem that the police are near omniscient, they knew exactly what happened with Brandon, they know who ambushed Orlando, they even know about how Dierdre was killed. So he tells a very different version of the story he told the Pit crew - about how he was sent up to see Avon's girlfriend with drugs, how she was naked under the gown to tease him, how he didn't know that he was a distraction so Wee-Bey could get in position, how an excited Wee-Bey told him exactly how he killed her after the deed was done. In the past some have questioned if this story is true or if D'Angelo really is the one who committed the murder. I certainly subscribe to the idea that Wee-Bey is the one who did it and that D'Angelo just wanted to talk himself up in front of the Pit Crew.

The proffer session has come to an end, Bunk and McNulty are pleased - they've just tied up a great many loose ends - and Pearlman is carefully writing down the salient points on her legal pad, while the clearly otherwhelmed Public Defender can't stop staring at the photos of murder victims tossed haphazardly onto the table one after the other, wondering what she's gotten herself into. D'Angelo looks at her, at Pearlman studiously making her notes and declares that they just don't understand, none of them do. Do they know what it is like to grow up in this? His Grandfather was Butch Stanford, his father, uncles and cousins - this is just what they do, they live with this poo poo till they can't breathe no more. He picks up the photo of Wallace and stares at it, saying that the 8 months he was in prison awaiting his trial he felt freer than any point he'd ever felt in his life. So what does he want in exchange for his testimony? He wants to go away, he wants to be free of the poo poo he has known all his life, out of "the game", away from his family, free to breathe, to be like ordinary people. He wants what Wallace wanted, and if they can give him that, then he will give them Avon, Stringer, everybody.

Daniels gets brought up to speed at home while Marla eats dinner. Rejoining her, he proudly tells her that the case has been broken wide open, and she happily toasts him before revealing her sharp political feelers - does this square him with Burrell? He puts a brave face on it and tells her that he's going to go above his head and take it to the Feds, and when she looks scandalized he explains that Burrell attempted to blackmail him with knowledge of "the money", in fact he thinks Burrell chose him specifically because he thought he could control him with that knowledge if it came down to it. Marla is less at ease than Cedric, wanting to know exactly how much Burrell knows, and he lays it out bluntly - if Burrell wanted to, he could end Daniels' with what he knows... but he doesn't think Burrell wants to. It would be too messy, create too much stink, and with a wry grin he declares it's just like this case. The no-nonsense chain-of-command Lieutenant seems to be reveling in an almost McNulty-like way in just how much trouble he is causing while doing "real" police work.

He's not the only one happy about the case, Rhonda sits parked with McNulty in his car at Headquarters in Baltimore (Bunk has already gone), giddy as a schoolgirl over the implications of the case now that they have a star witness. Gasping that it is a career-making case and she has felt drunk since D'Angelo started talking, she raves about how the case goes to Kima's shooting as well but really it is going to absolutely make her career in the State Attorney's Office. She beams at McNulty, then remembers that she's in a bad mood with him and is straight out of the car to go to her own, McNulty following to try and apologize to her, presumably having remembered at last about the incident with Levy. As he tries to make nice, she suddenly turns and kisses him, laughing as she asks him if he's never done it in the parking garage of headquarters before.

Interesting contrasts in those two scenes. Rhonda and Marla are both excited by the case breaking open, both see the potential political bonuses (Daniels back in Burrell's good books, Pearlman "making" her career) but Pearlman's self-interest is at least tempered by the knowledge that her career-making case is also getting justice for Kima's shooting and solving many outstanding murders. Marla - perhaps quite justifiably - is concerned that the case is going to cost Daniels personally and professionally, while he seems almost relieved to no longer be anchored by these concerns and just concentrating on doing good police work. Daniels and Pearlman are both late to their enthusiasm for the case, but their enthusiasm is genuine.

We discover where Bunk went, hooking up with Freamon the two have gone to see an old work colleague of Freamon's - "Downtown" Roy Brown - who has retired from the force and works a security desk at a phone company. He's delighted to see Freamon and they exchange pleasantries, Brown complaining about his lovely supervisor and the small office before getting down to business and asking why "Uptown" Lester Freamon is there, because surely it isn't just to say hello. Bunk has obviously filled in Freamon on D'Angelo's information and they're trying to do an end-run on the phone company by calling in a favor from Brown. They need a track and trace on a Philadelphia number, and they don't have time to argue back and forth with the company over if it can be done, and how long it would take. It's also not as simple as tracing a single number, they need a list of Philly numbers who have called a Baltimore number (Levy's) in the last week. Unfortunately for the, after Brown looks it over he tells Lester that IF i can be done it will take at least a week, and maybe two. Depressed that the phone company's bullshit might actually be accurate, Lester and Bunk prepare to leave, confusing Brown who reveals he was playing a game with them, this is supposed to be the part where they tell him how important this is and he works his magic. Freamon and Bunk exchange a look and explain that the Philly number is the shooter of the undercover female police officer, and Brown gapes, then goes serious, taking the number immediately - an old, retired cop he might be but this isn't a Mahon or Polk, and now he's all business.

The next day, McNulty has met with his FBI friend Fitzhugh to put out feelers about giving them the Barksdale case. Fitzhugh reminds him the FBI isn't focused on drug crimes anymore and suggests the DEA, but McNulty says they're based too close and word would get back to the bosses, revealing for the first time to Fitzhugh that this is being done without their knowledge. McNulty just offers a sheepish grin and Fitzhugh decides what the hell, and is surprised to learn that Daniels will be joining them. McNulty, in a real turnaround from earlier in the season, stands up for Daniels, saying he has played out the case with real heart. Fitzhugh agrees to set something up.

At Stringer's print shop, his decision to keep the place completely legit has gone by the wayside. A well groomed older man arrives with a leather bag and asks for 10 copies, and leaves the bag behind after collecting his copies. Stringer heads into the back with the bag, which is filled with the Roberto's special shipment, and Stringer gives directions to the muscle that arrives (after confirming he has locked the door first, soon to be a Stringer staple) to deliver the drugs to the Towers with specific instructions on how to vial it up. The drugs aren't street ready, they need to be prepared by the dealers themselves, and he explains the portions to use. This is what is going to herald to the West Side that the Barksdale Organization is still in the game, and there can't be any gently caress-ups. They'll be doing this until they have a new stash to use.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 11:10 on Apr 6, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

The FBI meeting is going ahead, and the Agent sitting alongside Fitzhugh is impressed with the case. The problem is, they don't have any suppliers listed, and Fitzhugh explains again that post-9/11 they have clear directives to focus on corruption, terrorism and organized crime - if they had Columbian or Russian drug suppliers they could step in, but the highest they go is Avon Barksdale (again, the King is only the King in his kingdom). Freamon and McNulty aren't pleased, pointing out that all they have are local gangsters tearing apart the West Side, but it's no use complaining to the Agent, she can't bring anything to their ASAC that doesn't fall under their current scope. Daniels has an idea though, grinning at McNulty and Freamon at the idea of corruption, clearly thinking of his recent meeting with Senator Clay Davis.

In The Pit, Bodie joins Poot to deal with a distressing problem - they have no drugs and a new crew is setting up shop on their doorstep, selling their own "off-brand" yellow-tops to junkies who just want a hit and don't care where they get it. Joined by others in their crew, Bodie takes the spokesman's role by taking a baseball bat to the leg of one of the new dealers and intimidating the others, telling them that this isn't an open market and they can't sell their poo poo.... or rather, they can, but they have to be prepared to fight for the territory. The other crew insist that Bodie's group don't have anything to sell - we can see why Avon was so keen to get back into the swing of things, memories are short and their customer base aren't discriminating, and in only a day predatory wannabes are moving in to try and take the territory he fought for years to get. Bodie has had enough talk and goes in swinging, joined by others including Poot who, if you watch carefully, somehow manages to never quite be in the thick of things. As they brawl, Bodie's crew quickly getting the upper hand (they brought baseball bats to a fistfight), they watched from a car by Carver and Herc. Carver says that this is why they'll never win, echoing the young'un who explained the difference between "the count" and doing math problems to Wallace - if the dealers gently caress up they get beat, if the police gently caress up they get pensions. They watch as the other crew is run off, Bodie and Poot strutting away in triumph... for now, at least.

McNulty arrives to see Kima at last, Cheryl sitting with her. He couldn't deal with seeing her unconscious in the Intensive Care Unit, and he couldn't see her as she slowly recovered, but now that she is mostly stabilized he can finally deal with it - the guilt is no longer eating him up. He jokes that she isn't much of an eyeball witness, but she wants to get the unimportant things pushed aside to talk about what is going on with the case, causing McNulty to make the rather ironic statement - geez, give it a rest! He has to tell her that the wire is dead after the raids, Daniels wouldn't tell her anything but "the good poo poo", and she wants to know everything. He tells her about D'Angelo flipping and how they're trying to go to the Feds, but then Cheryl bursts out of her seat, snaps,"gently caress both of you!" and leaves the room. Kima explains that she is trying to convince her to leave the force, and to make her feel better Kima is pretending to be considering it. McNulty does agree with one thing that Cheryl had to say though - the case isn't worth what happened to her, no case is. He explains why he took so long to see her, it was the guilt that she got shot taking part in a case that he forced on everybody - because when a case like this calls for an undercover operative it's always going to be a black cop who takes the spot, somebody like her or Sydnor. He tries to say what he would do if he could do it all over, but she interupts him to say what SHE would do if she could do it all over again - she'd use more tape on the gun. This seems to break him, and he finally blurts out what he has been wanting to say - he's sorry. It's not something McNulty says often, nor something he usually says genuinely, but he is genuinely, truly sorry, looking near to breaking down as he says it. Kima plays it off, telling him that since he's in there acting like her bitch, she might as well get him to do something for her. It's incredibly touching, even though she's in hospital and has been through so much, she hasn't forgotten a promise she made to Bubbles.

McNulty delivers the money that Kima promised Bubbles back before she was shot, the promise that saw Bubbles take a beating and get sent back into the lions' den of the drug markets. McNulty, who didn't really hear what Bubbles was trying to say in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, is taking the time to listen now. Bubbles, who looks good and has new, clean clothes, takes a single note and offers the rest back to McNulty, telling him this is all he needs for what he has going on at the moment. McNulty asks if he is sure, and Bubbles hesitates a moment before finally taking the rest and heading away, clearly no longer clean, his first serious attempt at staying sober a failure. He turns to look at McNulty and asks him not to let Kima know, and Jimmy watches as he heads up to a local dealer to get high. :smith:

At the Detail, Herc can't believe that he has been passed over for Sergeant despite his high placing on the list. More surprisingly, Carver and four others jumped him despite lower rankings, meaning that Carver HAS made Sergeant. Herc says it must be down to the brutality complaints against him, but shows surprising grace despite his earlier insistence on Carver calling him sir and congratulates Carver, who seems oddly subdued. Freamon arrives with Shardene and they head into the monitor room to have some lunch, Herc and Carver staring in shock as Shardene playfully laughs and flirts with Freamon. Carver comments to Herc that the world has obviously turned on its rear end, while Prez reports to Freamon that Roy Brown called with the number he was looking for. Freamon is pleased, but isn't going to interrupt his lunch with Shardene - this is somebody who knows his priorities! Spotting Herc and Carver staring at them, Freamon closes the door to enjoy some privacy.

Sometime later, Daniels, Freamon and McNulty return to a more collegial FBI meeting in a better room, with Pearlman attending, Fitzhugh and the female Agent joined by two others plus First Deputy US Attorney, who is very impressed by the case and the quality of the police work. Their interest is in Clay Davis, who they've been looking into for quite some time, and Freamon lays out depth of the potential corruption charge. This is more than Day-Day picking up 20k from a drug market, and McNulty himself is surprised to learn that Freamon uncovered the connection between Avon and Stringer's purchase of vacant storefront property in areas that are now being targeted for redevelopment. The implication is that the Barksdale Organization was paying money in the form of campaign donations to Clay Davis (and others) in return for advance notice on what areas were going to be redeveloped. By purchasing the property in advance at rock-bottom prices, they're in a position to make a massive profit now by selling the properties on. Of course this isn't actually an entirely accurate description of what is really going on with these properties, as we'll find out in season 3, but it is accurate enough that the FBI is particularly interested.

But there is a fly in the ointment, as the Detectives discover that the FBI's interest is in using their cooperator - D'Angelo - to get information on Clay Davis. D'Angelo has never met Clay and has nothing for them on the money, all he can get them is the drugs, Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell. The Deputy US Attorney is happy with that though, because Avon and Stringer can give them the Senator, right? Freamon and Daniels are confused, but note this is definitely a possibility, but McNulty is outraged - they want to flip Avon and Stringer as co-operators to go after some politicians? He's furious, Avon and Stringer (the latter particularly) are his white whales and the FBI is talking about them as witnesses? About doing a deal with them? The female Agent stresses that they won't be walking on all the charges against them, but Freamon - slightly peeved himself - notes that they WILL be getting reduced sentences. McNulty can't let this go, ranting about the fact that drugs and murders don't cut it anymore, and declares that Bell and Barksdales are terrorists, they've killed 14-15 people including witnesses with impunity. The Deputy US Attorney rather smugly notes there is no need for this type of hyperbole (McNulty is actually technically right, they ARE terrorists by the definition of the term), and Freamon and Daniels turn to look at McNulty, then Rhonda, seeing what she thinks. McNulty is clearly opposed, and surprisingly Rhonda shakes her head in the negative as well - maybe because it guts her "career-making" case, maybe because she shares in the outrage at letting murderers get reduced sentences - and Daniels makes his decision. Standing, he VERY politely tells the FBI/Attorney that they'll be going in a different direction. The Deputy US Attorney looks surprised, but maybe if this is where things had stopped things would have gone in a very different way, but as usual McNulty can't resist getting in one last rant. Snapping that West Baltimore is dying, he declares that the "empty suits" are only interested in pinning a politician's pelt to the wall. He questions Fitzhugh's status as "real police" and storms out, Pearlman giving a slight exasperated shake of her head.

There's a lot to be said about this decision by Pearlman/Daniels/Freamon/McNulty. On the one hand, there is a genuine outrage to be felt over essentially giving murderers a walk in exchange for their cooperation. But how different is this from how the police used D'Angelo, how they thought they could possibly use Omar (remember Kima and McNulty originally planned to "flip" known murderer/violent criminal Omar to get at Avon) or how they tried to get Bird to cooperate? McNulty's rant about pinning a politician's pelt to the wall is ironic given that this entire case was built on his desire to get one over on Stringer Bell and get his scalp/pelt for himself. Plus the idea, often extolled by Freamon, that it is necessary to follow the money in a case. As we saw from the scene with Bodie's crew taking on the "off-brand" crew, there are always more people looking to step into the drug-dealing role, looking to rise up and take the spot of the Avons and the Stringers - but what happens if you dig deeper and get at the politicians, the suppliers, the people who back up and aid the corruption that allows drug dealing to flourish? Is there an argument to make that the politicians ARE a better target than whichever gangster got to the top of the drugdealer pile? Especially in light of what we know about how the follow four seasons unfolded, I'd argue that if they'd taken this deal they might have been able to strike a crippling (but by no means fatal) blow to organized drug operations in Baltimore, at least on the West Side. Or would the likes of Prop Joe quickly taken up the slack? Would the conflicts between small crews created even more violence and made the streets more dangerous? Only one thing is really for certain, in the "war on drugs" there are no easy answers/quick solution.

In New Jersey, D'Angelo is less than pleased to find out he has a visitor - his mother. She thought he was in New Jersey, not out in whatever county corrections facility they have him in (I'm really not certain where he is, to be honest) but she was able to track him down, declaring that nothing will keep a mother from her son. He spills out his anger over Avon getting him caught up like this, saying it isn't right, complaining that Avon always talks about the importance of family but here he is - family - in trouble and Avon isn't helping. Of course, D'Angelo himself kicked Levy and Stringer out in the previous episode due to his anger over Avon, but anger doesn't have to be logical. She hits back with that old motherly guilt by telling him that Avon would gladly take D'Angelo's place, he'll do it in a second BUT that means that somebody needs to take his place at the head of the family, and that would have to be D'Angelo... is he ready for that? Of course he isn't, he freely admits, and he never will be. Brianna's eyes widen when he explains that "they" are going to get him out, and she wants to know what he is giving "them" in return? She leans forward and continues to hammer him, Avon screwed up and he knows it, and D'Angelo can get revenge if he wants but it won't just be Avon he is hurting, it'll be the whole family. Her, the cousins, even his own baby will all suffer if they lose Avon as the head of the family, holding the empire together. This is part of "the game", without it they'd be living in poverty, they probably wouldn't be a family at all - so he can talk about getting away and starting over if he wants, but how can he start over without his family? Without family... he has nothing.

You can see where that whole "I feel like I can't breathe" thing comes from.

Much like they were completely unaware of what was happening to their star witness Wallace, the Detail are completely unaware what is happening to their star witness D'Angelo. Gearing up to travel to Philadelphia to apprehend Wee-Bey, Carver is called into Daniels' office for a private word. Carver foolishly sits down while Daniels remains standing, so that Daniels is looming over him from the otehr side of the desk, like the Principal calling a naughty student to his office. He even asks if Carver has anything he wants to tell him first, and reveals that he knows Carver is the one who has been feeding information to Burrell - he figured it out when Burrell didn't know about the camera in Avon's office, which happened when Carver was away on a training session. Carver struggles to provide an alternate explanation but quickly gives in, but - like D'Angelo when talking about phoning Stringer re: Brandon - offers justifications for why he had no choice - the Deputy Ops called him up to his office - on a floor Carver had never even been on before! The Deputy Ops asked him to keep him informed, is he supposed to say no to the Deputy Ops? Daniels sits, and leans forward to offer hard-learned advice. Carver has made Sergeant, soon he will be in charge of nearly a dozen officers who will be looking to him for guidance. Some will be smart, some will be dumb, some will be pieces of poo poo... but they will all take their cue from him. Loyalty? A strong work ethic? Some other kind of game? They'll do what he does. In about the most explicit reference Daniels will EVER make to what is in that FBI dossier on him, he explains that when he started in the Eastern District he worked a piece of poo poo Lieutenant who wanted to be a Captain, pieces-of-poo poo Sergeants who wanted to be Lieutenants, and that caused them to have pieces of poo poo patrolmen who had to learn "the game" for themselves - and some of the poo poo that they got up to then is still haunting them years later. It's an admission of guilt from Daniels, there obviously is some kind corruption in his past that got him the money he has now - but he didn't stay that way, and this may explain why he was so keen on being "by-the-book" in Narcotics and why he has finally embraced the value and integrity of the Barksdale case. He tells Carver that one day he will have to decide if the job is about himself or the work, and leaves him alone in the office.

Daniels goes to see Prez and hands him his gun, telling him that the Grand Jury cleared him on Tuesday and he knows it... they're serving a flight warrant on Wee-Bey tonight and he wants Prez with them. Prez, who has come into his own as an office cop insists there is work to be done in-office, but Daniels just tells him to be careful with the gun, reminding him that it USED to have a light trigger pull.

In Philadelphia, they're joined by Philly cops as they line up on either side of Wee-Bey's home. Carver - in a hoodie - waits for the signal then walks up and smashes in the window of Bey's car (it takes a couple of hits to shatter the glass, I'd like to think Seth Gilliam just improvised when the first shot didn't do it), setting off the alarm. In seconds Wee-Bey is out the front door in nothing but his drawers and a pair of shoes, and is immediately swarmed by the police who pull him to the ground, then slam him up against the trunk of the car. Bewildered, Wee-Bey finally realizes that it is the police who have grabbed him, and declares,"Bunch of low-bottom bitches! You didn't have to gently caress with my ride!"

Daniels has checked the interior of the house with Prez and steps out as Wee-Bey is thrown into the back of a Philly patrol car complaining they got lucky. The assembled Detail watch him going in with a great deal of satisfaction, they finally have at least one of the perps in the Kima shooting, even if it isn't the one who shot her. Unfortunately for them, this is as good as it gets, a series of unpleasant surprises are to follow.

The next day, Pearlman is having a pleasant lunch with Ilene Nathan and is amused to get a call from D'Angelo's correction facility, telling her that his lawyer is complaining about him being moved from the original jurisdiction of his arrest. She asks to be put through to the facility and tells the Officer she'll talk with the lawyer.... and gets a very unpleasant surprise.

McNulty is called in to see Rawls in Homicide, where the Major admits that McNulty hasn't made it easy for him to stay mad at him - he has a stack of clearances resulting from the Barksdale Case, enough to raise the entire unit clearance rate above 40% for the first time in the year. This would normally make Rawls do cartwheels, especially with Wee-Bey's arrest.... but then on the other hand, the Deputy Ops got a phone-call this morning from the First US Deputy Attorney wanting to know if an rear end in a top hat like McNulty really worked in the Homicide Department. McNulty's final angry "empty suits" insult ruffled feathers enough to cause a complaint, meaning that Burrell has now learned that McNulty (and more importantly, Daniels) went behind his back to the FBI. Jimmy's head shrinks into his neck, even he knows he has hosed up big time, but Rawls takes a surprisingly conciliatory tone, laughing that McNulty has a set of stones on him for calling the Deputy Attorney an empty suit. Genially, he assures McNulty that he wants to make sure he lands right, and just as Freamon warned him WOULD happen, he asks Jimmy where he DOESN'T want to go.

Daniels has joined Pearlman and Nathan in a meeting with Levy and Wee-Bey's attorney to discuss the case, with Levy now representing D'Angelo as well. In his smooth, slimy way Levy paints their case as sloppy and badly constructed, referring to the wiretaps as "half-heard/half said telephone conversations", pointing out that seized money, drugs and all the violence falls well short of Avon, they have nothing tying him directly to any of it (D'Angelo's statement was a proffer, and he's withdrawn his willingness to testify now). Daniels insists that he can't wriggle out of the New Jersey bust, but even then the most Levy will accede is that "maybe" Avon will have to eat that charge. He offers an alternate, Avon will plead guilty to one count of Attempted Possession and serve.... 3-4 years, maybe? Nathan, Pearlman and Daniels are amused, but Levy isn't finished. Avon will plead guilty, but he'll also arrange for all those beneath him to make similar pleas. As part of the structured deal he suggested to Avon earlier, Levy suggests that all those arrested with no prior convictions will take 5 year pleas. Those with one prior conviction will take 10 years. 15 years for two or more. As for the murders, well "Mr. Brice" (Daniels has to tell Rhonda this is Wee-Bey) is ready to admit to the murders of Orlando and taking part in the shooting of Kima. Wee-Bey's lawyer speaks up, saying that Wee-Bey will admit to at least a half dozen murders in exchange for taking the Death Penalty off of the table, and Nathan tries to bargain by saying they can do this if he names co-conspirators - but no dice, Wee-Bey is saying he acted completely alone. Levy - smug as a motherfucker - knows how the police mind generally works and points out this will lead to a number of clearances, while Pearlman rolls her eyes at the idea of Wee-Bey acting alone. This leaves the assets, and even there Levy isn't willing to give any more than he has to. They can have Orlando's, any trucks and cars that can be linked to the trafficking, and any cash picked up in the raids. This leaves the dozens of other properties including the towing company and the funeral parlor, but Levy is adamant, they can't link any criminal activity/ownership to those properties so they can't have them. Daniels and Pearlman are furious, this leaves the Barksdales with dozens of properties (including the valuable redevelopment property) and Stringer Bell still on the street with his hand on the throne. Levy affects a puzzled look and tells them if they have a charge to bring against Stringer Bell, they should go ahead and charge him. He knows they have nothing on the wiretap implicating him, and the two witnesses who were willing to testify are now dead and flipped back respectively. But on one thing they are adamant, Avon will NOT serve only 3-4 years, and Levy finally makes a concession, telling them to make a counter-offer.

So we come to the denouement. After 13 episodes and a chase that started in a courtroom trial, the Barksdale case comes to a premature end with what looks on the face of it to be a huge success that rings hollow. Avon pleads guilty to one count of attempted possession for the purposes of narcotics distribution in exchange for a maximum sentence of 7 years. As Pearlman reads out the consideration of facts leading to his arrest, McNulty and Stringer Bell are sitting in different places in the courtroom watching events unfold, just as they did in the first episode. Stringer is seated next to Brianna, but turns to look at McNulty as his best friend/boss is sent away. McNulty, unable to watch the hollow victory, leaves the courtroom to sit outside.

From a technical standpoint, it's interesting that they use a camera-angle/format for much of the courtroom scene that gives the impression we're watching an actual courtroom feed

Meanwhile, Nathan sits with Bunk in the interrogation room at Homicide talking with Wee-Bey and his lawyer, watched over by Detective Norris. Wee-Bey casually eats burgers and chips and drinks a coke as Bunk lays out the murders they have him for, and Norris asks if that is it? His lawyer reminds him that his cooperation is the only thing keeping the Death Penalty off of the table, and Nathan tries to play hardball by saying he'll only MAYBE get straight-life if he gives up Avon and Stringer. "Nah!" Wee-Bey replies casually, completely untroubled by her threat, but his lawyer points out that he should give them everything he has, anything he leaves out is outside of the scope of the deal, and they could charge him with it and have the Death Penalty as an option again. Wee-Bey considers, shrugs and says,"gently caress it, then!" and tells them for another pit sandwich and some potato salad, he'll "go a few more." Bunk motions to Norris to do it, and Bey - proving he hasn't learned from his previous encounter with it - tells him to make sure it has plenty of horseradish. With Norris gone, he casually tells Bunk he killed Little Man in case he was weak over shooting the cop, and left the body in Druid Hill behind the Reptile House. He killed both witnesses too, including William Gant. Bunk is surprised, since they've arrested Bird for that murder, but Bey shrugs when asked if he did it alone. Of course he didn't kill Gant, as is pointed out later he simply understands that he is getting life anyway so why not take that murder and try to get Bird back out on the street? Norris returns and tells Bey he'll have to get coleslaw instead of potato salad, and for the first time in his interrogation Bey actually looks slightly upset.

Pearlman is still working her way down the list, now on Ronnie Mo who is getting a sentence of 15 years. Avon looks back at Stringer and Brianna, knowing they're there for him even as the greater bulk of his Organization are put away.

At Police Headquarters, Daniels bumps into his friend Cantrell, who is now a Major, having received the promotion that Burrell had all but promised Daniels in the wake of the successful raids, before Daniels refused to play nice with Clay Davis and went behind his back to the FBI. Cantrell (genuinely) tells him he could use a good shift Lieutenant, and Daniels thanks him before heading back into his old Narotics stomping grounds, the Detail well and truly finished now. As he enters, he hears Herc delivering a sermon to new Detectives, stressing the need to use their heads and talking up his part in such important cases as the Barksdale Detail. Daniels is bemused, but pleased that the message at least is right, if not the messenger.

Brianna and Stringer leave the courtroom, and Stringer notices McNulty sitting outside. Pausing, he approaches and offers perhaps the best compliment he could ever offer somebody like McNulty, bringing the series full circle - "Nicely done".

In the Towers, Bodie is on his cellphone complaining to "Rock-Rock" that they haven't received their re-up yet. He's aggressive and tells Rock-Rock to come down and step to him if he doesn't like it, but then finishes the call with a friendly goodbye suggesting it's a genial aggression. He tells one of his Muscle to remind him to kick Rock-Rock's rear end if the re-up doesn't arrive soon, then looks around the Towers - with Ronnie Mo and D'Angelo gone, Bodie is rising up in the drug world.

In Homicide, Rawls is also talking to a new recruit... kind of. He was able to get rid of the clearance-getting McNulty because he has an even better detective to replace him with, somebody who impressed during the aftermath of Kima's shooting. Lester Freamon is back from the wilderness, sitting beside Landsman as Rawls/Landsman do their regular double act and Rawls lays down the rules - the rotation, the clearances, and the fact that if you play by the rules and get him clearances, Rawls will be your best friend. Freamon knows a line of bullshit when he hears it, but he's also learned over 13 years (and 4 months) to keep his mouth shut. It's taken a long time, but Freamon is back where he belongs.

In the Pit, Poot sits on a new couch, himself promoted to fill the gap left by all the arrests. Spotting a young dealer taking money and handing over drugs in the same transaction, he calls him over and shares the advice that D'Angelo gave them back near the start of the series - doing it this way means police watching them can get an entire transaction on camera, they need one person taking money, another person handing out the drugs, and there needs to be physical distance between them for deniability. He sends the dealer away and looks around the Pit, yelling that they need to tighten things up.

McNulty has fallen asleep outside the courtroom, while inside Pearlman continues to lay out the plea deals reached as part of Avon's structured deal. Judge Phelan spots him and congratulates him on a hell of a case, which has apparently been all over the papers (it IS a big story), telling him he did good. He offers a hand to shake but McNulty just stares a hole through him, so he pretends he has to go and heads away. McNulty returns inside in time to hear D'Angelo's fate - not only is he refusing to cooperate but he insists against all evidence that it was purely his idea to pick up the drugs in New Jersey, so Pearlman is seeking the maximum sentence of 20 years. Twenty goddamn years. Brianna and Stringer have returned and are watching all this impassively as Levy agrees, this is part of the deal within the family, D'Angelo is "stepping up" and ruining his own life, and he'll never get that space to breathe and be his own person like he dreamed - his dream is as dead as Wallace.

Bunk joins McNulty and tells him how things went with Wee-Bey, including his attempt to get Bird off for Gant's murder. Wee-Bey's details don't match up with the physical evidence though, he claims he killed him with a close-up contact wound, while Gant was killed from a distance. The Judge bangs his gavel, they've finally reached an end of the pleas, and all of the criminals are marched out in a line, Avon smiling and nodding in McNulty's direction as he goes, in half slow-motion. McNulty again asks "what the gently caress did I do?" and Bunk asks if he's happy now, bitch. McNulty watches D'Angelo being taken away and Pearlman places a hand on Jimmy's chest before moving on herself, leaving McNulty alone in the court room.

Every season ends with a montage, and escape artist has promised to go into this one in greater detail. Simply put, to Jesse Winchester's "Step by Step" we see Baltimore continue on in the aftermath of the case's resolution. Back using, Bubbles joins Johnny looking for hustles, an attempted copper grab thwarted when they spot an approaching patrolman who turns out to be Santangelo, busted down as punishment from Rawls despite getting him his clearance. Deputy Ops Burrell promotes a clearly uncomfortable Carver to Sergeant; Prez puts away the charts that have come to dominate his life as he clears the Detail's basement out; and Greggs' sits in a hospital corridor at night watching a police car race down the road. McNulty has ended up in the Marine Unit despite Freamon's warning, having already given away his deepest fear to Landsman earlier in the season, and Freamon and Bunk - now partners in Homicide - happily come down to see him, offering him a bottle of Jameson's to get him through his shift. In the funeral parlor, Stringer watches as the various Counts from the Organization he now runs are tallied, and all throughout Baltimore, in all the districts, black and white users buy drugs, people of different classes and financial means, handing over money for drugs, the arrest of Avon and 20+ of his Organization not even making a bump in the day to day trade.

But this isn't a Baltimore issue, this goes on in other cities all across the country, as has been said on the show, you can't call the War on Drugs a war, because wars end. In New York in the South Bronx, a hooded user approaches a dealer looking to score and the Latino dealer asks how many he wants.

"Take about 3 of 4 hundred," replies the user, and before the dealer can react the hoodie is down and the gun is out - dealing drugs isn't the only thing that doesn't change. Whether he's in Baltimore or in New York, the Legend of Omar continues to grow.

"All in the game," he laughs as Season 1 of the greatest television show of all time ends,"All in the game."

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 22:51 on Apr 5, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I loving LOVE season 2 so I'm keen to get into it, but this last episode was an exhausting write-up so if you're gonna have it up in a couple of days, please go ahead, it'll be nice to hit the ground running and I can jump in on episode 2.

Thanks for catching that I put Bodie in the Pit as well as the Towers :doh: It's interesting to see just how hollowed out the Barksdales were by the Detail even though they didn't get to put together the case they REALLY wanted to. Bodie was second-banana in the Pit, which is about as low as it goes territory wise, and now he's got the coveted Towers position basically by default since everybody above him is either dead or in prison. Poot was on the same level as Wallace and now he's running the Low Rises. Season 2 and 3 goes a bit more into how the loss of their reliable enforcers/Muscle costs the Barksdale Organization, and how Stringer tries to change up "the game" to compensate.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

It can and does happen, especially in a line of work that gives the workers some degree of autonomy in being able to be away from their workplace PLUS a culture of people covering for their "brothers". That said, Polk and Mahon are both clearly considered useless by everybody including their bosses which is why they get saddled on Daniels they first chance their Lieutenant gets. So it's not like they're fooling anybody, it's just that they've been around long enough and can rely on the complicity of others enough that they're just tolerated as something that has to be put up with until they can put in for their pensions.

At the start of season 2, McNulty is actually well on his way to becoming them in fact - resigned to being on the boat but satisfied with the revenge he's gotten on Rawls, he claims he's just going to show up to put in the hours till he qualifies for his pension. He doesn't have the satisfaction he has from his foot post in season 4, so he's basically going to spend at least another decade drinking on the job, showing up to fill in his time-sheet, forgotten by the top brass until he can get out. It's easy to see somebody who really doesn't care for the work slowly becoming useless wrecks ala Polk and Mahon. Hell, if Freamon was less of a driven person/hadn't found the miniature furniture outlet for his creativity I could see him becoming "that useless old drunk who works down in the pawnshop unit" - similar to the guy in Evidence Control in season 2 who clearly doesn't give a gently caress about his work and only shows an interest in whether or not he's getting overtime.

There might also be something to be said about the possible negative influences of the job being unionized, though I personally think unions are a pretty great thing. There ARE workers who are more than happy to take advantage of the fact that employers are wary of ruffling union feathers.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

escape artist posted:

Because I'll have Season 2 Ep 1 up in a 2 days, maximum.

Looking forward to reading this, happy to jump in if you've been delayed from doing it.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2 of The Wire faced a few problems, not least of which was the fact that the first season hadn't rated very highly. This is back in the days when HBO wasn't so eager to give shows a chance to find their audience - Carnivale, Rome and Deadwood are just three series that died before their time (though Deadwood is a slightly different matter). On top of that, those who did watch the show were eager to find out what happened next with the Barksdale Organization. Would Avon still run things from jail? Was Stringer Bell going to rise up as the new King of the West Side? What about Prop Joe? Would Bodie and Poot continue to step up? What would happen now that all of the top Barksdale enforcers were dead or in jail? How would D'Angelo deal with being in jail? And on the police side, would Daniels be able to rebuild his career? How was the Detail going to get back up... hell, would it get get back up? Was McNulty trapped in the Marine Unit? Was Greggs going to stick with a desk job? How would Carver deal with being a Sergeant?

But while Simon and Burns were keen to answer these questions, they had a different focus in mind. The Wire wasn't meant to be a show simply about cops trying to catch drug dealers (you could get that on NBC, CBS and ABC if you were so inclined), it was an examination of institutions and the individuals trapped inside of them, it was a broad look at a fascinating city full of many cultures and classes. So in season 2, they wanted to shift the focus away from the inner city open drug markets and the Barksdale Organization (though those would still be there) and look at the ports of Baltimore, a once thriving industry that had employed thousands and acted as one of the economic struts of the city... but whose time had now passed. How would those who grew up the latest in a long line of generations deal with the horrifying realization that there was nothing there for them anymore, and nowhere for them to go. How do people who have only ever known one way of life cope when the city that relied on them for so long no longer needs them and doesn't care what happens to them?

The problem with this? Well apart from the previously mentioned viewers who just wanted more Barksdale action and nothing else, there was a racial issue to deal with too. The Wire was (and sadly remains) an oddity in that it was a television program that employed a large number of black actors and gave them meaty, interesting roles to play. A line I once read (I believe it was Wendell Pierce) claimed that the actors on the show delivered the performances of their lives because they knew they were dealing with a unique opportunity - a chance to be in something important, to be fully developed characters. So after giving their all for the show, to see the second season suddenly shift focus to a new and largely white cast must have been a bit of a blow. Had they just been fodder to build up some street credit and then let white people reap the benefits? Simon and Burns stuck to their guns and delivered what I believe to be the second best season of a television show ever made... and until season 4 of The Wire came along, it was the BEST season of a television show ever made. While season 2 may feel like an aberration, it helped build on from season 1's foundation and open up the world of The Wire. If anything else, season 2 goes a long way to showing us that economic devastation doesn't differentiate between black or white.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2, Episode 1: Ebb Tide

Little Big Roy posted:

Ain't never gonna be what it was.

Jimmy McNulty is complaining, are you shocked? Dressed in layers and hugging himself for warmth, Jimmy is in the cockpit with his partner in the Marine Unit - Claude Diggins - complaining about the cold. Claude informs him that in a couple of months it will be spring and he'll soon realize that the Bosses did him a favor by putting him on the boat. McNulty is amused, and looks around the harbor as they chug along, everywhere is the sign of former greatness gone to decay - disused buildings, a canal that needs dredging. Diggins gets the call to investigate a stalled boat, and as they sail along McNulty points out Bethlehem Steel, saying his father used to work there. Diggins' Uncle did too, but both were let go in the 1970s - in Baltimore, the steel industry and the docks used to provide bedrock employment opportunities but both are well past their glory days - now when residents point the place out they don't say,"My Dad/Uncle works there," they say,"My Dad/Uncle used to work there till the layoffs". By contrast, the boat that they've been called to assist is living up the high life - it's a party boat registered to Washington D.C, playfully named CAPITOL GAINS and full of wealthy/powerful people dancing, laughing and generally having a good time, eating and drinking nothing but the best. The rich partiers are unaware of the problems going on at the helm of the ship nor do they really care (do I need to point out the parallel to Baltimore/the country as a whole?), surprised to see the police boat pulling up alongside. The host approaches McNulty (who has freely admitted to the Capitol Gains' captain that he has no idea how boats work) and asks if they have to be towed into dock straight away, everybody is having such a good time. Informed they're in the shipping channel and have to be moved, the host gives McNulty the nod and once together in private offers him cash to just tow them to somewhere out of the way but still on the water and let them finish their party. McNulty takes the cash, and as night falls he sits gloomily with Diggins in their little Marine Unit boat, listening to the sounds of rich people partying in what might as well be another world.

The original Tom Waits version of the opening theme joins a slightly edited opening sequence that shows us the docks, prostitutes, the harbor and shipping crates amongst familiar images of drugs, junkies, drug-money and, of course, Bodie and D'Angelo throwing rocks at the surveillance camera in season one. But we're already moving somewhere new as the episode begins in the Southeastern District, where Prez is making a useless bid for a chance at doing real police work to his father-in-law, Major Stan Valchek. Valchek is the Commander of the Southeastern, a predominantly white district, and was seen only once in season one where he thanked Daniels for backing Prez after the drunken late-night tower visit went so wrong. Prez tries to explain to Valchek how fascinating and worthwhile he found working on the Barksdale Detail to be, how it gave him a passion for the job he didn't think he had. He admits for the first time that he deliberately shot up his police-car hoping to get kicked off the force, but now he wants a chance to work in Narcotics or, failing that, to move into the heavy paperwork of Assets Forfeiture. Valchek isn't really paying attention though, he can't take his eyes off the mock-up of a stained glass window he has had commissioned, representing the police force. Large pieces of the actual window arrive in crates, and Valchek eagerly rushes to unpack them, showing off the dove to Prez, who doesn't care, he wants to know if Valchek can help him achieve his dream. Valchek's reply is to lay out what HE thinks is the police career that Prez should be pursuing - he's going to take the Sergeant's Exam, he's going to make Sergeant because of Valchek's political connections, he's going to get assigned a quiet daytime shift in the Southeastern so he and Valchek's daughter can have a stable family life, and he's going to take the Lieutenant's exam after that. Prez tries to explain that he doesn't care about making rank, which is the first thing that truly gets Valchek's attention - he cannot comprehend this as a notion. Gently but condescendingly, he explains that Prez's work on "the drug thing" helped take the stink off of him and that if he'll just shut up and listen, he might actually have a career in the BPD. He smiles winningly, because as far as he is concerned this is the nicest thing he could ever say and the best thing that anybody could ever expect to hear.

We return to the familiar with our first look at Bodie in season 2, but even here he's been forced out of his comfort zone to experience something new. Along with a driver named Shamrock, they're driving in a van out to Philadelphia. Bodie complains that the radio isn't working, and Shamrock explains it is because they're getting out of the range of Baltimore radio stations. Bodie reveals some of his naivete, asking in innocent bewilderment if the radio stations in Philly are different to Baltimore. Shamrock can't believe he didn't know that, but with some pride Bodie explains he's never been outside of Baltimore except for a brief time in the boy's village, where radio was the last thing on his mind. Shamrock surfs through the stations and they find themselves listening to Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion, utterly bewildered at what the hell they're hearing :3: They take the exit into Philly, followed unseen by two unfamiliar older characters in another car. Shamrock pulls up at a parking garage and Bodie rushes in to find the car he's been tasked with picking up. Hopping in, he notes down the mileage on a pad of paper and heads out, followed by Shamrock who is followed in turn by the mysterious duo.

Back in Baltimore, a very dapper looking Bunk comes to visit McNulty at the dock, joking that he's finally found "the little man in the boat". McNulty is delighted to see him and invites him into the boat, but Bunk doesn't swim and isn't much for floating either, and prefers to stay on solid ground. He explains that he's come down because Bird's trial is coming up soon and it's time to get all their ducks in the row - he needs to collect the evidence from storage and wrangle up the witnesses to go through preliminaries - the old lady is no problem but he needs to get in touch with Omar, and McNulty is the only one who has ever been able to get in touch with him. McNulty acts disinterested, clearly uncomfortable since he knows he has no idea how to find Omar, who he last saw boarding a bus to New York, and jokes that he isn't to starboard. Bunk corrects him, that's port, and then offers to buy him lunch. McNulty is happy to go along, but irritated when he learns Sergeant Landsman wants $10 for successfully betting McNulty would end up on the boat, claiming that it is probably Landsman who told Rawls where he didn't want to end up. Bunk teases him, saying homicide isn't the same without him... it's better!

On the docks, we get out first look at Frank Sobotka, Secretary Treasurer of the Stevedores' Union. Overweight, balding and unshaven, Frank looks at home in a threadbare couch arguing with Nat Coxson, the President of another union. Nat wants Frank to concentrate his political efforts on getting the grain pier repaired, while Frank's focus is on the rather daunting goal of having the canal dredged. While the latter would undoubtedly vastly increase the number of ships that could be serviced in Baltimore, the prohibitive cost of getting it done is likely to scare away any politician/businessperson with the stroke to get it done. The grain pier, on the other hand, would only provide a slight increase in work but is a far more attainable goal, and Nat is angry that Sobotka is potentially going to cost them getting ANYTHING achieved - and run the risk that some entrepreneur swoops in and turns the grain pier into high-priced condominiums. Frank is more relaxed, not even rising to the bait when Coxson tells him he'll be left with nothing but his shrivelled dick in his hands. Nat doesn't want to listen to his response though, informing him that he's recommending to the District Council that they push to get the Grain Pier repaired, and storms out. Frank's associates - Horseface and Ott, white and black respectively - are amused at Coxson's fury, and especially at the fact that Frank simply sat there - shrivelled dick and all - taking it. Frank gets fired up, declaring that he wakes up each morning with an angry blue-veined diamond cutter, and that he WAS going to inform Nat about this before he left. Getting up, he puts on his safety vest and declares once more than his dick is blue steel.... three and a half inches of hard blue steel!

Outside, Frank watches shipping crates being unloaded, enjoying the sight of the only thing he has even known, and lights up a cigarette. He's joined by a young man, his nephew Nick Sobotka, and is delighted to hear he has found work as a lasher today, telling him he's making the family proud. Things aren't the way they were though, this is the first day of work that Nick has managed to get in two weeks - there is less work to be found on the docks nowadays, and the unions use a seniority system that means that the younger workers are always the last to get work - it takes a busy day for everybody get a job, and there are getting to be less and less busy days. Nick cracks a joke about Ott owing him $20 for lottery tickets and prepares to leave, but a grinning Frank calls him back after making sure nobody is around, all business now. Nick needs to see "the Greek" tomorrow to get a number, something is coming into the docks. Nick nods and heads away, and Frank gets some bad news, somebody called Ziggy is causing problems.

Driven out on a little cart to see him, Frank finds a skinny young man snapping angrily at a pissed off driver as he tries to locate a crate for him. Frank intervenes to ask the driver what is going on, he's been at the docks since 8 in the morning and Ziggy has lost the "can" his cargo is in. Ziggy insists it isn't lost... he just cast find it, and stabs away at his scanner trying to figure out why it isn't where the manifest says it is. It's either in Bay 7 (which is empty) and if not it's in 8 or ..... it's definitely.... somewheres in the stacks! Frank can't believe it, and calms down the irate driver by telling him he'll call his shipping agent and square things with him till they can find it for him. He then turns to Ziggy and lays down a harsh punishment for his incompetence - he's fired, he can finish out the day but he's never coming back. Frank storms off and the pleased driver says goodbye to Ziggy, who with surprising calm just offers a sardonic grin before walking away. The driver can't believe it, he was fired and acts like he doesn't care? La La - the worker who drove Frank down in the cart - informs him that Ziggy isn't really fired. Why not? Because this happens all the time, Ziggy is Ziggy Sobotka, Frank's son.

I think it's fairly obvious which one Frank wishes was his son.

In the Evidence Control basement, Bunk brings in a request for the evidence gathered on the Gant case and the first question he is asked is... how fast you need this, obviously not keen to actually leave his counter and do some work. The case needs to start prepping this week so Officer Burns heads off, and Bunk waits, surprised when he hears Lieutenant Daniels calling out for Burns before noticing him. The man who was predicted to become the next Major in control of a district in the BPD is now being wasted in Evidence Control, a modern day Lester Freamon who thumbed his nose at the Bosses and got tucked away out of sight for the most horrible revenge possible - irrelevancy. They shake hands and Bunk says he'd heard he was down here but is still surprised to see him, commenting that these motherfuckers don't play. Daniels bites his tongue, obviously not wanting to speak badly of higher ranks no matter how he might feel, and asks what Bunk is doing down there. Bunk explains and Daniels tells him to give Bird his love, and they share a chuckle. That doesn't last though, Burns returns and in a blase manner tells them,"No evidence," as if that is an end to the matter. What the hell does that mean? Burns, seeming confused that Bunk hasn't just gone away, explains that the submission sheet says the evidence is in Row BB Section 14 Shelf 3, 4 right rear - but Row BB only has 12 sections. So... no evidence.

Bodie - still listening to Garrison Keillor - finds himself at a detour that goes against his carefully laid out route. Distressed, he takes the detour, still being followed by Shamrock and the unseen third car. Arriving at his destination, Bodie pulls into a garage and the third car puts through a call to let somebody know that he has arrived.

Frank has left the docks and gone to his Church, genuflecting before taking a seat and placing a surprisingly large wad of cash into an envelope. The priest approaches and invites him out to the nave to see his window - a rather beautiful stained glass made in Esslingen, Germany representing stevedores unloading crates from a ship at dock. They admire it, and Frank says it was something he was happy to do for the Church.. but now he needs to ask for a favor in return - he needs face time with Senator Barbara Mikulski. She attends the early morning Sunday service that is given in Polish, and the priest - Father Lewandowski - tells him that he's happy to arrange it, and Frank didn't need to donate a window to do it. More to the point, he's donated more than enough to warrant having the window put up in the first place. This raises the interesting question that the priest doesn't ask - there's less and less work at the docks, Father Lewandowski says that tough guys are coming to him with dreadful confessions which he knows are a sign of the tough times, so where is Frank getting all this money?

Remember this window, it's basically responsible for the bulk of the next four seasons.

At the garage, Bodie, Shamrock and two mechanics are getting progressively more concerned. They've torn the car to pieces and found absolutely nothing - this trip wasn't just for Bodie to pick up a car, it's supposed to have drugs packed into it and they haven't found anything. Shamrock insists it must be somewhere else but the mechanics say it is ALWAYS in the doors, and when he looks unconvinced they remind him that he's been standing there watching them pull apart the car and he knows they haven't taken anything - the mechanic sounds increasingly frantic as he repeats this point, knowing just how precarious a position he's in. Bodie and Shamrock know it too, it doesn't matter that there aren't any drugs - all that "he" is going to hear is that they don't have his drugs. Shamrock angrily insists they check again and shoves one of the mechanics, and Bodie snaps him back into line. Outside, one of the two watchers notes that they're taking longer than the shoulder and the older man sneaks up to peer in the window, just in time to see Bodie angrily knocking items off of a shelf and demanding to know what is going on.

The police are pulling things apart in Evidence Control too, Daniels, Burns and one other person (Bunk?) are going through all of the shelves searching for the Gant evidence. Burns continually insists that this is going to take them all night to go through everything, and Daniels agrees that it will, making it clear they're going to be there all night if necessary. Burns doesn't take the inspiration or absorb the work ethic lesson that Daniels might have been hoping for though, as he instantly moves to what truly concerns him - does this mean they get overtime? I can't help but think of the comparisons made by one of the "young'uns" and Carver in season one, when they independently laid out the difference between the drug business and the schools/the police. Bodie, Shamrock and the mechanics can't find anything so they're in utter terror of what could happen to them. Burns can't find evidence needed for a high profile murder case and his reaction is... to ask if he's going to get paid more money just to do his job.

In a small office in the Forfeiture Unit of Narcotics, Greggs is struggling to type a report (she at least has a computer now) when Herc comes barging in to complain about how awful white people are at being drug dealers. He clearly hasn't changed at all since season one, happily telling her about how easy his job has been made (remember, smart criminals make for smart cops) as his targets are completely without subtlety and don't use codes, openly talking about selling drugs and asking for money for the drugs they carry with them personally. Kima - obviously used to Herc barging in whenever he feels like a chat - grins but continues typing away at her report, until he tells her that they need to apply preferential laws for white drug dealers just to even out the playing field somewhat - affirmative action for white people! Kima asks what he really wants, and he tells her he needs her to do the seizures for him. It's not that simple though, he needs to provide her with titles, deeds and registrations, all she can do is write up the affidavits for the city solicitor, but he has to provide the information - no paperwork, no property. She tells him he needs to step up, she and Carver aren't there to cover for him anymore. He's not pleased at the idea of having to do his own paperwork, but does offer her a tantalizing opportunity anyway - tomorrow they're kicking in doors on a raid and he wants her to join him, he knows she misses the action. She quite clearly does, obviously tempted by his offer before resisting and telling him that she's inside now, she's put that part of her career behind her. Disappointed, Herc tells her that if she was a guy - and in many ways she is better than a guy - her buddies would take her out for a beer and inform her that she was pussy-whipped. He exits her office, leaving behind a surprisingly pleased Kima.

Bunk and McNulty have gone to a bar, where Bunk is still needling Jimmy about finding Omar. McNulty's reply? "...who?"

Bodie and Shamrock are returning to Baltimore in the van, a troubled Bodie asking Shamrock how "he" was on the phone. All Shamrock was told was that they had to return... all of them. As they drive on, followed by the still unspotted watchers, the two mechanics sit miserably in the back of the van. Reaching Baltimore, they're separated at the funeral parlor, deliberately left to stew in their own juices. Bodie sits near an open casket, a body laid out inside, the mechanics are left together in a corridor loomed over by some "muscle", and Shamrock is in another seating area unable to remain still. All of them know they're in a huge amount of trouble, they have to answer for the missing drugs. In the office, Stringer Bell prepares his tea and watches as the take from the various drug markets are counted. A large enforcer arrives to let Stringer know that so far they're all telling the same story, and Stringer quietly summons another to check on the timing of the drive and the mileage on the car. He sits with Shamrock first, wanting to know about Bodie - was he with him at all times? Did Bodie ever go off on his own? How long was he alone when he went into the garage to pick up the car? Shamrock answers everything truthfully, eager to get clear of any suspicion and not stupid enough to try and blame somebody else - Bodie was alone for maybe 3 minutes, nowhere near enough time to get the drugs out of the car. Satisfied, Stringer goes to see an agitated Bodie next, who can barely stand still as he jumps up in Stringer's presence and eagerly answers all his questions, telling him that he followed all the instructions as he was given. Stringer asks to see his mileage figures and Bodie quickly hands over his scrawled notes, and Stringer compares them with his own figures - there is a discrepancy.

Oh poo poo.

Bodie is 3/10ths of a mile long, which means he didn't follow directions. Horrified, Bodie protests his innocence but Stringer simply walks away, conversing with the two men who (unknown to Bodie) followed him to Philly. Bodie is left standing unsure of what to do now, still holding Stringer's cup of tea that he casually gave to Bodie to hold. Stringer and the two converse quietly and then Stringer returns, takes his tea back, has a drink and asks Bodie if he took a detour due to roadworks on the boulevard? Did he hurt his foot when he kicked the tire jack? A slow smirk creeps up Stringer's face and you can almost feel the wave of relief wash over Bodie - he was being followed the entire time? For him this is fantastic news, it means that Stringer KNOWS he didn't take the drugs. Stringer just smiles and walks away, leaving behind a relieved Bodie who belatedly thinks to question.... where are the drugs?

That scene is so, so important for a lot of different reasons. First of all, we've established that Stringer's position as the head of the Barksdale Organization is a solid one, he's very much in control and the people beneath him are terrified of the idea of crossing him. More importantly though is the relationship between Stringer and Bodie - remember it was Stringer who first saw the potential in Bodie and put Levy on getting him out of Juvenile Detention, Stringer who carefully manipulated him to get rid of the perceived Wallace problem, Stringer who showed confidence in him by giving him one of only two cellphones for use in the Low Rises, Stringer who put him in control of one of the Tower markets. Bodie will feel like he owes everything to Stringer, and he would have been delighted with the confidence shown in him by being chosen to do the pick-up in Philly. But remember at the end of season one when Brianna scolded Avon on how he handled the pick-up that got D'Angelo arrested? Bodie was effectively the mule today, and in fact Shamrock was probably in the more favored position by getting to drive a car that wasn't supposed to have drugs in it (though both were being followed by two other trusted tails). Bodie doesn't know that though, as far as he's concerned Stringer has shown a lot of confidence in him and he's grateful for it. When things went wrong and he couldn't find the drugs, he'd have been terrified. But Stringer demonstrating that he knew exactly where Bodie was at all times both relieves and impresses him - now as far as Bodie is concerned, Stringer is a genius, a guy who covers all the bases, who has everything under control, who can't be surprised or tricked. He knew about the detour, he knew that Bodie kicked the tire jack, and presumably he knows where the drugs are too. Bodie asked "where it at?" and got no answer, but he won't be surprised by that, why would or should Stringer answer questions from an underling like him? Bodie doesn't know why the drugs weren't there, but Stringer knows everything so Stringer MUST know why. Stringer was amused and unconcerned, so therefore it can't be a big deal. Maybe he'll think that there never were any drugs and Stringer just organized the whole thing as a test for Bodie and Shamrock? Whatever the reason, Bodie will have completely confidence in Stringer, and absolute loyalty - this is a guy at the top of "the Game", this is a guy that Bodie will follow into hell. The sad thing is that Stringer is probably also a guy who would quite happily send Bodie to hell if it suited him.

At Delores' bar, Ziggy and Nick are drinking at the bar and Ziggy is trying to convince Nick to take him along to meet "The Greek", which Nick is clearly not enthusiastic about. Ziggy insists, saying he needs to meet him so he can try and figure out a way to make a little extra money on the side for both of them. Ziggy is that type, an enthusiastic believer in his own specialness, and when the more realistic Nick tells him that these guys are "real", Ziggy laughs, does that mean he's not? Nick does a neat little double-take in reaction, we already know enough about Ziggy to know that he's about as far from real as it gets.

A live band is tuning up while the older longshoremen/stevedores are sharing old work-stories about the good old days, much to the amusement of the younger ones. Nick declares happily that the poo poo is thick in the air tonight, but the needling is all good natured and often oft-repeated, everybody laughs as they exchange taunts, though there is an underlying sadness - they're talking about the old days when work was plentiful. A very large, bald and bearded stevedore named Little Big Roy offers the episode's epigraph, it "ain't never gonna be what it was." This taunting is where Ziggy shines though, he can talk poo poo better than anybody and is quickly the center of attention (just as he likes it), ranting about the old timers unloading 10 ships a day one-armed after losing the other under a 300-pound bag of Polish dildos. What's a Polish dildo? For Ziggy he claims it is a ring of kielbasa, while for the old timers it's just any old breakfast link. Ziggy leads the charge, ordering the younger workers to starboard, and everybody gleefully rushes to the other side of the bar and huddles up, Ziggy warning them that the old-timers have unloaded so much bullshit that it's filled up the other side of the bar. Everybody is laughing, even Nick who is enjoying Ziggy's antics a great deal. He takes it too far, of course, leaping up and - against the warnings of Delores who owns the bar - whips out a HUGE penis for all to see. This is clearly not the first time he's done this, nobody is shocked and everybody laughs, and then the band - the Nighthawks - breaks into song, and Ziggy is instantly on the dancefloor leaping about while everybody at the bar knock back shots. The heavy drinking is interspersed with shots of the harbour at night and then as the sun comes up - seemingly the raucous action has been going all through the night. We've been given a look at the life of those who work on the docks - less work, unions fighting each other over how to save what they've got, and heavy, non-stop drinking through the nights as people wax lyrical about the way things used to be.

In the morning a less than pleasant sight greets the Marine Unit. McNulty is given the cheery task of hooking a dead body floating in the water, not able to bring her into the boat because she would probably fall apart in the process. Diggins tells him to hook her and he'll slowly bring them to shore, and asks how long it looks like she has been in the water - she's fairly fresh according to McNulty, and Diggins says she's probably a jumper from the bridge.

At Nick's house, he's woken by angry thumping on the floor of the kitchen above his bedroom. It's a sound of habit, clearly drunken nights are not a rarity for Nick, and the person thumping has long since given up calling down to him or walking down to wake him personally. He switches on the radio so she'll know he's up, pulling on a shirt and staggering up the stairs where he finds Ziggy passed out on the couch and his mother still thumping on the floor. He snaps at her to cut it out and tries to wake Ziggy who is unresponsive, and heads over to the kitchen where his grumpy mother - wearing a house-coat over her nightgown - is not pleased to see him. She tells him the kitchen is closed, complaining that he wasn't responsible enough to get up and head down to the docks where he could have caught a ship and gotten a day's work. He tells her that it's the Atlantic Light and not due in till the afternoon, but she snaps this isn't the point and flicks a dish towel at him as he downs a full beer for his breakfast. There's just an air of quiet despair around the entire scene, the small and narrow house is meticulously clean but the slippers/nightgown/house-coat combination speaks to the chill of house with either poor insulation of a lack of proper/affordable heating. Nick is clearly into his 20s but still lives at home in the basement, works one day out of every two weeks and spends his nights drinking heavily and palling about with his idiot cousin. He gives her a kiss on the head and she grunts and waves him away but seems pleased... till he casually burps while heading down to the bathroom. She complains wearily about having two drunks in the house, and shouts at him to make sure he takes Ziggy with him when he goes, she has to clean in the lounge and she isn't going to do it around him. Apparently he ignores her, dressing up warm and heading out into the alley and his beat up old car... which refuses to start. There's an interesting shot of a huge old building that appears to be abandoned in the background as Nick struggles to start his car, I wish I knew more about what it was, it seems (in conjunction with the failing old American-made car) to represent the death of industry in America, but I could just be reading too much into it.

At the Church, Father Lewandowski has been "pleasantly" surprised by a visit from Major Valchek and an assortment of thin packing crates carried by uniformed police officers. The Priest points out that they never see him at Sunday Mass and yet here he is with an army on a Tuesday morning. Valchek hands over a donation of $2500 dollars, made by him and every Polish police officer and firefighter across three districts and four firehouses. It's a surprisingly paltry contribution coming from so many, you get the impression that this is a cause near and dear to the heart of Stan Valchek alone, and an uneasy Lewandowski asks what it is for. Why, for the nave! Valchek decided to surprise him with a stained glass window memorial for Polish Police and Firefighters, since the nave was going to be renovated and all. He shows the mock-up of the completed window, bragging about the craftsman he found, but Lewandowski has bad news for him, and takes him to the nave to show him the stevedore memorial that is already in place. He tells Valchek they do need a new window for the second floor of the rectory, but Valchek wants that spot and tries to get into a bidding war with the dock boys, telling them he'd be willing to go as high as $4,000. Offerings are confidential, but he just wants to know if they went higher than that, and when Lewandowski doesn't respond he takes it as confirmation. He asks who presented the donation and is surprised to learn it was Frank Sobotka, whom Valchek knows as the head of the local Checkers Union.... and that he knows has barely 100 dues paying members anymore. Lewandowski cheerfully suggests that Valchek go and talk with Frank, and maybe the two of them can sort out a compromise, and Valchek agrees that they'll talk, something else quite clearly in mind. He leaves, passing a uniformed officer who is still carrying up pieces of the window, asking Valchek where they are supposed to put everything, no idea that they've had a wasted trip.

Nick has had to give up driving and is walking to the docks, passing a building that is being renovated into luxury homes and apartments called Ship's Landing, available in the "low" $300,000 range - the culture and history of the industry that has been gutted is being co-opted by property developers to make a profit from the already wealthy, just as Coxson warned.

Detective Ray Cole is pleased to see McNulty when he arrives to investigate the dead body found in the water, now laid out on a sheet on a harbor lookout. Cole has nothing but red ink under his name this year and Rawls has become "an rear end in a top hat with teeth" as a result, so he's probably pleased at what is likely to be a slam dunk investigation - a suicide from the bridge. McNulty - who is no longer in homicide - is carefully investigating the dead girl's fingers while Cole is more interested in gossiping, asking him to guess who was puking their guts out in the men's room this morning. McNulty already knows, it was Bunk, and he tells Cole that Bunk can't hold his liquor.

Avon Barksdale is having a better morning, pleased to see Stringer there for an early morning visit. He's obviously very much up on what is going on, aware that the drugs weren't in the car as planned and asking Stringer if he has heard anything from their drug connection - Roberto. Stringer hasn't heard anything, and Avon tells him that he needs to get to New York immediately and find out what is going on... he is certain that it wasn't anybody on their side? Stringer is adamant on that, everybody's story matched up plus he had two watchers on them at all times. This Avon didn't know (nor should he, in prison he doesn't need to concern himself with the minutiae) and he is pleased to find out it was Tank and Country, the latter only recently out of jail and already straight back into "the Game". Stringer is impressed too, and they laugh happily about how he got straight back into the mix despite still being on parole. Avon tells Stringer that since they're absolutely confident it wasn't them, Stringer can be firm with Roberto - he has their money and they don't have the product. How is Avon himself doing though? He assures Stringer that it's simply a matter of having the right mindset, as far as he is concerned he is only serving two days in prison - the day he got in, and the day he gets out.

Nick bumps into Johnny "Fifty" Spamanto, a Checker in the Union who has managed to get work today. Nick asks how it looks for him but apparently he's out of luck, he doesn't have the seniority and there are two few jobs, and they agree that seniority sucks.... if you don't have seniority. Ziggy pulls up in his Camaro (complete with an unpainted panels presumably replaced after an accident/s) "Princess" as Johnny says his goodbyes and heads away, looking remarkably chipper for somebody so slight who must be operating on a couple of hours sleep and a shitload of booze. He asks why Nick didn't wake him up to come with him, and then surprises Nick by revealing that Nick's mother actually made him breakfast - bacon and eggs! Ziggy brings up "The Greek" again, asking to come along and once again Nick warns him off. In that infectious, enthusiastic way that people like him have, Ziggy insists he is being silly, he isn't going to gently caress things up for Nick, he'll just give him a ride and won't embarrass him. Nick clearly knows this is a bad idea, but it's cold, Ziggy has a car, and he did promise soooooo.... he hops in, warning Ziggy he'll kill him if he opens his mouth.

Well dressed but incognito, Stringer Bell takes the train to New York.

Nick and Ziggy arrive at a dingy little cage/coffee-house in the middle of nowhere, where a short bald man pleasantly greets Nick but looks unsure about Ziggy's presence. Ziggy immediately fucks things up, his overbearing assumptions that everybody loves him causing him to greet the man like an old friend and blurt out immediately that he must be "The Greek". The man - Spiros "Vondas" Vondopoulos - is surprised at how unsubtle Ziggy is but maintains a pleasant facade, agreeing that he is "a" Greek at least. Nicky joins him at a small table with two others, quietly commenting/apologizing that Ziggy gave him a lift here. Ziggy hears this and is clearly hurt, but can't resist continuing to stick his oar in, spotting that one of the men is "Boris", somebody he has seen around the docks from time to time. "Boris" isn't pleased at the name, his name is Sergei, and he's Ukrainian not Russian. Ziggy insists they're the same thing, about the worst thing he could say, and the humorless Sergei tells him he's wrong. Nick can't resist joining in the teasing and Vondas and the other man - Glekas - seem amused too. All of them but Ziggy know when enough is enough though and they prepare to settle down for business, Vondas politely offering Nick something to eat or drink and Nick politely declining. Ziggy shoves his face in though, asking what kind of pie they make, and Nick has to take a hard line, snapping at Ziggy to shut the gently caress up. Ziggy is crestfallen, while Vondas and Sergei both have the uncomfortable look people get when they find themselves peripherally involved in a private argument between family or close friends.

Ziggy walks miserably away to sit at the counter, the old man who is probably a fixture carefully shifting his cigarettes out of the way in case Ziggy tried to take them. Ziggy looks at a menu, trying to pretend he can't hear the others quietly talking about him, noting that he's Frank's kid and that he's in the union, both clearly excuses for tolerating his presence. Vondas slips Nick a paper with the number of the crate to be moved, and tells him Sergei will be doing the driving. Nick is a little concerned at that, they should be changing things up to prevent people getting suspicious, but Vondas sees it another way - you find somebody you trust, you stick with them - an unspoken message to Nick that they trust him and Frank. All done, Nick gets up and tells Ziggy they're leaving, who tries to regain a sense of control by trying to ask the counterman about the turkey sandwich. Nick hauls him out, Ziggy unable to resist calling out a goodbye to the trio at the table, who shake their heads, Vondas commenting,"Polacks." Outside, Ziggy is furious, complaining without a hint of irony that Nick embarrassed him in there. Nick tells him he embarrassed himself, but Ziggy isn't the kind of person to take on messages like that - it's always somebody else's fault.

At the docks, Frank sits with Ott and Horseface in their little converted crate-office reading newspapers, but Frank can't relax knowing that Nick has been to see the Greek. He heads outside, where he is in time to see the Maryland Port Authority Police Officer - Beadie Russell - who is driving her patrol around the docks. She stops and cheerfully asks him to spare her the paperwork by just telling her what he and his crew are going to be stealing today, and he gets a kick out of it, listing off all manner of luxury items. Saying goodbye, she puts her headphones back on and drives away, Horseface complaining to Frank for letting her gently caress with him. Frank doesn't see it that way, telling her he doesn't mind, he likes he - it probably pays that she is fairly attractive. Ziggy pulls up and Nick immediately heads out to give him the number, who passes it on to Horseface who is in on the deal. Frank asks if they said anything, but it was business as usual, the same money to them as always. This is the source of Frank's cash, he is helping "The Greek" smuggle items through the docks.

McNulty arrives at Homicide, where Winona - presumably an office assistant - is updating the board containing the current active cases. She's delighted to see Jimmy and asks where he has been, but he just kind of wanders off without replying which is kinda rude, really! Landsman spots him and bursts out laughing, admitting that he did tell Rawls (who is now a Colonel) that Jimmy didn't want to end up on the boat, but he had no idea just how pissed off with him Rawls was. Cole informs McNulty that the dead girl came back a homicide, she was beaten to death before being put into the water, and Jimmy shows off by pointing out the defense wounds he spotted on her fingers, as well as the fact she was missing winter clothing. He heads out - he came to see Bunk who isn't there - and tells them to have fun, but Landsman says they've already had theirs, they dumped the body on Baltimore County. This draws McNulty back, how did they do that? Landsman explains she was pulled out on the East side of the bridge which makes her the County's problem. McNulty can't believe they managed to sell them on that, but that's all down to Rawls who was quick to get rid of another potentially unsolvable murder. Jimmy leaves shaking his head, and Landsman - serious now - tells him that he never learned the lesson of self-preservation.

The crate comes off the Atlantic Light, Frank watching nervously from his office door as the truck driver pulls away with the crate left behind, clearing it for Sergei - who is waiting near another truck while talking on the phone. It's clear that Frank is not a natural criminal, no matter what the stereotype of the stevedores might be, and Catholic guilt is probably eating him up inside over what he is doing for cash, which would explain the large donations to the Church. Horse seems more pragmatic, telling Frank the crate is there for them to pick up whenever they want, it's their problem now.

In New York, Stringer Bell has met with a smooth Dominican lawyer who has signed him on as a client, making their conversation privileged and freeing them up to talk. Stringer was expecting to meet Roberto, but the lawyer assures him that was never going to happen and shows him Monday's newspaper - Roberto Castillan de Silva has been arrested by the DEA. Everything makes sense to Stringer now, this explains why their deal didn't go through... but still, usually if you take a fall you have to get straight back into "the Game", since nobody is going to be looking at you now - which is essentially what they did in the aftermath of Avon's arrest. The lawyer agrees this is one way of doing things, but another is to sit back and examine WHY you took the fall in the first place, the implication clear - they suspect Avon did a deal.

The lawyer assures him the advance payment for the non-delivered goods is being returned to them, it arrived at the same time as their "problem" did. Stringer doesn't like what is being suggested about Avon, reminding the lawyer they sent all the documents pertaining to the case to Roberto and they show that nobody rolled on anybody else (no need to mention how close D'Angelo came). The lawyer agrees but stresses they have a legitimate concern, considering the scope of Avon's operation he received a surprisingly light sentence, and as long as there is any possibility that he has flipped, they can't do business with him. Stringer holds his temper admirably, one can only imagine how Avon would react in the same situation, but this is a huge blow to the Organization - without Roberto's drugs, their grip on their territory will loosen. How is Roberto's lawyer to know that the reason for Avon's light sentence is a mixture of Levy's shrewd bargaining and the Detail investigating him being sabotaged every step of the way.

In Baltimore, Frank is becoming agitated that Sergei is still on the phone and the crate is still sitting waiting to be driven out. Horseface is getting nervous now too, the customs seal is broken and if anyone spots that the crate will be instantly investigated. Frank puts through a call to Nick to tell him what is going on, warning him that the Atlantic Light is nearly completely unloaded now and they need to do something. Nick says he'll see what he can do (call Vondas presumably, they only communicate through a trusted intermediary) but shortly after Sergei hops into his truck and... drives away without the crate. Horrified, Frank makes a half-hearted attempt to chase him, then instructs Horseface to "lose it in the stacks", they can't risk the crate being linked back to them, no matter what is in it.

Meanwhile McNulty is getting the best kind of revenge there is - petty revenge! Tucked away in the Marine Unit office, he is painfully reviewing charts, wind currents and tide figures and carefully working out exactly where the body went into the water based on the time of death. Why is he taxing a brain that is great at homicide investigations but doesn't deal well with paperwork and figures? Because it gives him a chance to flip Rawls and Landsman the bird.

Kima returns home making a joke of her complaints about doing nothing but paperwork. Cheryl is amused but unsympathetic, hauling Greggs into her lap after telling her she doesn't care so long as it means Kima is home safe and sound every night. Greggs spots the paperwork she has been going through next to a book on Lesbian Parenting - she is attempting to get pregnant, paying $1000 per Doctor's visit till she gets pregnant. Kima says there has to be a better way and Cheryl says if she can find a suitable donor it'll bring the costs down, and shows her a list of potential donors. Kima looks it over and tells her she wouldn't gently caress any of them with Cheryl's pussy, who chases her around the room laughing. Kima SEEMS to be settling down to a cosy domestic life - she's in-office, home each evening, her partner is trying to get pregnant, surely she must be happy, right?

The next day, Rawls pops out of his office and with false cheer summons Landsman, informing him that their floater has returned. He shows Landsman the message they've received from Baltimore County, revealing that McNulty in the Marine Unit quite carefully and accurately demonstrated that the body was dumped into the water on the City side. Shaking his head, he admits he has to give McNulty credit, and heads back into his office with a quiet,"Cocksucker," while Landsman returns to his own muttering,"Motherfucker."

At the Tower courtyard, Bodie is discussing the count when one of his dealers arrives declaring that their re-up is low and complains that the dealer - Mo-Man - is stashing drugs for himself, and he's going to gently caress him up. Bodie complains that he can't just go with his first instinct to gently caress somebody up, showing he has actually learned something from the way D'Angelo ran things in the Low Rises. He points out that Mo-Man is actually holding as much as he is meant to, and agrees that while this means they're low on supply, there's a reason for that. What is that? He doesn't know, but Stringer obviously wants them low and therefore there's a good reason for it. "Stringer's on top of this poo poo," he declares,"He's on top of everything!" - Bodie is a believer.

As Cole and Landsman watch Winona adding the Jane Doe in red on the board, Beadie Russell is continuing her patrol of the stacks of shipping crates when she spots one with a broken customs seal. Stopping, she steps forward to investigate further, opening the crate up and finding it full of boxed personal computers. Climbing inside, she moves through the columns of boxes and finds a small bolted door set into a false wall about halfway into the crate. Unbolting it, she opens the door... and an arm flops out attached to a dead woman. Beadie gasps, but she hasn't seen anything yet.

In the Union crate-office, Frank, Horseface and Ott are sharing tasteless jokes (including an ill-timed rape joke) when they hear sirens and Johnny 50 arrives to tell them something big is happening. They head outside as police and a fire engine arrive, while inside the crate Beadie and another officer take another look through the half-door - there's more than one dead body in there, there are over a dozen. As Beadie rushes outside to prevent losing her lunch, Frank arrives at the scene with Horse, Ott and Johnny 50 - La La and Nick are already there and inform them of the grisly find.

"Dead? They're dead?" asks Frank. He's been taking money from The Greek in order to keep the Union going and attempt to revitalize the docks, and he's just realized that he is complicit in the death of a dozen women. If he thought dumping the crate in the stack would make the problem just go away, he couldn't have been more wrong. Things are about to get a lot more complicated down on the docks.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 11:23 on Apr 11, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

watt par posted:

That's the old Silo Point grain elevator- the grain pier in question in the first stevedore's union scene, which true to Nat Coxson's warning, was turned into condos. Nick Sobotka's house is roughly on Andre St. in the eastern end of Locust Point.

Thanks, yeah that plays in nicely with what I took away from the shot - a symbol of American industrial power now broken down and unused, with the added bonus of Nick's big American-made car (made back in the day when the Auto Industry was king) not being able to start up.

Spoilers Below posted:

Nice symbolism with Beadie and her headphones. She takes them off when she finds the broken seal, and doesn't put them on again until the final montage, when she's done with all the investigative work. She goes from one small lonely job (taking tolls o the freeway) to another (driving around solo, occasionally BS'ing with the stevedores, but otherwise just putting in the hours and going home), cut off from the horrors of her job (this certainly isn't the first or last time women have been trafficked through the port, not to mention all the other contraband and illegal substances) and literally not listening. She doesn't expect the job to save her, or even to derive much meaning from it. It's not a career.

drat, that's a great catch and something I completely missed. That's excellent.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Kinda depressing to read the politician's reaction to it has been the same empty rhetoric that sounds nice but doesn't actually achieve anything.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2, Episode 2: Collateral Damage

McNulty posted:

They can chew you up, but they gotta spit you out.

13 dead woman are in bodybags, being checked over by the Doctor in a shed on the docks. Representatives of different investigate agencies are standing around, some joking amongst themselves, the presence of the bodies apparently little more than a novelty. Only Beadie seems concerned, the others are more worried about WHO is going to be responsible for the investigation, and rather callously they explain amongst themselves that since the girls aren't alive it isn't an immigration issue, so this makes them cargo, not people. Customs insist that there is nothing to be investigated since there is no contraband, so this makes it a State issue. Sighing, the representative for the Port Authority Police says they'll eat it, noting that since it looks like accidental death it's just a matter or trying to identify the bodies. Everybody starts to leave including the CID, much to Beadie's consternation, telling her that this case is nothing but a lot of paperwork, and that's her problem to deal with. The Doctor leaves as well, and Beadie is once again alone with 13 dead women - women who might as well not even exist as far as anyone else is concerned, simply collateral damage.

The old man is reading his paper at the dingy little cafe/diner in the middle of nowhere when his regular routine is ruined by the arrival of new people. Frank Sobotka isn't going through an intermediary today, he's furious and he wants to speak with Vondas personally, while Nick runs alongside him trying to calm him down and talk reason - there's nothing he has to say that Nick can't pass on for him. Nick is looking out for his uncle AND his boss, we saw in the first episode he is smart enough to know you need to be careful when you're breaking the law, and now we see that Frank is a little more like Ziggy than he might like to admit. He storms into the cafe, sitting beside Sergei and opposite Vondas where in a harsh whisper he rants about dead girls being left on "his" docks, complaining that Sergei just stood around with his dick in his hand while they suffocated to death. Sergei doesn't like being lectured and warns that Frank doesn't know what he's talking about, but Spiros is calmer, insisting that everybody is upset including them, nobody wanted this to happen. Sergei wasn't just standing around, he was waiting for their contact on the Atlantic Light to come off and give him the go-ahead that everything was fine and there was nothing to worry about re: customs. That never happened, so they couldn't go ahead and take the can in case somebody was waiting to swoop on them. Nick tries to play peacemaker, telling Frank that they weren't deliberately hosed over on this, and Frank does calm a bit... but he isn't quite ready to let go of his anger, and demands to know why Vondas didn't tell him there were girls in the can, if he'd known that he wouldn't have dumped the can in the stacks - clearly Frank feels some guilt, maybe even asking himself if his actions caused the women to die. Sensing the danger is passed, Vondas leans back and is more assured, reminding Frank that he never wanted to know before what was in the cans, he just wanted the money. He essentially taunts him - maybe the cans held guns, or drugs, or whores, vodka, cavier, bombs maybe? Sergei laughs and Vondas tells him he's just kidding, but Frank never asked before because he never wanted to know. Frank isn't laughing though, and snaps at Vondas that the next time The Greek has something breathing inside the can, he has to know. He leaves, Nick remaining behind a moment to ask Vondas to please give him a couple of days to settle down - how many times has he had to play this same diplomatic role for Ziggy? They leave and the kindly looking old man returns from the back, joining Vondas at the window to watch Frank and Nick leave. Vondas isn't The Greek after all, but surely it's not this sweet looking old man?

Brianna Barksdale arrives at the prison to meet with Avon, telling him the news about Roberto's arrest. Things make a lot more sense to Avon now, though he's slightly alarmed to hear they've received back their advance payment for the non-shipped drugs in full. The Barksdale Organization has lost their drug connection, and that is bad news - they're concerned that Avon's comparatively short sentence may be down to cooperation, and until they know for certain they can trust him they aren't going to supply him with drugs. That means that the territory they're barely holding on to already is on even shakier ground, and they're relying on him to hook them up with a fresh connection. Avon rose to the top for a reason, he knows a man called Vargas in Atlanta who can work as a back-up supply, so they'll have Stringer fly down to see him as soon as possible. With the business out of the way, Brianna finally moves on to her flesh and blood son - how is D'Angelo doing? Avon offers a lame excuse that it is difficult for him to see him since they're on different tiers, but Brianna knows this is bullshit. She tells him that he's not checking up on her and she hasn't been able to get in contact with Donnette, and Avon notes that she hasn't been making regular visits to see D'Angelo either. Concentrating on Donnette's shortcomings rather than his own, Avon says he'll get Stringer to make contact with Donnette. Brianna reminds Avon again that D'Angelo took 20 years in prison for the family, and that is a lot of weight for a young man to deal with, especially if he feels isolated. Avon explains that D'Angelo is acting cold to him at the moment because he's trying to get his head around his current situation, but Brianna insists that he make more of an effort.

McNulty is back at Homicide for a casual social visit with Bunk, and they're sharing a meal of fresh crab and drinking Miller Genuine Draft in the interrogation room - one of the fringe benefits of the Marine Unit. Bunk wants to open the door to let in some air but McNulty says it isn't worth the hassle if Rawls comes by, and Bunk laughs that McNulty isn't just any regular kind of rear end in a top hat. How long did it take McNulty to figure out where the girl went into the water? McNulty happily admits it took him 3 hours to work out the math, much to Bunk's delight at all the effort he went to just to offer up a gently caress you to Rawls.... but what about Cole, who has just been stuck with a stone-cold whodunnit? McNulty shrugs, Cole is just collateral damage. Bunk eats the crab guts that McNulty won't (Bunk calls him a pussy in addition to being an rear end in a top hat) and then finally broaches the subject of Omar. McNulty is already distracted though, having noticed on the oily newspaper that they're eating off the story about the 13 dead girls. Bunk dismisses it, it's not a homicide and it's not city business, but Omar and the upcoming Gant trial is - their case falls apart if Omar doesn't testify, so Jimmy needs to show Bunk some love and get him Omar. McNulty's response? He sucks the meat out of a crab leg and tells him if he wants love he should come and sit on his lap.

At the Union Hall, Horseface is complaining that he's being blamed for a broken customs seal on a shipping can when he knows it was broken while it was on the ship. The can had vodka in it, and Frank throws a knowing glance at Horseface who admits MAYBE they took a crate or two, but the seal was already broken and the crew had already been at it before it was unloaded. Neither man seems remotely troubled by their part in the 13 dead girls case, joking about the couple cases Horseface and his boys took..... well, maybe four! Ott runs in to tell them the police are outside ticketing every car parked outside, and they head outside to discover a less than enthusiastic Sergeant Ellis Carver leading his officers in ticketing each car for various bullshit reasons. Frank calls him on it, and the two share a surprisingly civil conversation - Carver admits that the tickets are bullshit, but says he has no choice in the matter, the word has come down through his Shift Lieutenant from all the way up to Stan Valchek, they have to drive by the union hall twice a day and paper the cars. Frank knows Valchek, and tells Carver he works for a gaping rear end in a top hat, and Carver replies he works for more than one, but there's nothing he can do about it, it's the Chain of Command. It's a familiar refrain from Daniels early in season one, the chain of command was everything, and it seems like Carver is learning all the wrong lessons from his Valchek on down to his shift lieutenant. He tells Frank he's welcome to fight this all the way to the Mayor if he wants to, but - here he stops to look around and make sure he can't be overheard - he has to work with the son of a bitch as well, so please keep his name out of it. He drives away, Frank having a bit of a chuckle, clearly seeing Carver as a peer opposed to an adversary, a working man being stiffed by a higher-up.

The same can't be said for Wee-Bey. A surprise inspection of his cell by a belligerent Corrections Officer Tilghman is going very badly. Tilghman is abrasive and confrontational, while Wee-Bey - a very, very, very dangerous man - tries to maintain his cool. Tilghman snaps at Wee-Bey not to talk unless told to, tears his sheets off the bed, hands over stashed porno magazines to the officer waiting outside, rips posters from the wall (including the pornographic one tucked behind another) and, after messing up the cell, shouts at Wee-Bey that the cell is a mess. Wee-Bey starts to retort and Tilghman is on him immediately, slamming him against the wall as Wee-Bey makes a great effort to maintain his composure, and that's when Tilghman takes things too far. He notices that Bey has a small tank of plastic fish, they move about with little motors, a reminder of Wee-Bey's one true love, his home aquarium. Tilghman smashes the tank onto the floor and stomps over the fish as he leaves, demanding that Wee-Bey clean up the mess before lockdown. The other officer kicks the sheets back into the cell (and into the puddle of water) before closing the door, while Tilghman storms into the next cell to begin tearing into that as well.

The next day Valchek arrives at the Union Hall, where Frank is having an argument over the phone regarding the seniority system. Horseface lets him know Valchek (his sweetheart) is there, and Franks heads out where Valchek immediately gets off on the wrong foot by pointing out how empty the hall is and then demanding to know if Frank "got the message". He complains that he's been working on putting together a stained glass window for the nave since Easter, and that he took money from half a dozen people on the understanding that it was going to a window in the nave. Frank gets right to the heart of Valchek's fault though, he never actually told Father Lewandowski, and Valchek's angry response that it was meant to be a surprise doesn't illicit much sympathy. Valchek tells him about the other window that is available and Frank doesn't see the problem, they can put his window there, but Valchek is adamant - he wants that spot on the nave. He warns Frank that if he doesn't want Valchek's finger in his eye, he'll do "what's right". Frank has a very different concept of what is right, and in this instance he is absolutely correct. He points out that what would have been right is if Valchek had come down and spoken politely to him to ask a common courtesy, but that just isn't his way. He insults Valchek, telling him how father always said he was a punk, how his sister said he was a pest at the local dances, and how everybody in Locust Point said it was a mistake when he became a police officer and he's proven them right every day since. Furious - what exactly did Valchek expect from this pathetic display of power BEFORE telling Frank what he was even angry about? - Valchek storms out, apparently spitting on the floor as he goes, and Frank yells after him,"gently caress you, and gently caress your window!" It's such a petty thing to feud over, but it will have gigantic ramifications for the entire city.

McNulty and Diggins pull in to the pier for their lunch break, and McNulty says he'll be back in an hour. Diggins agrees, but it disgusted to see McNulty's idea of tying the boat up has been to loosely wrap the rope about the pier post, saying he might as well have just tied bunny ears. McNulty heads to the docks where Beadie and two other Port Authority officers are going through the dead girls' luggage searching for identification, having little luck - the language in the letters they've found is "backwards" and none of them know enough geography to make sense of the place names. McNulty shows up and asks where the detectives are, getting a laugh from Beadie and the others, who explain the deaths have been ruled accidental and all they're doing is figuring out the identification for the bodies. McNulty - ignoring/not noticing Beadie's attempt to shake his hand, a good start! - takes a look inside the shipping can and tells Beadie he's interested because of the Jane Doe he fished out of the water a couple of days ago, and gets a surprising bit of news. Beadie found 13 bodies, but there are 14 bedrolls in the can. McNulty checks out photos and spots what looks like his Jane Doe, but this begs the question - if 13 of the 14 girls died accidentally locked inside the can, how was the 14th outside of it and murdered? He and Beadie look around inside, Beadie telling him how the girls were locked in and scratched and clawed at the walls as they suffocated - she's so far the only person who has shown even a muted interest/empathy for the fate of the women. She explains how the smuggling usually works, including the use of a shepherd in the crew who makes sure they have air and may even let them out to walk around a bit. They climb up onto the roof of the can where Beadie shows McNulty the air pipe, flattened against the roof, apparently crushed when other cans moved around on top of it as the ship moved. McNulty spots something though, kneeling down for a closer look - to him it looks less like the pipe was crushed and more like it was deliberately flattened.

Valchek - having failed to cow Frank Sobotka - has gone running to his political connections. Andy Krawczyk, a prominent Baltimore Property Developer, is one of Valchek's MVPS, he has money but more importantly influence. Unfortunately for Valchek, while he can pressure or influence politicians, he has none over a Priest, only a Cardinal could step in on Valchek's behalf, and a Cardinal only feels pressure from the Pope.... and Krawczyk sure as gently caress doesn't have any influence over the Pope. He quite rightly points out that Father Lewandowski isn't going to give back money once donated, and that Frank paid for a window so he gets a window, so Valchek should just get over it. Valchek doesn't like being stymied though, this has become a point of pride for him now, especially after being openly denigrated by Sobotka. He complains that he can't understand where Frank got the money, and that Krawcyzk does find interesting, providing Valchek with a surprising bit of information - Frank Sobotka has hired a VERY expensive lobbyist - Bruce DiBiago - to lobby on his union's behalf. The entire IBS has maybe 1500 people in Baltimore, and Frank's Local Checkers probably less than 100, so how in the hell can he afford DiBiago? Valchek is convinced that Frank must be into something dirty, and it's a case of a broken clock being right twice a day - Frank IS into something dirty, but Valchek has only come to that conclusion because he desperately wants the nave window spot for himself. Krawcyzk says he doesn't know about that, Valchek is the cop, not him, and as Valchek walks away Andy's face grimaces - he quite clearly can't stand Valchek any more than Frank can, but Valchek is as much a necessary political connection for him as the other way around. He follows Valchek to follow up a little on this now, he's heard that Burrell is looking set to be named the new Commissioner of Police and wants to know Valchek's take. Valchek seems indifferent, there are worse choices, and he's more interested in Krawcyzk's model of a proposed high-rise condo development on the grain pier - the very thing that Nat Coxson was warning Frank might happen. He moves one of the little model ships before moving on, and Andy fussily shifts it back into place.

McNulty and Beadie have gone to see the coroner - Randall Frazier - who tentatively agrees with McNulty's assessment that the air-pipe was beaten down into place rather than being accidentally crushed. He says he'll have to check with a metallurgist first, but it looks like Beadie just bought herself 13 homicides.

Valchek visits with Burrell in his desk, supposedly to discuss Burrell's potential promotion. The current Commissioner is set to be promoted to a position in Washington D.C (the actor who played the Commissioner died shortly after his single appearance in season 1) and Burrell seems to be the favorite to replace him, though nothing is yet set in stone. Burrell knows that while the Mayor is backing him, the First District are pushing for a white colonel named Shipley, and Valchek despairs that this is racist, how dare they reach down past Burrell for somebody just because they happen to be white! Valchek "spontaneously" decides that he is going to get on the phone to his friends and make sure the First District falls into line, and the very canny Burrell instantly knows that Valchek is angling for something. Thanking him for this kindness, he asks what - if anything - he can do to repay such a kindness, and Valchek just so happens to remember that trouble he's having with Frank Sobotka, what a coincidence! Burrell - whose political instincts are VERY sharp - instantly picks up on the IBS connection but Valchek assures him he isn't interested in going after the Union, he just thinks it is one of the Locals, and hell it may not go beyond one guy, Frank Sobotka. Burrell has never heard of him but knows Valchek wouldn't be requesting a Detail unless there was a personal element, and asks Valchek exactly who Sobotka is to him. Valchek's reply is probably the first honest thing he's said all episode - who is Frank Sobotka to him? He's an rear end in a top hat! They both burst out laughing, it's a back-room deal between two politicking assholes, but both guys know this is how things get done in Baltimore. Valchek can have six guys for six weeks, and Rawls will pick them out for him.

Somebody who DIDN'T understand how things get done in Baltimore until too late is Daniels. Walking home with Marla after dinner, he's distracted and she's concerned about how little he ate, finally stopping him to apologize - she brought up his career during dinner and he's been surly and uncommunicative ever since. He stops her apology though, telling her that she is right - he did what he did, he took on Burrell and he lost, and now his career is literally in the basement. They continue walking, Daniels saying that Burrell won't always be around, but she points out he's about to become the new Police Commissioner, he's in for the long haul. They stop again and she brings up his law degree, any law firm would be eager to have him considering his experience and rank, he DOES have options outside of the police force. He agrees, much to her surprise, and then delights her as he comes to a shocking decision, he's going to put in his papers. She hugs him, delighted for him AND for her, and they continue walking home, holding each other close. Daniels looks genuinely relieved, like a huge weight has been lifted off of his shoulders. It has, he clearly loves a job that doesn't love him back, and has finally realized that he can't keep holding out hope that things will somehow get better. Remember that he has options, compare that to - for example - the checkers in Frank's Local, many of whom probably realize that things aren't going to get better but feel like they have no choice but to stick it out and just hope that somehow, some way, the thing they know and love will be a viable way of living again.

The next morning Johnny 50 arrives at Delores' bar with eggs, it's time for "breakfast" - a disgusting "meal" of beer and raw egg. Ziggy arrives, not for work but to share a drink with these "ugly whores", and they all knock back their booze before preparing to set off down to the docks to work. Ziggy pulls Nick aside first, it should come as no surprise that he has a business proposition, a get rich quick scheme! He tells Nick that "White Mike" is going to set him up with a package, but if Nick comes in with him with some money down they can get a bigger one. Nick has no idea what Ziggy is talking about, and Ziggy smugly tells him he means dope - he's going to make more money than Nick does working hard all day. Nick is disgusted, despite his dealings with The Greek his pride tells him that selling drugs is a disgusting, vile act and he can't believe that Ziggy would make him that offer. Ott pops in to tell everybody the ship is in and it's time to get to work, and Nick asks to catch a ride with him, leaving a despondent Ziggy behind. The cars head on down the street... and straight into an 8am D.U.I checkpoint being lead by Carver. Ott can't believe it, demanding to know who would be driving drunk at 8 A.M in the goddamn morning? Of course they HAVE all been drinking, but this is another case of Valchek doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons.

At Homicide, a Commander from the Maryland State Police - Robbie or possibly Ronnie? - is having a very tense meeting with Colonel Rawls. He admits that the 13 homicides are "technically" within the Port Authority's jurisdiction, but stresses that they simply don't have the resources or experience to properly investigate such a big and difficult case and it's going to be dumped on MSP, who will also struggle to deal with it. Rawls is not unsympathetic to the difficulties, but he also isn't about to take on 13 "whodunnits" and completely gently caress up his squad's clearance rate. For Rawls, statistics are king, and he explains how he has struggled and fought to get his clearance rate up over 51% (which probably involves a lot of fudging of what constitutes a murder) and taking on these murders would drop his clearance rate down to 39.4%. He laughs that they didn't make Colonel by being idiots, and offers to get him a coffee. Heading out of his office, he deliberately uses defeated body language, Landsman, Cole, Bunk and Freamon watching with concern as he collects the drink. Each of them knows that the 13 murders would destroy their clearance rate, which will affect all of them professionally and personally, and it looks like Rawls has bad news for all of them. He grumpily walks past them back to his door, then stops and fist pumps before heading back inside, much to their relief. They shake hands, Landsman declaring that Rawls is a God.

Avon is enjoying a meal of KFC in his cell, drinking a soda, as casual and relaxed as it he was at home. Wee-Bey is brought for a visit by the prison guard, who (respectfully) warns Avon that Wee-Bey needs to be back in maximum security by 6pm. It pays to remember that Wee-Bey is a convicted MULTIPLE murderer, that he's supposed to be in prison for life and constantly within maximum security confinement of some sort. The fact that he can be brought into the relatively low-security section of the prison holding Avon goes a long way to showing how much power and influence Avon continues to wield, even more than the fact he can have KFC delivered to him in his room. To his surprise, Wee-Bey turns down the meal, clearly upset and in no mood to kick back and relax - this visit isn't to make plans or give out orders, Avon just wanted to see his friend and hang out a little. Avon thinks Bey's depression is down to having his cell torn up and tells him they'll just keep replacing everything that is taken, they'll bring it in faster than it can be taken out. That isn't the problem though, Wee-Bey is a rock and could care less about such things... but you don't gently caress with his fish! The look in his eyes, the way his entire body rocks and his arms flail as he tells Avon,"He didn't have to gently caress with my fish!" says it all. Wee-Bey isn't so much depressed as he is furious, and it's clear that his breaking point isn't about breaking down and giving up names, but breaking his control and murdering the poo poo out of Tilghman - and that would mean the Death Penalty. Bey is between a rock and a hard place, if he doesn't do something it is going to eat him up inside, and if he does he's a dead man. Avon asks exactly what Tilghman's problem is and we learn it's very personal. One of the charges that Wee-Bey took was for the murder of a relative of Tilghman's, a rival dealer. Avon has absolutely no recollection of the man, joking that it is difficult to keep up with Wee-Bey's "lethal rear end", but Bey doesn't see the funny side, Tilghman is always up in his poo poo, it's maddening. Avon assures him that he is going to find Tilghman and talk with him and sort everything out, and Bey complains that Tilghman acts righteous but is bringing drugs into the prison and selling it to prisoners. Avon tucks aside that info inside his head, it'll prove incredibly valuable, and assures Wee-Bey again that he is on things.

McNulty and Beadie are discussing with Coroner Frazier and another man how to get the 13 homicides away from the Port Authority over to Homicide. McNulty stresses that the case needs proper murder police investigating it but Frazier knows him well enough that this is bullshit, McNulty just wants to gently caress with Rawls. McNulty happily admits it's true, pissing off Beadie who isn't pleased to hear McNulty is using 13 dead women as a way to get even with an old boss, but McNulty does point out that regardless of the reason, if he doesn't then she's stuck with the murders. Frazier has an idea, using the dimensions of the cavity the women were stored in and the approximate time of deaths, they can work out how much air was inside, how long it took to breath and therefore the most likely physical location the Atlantic Light was in when they died. It's math beyond McNulty, who took 3 hours to work out where a dead body went into the water, and the man helping Frazier is from the State Bureau of Mines. "Minds" asks Beadie. "Mines" replies Frazier. Beadie's not on-board.

In the prison, Avon gets the nod from a guard when Tilghman is coming near. He approaches and rather respectfully asks for the chance to parlay, Tilghman ignoring him at first but then stopping on the stairs to turn and pretend he isn't entirely sure who Avon is. After confirming his identity, he shuts down Avon immediately, telling him,"No!" with finality. Avon - who isn't used to being told no - frowns and asks,"No?" and Tilghman replies,"No. Motherfucker," and continues on up the stairs, snapping at another prisoner to stop loitering on the stairs.

This is NOT a look you ever want this man to be making in your direction :ohdear:

With great glee, McNulty takes a 13 page document he has prepared and faxes it through to the Maryland State Police, literally rubbing his hands together in happiness. Diggins is watching from the doorway and says he can tell McNulty is deep into somebody's poo poo. McNulty leaves the room with a spring in his step, as far as loving Rawls goes, he's just arranged the biggest, baddest gangbang you can.

Shortly after, a furious Rawls finds himself outnumbered by three representatives of other Agencies, and this time Robbie (Ronnie?) is adamant, the figures are accurate for a time of death to within 3 hours, and the numbers weren't just put together for the coroner, they're confirmed by Rawls' own man in the Marine Unit. This rankles Rawls the most, who declares he knows for a fact that "his man" in the Marine Unit is without a doubt the most swollen rear end in a top hat in law enforcement. This gets a laugh, but everybody is presenting a united front despite Rawls' angry attempts to shut them down - the 13 women died while the Atlantic Light was anchored within Baltimore City jurisdiction, that makes it a City problem, that makes it RAWLS' problem. Robbie happily declares that it looks like Rawls could use a coffee, and Rawls manages a hard grin before storming out. Shortly after, Landsman, Cole, Bunk and Freamon stand like mourners at a funeral as the 14 Jane Does are added in red to the board underneath Landsman's Squad. The 14 dead murders are now Cole's problem, and thus EVERYBODY in Homicide's problem.

Ziggy drives Princess to White Mike's corner, where he's greeted with an instant no. White Mike warns the "little rat-faced gently caress" that he hosed up the last two packages he was given, so he can forget getting another. Ziggy insists that wasn't his fault (it never is) but Mike is adamant - if he has money, he can buy a little weight, if he doesn't then he can gently caress off. It's as simple as that. Ziggy complains, he thought they were friends, and White Mike reveals that they are, because he hosed up the last two packages (Ziggy finally admits he "sorta" did) and yet he hasn't taken a severe beating for it - so he should take a walk now while he's still able. As far as drug dealers go, White Mike is being surprisingly tolerant, but of course Ziggy doesn't see it that way, as far as he is concerned White Mike just hosed HIM over.

Stringer visits Avon in prison again, though this time Avon is in the yard and Stringer travels along the small path between the fences. Guards watch the two of them but keep their distance, and Stringer tells Avon he has sorted out the connection through Atlanta. Avon explains he called him in to deal with the Tilghman situation, explaining who he is and why he is causing problems for Wee-Bey, and just like that Stringer says he'll sort it out. Next up on the agenda is D'Angelo, he wants Stringer to visit Donette and make sure she and her son come to visit D'Angelo regularly, she needs to do her part. Stringer asks how D'Angelo is doing and Avon says he will do his part though he does need help now and then, and Stringer is instantly concerned - he has always considered D'Angelo weak, and seems less than convinced when Avon once again puts his trust in the fact that D'Angelo is "family".

Freamon and Bunk have left Homicide for the day and picked up McNulty, and are taking great enjoyment in making his take one shot for each of the dead women he has saddled Cole with. Now that the deed is done they can see the funny side, because at least they're not the ones stuck with 14 unsolvable murders. They laugh about how Rawls is taking it, stuck sulking in his office with the door locked most of the day, causing McNulty to declare they need to stop talking because he's getting an erection. One thing is certain though, he will NEVER return from exile after pulling poo poo like this, but McNulty doesn't care - what more could they possibly do to him? He's already stuck on the boat, and he comes to a sudden decision - gently caress it, he'll serve out the next 11 years quietly till he can take his 20 year pension, then walk away forever. He's talking about sitting out the clock, and given his proclivity for drinking and his disdain for the Marine Unit, it probably stands to reason he's going to end up another Polk or Mahon as opposed to a Freamon. Finishing the 14th shot, McNulty almost hits the floor (Bunk declares he won't pick him up) and manages to stagger away to the toilet.

Frank has gotten the arrested Checkers out of holding, all except for La La who is being held on an old traffic violation and is currently being sorted out by the bondsman. Frank explains the arrests were down to a beef he has with Stan Valchek, but assures them all that he is working on resolving that. After they all leave, Frank tells Nick that if Valchek wants a war he's got one, and Nick looks delighted at the idea of going to war with a politically connected Police Major.

Bunk and Freamon return to Homicide in the morning sharing a laugh, and immediately sense something is wrong when an entirely too happy Landsman approaches them. Before they can say anything, he informs then that THEY are now responsible for the investigation of the 14 Jane Does. He turns and starts walking away, but they angrily call him back, they're not up, they're currently working a double-homicide, but Landsman makes it clear that this is now Cole's case, and they have "pussy in a can" (more on this later). They claim this isn't fair but Landsman replies that what isn't fair is that within the Homicide Department, their squad currently has a NEGATIVE clearance rate, and points to Cole who he says is a good Detective, but not his best - he needs them because he NEEDS those 14 Jane Does to go black. He leaves, and Cole hands over the number for Beatrice Russell, shrugging when Bunk asks if she's at least pretty. Cole has affected a hangdog expression after Landsman told him he couldn't trust him to handle the case, but he's clearly over the loving moon to be released of the responsibility. He leaves with a smile on his face, Freamon and Bunk are now just more of McNulty's collateral damage.

Rhonda Pearlman has had an unwelcome visitor in the night, a drunken McNulty staggered to her door for a place to sleep, too drunk to gently caress and now too hungover. He barely moves as she whips the sheets off of him and joins him in bed, joking that the most useless thing on a woman is a drunken Irishman. Humor aside, she wants to know what she is to him, obviously affectionate as she strokes his hair but fights off his half-hearted attempts to draw her back into bed, she warns him that he can't just show up at her doorstep at 2 in the morning without warning. What is she? His girlfriend? His soulmate? Certainly not his wife, and she doesn't take his lame,"We're good together" attempt to avoid the question. Forced to answer, he happily, sleepily informs her that he'd go back to his wife in a heartbeat if she asked him, then shuts his eyes, leaving her utterly hollowed out. She storms out of the room and he calls back to her to bring him some aspirin, complaining that she doesn't understand how badly he's hurting at the moment, completely oblivious to the irony.

Horseface - looking about as shifty as it is possible to - enters the parking lot of the Southeastern Police District building, a big coat pulled close to him to conceal his slim-jim. Spotting the police surveillance van, he unlocks the door and quickly hotwires the ignition, then gets in and drives it right on out of the lot, just like that. As he drives by, he salutes two passing police officers who actually salute him back!

Freamon and Bunk arrive at the Port Authority Police building, already irritated at having to climb stairs as the building has no elevator. They greet Beadie at her desk where she is on hold with the Coast Guard, trying to get them to hold the Atlantic Light in Philadelphia. She explains that nobody from their CID is going to assist them because Rawls managed to piss everybody else off, so they're stuck with her. Already impatient, Freamon says they'll call the Coast Guard from the road, and heads out while Bunk waits for her to throw on her coat. She asks if he knows Jimmy McNulty, and he says he does - he's dead to them.

Rawls' "Spectacular Six" arrive at a small, squat port side building that will become very familiar over this season and the ones to follow. Inside they find Valchek waiting, and the Major clearly has a sense of drama. Having carefully chosen his position, he's affected a "boss" pose that feels like something out of an action movie - the wise, grizzled old leader in an out of way location who gives a mission briefing to his handpicked crew of elites. He introduces Prez as a prodigy, identifies their "target" and then leaves them to get to work, having satisfied himself that he has set the wheels in motion of a quick, expertly run Detail that'll have Frank Sobotka in handcuffs before Summer (and his stained glass window in the Church nave). Just to give you an idea of how seriously everybody else is taking Frank's pursuit of his white whale, it pays to note that one of Rawls' picks is Detective Polk, the old alcoholic partner of Mahon from season one. The very first question that Prez is asked after Valchek leaves is,"Who signs the overtime slips?"

Meanwhile, a delighted Frank, Ott, Horseface and Nick are admiring the surveillance van that Horseface stole. Loading it into a shipping can, they slap an International Brotherhood of Stevedores sticker onto the back and close up the crate, loading it up on a ship for the start of what will be a VERY long journey.

At the Port of Philadelphia, the guard at the gate tries to prevent a car from entering but waves them through after being shown Coast Guard ID - by Sergei. They pull up near the Atlantic Light and wait patiently. Inside the ship, a chubby man named Sam is agitated that they haven't set sail yet, and learns that the ship is being held but nobody knows why. Desperate to get away, he grabs his identification and a money-belt and leaves the ship, prepared to disappear into the city. As he leaves, he's spotted by Sergei and they're instantly after him, Sam running into a shed in a desperate attempt to escape, followed on foot while the driver tries to cut him off from escaping out the entrance on the other side. They run him down, beating him and hauling him kicking and flailing into the car, watched from a distance by the officer who let them in. The beating they're giving him doesn't seem to bother him, and he doesn't seem to notice (presumably he can't here) that at least one of them is Russian, and pleasantly says goodbye as they drive away with Sam in the back.

In prison, we get our first look at D'Angelo and it isn't a pleasant sight. Standing in his cell looking ou the narrow window, he's joined by another prisoner who brings him cocaine to snort. With the same hollow look he'd have been used to from his junkie customers in the past, D'Angelo makes sure nobody is coming and then eagerly sits down to snort a line, thanking the other inmate for helping him find a way to do the time. Avon arrives and the other inmate quickly leaves, and he and D'Angelo's heavy sniffing makes it clear what they've been up to, especially to somebody like Avon. D'Angelo tries to affect a casual attitude, but brings up the book they snorted the drugs from, stoned-logic telling him that Avon might wonder why he didn't explain it. Avon asks how he is doing and D insists he is doing okay, and Avon says they need to talk, though not clearly isn't the time, the buzzer just sounded for lockdown. Avon leaves, and D'Angelo slips on his headphones to listen to music and pass the night away.

Freamon, Bunk and Beadie arrive at the Atlantic Light, not knowing they've missed their shot. Onboard, a member of the crew explains the make-up of the crew, which is very international. He admits they speak English, but says that none of them will given the questions they're likely to be asked. The Captain isn't there, he's at the Coast Guard office complaining about the hold on the ship, they're due in New Jersey tomorrow, but Bunk says they're definitely not going to make it, and doesn't give a poo poo at the reveal that every day the Atlantic Light is held costs them $100,000.

Sergei is beating a naked Sam, flanked by two heavies (one might be familiar to wrestling fans as "Vladimir Kozlov"), demanding to know what happened with the dead girls. Sam insists that not only does he know nothing, but that he doesn't speak English - we know he does, but much like the other crew with the police, he is trying to take refuge in his foreign status to pretend he can't communicate. Sergei isn't buying it, demanding to know why he ran, while downstairs Vondas arrives accompanied by the kindly old man from the diner. The kindly old man looks far from kindly now though, his eyes are hard and his face is impassive - this is "The Greek", and he doesn't like having to make himself known to people outside of his small group of intimates. Vondas tells him Sam ran when he found out the Coast Guard was holding the Atlantic Light, but they're not sure of his identity/nationality, apparently his role as shepherd was handled from a distance, they think he's an Arab but they're not sure. Arriving on the floor where Sam is being beaten, The Greek seems disappointed that Sergei continued to beat him after it became clear Sam wasn't going to talk, and dismisses everybody but Vondas. He puts on the kindly old man act now, offering Sam a cigarette and asking permission before lighting one for himself. He settles down on a chair opposite Sam and attempts to communicate, offering Sam back his pants and attempting to ascertain which language he speaks. Sam continues to maintain the lie he doesn't speak English, but when The Greek offers him his coat he notices the crescent moon and star tattoo on his arm and guesses that he is Turkish. He assures him he has nothing against the Turks, that is a problem of the old world and this is the new, and Sam finally opens up, speaking English, insisting he knows nothing about the girls. The Greek disagrees, he says Sam DOES know, and he IS going to tell him, and then he'll be free to go, he gives his word. Sam looks into his eyes and whatever he sees there, it breaks down his resistance. He explains that they opened the can to get the girls out to take a bath, and the crew - desperate for female company after weeks of nothing but masturbation - offered to pay for sex. Sam admits that he saw the chance for business and allowed it to happen, but when one of the girls refused (in Sam's words, "one whore decided she didn't want to be a whore no more") the crewman got rough and killed her. The other girls were aware of what happened, and Sam panicked, knowing that he would take the blame for losing one of the "cargo". The Greek is disgusted, he killed one so he killed the others? Sam insists it wasn't him, it was the other man who did it, and is obviously in terror he's going to be killed. The Greek assures him though, he gave his word... and then Vondas steps up and savagely, roughly slits Sam's throat. The Greek watches impassively as Sam bleeds out, one lip raising in a half-snarl/half-grin as he dies, more upset when Vondas warns him that the pooling blood is risking touching his feet. He stands up as Sergei rejoins them and notes that Sam bleeds like a lamb, then complains about the financial damage done by Sam's stupidity. Each girl was set to bring The Greek $250,000+ a year, roughly 4 million total, and they all died because Sam tried to make a few hundred extra dollars on the side. He tells Sergei to make sure that whatever remains of Sam has no hands, no face, and Sergei notes that won't be a problem. The kindly old man and Vondas leave together, casually discussing whether or not to get something to eat before going home.

So what about those 14 dead girls? Throughout the entire episode the dead women have been relegated, dismissed, joked about and ignored. Investigative agencies dismissed them as dead so unimportant; without contraband so not important; dead in the wrong way so not important; dead in the wrong place so not important; all in all NOT important. Landsman called them "pussy in a can"; they were treated like a hot potato between Rawls and the other Colonels; McNulty saw them as a means to an end to get revenge on Rawls; Freamon and Bunk saw them as first a hindrance to their squad, later a joke to laugh about and then a fresh hindrance when it affected them personally; Frank Sobotka was furious about their deaths momentarily and then became more interested in joking about stealing vodka and getting into a pissing match with Valchek; and finally there was The Greek. You could argue that The Greek was the only one who achieved any justice for the women, he found the man responsible for their deaths and extracted the most brutal revenge - but his final comments reveal his motivation. The women were a financial investment, Sam cost him on his potential return for that investment, so he took his revenge. After commenting on the money they could have brought in, he shrugs and mutters,"There will be more" and then moves on to casually discussing dinner with Vondas.

The episode's title is Collateral Damage, and that's how the dead women are treated. 14 dead women should be the focus, it should cause an outrage, but it isn't and it doesn't. They're treated as an after-thought, only important for how they affect or can be used by others. In life they were used as objects, and it's the same in death. The scariest part of all of that? Like The Greek says, there will always be more.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 12:25 on Apr 14, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Mescal posted:

Was D really doing cocaine in prison? I always thought it was heroin.

Whatever it was, it was a drug and it's not good news!

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Ithaqua posted:

Is that an Arrested Development homage?

Yeah, sorry it just kinda typed itself out :)

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

awesmoe posted:

Probably worry beads, not a rosary -

Oh that's a neat little detail, I always just assumed it was a Rosary and that lead to all kinds of assumptions about the hypocrisy of a God-fearing man running a giant international smuggling operation.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

escape artist posted:

I kind of feel like what I imagine one of the guys who started up Facebook and then didn't stick with it feels like.

If it wasn't for you we'd still be in the old thread arguing about whether we were spoiling things for new viewers (and scaring them off!) - so long as you keep the OP updated that's all anybody can really ask.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 04:02 on Apr 16, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

escape artist posted:

I also really like that HBO said gently caress the ratings, and let the show finish out because it is great.

The way ratings are worked out is such a lumbering dinosaur, one of the smartest things HBO ever did was look deeper into the details/motivations of their viewers. They found out that while The Wire rated relatively poorly, the vast majority of those who were watching had subscribed SPECIFICALLY for The Wire and nothing else. HBO realized that if they dropped The Wire and replaced it with another show, they were going to lose a good number of paying subscribers.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2, Episode 3: Hot Shots

Beadie Russell posted:

What they need is a union.

Omar is back in Baltimore, having apparently decided that enough time has passed (plus Avon's incarceration) to come back from New York. With a new partner in crime and love named Dante, the two are carefully watching a stash house as Omar lays out how they are going to take it. In season one we learned that Omar saw the street the way the police could only dream of, and Dante is impressed too as Omar works out how drugs/money come out of the stash house hidden by dirty laundry. Rather than storming the place like a fortress, they only need to wait till night and another load of "washing" to come out. Omar doesn't see EVERYTHING though, to his surprise and delight two women who were casually hanging out on the street directly in his field of vision suddenly pull guns and rob the man coming down the stoop with a basket of dirty laundry. Grabbing the package, they mock him for "slipping" and depart in their car, one of them riding seated on the door and covering the dealers as they go. Dante is pissed, they've just lost their caper, but Omar is pleased, declaring that you don't see something like that every day.

At the Philadelphia Coast Guard building, even Freamon's legendary patience is at breaking point. Landsman worked things out so his best men were working on the 14 dead girls... but you can't get blood from a stone. Freamon and Bunk sit and interview one by one various members of the Atlantic Light crew, all of whom babble in their own languages to the pissed off detectives. The only thing that comes across over the gulf in languages is the familiar refrain of "no English", and they don't believe it any more than Sergei or The Greek believed Sam at the end of the last episode. The scene is played (very well) for laughs, plenty of intercut scenes of crewmembers of different Ethnicities acting irritated, paranoid, apologetic, or confused while a clearly tired Bunk and Freamon sit through it all. One crewmember tries to kiss Bunk's hand, upsetting both the Detectives who eventually start spouting racially loaded jokes at the foreigners who supposedly don't understand a word they say (but absolutely do). "Yabba Dadda Dabba Dabba Do?" asks Bunk, and Freamon adds in,"Mishy gishy gooshie gooshie mishy-mushy mooshie mother fucker!". Freamon demands that the man must know some English, he can't travel all the way around the world and not speak anything. The crewmember continues to keep up the pretense though, and to be honest Freamon and Bunk should have known better and come prepared with a translator or translators, just to avoid falling into this trap. Rejoining Beadie and the officer they met last episode - who again admits that they'll all be speaking English once the detectives leave - we learn that two of the crew are missing. The officer gives them the gear of one of the missing men, but says the other took all his gear with him. This isn't unusual though, they often get people disappearing once they pull into a port, especially if they've just been paid. One of the missing men actually showed up for an advance a couple of days before they got in, and reveals a key piece of information - more members of the crew were showing up for advances on this voyage, some of them every day. He assumed they were gambling down in the hold, but Bunk, Freamon and Beadie all have another idea in mind - they were paying the smuggled women for sex. The officer warns them that holding them another day isn't going to help at all, even if they return with an interpreter the men will refuse to talk - the unwritten rule is that what happens below decks stays below decks. It's a familiar refrain to the police, dealers don't "snitch", and they themselves have their own "code of silence". We'll see it come up again and again throughout the seasons - people look after their own and don't trust outsiders, including (or especially) those in positions of authority.

Nick Sobotka is getting a free haircut at the hairdressers, who is complaining that she has to hurry so she can get to paying customers. Why is the cut free? We soon learn that the little girl playing on the seat behind them is their child, this is Nick's long-term girlfriend - Aimee - who is upset that the fact they aren't married or at least living together is now starting to come up at their daughter's pre-school. Nick dismisses her concerns, assuring her that by the time their daughter - Ashley - is in Elementary School they'll be living under the same roof, and seems angry that she questions what has obviously been a long-standing assertion of his. When she warns him she has to figure out what is best for her and Ashley, his wounded pride causes him to complain that he'll be moving into his own place the very moment he has more hours to work, and if she wants to join him then great, but if not at least he did his best. Nick clearly is the kind of man who believes very strongly in the idea of the man as the breadwinner, the guy who handles everything and can be relied on, and like so many before him when he can't live up to his own idea of what a man is he lashes out. It's not his fault because he INTENDS to do all the right things when things just go right for him for once, so where is some goddamn gratitude for all the hard work and effort he's GOING to do for all the things he is GOING to provide. She pauses in front of the mirror to compose herself, obviously used to having to deal with this kind of thing, then tries to lighten the mood and playfully asks if he wants her to put a little streak in his hair. With contempt he says that once she does that he'll go stick his tongue up a guy's rear end, and she storms away with Ashley, leaving him to glower into the mirror, angry at himself but also at her.

McNulty pops down to Evidence Control and is surprised to see Lieutenant Daniels, noting that they got him good. They share a laugh and McNulty actually apologizes, but Daniels - who has already decided to quit - says gently caress it, they brought the case in and that's what is important. He tells McNulty how Kima is doing and McNulty notes that being a "housecat" is not for her, then hands over the evidence he has brought back. This is the Gant case evidence, which Daniels spent most of a night tracking down for Bunk, but according to the ADA it's weak poo poo and useless without Omar's testimony, and like Bunk she has tasked McNulty with tracking him down. Daniels seems amused at the time wasted collecting the evidence, and moreso that the last McNulty saw of Omar was putting him on a bus to New York. He wishes McNulty well and prepares to put the evidence away, but when McNulty assures him he'll be out of Evidence Control in a couple of years, Daniels decides to let him know he's put in his papers. He has 22 years in the service - hell, technically he could retire and live off a (small) pension - and there is no point being in Evidence Control when he has a law degree. This is basically the end result of McNulty's current plan to finish up his 20 years, and he wishes Daniels the best, who does the same to him. They've come a long way from their early antagonistic relationship, and have the shared experience of being screwed over by higher-ups to bring them closer.

The two women who robbed the stash house - Tosha and Kimmy - are celebrating as they count their take, just over $5,000. Unfortunately for them, they find themselves the victims of a robbery of their own - their location of an abandoned building might have been under the wire of dealers out for revenge, but not Omar. Dante gets the drop on them, namedropping Omar just as Brandon did in season one, though this time it's deliberately done. As Tosha and Kimmy argue over whether Omar was killed by "project niggers" or just run out of town by them, Omar creeps up behind them and catches them equally unaware, allowing Dante to collect up the carefully counted money. Omar tells the women to put out the word that he is back, he knows the importance of his name "ringing out", just as Avon does and Marlo will. At the moment, the legend of Omar is of a crazy stick-up man who was either killed or run out of town by the Barksdale crew, and he wants to change that.

Bunk and Freamon return to Homicide with Beadie, where Landsman is laughing over a crime report which mistook the word prostrate for prostate. His humor disappears when he learns the results of their trip to Philadelphia - the hold where the girls were being "stored" has been restocked with new cargo, ruining it as a crime scene location, and the 40 crewmembers refused to admit to speaking English so they let the ship sail. Landsman is not pleased at all, what they DO have is weak poo poo - teletypes out on the two missing crew members and a few personal effects to look through. They admit it is weak but it's all they had to go on, and he makes it clear that this isn't good enough, if they couldn't hold the ship then they need an alternative course of action. Noticing Beadie and her uniform, he tells her they work plainclothes and suggests she wears pantsuits to offset Bunk's "lawyerly affectations" and the "tweedy impertinence" of Freamon, then warns them all that Rawls is watching them on this case so they need to at least look like they know what they're doing. This is Beadie's introduction to how this squad of the Homicide Division is run, and it can hardly be inspiring confidence.

In the Southeastern, Major Valchek has only just found out that the surveillance van is missing, demanding to know from a Sergeant where it is. The paperwork shows it was returned by the Flex Squad and the keys returned to the Officer-in-Charge, and they DO have the keys.... but the van is gone. Valchek is unfuriated, how can a fully-equipped storage van worth over $100,000 just disappear? The answer, of course, is that it's currently at the start of a round the world tour, stopping first at Wilmington where the local Checkers Union takes great pleasure in posing for a photograph with it.

Prez has gotten his wish and been assigned to a Detail investigating corruption - unfortunately for him it's the Frank Sobotka Detail. Rawls' Spectacular Six are proving exactly as effective as you might think, so far the most they have managed to put together is a computer print-out of a picture of Frank Sobotka's IBS Union Card pinned to a noticeboard. Daniels warned Carver at the end of season one that the people under him would take their cues from him, and we're seeing this in effect now. Valchek is enthusiastic about this Detail but the person who picked the men to work it knew it was just a politically expedient move on Burrell's behalf, and not an actual case worth pursuing. So Rawls picked a bunch of useless, lazy or drunk liabilities to get them out of the hair of their commanders (and thus get their gratitude), and the men know they're just there to kill six weeks. Prez asks Lieutenant Grayson what the plan is and learns that there is a half-formed idea of maybe finding an informant to tell them something, or try and work some hand-to-hand drug arrests and see if they can flip them and discover a magical connection to the Treasurer of a small Local Union. Prez suggests looking into the possibility of wiretaps so they can find out who Frank talks to, but that sounds like entirely too much work to the Lieutenant (who is trying to watch television while Prez bothers him), and tells him they'll just stick with hand-to-hands for now.

Far more competent and results-focused is Tosha and Kimmy, who stop to flirt with a dealer on a corner stoop, getting information in the process. They're watched from across the street by a low-key Omar and Dante, hiding in plain sight by just hanging out on a stoop themselves. Omar is enjoying watching the girls work, while Dante is clearly jealous of the attention they're getting. Eventually they return up the other side of the street, stopping by Dante and Omar to make an act of being flirty with them too, while they actually give them information on the security of the stash house. There is a steel door, only the one man on the door and one person inside sitting in his drawers right by the window watching television. They quickly move on, for the most part Omar's new crew is competent and professional, completely unlike Rawls' Spectacular Six.

Somewhere in the middle ground is Stringer and the two men currently keeping him company. Stringer is talking with his stockbroker in the back of a car, while Country and Shamrock joke about the surprisingly nice block that Corrections Officer Tilghman works on, as well as Stringer "acting the businessman". It's interesting to see that following the incident with Roberto's missing dope in episode one, Shamrock is now riding with Country and accompanying Stringer. I felt at the time that Bodie being given the job of driving the car with the dope in it while Shamrock followed in the van showed Stringer felt Shamrock was more valuable/less readily sacrificed than Bodie, and that this backs me up somewhat. Bodie has been given a position of responsibility running the Towers, and has a high regard for Stringer, but I feel like Shamrock is being groomed for an important Enforcer/Lieutenant role. Country asks Stringer why he is dropping cellphone company stock and he reveals that when he was in the Low Rises last he noticed that Poot was using the cellphone they gave him for business but had a separate phone "for when the pussy calls". Stringer takes smug pleasure in telling the two enforcers that this proves market saturation to him, no company is going to be able to sell Poot another phone because he has one for business and one for personal calls already - eyes darting back and forth between them to see if they understand what he means, enjoying the superiority of his education and intellect. I don't know how the timeline of all this works out, but in hindsight it is a neat little indicator that Stringer isn't quite the talented businessman he thinks he is - can you imagine how bad anybody who dropped OUT of cellphone stocks during 2000-2010 would feel? Tilghman arrives at home driving a Lexus, a pretty good car for a guy on the salary of a Corrections Officer.

At night, Tilghman joins a near blind old man named Butchie and two others outside an alleyway, watching as a rat makes it way carefully up along the wall. A small. fascinated terrier is following the rat, and the men are taking bets on whether the dog will get the rat or not. Tilghman thinks the rat will get away and seems to be right as the rat reaches a pile of garbage and disappeared, but Butchie offers another $100 on the bet, saying it isn't over yet. Tilghman takes him up on the offer and then watches in disbelief as the rat pokes its head out of the garbage and is instantly jumped on by the terrier, which breaks its back and tosses it about as Butchie roars with laughter, leaving Tilghman disgusted - how did the dog know what the rat was going to do? They head into Butchie's bar, watched from another alley in a car by Shamrock and Country. Inside, Tilghman pays out money for more drugs from Butchie, who notes that he can supply the extra weight he needs but he's surprised at how quickly he's coming back for more. Tilghman points out that it isn't like the convicts have anything better to do with their time, and after Butchie "hears" the count of the money and confirms with his muscle that it is correct, he gives the signal to another of his crew to meet Tilghman outside and give him the product. Outside, Shamrock and Country watch the trade being made, the two of them having an apparent teacher/student relationship - Shamrock comes to the conclusion that Butchie is supplying Tilghman with his drugs and looks to Country for confirmation/approval, and when he gets it he nods in comprehension/appreciation.

Dante is sulking on the bed as Omar applies cologne to himself, and Omar tells him not for the first time that Tosha and Kimmy don't do anything for him. Dante doesn't like having them involved though, he prefers having Omar to himself, and says they should just do things themselves, just like they planned with the earlier job. Omar points out that this particular dealer (Stump) never leaves his house though, so Dante suggests they burst in guns blazing. Omar reminds him that the door is steel, and stresses again to Dante that he doesn't have to be jealous of the girls, they don't appeal to Omar at all. Dante gets flirty, telling Omar to prove it, and after briefly kissing he teases that it'll take more than that and a happy Omar flips him off of the bed.

McNulty returns his kids to their mother's home, the boys arguing about the difference between Santa's Elves and Lord of the Rings' Elves - apparently the former aren't real but the latter are :3 He asks Elena if he can tuck the boys in after she sends them upstairs to brush their teeth, but she warns him he'll be receiving paperwork from her lawyer soon. He's horrified but she quickly assures him it isn't divorce papers, it's a separation agreement, meant to protect both of them. Clearly wanting to argue, he shows unusual restraint and agrees to read it over, but his reward is her saying goodbye and closing the door in his face, leaving him standing impotent looking through the window of what used to be his home.

The next day, Nick and Ziggy have shown up at the docks only to be told there is no work for them, they're once again too low on the seniority listings to get a spot. Nick is feeling particularly upset about this in light of his "discussion" with Aimee, and feels free to reveal his fury and even some of his feelings of impotence to Ziggy in a way that his pride would never let him do with Aimee. He can't deal with MAYBE getting one day's worth of work a week, he can't deal with waking up each morning not knowing if he will get paid or not. Aimee wants to get married and he can't even plan as far ahead as a day. Ziggy doesn't understand why he'd want to get married anyway and Nick admits that he doesn't necessarily want to (despite his protests about having a kid and needing to man up) but the problem is that he couldn't even if he wanted to, he doesn't have a pot to piss in. After Ziggy tactfully tries to find out if Aimee's sister is still single, he gets as serious as he can and once again suggests to Nick that they pool their cash (of which Ziggy has none) and go in on a package of dope together, and they can make more money in an afternoon than they'll see at the docks in a week. Nick is still disgusted by the idea though, his pride won't let him stand out on a corner to be arrested by the police for pocket change "like a project friend of the family". Nick has plenty of black friends on the docks so his vehement racism in this regard always surprises me, and to me it comes down again to his sense of pride - he sees himself as the latest in a long line of hard workers with integrity and dignity, the kind who believes that hard work builds character and will be rewarded, and rankles at the suggestion that he join those he has always been told are lazy, stupid and responsible for their horrible life situation. When you grow up like that and find yourself unable to get work, the reaction is almost always going to be anger because you did everything "right" and yet somehow everything is going wrong, but who does that anger get directed at? Blaming society is what "those people" always did, and you can't blame yourself because you're a worthy, hardworking person... so the anger and impotence just ends up eating you up inside.

Bunk drives Beadie to the location listed on the shipping manifest as the destination of the can that held the dead girls. They're not surprised to discover the place doesn't exist, and Beadie guesses the point of origin in France is equally fictitious. Bunk sums up the problem with their case - they have a can of dead girls that came from nowhere and were going nowhere.

McNulty sits at the docks staring at a photo of the first deal girl located in her luggage. He's thinking about her family, her identity, her story... but I think what's really at the heart of his melancholy is Elena telling him she was sending him a separation agreement. He's Irish, not Polish, but I think he comes from a similar working class white immigrant background that sees him unable to come to grips with his feelings of guilt, anger and grief and has to externalize them in some way.

Stringer meets with Butchie, who is not pleased to hear what Stringer is proposing/requesting. Tilghman is good business for him, he picks up 2 to 4 quarters a week, always pays on time, and Stringer is asking him to lose that regular custom/money. Stringer agrees but assures him they'll find a way to make up the money to him, and then makes the big selling point - this isn't Stringer making the request, this is Avon's call. Butchie may be mostly/legally blind but he can see clear as day what that means, blinking he ponders for a moment the benefit of Tilghman's regular custom against Avon's displeasure and finally declares,"Avon is Avon," to which Stringer replies,"Always." With a heavy heart Butchie tells Stringer that Tilghman will be popping by tomorrow, and Stringer - having got what he wanted - thanks him and turns away, Butchie giving him a hard look behind his back as Stringer gives the nod to Shamrock at the bar.

McNulty has gone to see the coroner - Dr. Frazier - again, he's gotten a bee in his bonnet about the first Jane Doe that he fished out of the water, he wants to know what, if any, connection she had to the other girls. Are they sure she was with them? If so then why did she end up in the water? Are they sure she wasn't local? Frazier is bemused that McNulty worked so hard to stick Rawls with the bodies and now he's the one obsessed, but he can answer some of McNulty's questions. She was definitely not local, the mercury in her teeth-work tells him she was from Eastern Europe. He can even narrow down the search to Budapest, since three of the dead girls had breast jobs there. He was even able to figure out the place they were done from the identifying marks on the implants, but their spotty records means he couldn't get identities, just the time of the surgery which happened in the fall. McNulty is greedy for more and Frazier points out he's already given him a HUGE amount of information, and McNulty jokingly pays homage to his skills before pushing for more. Frazier was able to ascertain that a number of the girls had vaginal, anal or oral sex at some point in the day before their murders. McNulty asks if he gave all that information to Cole, and learns for the first time that Bunk and Freamon have been saddled with the case - his reaction to the news is pretty amusing.

Stump is watching cartoons in his drawers while his car is watching the street, and outside Tosha is hiding in plain sight as she kindly brings a drink to a little girl and brings her along with her down the street, telling her about how to not let bullies get her down. They head up the stoop past the man on the stoop and knock on the door, calling out to "Mr. Stump" that those boys were teasing Shantelle again. Tosha's kindly act is even more disturbing than when it seemed she was using a random little girl as cover, because it seems that this is Stump's own daughter, which is why the man on the stoop let her past. Stump takes the bar off of the door and opens it only to be greeted by Tosha, Kimmy, Dante and Omar with weapons drawn, the guard on the stoop and Shantelle both being held hostage. Stump tries to slam the door shut but Omar is in after him before it can close, and everybody rushes inside, the door closing behind them.

Tilghman has rather dangeorusly decided to sort out his drugs in the parking lot of the prison before heading inside (why not prepare it at home beforehand?). Using a small package of what looks to be throat lozenges, he removes the lozenges from their wrappers and refills them with dope. Heading into the prison, he goes through the scanners after dropping his keys, wallet and the lozens from his pocket into the tray that is passed back to him without being scanned. It's a simple system he's obviously been using for awhile now, to great profit.

McNulty shows up at Homicide where Bunk greets him with a traditional,"You happy now, bitch!?!" McNulty is properly chastened for a moment at least, noting that Beadie has been caught up in this as well and insisting he wasn't to know they'd end up being saddled with the case. Bunk reminds him of his "collateral damage" phrase re: Cole, and Freamon notes that he is feeling pretty collateral right now. But McNulty has come to make things right, with great glee he tells them that when his friends suffer he bleeds too, and like Moses from up on the mountain he reveals what he has learned from Dr. Frazier. Freamon and Bunk are amazed, gasping that this "deductive motherfucker" has a theory before puncturing his ego by revealing that they've already figured out everything that he had - the girls were coming over as prostitutes, their way paid for by somebody with the cash to get them breast-jobs, the men on the ship were buying sex with them, one of the women decided she didn't want to have sex and fought off the man trying to screw her. He killed her, panicked and threw her body over the side, and the other girls were locked in the can and the breathing pipe was crushed so they'd all suffocate. McNulty is disappointed but amused, and learns from them that the crew were taking advances on their salary but all of them are now pretending not to speak English and the crime scene has been irrevocably contaminated. McNulty notes they have a hell of a case, earning a,"gently caress you very much," from Bunk, and points out that if they don't identify the Jane Does, they'll end up as medical cadavers for the anatomy board, then they'll be cremated and buried in a mass grave. Beadie asks if that bothers McNulty and he says it does, a little, and Beadie agrees, it bothers her too. Whether McNulty's concern is genuine or misplaced grief over his own bad family situation, he is the first person that Beadie has seen treat the dead women as people in their own right, as opposed to an inconvenience or a joke.

Father Lewandowski is hosting a political meet and greet on behalf of the port unions, organized by Bruce DiBiago, the high-priced lobbyist that Andy Krawczyk mentioned to Valchek last episode. Frank Sobotka is buttering up a District 7 Councilman about dredging the canal when he is taken aside by DiBiago who warns him that they can already count on this vote, and he needs to work on the politicians who are not firm supporters. Two of them are likely votes who they can be fairly sure of, but the third is a problem - it's Clay Davis. Frank is horrified to learn that not only have they already donated $40,000 in contributions to Davis, but that he is quite stridently asking for more. DiBiago stresses how important having Clay Davis on side is however, so Frank makes nice and introduces himself, and Clay immediately makes it clear his support is fully reliant on continued steady "contributions" from the Port Unions who are doing good work in "making friends". They share a laugh and Clay turns back to chat with another politician, while Frank turns a,"Can you believe this loving guy?" look in DiBiago's direction.

Bunk, Freamon and Beadie have gone to see a representative of the Department of Justice, following up on their belief that the French point of origin for the shipping can is fictitious. He tells them of the value of the prostitutes for whoever is running them in America, a figure we already know from The Greek last episode. The money provides another point of interest for the Detectives, if the girls were worth that much money to somebody, then whoever killed them REALLY hosed up. The French address comes back as non-existent, and the driver who signed for the can doesn't exist either on any record. The trio are horrified to discover that there are thought to be 40-50 THOUSAND undocumented sex workers in America, many of whom have no idea when they come over that they're expected to be prostitutes, many of them thinking they're to be dancers or secretaries. Beadie provides us with the episode's epigraph when she notes that what they need is a union.

Valchek and his wife are celebrating their anniversary, joined by another couple and Prez and his wife (Valchek's daughter). A happy Valchek asks Prez how the Detail is going, and at first Prez tries to spare him aggravation on this happy day and just says it is going slow. Valchek is confused, Burrell told him Lieutenant Grayson came highly recommended out of Property Crimes, and asks Prez for more details, exactly WHAT are they currently doing? Prez hesitates, then admits that they're not doing much at all - no DNRs, no assets investigation, no tag numbers or searching for patterns. He tells him once more how Daniels and Freamon operated the Barksdale Detail, and this time Valchek actually pays attention.... at least to one aspect. While Prez lays out how the case was handled and what the proper approach should be on a Detail like this, Valchek's focus is on a recurring theme - Burrell shut that case down prematurely, Burrell ruined that Detail, Burrell Burrell Burrell.

Donnette is visted at home by Stringer, who gives her a friendly kiss on the cheek and is right in the door, looking around the tastefully decorated home. D'Angelo's son ("the little man") has been put down for the night so it's just the two of them, and Stringer is there to remind her of her obligations to D'Angelo. But he can't help but look her over as she walks around the house, asking out loud if D'Angelo knows what he's missing. She returns with one of D'Angelo's last clothing purchases before his arrest, measuring it up against him to see if it will fit. Leaning over him, Stringer's eyes all over her, she says quite deliberately,"It's a shame to let things go to waste."

He brushes the top aside, saying she can give away the man's clothes but that doesn't make him gone, and she insists she hasn't forgotten him. He reminds her that she hasn't been around to see him and says that while she might find it hard, D'Angelo finds it harder. They need to keep him happy, because if he's not happy he might start rethinking his 20 year sentence, and causes problems of ALL of them. To hammer home this point, he asks her if she likes her apartment, her car, the money etc that they are providing her. None of this comes free, she has a job to do just like all of them, and that job is to keep D'Angelo happy. He puts the top aside, telling her he's an XL, and with a grin she tells him,"No doubt." Looming over her, he slowly lowers the zipper on her top, then cups her chin and kisses her - he is a hugely dominating presence (remember his finger tapping D'Angelo's chest from season one?), but the distaste she apparently felt for him in season 1 seems to be all gone now. They begin making out on the couch, the camera panning to a shot of D'Angelo, Donnette and "the little man" in happier times.

McNulty and Bunk are out drinking at the bar, joined by Beadie. Being far more sensible than either of them, she tells them she's throwing herself out before she ends up owing her babysitter half her salary. McNulty is instantly testing the waters, she has kids... is the father working? "Not a day in his goddamn life," she replies, and gives Bunk a smile when he doesn't let her put money towards the bill, saying she barely made a dent. She says her goodbyes and heads away, and Bunk asks what that was all about. Is he referring to her comment regarding the father? Or the fact she left early rather than drinking herself into a stupor? McNulty says he doesn't know in any case, and exclaims to Bunk that he has decided he is going to provide a name to go with the face of his Jane Doe - he isn't going to let her end up at the anatomy board as another nameless Jane Doe. He'll find out who she is, find out where her people are, and then he can put his mind at rest. Echoing what we've seen from McNulty already this episode, as well as Nick Sobotka, Bunk declares this is just Jimmy's Catholic guilt speaking up. Jimmy, seeming genuinely confused, asks what he could possibly have to be feel guilty about, and laughs when Bunk offers to count the ways.

Valchek arrives at his Office in the morning and settles down to go through his mail, finding an odd envelope. Opening it, he discovers the photo of his surveillance van with Wilmington IBS workers posing in front of it - he's just found another reason to hate Frank Sobotka.

Frank himself is working in his little converted shipping can office when he's visited by a Checker - Ringo. Ringo says he's not doing so well, he's late on his Union dues, he owes money on his lousy Buick, and he's only worked five days in the last month. He can't stick with the Checkers Union anymore with so many people above him in seniority, he's going to have to leave and join the Local 47. Frank smiles and cheerfully pulls money from his wallet, and tells Ringo to go see Delores tonight at the bar, give her that and ask for a beer and a shot. Have those, come see him tomorrow and if he STILL wants to change Unions, then Frank will let him go without a problem, but he wants him to have that drink first.

With help from Johnny 50, Ziggy has worked out a theft from the docks, and has managed to rope in Nick's help as well since it's "only" theft as opposed to selling drugs. Johnny gives Ziggy the number of a shipping can and lets Nick - driving a truck - know where to go. Ziggy - pretending to be working - tells Horseface that a can has been put in the wrong place and needs to be prepared to be loaded onto a truck to be moved. With the can put in place for them, Nick and Ziggy lock the can into place and Nick drives it out of the docks, telling the guard at the security booth it's a misdelivery, though not before Horseface has spotted that Nick is the driver.

At Butchie's, Tilghman has already showed up to pick up more drugs, joking with Butchie that there is no need to count the money, he's always right. Butchie laughs that caring is important, and Tilghman finishes up his ribs and admonishes the little terrier that it can't have the leftovers - clearly he feels the dog has already cost him enough. He heads out the door, not noting that there is somebody new in the bar today - Shamrock. Once Tilghman is gone, Butchie comments that to Shamrock that Avon has no flex - I've always misunderstood this line to mean that Butchie mistakenly thought Avon had failed to live up to his threat to deal with Tilghman. It's only recently that I've come to realize that the line doesn't refer to flexing muscle but flexibility - as you'll soon see, Avon's solution to the Tilghman problem is incredibly harsh - the price of disrespecting him is high indeed.

In prison, D'Angelo is working in the library, where another inmate cheerfully asks him if he prefers regular or Ultimate Spider-Man and tells a confused D'Angelo he'll have to school him on that. Avon arrives and the other inmate makes himself scarce, everybody but Tilghman knows not to cross Avon. D'Angelo isn't pleased to see him, especially when Avon points out what a cushy job the library position is, and how strange it is that D'Angelo got it when so many others wanted it. D'Angelo isn't dumb, that's never been his problem (or maybe that's always been EXACTLY his problem) and he sullenly asks if Avon wants a thank you, but Avon stresses that he's just trying to point out how easy he can make like for him in prison. He tells D'Angelo that if he opens his ears and gets his head in the right place, he'll only do a small part of the 20 years he has to serve, just like Avon plans to only do 1-2 years of his 7. D'Angelo isn't having any of that though, the very best he can hope for is serving half of his sentence, which is still 10 years. Avon switches tack, telling D'Angelo he's concerned over how "dusty" he looks, and D'Angelo throws it back in his face, asking him so what if he is getting high? What else is he supposed to do for at least 10 more years in prison? Is Avon his mother now? Avon's response - and remember he IS a massive drug dealer - is that doing drugs is the weak man's road, and that he has never seen D'Angelo as weak (I believe that, it was Stringer who always saw D'Angelo as weak). D'Angelo does respond to this, despite his anger/resentment of Avon, he has also always craved his approval, and he plays the old junkie bargaining game - okay so yeah he does get high, but only every now and then, it's nothing he can't handle. Avon plays along, okay if he can stop at any time, that means he can stop now, right? Even if only for a few days? D'Angelo looks pissed at the suggestion, but Avon plays on his pride - it was D'Angelo who said he could go without, not him. D'Angelo agrees finally, yeah he'll give it up for a few days at least, just to show Avon he can. Avon is pleased, giving D'Angelo a fist-bump, and tells him something that will always haunt me - that he's doing this from love. Considering what follows later in this episode, the fact that he gave D'Angelo the choice but no warning has always struck me as rather horrific - if D'Angelo hadn't taken the bait.... well, you'll see.

I love this shot, it says so much. To Avon this is a paternalistic gesture of love - tousling his nephew's head, holding his shoulder, giving his support. To D'Angelo it's a death grip on his shoulder and a hand forcing his head down/holding him down/restraining him.

Nick and Ziggy arrive at a small store run by Glekas - the fourth man at the initial meeting Nick had with Vondas in episode one. In the cafe he was dressed casually in poor clothes, here he is in a (cheapish) suit and is very much the smooth salesman. He snaps at an indifferent young man who is supposed to be minding the store but has been neglecting the (mostly foreign) customers and then heads out into the warehouse, where Nick and Ziggy are waiting. The can they stole was full of digital cameras, stolen not on order but on the off-chance they could sell them to Glekas, who is interested but wants to know what they're looking for. Nick suggests the cameras will sell at $400 each and Glekas responds with an offer of $350 that Nick immediately accepts, but Ziggy speaks up with a counter of $500 - and for once he's not being an idiot. He did his research and discovered that this brand sells for $550 at big brand stores, so Glekas can sell them at $500 - as there are 400 cameras that means a total sales figure of $200,000, and they want 20% of that to split three ways - Ziggy, Nick and the third man in their crew (Johnny 50). Glekas laughs that he wants a woman with thin ankles but he's going to go home to his wife, and offers than 8%, and Nick counters with 10% paid up front. Glekas smiles and says he'll accept because he likes Nick, and they shake hands.... and Ziggy once again can't resist taking things just a little too far and does about the stupidest thing you could ever do - he takes a photo of Glekas shaking Nick's hand.

Glekas reacts immediately, tearing the camera from Ziggy's hands and shattering it on the floor. His good humor is gone, and he snaps that he'll have to okay the deal with his people before it can go ahead. He leaves and Nick turns to glare at Ziggy, then laughs along with him, both of them amused by Glekas' (completely justified) anger. Nick is delighted to have made the deal and far more money than he could have hoped for, not even Ziggy's stupidity can get him down today.

Four of Rawls' Spectacular Six are playing poker and sharing good natured insults while Prez sits at his desk with nothing to do. Valchek arrives at the office and they all leap to attention as he scowls at them, then demands to know where Lieutenant Grayson is. Polk quickly checks he's not around (perhaps watching the television) and then declares he's "on the street", and Valchek strides over to the noticeboard where he glares at the single piece of work the Detail has done so far - the copy of Frank Sobotka's IBS Union card pinned up. Glaring back at the men, he storms right back out. If there is one thing we have learned Valchek cannot stand, it is being ignored or dismissed as unimportant.

At City Hall, Burrell looks set to be "crowned" as the new Police Commissioner, the vote will soon be going through and everybody in attendance is convinced he is a shoe-in, while he pretends to be a political novice. To his horror he spots a determined looking Valchek storming down the corridor and moves to meet him, and finds himself caught in a trap. A pissed off Valchek accuses him of providing "humps" for his Detail, all while the Hall fills up in preparation for the vote. He tries to calm Valchek down, saying they'll talk about it tomorrow (when he is in a position of power) but Valchek is too canny for that - a lousy cop he might be but he knows politicking - and says they'll talk about it NOW or he'll go into the Hall and talk with his connections and convince them to vote against Burrell. It won't be enough to prevent Burrell becoming Commissioner, but it will make for a messy, disastrous start for him - so if he wants everything to go smoothly, he'll give Valchek what he wants now - and that's a REAL Detail run by REAL police.... give him that black Lieutenant from the Barksdale case, Daniels! Burrell insists that Daniels has put in his papers and is quitting, but Valchek isn't letting that stop him, if he hasn't met the Pension Board yet he can be convinced, and Burrell better be convincing. He threatens to reveal that Burrell shut down the Barksdale Detail before it was ready and turn what was on paper a hugely successful piece of policework into a debacle of interference and potential corruption. He storms back out, leaving a sweating Burrell to enter the Hall and be voted in as Police Commissioner.... and already with a potential disaster in the making.

In the prison, Tilghman drops off the dope in a cell and warns the inmate that lockdown is in 20 minutes. The inmate quickly breaks down the package and puts together small twists of dope and then does his rounds, handing them out to eagerly waiting prisoners. D'Angelo sits on his bunk reading a book, not waiting to get high like the others, so the dealer moves on to the next cell, handing over the dope and asking to borrow the Green Lantern comic the inmate (one of D's friends) is reading. He says he can borrow it but must return it, and is surprised to learn that D "wasn't up".

Glekas meets with Vondas to explain the digital camera deal and that Nick was behind it... as well as the idiot cousin, Ziggy. They casually insult Ziggy, Vondas saying that he thinks he uses drugs as well, and Vondas asks what Glekas thinks of Nick (whom they call Niko). Glekas thinks he's smart, and he's eager to make the deal, they look set to clear $180,000, and Vondas gives him the go-ahead.

At Delores' bar, the lady herself is eying up Ziggly suspiciously, why is he acting... normal? The unusually restrained Ziggy tells Delores he made money today, and with a smirk she asks him what ship was in. Ringo arrives with the money Frank gave him and asks her for a beer and a shot, telling Ziggy that Frank said he needed it. He knocks back the shot and then Delores hands over the change from his drink.... a large wad of cash. Ringo is confused, but Delores insists that is his change... or so says Frank Sobotka. He's understandingly hesitant but she says it isn't hers and if he doesn't take it, somebody else will, so he quickly grabs up the money and heads away, watched the entire time by Ziggy. Delores turns a beaming smile on Ziggy and tells him his father is a good man, and Ziggy sits there with a sullen look on his face, taking completely the wrong message from what he has just seen. He knows that his father works with The Greek from time to time for money, he knows that people love and respect his father, and now he's seen his father (indirectly) handing over a wad of cash to one of his Checkers, and heard Delores talk about what a great man he is. To Ziggy, all this screams that money buys love and respect, that being extravagant and generous with your cash is laudable, and that Frank does what he does to get people's approval. It's absolutely the opposite of what Frank is doing, but Ziggy doesn't understand that and it will cause all manner of problems to come.

McNulty returns home and finds Elena's separation papers waiting in an envelope shoved under the door. He takes a cursory look and then tosses it to the floor in disgust.

Late at night in the prison, a sudden scream breaks the silence. D'Angelo is startled awake as the lights come on and an alarm sounds, prisoners roaring either for help or just to add to the cacophony, demanding to know what is happening. D'Angelo rushes to the narrow window of his cell door and calls out to a nearby inmate to let him know what is going on, and watches as prisoners are wheeled out on stretchers foaming at the mouth and others have CPR applied as they lie on the floors of their cells. "BAD PACKAGE, YO!" calls out one of the other inmates to D'Angelo,"HOT SHOTS!"

D'Angelo's face fills the frame as he watches in horror, knowing how close he came to death himself and also knowing exactly who is responsible for this "bad package". Meanwhile, with his own light in an otherwise darkened wing of the prison, Avon Barksdale listens to music on his headphones and reads a book, completely indifferent to the chaos he has just caused, the lives he has just ended. It's "all in the Game".

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I'm really interested in the (or my percieved) parallels between McNulty and Nick, especially since McNulty paralleled so well with D'Angelo in season one. Interesting notes about Nick's union upbringing having a big influence on his attitudes/perception of others, in particular "project niggers", but I still feel the heart of the matter for both is their anger/guilt/resentment/self-loathing. I imagine there is a fair bit of that "Catholic Guilt" that Bunk mentions, but there are also elements of both being the product of a working class immigrant culture - the Polish and the Irish - whose ancestors came to America and worked hard with their hands making things/being productive members of society, and held a great deal of stock in the importance of their roles. For McNulty and Nick, the institutions that provided stability and security for their families have long since died or are in the final stages of dying. McNulty's father worked at Bethlehem Steel but was laid off in the 70s, Nick's father was a Shipwright but Baltimore doesn't produce ships anymore, and even his Uncle's previously vital role as a Checker/Union Treasurer is being whittled away to nothing. Both have failed families - McNulty's marriage is breaking up, Nick's hasn't even really gotten started as he lives separately from his girlfriend and child - both have to deal with the notion that they have failed in their perceived masculine duty to look after/provide for/hold together their families. A lot of McNulty's actions can be explained away as lashing out against his own self-loathing, and Nick is clearly on the same road. McNulty found an outlet for his bad habits and anger in the police force, but he's been warned that the job won't save him. Nick is clutching on to what is left of the once mighty Union as a place to find meaning and purpose. Both are frequently upset that the job isn't going to save them, but McNulty at least still has a job with the stability where he can just kill time till he can collect his pension - Nick doesn't even have that.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

the black husserl posted:

The only community McNulty has is "cops who rule at their jobs". That's the only group he counts himself a member of, otherwise he stands alone and doesn't mind doing so.

Outside of what was already mentioned about the Irish/Polish immigrant community experience, remember that McNulty has no problem covering for other police officers regardless of how much he personally dislikes them, because they're still part of the "family" - cops don't "snitch" on other cops, even if they're drunks or not even bothering to show up for work (or showing up drunk).

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2, Episode 4: Hard Cases

Greggs posted:

If I hear the music, I'm gonna dance.

Frank is sitting staring out over the harbor at Fort Armistead, joined by Nick who he has summoned. They comment on the quality of the view, Nick wanting to know why he has been called out so early in the morning. Frank talks about "his" city - the docks, the harbor, the people who get up early in the morning to go to work... and how the Baltimore Docks are not optimally placed and what keeps them in business is their solid reputation. Ships will go the extra distance to Baltimore because they are guaranteed fast, reliable and clean service - their goods get taken off the ship, loaded on to trucks and sent on their way quickly and unmolested. There's obvious pride in Frank's voice as he talks about this, but he's an angry man this morning - a shipping can of cameras have gone missing and it's bad news, and he knows that Nick is the one responsible for it, they MUST come back, immediately. To his credit, once Nick knows he's been caught he doesn't waste time lying, he just explains that the cameras can't be returned, they've already been sold. Frank is furious but Nick's own anger quickly comes to the fire, he NEEDS the money, he can't survive on 5-6 days a month, and when Frank tells him he could have come to him for money, Nick makes the mistake of suggesting that Frank has deep pockets nowadays. Frank's rage eclipses Nick's easily, he shoves him back angrily and Nick looks terrified, despite his youth and superior height/fitness he is clearly still intimidated by his "big" Uncle Frank. Frank yells that the money isn't for him, none of what he is doing is for him, and Nick apologizes at once. Frank wants to know what Nick was thinking involving Ziggy too (it was probably Ziggy's idea) and says he'll have words with him too, but he's obviously resigned to the inevitability of the cameras being gone, and asks Nick how much money he got. Leaning the 20k is to be split three ways, Nick realizes he doesn't know Johnny 50 was involved and makes a timid attempt at humor, telling him he isn't going to snitch so gently caress you. Frank still isn't happy, but he's accepted it, reminding Nick not to let anybody flash any of the money, and tells him that it's time they "got to work".

At the prison, an anxious Warden is hearing from Officer Reynolds (A Maryland State Trooper?) about the cause of the 5 deaths overnight. The drugs they used were laced with 10-12% strychnine, and he suggests that somebody screwed up cutting/enhancing weak drugs with poison to give it a little more "kick". Media are all lined up outside the prison fences, this isn't a story that is going to go away, 1-2 deaths would eventually fade but 5 in one night is a big story, especially since - as the Warden laments - if you can't win the War on Drugs in prison, where CAN you win it? Reynolds has an unpalatable suggestion - if the Warden wants to find out who is behind this, he's going to have to offer up some kind of deal to the prisoners to "snitch", and that probably means cutting years off of sentences.

McNulty arrives at Homicide to see Bunk, passing by Colonel Rawls and offering a jaunty salute as he passes him by without a pause - Rawls stops and watches him go in disbelief at the sheer balls of the man. Inside, Landsman tries to make a joke at McNulty's expense and quickly has his mood soured when McNulty - a man on a mission and feeling good - mock-winces at the sight of the 14 Jane Does in red ink on the whiteboard. Bunk and Freamon aren't impressed with McNulty's self-amused antics, so he talks to Beadie instead, wanting whatever paperwork they have from the dead girls to help him track down the identity of the one he found. Freamon slowly begins to hand it over, but Bunk stops him, reminding him that before he goes off on his self-imposed task, he has to do something else he promised and get him Omar. McNulty isn't to be daunted today, like a junkie he's currently riding high on his new purpose in life and insists that this isn't a problem. Bunk and Freamon are surprised, he's found Omar? McNulty smirks that he never lost him and heads away with the paperwork, Bunk declaring slowly that this is bullshit... but maybe not quite believing it. Beadie is just completely confused, who is Omar?

Upstairs, Daniels finds himself in a sitation he never thought he'd be in. Burrell has called him up to his Office to make him an offer, he doesn't want him to retire. Daniels can't understand, and when Burrell tells him he's free to leave he gets up to go, only for Burrell to cast out the lure. He's offering him a chance to wipe the slate clean, and at first he tries to schmooze Daniels, admitting that he's arrogant and disloyal but maybe with time he could get a chance to shine. Daniels is no idiot and tells him he's taking the Bar Exam in a month, and once again moves to leave, but Burrell reels back on the line - why not wait a couple of years and retire on a Major's pension? If Daniels helps Burrell with his problem in the Southeastern, he can replace one of the Majors who is soon to retire. Daniels is intrigued, but he quickly picks up on why Burrell needs him. The Council makes their final vote on Police Commissioner in a week, and the Detail that Burrell wants him to lead up is a potential drugs case being driven by a personal rivalry between Stan Valchek and somebody called Frank Sobotka. Burrell wants to keep "the Polack" happy, and Daniels realizes that Valchek asked for him personally - that's the only reason he is there, Burrell doesn't see anything in him or want him around, he was happy to see him going but now he needs him. So Daniels makes a counter-offer, he'll run the Detail, but if he brings in a successful case then COMMISSIONER Burrell will give him control of a permanent Major Case Squad operating out of CID.... and Daniels will get to pick his own men. Burrell is clearly less than pleased, but Daniels notes he won't be stupid enough to fall for Burrell's tricks again, so it's this or nothing. Burrell is still getting what he wants, so let Daniels put together his list and give it to Rawls for approval, the important thing to him isn't so much that something is done, it's that Stan Valchek believes that there is. So he'll give Daniels plenty of rope, and Daniels will either hang himself with it or get him a successful drug bust like he did with the Barksdale case. Either way, Burrell is Police Commissioner and Daniels is the one with his neck on the line. There's a reason why Burrell is one step away from Police Commissioner and Daniels was just recently only a step away from leaving the Police Force forever.

In Evidence Control, McNulty has been let in amongst the racks, probably by Burns who didn't feel like looking himself. He places the photo of what he believes to be his Jane Doe's family on one of the racks, looking it over. He looks through her clothing for clues (I don't know how this affects chain of custody? Surely it's hugely contaminating the evidence?) and spots the jacket from the photo in one of the bags.

In prison, D'Angelo is sitting alone in his cell while outside other inmates discuss the Hot Shots that killed five in the previous episode - everybody is confused, amongst those who died were real lightweight users who wouldn't have been worth targeting. D'Angelo is offered some of Tae's comics from the next door cell, it's being cleared out in preparation for the next inmate.

A despondent Ziggy sits at Delores' bar, but cheers up when Nick tries to carefully hand him his cut of the money. Ziggy squawks with pleasure and holds up the money above the bar, and Nick has to force it back down out of sight as Delores and other patrons give him hard looks - where did he get that money and what for? Delores hands Nick a beer and Ziggy casually takes his photo with one of the cameras he kept for himself, and Nick asks if he has film in it. Nick is intelligent but his education is lacking, when Ziggy tells him the camera is digital he grunts that he KNOWS that, but does he have any film? Ziggy for once gets to be the one schooling Nick, as he shows him the SD Card (which he calls a computer chip :3:) and explains you can transfer the pictures to a computer. Nick drinks a shot poured by Delores and then quietly tells Ziggy not to spread any money around, and Ziggly agrees, saying the most he'll do is pick up a new part for his car. More troubling is what Nick tells him next - Frank knows. Ziggy is stunned, especially when Nick says that Horseface is probably the one who told him, and both grown men sit momentarily in joint, quiet fear of an aging, fat, balding man.

Nick explains that Frank eventually stopped yelling after he explained they'd already turned over the camera, but Ziggy knows that he isn't going to be quite as lucky, he hasn't had his turn to be yelled at yet. Nick reminds him again to lay low and keep quiet for awhile, and then asks again about the camera - no film? So he doesn't need to take it to a photo place or anything? Ziggy insists again that it all just goes on a computer, and after Nick leaves to take a piss, Ziggy brightens up, getting a brilliant (terrible) idea. Standing up as the other patrons cast him sullen looks, he pulls his pants down and takes a picture of his penis, irritating Delores who has seen entirely too much of Ziggy's junk.

McNulty sits on his mattress in his filthy room later that night, drinking a beer and listening to a series of messages left on his answer machine. His wife is rescheduling his pick-up time of the boys for his weekend so Sean can go to a birthday party of a friend - she acknowledges this eats into Jimmy's time with the boys, but that Sean wouldn't want to miss the party. Bunk is on next, demanding Omar, followed up by a reminder from his Dentist that he missed his bi-annual cleaning/check-up, followed by Bunk's current nemesis Ilene Nathan herself, pointing out that she indicted the "piece of poo poo" Bird murder case because he told her they had an eyeball witness. McNulty shuts the messages off and falls back into bed, the high he had from his newfound motivation all used up for the day.

The next morning, Nick wakes up and stumbles out of the bed over Aimee's protesting body. He staggers into the toilet, hacking and coughing as she squeezes the pillow over her own head to drown out the rather unpleasant noises emanating from him. In many ways they're like an old married couple, she admonishes him to wipe down the seat after she is sure he pissed all over it, and reminds him he needs to give her a lift to her mother's to pick up their daughter, while he complains that she'll have to hurry up and get changed because he has a ship to work this morning. But they're not a married couple, when he hears his mother thumping on the floor upstairs he warns Aimee to go out the back door and wait in the alley for him to pick her up. Annoyed, she reminds him that they have a child together, what's the big deal about revealing the spent the night together - Nick's reply is a careless, thoughtless, cruel,"They're decent people" in reference to his parents, leaving her sitting wounded in the bed. Noticing her breasts as she gets changed, he crosses back to the bed and absently squeezes one and she slaps him away, probably not feeling all that great about her status in his life at the moment and not appreciating being further demeaned by now being something for him to squeeze. He jokes that they were looking right at him and continues standing over her as she glares at him, until she finally laughs. He gives her a squeeze again and then heads upstairs to maybe get some breakfast, while his long-term girlfriend and mother of his child has to sneak out the back door and stand in a cold alleyway because his mother is "decent".

Bunk and Freamon are approaching the dead girls case from a different angle, driving back to the port with Beadie to figure out how the can would have been planned to be smuggled out of the docks in the first place. Beadie's opinion is that the best way to do this would be to work with at least one of the Checkers, but laughs at their suggestion that they go talk to them. White, black, Polish, Irish, Italian.... the Checkers are united in that not one of them will speak to the Police. They ask her how she makes a case then, and she enlightens them on exactly how policing works on the port - she patrols in her car, she writes reports. She spots a broken custom seal, she writes reports. Somebody gets crushed or injured by equipment/shipping cans, she writes reports. It's all about the paperwork, she's been doing this now for 2 years, and before that she took tolls at the Fort McHenry Tunnel. She made $22,500 a year and went home tired every day, till the day she saw a job posting for a Port Authority Officer making 33k a year. They're amused and pleased at her candor, but she reveals more - the father of her children went to Houston in 99 and hasn't made contact with them since, and she simply wouldn't have been able to make it as a single mother on 22.5. Bunk and Freamon - "natural po-lice" - exchange a look, and Bunk asks what to him seems an alien question - did she event want to be a police? In answer she smiles and just shrugs.

In the prison, D'Angelo is escorted by a guard to see Avon, who is happily playing an NBA game on his personal X-Box. The guard leaves and D'Angelo is immediately making an accusation - he could have been amongst the five dead or the others in the infirmary - Avon KNEW it was going to happen. Avon says he figured D'Angelo would be thanking him for saving his life, and insists that he isn't responsible for the Hot Shots, though he might know who is. D'Angelo is no fool, and reminds Avon that he is practically running the prison.. he KNEW. D'Angelo has a point, even outside of the deaths of the others, Avon's warning was hardly a warning, more goading him to do what Avon wanted. It's always struck me how Avon was willing to sacrifice D'Angelo if it was necessary to get his revenge on Tilghman. He can justify it as seeing if D'Angelo was too far gone/weak to resist drugs despite Avon's "warning", but the fact is that getting over on Tilghman (and what will follow from that) was more important than the life of his nephew. The fact that D'Angelo didn't take the drugs is a happy bonus, and proof to Avon that D'Angelo is "strong" and worthy of saving, but if he'd truly cared he would have been clearer about his warning even if it might have cost him the effectiveness of his plan. It's this kind of ruthlessness that has served Avon so well over the years, and it lays out as clearly as he can now - "It ain't about what happened, it's about using what happened to our advantage - play, or be played." D'Angelo only wants to hear that Avon didn't cause the Hot Shots to happen, and Avon angrily insists that he already told him so, and if he doesn't want to believe him then gently caress him. He presses on, bringing up the plan as what is important now - police and the prison are going to be looking for whoever brought the drugs into the prison, and Avon can supply D'Angelo with that name. If D'Angelo takes that name to the Assistant Warden, they can play that to their advantage. D'Angelo is clearly tempted by the offer, but finally comes to a firm decision, one similar to that he tried to make once before in the past - he wants out. He wants no part of whatever Avon is doing or planning, he just wants to be left out of it. He walks away with finality, and the pragmatic Avon doesn't try to stop him - as far as he is concerned, he gave D'Angelo the chance, it's not on him if he didn't take him up on it.

McNulty's cunning plan to reconnect with Omar is finally revealed... and it's pretty pathetic. He drives up to the burned out remains of Omar's old van, a location last used by Omar months ago before McNulty saw him leave for New York. He leaves his card under the wiper with a note asking Omar to call him, and then further proves his desperation by asking several passing school children if they've seen Omar. They stop laughing and cast suspicious glares at him as they move quietly on by.

There's plenty of noise on the docks, to Nick and La-La's pleasure everybody is working, there have been six shifts already today and for once seniority isn't a problem. They spot Ziggy nearby and pull up to him in their cart, La-La laughing at Ziggy's long leather coat. Ziggy insists it is the height of style, fine Italian leather he purchased for... $2000.


La-La is amazed, Nick is horrified, while Ziggy plays the fool, declaring that an Africa-American like La-La should appreciate Ziggy's sense of style. Nick gets out of the cart and says goodbye to La-La who moves on, and Nick demands to know what Ziggy is thinking - he told him to keep a low profile! Ziggy can't understand what the problem is, it's just a coat, and if anybody questions him he'll just say he has it on a payment plan. He shows off how good he looks again and despite himself, Nick can't help but laugh, perhaps because he's in a good mood - not only is there plenty of work for everybody today, but The Greek's people wants to see them both, they're pleased with the digital camera job.

McNulty has been reduced to just driving around the drug corners of Baltimore. Spotting a corner, he pulls up as the dealers quickly drop anything they're holding into the nearby gutter. They press up against the wall as McNulty gets out of the car, well used to being patted down. He tells them not to worry about that today, he doesn't give a gently caress about drugs but he doesn't like littering so they can pick up what they dropped when he leaves (even now he can't resist showing off how clever and observant he is), all he wants from them is to know if they've seen Omar. He describes Omar to the baffled dealers, asking if they've seen him or anybody who might know him... or even know what he's currently driving. With a "gently caress you, Officer," one of the dealers just walks away, and the others quickly disperse too, leaving McNulty no closer to his goal.

Stringer meets with Cherry, who cuts up the drugs for distribution amongst the Organization. The latest batch from Atlanta is lower quality than the first, and won't be able to handle being cut. Stringer is upset, the drugs from Atlanta cost more and are worse quality than what they got from Ricardo, and Cherry suggests they just put it out as is. Stringer won't accept that though, this means he is losing profits, and that is unacceptable - so they'll step on it like they normally would anyway, it doesn't matter if it is poo poo, just do it. He leaves the room, leaving them to make the best of a bad situation.

Rawls is also getting bad news from his underlings, Bunk and Freamon are reporting on yet another dead end in their investigation. Their only viable angle is to investigate the Port, and that means they need to know more about how it works, including how dirty those involved in it are, how they get things in and how they get things out. Rawls doesn't agree, to him the correct method would have been to hold the boat, to have put the crewmen into interrogation rooms and to have investigated the "crime scene". Visibly concerned, Bunk and Freamon point out that they were in a city outside of their jurisdiction with no real probably cause, but Rawls says this isn't important - what is important is the perception of the case. From where he sits, it looks like his detectives hosed up, and so while they are free to investigate the case as they see fit, if the 14 Jane Does don't get cleared then he has a scapegoat or two to throw at Burrell. He leaves the office, leaving them to make the best of a bad situation.

McNulty is still driving around the seedier parts of Baltimore, still hoping for fortune to shine down on him and find Omar for him. To his great surprise, luck IS on his side. As he drives along he spots two familiar faces on the side of the road - Bubbles and Johnny are waiting at a bus-stop carefully checking plastic bags tucked into the lining of their bulky coats. He watches as they get onto the bus and follows along behind, if there is anybody in the city who knows where Omar can be found, it'll be Bubbles.

At Little Johnny's, a suited Glekas is meeting Nick and Ziggy, offering to continue working in trade out of the docks with them. Ziggy is keen but Nick is quick to lay down that they have to back away from stealing expensive products like the cameras for at least a little while, they shook things up too much with that heist. Glekas is not disappointed, he had something else in mind anyway - he has a list of what they are looking for, chemicals that are made in America and stored right there on the docks. Ziggy is confused, why not just buy them then? Because they need metric tons of the stuff, and the docks hold huge amounts of the chemicals they're after - supplies that can be chipped away at without raising suspicion like they cameras did. Ziggy cuts straight to the point, how much can they expect to be paid for this? That depends on the amount of chemicals, and Nick cuts the conversation short, saying he'll look into it before coming up with an answer. He heads out the door, followed by Ziggy who is clearly disappointed they haven't made a deal right then and there, tucking his coat close around him before heading outside.

Bubbles and Johnny leave a clothing store also with their coats pulled close - not to protect them from the weather but to hide the bags of clothes and other items they've just shoplifted. They're laughing over a successful caper when they get a rude awakening, McNulty shouting out a hello from his parked car. A walkman drops out from their clothes and they quickly gather it up, appallingly obvious as Bubbles puts on a happy face and says hello. McNulty calls them into the back of the car, quickly checking what they've stolen before reminding Bubbles that he needs to pay taxes on these "purchases". Bubbles manages a "taxation without representation?" quip, but the laughter quickly fades when McNulty tells him that the favor he wants is a location for Omar.

Neither of them have any interest in walking around the streets looking for a crazy motherfucker like Omar, and McNulty says not to worry about it, they're friends. If they're friends then McNulty can do it himself is Bubbles' reply, but McNulty makes it clear it is find Omar for him or go back in and pay for all the things just stolen (or rather, be arrested). Upset, Bubbles gets out of the car, telling McNulty to keep the Walkman, he can consider it part of his taxes.

At the prison, Levy is calmly laying out yet another deal on behalf of Avon. Avon will provide the name of the person bringing drugs into the prison as well as all the evidence they need to secure a conviction. In return, Avon's first parole hearing will take place a year into his sentence as opposed to 28 months from now, and Maryland Correctional Institute will provide support for his application based on his extraordinary cooperation. The Warden and Investigator aren't pleased, especially as Avon is supposed to be serving 7 years AND a police officer was shot during the investigation into his Organization. Avon does speak up at this, telling the investigator that he remembers the investigator's "friend" being shot and that it upset him because a police shooting is bad for everybody and would have brought more attention onto him, and that his name never came up anywhere close to the successful solving of that shooting. Levy says they can think about it but they won't meet again without an Assistant Attorney's General present, then lets an unspoken threat hang in the there. They need to solve the mystery behind these murders, because if they don't another five deaths might happen tomorrow, and another five the next day etc...

Nick returns home from a successful, busy day of work (and networking) to find his mother cooking "tuna surprise", and complains that he deserves a proper meal after spending all day climbing over two different ships. She grunts at him to go down to the bar and pick up his father, who is down there "with the horses". Nick heads back out, and finds his father sitting at the bar carefully making notes as he goes over the betting pages. The scene that follows informs us a great deal about Nick's upbringing, about the strong sense of pride and stubbornness that runs through the Sobotkas, and also the imposing figures that fathers hold for their sons in the world of the docks. Nick's father - Louis - is a retired Shipyard worker who spends every day watching the horse races and running a completely theoretical gambling system. He's still "up" $7000 despite all his ups and downs, but when Nick suggests they head out to the Pimlico racetrack when it opens so he can try out his system for real even for one day, Louis casually dismisses it as too tempting. He lights up when he hears that Nick worked on one of the ships that he himself helped build back before the dry-dock was shut down, and when Nick carefully asks him if he misses the work, Louis simply replies that they would be no point. This is a man of enormous personal integrity - perhaps maddeningly so - he seems offended when Nick tries to share a moment by telling Louis with pride that the ship he helped build still floats, grunting that OF COURSE it does. But there is genuine love and humor there too, when Nick tells him they're having "tuna surprise" for dinner he fakes a heart attack, and with a laugh the two Sobotka men get up and head out of the bar.

Daniels has brought the proposed list for his Detail to Rawls, who notes Daniels' loyalty to his own people - Freamon, Greggs and Herc are all on the list and Daniels needs Rawls' approval since they're all under Rawls' CID umbrella. Rawls corrects him, he needs his approval for EVERYBODY on the list, the Detail might be Valchek's idea but it falls under Rawls' authority. Having establishing his dominance, he then throws Daniels a bone - he has no problem with his list, he can have everybody on it... except for McNulty. Daniels who once couldn't stand McNulty's guts has come to value him, and recognizes his talents as a Detective. But Rawls is having none of it, the only way that McNulty gets off of the boat is if he quits or commits suicide - there will be nothing even remotely resembling McNulty on this Detail. Daniels accepts it, wincing slightly and asking if it is that bad, and with that out of the way Rawls informs him that the Detail is all about two Polacks pissing on each other's legs. He laughs at Daniels, noting he'd have done anything to get out of the basement, but Daniels doesn't rise to the occasion, just making a dignified exit.

Kima and Cheryl are stuck in traffic when a group of frat boys run out onto the street to talk with some young girls in the car ahead, flipping Cheryl off when she honks the horn. Pissed off, Kima prepares to leave the car but Cheryl stops her, angrily reminding her that in 5 minutes they'll be where they're going and the idiot frat boys will still be idiot frat boys. She asks Kima what a lawyer would do, Kima needs to think like a lawyer and not police, and she tries to cheer her up with the notion of Kima Greggs, Esquire. Kima, of course, has no desire to be a lawyer outside of pleasing Cheryl and making herself a better police officer, and when one of the frat boys jumps onto the hood of the car and begins unbuckling his pants she's had enough. She storms out of the car and yells at the frat boy to get down, and when he insults her she hauls him off of the hood and down hard into the ground, cuffing him as his buddies look on in dismay. She snaps at the girls in the car to move it or lose it and they quickly drive away, while Cheryl looks on in disapproval from the car.

Daniels has a similar problem to Kima, though at least so far Marla is unaware of it. At home, he's watching television where a trained dog is racing through an obstacle course - does he feel the same way about his career? Is he second-guessing his decision to hold off on his retirement? Clearly he hasn't told Marla yet, she comes downstairs and gives him a loving kiss, telling him to come upstairs to bed, for her life is bliss, she thinks he's leaving the force.

The next day, Ziggy pops in to see Johnny 50, giving him the list of chemicals. None of them are held there though, they're held at the Fairfield Terminal, and he tells Ziggy he'll get in touch with Ott's brother-in-law and see what he can do. Ziggy happily leaves, but as he does a large checker named Maui "accidentally" slides back on his chair and slams into Ziggy, spilling coffee all over his leather jacket. Ziggy is furious, while Maui sarcastically apologizes before noting loudly that it shouldn't be a problem, Ziggy can just go steal a container of baby-wipes. Ziggy isn't used to such direct, open talk from somebody who isn't direct family and looks completely at a loss, he leaves as Maui calls him a good before settling satisfied back into his chair.

Daniels has gone to see Kima, where the two joke about the dangers of their respective partners once they learn about Daniels plan. He wants her in his Detail, and he tells her that if necessary he can use her as an inside officer like they did with Prez. "If I hear the music, I'm gonna dance," she replies, and with a laugh they joke that they'll tell the other's partner the bad news.

Shamrock goes to see Stringer, who hands him a packet of throat lozenges and tells him to make sure it's left in Tilghman's car but not in an obvious place - be subtle. This is another sign of faith in Shamrock, though Stringer does call him back to make sure he actually knows what subtle means.

In a shooting gallery, Bubbles and Johnny are relaxing after shooting up, joined by another junkie named Pops who is settling in to listen to music on the Walkman they stole. Johnny is uncertain about doing McNulty's bidding but a drooling Bubbles says they have to a give a working police his due. They both laugh, while in another room Kimmy from Omar's crew is picking up information from a junkie about a new potential heist. Behind her, she hears Bubbles manage to pull himself together enough to ask Pops if he has seen "that wild boy who likes to pop that shotty?", and Pops laughing that the way to find Omar is to stand on a corner with a big-rear end package. Johnny is nodding off and Pops is already back listening to the music, but Bubbles manages to get himself up and has Johnny join him in slowly shuffling their way out of the crack den, leaving Kimmy behind to consider why a junkie is searching for Omar.

Avon and Levy are meeting with the Warden and the Maryland State Police Investigator again, joined now by an Assistant Attorney General. Levy goes over the terms of the deal once more, but they can't make a case purely on Avon's say-so. Levy says there is evidence to be found, if they search the locker, vehicle and person of Officer Tilghman they'll find the drugs. The AAG says the deal is perfectly fair, but fully reliant on them finding evidence. Avon assures them it will be found, and he and Levy leave - the investigator knows that Avon must be the one behind the Hot Shots, but the AAG replies that without proof of that, they'll just have to make the case they can.

Valchek has received ANOTHER photo of his Surveillance Van at ANOTHER port, and quickly puts it away when Daniels arrive. Happily greeting Daniels, he tells him how much Prez talks about him, and thanks him again for helping Prez out during the previous year. Daniels sucks in his cheeks for just a moment, clearly uncomfortable at the reminder of one of Prez's less than stellar moments. Valchek tells him that his gut says Frank Sobotka is involved in drugs, and that he knows for a fact his people will steal anything not nailed down. With great pride he asks if Daniels has seen "the op-site", and when Daniels says he asked the new members of the Detail to meet him here at the District, Valchek is too excited to wait and tells him to come see it with him.

Having put Bubbles on the search for Omar, McNulty feels justified in going back to hunting the identity of his dead Jane Doe. At a Church he speaks with a foreign national working in the kitchen, asking her to translate the letter he took from Evidence Control. Unfortunately for McNulty, the letter is vague, it is written for the entire family and while it is clear at some points she is writing to an older woman and at others to a child, relationships aren't mentioned and there are no last names - after all, how often do you refer to somebody in a personal letter by anything other than their first name? An elderly priest shuffles in looking for his meal and the woman says it is coming soon, and tells McNulty the best she can find in terms of identifiers is the name of a Church and a local Priest. Unfortunately the names of both are extremely common, and without an envelope she can't narrow down the location. She can sense McNulty's disappointment and stops him from taking the letter away, saying if he leaves it with her she will try to find more information.

Nick, Aimee and Ashley go for a walk along the harbor, Ashley clinging happily to Nick's hand as Aimee raises unwelcome but logical suggestions - if he isn't getting enough work at the docks, why not... work somewhere else? Nick doesn't want to hear that of course - for one thing his entire family and cultural identity is wrapped up in the docks, and for the other finding a different job elsewhere is an admission that he has failed in his manly duty to support the family (this is the same guy who went let the mother of his daughter upstairs in case his mother finds out they're having sex). He tells her he came into some back-pay he was owed from a month ago, a couple of thousand dollars.... maybe it's time for them to get a place. She's surprised, can he cover that? More than that, he tells her that they shouldn't rent a place, they should look into buying. His Aunt's old place in Covington is on the market and has apparently been done up real nice "with wood floors and everything", and he says they should look into the possibility of buying it. Hauling Ashley up, he asks her to identify the ships in the Harbor, which she does easily and accurately. The three continue on, the very picture of family bliss.

Tilghman arrives at his car only to be stopped by the Warden and the Maryland State Police, who tell him they need to search his car. He's offended, telling them that they have no cause and no right to search his car, and they clearly have no warrant. Unfortunately for him, anybody who drives their vehicle onto Department of Corrections Property is subject to being searched, and soon Tilghman's car is being emptied out, a thorough search eventually (Shamrock was subtle after all) finding the package of lozenges and the drugs inside. Tilghman is outraged, declaring that they planted the drugs, but he takes the cuffs quietly enough. He must be absolutely bewildered, he knows he didn't bring those drugs in, but that package IS how he brings them in - who knew enough to plant drugs on him in exactly the same way he brings them into the prison?

Ziggy is getting revenge on Maui, gleefully tapping away at Maui's computer while the big man is away on a break, Johnny 50 nervously warning him he'll be back at any moment. Elsewhere on the docks, Bunk, Freamon and Beadie return where frequent whistling catches their attention. Beadie explains it is a warning that police are there (similar to the lookouts used in the open drug markets in season one) and points out Horseface to them, telling them to look at his face when they ask how he got the name. They approach and he's immediately belligerent and troublesome, refusing to answer anything directly - he doesn't remember if he was the Checker for the Atlantic Light, he doesn't remember the can with the dead girls in it - when Beadie calls him on that one he elaborates that he remembers the can, but as far as he knows it was found in the stacks, not that it came off of the Atlantic Light. Irritated, they tell him to get into the car so they can continue talking Downtown, but as they turn away he replies quite simply,"No." Grumpily Bunk tells him to get in the car and he asks if he's locked up, and when they just get angrier he tells them that the only way he gets in the car is if they cuff him and lock him up... and if they're going to do that then he wants to talk to his Shop Steward so he can have an IBS Lawyer join him in the car and take part in the talks Downtown.

Bewildered at this complete lack of concern and hardline reply, they continue to argue while only a little way away Ziggy leaves the building with a spring in his step only to take a slap on the head from Frank. Startled, Ziggy demands to know what this was about and an angry Frank mimes taking a photo, and yells that if he ever pulls a stunt like that again he'll have his Union Card regardless of who his mother is. They hear the warning whistle and look over, and Frank is horrified to see the police talking with Horseface.

The Detectives leave, grumpily complaining that Horseface is kind of smart for a fat man. Inside, Maui returns from his break and starts to use his computer, only to find a picture of Ziggy's penis taking up the entire screen. It's rather sad that Maui recognizes who it belongs to instantly, and he bellows for Ziggy to "get your dick out of my computer!"

Valchek brings Daniels to "the Op-Site", followed by Greggs and Herc in another car. Where are the previous Detectives? "Dead!" snaps Valchek, with great venom explaining that he "shipped them humps" back home as soon as he could. They head inside where a very pleased Prez - showing the same sense of drama that Valchek had when HE was excited about the Detail - asks what kept them so long, and Herc jokes without a hint of irony that the great thing about the BPD is that every braindead somehow manages to land on their feet. They shake hands and Prez asks where Freamon is, Daniels explains he hasn't been told he's on the Detail yet and gets the news tomorrow. There'll be no McNulty, but Valchek says Prez is there as long as he wants him and Daniels can have anyone he wants from the Southeastern. He says his goodbyes, satisfied once again that the Detail to bring down Frank Sobotka is ready to kick into gear. Herc suggests to Daniels they pick up Carver from the Southeastern, unaware of Daniels and Carver's last meeting, and Kima asks what they're actually investigating anyway. Daniels says they'll see where the case takes them, maybe they can pick up a few drug cases out of the port.... whatever it is, it beats the hell out of the Evidence Control Unit.

That night, Bubbles and Johnny are heading down the street, Johnny babbling about a dog and a woman with her period when Bubbles spots an old radiator. Eagerly he approaches, saying they can get $10 for it at a scrapyard. Johnny thinks they'll break their backs trying to move it, and Bubbles sighs that he's trying to school him, but as he tries to work out how best to get a hold of it, he's left himself completely open to a well-laid trap. Omar comes up on him from behind, aiming his shotgun at Bubbles and Johnny. So.... they've been asking for him?

The following says EVERYTHING about the intercut scenes that follow - no words are spoken, there's nothing but the sound of music playing and the scratching of utensils against plate. It's glorious:

McNulty has given the Walkman that Bubbles gave him to his estranged wife, Elena. Cleaning up after dinner, they crack jokes about how quiet the boys are upstairs before Elena brings up the separation agreement, did he read it yet? He did, he had a lawyer look at it for him, and they told him not to sign it - it gives far too much to Elena, more money than he could ever afford or would ever be asked to pay in the event of a divorce. Elena is pissed off, is that what SHE said? Clearly she thinks McNulty is still with Pearlman, but he surprises her by handing over the agreement anyway, signed despite his lawyer's protests. He says he doesn't want to argue about money, he just wants to get back together with her.

Shamrock arrives at the upstairs office of the Funeral Parlor where he happily (and loudly) proclaims to Stringer than he was subtle. He turns on the television to the news, where the Assistant Warden is announcing the arrest of Corrections Officer Tilghman in relation to the deaths of the 5 prisoners and talking about how the Department of Corrections will combat corruption wherever they find it. Shamrock is enjoying the fruits of his labor, but Stringer just watches silently before switching it off and saying he has to study, he has a midterm coming up. Shamrock leaves, but once he is gone Stringer sits back, looking pleased.

Beadie takes Freamon and Bunk to Delores' Bar, where they've decided to make it clear to the port workers that they're not going away. Heading up to the bar, Bunk smokes a cigar and catches Horseface's eye. Horseface heads down to the jukebox but Bunk follows him, in his face, taking over selecting the song despite Horseface putting in the money, saying he can't deal with any country poo poo. With the music playing, he gives Horseface a,"What now, motherfucker?" look and then joins Freamon and Beadie heading around the bar past Nick and Johnny 50 to where Frank is joking happily with another Checker. He's pleased to see Beadie but then spots the other two, who tell him they're just going to have a drink or two and then move on... what about him? Frank puts on an indifferent front and says he'll be leaving after this one, but when he turns he's visibly alarmed. Nick is watching carefully as Frank finishes his shot and takes a closer look at Freamon and Bunk - he doesn't recognize them as Port Police. When they tell him they're Homicide and investigating the dead girls in the can, he insists that he heard their deaths were accidental. He asks them to excuse them as he tries to leave, and pushes past when they don't move, Bunk staring holes through him. Frank heads into the toilet where he stares at himself in the mirror, distressed and racked with a mixture of guilt, loathing and fear. His eyes dart to the side and he seems to draw strength from what he sees, taking several deep breaths to center himself before heading back out into the bar. What did he see? A picture from the glory days - hard men working, doing an honest day's work. "Frank's city", the one that really doesn't exist any more, the one he is fooling himself he can rebuild.

14 dead girls may just be the price that has to be paid for that.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

DarkCrawler posted:

I don't think that was humor as much as Nick just going with the stevedore code - remember how in the last ep. of season 2 he instantly goes "I don't know why you have Horse up there, he doesn't know poo poo and I'll testify to that" when he sees the cops' evidence.

Oh he's definitely sticking with the no snitching code, but he isn't brash and defiant about it, he has a nervous smile and is hoping that Frank will share in the humor. It's really interesting to see how intimidated Nick and Ziggy are by their fathers - I think Nick feels it is easier to talk to Frank who is "only" his uncle, but he's also concerned about crossing him or getting on his wrong side. There's clearly a great deal of respect there, even if both he and Ziggy have mocked the old-timers and their tales of the way things used to be "back in the day".

Things being better "Back in the day" is a common theme throughout the series, with some justification. Baltimore used to be a city of industry, community, working man pride and strong family units. The lingering death of industry fractured the community, working man pride became frustration, families were broken up or never properly begun (look at Nick, sending the mother of his child out to wait in an alley) and we see it affecting the city not only at the docks but in the inner-city neighborhoods. Of course there was also segregation, domestic abuse, women were second-class citizens etc, but people tend to only remember the good things about the "good old days".

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

escape artist posted:

This is great!! I think you're right.

Yeah I agree, it's something I never really picked up on. It's kind of neat that despite the great strides he has made as a moral and upright man, he probably spends a great deal of his life second-guessing himself that one day it's all going to come tumbling down when somebody uncovers his shady past. That said, I love the way he stares down Burrell's threat to do just that in season one - when he reads the situations and decides that Burrell fears a scandal more than he wanted to keep Daniels under his thumb.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

watt par posted:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is also the first time we see Stringer in the same room with the drugs. Which is odd considering his initial careful manipulation of Avon and subsequent takeover of the Barksdale crew, and the fact they'd been investigated by police before, that he'd expose himself to that extent.

Stringer is also in a position where he has nobody he trusts enough to handle this side of things for him or make the right decision on his behalf - Cherry would have sent out the drugs uncut because of their poor quality and cost them a great deal of money. He's bringing on Shamrock to join Tank and Country as lieutenants, but he's clearly feeling the loss of Bey, Bird, Stinkum and even Savino. Avon had Stringer to insulate him from the drugs, but Stringer doesn't have a similar associate he can place great trust in and use to insulate himself from these big decisions.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Frostwerks posted:

drat Jerusalem. Was really hoping you'd include my personal wire eureka movement with Nick's father. He doesn't play, therefore he doesn't lose!


This is what I loving love about this show. I've rewatched it so many times and I still pick up new things each time, and still get blown away by the things other people pick up on and notice.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Frostwerks posted:

e: Only reason I'm bummed is because I mentioned it waaaay back in I think the earlier thread and you personally commented on it. Doesn't really matter to be honest, I'm never mad talking the wire.

Haha, I read and post a lot of things, it should come as no surprise that I'd sometimes forget things I'd previously been astonished to learn - sorry! :)

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Bioshuffle posted:

Wouldn't people remember Marlo as the person behind all the murders in the row houses? It seemed like Snoop was saying she took down Omar so that Marlo will be remembered as the person who brought down Omar.

Because Omar's was always out there facing down everything that came his way, his legend grew to the point that when he DID die nobody was willing to believe or accept that it was in any way mundane. People tried to take credit for it, conflicting stories arose and so by the end of the final episode you have two dudes on the corner enthusiastically talking about Omar going toe to toe with a half dozen highly paid and well-armed New York assassins. Because Marlo was perceived to have been hiding from Omar, it helped grow Omar's legend on the street while also denting Marlo's own desperately valued reputation. Instead of people remembering Marlo as the terrifying, unreasonable shark who never stopped moving and rolled over everything in his way, they remembered him as just another guy who talked a good game but ran away and hid the moment the going got tough (Omar out on the street openly calling him out), and that's if they remembered him at all. Wannabe Kings and tough guys are a dime a dozen on the street, it takes a truly exceptional individual to stand out and be noticed. Marlo could have been that, but Chris and Snoop's efforts to protect him cost him that.

The same thing almost happens to Omar too, in season one he is constantly taking the fight to the Barksdales, including coming within a hair of actually taking out Avon himself. But after he realizes the offer of a truce is their plan to take him out he heads to New York, and in season 2 you hear people early on talking about him as either dead or a coward - "Didn't Avon's people kill him?" "I heard Avon ran him out of town" etc. It's only after he gets back in the mix and continues his war openly against the Barksdales (and later Marlo) that he reestablishes the legend/reputation that continues on after he dies.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

On an unrelated note, I just started reading Clockers and it's fun to encounter some of the stuff that got put into The Wire, like the cop asking the guy where to get a sideways baseball cap or the dealers bumping into cops at the movies and chatting casually with them like they were work colleagues.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Had to split the latest write-up into two (I'll try to keep them down a bit in future) and it split across pages so I've edited it. Sorry for a triple post.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 13:25 on Apr 27, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2: Episode 5: Undertow

Spiros Vondas posted:

They used to make steel there, no?

In the East Side, a white dealer named Frog is handed the money made from the latest drugs package they've been selling. It's a sizable amount, and the handover is done in a relatively open way, with Frog openly holding the cash in his hand for a few moments. He tucks it away when he spots Ziggy coming down the street, replacing it with a far smaller amount that he hands to Ziggy as he arrives, again with relatively openness - no concern at all for anybody who could be watching, all I can think of is Herc's complaints to Kima about how stupid white drug dealers are compared to the Barksdale Organization. Ziggy is pleased to get his money, but goes ahead and counts it right there on the street, and discovers there is only $290 - it seems he did manage to get a G-Pack after all and gave it to Frog to sell on his behalf. His take on the sale is supposed to be $500, but an indifferent Frog mumbles that their stash got hit, quite obviously unconcerned about the repercussions of lying/ripping off Ziggy. Ziggy's despair isn't even really about the money - all he's ever wanted is to be loved and respected, to have people consider him somebody worth their time, and his self-esteem is dangerously punctured whenever things don't go his way. Whether Frog was robbed/raided or not (and I'd say it's pretty drat clear he wasn't), his clear indifference to Ziggy's reaction is the most troublesome thing - Ziggy just wants what he considers his due, and a "just" reward for his "hard work". Getting in Frog's face, he tries to intimidate him, but when this gets no result he proves his lack of strength by impotently telling Frog that he'll be back tomorrow and the money "best be right". Frog clearly doesn't care at all, casually handing money to one of the young children who hang around, telling him to go grab him some snacks from the corner shop. Ziggy gets into his Camaro - Princess - and starts to drive away, but is cut off at the intersection. At first he's just enraged at this further obstruction to his life, until a number of large black men emerge from the vehicle and another car pulls up behind him, blocking him in. He's hauled out of the car by a hooded man named Cheese - played by rapper Method Man, who was justifiably proud of the fact that he got a part on the show by auditioning like any other actor rather than expecting a cameo/part based on name alone - and things play out VERY differently to the way they did between Ziggy and Frog. It seems that Ziggy owes Cheese a great deal of money, presumably he went to Cheese after White Mike turned him down, and now Ziggy is learning the truth behind White Mike's warning that they really were friends - because Cheese isn't going to let Ziggy stumble along through his life after losing money on a package. Cheese quickly finds the roll of cash Ziggy was given by Frog, but complains that there is barely enough there to warrant calling it money. Ziggy tries to babble his way out of the bad situation he's in and Cheese backhands him across the face, sending him crashing back onto Princess' hood. Realizing just how much trouble he's in, he pulls off his ridiculous leather jacket and offers it to Cheese, telling him that he paid 2k for it, so with the $300 that Cheese just took from him that leaves $700 he needs to get him by Friday! So he's into Cheese for at least 3k, and is stupid enough to think he can negotiate from a position of incredible weakness. Cheese looks the coat over and laughs that not even a black man could style it, tossing it back to Ziggy and telling him that if he doesn't get his money by Friday, then Ziggy is dead on Saturday. Unlike Ziggy's own threat to Frog, this one has plenty of menace behind it, and Ziggy can only sit and helplessly watch as they decide to take Princess as well, one of Cheese's men driving it away along with the other two cars. Ziggy - comparatively safe now - vents his frustration by flipping the bird impotently after the departing cars. Having only recently made thousands off of a cleverly put together deal, Ziggy has not only failed to maintain a low profile as warned by Nick, he's now lost his car and is $3000 in debt to a very dangerous man who doesn't gently caress around. Well done, Ziggy, welcome to the undertow.

Carver is standing in front of Lieutenant Daniels in the Port Building that is the Sobotka Detail, asking a justified question - why has Daniels requested him to work with the Detail? Daniels says this is something he asked himself, when he went through the list of available men in the Southeastern, Carver stood out as the guy who hosed him over big time with Burrell during the Barksdale Detail, so why bring him back? Carver has no idea, but he DOES want to be in the Detail - he doesn't say why but I imagine it's a combination of the Detail being full of old friends he has worked with before, as well as the fact that it is Valchek's baby, and he may even know that those working the Detail are likely to be well thought of by Burrell thanks to keeping Valchek happy. Daniels explains that his reasoning is straightforward - Carver hosed him over once before and got caught, so surely he's not stupid enough to try and gently caress him over again. He informs Carver that as far as he is concerned he hasn't yet earning his Sergeant's stripes, so while he'll continue to be paid more, he'll be taking his orders from Greggs. Carver smiles ruefully, saying,"Same as it ever was" and Daniels stands up, approaching and offering his hand. This is a very different experience to the "reconciliation" between Burrell and Daniels himself. Daniels has made his position clear but seems to hold no personal grudge, and even seems to like Carver as a person. Carver shakes his hand and a large smile spills out over his face before he regains control of himself. He leaves the office and puts on a sad face for a waiting Herc, Greggs and Prez, then smiles and tells them he's in. Delighted, Herc wraps him up in a bearhug and drops him onto the nearby couch, the two roughhousing as Greggs rolls her eyes happily and Carver cries out,"You're holding my dick, human being!"

The A-Team are back together :)

At the Marine Patrol, Bubbles is carefully checking the chain holding the barbeque in place as he waits for McNulty, considering it's value as scrap. Diggins shows up and tells him he's called McNulty in, and Bubbles makes a lame effort to pretend he was just admiring the barbeque. He ends down to where McNulty is tying up the harbor boat, Bubbles expertly tying up from one end while on the other McNulty haphazardly wraps the rope around "the thing there" (Bubbles knows what it is - a cleat) and proclaims it a Baltimore Knot, which is never the same thing twice. Bubbles is intrigued at why the hell McNulty is in uniform and riding around on a boat, and McNulty explains his detecting days are behind him. Bubbles isn't pleased to hear this, why the hell did he have him chasing around Baltimore looking for Omar then? McNulty explains this is to do with the Bird case, and Bubbles reveals he has good news for him, he has a phone number where McNulty can reach Omar. He makes a play of holding the number back from McNulty before finally handing it over. Delighted, McNulty hands him over some cash "for a cab ride", and Bubbles takes it eagerly before hesitantly raising a concern - he understands he was paying "taxes" but being put on the hunt for Omar is a step above and beyond the call of duty. He sulks about getting Omar's shotgun in his face while McNulty just laughs, a step removed from the very real danger he put Bubbles in. Bubbles insists though, he deserves more than just the usual cash that he got for his Confidential Informing, and - still grinning - McNulty hands over more. He can afford to be generous, he's finally got something that may partly make amends for saddling Bunk and Freamon with the 14 dead women.

Speaking of whom, Rawls wants an update on how the case is going. Freamon explains they're going to rattle cages by dropping Grand Jury summons on every Stevedore who worked the Atlantic Light. Rawls wants to know how Beadie is working out and Freamon tries to be diplomatic, saying she knows the docks well, but Bunk isn't concerned about making his unhappiness clear - she's not a Detective, there is only so much help she can give them. Rawls uses this as an excuse to segue into more bad news, saying they just need fresh eyes from a different Detective to work with them, because Freamon has to get down to the Southeastern, he's not part of the Frank Sobotka Detail. Freamon and Bunk leap to their feet in horror, and Freamon (respectfully) asks if Rawls just hosed him over before he had even half a chance to solve the case. Rawls laughs that Freamon will KNOW when he has been hosed by Rawls, and with great delight informs Bunk that now he and he alone is responsible for the 14 red names. It's a mixture of personal and professional for Rawls - if Bunk solves the case then great, but if he doesn't then they have somebody to pin the blame on AND he gets indirect revenge on McNulty by loving over his best friend.

Nick is making good on his promise to Aimee, and has taken her and Ashley to look at his Aunt's old house, currently on the market. The house has indeed been done up nicely "with wood floors and everything" and a number of people are looking through it. The realtor turns out to be Elena McNulty of all people, and Nick takes exception to her sales pitch to another couple that the house is located on Federal Hill - this is Locust Point. Elena smoothly explains that Real Estate Zoning has allocated anything below Montgomery Street and above the water as Federal Hill, and - picking up on Nick's hostility - turns her attention to Aimee instead. She tells her that she can show them any number of properties in the area if they're house hunting, and starts to explain the background of this house, but Nick cuts her off, saying it was his Aunt's. Elena tries to be polite and asks if she was related to the McDonalds who are the ones selling the place currently, and Nick - as if she was stupid - replies that no, his Aunt was related to HIM. Aimee spots the listing for the house and asks tentatively if that is the price, and Elena explains it is the listing, which of course means the place could go for much more. She offers Aimee the paper but Nick pulls it from her because she can see, and we're treated to a great shot - Elena is maintaining her real estate poise despite Nick's rudeness, while Aimee has an almost desperate, resigned look on her face, knowing that Nick can't afford that price. Even Ashley seems down, picking up that Daddy is angry and Mommy is upset. Nick insists that Elena isn't going to get that much, and when she tells him that one just like it recently sold for 340k he promptly leaves the house, quickly followed by Aimee and Ashley (caught up in his undertow!). Aimee suggests maybe they could rent, then begins to walk away, Nick following along. He stops as he goes though, looking back at the BMW parked outside the house - this isn't the neighborhood he remembers, he's discovered the horrible truth about gentrification - there's nowhere for the people who have lived there for generations anymore, the place isn't even Locust Point anymore, now it's "Federal Hill". Last episode Frank was dreaming happily about "his" city, longing for a past that can never return. Now Nick is discovering the same thing, what was "his" isn't there anymore, and what has replaced it isn't something he can understand or take part in.

Daniels is already ahead of Rawls' Spectacular Six, gathering his squad together to explain why they're here and what they're going to do. They're there because Valchek wants them there, and they're after Frank Sobotka because that's what Valchek wants. So they're going to give him what he wants - Freamon (not there yet) and Prez will put DNRs on the Union Hall phones and investigate their finances (as well as Frank's personal ones), and get that to Valchek to show they're on the case and buy them some time. Meanwhile, Greggs, Carver and Herc will find out where port workers doing drugs buy them and set up some hand-to-hands and reverse buys, and then see where they can go from there. Herc quickly points out that many of the port workers and some of the dealers are whites, and with great glee declares that this means he'll be the one to do the undercover work now, while Greggs and Carver have to sit up in the on the roof and watch him work. Everybody is in a good mood, pleased to be working together again, even more so when Freamon does arrive. He jokes about how it is the same people working the same kind of case in the same kind of lovely office, and Daniels assures him he'll only be here a month or so, expecting the Detail to be wrapped up by then. Freamon notes that he's high on Rawls' shitlist anyway, but what's done is done so... who is the target? They show him the picture of the average looking balding middle-aged white guy pinned up to the noticeboard and.... he instantly identifies him as Frank Sobotka!

Eyes wide, they laugh that Freamon really does know EVERYTHING, and he explains that he and Bunk were loving with Frank recently as part of their latest homicide case - he's not a suspect, but they figured he'd know about dirt going on down at the port. They explain why they're after him - because Prez's father-in-law hates him and that's good enough for probable cause in the Southeastern - and so they're pursuing the possibility that the source of his extra money is drugs. Why drugs? As Herc puts it, what other kind of crime is there in Baltimore?

Donette and Tyrell (the Little Man) are visiting D'Angelo in prison, Donette lying that Tyrell was sick and that was why she hasn't visited. D'Angelo - who never really seemed to care all that much about his son when he was free - only has eyes for Tyrell, pressing a finger against the window as Tyrell does the same. Donette won't stop talking about "their" plans for D'Angelo when he gets out though, most of which comes through as,"String says..." - he'll get a paying job out of the mix of the drug side of things, something legit like running a club, and give him back some of the time he's lost to spend with his family. But rather than talking up how good that will be for them and how she can't wait for him to be out, she complains that he's being ungrateful - "they" are doing all this for him and he is giving his uncle the cold shoulder? Finally getting his attention, he tells her that all the talk of doing nice things out of love is just that - talk. As soon as it no longer benefits them, all the talk of love and family disappears - this is all about business and nothing else. Of course for D'Angelo it was all about business till that side of things was taken away from him, and now that he's in prison it's all about family, as he returns all his attention back to the son he ignored when he was out.

In the Low Rises where D'Angelo was once the King, a junkie is purposefully striding across the courtyard, harangued by a couple of the dealers who are sure he's gotten his cheque and wanting to know why he isn't using it to get high. He insists that he's got no money and tries to keep going, a strange reversal of the usual way of things as the dealers refuse to let up and stay away from a junkie who is just trying to go about his business. He tells one of the dealers he hasn't got any ends, and the dealer - obviously with a subconscious concern over the current quality of his product - yells to the others that the junkie called their product poo poo. Immediately all three pounce, smashing a bottle over the junkie's head and then putting a beating on him. Poot yells at them to stop, still operating the way D'Angelo tried to teach them - no need to beat on somebody and risk attention from the police - and they break off, but when the junkie gathers up his injured pride and snaps at them, they jump straight back into beating on him. The situation in the Low Rises at least is getting explosive - the low quality of the Barksdales current drug supply is costing them. As the junkie is thrown out of the Low Rises, Bodie gets the news from out by the Towers and heads over to get the word on what is happening. They pass the bloodied up junkie, who staggers up and continues on shuffling up the street - going where he initially wanted and still not having bought any of the Low Rises drugs, but having taken a beating for his troubles in the meantime. Bodie joins Poot who fills him in - the beating was unwarranted but it came from the "young'uns" over the quality of their drugs being called into question. Bodie knows this is true and hardly a unique situation - their enforcers/muscle are currently putting out beatings over nothing. He comes to an unpleasant conclusion - they need to talk to Stringer about the quality of their drugs.

Nick and La-La arrive at Delores' and find Ziggy nursing a beer at the bar. Nick is concerned to see Ziggy's bruises and asked what happens, and Ziggy (after making sure the black La-La is out of earshot) whispers that "loving niggers got me", and tells a basic sketch of the actual story - some black guys jumped him, beat him up, took his money and stole his car. With seething, impotent rage he says something that will come into play near the end of the season - if he'd had a gun he would have shot all of them. Nick, clearly suspicious of why this happened, asks Ziggy if he called the cops and Ziggy admits he couldn't because drugs were involved. Furious, Nick snaps that an accusation that is more a statement of fact, Ziggy bought a package to sell out on the street and has crossed the wrong people - was it White Mike? Ziggy explains it was a "friend of the family called Cheese" (note how casually the deliberately offensive term is used) and when Nick asks why he didn't go through White Mike, Ziggy dismisses Mike, not wanting to admit (perhaps even to himself) that Mike was surprisingly kind to him by ONLY refusing to do business with him anymore. Nick is disgusted with Ziggy, and has little sympathy when he hears that Cheese is threatening to kill him on Saturday, telling the "drug dealer" to go sell some drugs. Seeing Ziggy's face fall, he guesses corrently that Ziggy hosed up the package that he had insisted was easy money, and takes a deep breath before saying the last thing Ziggy wanted to hear - Nick can't give him the money to bail him out. Ziggy insists that he's dead without the money, but Nick isn't saying he won't, he's saying he CAN'T. He gave the money he made from the camera heist to Aimee to put down a security deposit on an apartment - he finally made a move for his girlfriend and daughter's benefit... or at least so he says, there is some small possibility that this is a story he made up because he's just sick of dealing with Ziggy's bullshit.

In his office, Valchek opens an envelope from San Diego containing another polaroid of the surveillance van. Wearing gloves and using a magnifying glass, he spots a fingerprint on the photo and takes a lift of it. Kima arrives to inform him they're about to perform some hand-to-hands on Port Workers and Daniels sent her to see about using a surveillance van, about the last thing Valchek wanted to hear. He tells her that the surveillance van is currently on loan to the Southwest, and Greggs nods and leaves, while Valchek goes back to carefully getting the print from the polaroid, grinning to himself that he's somehow gotten at the San Diego stevedores now.

Stringer is attending a class at Baltimore Community College, and as it ends he is handed back his Research Essay, taking great pleasure in the A- he got for "Measuring Macroeconomic Variables", his teacher seeming pleased with him too. As the others leave, Stringer remains behind to bring up the real life economic issue he is currently facing - yes the great Stringer Bell is asking a Community College Economics Teacher for advice on how to run his drug empire. Speaking in generalized theoreticals, he asks how somebody can compete in an aggressive marketplace with an inferior product, and the teacher - Mr. Lucas - offers him solutions that don't sit well with him. The first is to buy up all the competition, which isn't something Stringer is in a position to do. The other is to lower prices to attract more customers, but even with low overheads this can lead to running at a loss. Even if that doesn't happen, inevitably the market will come to associate the lower price with an inferior product and you will lose consumer confidence (like cheap supermarket soda is how I always think about it). Mr. Lucas, enjoying the premise academically, happily tells Stringer about how the CEO of WorldCom faced a similar issue - the company was linked to a huge fraud case and consumer confidence was at an all-time low, so he came up with an elegantly simple solution - they changed the name of the company.

Bunk and Beadie arrive at the port, accompanied by Cole and Mackey and preceded by the whistles that warn of their presence. Mackey and Cole are enjoying themselves, their asses aren't on the line if the dead women stay in the red, and serve the Grand Jury summons to Horseface as he sits barbequing outside the shipping can office. Horseface was solid as a rock against the cops, but looks a little perturbed at the notion of the Grand Jury - as Cole and Mackey explain, if he lies to them then it's just hurt feelings, but if he lies to the Grand Jury he's committing perjury. Inside the can, Bunk hands over the rest of the summons to Frank, who seems amused by the whole thing, going through them and handing one over to Johnny 50, since it is for him. Johnny tries to be polite, offering his hand to Bunk to shake, but Bunk just stares a hole through him and demands to know from Frank why they call him Johnny 50. It's straightforward enough, he drank 53 beers on his 25th birthday, so they rounded it down to 50 "to be poetic" and made that his nickname. Frank explains to Johnny that the Grand Jury summons are in relation to the dead girls found in the shipping can that came off of the Atlantic Light, and his good cheer changes to irritation and then outright anger as he points out the patent ridiculousness of the situation. The police are suggesting that they knew the girls were in the can, deliberately lost them in the stack and let them die in order to..... what? What possible reason could they have for doing that? What gain would there be in it for them. When Beadie (who Frank has already accused of not being "fun" anymore) points out the low likelihood of this can being the one they just so happened to lose in the stacks, Frank erupts to his feet and goes on an amazing tirade. Furious, he declares that Bunk doesn't understand that every IBS chapter has appeared before numerous Grand Juries - they've survived Bobby Kennedy, Tricky Dick Nixon and even Ronnie "Union Buster" Reagan and are still standing, and they'll survive the police too. Raving about the fact that he has a wife and three sisters with daughters, he pointedly tells Beadie that he has too much respect for women to ever allow something like this to have happened, and fires Johnny 50 up too with an example of the kind of testimony they'll be offering. Johnny will take the 5th (commandment!) when questioned, he'll say he doesn't remember anything if pressed to testify against others, and if asked what he doesn't remember he'll say nothing. Calming himself down, he sweetly offers to give the remaining summons to the four workers who aren't on today, but Bunk snatches them back from him and tells Johnny 50 they're going to the Grand Jury RIGHT NOW. They leave together, and once alone Frank's face falls - all his bluff and bravado was purely a front to cover up his guilt. But what he had to say is telling - this IS somebody with a wife, three sisters and multiple nieces and yet he did let those women die in the can. Sure, he didn't know, but he's STILL working with the people who allowed those deaths to occur, so what does that say about him and his "respect" for women?

A far more accommodating witness is Omar, who is meeting with Ilene Nathan at last who is going through his testimony with him. McNulty sits between them casually reading Boating Magazine, trying to control his open amusement at Omar's explanation for the gaps Ilene is finding in his statements. Omar is enjoying himself too, especially when Ilene asks incredulously if Bird committed more than one murder, Omar having just casually mentioned the many others Bird has bragged about ("Fish gotta swim, you know" he replies to the question). She asks Omar to step out for a moment and turns a baleful look at McNulty, saying that Levy is going to have a field day when she puts that "sociopath" on the stand, but McNulty says he thought Omar did pretty good. She asks that he at least make sure Omar is well-dressed for the day, and gives him a voucher to purchase clothes for his court appearance, almost pleading that he find something that includes a tie.

Greggs and Carver creep into an empty house in the Southeastern, where Greggs is amused when she sees/overhears a couple of dealers across the street. Carver moves to the next window to get a look/take a listen, and sees a skinny white guy in oversized clothes talking "black", complaining that the other white guy is "all the time up in some drat crib, trying to play house with them bitches" while he is out getting done "what needs to get done. Feel me, nigga?"

"Thieving motherfuckers take everything, don't they?" asks Carver.

At the Circuit Court for Baltimore, the exasperated Grand Jury Prosecutor - Gary DiPasquale - emerges to tell a waiting Beadie and Bunk that he has almost got one of the stevedores to admit that you can find water near the docks. Beadie reminds Bunk that the port workers don't scare easily and he asks her again if she really doesn't have a confidential Informant, and sighs when she admits she doesn't. With rather brutal honesty he explains that a police is only as good as their informants, and that Beadie "isn't much" before getting up off of the seat and walking away. Not a very nice thing to say, but then again Bunk does have 14 unsolved murders to deal with.

McNulty has taken Omar to a clothing store to find something that fits in with the amount they have to spend with the voucher ($150, not much). McNulty grabs a rather loud jacket off of the clearance rack (for good reason) and puts it up against Omar's chest, who just stares back at McNulty. Jimmy gives him the voucher, telling him to figure it out for himself, he has to go across the road to the Federal Building and will be back in half an hour or so. Omar - who isn't going to put up with any "wait around till Jimmy McNulty decides to grace you with his presence once more" bullshit - tells him where HE will be if he's gone when McNulty gets back, and after McNulty leaves, quietly comments on another location he might be as well. Omar goes where he wants, when he wants.

Greggs is getting tired of waiting for Herc to arrive, Carver casually eating food and saying he had to go "get his props". Again we see that Carver actually has the patience (or rather the practice) to deal with long drawn-out stake-outs, but since Kima isn't happy with sitting still he puts in a request to get in touch with Herc's radio, and they discover he's actually almost there. Greggs snaps photos as Herc arrives in one hell of an outfit, but he does fit in perfectly on the street, casually chatting with the skinny white dealer and using incredibly transparent code for the drugs. As Herc walks away to score, he brags to Carver through his hidden mic that it's all in the props, and Greggs and Carver both burst out laughing.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 00:59 on Apr 29, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

At the Federal Building, Department of Justice banners are being replaced by Department of Homeland Security ones, and McNulty is met by Special Agent Cleary, who laughs at the change and asks McNulty if he feels any different. McNulty explains why he is there - he's shows the dead Jane Doe he fished out of the water and that he's investigating a possible connection to the 13 dead women who were found in the shipping can, and Cleary says he was just helping Homicide with that as they tracked the can the bodies were found in. McNulty proves he's connected to the case by noting which detectives were involved, but admits he isn't really part of the case - he's the one who fished the dead woman out, and he feels an obligation to try and find her people. Cleary is clearly mystified, but agrees to give McNulty the chance to talk with some of the live women they've recently caught in or attempting to get into the country illegally. They go to his desk where he runs through recent arrests on his computer while McNulty reviews a folder of slightly older arrests. Clearly reveals that all of the women in the book will have been deported already, but freely admits that some of them will probably already be back in the country working. He finds a group up in New Jersey who were arrested in a recent raid on a club, and asks McNulty if he really plans to go up and see them on his own time? Why? McNulty's answer is in the form of a question - has Cleary ever seen what happens to Jane Does at the morgue after all efforts to be identified have failed? Cleary has not, but McNulty has, and that's all the explanation he needs to give.

Nick is meeting with Vondas and Sergei at what seems to be a different cafe to usual, where Nick is informing them on the latest development with the Grand Jury. He's there at Frank's request, he wants them to know what is going on and that nobody knows anything other than Horseface, and Horseface isn't saying anything. Sergei obviously seems less convinced, but Nick is adamant on that, using the same type of language that Avon and Stringer have used in the past about Wee-Bey - Horseface is a rock, they NEVER need to worry about him. But while this Grand Jury business is happening, Frank doesn't want to risk anything, so there will be no more shipments till everything dies down. Vondas doesn't agree, pointing out that they're concerned about one ship - which has sailed - and one can, not more ships and different cans. They reveal that the person responsible for the dead women has already been "dealt with" and is now a "dead end" for the police, but Vondas agrees that the most important thing is that Frank's fears are laid to rest. Nick says that what Frank wants is a meeting with The Greek himself, and it is clear that Nick has been given very explicit instructions in this regard, because he refuses to accept any of Vondas' cool attempts to sway him - it's The Greek and nothing else will do, they can name the time and place but The Greek must be there. Nick prepares to leave but Vondas calls him back, smoothly shifting tangents, he wants to talk about the proposed business with the chemicals. Nick still wants to know why they want them, and Vondas makes a statement that is chillingly accurate and echoes D'Angelo's earlier complaints to Donette - it's just for business, everything they do is just business. Vondas says all they do is buy for a nickel and sell for a dime, but Nick isn't going to be sidelined by this pleasant nothing, and asks who the gently caress wants to buy a dime's worth of chemicals.

Beadie, still smarting from Bunk's dismissal of her qualities as police, is taking a stab at getting access to a Confidential Informant. She goes to the home of Maui, the large Stevedore who ended up with Ziggy's dick in his computer. He's surprised but pleased to see her, and they clearly know each other on more than a professional level. She asks how he is doing in terms of getting days to work, and he tells her happily that he works in the tower now on the trucking lanes, then invites her in for a drink, and she suggests they take a walk and get a coffee. He obviously senses something unpleasant in the wind but agrees to come along, stepping back inside to get his coat. They head out to a cafe, where Maui quickly accuses her of doing what he suspects, she wants him to be a snitch, and he won't do that. She insists that she doesn't see it that way, and makes a brief reference to their past - they had a brief relationship that she broke off. He did everything right, but it didn't work out and she can't explain to him why. She suddenly shifts to talking about how the women died in the can, breaking their fingers scratching at the walls as the air ran out, and he snaps at her that she can't just shift to being a cop, and seems pleased at the idea that the Grand Jury achieved nothing. With genuine emotion she asks him to help her, but he appears to want to continues mocking the police efforts. That is until Beadie realizes he is actually informing her without "snitching", saying it's funny how they're running around trying to find all these things that are right there - in the old days everything was recorded on paper and destroyed once a ship had sailed and everything had been signed of, but in this day and age NOTHING is destroyed anymore. Delighted, Beadie realizes that the port computers will have a record of every movement that happened on the Atlantic Light and to its cargo, and she reaches out and takes Maui by the hand, thanking him.

Stringer is at Donette's watching Tyrell playing with his toys, while Donette complains from the next room that she told D'Angelo about all the plans for him and he wasn't grateful. She joins him in the room and tells about how she talked up everything he is doing for her, and he raises an eyebrow and she says with a smile she doesn't mean she told him EVERYTHING, holding his hand. She seems most annoyed that D'Angelo didn't care when she said she'd see him next weekend, and that he told her to leave him alone. She gets up to turn the roast over, calling back to Stringer he's going to see what a great cook she is, but Stringer has other things on his mind - D'Angelo and what Stringer perceives as a weakness and a potential liability, just as he once felt about Wallace. He scoops up Tyrell, who looks back down at the toys he was playing with, and Stringer quietly comments to him that his daddy is bucking them, so what should they do about that. Tyrell replies,"Abuuahh!" and Stringer nods, saying he thinks he's right. It all sounds very cute, but Stringer is basically using the child as an echo chamber for another executive decision that will have long-lasting ramifications.

So we've seen two scenes where relationships were used to further one of the partners' goals. Stringer finds Donette attractive but does he care for her at all beyond that superficial level? She's cooking for him, confiding in him, but all he seems to be using her for (outside of sex) is an insight into a potential liability to his business. She holds his hand to share a moment with him and look to their future, while he lets her do it because it suits his purpose. It seems wrong to accuse Beadie of the same mindset, but she went to Maui because she knew she could play on their prior relationship to get information from him, and the only reason he did it was to make her happy and on the minute chance that maybe there is a possible future for them. The difference being that she holds his hand afterwards, and is slightly more open about her intentions from the get-go.

Nick and La-La arrive at an East Side drug corner, La-La clearly uncomfortable and furious at Ziggy that he's going to get shot behind some of his bullshit. Nick has clearly brought La-La as "protection", it's a black neighborhood and Nick clearly does not belong. Neither does La-La, but Nick seems to be under the impression that having the same skin tone offers some kind of credibility, and the two head towards a nearby corner as EVERYBODY on the street moves in on the outsiders. The dealer on the corner lifts his jacket when Nick approaches, showing off the gun tucked into his waistband, but Nick maintains his composure and asks him to let Cheese know they're here to see him. Just at that moment Cheese comes around the corner laughing with a couple of his crew, and is delighted to see Nick, asking if he has his money - he's obviously picked out Nick as an outsider, and assumed that no white boy would be dumb enough to come down here unless they were sent by Ziggy. Nick says he doesn't have the money, but he has come down to work out a way to get Cheese what is his, and Cheese - in a very good mood - laughs that Nick has a lot of heart to show up in this part of town without Cheese's money, so he's curious, just what is Nick's suggestion. Nick wants Ziggy's car back, insisting that he can convince Ziggy to sell it, and a Camaro with a 350 in it will sell for far more than 3k. Amused, Cheese declares magnanimously that he is going to extend Ziggy's deadline by a week, but he knows that the Camaro will never sell for $3,000, and he and his crew part ways to let Nick and La-La through to see why. Around the corner, Princess is burning, set alight by Cheese just for the sheer fun of it all - Ziggy pissed him off so he destroyed something precious to Ziggy - every time I see this scene I think of the old Richard Pryor stand-up bit about getting raped in prison,"They're not gay. They'll do it just to see the look on your face."

Nick and La-La return to Nick's where Ziggy is waiting, La-La glaring at him before driving away. Nick sits down on the stoop with Ziggy and tells him he has good news and bad news - the bad news is that they're still going to kill him, but it won't be for a week. The good news is that he can cancel his car insurance.

The next day, Carver and Greggs watch from the rooftop as Herc drives up and buys drugs from a dealer, photographing the whole process from money being paid to drugs being delivered. They move from location to location (Carver getting tar on his pants legs), and at first this seems a rare case of non-diegetic music being used, until it becomes apparent the music is being played loudly on the street, fading slightly when indoors, being clearer when they're out in the open on the roof. As they photograph, Carver becomes irritated by Herc's constant use of a tooth-pick as a prop, telling Greggs he is going to stab Herc in the eye with it.

The Greek sends back food brought to the counter of the little diner/cafe for him, and tells Vondas the proprietor should be ashamed to call himself a Greek. Vondas is amused, but shifts to Frank's request quickly, saying that a talk would ease his mind. The Greek wants HIS mind eased first, and asks for more on the Grand Jury, but Vondas is unconcerned, he checked into the Court House and there is nothing special going on there, just the normal panels. This is simply an attempt to frighten the dockworkers, and none of them are talking.... but Frank is upset, he doesn't like the attention. The Greek is dismissive of that, if Frank is upset, more money will ease his conscience - they will double his fee, but The Greek will not meet with him. That is the end of that, and The Greek shifts one of his worry-beads, the meeting over.

Avon's worries aren't so easily solved, he's talking with Stringer in prison where the problems with the quality of their "product" is being discussed. Each time they get a supply from Atlanta it is weaker than the last, and it was weak to begin with. Avon understands, he'll get on it (even in prison Avon is far from out of "the Game"), and asks who has the good poo poo at the moment - it's East Side, a dealer called Milton, Prop Joe of course, and some Jamaican dealer. Avon immediately knows who he means - Petey Dixon - showing just how keyed into the street Avon is, there is a reason he rose to the top of the West Side, though he's not pleased to hear that their product is so weak that you can actually watch West Side junkies commuting over to the East Side as the day progresses. With that out of the way, Stringer carefully raises his most recent concern - D'Angelo. He asks if he and Avon have patched things up, and brings up for the first time the notion of putting some real estate in D's name to show he has something to look forward to when he gets out. Stringer has already told Donette this is a done deal and had her let Avon know... he may even have done it already, but he's only bringing it up to Avon now. More and more we're seeing Stringer taking a firmer hand on the wheel, telling Avon things later or not at all - in season one he was Avon's man to a fault, but ever since he decided to put a buffer between Avon and the rest of the Organization for Avon's own protection, he's come to put more stock in his own decisions and autonomy and be less concerned about running things through Avon. As they talk about D'Angelo, Avon makes a bad mistake, he comments that he's done what he can and that D'Angelo has to make up his own mind on which way he wants to go, and whatever happens happens. I'd say that this is Avon's way of admitting that D'Angelo might not be willing to stay part of the family, and that this genuinely makes him sad. But Stringer takes it another way - has Avon just given him the go ahead for getting rid of the D'Angelo "problem"?

Vondas joins Frank for a meeting, and when Frank realizes that The Greek isn't coming he begins storming off in a rage. Vondas calls him back, trying to make nice, telling him how bad The Greek feels about Frank's problems, so he is going to double his fees. This is the same mistake that others have and will make about Frank - his interest is purely in his Union, the money is all being poured back into it, doubling it is nice but not if it doesn't come with assurances from The Greek that the Union isn't going to be put at further risk. Right now members of his Union are being taken to the Grand Jury by police and The Greek can't be bothered to meet him face to face? Well gently caress The Greek and gently caress his money, he's going back to running his Union. He stares off over the water, brooding, and Vondas spots the closed steel factories across the water and has a moment of inspiration. "They used to make steel there, no?" he asks, and raising his eyebrows to Frank before walking away. The message is clear - there used to be a Union there too. There used to be work and money and a feeling of community just like there is at the docks. And now it's all gone.

Nick and Ziggy have gone to the public library and are looking up the chemicals on the Internet, which is beyond Nick who views the computer superstitiously and questions how it works, do you just type stuff in and ask it for an answer? They're surprised when the first link that Ziggy clicks on takes them to "", which lists the controlled substances and chemicals used to process coca leaves into cocaine. They have the answer that Nick was looking for and Ziggy didn't care about - Vondas wants the chemicals to make a SHITLOAD of drugs.

Bunk and Beadie arrive at the port and are taken up into the tower amidst many whistles warning of their presence to be shown how the computer tracking system works. The Port Chief escorting them insists that the kind of theft that used to happen in the old days is purely a thing of the past, but admits sheepishly that a "little" theft still goes on. Inside, he shows them the real-time computer system that tracks the cargo cans being shifted from ships at harbor onto the docks, irritating Ringo (who was set to quit the Union till Frank hand him go and get a beer from Delores') who slaps his hand away. Frank arrives on the scene, all chummy today, joking around with Ringo who has "misplaced" a shipping can of frozen tuna steak, and Bunk is not pleased to discover that Frank was one of the ones who helped set up the system. The Chief leaves Frank to explain it to them, and he reveals that the Chief's claim that theft was impossible was overstated, as they can often be missing 100-300 cans out of the system. Not all are stolen (Frank doesn't deny that this happens), many are simply "lost" in the stacks, the handheld devices they use operate on radio waves that can be interrupted by all the machinery/equipment constantly running, or if a Checker makes a simple mistake... or if you have fat fingers (no offense, he tells Bunk) or are using it in Winter while wearing gloves. When Beadie asks if that is what happened to the can with the dead girls in it, he insists again that he has no idea what happened, but he's stressing that a missing can is NOT an unusual thing, it happens all the time. Bunk points out that the customs seal was broken, how was THAT not noticed, but Frank once again has an answer - when you offload a ship the size of a small town, you might notice or you might not, there is no conspiracy involved. They're welcome to go over the computer system, but they're going to find what looks like widespread theft if they're not aware of all the many variables that go into it. Bunk and Beadie leave, Bunk grumpily telling the happily ignorant Port Chief that Frank gave them everything, then complains to Beadie that they're being played.

In New Jersey, McNulty has arrived at the U.S Brueau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Agent there is equally surprised to learn McNulty came up on his own time, and McNulty asks if there is anything he can offer the women in custody to help him get their cooperation. Short of marrying one of them there is nothing that can be done, though, they're being deported.

Stringer has summoned his "middle-management" troops to a meeting at the Funeral home, where he opens with a question on whether any of them have heard of WorldCom. None of them have, so Stringer tries to change up his pitch in a way that they understand. Say they're grabbed up by a cop and they have an outstanding warrant, what do they do? Poot uneasily offers giving up a fake name, but won't elaborate on why when asked. Bodie - eager to please Stringer who he respects immensely - says this is because the real name isn't any good. The meeting quickly resembles a school lesson, as Stringer attempts to engage his "students" and they try not to speak up. They shift from an outstanding warrant to how to deal with being told that their current product (called Death-Proof) is poo poo, and Poot again says they need to change up the name. Shamrock - another of Stringer's favorites - suggests changing the color of the caps in the vials as well, but Bodie one-ups when he excitedly suggests they give each tower a "competing" brand so that when a junkie gets burned he goes to another tower and gets the same poo poo under a different name instead of going over to East Side. Stringer is pleased, pointing at Bodie and declaring him a thinking man, and Bodie is glowing in the praise while Shamrock, upset at being overshadowed, complains that this is just what he said!

Nick meets with Vondas and Sergei again at the other diner, wanting to know how the meeting with Frank went. No problem, says Vondas, and hands over a list of the three cans they want next time... and this time they'll pay up to three times the usual fee.. for EACH can. Nick manages to keep his cool, and then shifts to the chemicals, saying he NEEDS to know what they use them for, because he isn't down for anything that could be used to make a bomb. He asks if they're using it to make drugs, and when Vondas just smiles, he says he doesn't mind that, he can get it for them from the Fairfield docks. Sergei asks when, and Nick - on a deadline thanks to Ziggy - says it will be by the end of the week.

McNulty speaks with the undocumented worker who speaks the best English, giving her the folder of photos of the dead women and explaining that he just wants to get word back to their families. She takes the folder and lays out the photos of all the dead women on the floor, explaining to the other women in the cell what McNulty wants. One of them speaks up, and the spokeswoman says she is asking if she can stay in the country if she identifies one of the women. McNulty and the Agent just stand uncomfortably in an awkward silence, and the spokeswoman fumes and begins gathering up the photos, snapping,"Nyet! Nyet!" in answer to the question - there is no help for them here. Two of the women seem to be arguing with her, at least one of them would seem to know who one of the women is, but the spokeswoman shouts them down and passes the folder back to Jimmy, glaring at him. Knowing he will get no help from them and can offer them nothing, he leaves, and the Agent casually asks if he wants to get something to eat.

They're going to be in a cage of some sort for the rest of their lives :(

The next day, Bunk and Beadie arrive at the Major Case's Port Building where they make one hell of a request - they want to fold the 14 homicides into the Sobotka Detail. Freamon is supportive of the idea, noting that they're investigating Frank Sobotka's dirt anyway so setting up a computer that clones in real-time the goings-on at the Port Tower will get them useful information as well. Daniels doesn't want to hear that, he's been offered a chance to put together a basic case with the reward of getting out of Evidence Control AND head up his own Major Cases squad, and he's not going to gently caress that up by throwing 14 unsolvable murders into the mix. Freamon pushes for it and Bunk tries to be logical - Rawls and Landsman have no patience for anything but a quick turnover and won't allow the case to sprawl out like it needs to, if this case has any chance of being solved it needs to be folded into the Sobotka Detail. Daniels, not completely indifferent to Bunk's plight, makes a compromise. They can work out of the building, they can share information with the Detail, but the murders remain the property of Homicide.... unless they get a suspect, in which case he'll be happy to take them on and get the credit for solving them.

At the docks the place is humming, EVERYBODY is working and they're still short - there are three Roll-on/Roll-off ships (Ro-Ro's) and three container ships, seniority doesn't matter today, everybody is working. Frank is delighted, but his good mood instantly drops when Nick hands him a sheet of paper with the three cans that The Greek wants unloaded from the Wilhemina, and he seethes that he told Vondas they were done working with him. Nick is confused, Vondas told him everything was okay, and they were getting triple the rate for each can? Frank's mouth drops, his conscience and moral outrage blown away by the huge fee they can make today. He stares at the paper, and then calls out to get word to Horseface that he'll be working the Wilhemina today, and tells a surprised Nick that they need this at least for now. Nick agrees, reminding Frank that while everybody is getting work today, that's only for today, and the writing is on the wall.

Frank Sobotka - a supposedly moral man whose indignation and fury can be dampened down by enough money - remains obstinate and stubborn in the face of the inevitable though. The steel factories are closed, Locust Point's population is being forced out by gentrification, the police are sniffing around, the Union's membership is down.... the writing is on the wall. And what does Frank Sobotka say to that? He says,"gently caress the wall!"

He's alone and he isn't really going anywhere, but he's not going to stop. We'll see Frank make a similar determined walk again later this season, and find out what breaks first. Frank Sobotka or the wall.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 00:58 on Apr 29, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Edgar Death posted:

Ziggy is never seen with that expensive jacket he loved so much after Cheese made fun of it :smith:

Ziggy, being Ziggy, probably set it on fire or something

My favorite part of that is Cheese rips the interior pocket getting the money out, then after Ziggy offers it to him, Cheese looks at the ripped pocket and glares at Ziggy as if it is Ziggy's fault that the interior pocket is torn, and Ziggy is actually apologetic about it.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 19:06 on Apr 27, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I'd disagree with that assessment, if only because Marlo is an inherently dangerous person in his own right. Ziggy is smart, there's no doubt, but nobody is intimidated or scared by him, he doesn't radiate a sense of danger and possesses too deep a concern for his own skin. Even all on his own, the likes of Frog would never have dismissed Marlo as a non-entity, and if he had (like the two corner dealers attempt in season 5) he would have taken it to him with no fear for his own well-being. Ziggy is at heart a cowardly loudmouth, while Marlo is a shark - always moving, unnervingly quiet and always hungry.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I'd say it's about respect. Chris backs up Marlo because he is a wholehearted believer in Marlo as his leader, in much the same way that Wee-Bey is completely devoted to Avon. Their Kings have earned their respect through their previous (unseen) actions, we see Marlo on his way up and Avon already established. Ziggy has achieved nothing to foster a sense of respect from those he works with - his closest friends are Nick and Johnny 50 and neither of them really respect him at all. Nick is tied to him by bonds of blood, Johnny has probably been friends with them both since they were kids, but Ziggy at his best would never be respected by either or considered their leader.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Mescal posted:

I'm rewatching S2E05 right now, and for the first time I'm struck by the low-resolution picture. I've gotten used to HD lately, and this is a drag. Does HBO ever do high-res remasters?

I don't know if it is possible for them to do that with The Wire, somebody better versed in this stuff might be able to correct me but my understanding is that the DVDs are as good as it gets:


And perhaps the final contrast to the rest of high-end episodic television, The Wire for each of its five seasons has been produced in good old fashioned 4 x 3 standard definition. DP Dave Insley recalled, "The reason the show has stayed 4x3 is because David Simon thinks that 4x3 feels more like real life and real television and not like a movie. The show's never been HD, even 4x3 HD and that (SD) is how it is on the DVDs. There is no 16x9 version anywhere." As a viewer with an HD set I will point out that like much of SD television that makes its way to HD channels, it appears that HBO utilizes state-of-the-art line doubling technology. It may still be standard definition, but line doubled it looks considerably better on a high definition set than it would on a standard definition set.

Insley explained, "When the show started 2001 / 2002 they framed it for 16 x 9 as a way of future-proofing. Then a couple of seasons ago, right before Season 4 began shooting, there was a big discussion about it and after much discussion -- David, Nina, Joe Chappelle, the Producers, the DPs -- and we discussed what should be the style of the show. David made the decision that we would stay with 4x3. The DPs pretty much defined the look to be what it is now. And it's been consistent for the past two seasons."

From here.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

It's also interesting that we see multiple East Side bosses but the only big name on the West Side is Avon. There are a few "off-brand" guys running small strips here and there but none of them are considered real players, and Avon is aware of all of them as we saw from his prison conversation with Stringer in Undertow. When Marlo steps up, the likes of Carver mistake him for just another middle management dealer, he has nothing on the scale of Avon's operation but Avon immediately wants to squash him like a bug.

During the new day Co-Op meetings, the East Side dealers chide Stringer for not sharing or brag in front of Marlo about the deals they're making, because for them it's about making money, doing deals and keeping the bloodshed to a minimum. For Avon and Marlo, it's about dominating and conquering, and the money and deals are just a small side-effect of that.


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

escape artist posted:

Don't you remember the mini-sode with Prop Joe as a kid? He was always a clever businessman.

I never liked that video (or the Omar one either), it's one thing to show the basic forming of the values and opinions that they would grow into as adults, but they're pretty much treated as fully-formed personalities pretty much identical to their adult selves already. The McNulty/Bunk one showing McNulty's first day in Homicide is a lot better.

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