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May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Orange Devil posted:

Maybe it also has something to do with the game? I mean, look at the season 5 ending montage, how is that anything but "same dude, different name"?

It's probably stretching things way too much, but there's also the dealers in the Towers making "competing" products that are just the same thing repackaged to appeal to people unsatisfied with the original.

I'll get a new write-up done in the next day or so, the next episode is All Prologue which is a pretty amazing episode, if only for Bird's trial.


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Sharkie posted:

Sorry for the rant, but it's something personally important to me, and this scene always makes me want to take Omar to the library, find a study room, and talk about mythology with him and the kids from season 4. It's very sad, what might have been.

So it seems you're a teacher/some kind of educator, and I'd be fascinated to hear what you felt about season 4 and their take on education if you wouldn't mind. I know Ed Burns had actual experience working as a schoolteacher, but how accurate (or not) was the whole thing to you, and even where it wasn't, did it still ring true?

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I'm not from America (though of course your pop culture looms large over everything) so every so often I'll be left utterly confused when I realize some basic fact of life for Americans that feels completely alien to me - I had no idea that paid annual leave from work each year is the exception rather than the rule; quite honestly refused to believe that you didn't already have universal healthcare; and most recently in the Hannibal thread I was very confused by the fact that the lead character (who is explicitly NOT an FBI agent) had a gun until people casually mentioned it was just his own personal gun that he has for himself.

It's really fascinating watching The Wire from an outside perspective, I learned a lot about the way institutions in America work (or don't) and how many of the proud political achievements loudly trumpeted (no child left behind! the war on drugs! etc) were utterly empty, hollow things that in many cases completely destroyed the people they were meant to save.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Episode 6: All Prologue

D'Angelo Barksdale posted:

It don't matter that some fool say he different...

Omar sits waiting at the Courthouse to be called to testify, watching the security guard across from him struggling with his crossword. Casually making conversation, Omar asks if he is having trouble and the guard - an older, portly white man - says the clue is the Greek God of War, but Mars isn't fitting in. Omar corrects him, Ares is the Greek God of War, though he and Mars are the same person, just under different names. The guard is pleased to see it fits and thanks Omar, who appreciates it, explaining that in Middle School he enjoyed learning about mythology, finding it "deep". Another guard arrives to tell Omar it's his time to testify, and he pulls a large white tie out of his pocket and casually winds it around his neck, amusing the older guard.

There has been a little discussion about the significance of the Mars/Ares bith just recently, with people bringing up the Barksdales changing up the name of their drugs, the comparison Omar later makes between himself and Levy, as well as the fact that many schoolkids who are uninvested in schooling light up and eagerly take part when learning about mythology. There's no reason it can't be all of those things (and more), as well as just informing us a little more about Omar's past and the fact that he's intelligent.

Inside the courtroom, Omar cocks a finger-gun at Stringer and Shamrock sitting in the court ("human being," whispers Stringer) and waggles his horrible tie at a long-suffering Ilene Nathan before taking the stand. Bird looks bored and grumpy at the Defense table alongside Levy, and the Judge (Phelan, who kicked of all these events in season one) seems surprised at Omar's appearance. Nathan attempts to get ahead of the eight-ball as quickly as possible and take away some of Levy's ammunition, so she quickly establishes that Omar is of no fixed address (in the wind, not homeless, he suggests), that he isn't even sure how old he is (about 29? he surmises) and that he makes his living by "rip'n'run mostly" - in other words, he robs drug dealers. Levy isn't pleased to see a number of the members of the jury laughing at this statement, enjoying Omar's complete transparency and taken in by his charisma. Omar has been robbing drug dealers for about 8 or 9 years, he guesses, and when Nathan asks just how he survives such a dangerous "occupation" he grins and says,"Day at a time, I suppose!"

At the Major Detail, Daniels has gathered all his troops around including Beadie, to discuss what they've put together so far on Frank Sobotka. This is a well-oiled, functioning Detail now, exactly what Valchek was hoping for. Freamon and Prez have gone over Frank's finances and found he isn't sitting on an unexplainable amount of money in savings or assets - he has the house and the truck and that's it. The money isn't being filtered through the Unions either, they've looked through their books and found little money and less than 100 dues-paying members, and Beadie notes that at their height in the 1970s they had over 300 members. Daniels is surprised that Freamon and Prez have subpoenaed the Union's books, but they correct him - they didn't need to. Thanks to a racketeering case in New York five years earlier, Unions MUST have their books open to inspection at all times. All they had to do was phone up the Federal Authorities and ask for a copy of the IBS books to be sent over and they were there within a day. This comes as a surprise to Daniels, and goes to show just how the might of the Unions has declined over time, which isn't necessarily a good thing. Yes there have been corrupt Unions, crime and theft and even murders but who else looks out for the working man? In most cases the answer is nobody, and certainly not their employers. The seniority system has been talked about a bit on the show, but think about all those older workers who would have been thrown on the scrapheap at 40 or 50 years old after a lifetime of service if there wasn't a Union system in place to make sure people aren't just discarded for a younger worker willing to work for less.

Anyway, I digress - the fact is that Frank and the Union aren't showing any money, so what is Valchek going on about? Freamon and Prez have found something there, however - the Union has hired the very expensive lobbyist Bruce DiBiago, and by checking campaign finance reports they've discovered at LEAST 70k has been paid out to various politicians through various PACs on behalf of members of the Union, and who knows how much more is going through from other, seemingly unconnected names? So where is the money coming from? Drugs? Kima, Greggs and Carver have been working that angle and they've covered a lot of ground, but any port connections they've found have seemed random and not signifying anything deeper - just people getting high. Beadie - who is there along with the currently absent Bunk (at court for the Gant trial) to share common information in their own investigation - comes up with a clever suggestion however. Maybe the Union is getting money because of the Checkers themselves? Or rather, what they do - they're the ones who bring things in and out of the docks... like the shipping can of dead women. Are they bringing in the drugs? Maybe, or maybe they're the ones who are allowing those drugs to be brought in, along with other things. It's a direction that the Detail can happily take, and Daniels clearly already had a plan in mind as he announces that Greggs (who is delighted) and Prez (who is mortified) will be investigating strippers/dancers/prostitutes at local clubs to get what information they can on who is running them. This means Herc and Carver will continue the drugs angle together (they're pumped up for it) while Freamon stays on the financial side of things. After ascertaining that everybody knows what they're going, Daniels dismisses them and everybody is up and moving immediately, work to do and tasks to undertake. Herc pauses momentarily though, throughout the entire briefing he's been oddly quiet and keenly observant of Beadie, and now he takes his chance to approach her. Extending a hand and introducing himself as Thomas, he asks if she'd like to get a coffee with him. Beadie motions to the mug of coffee she's currently drinking and Herc backs off, only to be mocked gleefully by Carver who imitates his request for a handshake. Herc cooly explains that he was going to ask Beadie for her panties to make soup with but thought she might take it the wrong way, then leaves, with Carver left behind making an amazing :stare: face.

McNulty arrives at the court and settles himself behind Stringer Bell, who is unaware he is there. Omar is testifying about his presence at the Gant shooting, and identifies Bird as the shooter by shouting out a happy hello to the fuming defendant. Behind the humor is a hardness though, as he explains to Ilene that he's always just known Marquis Hilton as Bird, he's boring holes into Bird with his eyes - this is one of the guys who tortured and murdered his lover, and this is his revenge. When he tells Ilene that he and Bird were in the same prison together Levy asks to approach the bench, and as they approach McNulty takes the opportunity to lean forward and gloat some to Stringer, asking what he thinks of Omar as a witness. Stringer looks like he can barely tolerate having to acknowledge McNulty, quietly telling him that word on the street is that Omar was sticking up an East Side dealer when Gant was killed. McNulty is bemused, smugly reminding Stringer that they're not on the street right now, they're in Court. He won't get a rise from Stringer, who is too smart for that type of thing, but the same can't be said for Bird when it comes to Omar.

Levy is sent back unsatisfied, Phelan telling the jury to disregard what Omar said about where he met Bird. Ilene continues, asking Omar to confirm once more that he knows Bird, and Omar does so, though he points out they weren't friends. She shows Omar the gun in evidence and he identifies it immediately as Bird's gun, saying he'd seen Bird with it even before the murder, punning that "Bird" covets shiny things. Levy objects but Omar can see Bird's seething rage close to boiling over and pushes further, taunting Bird by saying he's too trifling to get rid of the gun even after a daytime murder, and Bird has had enough. Leaping to his feet and trying to launch himself over the table at Omar, he screams that Omar is a lying cocksucker, physically restrained by the bailiffs as Levy's heart sinks, knowing how Bird has just made himself look in the eyes of the jury. Omar just beams from the witness stand, enjoying his revenge.

Nick arrives at Big Johnny's diner where Spiros is waiting, and meets a new associate named Eton. Nick assumes he's Greek but Spiros corrects him, Eton is an Israeli, which surprises and impresses Nick who probably considers an Israeli (as opposed to an American Jew) incredibly exotic. He tells Eton he looks Greek and then notes no offense, then realizes how offensive this might sound to Spiros and explains he meant to offense to either of them. Nick is odd today, more open and friendly than usual, talking more than he usually does. The reason why quickly becomes clear, after he brings up that he can get them as much of the chemicals as they wanted, he notes that he was going to do it for them this week but a problem has come up. Nick has come looking for a favor, and is clearly extremely nervous about how to go about it. He explains the problem is with Ziggy (Spiros is not surprised), who has gotten on the wrong side of an East Side drug-dealer named Cheese who is now threatening to kill him. Speaking a different language (presumably Greek), Spiros comments on Ziggy to Eton and Nick clearly picks up on the meaning of at least one of the words, and is quick to agree that Ziggy is stupid, it's his own fault for loving up the package. Spiros, who both likes Nick and has carefully been grooming him as another of his many associates, shrugs and says they'll simply kill Cheese, but a surprised Nick quickly puts the nix on that, explaining that this will leave Cheese's people angry and wanting vengeance, and one day in the future Ziggy will be shot out of nowhere by somebody looking for payback. Spiros is pleased at Nick's assessment, telling Eton that Nick is smart, and offers to pay Ziggy's debts and take it out of the fee for the chemicals, but Nick disagrees. Cheese wronged Ziggy by taking/destroying his car and now he's demanding twice what Ziggy owes, and as far as Nick is concerned that is wrong. He has no problem with paying back the $2700, that's money that Ziggy OWES to Cheese because he hosed things up in the first place, but Cheese is going about collecting it the "wrong" way in his mind. The trouble is he doesn't have the muscle to approach Cheese and make him see reason, and he's hoping that Spiros does.

Back in the courtroom, Levy is attemping to fix the damage Bird has done by destroying Omar's credibility as a witness. This is what Ilene Nathan has been fearing, Levy is a smooth (if sleazy) operator and well-versed in turning the minds of the jury. What Levy hasn't taken into account, however, is that Omar is neither naive or ignorant like many of those from the street he deals with on a daily basis. His first attempt to call Omar's motivation into question goes nowhere when he suggests Omar is testifying as part of a plea because he was arrested and Omar smoothly dismisses the claim. Next, Levy reads out the laundry list of Omar's prior arrests, but Omar has made no attempt to cover them up and seems untroubled to hear them read out - most to do with carrying a weapon or committing robbery. His only reaction is to the final charge of Attempted Murder, and he corrects that immediately, saying it wasn't attempted murder. Levy sense blood and moves in for the kill, asking Omar to clarify (and skewer his credibility by trying to wriggle out from under) but is left shocked by Omar's reply. It wasn't Attempted Murder because Omar deliberately shot a dealer called Mike-Mike in "the hindquarters" so he wouldn't be able to sit right. The Jury bursts out laughing, much to Levy's horror, and even Judge Phelan is chuckling from up on high. Levy demands to know why Omar shot Mike-Mike and Omar openly admits that they had a difference of opinion - Mike-Mike thought he should keep the cocaine he was slinging and the money he was making, and Omar disagreed.

Delighted, Levy presses for advantage, smugly reminding the jury that Omar stalks the streets of Baltimore with a gun, taking whatever he wants whenever he wants it, and using violence when he doesn't get what he wants. Standing by the jury to make them feel personally connected, he points over at Omar (making him seem far away/disconnected) and says this is who Omar is, and Omar nods happily in reply. But, says Levy, if this is who Omar is, then why should anybody believe anything he has to say? If he hasn't worked out a deal with the police, then he's claiming that he's just there to tell the truth... but by his own testimony he is just the type of person who would himself shoot a man on a housing project, like he is accusing Bird. For the first time Omar loses his temper, but his anger is cold. He bites back that he'd never target a civilian under any circumstances, and Levy launches into moral indignation - Omar is amoral, feeding off of the violence and despair of the drug trade, stealing from those who are themselves stealing from the lifeblood of "our" city, he is a parasite! A leech wh-"

"Just like you, man" interrupts Omar.

Enjoy this shot, it's one of only two times in the entire series that we see Levy with ruffled feathers.

Levy's grandstanding speech is halted by those four little words, twisting about with eyes bugging out, Levy demands Omar to explain, and Omar calmly contrasts the two of them,"I've got the shotgun, you've got the briefcase.... it's all in the game though, right?"

Levy is left stunned, turning to gape at Judge Phelan who simply shrugs in amusement, while the jury and the rest of the courtroom burst into excited whispers. Regardless of whether it is true or not, Omar has just made Levy look like the very thing he was passionately accusing Omar of being, and made Levy's every word/motivation suspect in their eyes.

Elena McNulty is discussing potential sites for a potential homebuying couple, but finds herself distracted when a bouyant McNulty arrives at her real estate office and begins groping a mannequin in the window. Unable to concentrate on the couple in front of her and trying to stifle her laughter, she eventually moves them on and affectionately whacks McNulty and re-dresses the mannequin. McNulty, in a tremendously good mood from the way Bird's trial is going, tries his luck and tells Elena he wants to take her out for dinner and a movie. She dismisses the suggestion as a joke but he insists, reminding her that he signed the papers like she wanted and this means he should get another chance (McNulty logic is the best logic) - he can take her to a movie, walk her home and she can shake his hand and tell him to gently caress off like she should have all those years ago. She retorts she can tell him to gently caress himself now and save him the money, but he asks again and she capitulates, they can go to a movie this Friday but HE has to pay for the sitter. Beaming in delight, McNulty exits the store with a bounce in his step, the camera staying on the mannequin. Why? Does it represent the idealized image he has of his wife/what could be?

Stringer, who left the courtroom after Bird's outburst (he can see the writing on the wall) meets with a stranger in a blue tracksuit in his car. The stranger is Leech, who has come up all the way from Washington D.C. to collect a large amount of money from Stringer. Stringer has hired him to do something that cannot be traced back to Stringer in any way, whoever Leech will be using for the task will need to supply themselves. They casually talk about the music scene in D.C. and Leech tells Stringer he won't appreciate Go-Go until he's seen it live, then heads back to his car, presumably to make his return to D.C.

Greggs meets with Shardene at what is presumably Freamon's home (and it's a drat nice home!), and the two share pleasantries before getting down to business. Shardene looks far happier than she ever was with D'Angelo, telling Greggs that she's currently attending Nursing School, having been pushed in that direction by Freamon without really realizing he was doing it. Shardene was always worried about what she would do when her looks faded/her body was no longer young and desirable, but the woman talking to Greggs now is confident, poised and content even if there is an underlying, unsettling element that she needed a man to tell her what to do. In any case, Greggs is there to see if Shardene can aim her in the right direction to find clubs that make use of foreign/Eastern European girls as dancers (or more). Shardene - who dodged a bullet getting out of Orlando's when she did - can think of a place immediately, a friend of hers worked at a club called Night Shift that brought in foreign girls for a few months. Will she talk to Greggs? Shardene smiles and says that she will if Shardene asks her to.

Back in the Courtroom, Bunk has finished giving his testimony and there is nothing left for Nathan to present, so Phelan calls for a 10 minute break before closing statements - he wants to start tomorrow morning giving out Jury instructions. McNulty approaches Nathan to ask how Omar did on cross-examination from Levy, and is worried at the look she gives him, asking if it was that bad? In reply, she motions him to look at Levy, who is angrily slapping his files down and snapping his briefcase shut, wanting to get the hell out of there and away from this nightmare of a case. It's a beautiful thing.

Nick sits in the back of Sergei's car and watches as Sergei and his crew approach Cheese and his crew to have a pleasant little chat. He can't hear what is being said, but Sergei is calm and collected while Cheese seems relaxed and dismissive. Things start to get heated and suddenly Sergei's gun is out and pressed to Cheese's head, everybody else pulling out weapons and holding them on each other... but Cheese and Sergei continue to talk even with the guns out. Finally, as Nick watches wide-eyed from the shadows of the backseat, Sergei puts the gun away and amazingly shakes Cheese's hand before walking away. He and his crew get into the car, Nick spotting the uzis they're holding (an Israeli invention) where Sergei calmly tells Nick there is no more problem. At first Cheese wanted $5400, then he decided that Ziggy only owed $2700, and then Sergei explained that actually Cheese owed Ziggy money! He has to pay back the cost of the destroyed car, and a pleased Sergei explains that "we" do not know Cheese, but they do know Cheese's Boss.

Cheryl wasn't pleased about Kima going back to street work as police, she sure as hell isn't happy about Kima going to a titty-bar even if it is supposedly for work-related purposes. Greggs tries to talk sense, surely she doesn't believe that Kima is just going to the club to look at pussy? Cheryl complains about most of the women at the bars being "dykes" but is even angrier when Greggs says it is just police work. Laying on the guilt (justifiably) she reminds Kima of the massive toll the shooting took on both of them, including all the long months of rehab to get Kima back up and around again. Kima reminds her they talked about this but Cheryl snaps angrily that Kima talked about it, Cheryl didn't get a word in edgewise once she'd made up her mind. Of course you could make this same argument back at Cheryl in regards to her desire to get pregnant, but people are always quick to believe their partner has accepted their argument when it is something that THEY desperately want. Kima doesn't know how to reply, but she's going whether Cheryl likes it or not. She gets her keys, and is surprised to see Cheryl get up and grab her own coat - where is she going? Cheryl declares she is going with Kima, and snaps that maybe she'll see a little something that SHE likes.

At a Union Hall meeting, Frank Sobotka is enjoying delivering some good news for a change. Thanks to their lobbying efforts and political contributions, they have managed to get politicians/legislators behind their push to reopen the grain pier. Frank is still pushing for the canal to be dredged as well, but admits that is a big battle requiring a lot more work/money, and while he'll continue to push for it, right now the focus needs to be on the grain pier. Nat Coxson isn't so much a dissenting voice as a practical one, but Frank has clear and precise answers to every issue raised, and when another checker asks where the money for all this came from, Frank immediately cracks a joke that he's been robbing 2 liquor stores a week to fund it. Everyone bursts out laughing but the old checker really wants to know, and a serious Frank explains that the National Office threw in a little cash and they've had timely donations to help them out as well. Nat, whose passion has been for the Grain Pier, is quick to fire up the other checkers after Frank reminds them that this could lead to another 200 ships through the docks a year. He reminds them all that money only gets them so far, he's an old school Union organizer who believes in collective action, and tells them to work the phones and make sure the legislators know they want this and they're watching them carefully to make sure they get the votes - because there is a very real threat (Frank agrees) that developer Andy Krawczyk could back-door them by lobbying his own political connections to give him the grain pier to develop into condos (as we've already seen he plans to do with his "The Grainery" apartment block. Frank ends the meeting on a high note, telling those working ships tomorrow to get to bed and those not to go and get drunk, but as everybody spills out in a happy mood, Nat approaches and makes it clear he doesn't believe the sources of Frank's money at all, and warns him to be careful.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 21:26 on May 1, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

At the Detail office, Daniels, Beadie, Bunk and Freamon are gathered around a computer monitor watching the graphical database sent over showing the Port's unloading of the Atlantic Light. With everything recorded electronically, they've able to watch each can as it is removed from the ship, put on a chassis and then driven away by a truck to wherever its destination may be. The trouble is, the can with the dead women in it is lowered onto a chassis and then promptly disappears. Bunk explains that Frank told them this happens due to radio interference or a checker inputting a bad code, but Bunk doesn't believe it. According to the database, the Atlantic Light can disappeared from the system when it was taken from the ship and only reappeared when it was found in the stacks 4 hours later, and it was another 2 hours before Beadie spotted the broken customs seal. So what can they do now? The only thing they can do is go through the system and try to find the other times a can disappeared, and see if they can spot a pattern. Daniels asks how many ships they're talking about here and Freamon tells him with a wince it's hundreds, Bunk saying he doesn't have any hope in hell of solving the case otherwise.

At Night Shift, Kima is enjoying pretending to be drooling over the strippers, but Cheryl isn't buying it. Prez is incredibly uncomfortable though, telling Kima and Cheryl he can't look at any of the women. Why not? Has he never been to a titty-bar before? asks Greggs, and Prez admits he has.... he's just never gone to one with women. Backstage, Kima asks Shardene's friend - she has no name that I can find - if she'll get into trouble for talking to them, but she's indifferent to the problem. She tells them she was there before the imported dancers and will be there when they're gone, so the owners have to keep her happy. She doesn't know much, however, just that the girls were foreign (were they Russian? Maybe, it was a language she didn't understand is all she knows) but she does know that they were run by another woman, one with another strange accent. The owners paid extra to bring them in and they made a huge amount of money from them, so much that they actually started letting some of the regular dancers go - though Shardene's friend was immune thanks to her regular clientele. Prez, desperately looking anywhere other than at the half-naked woman casually getting dressed in front of him - asks where they stayed. It's not a pretty story, they were constantly under escort by men who went everywhere with them, they were even directly outside the door when the women were in motel rooms with their johns. If they ever noticed one of them getting closer to a john the entire group was up and moved to a different club/town, they were kept completely separate and not given any chance to form bonds/relationships with anything on the outside. They were prisoners, slaves probably a better word, and though she never saw one make a run for it, Shardene's friend does tell them that one of them was tazered just for going down the road to get dinner once. She gets the call to get out and perform and says her goodbyes, pleased that Shardene has been out for so long and asking if she "landed a rich one". Spotting Cheryl's frown, she asks if she is Kima' girl, and when Cheryl grumpily confirms it, she tells her that she wouldn't let her girlfriend in a club like this unescorted over... "these bitches in here are no joke!" She leaves the room, passing a still desperately uncomfortable Prez.

In prison, D'Angelo is beaming down at a photo of his son Tyrell (the one he had no time for when he was free). Closing his door, he gets at his stash of drugs and empties them out into the toilet, flushing them down. He actually seems to be at peace for the moment, having come to a decision.

Freamon is beginning the long process of working out the pattern of smuggling at the docks, going through the print-outs and tagging interesting looking entries while Beadie yawns at another computer.

Kima takes Cheryl to the docks and shows her the shipping cans piled up, and describes the space and conditions that the dead women had to endure before dying. Is she letting Cheryl know the importance of the case to show her how necessary her job is? Does she feel a genuine pity for the women after learning about the horrible lives that those who live still have to experience? Is it just selfish justification or authentic sympathy?

The next morning, Judge Phelan enjoys a rare experience as he sets a sentencing date, the verdict having come back guilty in the trial of Marquis "Bird" Hilton. Levy asks the Judge to set an appeal bond so that Bird can fully participate in his appeal process, claiming that despite the guilty verdict his client is the victim of the State's key witness' perjury. With uncharacteristic bluntness, Phelan shuts down Levy immediately, and with venomous glee explains that the pre-sentencing report will be a mere formality. As far as he is concerned, Bird - having been found guilty of the cold-blooded murder of a State's Witness who testified in that very courtroom - will face life without the possibility of parole, and the only way this WON'T happen is if the report somehow discovers that Bird is the Messiah. Reveling in getting to go home this evening feeling like being a Judge actually matters, Phelan goes so far as to ask Bird if he IS the second coming of the Messiah, confused Bird who says,"Excuse me?" "ARE YOU JESUS CHRIST COME BACK TO EARTH!?!" demands Phelan, and all Bird can manage by way of reply is,"...uhhhhh?" Phelan bangs his gavel and dismisses the court, and Levy instantly walks away leaving a completely perplexed Bird to be taken away by the MASSIVE bailiff.

Outside the courtroom, Ilene Nathan is glowing, asking Bunk and McNulty if it was good for them too. She happily offers Omar her card, telling him it's good for one get-out-of-jail free card for anything up to aggravated assault, and heads away with a spring in her step, having experienced a complete and total victory beyond anything she could have possibly dreamed. The fun isn't over though, as Bird is let out by the giant bailiff and spots Omar, who is happily waggling his horrible tie at him. Furious, Bird screams that he'll mutilate and kill Omar if he gets his hands on him, while Omar just chuckles and then calls back to him to think on it while he's in prison, to think about Brandon. Bird is hauled away and McNulty asks Omar if he REALLY saw Bird kill Gant, and Omar asks in turn if McNulty is REALLY asking that question.

This is Bird's final ever appearance on the show, and a wonderfully cathartic moment.

In prison, D'Angelo is taking part in a book club in the prison library, where they are discussing The Great Gatsby. The prisoner discussing the book is incredulous over everything that Gatsby did for Daisy, who "wasn't nothing past any other bitch anyway". The social worker asks what they think about the notion that there are no second acts in American life, and one of the prisoners laughs that they best not believe that since they're all locked up. D'Angelo has a different idea though, his take is that everything you are, everything you've done, your whole past sticks with you and can't be ignored or dismissed. As he talks about how he feels about the book, it's clear he is talking about himself - once upon a time he thought he could just get up and go, that he could leave everything behind and everything would just be magically better. But you can't change who you are if you don't face up to who you were and what you've done, and that's what cost Gatsby - he made up a whole new life for himself but the only thing that makes you different is what you do and what you go for. He brings up the books in Gatsby's library, none of which had been read, the pages inside unturned. Because for Gatsby everything was about appearance, he wanted to be somebody different but he made no effort to actually be different outside of the exterior trappings. He wasn't prepared to make his new story real, and so his old story caught up with him. Shrugging, he says that's what he thinks anyway, and sits back, maybe a little embarrassed about sharing so much. He's talking about himself, but his take relates to others as well, as we'll see at the end of season 3.

In the Detail Office, Beadie sleeps at her desk, Freamon stares blankly at the screen and Bunk sits bored tossing a tennis ball (Fuzzy Dunlop?) to-and-fro till it bounces off of Freamon's head. Bunk sits chastised for a moment, then apologises to Freamon who hasn't reacted in the slightest.

McNulty sits staring at the photo of his Jane Doe's family down at the Marine Unit Craft. Diggins arrives and asks if the trial is over, and tells him it's time to get back to work. McNulty disagrees, he has one more thing to take care of but tomorrow he'll be back, there's just some unfinished business. Diggins tells him THIS is his business now and McNulty retorts it's not business, it's retirement, and from tomorrow he'll be retired. Looking slightly shamefaced after realizing he's just offended Diggins, who sails off with a grumpy expression, and then heads on his way.

Sergei and a companion (played by pro-wrestler Vladimir Kozlov) take Nick to see Cheese's boss, warning him not to speak until given the go-ahead. Inside John's Radio and Television corner repair store, "John" turns out to be Proposition Joe, who Sergei obviously knows well and likes. He and Joe hug and Sergei tells him he's losing weight, and Joe asks how his family are. Joe wants to talk some business but Sergei says they have to deal with the other first, and Joe realizes that Nick is the man with the "raggedy-rear end Camaro". Nick speaks up, saying it was his cousin's and it wasn't that raggedy, then notices Sergei's disapproving face and hangs his head, chastened for pulling a Ziggy and speaking up when he should have kept his mouth shut. Sergei apologizes, explains that Nick is with them but his cousin.... family can't be helped. Joe commiserates, he's "living life with some burdensome niggas", joking about his nephews and in-laws loving up his poo poo all the time, but he can't pop a cap in their rear end without hearing about it at thanksgiving. Nick laughs, enjoying Joe's banter, and with the time right he sits down to explain his problem - he wants Ziggy to pay what he owes, but Cheese doubled it AND burnt the camaro, which is worth $5100. Joe is surprised, Nick is actually coming to Joe's place of business having hosed up a package, wanting Cheese - who he hosed up the package for - to pay HIM $2400. He turns to Sergei, all humor gone, and asks Sergei just how good a friend this motherfucker is, anyway. Sergei shrugs as if it to say,"What can you do?" and Joe peels off $2400 handed to him by an underling, handing it to over to Nick, warning him and Ziggy to stay away from Cheese who will NOT be happy at now having to repay this money to Joe. Sergei motions to Nick to leave, but he pulls another Ziggy by speaking up once again, trying to be polite and thanking Joe for being straight with him. Joe calls him back, the garrolous, happy fat man all gone now as he makes something VERY clear - if it wasn't for Sergei acting on their behalf, both Nick and Ziggy would be "cadaverous motherfuckers" right now.

Speaking of cadavers, McNulty is at the morgue with Dr. Frazier to take one last look at the Jane Doe he fished out of the water. He claims he did everything he could and Frazier tells him it is time to let go, and McNulty agrees. Frazier instructs his assistant to have her sent to the anatomy board tomorrow under the name Jane Doe, and the body is put back into the locker. McNulty says it isn't right and Frazier agrees it isn't, it never is. Thus ends McNulty's quest to find a name for his missing Jane Doe, and at the risk of sounding mean-spirited I have to question the timing. He got on this trail when he was upset about his separation from his wife, and now she's agreed to let him take her out to a movie and he thinks there is a chance of putting the family back together he decides it is time to give up on her? Is it realism on his part or just convenience?

Family is on Brianna's mind, she visiting D'Angelo in prison to talk to him about Avon's plans to get years off of D'Angelo's sentence, having set up a meeting between Levy and prison officials. She can't understand D'Angelo's indifference though, and begs him to speak up and tell her what he is thinking. In reply he snaps about Avon being behind the hot-shots (which gets the notice of a prisoner named Mugs in the next booth over. D reminds her of a story from his childhood, of a time when he was 6 or 7 and "the twins" started beating him up on the porch. He begged her to open the door and let her inside, but she just stood there and wouldn't let him out, telling him to go out there and fight them whether he lost or not. She remembers, including D'Angelo getting the poo poo beaten out of him, and he says that afterwards she told him she brought him into this life but he had to live in it. So he's taken the years, and he'll serve them, and he wants to face things on his own terms. So she can tell everybody - Avon, Stringer, even Donette - to leave him be, he's going to handle things his own way. This is D'Angelo's decision to not be like the Great Gatsby, he's going to actually change up who he is instead of just saying it - that means no more protection from Avon, no more having him always in the background as a safety net - he's going to be his own man. He gets up and leaves, and is followed through back into the prison by Mugs.

Freamon is getting a little revenge on Bunk, bouncing the tennis ball off of the wall and deliberately hitting Bunk each time till he's had enough. Beadie wants to continue, they're almost through 2002's records, but Bunk wants to get drunk, and heads on out the door, Freamon making sure to get him one last time with the ball on the way out.

At Delores', Frank shows up in a good mood and offers to buy a round of drinks for everybody at the bar. They settle down and tell war stories, a story about how a stevedore named Benny got a harelip. As they laugh at Horseface's impersonation of Benny's speech, Nick settles down beside Ziggy and carefully hands over the $2400 he got from Joe. Ziggy is confused and infuriatingly ungrateful, he's just had his life saved AND made money off of the deal but when he finds out the cash is to recompense for Princess' destruction he complains that she was worth more than that. Proving once again that he doesn't understand what makes Frank Frank, Ziggy pulls out $100 and offers to buy a round for the bar as well. Frank glares at his son while Nick hisses at him, wanting to know what's wrong with him, and the completely context-blind Ziggy protests that when he's flush, he's flush! Nick leaves in disgust as Ziggy lights a cigarette with a $100 bill and Frank can't stand to be around any longer either, leaving as well over the protests of everybody at the bar. Ott offers to pay for a round as well, doing his bit even though of the three he's the only one without illegally acquired money. Brianna doesn't understand her son, and neither does Frank.

Freamon and Beadie have picked up on a pattern, they've found 22 instances of lost cans on the Talco Line with Horseface working the ship. Beadie asks if he wants to call Bunk, but after checking his watch, Freamon laughs that Detective Moreland is currently indisposed. He is, drunk as hell with Jimmy down by the harbor, explaining that he's not working on Daniels' detail, he's been orphaned, with Rawls making it clear that if he doesn't return with 14 clearances then he won't return at all. Pulling out his gun, alarming McNulty, Bunk aims it at one of the beer bottles on the hood of the car, takes careful aim and then... makes a shooting noise and imitates the kick of the shot, not so drunk that he's dumb enough to fire shots from his department issued revolver, you have to explain every bullet you fire, it's not like in the movies! Bunk asks what's up with McNulty and the answer is a genuine,"Nothing!" - McNulty has nothing to do and nowhere to go, admitting that he had no idea why he was really hunting for the identity of the Jane Doe he fished out of the water, maybe he was trying to convince himself he was still murder police. He tears the photo up and then further establishes (for me) my earlier point, when he announces that he and Elena are trying to get back together (this would be news to Elena, then). Bunk comes close to collapsing and McNulty suggests they head home, ready to start his new life in "retirement".

I absolutely adore this next scene, it's one of my favorites and marked the turning point for me on Ziggy as a character. I think it's a nice partner to the Brianna/D'Angelo scene from a little earlier, and for the first time gives you an insight into what makes Ziggy the way he is. Up to this point, Ziggy has been a frustratingly stupid character who blunders his way into mess after mess and has no gratitude for the great lengths his cousin goes to in order to bail him out. There have been flashes of intelligence and talent, but he just can't shut his loving mouth and has no sense of the danger he puts himself and others into. Now as he leaves the bar, he's met by Frank who has been waiting for him to leave, wanting to have a proper talk to his son in private, not air their grievances in public. He notices the bruises on Ziggy's face and clearly doesn't believe his explanation of,"I fell down," but doesn't push it, but does insist they go for a walk together. They head down the pier, Ziggy smoking and nervous, Frank working up to getting personal by talking about his plans to clear the grain pier and get everybody more work - that's Frank's passion, but it isn't one that Ziggy shares. Finally Frank gets to the point - what the gently caress is Ziggy about? Is that his son lighting cigarettes with a $100 bill like an rear end in a top hat in a bar full of working stiffs. Ziggy says he was just trying to make people smile, and Frank wants to know where he got the money? He sure as hell hasn't been getting the hours to earn them. Ziggy agrees, nicely diverting the conversation to his lack of hours despite Frank's position in the Union. Frank reminds him that seniority is the rule and nobody can change that, it's the only way to keep it honest, and then blurts out that he wishes he COULD use his position to get Ziggy more hours, admitting that sometimes he thinks he should have listened to his wife and let Ziggy go to Community College like their other son (till this point he has gone unmentioned) did. Ziggy quickly cuts off Frank's confession, saying he isn't complaining, he understands and he doesn't mind, and asks Frank if he wants to know what Ziggy remembers. What he remembers is Frank and his uncles, sitting around arguing about work gangs, about who was the best, who was the fastest, who was lazy etc. Frank is amused, quipping that four Polacks will have six opinions, and Ziggy keeps going, revealing that he has grown up absolutely fascinated with the docks in much the same way Frank is - he knows all the history that he sometimes jokes about the other stevedores talking about, it's all of immense value to him... all more importantly, it's off immense value to Frank and that makes it of immense value to Ziggy. All he has wanted his whole life is to be his father, and the great tragedy is that he sees all this stuff, he remembers all of it.... but he doesn't understand it. He is context-blind, he sees his father buy a round of drinks so he does the same thing, forgetting that Frank has forged close friendships and as an "adult" is understood to just be doing a nice thing (like Ott tried to do as well), whereas when Ziggy does it, it looks like a brash young punk mocking his elders. Ziggy sees Frank working with The Greek and mistakes Frank's connivance with a desire to commit crime to make money, so he tries to forge business relations with them as well. Ziggy is an alien in his own home and culture, and that's deeply depressing, there is nothing sadder than somebody trapped in a place he desperately wants to be accepted and yet never will. But it's worked in patching things up with his father this time at least (Ziggy suggests that Frank has physically beaten him in the past, something that Frank clearly deeply regrets), who laughs that they shouldn't be freezing their asses off with the wharf-rats and suggests they head home. Off they go, together, Sobotka and son.

The next day, Beadie, Bunk and Freamon show Daniels the tags on the folders showing all the missing cans, color-coded to show those that are unexplained, those that look like genuine mistakes and those that fit the pattern of deliberate losses, all of them on the same line worked by the same person - Horseface. Bunk tries to explain how things went with Horseface at the Grand Jury but has to stop as he almost throws up, hungover and nauseous for the previous night's heavy drinking. Daniels, disgusted but tolerant, gives him the waste paper basket to use and asks if he wants to use the toilet, but a sweating Bunk insists he can go on. However, as Freamon lays out the efficiency of the system of getting the cans off of the docks leaving only a small computer record behind, Daniels is constantly distracted by Bunk attempting to hold down his breakfast. The shame of it is that what Freamon has uncovered indicates heavily that Sobotka really is complicit in the 14 murders Bunk and Freamon are investigating, and a sweaty Bunk is really not in the best position when he asks Daniels if they can fold the two cases together. Daniels is having none of it, if his Sobotka detail ends up with 14 unsolved murders attached, then it wrecks his chances of putting together a permanent Major Cases Squad even if they successfully bring down Frank Sobotka. Freamon and Bunk look horrified to hear that politicking is getting in the way of their case (and their own clearances), and Freamon tells Daniels that the bosses wouldn't blame him for not solving it. But Daniels notes it would take all the shine off, and he needs that Major Case Squad - though he doesn't say it, the truth is he's made a massive personal sacrifice and damaged his relationship with his wife to head up this Detail, and that's not going to be for nothing.

D'Angelo passes Avon in a prison corridor but ignores Avon's attempt to talk. Avon stops and yells and D'Angelo turns and looks back, and the camera pulls slowly away from Avon as his face undergoes a stunning change, seeing something different and final in D'Angelo's look. A small smile crosses D's lips and then he continues on his way, leaving Avon behind him.

McNulty has his dinner with Elena, who is surprised to see he is just drinking wine. He tells her he isn't doing much of that anymore (he was just drinking last night with Bunk! Though to be fair he went home before he went blotto) so she suggests he can gently caress the waitress, and he admits he deserves that but he isn't doing much of that either (well technically last time he was too drunk to screw Rhonda!), so she asks about his police work. McNulty is amused, reminding her she's asking about everything he does that pisses her off - drinking, screwing around and his police work - and she apologizes, saying she doesn't know why she is bringing it up. He tells her it is understandable, though, and surprises her with the revelation he is "retired", working boats now instead of bodies. This isn't him, she says, but he says not drinking or screwing around wasn't him either but here he is.... and he wants another chance with her. She makes a counter-offer, one more gently caress for the road instead, and the next shot is the McNulty's having some enthusiastic, joyful sex. Unfortunately, only one of them understands what the words,"For the road," really mean.

Nick has made good on the debt he owes by stealing truckloads of the chemicals that Spiros requested, as always working with Ziggy and Johnny 50. Eton checks the chemicals and Spiros shakes Nick's hand, Nick once again offering unneeded advice to ditch the trucks after unloading and make it look like a hijack. Spiros carefully makes a suggestion, he can pay Nick straight up in cash what was agreed on.... or Eton can pay him in heroin, wholesale. Eton explains they can sell the drugs for 60-70k, and Ziggy's eyes light up, but Johnny 50 is immediately out, saying that he wants no part of heroin. Ziggy is desperate though, even if they walked the heroin straight up to White Mike and just sold it all to him they could walk away with 30-35k, it's easy money and far more than they'll get as a cash payment. Nick considers and comes to a compromise, he wants half the fee in cash and the other half in heroin - that way they can pay Johnny 50 off and still pull in an extra 30k if they sell it all themselves. They leave, Ziggy excitedly talking about how he'll handle things, but Nick shuts him down immediately - Ziggy will NOT handle this, Nick will do it himself and he'll brook no disagreement on that, snapping at Ziggy to stay at home and watch cartoons, it's what he's good at. Ziggy is left gaping and offended, but Nick has had enough of Ziggy's pouting and asks him if he wants to walk home, and he has no choice but to rush to get into the car and leave with them.

In the morning, McNulty is already making himself at home in the old family home, reading the sports section at the dinner table in his underwear. Elena shows up and he asks what they're going to do with the day, and she says she has to go pick up the boys. McNulty, not picking up any of the signals at all, says that's great, and after they get her business sorted out they can head out and do something together later... maybe drop by his place and pick up some things? In his mind they're already back together and everything is a-ok, and she finally has to just be blunt - she doesn't want the boys to know he was here and get their hopes up that they're getting back together, so he has to leave. He stares at her like a kicked puppy-dog as she heads away, utterly perplexed after the events of the night before. Sadly, a single nice night out doesn't patch up all their genuine problems they have, and while some might claim it was a tease for her to sleep with him, she made it pretty clear this was "one for the road" - why shouldn't she get to enjoy a night of good sex, it's not like McNulty hasn't been doing more than his own fair share of it.

In the prison library, D'Angelo is showed the torn binding on a book that has just been returned, complaining that some people don't appreciate what they've got. D says he'll take it out back and try to fix it with duct tape, and loads it onto the trolley and heads back, watched all the time by Mugs. He follows D'Angelo in and closes the door behind him, asking if he is D, telling him that he's looking for Final Calls. D'Angelo tells him he can't be here but there did get some Final Calls, so if he gives him a minute he'll come out and find them for him. As he continues working away in blissful ignorance, Mugs wraps the ends of a belt around his hands and strikes, choking a shocked D'Angelo who struggles for leverage to get the larger man off of him. Mugs' face is disturbingly professional, his frown is one of exertion, there is no malice or hatred in what he is doing. Pulling back hard as despair/realization fills D'Angelo's eyes, Mugs chokes the life from him and then with quick, horrifying skill poses the body to make it look like a suicide. Tying one end of the belt around the doorknob, he tucks D's hands into his pockets and crosses his legs, then squeezes through the door and closes it behind him, careful to ensure D'Angelo's head lolls naturally to one side. Putting on a cheery smile, Mugs accuses another prisoner of holding out on his cigs and heads down the corridor joking with the confused stranger. With the door closed, D'Angelo's head rolls over and he's left sitting, looking almost peaceful. But this isn't the new life that D'Angelo had in mind, even though all his actions throughout the episode in retrospect will now make it look to friends and family that he was contemplating suicide. Like Gatsby he has been killed due to a misunderstanding, a victim of a culture he wasn't a natural part of. Now Tyrell will never know is father, he'll never get a chance to be free and happy from the suffocating influence of his family. He'll never breathe.

D'Angelo Barksdale is dead.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 21:26 on May 1, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Jesus, that sounds soul-destroying, and the worst part is that it's still going on today unchecked, despite all the exposes on this kind of poo poo... which the teachers are usually blamed for anyway.

I mean, it's still a common thing for people to say,"What are teachers complaining about, they get all those weeks off work every year!"

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Cervixalot posted:

Nice work, Jerusalem! I actually watched this one last night as well, and found one nice little detail, which you hinted at.

D'Angelo's comments about the Great Gatsby, in not being able to leave behind 'who you were,' specifically his comment about owning books that haven't been read or even opened is a bit of neat foreshadowing to the array of books and the Samurai sword found in Stringer's apartment by McNulty in Season 3.

Yeah, I just hinted at it because there'll be more to talk about when it actually happens, but I love that scene as a callback to D'Angelo's take on The Great Gatsby. Like Gatsby (and D'Angelo too!), Stringer attempts to leave his old world behind and be embraced into a new one, but (unlike D, who was starting to make an effort) he mistakes the trappings of the culture for the culture itself, and never understands why he isn't accepted beyond a superficial level. D'Angelo puts it really well, you can't just put up a front of being a different person, or your past is going to bite you on the rear end, you have to actually make that change and "get real with it".

This kinda relates to Ziggy too, who despite being born into the culture he craves acceptance in so much, he can't ever look beyond the superficial trappings and realize WHY some things are the way they are. Even though he's a "native" he mostly apes the culture of the stevedores - the heavy drinking, the exposure to crime, petty theft etc. He wants to be Frank but doesn't understand who or what Frank really is/why he does what he does.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Nice catch, I didn't pick up on that at all.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2, Episode 7 - Backwash

Horseface posted:

Don't worry, kid. You're still on the clock.

Bodie arrives in a florists, a strange place to find a rising drug dealer. The florist approaches and asks him what he is looking for, and Bodie explains he's here looking for a floral arrangement for a funeral. The florist offers his condolences but Bodie is there more from a sense of duty than love, explaining that he and the deceased weren't particularly close but he was still "my nigga" and if he doesn't make an effort, what does that say about him? The florist at first seems confused by Bodie's attitude, but after picking up a couple of cues he seems to read between the lines and offers Bodie to come into the back. Bodie follows him and finds a garish series of displays not meant to be seen from out front, something designed purely for the gangsta market, an indication of just how deeply the drug culture permeates throughout the city and community beyond the immediately obvious corners, towers and open drug markets.

The florist suggests any number of colors that could be used for the rather vulgar displays, including pink, which offends Bodie. The florist is amused, was the deceased (D'Angelo) too fierce for pink? Bodie notes that D'Angelo "wasn't all that" - Bodie had an oddly disparaging regard for D'Angelo during much of season one, surprising for somebody of his age and relatively low ranking in the Barksdale Organization - but he can't disparage him in death. He gives his distorted view of D'Angelo's death - a judge "went wild on his rear end" and gave him 20 years, and D clearly couldn't handle it and committed suicide because he was weak. Still, Bodie wants to represent and comes up with what he considers a brilliant idea, he wants strong colors (blacks and reds) in a display that mimics the 221 Tower that D'Angelo once ran. He's utterly confused when the florist asks what condolences he wants written on the card, and peels off cash from his money roll and tells him to just make sure that the arrangement is as close to the tower as possible - it has to "look like it do". With that he's out, fist-bumping with the florist who has done an admirable job of making his customer feel at ease - a sale is a sale, and while the funeral displays are garish and vulgar, they also generate a lot of money from a customer base with a lot of disposable cash and a high mortality rate.

Bunk and Beadie are explaining the developments on the 14 dead bodies, and as feared it isn't information he likes hearing. Rawls (and thus, Landsman) like a system where cases are solved quickly or somewhat swept under the rug/shifted over to somebody else's responsibility, or just flat out abandoned. Bunk and Beadie are going to be sitting watching a clone of the dock computer, looking for signs of another smuggled can and using that information to get a shot at finding out who was responsible for smuggling the women in. It's going to be a long, drawn out process that involves a lack of direct action that can be pointed to as progress. Landsman snaps that Rawls will tear him a new one if he walks by and sees them "playing video games" instead of working the case, and Bunk complains that avoiding Rawls is why they asked to be set up at Daniels' location to work the case in peace, since Daniels is working a different case involving the same people. This was a huge mistake, because the moment Landsman hears that Daniels is investigating the same people he grasps at the straw like a drowning man, saying that Daniels could take on the murders since he's investigating them anyway. Bunk shakes his head, Daniels isn't stupid, he's just given them a room without a view. Landsman storms out of his office and Beadie chooses to take his silence as silent approval, but Bunk knows far better. Concentrating on what he CAN work on, though, he tells Beadie their next step is to lull the port workers into a false sense of security, they have to make it seem like the Homicide case has been abandoned for lack of progress. How do they do that, asks Beadie, and Bunk clearly has a plan.

Nick has a plan too, having been paid partly for his moonlighting smuggling job for The Greek in heroin, he's gone to Frog - the dealer who ripped off Ziggy - to work out a deal selling the package on the street. Frog is trying to work out a 50/50 split with Nick like he did with Ziggy, bopping about in place and using street lingo while Nick is settled back comfortably on the stoop, simply listening and saying nothing. An old power tactic in a meeting is to stand while somebody else sits down, but the situation is reversed here. Frog is trying to set the rules for a business relationship between them, standing taller and explaining how it is, but Nick's silent, laidback derision has him on the back foot. Nick finally speaks up to quietly instruct him to come closer, Frog clearly uneasy with doing so, and the first thing Nick tells him in a rather insulting way is that he's white, not black. The second is that Nick is ALSO white, but not standing on a corner selling drugs white, he's Locust Point IBS Local 47 white, and that means he doesn't work without a contract. Now HE lays out how it is going to be to Frog, he isn't going to give them the package to sell and then pick up the money at the end of the week, THEY are going to pay him the money in advance and THEN get the drugs, and he won't accept any shortall like Ziggy did - in fact, when Frog pays in advance, he needs to include the money he shorted Ziggy for the last package. Frog smirks at the mention of Ziggy, but it's clear that Nick has the upper hand in this situation - it seems that off camera he already gave out sample vials to another dealer to give the locals a taste of the quality of the drugs. Now Frog knows it is good stuff and that he can make a great deal of money for it, and it is worth it for him to pay up front. He throws up his fist for Nick to bump it and just gets a smirk of derision for his trouble, so he heads off up the street, wounded pride not enough to overcome the lust for good money. Nick watches him go, clearly proud of himself for how easily he handled Frog. He looks around the street, clearly feeling superior to all those around him (his "I'm white!" speech is a clear sign of the pride and anger that is such an integral part of his psyche) until he happens to notice an old woman staring at him from the window, looking down at him on the stoop - perhaps she knows him, perhaps she doesn't, but it's a sudden reminder to Nick that for all his pride and self-esteem about how much better he is than all these "wiggas", he's not out there making money working a ship and getting his hands dirty - Nick is a drug dealer now.

Leech arrives to pick up his payment from Stringer for organizing D'Angelo's death, and asks if the police are considering the death a suicide. Stringer is careful in his response, not saying anything that would indicate he ordered the death, but Leech is surprisingly curious and insistent, asking if Avon was behind the order or if Stringer was doing this on his own. Stringer doesn't reply but Leech takes this as assent, and finally Stringer tells him he's right in one respect... it's none of his business. Taking the money, Leech leaves shaking his head at the madness of people from Baltimore, and returns to Washington D.C.

In prison, Wee-Bey and Avon are in the reverse of their positions from earlier in the season. Now Wee-Bey is laid back, enjoying himself, eagerly eating the meals delivered to Avon's cell, telling Avon to eat up. Avon is unusually reserved and mopey, and Wee-Bey - back to his solid, dependable self now that Tilghman is gone - finally picks up on this and brings up the elephant in the room - D'Angelo's suicide. Much like Wee-Bey revealed that he wasn't so much depressed as he was holding in his murderous rage with Tilghman, Avon reveals that he isn't so much depressed as he is feeling betrayed by D'Angelo thoughtlessly putting Avon in a bad position. He complains that when D'Angelo chose to kill himself he knew that Avon would feel bad about it and have to deal with the aftermath/fallout with the family, and yet he went and did it anyway. Forgetting that D'Angelo didn't actually commit suicide for a second, let's take it at face value that he did - Avon's reaction isn't to think that D'Angelo felt unable to deal with what his life had become and killed himself in despair, but that D'Angelo killed himself either failing to take into account how it would affect Avon, or that he took it into account and did it deliberately to get at him. He finally articulates what he always denied in the past, declaring that D'Angelo was weak and that he did everything he could during D's life to harden him up, which Wee-Bey agrees with. Wee-Bey isn't being a lickspittle either, he may have always considered D'Angelo weak but there's no doubt in his mind that the things Avon did were done for D'Angelo's benefit, that it was a necessity. Wee-Bey won't have this attitude that young people from their families need this kind of "hardening up" challenged till the end of season 4. For now, he agrees with Avon, and reminds him that D having to deal with those 20 years might have eventually considered turning evidence against Avon, and that maybe this suicide was a blessing in disguise. Avon quietly agrees, both of them unknowingly giving approval to Stringer's actions.

With Kima no longer in place to give them direction, Herc and Carver have been set free to handle their end of the Sobotka Detail without supervision. Being who they are, they've decided to find a shortcut for their work and gone to a security store in search of a bug. Playing around with some of the gear on display, Carver mocks Herc in sunglasses ("the name's Head... Dick Head") and the store's manager approaches - a big burly older man who is pleased to help out a couple of officers. He shows them his top of the line audio bug - small and easily hidden, it can pick up any conversation within 10 feet incredibly clearly. The cost, however, is $1500, and even with the police discount is still $1250, far more than they can afford. Herc asks for a trial run first and the manager says they can have it for 48 hours provided they leave a credit card with him, but Carver is still unconvinced. Herc takes Carver aside and lays out his logic, he can't use his own credit card because it is maxed out, but if they use Carver's and bring it back within 48 hours with a "change of minds" it won't cost them anything. They've been working hand to hands and getting no further up the drug ladder and neither of them have any developed informants, so they're short-cutting with a bug to get them info they couldn't get otherwise - which is also completely illegal and inadmissable. Without Kima to give them guidance/leadership, the two are falling into familiar, sloppy old habits.

Rawls has summoned Daniels to his office where he puts on a very casual air as he points out (not suggests) that Daniels has taken responsibility for Bunk and Beadie and therefore he has to (not should) take on the 14 murders as well. Daniels disagrees, all he did was provide them with a place to work THEIR cases, and rather than trying to argue points with Rawls, he replies to every one of Rawls' justifications with a simple and clear,"No." Rawls wants the 14 murders moved to Daniels, claiming it's win-win (for him) because if the murders are solved then he'll be grateful and if they're not then Homicide doesn't take the brunt of the blame for the low clearance. Daniels gives another no, and only talks more as he stands up to leave without being dismissed, making it clear the meeting is over. He wants out of the basement, and some drug dealers being arrested and MAYBE a prostitute bust will get him that, but if he takes on 14 murders as well? That doesn't help him with Burrell, the unspoken point being that Burrell's happiness is off far more importance than Rawls'. He makes a dignified exit from the office as Rawls takes a bite out of the orange he's been peeling and shares a look with a disgruntled Landsman, noting that Daniels is smarter than he looks.

Beadie returns to the docks, preceded by warning whistles, but Frank is surprised and pleased to see she is back in her regular uniform and driving her patrol car. She stops by Frank and offers a pleasant smile, and he asks where her "friend" is, the black detective? Beadie replies that the case is over as far as she knows, none of the port workers blinked at the Grand Jury summons and they got nothing from the people on the Atlantic Light, so she was sent back to her regular duties. She won't be around his docks much though, they're moving her to Fairfield to put an extra car patrolling the chemicals down there "in case of terrorism I guess". Relieved but hiding it, Frank jokes that she's too pretty for the Fairfield docks and she rolls her eyes with a smile and drives away, carefully watching him in the side-mirror as she drives away, spotting the wary happiness on his face - the lure has been cast.

Herc and Carver are sitting in their car sliding the bug into a tennis ball, Herc complaining that this is only "necessary" because they don't have the Southeastern Surveillance Van, even though Carver has Sergeant's stripes. Carver - who along with 99% of the Southeastern has no idea the surveillance van was stolen - complains that he's never even seen the van, and they head out onto the street to place their "informant". At the Detail office, Freamon and Bunk are watching the cloned computer with two very different reactions. Freamon finds it fascinating, almost hypnotic, while Bunk is bored out of his mind. Beadie returns and spots that the ship being unloaded on the computer isn't from the Talco line, and Freamon is probably wasting his time. He disagrees, by watching them work normally he is getting a feel for how things happen, which will make it easier for him to spot when something that SHOULDN'T happen does. In both of these scenes, we've seen how technology can be used and misused and how it is interpreted by different people. This is the case with Frank as well, who helped design the system that Freamon is currently watching but it horrified by what he is witnessing at a seminar on robotic deck technology.

A well dressed young man is showing a presentation on Rotterdamn, and the "suits" in attendence are rapt as they watch a video on Rotterdam's busy docks working 24 hours a day with NO human surveillance, making use of smart cards and automated systems that allow the docks to operate continuously round the clock with incredibly quick turnaround on every ship, which are loaded up fully with cargo. Nat Coxson and Frank aren't anywhere near as pleased though, watching with growing horror a massive threat to the workforce that has served on the docks for generations - what happens to them? They've dedicated their lives to the industry only to be replaced by robots (the true legacy of Ronnie "Union Buster" Reagan?). As the impressive technology is listed off, the presenter cuts the audio to inform the audience that many of these technologies have been upgraded further since the video was made. Frank has a pertinent question, what hours are the stevedores getting over there? The presenter is all smiles as he admits he doesn't have that information - to him it's irrelevant - but he does know that Rotterdam employs over 4000 workers. That sounds impressive, but Nat is incredulous - 4000 people to move 350 MILLION tonnes of cargo? One of the suits comments to Nat that this is progress, and the presenter continues his mollifying patter - injuries are down 60%, most of the dangerous work is now handled entirely by machines. This is progress, and admittedly it is absolutely a good thing that injuries are prevented, that cargo is able to be accurately accounted for at each step by GPS, that cargo is unloaded quickly and efficiently.... but it's at the expense of a workforce that has built the industry up to this point - where is the repayment for the generations of hard work, for the complete immersion in a culture that provided profits to these executives and their predecessors and is now set to be discarded for machines that don't need to be paid and won't ever unionize. As Frank puts it quietly to Nat, it is hard to get injured on the job if you're not working. They would undoubtedly disagree with the likes of Herc, who listens in to audio from the tennis ball of Frog chatting with an associate while Carver takes photos, who claims,"Ain't technology the bomb!"

Stringer arrives at Brianna's home where D'Angelo's wake is to be held, bringing food with him to join the many plates already provided ("Enough for three wakes" claims the lady who greets him at the door). He says hello to Tyrell, who is once again being bounced about on a stranger's lap, and says a quiet but reserved hello to Donette in the kitchen, asking how she is holding up but quickly moving on to find Brianna, leaving Donette to look after him, obviously a little hurt at his lack of public compassion/interest. He heads into the bedroom where he finds Brianna sitting on her bed, and he sits down beside her and puts a hand on her shoulder, and she bursts into tears. What is she thinking at this point? Is it just grief over her son's death? Is it guilt over convincing him to take the years? Is she second-guessing herself now as she replays their last conversation in her head and takes everything D said in a new light considering his "suicide"? Is it a mixture of all of those and more? And how would she feel if she knew the man comforting her, the one who has always been a bedrock of support for their family, is the one who had her son killed?

An unusually subdued Ziggy is at the bar in Delores' going over some papers as Love Child plays on the jukebox, Maui continuously playing it and having a great old time sharing laughs with the other stevedores. Nick arrives and La-La asks if he got any work this week, surprised when Nick says he didn't, there was at least one day where his ranking would have gotten him at least one day's worth of work, but Nick just shrugs and walks away - note how quickly the hard-working, proud working man stopped caring about back-breaking labor for a low wage when he discovered he could make thousands while letting somebody else do the work/take the risk for him? He joins Ziggy at the bar and drops a roll of money on the bar in front of him (careful to shield the view with his body), telling him it is his share of the last two packages as well as what Frog owed him for the previous. Ziggy isn't happy, taking the money and complaining to an incredulous Nick that dealing drugs was HIS thing and it turns out that Nick is even better at THAT than he is. Nick isn't self-aware enough to pick up that Ziggy's stubborn pride is a trait he shares, but Ziggy claims he has other concerns than money at the moment anyway, and shows Nick the papers he was given. It's a paternity suit, he is meant to contact a lawyer about allegedly getting a woman named Priscilla Katlow pregnant, but he's decided to get drunk before making that call. Nick is bemused, Priscilla Katlow? Ziggy complains he only hosed her the once and Nick laughs that EVERYBODY in Locust Point hosed her the once, but does agree that Ziggy's plan to get good and drunk is the right one, and joins him in knocking back a shot.

Prez leaves The Gentlemen's Gold Club and rejoins Kima in her car to give her the lay of the land. The club was filled with a number of pretty women with foreign accents, and he did spot an older woman - about 40 - who seemed to be in charge of them, but he couldn't get close enough to find out much about her. Business out of the way, Kima teases him, asking if he grabbed any rear end, and the clearly uncomfortable Prez has no idea how to react.

On the stoop of their upscale home, Daniels and Marla are discussing his career once again, with Daniels trying to justify staying in the job and working on the Detail. When he was in the basement it made sense to quit, but when Burrell reached out.... Marla stops him there, it was Burrell who he crossed in the first place, AND he has that dossier on Daniels alleged corruption in earlier days. He's only getting older, and soon he's going to see younger men being promoted over him while he scratches out good cases that do nothing for him career-wise. Daniels is giving up though, telling her he knows that good police work on its own isn't enough, but this is the politically intelligent move. Just today Rawls called him to his office and tried to dump the 14 murders on him and he said no - he's going to bring in a case that gets Valchek off of Burrell's case, make Burrell happy and use that political capital to move upwards. Marla leans back, mollified somewhat and intrigued - there is some logic to what he is saying, having the newly appointed Commissioner of Police owe you a favor has got to be pretty handy career-wise.

Frank Sobotka is also discussing his career, something that has kind of been taken for granted through most of the season. His role as Secretary-Treasurer would seem to be a secure one with a great degree of loyalty, but it is an annual term only. He and Nat have returned to the Union Hall where the subject of the term ending and a long-standing agreement has come up. In the interests of fairness, the Union has long had a policy of interchanging between a black and a white Secretary-Treasurer every year, and the election isn't far off. After attending the seminar, Frank has had a moment of panic, if he is going to prevent the bulk of the already thin workforce being replaced by machines he has to complete his work and get the canal dredged, putting in place human systems that will be too expensive to replace... at least immediately. But Frank only got the position in the first place because the black votes came him way in return for a guarantee that the next term would see the white votes go Ott's way, and Frank knows that Ott is too honest to make dealing with The Greek like he has. As reasonably as possible he appeals to Nat, saying that he wants to finish what he started and he's only asking for one more year, and he'd be happy to see Ott replace him/another white Secretary-Treasurer for the next two years following that. Just think about it, he asks Nat, who leaves the office without turning him down but clearly looks less than pleased. With him gone, a tense Frank puts through a call to his lobbyist, Bruce DiBiago, putting on a cheery voice as he checks up on the political progress all his ill-gotten money is supposed to be purchasing.

At the bar, Love Child still playing in the background, Nick is going over the papers again, sensing something isn't right. Ziggy - unsuccessfully hitting on a girl - is called back to the bar by Nick who wants to know when he got the papers. They were delivered in the mail this morning, which immediately heightens Nick's sense that something isn't right, he knows somebody else who got hit with a paternity suite and they had the papers served to them by the Sheriff. He asks to use the bar phone, telling Ziggy he's going to call the lawyer, and Ziggy tells him that no law firm will be open in the middle of the night. When Nick calls he gets an answer though... from a delighted Maui who tells him he's reached the law firm of Shyster, Shyster & Shyster. He, Horseface and Maui burst out laughing and begin singing Love Child, all while Ziggy sits still oblivious at the bar. Nick returns to sit beside him and tells him that they got him, and Ziggy is more horrified by the fact it was Maui who pulled the prank than anything else. Nick can't help but see the funny side and laughs as Ziggly buries his head in his hands, both relieved to not have fathered an unexpected child and despairing being the victim of the prank.

Kima and Prez watch as the girls leave the club and are loaded up into a car, watched carefully by imposing Muscle, they seem to be on the right track. They follow it back to a garage (seen through a rarely used security camera point of view shot), and drive on past as they enter it, heading around the front of the building, a relatively upscale apartment building. Moving quickly, Kima enters the lobby and distracts the security guard by asking to use the toilet and dancing about in place as he explains that there is no lobby toilet and she can't go up any of the higher floors unless she is a resident. As she continues to keep his attention, Prez wonders by (the joys of being a white male) and heads over to the lifts, watching to see what floor the girls go to from the garage. They all seem to be on the 6th floor, and when the security guard finally notices him he casually leaves, saying he had the wrong building, surreptitiously touching the back of Kima's coat to let her know he has everything they need for now.

Freamon has good news for Bunk and Beadie (who are having pizza for dinner), a Talco line is coming in tomorrow with Horseface scheduled to be working on it. Bunk points out all three of their faces are known at the docks so Freamon says he'll see if he can pull in Kima and Prez to go down there. Beadie asks if they should let the Lieutenant know (after all, they're supposed to be working a different case) and Bunk and Freamon share a look, Lester explaining that the less Daniels knows he's assisting with the murder investigation, the happier he'll be. It seems that despite all of Daniels' best intentions, his Major Case Squad IS working the murders after all.

The next day Nick arrives at Frog's corner in a new truck (:doh:) and says gently caress it, he's making money so he figured he'd buy one. He says this right by the hidden tennis ball bug (tucked into a crushed cup in the gutter) and Carver and Herc are immediately interested, spotting that Nick is a higher level up than Frog, potentially a supplier, and snapping photographs. But as they discuss sales, Frog picks up the tennis ball from the gutter and starts tossing it about from hand to hand, a horrified Herc and Carver watching, the audio distorted by the bug bouncing about inside the ball. Their business finished, Nick allows Frog to pull him tight for a shake/hug and then Frog casually tosses the tennis ball away. Carver instantly springs into action, lunging for the door and bursting out onto the opposite side of the building, hauling rear end after the ball as it bounces down the road. Almost hit by a car, Carver yells at the driver to keep moving but he stops to argue and Carver roars at him to gently caress off, trying to get onto the road but stopped by the quick traffic. As a confused Herc listens in to the sound of traffic and Carver's obscenities, a truck approaches like something out of a cartoonish nightmare, and Carver can only watch as $1250 goes bye-bye.

Funnily enough, that's roughly what Nick casually handed over to Ziggy in the bar the night before, but it represents a massive loss to Carver.

Freamon lays out the plan of action for Bunk, Beadie, Kima, Prez and himself. He and Beadie will be watching the computer in the office, while Bunk and Prez will be watching potential routes out of the docks and Kima will be in close to the action. While they don't know Kima's face, she points out that she will be a stranger, and suggests getting a hard hat and one of Narcotic's vans and pretend to be working on the telephone lines. Prez raises another pertinent question, what is they're not smuggling anything today despite fitting the pattern? Freamon smiles, saying that in that case Prez will have wasted another day in a life wasted in service to the city of Baltimore. Luckily for them, today isn't another wasted day - Nick hands over a slip of paper to Frank and Horseface, the latter asking if there is going to be anybody living in this one. Frank tells him to knock on the can and listen for a reply before he does anything, and tells Nick he still doesn't trust The Greek. Horseface leaves and Frank notes that he hasn't seen Nick around looking for work recently, and warns him to keep close and not do anything he wouldn't do. The problem for Frank is that he can't argue from a position of moral authority when he's actively engaged in smuggling. He can say that it is for a greater good, but it was the promise of triple the money that changed his mind when he wanted to throw it all away, and I can't help but think that this was part of what convinced Nick to go for the "easy" money of drug dealing.

At the Cemetary, D'Angelo's funeral is heavily attended, including Proposition Joe as a mark of respect for Avon (and the opportunity to network). A singer belts out,"Jesus on the Main Line", Stringer standing directly behind Brianna with a hand on her shoulder, once again the rock of support for her and her family - the man who had her son killed. Stringer exchanges a look with Prop Joe, while Bodie and Poot's eyes are all on the "tight" 221 Tower floral arrangement that Bodie arranged for the funeral. The song over, roses are left on the coffin (Brianna tosses hers with sad finality) and everybody prepares to part. Joe stops a moment with Stringer to compliment him on the "homecoming" he arranged, saying he's never seen better, but then asks if he could have a moment of his time to make him a proposition. Stringer sends Shamrock (who has been at Stringer's right hand through the entire funeral) on ahead and walks with Joe, who points out that it's no secret that West Side's drugs have been poor quality lately - Avon's been selling piss and calling it the poo poo - but they're sitting on the best real estate in the city. Stringer makes him laugh by saying he's only telling him what he already knows, so Joe gets to the point - he has far superior product - 85-90% heroin from a connect right here in Baltimore, he only goes to New York for his coke now - and he could stand to have a little more territory, and Stringer (through Avon) has the best territory and poo poo product... the optimal outcome is obvious. Stringer isn't sure, knowing how hard Avon fought to get that territory, but when he brings up all the dealers/kingpins that "we" took down, Joe shuts him down with a very simple and basic business philosophy - buy for a dollar, sell for two, later for all the other bullshit. Stringer, clearly tempted, tells Joe he'll need to talk to Avon about it. They get into their cars and drive away, D'Angelo going into the ground behind them reduced to a background detail, unimportant to the ongoing "game", already forgotten.

Frank has just received bad news from Bruce Dibiago in his can office, the budget has come in and there is nothing about dredging the canal in there. Bruce, a lobbyist, is keen to talk up his triumph rather than his failure, and points out that there is a proposal for reopening the Grain Pier, but this isn't enough to satisfy Frank. He has given Bruce tens of thousands of dollars to grease the wheels with various politicians/officials and has almost nothing to show for it that he couldn't have achieved going through all the old fashioned avenues - he's fallen victim to the same trap that Stringer Bell will in season 3 - he's given over money with the expectation that he will get what he paid for as opposed to getting nothing AND being asked to pay more money. To prove a point, Frank asks where Bruce's son goes to college (Princeton) and what he'll be when he graduates (anything he wants to be), and then tells the story of a Stevedore who stole a couple of cases of cognac in the 1960s that turned out to be Tang, which was "what the astronauts drink". All that summer his children drank tang, and they grew up to be... stevedores. Bruce laughs but Frank has a point, ignoring Bruce's protests that his family started out with a poor knife sharpener who worked hard to make sure his kids had the options that he didn't, claiming that for the stevedores, your identity is wrapped up in the docks. When you grow up, all anybody wants to know is what stevedore your father is, until you're old enough to have a family and then the question is what stevedore is your son? It's something they're proud of being, something they want to continue to be, and while he doesn't care that he can't get his knives sharpened by a DiBiago anymore, it breaks his heart to think that his son might not have a place at the docks in 5 years times, mentioning the "horror story" video he saw at the seminar. He smashes a dart into a picture of Robert Irsay (owner of the Baltimore Colts who took the team to Indianapolis in 1984, "betraying" the city and its people) and slams down a shoebox full of money to Bruce, and tells him that he doesn't just want the Grain Pier being reopened discussed, he wants it DONE. Bruce is offended by Frank's anger/contempt but not enough to NOT take the money, and begins taking it from the shoebox only for Frank to grab him roughly by the arm, growling at him that he wants the Grain Pier reopened AND he wants action on that canal dredging as well. He storms off, leaving Bruce to take the money for something he hasn't accomplished/earned, anathema to Frank's code (and just what you could argue Nick is doing).

The Emerald Sea comes in and Horseface registers the can as it comes in, making sure it "disappears" from the system. Beadie and Freamon pick it up and let Kima know, and she quickly makes a visual of the can and watches a white male (Sergei) drive it away. Beadie tells Freamon that if it goes through the regular checkout lane then it was just a mistake, but if it drives out the bobtail lane then they're smuggling something out. Kima follows the truck out through the bobtail lane, much to Freamon's pleasure, and he lets Prez know it is coming. Prez follows, Bunk catching sight of the truck as it passes as well, and takes over following from Prez - if Sergei is watching, he'll have seen three different vehicles behind him and be less likely to suspect he is being pursued. Bunk follows and watches as the truck goes into a warehouse yard, the fence quickly closed behind him by two muscular men who rush in after the truck. Bunk turns around and gets an ID on the warehouse, it's named "Pyramid, Inc". The Detail is now - regardless of the reason for their investigation - a step in the door of The Greek's vastly profitable smuggling empire.

Stringer visits Avon in prison to discuss D'Angelo's death, Stringer careful to cement that Avon believes the story, asking about D's drug use. Avon admits he knew but that he didn't understand how deep it went, and has to stop talking after trying to lay out the blame to D'Angelo alone. Stringer is careful to check that the prison officials aren't questioning the story, and then shifts to assuaging Avon's guilt. I feel like I was hasty in criticizing Avon earlier, it wasn't so much that he was thinking selfishly as he couldn't open to Wee-Bey (the solid as a rock murder machine) like he can to his best friend. After learning how badly Brianna took D's death and the funeral, Avon seems close to breaking down, and Stringer assures him that he couldn't have stopped D'Angelo from killing himself if that is what he really wanted to do. He lays them a fact that is the utter truth even if Avon doesn't know why - D'Angelo's death is NOT on Avon, it's not. Avon nods and then shifts back to business, and Stringer says the product is only getting worse, and they may have to consider discounting it to keep people buying. Avon is disgusted, he's not K-Mart, and casually suggests (without the benefit of a macroeconomics class) what Stringer has already been trying - repackage the product and sell it as something new. Stringer carefully brings up Prop Joe's proposition, they can share in his excellent product if they just share some of their territory.

Yeah, that didn't go down well.

He shuts down the idea immediately, he won't allow even the slightest discussion, but assures Stringer they will get through this.

Kima arrives to replace Bunk watching Pyramid Inc, there has been no sign of the can or any of the goods that were smuggled in it so far. Meanwhile at the Detail office, Pearlman has arrived to look at Freamon's paperwork, and has bad news for him, Beadie and Prez - they might be able to show a pattern but they can't prove a conspiracy ("a conspiracy to smuggle poo poo"), and even worse Freamon has made a rare lapse and wasn't aware of an annotation to the Wire Tap provisions in law. To their horror, they discover that according to the law you can wiretap somebody for selling drugs, but you can't wiretap them for selling women. The enforced slavery and prostitution of women illegally smuggled into the country is not enough to get them a tap on the phones.

Nick arrives at his parents' home and heads down to the basement where Aimee is working, and spins a big line of bullshit about how he is able to provide for her and Ashley thanks to a new job he has gotten outside of the docks (her eyes light up at this). The manager of a warehouse of a Greek guy he knows is giving him 3-4 days worth of work a week, that he's able to work around the hours he gets at the docks, making it the best of both worlds, so she can start looking for better apartments, ones with 2 bedrooms instead of one. She's worried about the money but he assures her (the big man, the provider, the hard worker) that it's $500 or more a week, and she looks up at him with love and gratitude, completely unaware that the source of his money comes from selling drugs (or rather, having others sell drugs for him). I'm not saying that Nick wasn't in a terrible position mostly foisted on him by the bad luck of his time and place of birth, but it's his hypocrisy more than anything else that gets to me - look at the innocent gratitude in Aimee's eyes, and think about the lies he's knowingly telling her to make himself look like a provider to her after spending years dismissing her concerns and worries and pleas with him to make changes in his life for HIS girlfriend and child.

Carver is complaining, he's $1500 down, though Herc (whose credit card wasn't used) is more laidback about the whole thing, reminding him it's $1250 with the police discount, and cracking that the bug just couldn't stand up to the modern urban crime environment. They're following up on the one lead they did manage to get before its destruction, the tags on the truck the supplier was using when he met Frog. They pull up outside Louis Sobotka's house - Nick and Aimee are inside right now enjoying the idea of a stable future together - the truck parked outside, and Herc provides the name of the truck's owner to an incredulous Carver, who can't believe he hasn't picked up the connection - they're investigating Frank Sobotka. Herc doesn't get it, this is NICK Sobotka, not Frank Sobotka, and Carver has to point out to him that it's probably not just a coincidence even if there are in "polack town". Once Herc cottons on, he does see one avenue more quickly than Carver, their destroyed bug - Fuzzy Dunlop he decides to call it, since it's Dunlop tennis ball and its fuzzy - is now a Confidential Informant who has given them information linking their target to drug supply on the streets. Carver is horrified but Herc reminds him that he owes $1250 for the bug and if they make up an informant, they can get at least a couple of hundred dollars towards paying that off. Herc can't register the CI, though, Daniels would immediately smell a rat, but he trusts Carver (Herc has no idea about Carver's betrayal of Daniels/the Detail in season one), because Carver has one of those trustworthy faces.

So the case is progressing, pieces are starting to come together, but they're missing the one link that will get them the legal backing they need. Street level drug dealing, smuggling and prostitution by themselves are sadly not enough, the 14 murders need to be added in to really get the case moving the way it needs, get the manpower and the "toys" to use on the case. That's Bunk's take anyway, and for that they need Daniels, and to get Daniels he thinks that wise old Lester Freamon needs to convince him - they've all got roles to play, and Freamon's is to play the wise old counselor. What is Bunk's role? He laughs that he's just a humble motherfucker with a big rear end dick, and when Freamon chuckles he gives himself too much credit, Bunk admits that he ain't all that humble.

Kima is still on watch when she spots a car approaching Pyramid Inc. To her great surprise she recognizes the passenger in the back seat, it's Proposition Joe. She quickly snaps a night-vision shot of him greeting Sergei at the gate, the case has just gotten another point of interest - this is more than street level dealing if Proposition Joe is involved. And now we know the source of Joe's high quality connection he was bragging about to Stringer, The Greek supplies the East Side of Baltimore with its drugs, and one of the East Side Kingpins is looking to stretch out into West Side territory.

Ziggy is fuming at the bar in Delores', Maui is STILL playing Love Child, unable to let the joke go. La-La encourages him to pick a fight with Maui, saying he only LOOKS big and he shouldn't be loving with a "Legend of the Docks" like Ziggy. We know Ziggy has intelligence but poor self-control/lack of wisdom, so he's either too drunk or self-absorbed to realize that he's being goaded now. Before trouble can start however things take a serious turn, a stevedore named "New Charles" has suffered a terrible injury at the docks. The locals rush out of the bar and down to the docks where they find New Charles with his leg crushed under a heavy crate, Frank immediately takes control and orders the crate taken off of his leg, ignoring the protest that they're not suppose to move somebody when he's injured, and they haul him out. Ziggy and Nick arrive as the ambulance does, Horseface assuring New Charles he's still on the clock, and Frank tries to put on a cheery face, joking that he doesn't know what leg Charles is talking about when he asks how it is (it's crushed, badly). The sad truth is that these are the types of injuries that automated machines would reduce, but the solution is throwing the baby out with the bathwater as far as the stevedores are concerned. The next day, stevedores gather outside New Charles' house while Frank heads up the front yard with Nat and enters the house to see his wife. Settling down with her, he offers her a fat envelope "from the guys in 1514" and leaves, the wife opening the envelope as Frank leaves and finding a stack of money inside. Unfortunately for Frank, Nat Coxson sees this too. He steps outside and joins Frank as he lights up a cigarette, and tells them the story of how New Charles came to be called New Charles - his first day on the job he had to clean up the mess left behind by the accidental death of another stevedore named Charles, and ever since he has been "New Charles". Frank (and Johnny 50, who is nearby) laugh, but then Nat turns serious, and asks Frank point blank where the money is coming from. Frank can't answer.

At the Detail Office, Freamon makes his pitch to Daniels. The case is coming together, but to link it all they need proper wiretaps and to get those they need the 14 murders. Daniels admits that Rawls asked him to take them and Freamon tells him he should, talking about how the girls REALLY suffocated in that can, they REALLY died. It's a sad fact that even in death the women are being used as a convenience to get what somebody else wants, Freamon didn't care about the dead women till they became HIS assigned case, and then forgot about them after being reassigned to the Detail till he found out he could use them to work the Sobotka Detail better. But whatever the reason, Freamon points out that Daniels can live with take the 14 murders and not turning them black, but if he DOESN'T take them then he'll have to take a look at himself and question what if.

Daniels takes it to heart and goes to see Rawls in Homicide, and lays out an ultimatum - he will take the murders, but only on the condition that he gets what he wants from him, no bullshit and no arguments. Rawls - spotting a solid gold opportunity - immediately agrees and Daniels is already out the door, leaving behind an ecstatic Rawls who now has a scapegoat to explain a potential low clearance in the stats.

In his first appearance in the episode so far, we find McNulty and Elena sitting on the backyard stoop watching the tent where their children are playing about inside, arguing amongst themselves. They laugh over the kids' childish arguments but when McNulty takes the happy moment to try and bring up their relationship again, but her face falls and she cuts him off immediately, and makes it as clear as possible - no. No. It's not going to happen. She lays it out for him, she can care about him, she might even one day bring herself to want him to be happy, but she can never trust him and they can't be together again. The kids call out to her to come into the tent and she leaves McNulty behind, leaving him to watch their domestic bliss continue on without him, realizing for perhaps the first time that they can be, are and will be happy without him to "complete" the family. He's finally given up on being police, but the family he neglected and took for granted for so long isn't there for him anymore.

At Daniels' home, he is telling a skeptical Marla all about how his decision to take on the murders is politically the right move, after previously talking up how smart it was to refuse. She isn't buying it, and finally he gives up on the political angle and admits the truth - he loves the job, the actual real policework aspect of it all, and he simply couldn't help himself but to do what is the right thing for the case. She's upset, telling him a truth that many police (including McNulty) struggle to learn - the job does not love him back. He knows that, but he also knows that his first love - even before policework - is her, the mind that sees the angles, thinks things through, he loves her. In reply, the admittedly put-upon Marla (he's made three drastic life choices without her input in the last few weeks) tells him that what she fell in love with in him first was his ambition - he was a man who wanted to go places and achieve things, and she doesn't know what happened to that man. To be fair to him, that ambition got them a nice house and more money than they should have, but it could also have destroyed both their lives and seen him become one of the convicts he puts away, but it pays to put yourself in Marla's shoes - a few weeks ago her husband was leaving a dead-end job to make use of his law degree and get a high paying job at a nice, safe law firm. Then he took on a politically sensitive case to get into the Police Commissioner's good books and jumpstart his career, and now he's put that all at risk and taken on an apparently unsolvable case because he loves the job that she clearly hates.

McNulty gave up the job too late to save his marriage, and now Daniels has re-embraced the job and looks set to lose his.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 14:03 on May 14, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Randomly Specific posted:

With regards to Bodie's attitude about D, remember the contempt that Bodie has when D tries to take credit for the murder that D actually did commit. There was probably a lot of contempt floating for D through the rank and file for quite some time, and Bodie probably picked up on that and always regarded D with suspicion that he was too soft for the game.

Actually I feel that when D'Angelo tells the story about the murder that Wee-Bey actually committed, it's one of the few times where Bodie seems to have respect for D'Angelo. I think he believes that D'Angelo committed the murder at that time and accepts that he has to give credit to the guy who that point he has kind of thought of as a bit of a joke. I do wonder if when Wee-Bey confessed to that murder he realized that D'Angelo was lying or if he just assumed that Wee-Bey was taking credit to help D out like he attempted to do for Bird with the Gant murder.

Orange Devil posted:

Small correction: you say "Amsterdam" instead of "Rotterdam" once.

Fixed, thank you.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Fixed those error too, thanks again. People have offered to proof-read before I post but I prefer to get it written down and posted, I'm happy to fix up any of these little cosmetic errors after the fact.

Edgar Death posted:

Aw you didn't bring up my favorite scene transition

During the Dutch presentation

"...greater security and better accountability, without the need for unreliable human surveillance..."

*cut to Herc looking as stupid as ever*

Haha, yeah I noticed that but forgot to make mention of it. Another great "goddammit Herc!" moment is when he completely fails to realize the significance of the Sobotka name when they're tracking the supplier they spotted talking to Frog. I love it whenever Carver makes the "are you loving kidding me you stupid bald gently caress?" face at him.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Whoops, I misunderstood Randomly Specific's post and thought it was about the Kresson murder, not the Pooh murder, sorry!

Cape Cod Crab Chip posted:

Wait, hold on, when does that confession ever make it to Bodie?

It's public record after his conviction and would have been written up in all the papers in the wake of the Barksdale bust - Wee-Bey Brice, lead West Side gang enforcer who plead guilty to a huge number of unsolved and even unknown murders. I'm sure Bodie or Poot would have read up/heard people talking about it and even taken it as a point of pride, Wee-Bey stood up and took the years "like a man", which goes towards what Randomly Specific notes about D'Angelo's "suicide":

Randomly Specific posted:

Then you toss in the suicide during what these guys regard as not just an occupational risk but an occupational given, and that seals the deal in Bodie's eyes.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Tilghman knows that Wee-Bey confessed to the murder of one of his relatives, and the show makes a point of explaining at numerous points that once court cases are over the details become a matter of public record. The newspapers would cover a story about multiple unsolved murders being closed, especially considering the convicted was involved in the shooting of an undercover police officer. Even if the dealer aren't the type to read the papers, like SpookyLizard says word gets around, and it's not like they were keeping it secret that Wee-Bey took responsibility for all the murders in order to protect Avon.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

The funny thing is that Stringer ends up wanting to run things on a larger scale the way that D'Angelo ran The Pit, but it was purely Stringer who saw D as weak and a liability to their organization who had to be removed. Of course he doesn't see that others will feel the way he felt about D when he tries to make changes to how West Side is run, because he's wrapped up in his own head and his own justification, that make perfect sense to him in exactly the same way that D's made sense to himself.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2, Episode 8 - Duck and Cover

Ziggy posted:

How come they don't fly away?

An EXTREMELY drunk McNulty calls Elena from a bar payphone, slurring out to the answering machine that she needs to talk to him before flailing the receiver about and managing to hang up. Hearing Last Call, he stumbles to the bar and gets too close to the date of another man at the bar who warns him off. The bartender - Gus - does not want to serve McNulty another drink but he insists, assuring the clearly unconvinced Gus that he isn't driving tonight, he's organized a cab. Shortly after, we see McNulty driving his car, of course, taking a corner too fast and clipping the support pillar on an overpass. Too drunk to feel pain or realize he's just come to death, he gets out of the car and stared bemused down the road, wildly miming the turn he's just taken as if to say that what has just happened was impossible. Stubbornly getting back into his car, he backs up and takes the corner again, straining against the wheel to try and maintain control and prove that the crash was total bullshit and not his fault at all.... and smashes up against the side of the pillar once more. Heading to a local diner, he nearly passes out in the booth but is jerked awake by the waitress who comes to take his order, and for whatever bizarre reason young women have, she seems quite enamored with the sloppily drunk, pushing 40 cop with the slashed up hand from the car crash and promises him he can have anything he wants. Cutting to her bedroom, McNulty lays beneath her grunting as she rides him wildly and enthusiastically, and he wakes the next morning in her bed with probably no idea how he got there or what happened the night before, blood from his cut hand staining her clean sheets. If this is how McNulty plans on spending his "retirement", it (and he) are not going to last long.

At the docks, Horseface and La-La are amusing themselves by goading Ziggy to get into a fight with Maui, telling him he needs to get revenge for Maui's paternity suit trick. Ziggy is brash and not prone to thinking things through, but even he isn't so stupid as to think he can win a fight with the far larger and solidly built stevedore. La-La and Horseface insist though, it's his clothes that make him look so big, and besides which Ziggy is a legend of the docks! All he needs to do is walk up, hit Maui with his best shot and then just walk away, leaving Maui staggered and shocked. Ziggy, craving love and attention and respect, actually seems to be considering it :doh:

At the Detail office, Daniels is explaining how he has taken on the murders and thus they need to bring in a HELL of a case or else he's as stupid as Rawls thinks he is. They all laugh, but Daniels seems oddly confident, telling Pearlman that he has something to show her - she told them that they needed a drug connection to get the wiretap, and they have just that. Freamon shows her the DNR logs for the warehouse they tracked the smuggled can to, and they show phone-calls going out to Petey Dixon, Proposition Joe and White Mike McArdle among other East Side traffickers. Kima has surveillance photos showing dealers going to the warehouse, and they can connect White Mike to street dealers they've already done hand-to-hands with. Pearlman agrees this gives them PC on the warehouse, but what about the truck driver? The files they have on him give them the name Sergei Malatov and his listed cellphone appears on the warehouse DNR logs including Kima observing him on the phone just before smuggling the can out of the docks. By back-checking they've discovered calls being made to him at the same time as other cans disappeared from the docks, this is definitely the guy that is doing the smuggling out, and suddenly Nick's warning to Vondas to change up the people they use is making a lot of sense, because the police have found a pattern within a day of spotting Sergei. So what about the drugs? A proud Daniels explains about Herc and Carver's CI (they're VERY pleased by this) giving them a tip that lead them to Nick Sobotka, and while there have been no calls between him and the warehouse, there have been calls between him and Sergei. Daniels is clearly pleased at the progress the case is starting to make, and admits to Pearlman that while Nick is related to Frank Sobotka, he feels like this case is now about a lot more than Frank, offering a genial apology to Prez who laughs it off - he doesn't care about Valchek's obsession. Pearlman makes a couple of token efforts to ensure they've achieved "exhaustion" and then happily tells them to start writing up the paperwork, she'll talk to the judge about their wiretaps. As everybody bustles about busily, a beaming Daniels exits frame leaving behind the picture of Frank Sobotka in center-frame.... which he no longer is. Frank Sobotka has become incidental to the Detail set-up for the express purpose of bringing down Frank Sobotka.

At the docks, Maui grabs a meal from the mobile food cart, including a cappuccino. Ziggy is bemused and cracks wise to the other stevedores - La-La, Horseface and Johnny 50 - and they once again insist that Maui is a total pussy and he should absolutely beat him up. Ziggy is intelligent but also unbelievably stupid, and in his endless quest for attention and love he storms forward towards Maui, who is blissfully unaware over by the forklift. Horseface and La-La laugh that Ziggy has a pair after all, but that doesn't stop them and all the other stevedores (including Johnny 50) roaring with laughter as Ziggy throws a punch to Maui's kidney and succeeds only in pissing the much larger man off. Completely unhurt but irritated beyond belief, Maui easily grabs Ziggy and steps onto the forklift pallet, telling the operator to raise them up. Ziggy - belatedly realizing he's been played - can't resist being theatrical even now and flips the bird at the stevedores, demanding Maui let him down. Instead Maui tosses him on top of a shipping can and warns him to stay there, and is lowered back to the ground where he tells the still laughing stevedores that if any of them help Ziggy down, they'll go up there as well. Ziggy is the center of attention but not in the way he wanted, and he screams at the laughing assholes who are supposed to be his friends that they gave him bad advice.

Things are far quieter in the Detail office where everybody is busily typing up their paperwork till Bunk arrives wearing... sweatpants and an Edmondson High School Lacrosse sweatshirt! Everybody is astonished to see the normally well-dressed Bunk so casually attired, while his heart sinks when he sees what everybody else is wearing. Herc is surprised to see he played Lacrosse and Bunk tries to throw on a little righteous anger, mentioning Jim Brown... and gets shut down by Freamon who asks if he REALLY just mentioned himself in the same sentence as Jim Brown! Bunk is at a loss for words and everybody laughs, Daniels stepping out of his office to express surprise at Bunk's clothes as well, he thought he was born in pinstripes. Bunk insists that he thought a Downtown Detective lost in an out of the way "lost ball in the tall grass" detail like this could wear what he wanted, and wiggles his rear end in the squad's direction as he heads to his desk, telling them he's feeling lost already.

One neat aside to this scene, a clearly comfortable and amused Carver tosses a tennis ball he was holding into Bunk's box of files - Daniels is currently very pleased with him and Carver for their informant's lead linking Nick Sobotka to Sergei and the drug warehouse and the two are riding high, but the informant was just another tennis ball - Fuzzy Dunlop.

At the Union Hall, Horseface is laughing over Ziggy's antics earlier in the day but Frank is more concerned about finding the bills, it's the end of the month and everything is due. This is one of the problems faced by people engaged in illegitimate enterprises like smuggling and drug-dealing - you have all this money but you've got to be careful about what you show. Frank could have all the bills paid the day they arrived but after years of being overdue and paying at the last second, suddenly being on top of everything is going to stand out. Finally he locates them tucked into a filing cabinet being used as bookmarks for a porno mag, he gives the magazine to Horseface while he looks over the bills, while Horseface contemplates a deep philosophical issue.... he's not sure if he likes fakes tits or not.

Pearlman goes over the paperwork as everybody sits or stands around to see if they've made any mistakes. Beadie comments that this is far more paperwork than even she has to deal with, and they're waiting with baited breath to see if they have to do it all over again - any mistakes and Pearlman can't sign off on it, a good defense lawyer could tear apart their entire case on a technicality. Stopping a bored Carver from twisting in his chair, she puts the papers aside and sighs that none of them can spell for poo poo, getting a laugh and a comment that if they could, they wouldn't be police. She's satisfied though, they just need to go see the Duty Judge who she assures them will sign off on it... if they wash his windows. Is she joking? Prez isn't sure if this is a joke or not and asks Bunk, who looks somewhat incredulous at the question. The answer comes soon enough when Pearlman, Freamon, Greggs, Herc and Carver go to a large mansion and the latter two (of course) are roped into carrying a heavy container up to the third floor for a sash installation, and are asked to wash the windows while they're up there. Carver (a Sergeant!) and Herc don't seem pleased, but they do as they're told, while the Judge signs off on the affidavit.

Unfortunately, all this forward progress has an unexpected side-effect. Frank is on the phone about his cellphone bill and has received some unexpected good news... which is very bad news. His bill is 90 days late and he's called to beg them not to cut him off because the check is in the mail, and been informed he was in no danger of that happening. Why not? According to the very nice lady he was speaking to, his account has been flagged, he is not to have his service cut even in the event of non-payment of his bill. Horseface isn't smart/imaginative enough to see this as anything but good luck on Frank's behalf, but the naturally suspicious (because he's guilty) Frank correctly sees it as an ominous sign. Regular people get their phones cut off if they don't pay their bills, why has his account been specifically flagged to stay on? Frank may not be the central, driving force of the Sobotka Detail anymore, but this unexpected security breach of police action (no note on the account saying this is the result of a police request?) could see Frank unravel all their carefully laid plans.

Kids are running happily through The Pit, leaping over the couch where D'Angelo once reigned. Mothers are putting their clothes out on the line, happily chatting and saying hello, it's a blissful scene of happiness and security.... and Bodie and Poot are horrified about it. Bodie has come down to see what Poot has warned him about, The Pit is empty of the junkies who were once everywhere, and he says it feels like they all took a vacation or, even worse, got clean. That's not it at all, Bodie knows the truth - the junkies will always be junkies, but the word is finally out that Barksdale product ain't poo poo anymore and they've gone elsewhere for their drugs. They move on, the old couch left in frame, broken down and abandoned, empty of any of the old guard who worked from it in Season One - D'Angelo and Wallace dead, Bodie promoted up to the Towers and Poot now king of an empty kingdom.

Bodie and Poot head over to the Towers where things aren't any better, a dealer called Puddin telling them things are slower than a white man in slippers. To Bodie and Poot's great surprise, a Housing Police (a security guard) officer pulls up and asks them if they have a reason to be there and tells them harshly to move on. They can't believe it, no "fake rear end police" would dare talk to them that way if they had their muscle there to keep an eye on the usual brisk trade. Children continue to play happily around them while parents joke and laugh in the sun, while the two dealers bemoan that poo poo is now "hosed up".

That night, McNulty (and his banged up car) join the sweat-suited Bunk at the railroad tracks to drink and moan. Bunk is amused at the state of McNulty's car, but asks him what's wrong with him, he's just going to fall apart because his wife wouldn't take him back? He tells McNulty to lighten up and heads out onto the tracks, throwing his arms wide and asking the non-existent train to come and get him. As he pisses onto the tracks (much has been made of the symbolism of these tracks/the train, I'll leave it to others to talk about it because I honestly have no idea how to read them), McNulty wistfully asks how the Detail is going, do they have a wiretap? Every swinging dick with a badge is on that Detail, and Bunk (holding his own) asks if McNulty is jealous, then realizes quickly that he is - McNulty as always has put all his eggs in one basket. With his detective career over he tried to fill the gap by pursuing the mystery of his Jane Doe. When he thought he had the chance to rebuild his family he gave up on the Jane Doe and was prepared to just serve out his years on the boat and take his pension. Now that it's clear he won't be getting back together with Elena, he's fallen into completely self-destructive drinking above and beyond his usual heavy imbibing. Now he's clutching at the Detail like a drowning man at a straw, looking for something to save him. Bunk tries to make light of it, suggesting he go see Rawls, and Jimmy laughs but then turns morose again. His face is pale, he looks like he's sweating, this is a sick man in search of a cure that may not be there.

Frank is sharing a drink with his brother Louis, the two laughing over the story of Horseface stealing Valchek's surveillance van. Frank has come around because he wanted to show something to Louis, and tosses him a piece of paper. Louis - a proud man who does things on his own terms or not at all - wants to know what it is and rather than reading it, insists on being told. A clearly excited Frank tells his older brother that he has gotten him a position on the Port Advisory Board, one that comes with a monthly stipend of a couple hundred dollars. Frank is delighted to have done something good for his brother, but Louis is unmoved and unwilling. He insists that the Board isn't for him, commenting that Frank has clearly bribed the Chairman to get him the spot but he doesn't want to go to meetings, he just wants to come home each day and settle down on the couch and watch some sports. Frank, desperate to do something good with the money for a change, excitedly tells him that he doesn't even have to go to all the meetings, just every so often so they know he's alive, but Louis still isn't biting. Frank gets angry, furious with his brother for being a "martyr" just because the drydock closed and his union went belly-up, and the only difference between the two of them is that Frank chose the right union. Louis coldly replies that this isn't the only difference between them, noting that while his kitchen has gone unchanged for 20 years and his car has trouble starting, he came by everything he owns straight. His pride infuriates Frank who clearly sees Louis rejection as a rejection of him, but Louis admits that he's in some ways lucky that his union went bust, because it means he hasn't had the face the same kind of decisions that Frank has had to. Mollifying his brother somewhat, Louis has Frank sit back down to drink with him. But one thing is clear, Louis is no McNulty - this is a man who, proud and angry and stubborn as he might be, is completely at peace with who and what he is.

The next day, Ziggy meets with an old friend of his Grandfather who owns pigeons. Ziggy looks them over but what catches his eye are the birds roaming about free on the ground, chickens and ducks amongst them. "How come they don't fly away?" he asks, and the old man explains that their wings are clipped. I don't think I have to talk about this concept as a metaphor for many various characters/groups within the show. Ziggy picks up the duck and hugs it close, ignoring the old man's warning that he should start with something easier like a pigeon - Ziggy replies that they have lice and spread the plague, and casually peels off money from a bulging money-roll and tucks into the old man's pocket, then heads away with the duck.

Bunk - better dressed today - and Freamon meet with Daniels to talk about their own bird with clipped wings, McNulty. Daniels notes that he's already tried to get McNulty and was turned down by Rawls, and Freamon admits that Rawls has good reason to hate Jimmy. Bunk explains why they're there, Jimmy NEEDS the Detail, without real policework he's a drunken, self-destructive gently caress-up.... and the same when he is policing too! They all chuckle, and Bunk continues, on a good case like the one they're currently on, Jimmy will dig in deep and bite hard, and it's as close to normal as he'll ever get. Freamon once again makes use of his "wisdom" voice, telling (not asking) Daniels to speak with Rawls again.

Meanwhile, Herc and Carver are working backwards to cover up Fuzzy Dunlop's tracks. Herc has roped in one of his cousins - Bernard - whose photo and social security number are going to be used on the Confidential Informant file they've put together. Bernard is confused, he's going to get paid for the information he brought in... but THEY get the money and he gets nothing? Herc gives Bernard a moral lesson - he hasn't done anything to earn the money! Bernard, confused, asks if THEY did anything to earn the money and they angrily point out that they broke open the case by getting information on a major drug trafficker. Bernard's answer to that, hilariously, is to point out that this is their job and what they're already paid to do.

Herc warns Bernard that he's upsetting Carver, and Bernard insists that he get paid 10%, and Herc once again tries to play up their family connection. Bernard won't be shifted though, even after Carver tells him they won't even be using his real name but the street name of Fuzzy Dunlop, and the two Detectives continue to be churlish over how difficult it is proving to defraud the BPD of $200 to cover up for their gently caress-up.

Speaking of gently caress-ups, Ziggy meets with Nick in Nick's car to get paid, looking less than pleased as the large wad of cash is laid down on the arm-rest between them. Nick is pleased though, genuinely surprised at how quickly they're selling their package and how much money is coming in, they can barely keep up with demand. Ziggy looks over the car and Nick proudly announces that it's 0% interest because money is cheap, the kind of line you'd normally hear from Ziggy as opposed to the supposedly level-headed Nick - look how quickly the fast, "easy" money of the drug trade has changed his attitude. Nick gets a phone-call (it sounds like Vondas to me) and happily tells him he'll call him back soon, eager to get more drugs to sell, fully committed to his new "job". Ziggy insists he wants to meet with him too but Nick refuses, absolutely adamant after the last few times that Ziggy have nothing to do with that side of things. He snaps at Ziggy to just take the money he's getting for doing nothing, and an angry Ziggy, convinced that Nick thinks he can't make the money himself, grabs the cash and in one of his grand, idiotic gestures tosses it out the window. Nick, fuming, watches the money flutter down to the ground, a truck carrying a shipping can passing by in the background, the source of their scarce legitimate cash in the past and the source of their large current illegitimate cash now.

The Wiretap is up and Freamon, Prez and Beadie listen in as a call comes through between Nick and Sergei about an upcoming job. Prez notes that they're nowhere near as careful as the Barksdale people were on the phone and a pleased Freamon notes that they're not on the West Side now, their targets are being casual because they have no idea anybody is onto them.

Daniels meets with Rawls who is adamant from the get-go, there is absolutely zero chance that McNulty comes off the boat and joins the Sobotka Detail - none. Daniels insists he needs him, Rawls says he needs three extra inches of "meat" but that isn't going to happen either. Daniels makes an allusion to a dog after a bone and Rawls makes a jerk-off gesture and says he's seen a dog take a poo poo on his carpet too, and cuts Daniels off before he can say McNulty has a fire in the belly. So Daniels plays hardball, reminding Rawls that he took the 14 murders on the provision that he got WHATEVER he asked for, no bullshit and no exceptions. Rawls jokes that when he said that he meant Daniels could have a little kiss and feel a little titty, but this is asking too much. Daniels isn't letting go though, now he is the dog who smells a bone, and he makes it clear that if Rawls wants those 14 murders solved, he'll give him McNulty. Rawls is torn between his desire to punish McNulty for loving him over so many times and his far greater desire to clear the 14 murders and finally the stats win out - Daniels can have McNulty, but he better solve those murders.

Bodie and Poot have headed out of their usual territory to a nearby corner where an unfamiliar crew is doing fast and frequent business with all of Bodie and Poot's usual customers. They're not sure who the crew are, though it's clear they're not locals, but they're a problem.

At the Marine Unit, Diggins gets a phonecall for McNulty, who listens with surprise and growing pleasure as he's informed that he's to report to the Sobotka Detail as soon as possible. Daniels hangs up in his office as Carver enters with the CI form for "Fuzzy Dunlop", handing it over with a request for $150 for the information already gathered. Daniels rolls his eyes over the name but it shocked by the amount requested, but Carver points out that it did give them valuable information on the case. Daniels signs off on it as Carver watches, a mixture of guilt and pleasure on his face that is replaced by nothing but pleasure after he leaves the office and shows the form to Herc. They head out while Bunk, Greggs and Pearlman go over the apartment building where Greggs and Prez saw the prostitutes from the club being taken. The upper three floors are leased out to Pyramid, which owns the warehouse where the smuggled goods are being taken. They suspect it's the place that Johns are bought so they'll feel safe when using the prostitutes, and Pearlman agrees that if they can connect the Brothel with the warehouse, then Bunk will be allowed to listen in on the warehouse wiretap and look for information on the 14 murders.

McNulty leaves, saying goodbye to Diggins who tells him that with the weather turning, he's missing out on the best part of the job - pleasure cruises, topless women etc. McNulty's smile is wide and he's not going to break his stride, he's gotten exactly what he wanted even if it's not what he needed. Bunk was right, McNulty is a desperately broken person and the job doesn't love him the way he loves it - maybe he would have ended up a drunken wreck if he'd stayed on the Marine Unit, but the high from working on this Detail won't last, and soon - like the junkie he is - he'll be scrabbling about looking for a way to get his fix and cover up for the hole in his soul.

At the Towers, Bodie meets up with two of his Dealers with bad news - he doesn't have any drugs for them to sell, their product isn't good enough to compete with what the new crew down the way are selling... he's going to have to let them go. The surprised dealers ask if they're going to get some of that "separation money", shocking Bodie who snaps at them to get out of there before he loses his temper, and they walk away having learned the downside of working tax-free in the drug trade - no redundancy payouts, job security or gratitude for the work done. In fact, Bodie even seems offended as they leave, like the dealers have done him wrong by being upset at being fired because HE doesn't have drugs for them to sell.

The Detail are going over the need to connect the Brothel with the Drug Warehouse, and their idea is to send in somebody undercover as a John. Herc instantly throws a hand up and a smiling Daniels says they're looking for somebody with a more subtle touch. Carver is next to throw his hand up, declaring tongue-in-cheek that he would march into Hell for Daniels. To Carver's great pleasure, Pearlman says Carver doesn't look like he has to pay to get laid, causing Carver to turn an incredibly smug look Herc's way. Greggs and Bunk both beg off too, their respective partners would never let them do it. In a wonderful moment of timing, McNulty comes through the door and finds them all starting at him, and Kima quips that it takes a whore to catch a whore. Everybody bursts out laughing, leaving McNulty to ask once again,"What the gently caress did I do?"

Just a reminder, yet again, that they're joking around here about a situation involving women who are living in abject misery as literal sex slaves. Not to accuse the Detail of being complicit, but just as Beadie noted in an earlier episode, somehow sex slavery ends up being treated/considered as somehow less important or horrific than the drug trade. People are quick to forget the reality of the dead women who were suffocated in the shipping can as well as the one who was beaten to death after trying to fight off an attempted rape, cracking jokes like "pussy in a can", casually calling them whores, the men (and Kima too) making a joke of volunteering to go and ogle them - even mocking Prez for feeling uncomfortable about doing so.

Ziggy arrives at Delores' in spectacular fashion, wearing thick sunglasses and carrying a white cane, his duck on a leash with a diamond studded collar. The stevedores are shocked but delighted, roaring with laughter at Ziggy's antics as he introduces them to his "lawyer" Stephen Miles (the name of a lawyer who ran late-night commercials for his services in Baltimore), lifting the duck up onto the bar. The "blind" Ziggy says that while he can't see through all the bullshit in the bar, his duck can and demands they both get served up a shot in addition to a round for the bar. The dock workers gather around in high spirits, watching as the duck starts drinking down the booze quickly, unable to believe that the diamond collar is real (another hugely expensive show of cash from a work-strapped Ziggy). Ziggy jokes that it needs to pace itself if it is drinking with longshoremen tonight, and the happy patrons are quick to offer to buy rounds themselves, Chess saying to put the duck's beers on his tab.

McNulty - now on the case - joins Kima in a stakeout on the Brothel and they watch as the car that brought the prostitutes in leaves with a driver who is clearly Muscle and a passenger who is clearly a John. They start to follow, ready to put their plan into action. Back at the Detail, Beadie picks up that the Caspia coming in tomorrow on the Talco Line will be worked on by Horseface, reporting it to Freamon and Prez. Freamon makes a call to Daniels to let him know what's coming, a pleased Prez telling Beadie that this time they'll have the wire up - eyes and ears on the transfer.

McNulty and Kima watch as the John is dropped off by his car, and wait for the Muscle to leave. The John sits in his car and McNulty guesses he is steeling himself up to "tell some tales", commenting from experience that lying to your wife is easy, it's looking your kid in the eye that is the hard part. Kima casts a sad look his way, but then it's time for action as they cut off the John as he drives out of the parking lot, asking to see his license, amused to discover his name is Robert Johnson. They make it clear that he can go home if he helps them, they want to know how a man can get female company in this town. Defeated, he hands over a card from his wallet for a company called Connections and tells McNulty he just needs to call that number and punch in the 4-digit code written on it, then ask for Eve. They let him go and he's quick to get the hell out of there, McNulty and Greggs amused at his guilt and pleased at their progress.

The next day sees Daniels, Freamon, Prez, McNulty and Beadie waiting for the moment as the Caspia is unloaded. Beadie spots the can disappearing from the system and they let Kima know, posing at Gas and Electric on the docks. She watches as Sergei makes the call, Prez picking it up on the Wiretap, getting everything on record as Sergei tells them he is coming in now. Things look set to be going their way, but there's an unexpected fly in the ointment, the sidelined Frank Sobotka steps out of the can office and watches Sergei drive away, and seems to spot Kima watching him go. He heads on looking oddly relaxed for a change, stopping to crack jokes with a couple of Port Authority Officers who are checking a can with a broken seal. They tell him there is nothing missing, it's a full can of disposable diapers and they joke that even his stevedores wouldn't steal those. Frank cracks that he's not so sure and they all laugh together. He heads away... then stops and casually asks when Beadie will be back from Fairfield. They laugh that she's not at Fairfield, but his "girl" will be back soon enough, right now she's Detailed to the City Police. The camera moves in slowly on Frank as surprise quickly turns to a casual smile, once again, the work of the Detail has been unknowingly undone by unconnected parties who have no idea they're dealing with the target of a Major Cases Investigation. As Herc and Carver pick up the truck after it leaves the docks, Kima too visible to follow, Frank returns to the Can Office to voice his suspicions to Horseface. He thinks Frank is being paranoid, but he doesn't like the coincidences piling up and comes to a sudden decision - Horseface will put the next can The Greek wants through the system legitimately and disappear the one after that, and let Sergei take that away. If nothing comes of it he'll explain the problem and they'll slip the can out the next day, but he's got a feeling.

At the Detail Office, Beadie picks up the next disappeared can and they realize they're smuggling cans in tandem, Freamon joking explaining what that means to McNulty who complains he knows. The trouble is they don't have eyes down at the docks now that Kima has left, so McNulty volunteers to get down there and get an eye on Sergei, Beadie saying she'll put in a call to the Port Authority to delay the truck. Swinging into action, the Detail has no idea they're confirming Frank's fears, with Sergei stopped for driving 24 in a 20 zone, perplexing the Russian who can't believe he was pulled over for something so petty. As his license and registration are checked, McNulty races down to get eyes on him, while Frank heads up to get eyes on the situation himself - the moment he sees the police with Sergei he grabs for his cellphone but thinks better of it, remembering the "do not disconnect". Instead he returns to the office and calls the warehouse from there, though he doesn't know it for certain, Prez confirms that there is no wiretape on that phone, so while they know a call is going through, they don't know what is being said. Frank is calling Vondas, and lets him know that the wrong can was sent though and done so deliberately. Vondas, cool as ever, reminds Frank not to discuss this on the phone, so Frank says they should have a meeting, but HE needs to be there... in fact, he WANTS to be there. Vondas hangs up and looks over at The Greek at the counter, miming to him that it is nothing to be concerned about.

At Glekas' store, he complains at his assistant on the main desk for ignoring a customer who clearly wants help, making the sign of the cross in frustration at the idiots he has to deal with. He heads into the warehouse in the back and has Sergei open the can just delivered, and inside the find.... Bobbie Dolls and plastic curtain rods? Laughing but frustrated, he tears open the boxes and find they hold just what they said (I assume Bobbie Doll is because they couldn't use Barbies? Unless this is a doll I've never heard of), and he yells angrily that he was supposed to get Russian vodka, not poo poo from Taiwan. He demands the phone, complaining about the "loving Polacks", not knowing if they're thieves or stupid. Vondas takes the call, the Detail picking up this since it is Sergei's phone, and heard the complaints about the wrong can and the instruction from Vondas to dump it on the street. The Detail are delighted, believing that they've now got confirmation from Frank's call and now Glekas' that they've got the phone number of the Boss Man, making the same mistake that Ziggy did.

At the Towers, a fired up Bodie is explaining to his reluctant muscle that they're to meet him at 7am the next morning so they can get the jump on the new crew and scare them off. None of them are scared to fight, but the idea of being up that early in the morning is alien to them. Bodie warns them he can always find somebody else to swing bats for him, and one of the muscle laughs that he didn't mention bats before, pleasing Bodie who tells him to bring some friends with him. Unfortunately for Bodie, HIS friend is more interested in a couple of the local ladies happily flirting with him and he has to call Poot to heel - he was always "a pussy crazed motherfucker" but now that he doesn't have a Pit to run anymore he's really thinking of nothing but. He and Bodie walk away, Bodie complaining and Poot saying at least he's getting some - Bodie says he does too, but he doesn't make it his everything.

Night falls and McNulty watches Sergei dump the can and drive away, confused as to what is going on. He calls Daniels who tells him to leave as well, they're not going to watch the can because it's clean, so a confused McNulty drives away, and somebody's shipment of "poo poo from Taiwan" is left sitting abandoned on a random street in Baltimore.

At Delores', the dock workers are STILL laughing uproariously as Ziggy's duck continues to lap down beer from a saucer, Ziggy himself nowhere to be seen. Frank and Nick sit at the bar away from the noise discussing what happened with the can earlier today. Frank admits the possibility that he is just being paranoid, and unnervingly Nick speaks up to say that whatever the case is, Spiros will know how to handle it. Nick is starting to look to Vondas as his role model as opposed to Frank, who tells Nick to be by first thing in the morning so they can go to the diner. He notices the duck for the first time and asks what the deal with it is, and Nick's one-word answer is all he really needs - "Ziggy".

McNulty returns to the Detail where there is a sense of jubilation in the air, none of them knowing that Frank - who they're mostly ignoring now - is sniffing the air. They explain that the second can was a mistake and laugh that they've got somebody on the Wire complaining bitterly about somebody loving up, and that has given them what they think is the Boss Man's phone number. Pleased, McNulty asks Freamon and Beadie if they want to join him for a drink, but Freamon wants to stay up and follow some more of the paper, fully engaged in the case now. Beadie isn't a drinker but says if McNulty can give her a ride home she'll join him for a drink, but only the one, any more than that and she gets sleepy. McNulty says he does too, amusing Freamon, and asks if Beadie doesn't have a ride, learning she needs her brake-pads replaced. She leaves, stopping to gleefully shake Freamon's shoulders in happiness over the day's progress, and then heads out into the future with McNulty.

At the bar - the same that McNulty made an rear end out of himself at the start of the episode - they exchange information about their kids and Beadie explains that her husband abandoned them to go south, claiming that he tried to make her choose between a career and being his wife, because he didn't get married to make his own meals. She laughs that he's making his own meals now, though, and then asks about McNulty's story - what happened to his wife? "She died," he says sadly, and her face falls before he laughs and she realizes he was joking. The bartender - Gus - shows up to pour McNulty another drink but he casually says he's had enough, and Gus - a good bartender - doesn't make a big deal of it, nodding and saying,"Whatever you say, Jimmy."

McNulty says he has to make a call, this time not a drunken demand to his wife but a sober call to the Connections line, asking for Eve and speaking to a pleasant and competent women who offers to set him up that night. He says he will be out of town for a couple of days though, so she asks what kind of girl he would like to be "entertained" by, saying they can have one ready or a variety for him to choose from. As he ponders what kind of girl he wants, he looks directly at Beadie sitting at the bar.

Bodie stands on the corner watching the new crew selling, going through the night with heavy business that used to spend all day at the Towers or in The Pit. To his disgust (with absolutely no sense of irony) he notices that the two dealers he "let go" are part of the new crew now, working and making money for somebody who actually has work and money for them. Quietly angry at this "betrayal", Bodie heads on into the night.

At Beadie's home, she gets McNulty a beer from the fridge and heads into the bedroom to check on the kids. McNulty settles down onto the couch, enjoying the domesticity of being in a family home again. He picks up one of the many toys left lying around, looks through her small CD collection and then heads into the small kitchen where everything further reinforces the domesticity - whiteboard notes about bills to pay, a basket of laundry on the table, even a policeman cookie jar that barks out,"STOP! STEP AWAY FROM THE COOKIE!" when he lifts the lid, the kids unfinished homework, pictures on the fridge of the kids at sports days and the like. As McNulty looks around, he stops thinking of Beadie as a potential booty call like the waitress at the start of the episode, seeing her more like Elena, a mother raising her kids by herself. In a surprising demonstration of maturity, he picks up his coat and prepares to leave, Beadie surprised to see him going. He smiles and tells her it has been a long day and she smiles back, seeming to understand. He leaves, thanking her for the beer, and drives home sober.

Early the next morning, Bodie waits at the new corner market with Poot and the rest of his crew. The new crew arrives and finds their territory occupied, and the leader demands Bodie get off of HIS corner. Bodie replies that it WAS his corner until Bodie took it from them while they were resting. Poot lifts his shirt to reveal the gun in his waistband, and the others around them show their bats, and the new crew leader looks nervous as he realizes that Bodie's crew might have poo poo product but they've still got muscle, and he tries to front, saying that he's giving Bodie a chance to walk away. Bodie mocks his crew, including his own cast-offs, and they retreat, the leader warning a dismissive Bodie that he'll haunt his sleep. They're gone, though Bodie's new territory still has the problem of lovely drugs, and Poot warns that the crew will be back. Bodie agrees, noting that after the way they just punked them, they HAVE to come back.

Also up bright and early, Frank and Nick arrive at Johnny's Diner where an offended Frank demands to know where Vondas is. Vondas says that he will tell The Greek whatever Frank has to say, but Frank refuses to play ball this time, turning and walking away and telling Nick to come with him. Before they can leave though, a new voice calls out, The Greek is there after all, either intrigued by Frank's actions or having decided that Frank is safe to speak with. Nick is surprised, he's seen the old man around before, and they all settle down at the booth, The Greek making nice but Frank wanting to get down to business. He explains that he suspects his cellphone is being tapped, the phone company doesn't care if he pays his bills and he's heard that the port cop who found the dead girls is working a Special Detail with the city police. So he changed up the second can, and immediately a port cop pulls over Sergei's truck? He suspects the police are into their computer.

The Greek is impressed, and Vondas explains that he shut down the warehouse as soon as he got the call from Frank. The Greek isn't so hasty though, saying they'll reopen it and continue to bring cans through, only they'll ALL be clean - so if anybody looks there will be nothing to find. Nick speaks up here, asking if they'll still be paid, causing Vondas to ask if he's joking. The Greek, displeased by this speaking out of turn, asks Nick's name, but after Nick gives it, Frank adds on with fierce price,"Sobotka." Realizing they're related, The Greek shrugs his displeasure away, understanding family (Prop Joe would commiserate) but points out that they're not in this for love, and to be fair they must treat everybody the same - no work? no pay? Nick disagrees though, they're still bringing the cans through, that's still work, and Frank has a more pressing concern - he's not taking the money for the money's sake, he's got Union business RIGHT NOW, stabbing his finger angrily into the table, fired up as he can only get when the Union is on the line, warning that the legislative session will soon be over and that's the whole reason he's involved in all this. The Greek considers, after all the money he pays Frank is nothing to him (remember how casually he tripled it in the past), everything to Frank, and agrees that they will continue to pay them for smuggling through clean cans. Satisfied, Frank gets up to leave, and here The Greek makes what I believe to be a gigantic mistake.

Smiling at Frank, he tells him he needs to relax, and suggests he spend some of the money on himself - buy himself something he can touch and feel, it's the reason they get out of bed in the morning. The Greek is a quiet man who lives with a low profile despite his huge wealth, but he's used to everybody he works with (with the exception of MAYBE Vondas) being greedy, short-sighted and out for themselves. Frank seems offended by the suggestion, just as Louis was offended when Frank offered him the Port Advisory Board position, and leaves with Nick in tow, The Greek left behind looking exposed for the first time... and thinking about the cost/benefit analysis of Frank Sobotka to his organization.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 14:02 on May 14, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Yeah, remember how he dismissed Frank's earlier concerns by telling Vondas to double and eventually triple his payments, because he assumed that Frank's conscience could be quashed by greed. He was half-right, but the reason isn't out of a personal desire - Frank's identity and focus is wrapped up in the Union, THAT is his life, and I think if The Greek had realized that was the truth earlier as opposed to just a justification for Frank's greed, he might have avoided dealing with him or made sure to NEVER meet him personally. Nothing is more dangerous to deal with than a zealot, how do you work out compromises and negotiations with a guy on a personal, "divine" crusade.


cletepurcel posted:

Something I noticed about the last scene with the Greek - he suggests that Frank spend the money on "a new car, a new coat...something you can touch." I don't know if the Greek knew it but its interesting that those are precisely what Ziggy and Nick first bought when they got in business with him.


This went completely over my head, great catch.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I certainly understand and in many ways agree with the need to be detached from the horrors of what they deal with on a daily basis, but I do think that the sex slavery aspect really is treated as something naturally less important/concerned, and quite deliberately so by the show's writers.

Even the jaded narcotics and homicide detectives will agree at the base level that "Murder/Drugs are bad and need to be stopped" even if they keep themselves detached and have a level of gallows humor about the whole thing, but the sex slaves are treated like any other prostitute* even after it's been expressly stated that many of them were brought over to the country under false pretenses with assurances they had jobs as secretaries lined up. The detectives are joking around even when they know the women are constantly under guard and the threat of acts of violence for not complying with their captors, and the men who make use of the women's bodies are let go with a joke (as in Mr. Johnson) or a flustered contempt (as in the crew of the Atlantic Light, who all took turns using those women onboard ship even if they weren't the ones who deliberately crushed the air pipe), while the women themselves are imprisoned and deported as if they are responsible perpetrators of crime as opposed to victims of it.

The upcoming episode where McNulty is discovered during the brothel bust having sex with two of the sex slaves because "they forced him" is played for laughs, but these women were all over him because if they didn't keep the John happy then their lives were in serious danger. There are times when inappropriate gallows humor is "appropriate" and I don't doubt the attitude expressed in the show isn't a common one in real life too (which is why it's in the show), but it speaks to a serious issue about the way people in society dismiss what is a serious and appalling ongoing crime.

* And course, many prostitutes are victims themselves who are forced into their lives by a wide range of circumstances, including drug addiction but also abuse, poverty and other societal ills but are then punished all out of proportion to the users/demanders of their "product".

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Sorry for an overdue new write-up, I'll have one up early tomorrow, the last week has been pretty hectic.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I've been stuck on top of a shipping can for the last week... I got some bad advice t:mad:

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2, Episode 9 - Stray Rounds

The Greek posted:

The world is a smaller place now.

Bodie and his crew are working their new corner, the Towers and Low Rises abandoned as dead markets. A white customer pulls up in his car, confused by the change in name of the product from Bin Ladens to WMDs.* As the crew sells their inferior product, making noises about how great it is to customers who are soon to find themselves ripped off, a mother watches Poot work in an alleyway from her window and hurries her kids up to prepare to go to school. Elsewhere, the crew who were run off in the previous episode are regathering for war, children among them, bringing guns with them this time. A boy on a bike gives warning as they approach and Bodie and Poot grab guns, the rest of their crew having to make do with baseball bats, and the firing starts wildly, everyone shooting blindly, running and not looking as they throw their arms out and pull the trigger without aiming. Bullets fly everywhere, the mother in the house grabbing her young daughter and rushing upstairs to the bathroom, yelling for her son to keep down on the floor and demanding he answer her. Bodie's crew is getting the worse of it by far, the other crew taunting him for "hiding" as he tries to reload his gun with a spare clip kept in his sock. The sound of sirens and the cries of "ONE TIME!" (police who only show up for a particular incident and aren't regular fixtures down on the corners) means that things have to break off without a clear resolution though, as everybody makes a run for it. Soon the streets are empty, the police arriving and quickly moving on in search of suspects (which probably means any young black male they spot), leaving the street to deal with the aftermath. The mother gets out of the bathtub with her child, the quickness of her initial response and businesslike calm now indicating that this is not the first time she has been on the periphery of gun violence in her neighborhood and calls out to her boy to get ready for school, but he doesn't answer. Irritated with T.T for not answering when the "drama" is clearly over, she heads into his room.... and wails with horror to see him lying dead on the floor in a pool of his own blood, the victim of stray rounds.

* This episode aired the same year that George W. Bush shifted the War on Terror from Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan to Saddam Hussein and his "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq. Bodie notes that it's the same poo poo, just under a different name.

At the Detail Office, Daniels, Beadie, Freamon, Bunk and McNulty are lamenting the obvious - the smugglers are changing things up. The wiretap on Pyramid's warehouse only two days ago was getting coded but obvious requests for drug-pickups, but now they're picking up a businesslike receptionist who wasn't there before, telling those who call in search of particular items of "furniture" that they no longer carry that stock. Belatedly the detectives - apart from Beadie - have realized that the second can was a test, and once they explain it to her she blames herself, she was the one who picked up the second can. All is not lost however, obviously the smugglers don't know just how deep they've already penetrated, because they haven't shut up shop and moved away, they're just sitting quietly hoping to wait the police out. Daniels notes that he himself is a patient motherfucker.

Herc and Carver are not. Watching Pyramid from across the road in another empty building, they're getting on each other's nerves. Herc claims that they've been there so long that Carver is starting to look good to him while Carver is snappy about Herc wasting film on useless shots of the same old thing - the warehouse and the guys milling aimlessly about outside it. The lack of action is infuriating to them, complaining that the drugs go in so they have to come out... so what the gently caress?

At the now abandoned drug corner, police are crawling all over the place within the taped off crime scene (taking up a large section of the block), and a soon to be pivotal figure makes his first appearance - Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin, Commander in the Western District. Rawls, overseeing the scene because of the PR nightmare of a child being shot, checks his watch and quips that the killing of a 9-year-old would normally have gotten the District Commander onto the scene within minutes. Colvin is unimpressed and unintimidated by Rawls, he was down in D.C with Commissioner Burrell visiting the Department of Justice for Grant money when the call came through and he returned to Baltimore as soon as he could. Ed Norris is the lead detective and Colvin is shadowed by his Lieutenant Dennis Mello. A fun fact about those two is that Norris is played by Ed Norris, a real life former Police Commissioner, and Mello is played by the real life Jay Landsman - a man who once excused his tardiness in getting to work by writing a memo explaining that a U-Boat was blocking the exit to his driveway. Rawls tells Colvin to get his tactical people to sweep up every dealer on every corner, and Colvin scoffs, saying its pointless. Rawls thinks he is complaining about the strategy and defends it - jack up enough shitbirds and the shooter will fall out - but Colvin didn't mean that, he was talking about everything. He complains that the war on drugs is just sweeping everything from one corner to the other and back again, and Rawls' fallback is to instruct him to sweep those corners, because it'll make him (Colvin) feel better.

The War On Drugs - We Do It Because It Makes Us Feel Better.

Bodie is also meeting with a superior, though he fears Stringer Bell far more than Colvin fears Rawls. He's struggling to explain his part in the messy and noisy shootout that happened earlier in the day, stumbling through an explanation involving WorldCom and the name change-up. Stringer coldly points out he talked about changing the name, not taking over corners and getting into shoot-outs, and a chastened Bodie explains that they've made so many name-changes on the same product that the junkies have stopped coming to the Low Rises and the Towers to get high, not quite articulate enough to explain that the junkies went where the superior product was and created a new marketplace, and the old dealers had no choice but to follow suit and go where the market was. Stringer points out that the shooting of a child means that the police HAVE to bust heads, which means that they have to shut down all their business until things blow over, which means NOBODY is making any money now, and Bodie clearly knows he's hosed up. Bodie was always borderline to outright disrespectful of D'Angelo but he holds Stringer in high regard, craves his approval and attention and is horrified at the idea of disappointing him or making him angry. He doesn't lie and admits he isn't sure whose gun killed T.T, but is sure that it wesn't any of theirs, claiming "those other niggas were going wild!" He stands up and joins Stringer in the middle of the room, where Stringer lays down some wisdom to somebody who might actually listen for a change - the game is more than the rep he carries or the corner he holds, he understands the need to be fierce and the place that has, but there needs to be flex, too, give and take on both sides. Bodie takes it in and Stringer tells him to get with Shamrock and dump all the guns used by their crew in the shooting, not just in a storm drain but out into the ocean. Shamrock and a driver take Bodie to the Hanover Street bridge to dump the guns, Bodie meticulously wiping every surface before popping them into a gym bag and tossing it over the side. They just keep on driving, not stopping to allow anyone the chance to take note of them... and thus fail to notice the gum bag land on a barge passing underneath the bridge at just that inopportune time.

Consider for a moment Stringer talking about the need for "flex", and compare that against Butchie's comment to Shamrock that Avon "has no flex". We'll see this come up more this season and especially the next, the growing distinction between Stringer's way of doing things and Avon's way of doing things, with plenty of discussion to come on the merits and problems of both.

At the diner, Vondas and Eton meet with Nick to discuss business. Vondas makes nice about Frank's paranoia, saying it makes sense to test things out so they won't be smuggling anything for a little while, just continuing to send out containers of actual goods to see if the police bite. On Nick's personal side of things, he needs a re-up on his package, and Vondas tells him that he shouldn't come to them any more for this. Why not? Vondas smiles and kindly explains that they are more wholesalers, and a sheepish Nick admits that he is smalltime, realizing the absurdity of coming to them for such relatively small packages. Again Vondas is kind, assuring Nick that he's not so big but he is still amongst friends, and Eton gives him the number of his new connection, surprising Nick who recognizes the name - Mike McArdle, White Mike from Curtis Point who he went to High School with. Vondas is surprised they know each other but says that Mike knows that Nick comes from them, so he will be treated right, and Eton passes over the numbers of two new shipping cans coming in. They're filled with nothing incriminating, they'll be a further decoy run so they can establish if the police are watching or not. Nick leaves and Vondas confirms with Eton that their "customers" have the new number to reach them for filling orders, then reveals some of his true feelings in regards to his nice, kind words to Nick - he thinks that Frank's paranoia is bullshit, the police clearly aren't onto them or they would have taken some of the decoy bait already.

At the Towers and the Low Rises, people are hanging out joking about - maybe some are dealers, maybe not - when the familiar cry of 5-0! rings out. People prepare to clear out, but the police aren't loving around this time or targeting a single person or crew. Every black male is grabbed and thrown to the ground, placed under arrest simply for being there. When one man complains an officer demands to know what he was doing in the Pit, and he makes the mistake of mouthing off, claiming he was just saying no to drugs. The officer quips that this isn't enough, he has to say "no thanks", and the hapless man and everybody else are bundled into wagons, watched in the rain by children who are getting a first hand lesson in why they shouldn't ever trust police officers - like in Iraq, they're not greeting the invaders as liberators. Colvin watches from the sidelines in disgust, joined by Mello who notes it is a shame it took the death of a child for them to finally get around to doing this. Colvin doesn't take such a shallow view though, asking just what in the hell it is they ARE doing?

At John's Radio and Television, Proposition Joe is commenting wryly on Stringer's problems in the wake of T.T's death, and jokes that it's a good day to be an East Side Nigga. Stringer notes that he won't have these problems if he takes up Joe on his proposition - if he has high quality product then his crews can sell quietly, not scuffling amongst themselves or trying to take other people's corners, just selling and making money. Intrigued, Joe asks if Stringer - who is West Side - has ever heard of Charlie Sollers, and he hasn't. A pleased Joe educates Stringer, Charlie dealt dope back in the 1960s at Franklin and Fremont, selling heroin like it was water. Stringer wracks his brain, but he's never heard of him, and a delighted Joe explains that this is his point, NOBODY knows about Charlie Sollers, nobody on the street, no police, no rival dealer, not even the stick-up boys. Sollers kept his profile low, he had no street rep, didn't get violent, all he did was sell heroin. He bout for a dollar and sold for two, nobody ever knew him and he made himself rich in his anonymity. Joe agrees that sometimes it IS necessary to use a gun, to use violence and murder, but he sees it as a last resort for when your back is against the wall. The problem is so many people make it a way of life when it isn't necessary, and points out that Avon is a soldier, somebody you need when poo poo is going bad but who just gets in the way during peacetime. Stringer considers this indictment of his best friend and comes to a momentous decision - he is going to buy his drugs from Proposition Joe at the same price that Joe buys it from HIS supplier. To make up for this lack of profit, Stringer is going to give Joe three of the six towers to use as territory for his own dealers - 734, 770 and 221. Joe is pleased, but how will Avon take this news? Stringer, proving that he doesn't understand Avon as well as he thinks he does, is convinced that once Avon sees how well the deal is working out, he'll have no choice but to see reason. Joe keeps his own counsel on that.

Ziggy and his duck are hanging out by a chain link fence surrounding cars down near the docks. The duck quacks, and Ziggy retorts,"No poo poo."

At Delores' later that night, the duck drinks out of his bowl while Ziggy and Johnny 50 drink beers. Ziggly grumpily complains that he's no longer working with Nick, claiming that this is drug money and drugs are bad! Johnny incredulously notes that Ziggy has spent the last year loving around dealing drugs and Ziggy complains that a man can grow, besides which he's got himself a plan that will make the drugs look like nothing. Johnny (who should know better) is intrigued, probably in no small part since he didn't allow himself to get caught up in the drugs with Nick when they pulled the chemicals heist, and lets Ziggy talk him into helping him out. New Charles - injured horribly a couple of episodes back - returns, cracking a joke about giving his right leg for a shot and a beer, and everybody applauds as he uses his crutches to get to the bar. Chess is delighted to hear that Nat Coxson hooked him up with a decent lawyer through the union, and Charlie notices the duck for the first time. They joke with Charles that he'll need a new nickname since he only has one leg now, and they crack themselves up with suggestions till Ziggy comes up with Tilt. Delores slips Charles' money back in his pocket, his drinks are on the house, and he knocks back a shot happily, telling Ziggy he likes the sound of Tilt.

At the Detail Office, McNulty makes another call to Connections but this time he finds himself facing an unexpected interrogation. While Pearlman and Greggs watch unimpressed, he fumbles his way through protesting he's not a police officer and struggles to come up with an occupation and a place of residence, lamely suggesting he's a traveling salesman who travels and... uhhh... and he's not going to tell her where he lives.... out of town? "Eve" hangs up on him, saying they won't be able to help him, and he complains to Pearlman and Greggs that he wasn't expecting interrogation, he's supposed to be a guy who just wants to get laid. The way Pearlman rolls her eyes suggests he can forget anything like that happening tonight.

Outside Delores', Ziggy is in a terrible state, pacing back and forth, clenching his teeth and fighting back tears, holding his duck's leash in his hands. Nick arrives and says a casually offensive hello, and Ziggy pops him right in the jaw. More surprised than hurt, Nick grabs Ziggy tight when he comes flying and flailing at him, pinning him in place and demanding to know what's wrong with him. Ziggy finally pulls free and staggers on into the night, a confused Nick heading inside Delores' which has an unusually somber atmosphere. He asks Delores what Ziggy's problem is and she snaps that she doesn't want to talk about that rear end in a top hat, nodding in the direction of the pool table. The duck is lying dead on the felt, and Chess explains that it drank itself to death. Ott complains that Ziggy was an idiot to let the duck drink in the first place, and a very drunk La-La says the thing couldn't hold its liquor anyway before spilling his own beer. All three of them were active participants in encouraging and enjoying watching the duck drink, as was Delores herself, but now that it is dead their recriminations come out, and Ziggy is the one treated as the idiot and the fool for doing what they all enjoyed seeing. Ziggy WAS stupid, there's no doubt, but he's hardly alone in the blame.

The next day, the Detail is trying to figure out a new way to deal with the brick wall they've come up against. Going back over the few calls they got into Pyramid before it closed up right, they easily crack the code of Lazy Boys and Davinas as indicating heroin and cocaine respectively. The numbers being dealt with were always whole numbers, and they dismiss the notion it could be ounces since Proposition Joe wouldn't go to so much trouble for drugs that would barely make it through a single morning in his East Side territory. Belatedly they realize that the numbers were kilos, and that Pyramid is the main stash - they're sitting on a MASSIVE drugs stockpile. Now the reason for Herc and Carver's long vigil is revealed, what happened at that warehouse while they were watching? Did any trucks come out? The answer is no, but cars did come and go, driven by nobodies, none of the heavy hitters they saw arriving before the shut-down. Clearly the last shipment was sent out in the back of cars instead of vans or trucks, but now they know the location of the main stash they need to get access to it again, and that means finding a new number. Pearlman has good news here, the Probable Cause that got them the first number will apply to the new one as well, so it's just a matter of getting the number. No new telephone lines have been put in, which means they're probably using a cellphone, and since they have Sergei's cell they can probably get Pyramid's new number from that. Seeing fresh traction, Daniels hands out assignments - Beadie, Bunk, Freamon and Prez will work shifts on the wiretap room, while Herc and Carver - much to their chagrin - are back watching the warehouse. Greggs and McNulty are working the brothel, but McNulty has hit a roadblock there so they'll need to work out a new strategy. Nobody has any questions so Daniels returns to his office and everybody else gets to work on their new assignments except for Freamon, who stops to ask McNulty how he handled things with Connections. He immediately picks up on why his traveling salesman act failed, saying that the best way to allay suspicion is to be from as far away as possible, and asks if McNulty can do any accents, like British or Irish or Scottish? McNulty - played by Dominic West, a British actor putting on an American accent - delivers an incredibly bad English accent which cracks Freamon and Greggs up, and Freamon tells him to work on it some more.

Vondas is receiving some troubling news from Eton, the Colombians they are dealing with have paid only $200,000 of the $800,000 they owe, and have said they will only pay another 200k more... and that only when their shipment has cleared the docks. Vondas is a thoughtful man, not quick to anger, and he carefully considers as he smokes his cigarette, asking pertinent questions. Were the Colombians happy with the chemicals that were sent to them (presumably what Nick stole for Vondas)? Eton says they were, and that they want more. Are the Colombians aware that The Greek can GUARANTEE the shipment will clear Customs? Again, they are. So... why are they trying to get away with paying only half? Eton can't understand but Vondas does, the Colombians think that The Greek is running an all-profit business, and that he will take half what he is owed because it is all a bonus. Eton asks if The Greek will be angry, but a pleased Vondas notes that this is business, so The Greek will be smart.

Homicide is overflowing with "suspects" arrested at the Towers and Low Rises, Landsman cracking wise that one 9-year-old gets accidentally shot and the whole city goes crazy. He wants to know from Norris and Cole what they have, and they say the name that keeps popping up is Bodie's. Landsman wants to know why Bodie isn't currently in an interrogation room and they inform him they've got uniforms watching his grandmother's house, smirking and asking Landsman if he thinks they're dealing with amateurs. After seeing the way Daniels and his Detail worked out a new plan of action that is, of course, exactly what it looks like, and Landsman clearly isn't impressed either, but he leaves the smug Cole and Norris to enjoy their sense of a good day's work.

Ziggy is trying to get credit too, visiting Glekas at his store to make a proposition. Glekas would prefer to deal with Nick, of course, but this is all Ziggy's operation and Nick isn't involved. He can get S-Class and SL-Class Benzes, brand new with keys in the ignition. He will only steal a minimum of three cars, and he wants 15k for each car, since they're all worth 70k+ each, and a disgusted Glekas snaps that a stolen car is a stolen car, and HE would be lucky to get 10k for each one, let alone pay 15k to Ziggy for each. Ziggy thought of that though, noting to a thoughtful Glekas that in Baltimore this might be the case, but he's sure that Glekas has relatives overseas who don't give a gently caress if the car was stolen, and it would be a sad state of affairs if an entrepreneur like him had no idea what to do with a couple of extra Mercedes. Glekas is hooked on the line, Ziggy has actually made him see his logic.

A pleased McNulty and Freamon arrive at Daniels' office with good news - McNulty has successfully gotten an appointment at Connections and the shuttle will be picking him up tonight. Off-screen he has used his fake accent and the pseudonym of James Cromwell to convince them he is a real prospective client. He explains that Cromwell is the name of the "fucker who stole my family's land", referring to Oliver Cromwell who, amusingly enough, also rose up to lead a revolution against the preexisting establishment authority, just like McNulty joked Bunk should have done back in season one. Daniels tells him to have Greggs wire him up, and Freamon wistfully notes how nice it would be to be on the wire when the news of the brothel being busted broke. Daniels smiles and says with a little luck they will be, but then brings up an issue that has been troubling him. The Russian - Sergei - doesn't appear in any law enforcement records anywhere, and he thinks it unlikely that somebody so heavily involved in a smuggling/drugs operation wouldn't have popped up somewhere in the past. He asks McNulty if he can contact his old FBI buddy, and McNulty sheepishly admits that he kind of made a point of pissing Fitzhugh off after their disastrous meeting at the end of season one. Freamon asks what the big deal is, McNulty pisses EVERYBODY off, and they share a laugh. Before McNulty goes though, Freamon hands him a sheet on Glekas as well, asking Fitzhugh to run that as well.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Down by the docks, Ziggy and Johnny are looking over the cars, all just waiting to be picked up and taken to various dealers to be sold. Johnny is confused by Ziggy's plan, which seems needlessly complicated, but Ziggy actually has good reason for his planning, not least of which is diverting all suspicion away from the prospect that this is an inside job.

Beadie spots a can disappear from the Talco line being worked on by Horseface and asks Freamon and Bunk if they're going to follow it. Freamon doesn't see the point, they know the destination, and he puts through a call to Herc and Carver to let them know about the can that may be arriving, giving them the number. Carver, bored out of his mind, asks what Freamon wants them to do, and Freamon - completely dismissive of the notion that sitting in an empty warehouse all day is not mentally stimulating - sighs and tells them to see if it arrives, and then see what happens with it when it does. He breaks off, and Herc notes to Carver that he is beginning to suspect they're not respected as criminal investigators.

McNulty visits Fitzhugh in a nightmare office of partitioned walls, and Fitzhugh calmly dismisses McNulty's apology, telling him he knew they were screwing the pooch but he couldn't complain or make a fuss - in the BPD if you piss off your bosses you ride the boat, but in the FBI you get assigned to a dusty Indian Reservation in the middle of nowhere. McNulty is still apologetic though - because he needs something - and insists that he was out of line, and Fitzhugh once again assures him everything is fine between them and asks to see what he has. McNulty gives him the DMV photos for Sergei and Glekas and asks if he can find anything on them, Fitzhugh noting with some amusement that it's rare to see McNulty after white boys. He's surprised when he finds nothing on Glekas since McNulty told him they got a little bit from Customs, and using the print-scanner to do a deeper search of FBI records, and finds a listing for a Case Officer in San Diego for Glekas. That is a bit of a surprise, though McNulty is more impressed by the mostly automated systems that Fitzhugh can use to place a direct call to the San Diego office - if McNulty wants to make a long distance call he needs to fill out three forms and get a Lieutenant's approval. There is a downside to this automated system though, which we won't discover till the final episode of this season. But for now it's enough to say that Fitzhugh gets straight through to Koutris who informs him casually that Glekas was a minor player in a stolen goods case whom Koutris dismissed as somebody just trying to play it slick, and offers to send through whatever information he has on him. Hanging up, Koutris' face falls and he pulls out a black book from his inner jacket pocket and places a call himself, telling the person on the other end that they need to talk.

Herc takes snaps of the shipping can arriving at Pyramid, while at the gate Eton asks Sergei if he was followed and gets a negative. Letting Sergei in, he tells one of his men to go up and down the street and make notes of the tag numbers of all the parked cars. The underling clearly isn't pleased by this security measure but Eton quietly insists, so off he goes as Herc continues to take photos, the report going back to Freamon that the truck is there but not currently being unloaded.

Cole and Norris' professional detective work has gotten them Bodie into the interrogation room, where they demonstrate a wonderful lack of self-awareness as they declare to a confused Bodie that nobody ever thinks they're stupid, it's a part of their stupidity! Their angle is to try and convince Bodie that they already know everything, telling him they don't even need to hear his side of the story because they already know it. They do have an ace up their sleeves though, a jaunty Cole leaves the interrogation room and returns with the gym bag that Bodie thought was at the bottom of the ocean, and immediately declares that Bodie hosed up by the way he visibly reacted to it. They removed the bagged guns, laying all three down on the table in front of him to show him all the evidence they have, and Bodie's heart seems to be sinking... till Cole overplays his hand by declaring they even have one of Bodie's fingerprints on the gun. Bodie's entire demeanor changes, challenging them to show him which one, and now it is Cole and Norris' turn to visibly shrink before Cole takes a wild guess and with false confidence taps a gun, saying it is Bodie's. Bodie, relieved that the guns are clean and the police are clearly bullshitting, has only one reply - "Lawyer."

The Greek, Vondas, Glekas, Eton and Ilona (Eve) are sharing an intimate meal and discussing a troubling new detail - Koutris has informed them that the FBI was looking into Glekas. They comment about how long ago San Diego was for them and The Greek asks Vondas about the investigation into the dead women, he thought the police were local? Vondas doesn't protest or make excuses, he just shrugs and says that they were, he had no inkling of any FBI involvement. The Greek considers, and Eton is questioned about what is happening at the warehouse, they don't seem to be being followed and none of the tags they took down belonged to law enforcement. As Vondas told Eton earlier, it's business to The Greek, and he will play things smart, and all things considered he believes the smart thing to do is a couple more days of clean cans being taken from the docks, then back to their regular smuggling. They will be careful, but they will be smuggling again, back to business as usual. Vondas notes that Koutris will need to be thrown a bone for his warning, and the early impression of Koutris is that he is a plant, a traitor or even just an opportunistic and immoral Agent on the take - there's more to it than that, but this is the impression given us at this point at least. The Greek considers again, and comes to another conclusion, they will give Koutris the Colombians, who took the chemicals they sent but tried to get away with paying only half what was owed (and they've only paid half of that half up front). He wryly points out that Colombians are considered terrorists nowadays, and the FBI is currently VERY interested in that type of thing, so he will give it to them. They all share a laugh, Vondas feeling safe to comment now that the Colombians are trash, just a few friends out for dinner and sharing good times. Eton, the lowest rung on the ladder present, receives a phonecall from Sergei and tells him there will be another clean can smuggled through tomorrow, unaware that Sergei's phone is tapped and Bunk and Beadie are listening in. Recognizing Eton's voice from the previous warehouse calls, he eagerly phones Pearlman, they can get a new affidavit and get back onto the Main Stash.

Stringer has Cherry check out the quality of the drugs that Prop Joe has provided him, and it's "raw", such high quality that they could stomp on it and still have far superior product. Stringer instructs Shamrock to prepare it for sale once the police interest dies down, and to let Prop Joe's people take over the three towers he has set aside for them. Shamrock doesn't question this handover of hard-gained territory, he is Stringer's man through and through, a step up from what Bodie is being groomed to be.

At the Detail Office, Freamon is leading Prez through changing up their paperwork while Daniels and Pearlman consider the chart of their case so far (Frank Sobotka's faceis now almost obscured by the various notes and papers slapped over it) - it seems the people they are chasing are into a little bit of everything, from drugs to prostitutes to stolen goods. McNulty arrives with what news he got on Glekas (apparently they had nothing on Sergei) and Daniels is surprised to hear it was in San Diego, noting that these people get around. Pearlman spots that McNulty is carrying a suit and he jokes it is for date night, and Freamon brings over the paperwork and respectfully asks her to run, ma'am, because they want to be back on the wire in time to hear the fallout from the brothel raid. Prez goes with her, he's the Affiant and needs to be there to swear that the paperwork is true and honest to the best of his knowledge.

Glekas, acting surprisingly warmly to Ziggy, asks if he can be sure to get the SL-series in Pacific Blue. Ziggy tells "Chief" that he can get him anything he wants, but they all have to have sun roofs, causing Glekas to arch an eyebrow. Ziggy says its a long story, and then kind of ruins Glekas' pleasant and receptive mood by asking if he can get an advance on his payment, Glekas was just starting to think of Ziggy as something more than just a gently caress-up. There'll be no payment until delivery, and Ziggy laughs it off, saying he had no intention of trying to rip off such a savvy businessman, and Glekas actually slaps hands with him when offered.

Meanwhile, Stringer is having a very awkward meeting with his middle-management at the funeral parlor, including Shamrock and Bodie. Complaining that he has to think everything through, look out for everything and that still isn't enough - that's why the CEOs get paid so much money, because they're the ones who have to take the responsibility when everything goes wrong while everybody else gets to run and hide (this isn't even remotely true, haha). They try to speak up but he shouts them down, reminding them what a simple task they were given - all they had to do was dump the guns into the sea, as simple as that, and they hosed it up. Voice raised but still in complete control, he looms over them while they're forced to sit, going through the simplicity of the task - walk to the water, make sure nobody is looking, drop the guns in the water, hear the splash, see them sink. He demands they get out but holds Bodie back, wanting to know what if anything he said to the police in interrogation. Bodie is quick to insist he said nothing, pointing out that the police hosed up by saying they'd found his prints when he knew he'd wiped all the surfaces clean, besides which they pointed to the wrong gun when he asked which one was supposedly his. Giving a little honey out now after chewing him out, Stringer accepts this and gives his approval, offering his hand and then faking a punch, playing with Bodie and making him feel Stringer is approachable. Letting him go, he reminds Bodie to lock the door behind him.

I love Bodie in that second shot, he's going along and playing the part but he's incredibly wary of Stringer and his intentions. Not that he doesn't trust him or isn't devoted to him, but he fears him too, and there is probably a part of him that is second-guessing whether he might suffer the same fate as Wallace before him.

Ziggy pops into a pawn store looking for a bolt-cutter while he pawns off the diamond necklace that used to go around his duck's neck. The owner eyes it up and offers $1200, and Ziggy surprisingly doesn't try to haggle at all, accepting the price, his eyes locked on the guns in the display cabinet.

Nick meets with White Mike, the two hugging despite Nick's apparent earlier season disgust with Mike as a very concept (notice how quickly Nick's opinions have changed with the advent of easy money?) and Mike tells him that Nick's name has been "ringing out" in his mind lately. He's bemused and surprised to see Nicky Sobotka "living the life" but Nick doesn't rise to the bait, telling him he wants 2-3 G-Packs a week, and that The Greek's people told him he could get that for $4000 each, surprising Mike who normally charges 5. He puts through a call to Sergei to confirm, and to his credit once he gets confirmation he simply accepts it, that's the way things will be. Before he gets off the phone though, he has another piece of business, asking Sergei if he dropped a particular body recently, since it happened outside a house he was using for his operation and the victim had a greek sounding name. Sergei, ignorant that his phone is tapped, makes the biggest mistake of his life by bragging that if the body had hands and a face then it wasn't "us" who did it, and hangs up. Mike returns to Nick and accepts the terms, complimenting him on his powerful friends, and they bump fists, Nick again taking on some of the mannerisms he once held in contempt.

Freamon listens back to Sergei's blurted out confession, something tickling at his mind, while a suited McNulty is presented with a man's purse as part of his cover (and a place to put the mic) and given his instructions. The code-word to call in the troops is "Spot on", and he needs to get them to bring up the money and the sex and make an overt attempt to perform the deed in order to have something to charge them with. As they laugh about his upcoming role, Lester is on the phone looking for records in the mid-atlantic area of bodies found without heads or faces, and both hands missing.

The Greek meets with Agent Koutris on a park bench in the middle of nowhere, holding a conversation that goes entirely unheard even by us the viewer. Finally The Greek casually hands over a slip of paper and walks away.

Making his first appearance of the episode, Frank Sobotka is celebrating good news at last with Horseface and Nat Coxson. The House and Senate look set to pass an allocation of 4.5 million dollars to be allocated in the fiscal period next year. His greasing has finally paid off, it seems they have the guaranteed votes at last. But Frank wants more, his goal is still to get the canal dredged, and after the three of them drink champagne out of paper cups and then happily shift over to something harder, he once again raises with Nat the idea of serving another year as Secretary-Treasurer. Nat is unmoved though, it's Ott's turn and that's the way things are. Things take another unhappy turn for Frank when the door opens and Frank discovers himself face to face with a member of the FBI - a Special Agent named Agent Koutris. Frank has no idea of the connection with The Greek, but you can bet he's thinking of The Greek and the smuggling they've been doing. Remember that Koutris is supposed to be operating out of San Diego, but he is introduced as an Agent from Washington working out of Counter-Terrorism, that last word REALLY getting Frank's attention. Koutris hands him over a slip of paper, the same one that The Greek gave to Koutris earlier in the day.

McNulty sings Some Enchanted Evening as he waits for the van to pick him up, eyes on him from every angle as Daniels checks in on the other officers. The van arrives and picks McNulty up, and Daniels and then Greggs follow after it.

At the docks, a confused Frank, Nat and Horseface watch as a can full of barrels of paint pigments is unloaded and gone through. Frank insists he has no idea what is going on, tonight he's just a dumb white boy from Locust Point. Koutris is growing increasingly agitated, they've scanned the can and found no inconsistencies, every barrel shows the same thing inside, and opening one up just reveals pellets of blue paint pigment. Frank's involvement was simply to organize the can they were searching for to be brought to them, this really does seem to just be a colossal waste of everybody's time.

Stringer and Brianna share drinks at the upstairs bar of the funeral parlor, with Stringer broaching a very sensitive topic. He needs Brianna to sell Avon on the idea of using Joe's drugs and giving up half the tower territory to Joe. Stringer loves Avon like a brother, but Avon is more likely to listen to Brianna than him on this. She disagrees, dreamily reminding him that all the words she put in Avon's ear about D'Angelo amounted to nothing in the end. Stringer had to know this would come up but holds up well, insisting with a straight face that he knows Avon didn't see it coming, then adding that none of them did. Brianna, with the benefit of hindsight, insists that she did, and Stringer shifts things back to business - they have to get Avon to listen because currently their product is weak and they don't have the muscle to hold the territory they've got. He points out that he doesn't have Wee-Bey, Stinkum and Bird anymore, and while he knows that she has a heavy heart at the moment, she needs to do this. Looking up at the man she is ignorant had her son killed, Brianna insists that while the towers stand, so does she.

A clearly delighted McNulty watches as "Eve" parades his choice of women in front of him, a figurative meat market of smiling, scantily dressed women who were shipped over from overseas to a life of captive sexual abuse. He asks if he would be out of line choosing two, causing Bunk to laugh listening outside in the van. The driver who picked McNulty up is already cuffed and being lead away, and the cops head inside so they can be ready to spring the moment they hear "Spot on".

Koutris has made a desperate phonecall to The Greek over the lack of anything to be found in the paint pigment barrels, and a jovial Greek insists that they ARE there and hangs up. Koutris has no idea what to do next... till he looks down at the pellet in his hand and comes to a realization. He scatches away the paint on the surface and realizes that each pellet is pure cocaine, and there are thousands of pellets in each barrel, and dozens of barrels in the crate. His mouth drops open and he makes a little,"Hunnnhhh" of joy, realizing he has just made a MASSIVE drugs bust on behalf of the FBI, all thanks to The Greek's gratitude for tipping him off.

McNulty is taken to a private room where the girls are all over him, stripping down as he attempts to remember his codeword, knowing that the others are listening in on every word. Kima confirms to Daniels that money has already changed hands and sex has definitely been discussed prior to our arriving on the scene, and as one of the women begins to jerk McNulty off he finally manages to kind of remember his code word, crying out,"SPOT ON IT! SPOT ON IT!"

The police are straight down the corridor and to the door of the brothel, where one officer prepares to break down the door till Daniels stops him, asking him a question that is rarely asked,"Why?" Colvin asked what the point of everything was earlier and got told to just do his job, but Daniels is in charge here and sees no point to bursting in to make a quick arrest, and as Bunk points out, it's not like they're going to flush half a dozen whores down the toilet. They knock and introduce themselves as the Baltimore Police Department, and when they're asked what they want, Bunk replies,"To lock your rear end up." The door is unlocked and they're inside, Eve calmly motioning to the concerned women not to say a thing, and all of them knowing the dangers to themselves if they do. The rooms are quickly checked, everybody arrested, "Eve", the muscle, the prostitutes (who are victims in all this, remember) and then finally Bunk and Greggs head into the final room where they're more exasparated than anything else to find an "overpowered" McNulty being "forced" to have sex with the two prostitutes, both of whom know the dire consequences for themselves if they don't please the person who has purchased them to use for an hour or so. It's played for laughs, and it IS a very funny scene, but it pays to remember the darker truth behind the entire scenario. But there we have it, a successful evening for the BPD and a successful evening for the FBI, with an operative from each ending up looking orgasmically happy.

However it's not considered a win the next day. The news is all about the FBI's Drug Seizure, with Burrell, Rawls and Valchek watch with a mixture of anger and wistfulness as the reporter announces that the seized drugs were worth in excess of FORTY-FIVE MILLION DOLLARS, and there are suspected links to Colombian Narco-Terrorist Organizations. Daniels and Pearlman are present too, and Valchek jokes to Daniels that he would die happy if they could link something like that to Frank Sobotka. Daniels insists the case is progressing and in typical BPD higher-level fashion, is immediately asked what he can charge. Pearlman explains they're not at that point yet, and Daniels calmly lays down what they DO have - wires into a smuggling operation linked to both drugs and women, with a very likely link to the people who brought in the dead girls in the can (that gets an approving nod from Rawls). They're on the location of a trans-shipment point for narcotics, and last night they raided a brothel that is also linked to the case. When Burrell learns it was a high-end brothel, he's only half-joking when he suggests they burn any client list they find, Valchek laughing along, and again there is that basic idea that prostitution - even in the case of sex slavery - is somehow a tolerable crime. Rawls asks if there were any complications and Pearlman is quick to dismiss that there were any REAL problems, neither of them wanting to mention McNulty. They explain that Immigration has the women, and they cut loose the legal resident Madam because they want to encourage talk on the wire, which is also why they're not pushing the women to talk - they want their targets to think it was a random raid and nothing specifically targeted. Rawls cuts to the chase, are they closer to solving the murders? Daniels says they are, provided they're right in their assumption that the women were smuggled in by this same group. Rawls is satisfied, but Valchek isn't, he's noted a complete lack of the name Frank Sobotka so far. Pearlman explains that their may be Checker involvement in the smuggling but nothing else so far, and an angry Valchek reminds them that the whole point of this is Frank Sobotka. Pearlman disagrees, this case is bigger than that now, and Valchek grumpily asks "missy" if she has a charge on Frank Sobotka or not. They do, but charging him now would wreck the wiretap and their real targets, infuriating Valchek who yells that Frank IS the real target. Burrell tries to play peacemaker, saying to be patient, and Valchek snaps that Burrell owes him on this... and Burrell puts his foot down at last. Valchek wanted the Detail, he got the Detail. He wanted Daniels, he got Daniels. Burrell has provided. Valchek is furious, getting up with what dignity he can muster before cracking and accusing them all of being against him, especially Burrell now that he has the votes and is secure in the Commissioner's Office. He storms out, insisting this is HIS case. An unlikely turn of events has occurred, now Rawls and Burrell are the ones supporting Daniels and his Detail, because there is a big case and 14 unsolved murders to bring in.

loving ratfuckers, all of ya!

Brianna has bad news for Stringer. Off-screen she has visited Avon in prison and made her case, and Avon... said no. As Butchie noted, Avon has no flex, he simply does not accept the notion of needing to give up the towers. He perceives it as showing weakness, he doesn't want to give up any of the towers he worked so hard for, and he forsees Joe getting over on them and never letting them out. Stringer completely disagrees with this take, reminding Brianna that they have weak product and no muscle, and she doesn't disagree.... neither does Avon for that matter, but he believes that he can solve both of those issues without resorting to Joe. He is still actively looking for a fresh connect even from inside prison, and as for muscle... he has organized with New York to send them... Brother Mouzone.

The Wire is a mostly realistic show with important things to say about many things, but every so often they provide a larger than life figure to contrast against the every day. Omar has been just such a figure in season one and two, and now a fresh "legend" is set to appear. Stringer is obviously taken aback by this revelation from Brianna, Avon got them Brother Mouzone? Apparently he is working on retainer, coming down to help them hold the towers for as long as is needed. This is obviously a complication that Stringer didn't take into account, he's not exactly staging a coup here but he is operating directly against the wishes of his leader and best friend, even if he believes that is in Avon's best interests. Brother Mouzone is there to hold the towers for them... but what good is holding the towers when they have no product to sell... or at least, no product worth buying?

Bunk happily reads McNulty's report of the brothel incident, which includes the truth that the undercover officer was "brought to a sexual act". Bunk laughs that McNulty is going to be a pervert's legend in the BPD for this, but McNulty insists he can't perjure himself, actually seeming to take this somewhat seriously since it pertains to the big case and that is policework that he truly respects. Bunk reminds him that there isn't going to be a trial/charges, the raid was done to tickle the wiretap, and Pearlman arrives and reads over McNulty's shoulder, apparently discovering for the first time that McNulty actually had sex with the prostitutes. He tells her he was outnumbered and she walks out in disbelief, Bunk slapping McNulty's shoulder with a smile - included in this scene is the casual acknowledgement that the prostitutes (sex slaves) arrested are all being deported.

Proposition Joe has just gotten the unwelcome news from Stringer that Brother Mouzone is coming because he and Brianna tried to sell the necessity for the deal on the notion that they couldn't hold the towers without proper muscle. There is even more unwelcome news, Stringer wants to maintain their new relationship but can't be seen to be responsible for taking Brother Mouzone out, so he wants one of Joe's people to do it. Joe nips that poo poo right in the bud, pointing out that Brother "got more bodies on him than a Chinese cemetery". Stringer admits this is true, and Joe reminds him that this is STRINGER'S problem, not his, and if he wants Joe's product, then he has to deal with it. Stringer soothes him though, reminding him of certain facts - Avon is going to have to organize all of this from prison, Brother is going to have to prepare, come down and set-up, they have at least a couple of weeks of prep-time. They get Joe's people into the towers, they get things running with all of them selling Joe's product, and when the money starts flowing, Stringer is convinced that Avon will see it his way... once again, Stringer fails to understand an intrinsic facet of Avon's personality - money is secondary to him, a distant second. It's not for Joe though, and he sees the logic in what Stringer has to say.

Herc and Carver report that the truck is being moved out of Pyramid after sitting untouched for two days, and Freamon and Prez understand now that the smugglers have been testing them, seeing if they were being watched. They didn't take the bait, and now as confirmed by Eton's cellphone call to Vondas, they're about to start up proper operations once more. Even better, the call mentions the Brother raid - Ilona is "home" but the "children are gone", but "there are always more children". Prez asks why they don't tap the number of whoever Sergei's Boss (Eton) just called and Freamon says that call may just be the Probable Cause they need to do it, showing Prez that the number is the same as that they earlier picked up as the "Boss Man". It's not, of course, but getting up to Vondas takes them one level from the very top - they've been as smart and patient as The Greek usually is, and it's paying off for them.

At the towers, Colvin and Mello watch the peaceful atmosphere, made possible by the high presence of police officers nearly everywhere. Mello comments that things are peaceful today, and Colvin - who knows their elevated presence will last only so long - pointedly comments,"Today." They get into the car and drive away, and another car pulls up, one with New York plates. The legendary killer Brother Mouzone has arrived far earlier than Stringer predicted, stepping out to observe the towers he will soon be protecting/guarding all by himself. A patrolling officer passes by and he offers a respectful greeting, the officer not seeing him as suspicious at all. Why not? Surely the renowned killer's ferocious aura stands out to everybody around him?

In The Wire, even the over-the-top legendary figures are never quite as straight-forward as you might expect.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Something that I keep coming back to after watching this episode - the Colombians tried to shortchange The Greek over $400,000 because they assumed he was making pure profit and would accept the half amount because it's still all "found money". They did this over a shipment that was worth FORTY-FIVE MILLION DOLLARS, and that's just one shipment. Jesus Christ. You'd think this was short-sighted stupidity on their behalf but I imagine there are any number of actual legitimate companies who probably do very similar things and get away with it - we're big dogs and you should be grateful for our custom, so we're going to only pay half what we agreed on and you'll like it :colbert:

the black husserl posted:

Sorry but this is wrong. You call them 'one time' because you only get one look at them - look twice at the cops and they'll think you're suspicious and haul you in. It's not slang for any special police, it's just slang that means "I see the cops".

You're awesome at these write ups but it is really cute to see a definition of american slang that you don't get :)

I recommend Urban Dictionary for all your future needs:

Thanks, but this is slightly frustrating because I actually just recently read (in Clockers, of all places) the description of ONE TIME! I used in this write-up, and I thought,"Oh hey so THAT'S what it means, I always wondered about that!" You lied to me, Richard Price! :argh:

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

SpookyLizard posted:

Bodies a real clever cocksucker if gets the chance. He's also the only one on the corner who knows what Entrapment meant.

Doesn't he call it contrapment? :3:

But yes, Bodie doesn't panic when they bring him in, even when they pull out the bag he thought he'd dumped in the ocean, his reaction isn't panic but more,"Well gently caress now I guess I have to go to jail, harumph" and the moment he realizes that Cole and Norris are bullshitting (I love their line about stupid people not knowing they're stupid) you can see the confidence just flow back into him.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

The whole thing was completely illegal, Bodie is basically cut loose because he's smart enough to know what entrapment is and mention it while being arrested while near a sympathetic/amused ear. I'm sure that because of the sheer bulk of the arrests that did happen most of the others just got told to cut deals and get reduced sentences by lawyers who were keen to get through the mass, encouraged by the ASAs who knew this was a huge mess that they needed to sweep under the carpet as soon as possible. Poot gets out fairly quickly, if I remember right.

The whole thing was basically a giant clusterfuck caused by one pissed off District Commander deciding,"gently caress the law," and just doing what he thought was necessary to make things better.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

escape artist posted:

Bernard was there, and he wasn't in the weapons room or Hamsterdam.

Squeak WASN'T there, which is probably why Bernard was :laugh:

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Ainsley McTree posted:

You seem to be forgetting one of the funniest lines on the show!

Haha, nope I will never forget that, it's one of my favorite lines/scenes ever :)

Edit: To clarify, I misread Escape Artist's post and somehow got it into my head that Bernard WAS in the weapons room and got picked up there, and Squeak was picked up later off of the wire and ripped him a new one once they were together again in custody.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Related links took me to a nice little example of effective policework/networking/relationship building and... Colicchio :negative:

Where's the love, Bodie?

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2, Episode 10: Storm Warnings

Ziggy posted:

It pays to go with the union card every time.

At the Detail Office, Prez shows up early in the morning and plays Johnny Cash's Walk The Line as he makes coffee and slowly reworks the notice-board with the haphazard notes and connections on the port case so far. A brief montage of the surveillance work going into the Detail's case occurs at the same time, showing photos of cars and license plates by Carver, Herc placing GPS trackers on the cars of The Greeks' people - Eton, Glekas, Sergei, Ilona etc. Prez divides up everything into categories - watched appreciatively by Freamon and Greggs - and finally has everything laid out in an incredibly comprehensive organizational chart that shows their knowledge of The Greek's Organization, the port workers and East Side Drug Dealers from as low as Nick Sobotka to as high as Proposition Joe. Frank Sobotka is as sidelined as it can get, the photo that one took up the most space has been cut down and tucked into one lower corner, basically irrelevant to the case now. Pleased with his work, Prez stands back and takes the entire thing in, declaring,"loving A."

A very pleased Bodie is happily checking the count in the Towers, where business is once again booming and no longer wasted on happy children and social civilians enjoying the weather. He tells Puddin to let Mo Man know they'll need far more on the Re-Up, commenting that he hasn't seen things this busy for a long time. Every silver lining has a cloud though, as two cars pull up, one with Stringer Bell and the other with Cheese Wagstaff (initially known as Cheese Flagstaff in this season), an East Side dealer in Barksdale turf. Bodie greets Stringer and Shamrock and tells him the package is good, and Stringer points out the East Side dealers and tells Bodie to give them all the hospitality that West Side is known for. An enthusiastic Bodie gets Stringer's intention completely wrong and thinks he has been given carte blanche to "gently caress them up", and Stringer has to explain himself - they're to be given three of the six towers to work, and nobody is to get in their way. Bodie is shocked, but Stringer has given him his message and that is that, so off he goes as Bodie is left with nothing to do but audibly ask what these "off brand niggas" are going to do with a tower market anyway. Cheese laughs at him to calm down, and Bodie has to go after Stringer again, unable to wrap his head around an order that goes against everything he has ever known - giving up territory? To East Side no less? He tells Stringer that he heard what he said but it makes no sense, so a calm Stringer asks what he thinks of the package, and then asks him if it makes sense to him now. Bodie gets the message, but he doesn't like it, only his devotion to Stringer as his leader who always has the angles covered is keeping him in line.

At the Detail, Daniels is making use of Prez' newly organized chart to point out one of the major concerns of their case. When they were on the Barksdale case they at least had a name for Avon even if they didn't have a photograph, but here they have no idea who the "Boss Man" is, and they have no idea that the number they do have is actually for the Boss Man's number 2, Spiros, whose name they also don't have. They will be on the phone soon, they have the probable cause for it, but Freamon is concerned that they may be getting on a dead phone considering how quick they were to put the warehouse on hold the moment they smelled anything suspicious. McNulty has an alternate way to get at the Boss Man though, showing off the GPS trackers they're using on Eton, Ilona and Glekas' cars. They're able to track in real time their movements, and can even speed everything up into a compressed look at a full week's worth of travel. Prez is in awe of what he's seeing, Daniels explaining that they got the trackers from the DEA and the software from McNulty's FBI friends. The travel records have shown them two locations where Eton, Glekas and Ilona have stopped together for more than five minutes at a time - a rundown old diner and a place out by Fort Howard. Even if the phone proves to be a bust, surveillance on these two locations could get them a photo and an ID on the Boss Man, and Daniels decides to send Herc and Carver to watch the diner and Bunk and McNulty to keep an eye on the Fort Howard location. They all get up to get moving, except Prez who eagerly grabs at the laptop to review the software, McNulty teasing him by closing the laptop and sharing a laugh with Beadie. Prez doesn't care, he's completely wrapped up in the kind of policework he has wanted to take part in since his eyes were opened by Freamon in season one to the idea that there is more to policework than career advancement, carrying a gun and getting in the faces of young thugs. He's found his niche and he doesn't want to ever leave it.

At the docks, Frank returns to the dock office and makes a poor effort of concealing from Ott that he's carrying fliers for his re-election as Secretary-Treasurer. An offended Ott demands he just put it out in the open, so Frank pins one up, and tells Ott it's nothing personal, he just wants to be sure he can finish what he started and get the canal dredged. Ott angrily shouts that Frank doesn't think he can do it and storms out, Frank shouting after him that it's nothing personal, and snaps at an equally grumpy looking Horseface that he had no choice, there was no way he could let Ott in on what they've been doing to make the money to get the political leverage they need.

Valchek is also still in pursuit of his white whale (for Frank it's the resurrection/preservation of the Union, for Valchek it's the persecution of Frank) and, having been "betrayed" by Burrell has gone over even the Commissioner's head and gone to the FBI. They're intrigued by his obsession though, because the FBI has been and is still heavily invested in ending Union corruption/racketeering. Valchek is delighted, handing over the report that Daniels gave him (and thus, everything extra that Daniels' has uncovered), telling them that he knows they're just the bastards he needs to give this case the closure it "needs". On thinner ground, he uncomfortably brings up something that requires some discretion, and shows them the polaroids of his surveillance van, explaining that Frank Sobotka stole it but he has managed to get two workable prints from the photos! The confused FBI agents ask why he hasn't reported the van as missing and he insists that this would be a bad look for the Department (no poo poo!) and he's hoping they'll recover it on the quiet for him without a big dust-up, as a favor to him in exchange for him so kindly bringing them the union racketeering case! They exchange awkward looks, obviously wondering just what the hell they've gotten themselves into.

At the towers, Bodie and his crew are not pleased as they watch Cheese and his crew right there in THEIR market. Bodie points out that if they run them off they lose access to the quality product they're selling, but his crew points out to him that the East Side dealers are undercutting them and they're not making any sales regardless. Bodie frowns and then realizes the solution to his problem, proving that he just might be a "smart rear end pawn" after all. Spotting a "soldier" (Bubbles) trying to score from an East Side dealer, he heads over and asks what is going on. A clearly concerned Bubbles says he's just trying to get "something" done but Bodie isn't being aggressive, asking if Bubbles is really trying to score from somebody he caught over on Ashland recently selling lovely drugs (a more accurate description of Bodie himself) and asks exactly what deal they were making. After Bubbles tells him, Bodie undercuts the price by $10 and offers to throw in the "ice" for free, and an eager Bubbles grabs his money back from the East Side dealer and offers it to Bodie. Bodie tells him to take it to his man behind him and watches as the East Side dealer rushes off to inform Cheese, whose reaction is... great pleasure? In a demonstration of the difference between West Side's aggressive tactics and East Side under Proposition Joe, Cheese is amused to discover a West Side dealer who can sell drugs without resorting to sticking a gun in his customer's face. Bodie enjoys the banter, telling Cheese that he and his East Side boys won't sell anything until Bodie's crew is bone-dry, and Cheese laughs, grabs his crotch and tells Bodie,"Alright nigga. Whatever man! All right, cottage cheese chest-rear end motherfucker!"

As a white dude, I have no idea what this means, but I think it's loving hilarious :)

Herc and Carver haul in heavy equipment and are less than pleased by the dismissive way Freamon tells (not asks) them to plunk it in the corner, only paying attention when they drop it down and he snaps at them to be careful. Exchanging grumpy looks, they ask if he needs help setting it up and he growls like a disappointed parent, asking don't they have surveillance to be doing? Justifiably offended, they leave the building complaining about being treated like they're not potty-trained. To be fair, they have proven in the past to not understand the deeper complexities and subtleties of the cases they're involved in, but the complete dismissal of them, treating them as pack mules and forcing the worst duties on them as a given is hardly the way to build a sense of dedication to their roles, which are very necessary. They bump into the two FBI Agents as they leave, the Agents thrusting their IDs into Herc and Carver's face and asking Carver (the black one) if he's Lieutenant Daniels. Carver sends them on into the building and he and Herc crack jokes about how he'd never have figured out they were FBI Agents if they hadn't shoved that "billboard" of an ID badge into his face. In his office, Daniels is going over paperwork when the Agents step in, flashing their badges and introducing themselves, saying that Major Valchek said he'd be expecting them.

Clearly he was not.

At Butchie's bar, two of the customers are talking about whether people from East Side or West Side are crazier, and Butchie says that for him the differences go back to Frank "Pee Wee" Matthews, who went to New York and got involved with Italians. He was West Side and he ran things like a business, no violence without a good reason, unlike the way things are today. That doesn't really answer the question, but Butchie enjoyed telling the story, and is interrupted by the joyful barking of his dog, which indicates to the blind man that a particular well-known person has arrived - Omar. Omar plays with the dog, teasing him with some food he brought and then greets Butchie, who says he has been good other than fretting on him. Omar hands over a package of money "for my people" and then - after checking out the two guys at the bar and dismissing them as civilians - another package "for a rainy day". Butchie is Omar's bank, the place where the bulk of his stolen money goes to either be redistributed to his family or kept for him in the future - he can't use a real bank, he doesn't have lawyers like Levy to handle things for him, Butchie is a necessity, a neutral third party he can trust. Butchie clearly cares about Omar, telling him he's already built up a sizable nest egg and should think about backing off, maybe retiring? And do what? Omar isn't ready to give up his lifestyle just yet, a fact that an amused Butchie accepts.

That night, Ziggy picks up the cars that Glekas ordered and drives them around, playing music loudly much to Johnny 50's dismay, telling him to turn it down as he struggles to cut through the wire fence - not as easy as it looks on television and in film. Ziggy is delighted, everything is going according to his plan, and when he comes by the next time in a different car to pick Johnny up, he drives right on by the tortuously cut open fence without a second glance. Johnny is confused, but finally realizes what Ziggy's plan was - the hole in the fence is to divert suspicion that it was a Union job, he actually drives the cars into open shipping cans, exiting through the sunroof (as he told Glekas) and tying the cars into place. He doesn't have to get the cars out of the docks and risk being caught, the dockworkers will do it for him without any idea. This is a unmistakably clever idea, but of course Ziggy has to be too clever for his own good, rather arrogantly congratulating Johnny on finally catching up to his genius.

While things are finally going right for Ziggy, Nick is about to discover things have been going too smoothly for him (and prove why Omar needs a "bank" like Butchie). Aimee is cleaning up and doing his laundry in his basement room when she spots something up in the air duct, left stupidly close to the opening. Bringing it down, she discovers a huge roll of cash, far more than Nick has any right to have even if he is working a second job off the books.

Kima returns home and drops her keys, badge and guns on the kitchen counter. She looks in the fridge as Cheryl steps out in a gown, and asks why Cheryl hasn't bought any food yet. Cheryl takes it all in stride first, good naturedly joking that Kima is supposed to be running around looking after her every need considering her current condition. She lifts her gown to reveal a heavily pregnant belly, the treatments having paid off, but doesn't get the reaction she was looking for. Kima just saunters past her and settles down on the couch to watch television, so Cheryl joins her to ask her what is wrong, wanting to snuggle up on the couch with her, trying to share a moment by asking her to feel the baby kicking. Kima, who clearly doesn't, puts her hand onto Cheryl's belly and goes back to watching television, so Cheryl takes her hand and slides it under the gown, giggling as she feels the baby kick... but Kima can't even raise up enough to pretend enthusiasm for the pregnancy. Cheryl wants it to be one way, but it's the other. Kima, for her part, is acting incredibly immaturely, just as bad as any male officer sulkily trying to act like they had no part to play/choice in the responsibility of bringing a new life into the world.

Aimee is demanding answers from Nick who is trying to act dismissive and unconcerned by her discovery. She wants an explanation for why he has a cash roll of over $4000, not believing for a second that he was able to save that much even without taxes. He makes another obvious lie, saying he got a pay bump, and then plays dirty by trying to guilt-trap her, telling her that he was saving the money to give to her to look for an apartment (remember he told Ziggy that he ALREADY did this?). He offers the cash to her now, but she isn't buying what he's selling, and he has the temerity to be offended by her, walking away. Have you ever noticed how the guilty are always the ones to be more quickly and loudly offended by an accusation of guilt?

The next day in the towers, Bubbles scores and heads away to get high as Cheese emerges out into his new domain sharing a joke with his crew.... and walks straight into what appears to a Nation of Islam member. Cheese is delighted, asking the dapper man if he's here to sell bean pies? Either he's a Muslim or he needs to make his momma stop laying out his clothes! Enjoying his own wit, Cheese is all laughter until the man - Brother Mouzone - calmly explains that he represents the interests of Avon Barksdale, and that as "Mister Cheese" is not employed by Avon Barksdale, he and his crew need to "get your black rear end across Charles Street where you belong." It's all stated with calm, reasonable politeness, and Cheese holds his men back from attacking Brother so he can retort, explaining that he clearly doesn't understand what the situation is. First of all, he has permission to "grind" here, and secondly... and here Cheese demonstrates he's not all jokes and talk, leaping forward to throw a punch and.... getting shot in the shoulder by Mouzone, who pulls a gun out of nowhere with lightning fast reaction. Cheese staggers back in shock, held up by his men, and Brother Mouzone calmly explains he just shot him with a plastic pellet of rat-shot, but the next round is a deadly shot of his own creation that WILL kill him... so Cheese needs to ask himself if he really wants to do enough to get Brother to raise his gun up again. Unarmed - Cheese was expecting complete cooperation - Cheese has no choice but to back off, and he and his crew leave as Brother Mouzone calmly hands over his weapon to his assistant, a heavyset man named Lamar who is played by DeAndrew McCullough, the real life drug-dealing youth who was featured heavily in Simon's (excellent) book "The Corner". Lamar hands Brother Mouzone some books, and he calmly opens one up to read. This entire exchange has been witnessed by the people in the towers, but in particular by Bubbles.

Another face-off is happening elsewhere in town, this between the BPD and the FBI over the Sobotka Detail. Seated around a table, they discuss the desire to turn the case into a Rico Prosecution, which suits Pearlman just fine, Rico has more teeth and means the case will be tried in Federal rather than State Court. Daniels is clearly less pleased about the FBI's involvement, but they make it clear to him that they're not interested in refining the case down to the one aspect that interests them - Waterfront Corruption. They're willing to take on the entire case and provide the Detail with resources far beyond what they could normally expect, but they're only involved because of the Waterfront aspect so that needs to remain a focus of the case. In this respect, they're giving Valchek what he wanted, but they're not looking at an immediate arrest which is what he REALLY wants - in fact all they're doing is providing Daniels with more manpower and resources. Pearlman silently urges Daniels to agree and he does so reluctantly, and things quickly get into action, they'll take all of the considerable data gathered by the Detail so far and feed it into their systems to see if they can find any extra leads to explore. Perversely, this added level of access will be what ends up costing the Detail a true victory in this case, just as their refusal to work with the FBI on the Barksdale case cost them a true victory there.

Cheese has gone to Prop Joe to complain, but Joe is taking things in his usual calm manner. He asks if Cheese shouldn't be laying up to heal his wound, but with bravado Cheese insists that while his shoulder hurts, his trigger finger is just fine. Joe finishes repairing a toaster and gives it to one of his muscle, instructing him to put it on sale for $7.50, and tells Cheese it would be a shame to waste a perfectly good appliance on a simple frayed cord. Cheese, unfortunately, isn't smart enough to pick up on the lesson that Joe is trying to impart, so he has to be more explicit in his explanation. Nobody is going to go running up into Avon's towers and take a crack at Brother Mouzone, the West Side is hurting far more from his actions than East Side who are still making profits on their usual territory while West Side are in trouble once their current shipment of Joe's quality product runs out. Besides which, dangerous men have taken their shots at Brother Mouzone in the past and all of them have died, and Stringer can't do anything about it because he can't cross Avon, at least not so publicly. Cheese, disgruntled and wanting immediate satisfaction, demands that Joe just put out a bounty on Brother's head and let somebody unconnected to him or Stringer deal with Brother, but Joe points out that the moment he does this, Brother will just come straight for him to remove the temptation/reward, so he might as well shoot himself and get all the trouble over with. Cheese's suggestion HAS put an idea in his head though, there is one person he can think of who MIGHT be able to pull off taking a shot at Mouzone... the trouble is he isn't somebody who will take a contract. Pleased with himself, Joe puts through a call to a different kind of connection.

At the Detail Office, Agent Fitzhugh and several other FBI Agents arrive and find Bunk and Freamon waiting for them. The Detectives eye up the Agents from across the room, the animosity palpable - everybody knows that Federal and Local don't get along, we've all seen the talk about jurisdiction and those drat "suits". The Detectives part their coats and reach for their weapons, vowing to take down Fitzhugh first... and then the Agents burst out laughing after Fitzhugh declares,"gently caress you guys!" and everybody is chummy, shaking hands and greeting each other. Why would Freamon and Bunk be angry about getting Federal assistance on this case? Particularly since they're trying to clear 14 unsolved murders, they're probably kicking themselves for not thinking of it themselves and convincing Daniels to be the one to go to them.

Glekas is going through his inventory with his young assistant, who is once again irritating him with his slack attitude and poor work ethic. This is compounded when Ziggy shows up - whom Glekas considers even worse - and cracks jokes about potential problems with thieving, not like they have at the docks. Glekas asks if he has the car and Ziggy - eager to show off his cleverness - explains that they set sail on the Caspia, listed as scrap aluminium. He has the bill of lading, which means Glekas can organize for the cans to be delivered without any issue whatsoever, protected by the precious customs seals. Glekas cuts him off though, not wanting to discuss it all here in the warehouse in front of his assistant, and takes him to his office. Settling down at his desk, he looks at the bill of lading and asks Ziggy how he knows the cans weren't just shipped out empty? Ziggy, unable to resist being a smart-rear end, points out that if he'd had a digital camera he could have taken a photo of the cars in the cans, but since Glekas destroyed his camera.... Glekas is not amused, and shuts up Ziggy's continued happy ranting to ask if he got the models he wanted. Exasparated, Ziggy tells him he got the models AND the colors, he even has one outside of the store at the moment he can look at if he doesn't believe him. Glekas can't believe it, the idiot brought a stolen car and parked it outside his store? Ziggy, again showing how little he understands the consequences of his actions, laughs that he's just taking it for a spin and will return it tonight, and Glekas laughs in disbelief and finally hands over a yellow envelope stuffed full of money. Ziggy shuts up at last, ecstatic at having successfully pulled off a job entirely of his own design and execution (with a little labor help from Johnny 50) and takes the envelope, leafing through the money inside... and his face falls. They agreed on 20%, but Glekas says that was what they agreed on LAST week, and this week the price is 10%. Justifiably enraged, Ziggy leaps up and rants that they had a deal, but Glekas laughs right in his face, knowing that Ziggy has no muscle and no respect outside of maybe his cousin Nick who doesn't appear to be involved in this. He lets Ziggy rant then silently holds up the money, and Ziggy snatches it from him in a fury, Glekas knowing that Ziggy knows that some money is better than none, telling him it's not bad for a few hours work.

What Glekas (and Nick for that matter) don't understand is that Ziggy is a lot like Frank - the money isn't what is important to him, it's what it represents. For Frank, the money is his way of getting his union's plight recognized and getting something done about it. For Ziggy, the money is an indication of a deal that HE worked out, a mark of respect and recognition for his intelligence and planning. To have Glekas short-change him (just like the Colombians tried to do to The Greek, eventually costing them 45 million in product) shows that he's disrespected and dismissed as a non-entity, which to Ziggy is as grave an insult as one can experience. Clutching the money, he shouts that Glekas is a thieving Greek oval office, and Glekas has had enough of the brash, outspoken and (to him) stupid Ziggy. He grabs him by the throat and hauls him out of the office into the store, shocking the young stupid assistant. Glekas slams Ziggy against the counter and punches him in the stomach, then literally kicks him when he is down. Shoving the money into his coat pocket, he tries to push Ziggy out the door who wrenches away, gathering what little dignity he can and staggering out under his own power. He gets into his stolen Benz (a license plate loosely slapped onto the back) and sits in the car seething, lashing out angrily over all the indignities and insults he'd been forced to face during his life, never respected, never taken seriously, always treated like nothing but a joke, an unimportant person, a non-entity. Coming to a fateful decision, he reaches into the glove compartment and pulls out the gun he bought with money pawned from the necklace his duck wore what must now feel a million years ago, and then storms back into Glekas' and just opens fire. Dead-eyed, more automaton than person, he shoots the assistant in the belly before he can react, then blasts at Glekas who has immediately fleed for the back door. Glekas goes down and Ziggy follows him, finally seeing what he's wanted to see, Glekas staring back over his shoulder in fear of HIM - Ziggy has finally gotten somebody to fear him, taught them a lesson about respect, forced them to acknowledge him as somebody important. Glekas begs him,"PLease!" and Ziggy fires one last shot into his face, calling him "Malaka" before turning to leave. He spots the assistant lying on the ground with a belly wound, attempting to call the police, and drops the money - always unimportant/secondary - next to him, then walks out of the store. The camera takes us into Ziggy's headspace, everything seems blurred and shaky, sounds aren't filtering through, he moves with determination towards his car but his mind is clearly in a daze until a noise finally registers - his parking meter has run to show TIME EXPIRED, a fairly obvious bit of symbolism. He climbs into the car and tries to start the engine, but his auto-pilot is off now and he's come back to himself and massive enormity of what he has done. He grabs his cigarettes and tries to light one, but his hands shake and the cigarette falls out of his mouth, and as the sound of police sirens grow louder he cluthches his hands together and press them to his mouth, looking almost as if he is praying. Tears fall from his eyes as he breaks down, he's just killed one man, perhaps fatally wounded a young innocent and ruined his own life to boot. It's one of the most amazing performances I've ever seen in a show filled with them.

To add such much needed levity following this tragedy, the next scene is Bunk nervously checking his life preserver before he's even made it into the boat. McNulty and his old Maritime Patrol partner Claude Diggins are taking a boat called Pompano Honey out to Fort Howard for their surveillance. Bunk is not a fan of being on the water, but once they settle him into the chair and put the big rod between his legs (he laughs that he knows all about that) he looks far more at home. There's no doubt that Bunk and McNulty have gotten the far sweeter of the two surveillance deals, Herc and Carver are probably stuck in another dusty old building or in a car watching the diner.

Prop Joe's contract connection turns out to be none other than Butchie, spinning a line of bullshit that he's here on behalf of Stringer Bell who is reaching out to Omar. Butchie quite rightly declares that this doesn't sound right and he wants nothing to do with it, but Joe plays it cleverly, agreeing entirely with Butchie and suggesting possible ulterior motives Stringer might have, even though the meeting is entirely Joe's own idea. Regardless, Joe has asked Stringer to ask Butchie to ask Omar, and he reminds Butchie that the last time they meet under Joe's protection everything turned out fine. Butchie counters that there was a reason to meet last time, but after considering things says that he would prefer it if his nephew Heywood (a well muscled young man) was in charge of protection instead, somebody that Butchie can absolutely trust. It makes no nevermind to Joe, acting as if it doesn't matter to him if Omar agrees or not.

Landsman is interrogating Ziggy at Homicide, though it's not so much an interrogation as a smooth confession. Ziggy has laid out exactly what he did and Landsman has had it typed up for Ziggy to sign, and he's willing, asking if he can smoke a cigarette. Landsman obliges, smoking one himself, happy to have a slam-dunk on a murder (potentially a double-murder, depending on what happens/ed to the assistant) but his face falls when Ziggy starts to read it, begins crying, and asks if he can make a change. Suspecting that Ziggy has changed his mind about confessing or not having a lawyer present, he tells Ziggy he can make changes so long as he initials next to them, and Ziggy explains there is just one. Still fighting back tears, he tells Landsman that Glekas didn't "say" please to him (as in "please don't shoot"), he "begged" him not to. It sounds almost like bragging, but its not, Ziggy made the man beg for his life and it doesn't make him feel like a big man, it is devastating him that he did that to somebody else. Crying but still desperate to please, he asks Landsman if that change will gently caress things up for the police in court, and Landsman - not used to this kind of thing - tells him that this more descriptive term is good. Crying, Ziggy makes the change, initials, and then signs the confession.

Carver wakes up Herc on their surveillance of the diner as two FBI Agents arrive to take over their shift, telling them that things are quiet. They drive off, while out on the Pompano Honey Bunk has gotten used to being on the water and removed his life preserver, happily smoking a cigar and enjoying the sea air, the waves lapping gently against the boat and the moonlight on the water. Diggins clearly agrees, while McNulty - never happy on the water - looks out into the night through his binoculars. Elsewhere on surveillance (the Pyramid warehouse, I think), Beadie and Greggs are discussing parenting and the job, because Greggs is trying to get her head around the notion of how they conflict. Beadie, clearly more concerned with being a parent than a cop, talks about the need to use a sitter or her parents when unexpected night-jobs like this come up, while Greggs can't fathom the idea of being forced to return home when a raid might be on. As she told Cheryl earlier, if she hears the music she's going to dance, but now she has to contend with a child being thrown into the mix. Clearly she went along with Cheryl's desire to get pregnant because it was easier to just agree than to have an argument about it, but now it's a reality that is coming closer and closer to occurring, and she doesn't know how to deal with it (maybe talk to your life partner instead of a work one!).

His confession signed, Ziggy is cuffed to be taken away, though Landsman gives him the packet of cigarettes to take with him to holding. He asks if Ziggy wants to make a phonecall, and raises his eyebrows when Ziggy asks if there is any chance he gets bail. As Ziggy is taken away, Landsman asks if there is any family he wants to contact? Ziggy just shakes his head, and Landsman seems to have not made the connection between Ziggy SOBOTKA and the Sobotka Detail that has left them two men short.

At the Detail office in the morning, Fitzhugh is bringing Daniels up to speed on what they're doing from the FBI end, and it's impressive. They're going through the Talco Line using Freamon and Beadie's gathered data to see if they can work out a point of origin for the cans. There are 110 cans that they're aware of (Frank has made a lot of money from this) and Freamon and Daniels exchange happily surprised looks when they hear that the FBI will use as many agents as it takes to find the source, and Fitzhugh quips that they may be assholes, but there are a lot of them. Taking Daniels' notes, he heads over to the computer to input them into the FBI's system, which is when things go horribly wrong.

In Washington D.C - not San Diego - Agent Koutris gets an alert on his computer and does a double-take when he sees what has popped up. Fitzhugh's input into the system has triggered a Confidential Source Monitor alert on Koutris' computer. Koutris is not a corrupt Agent, at least not entirely. Glekas was one of his CI's (really The Greek, but either his name isn't in the system or, more likely, it hasn't come up because the Detail isn't aware of it) and lied to Fitzhugh about Glekas to protect an important source of information, who gave him a massive coup as a mark of gratitude. Going down the list of Fitzhugh's reported information, he learns who is being targeted, the DNR logs and the wiretaps on Sergei's phone and Pyramid Inc's. The FBI has just given The Greek a detailed breakdown of the entire case against him, Koutris is going to give him a Storm Warning.

Frank and Horseface are lazing about inside the Can Office, Frank letting Horseface know another Talco can is coming in soon. As Horseface jokes about how much trouble the Greeks cause them, Nick bursts in, shocked and struggling to articulate his message as Frank happily greets him. Ziggy is in prison, charged with murder having killed Glekas and his assistant, and Nick has only just found out. Frank's reaction is shock followed by fury, slamming Nick against the filing cabinet and almost throwing a punch before he is restrained by Horseface. He demands to know what Ziggy was doing at Glekas' store, was Nick involved? No? Then where was he? Why wasn't he looking out for Ziggy, he's his cousin? Still in shock, Nick manages to get out that Frank is Ziggy's father, and Frank storms out of the office, leaving Nick to drop to the ground and cry, unable to believe what has happened.

The Greek meets with Koutris in an Art Museum, where by way of thanks he explains to The Greek that his tip lead to Koutris getting the credit for the largest crack seizure on record - 1,125 kilograms. This goes a long way towards explaining why Koutris is protecting The Greek despite clearly being a massive criminal - he's not quite on the take but he is a superstar at the FBI thanks to The Greek's tips, and likely to raise even higher. So he's passing on the bad news to The Greek, the local effort has sprawled to involve the FBI, and his hands are tied, he can give no assistance beyond this warning - they're onto him with wiretaps, several phones and several addresses.

Spiros receives a text message on his phone, and takes immediate action, asking the counter man - Stephanos - to send the boy to Eton and ask him to meet at "the other place", no phones are to be used. He leaves the diner, driving away completely unnoticed by Herc and Carver who are having a silly argument over whose fries were missed in their take-out order from McDonalds. Carver calls Herc fat, and Herc actually seems taken aback, asking Carver seriously,"You think I'm fat?"

I wonder why nobody takes them seriously as criminal investigators :laugh:

Kima and Beadie spot Eton leaving and put in the call to Freamon, there's no need for an eyeball thanks to the GPS Tracker. Freamon is distracted from watching the GPS though by the unwelcome arrival of Major Valchek, in a rage over being "betrayed" by the FBI now, unable to believe they are working with the Detail instead of doing the right thing and just arresting Frank Sobotka for Valchek's vindictive pleasure. Daniels offers to take Valchek into his office so they discuss this there - and avoid Valchek making an rear end of himself in public - but he is having none of it, pointing out Frank in the corner of the organizational chart, demanding to know what he got in return for all his support and manpower? He got hosed in the rear end! Daniels tries to explain that he's going to get his Frank Sobotka arrest but Valchek isn't listening, trying to exhibit whatever pathetic remnants of authority he has by demanding that Prez pack up his things and leave with him. With satisfaction he tells Daniels that he won't let him "gently caress him" with his own men, but a horrified Prez doesn't want to go, there is work to be done and he can't fathom leaving now. Furious, Valchek stabs him in the chest with a finger, ignoring his protests and stabbing his chest again, snapping,"MOVE, SHITBIRD!"

Oh God that was glorious.

Freamon grabs Prez and Daniels rushes to Valchek's side, but Valchek leaps back up with a,"JESUS!" and slaps his hat back on, storming out past the baffled FBI Agents. Prez's face falls as he realizes what he has done and Daniels growls at him to come to his office, leaving Freamon to head sadly back to the GPS tracker where he sees Eton is heading for Fort Howard, while Fitzhugh tries to figure out what kind of madhouse he's gotten himself involved in.

At Fort Howard, Bunk - fully at home on the water now - is relaxing in a loud shirt, hat and sunglasses on, white dress pants, casting his rod and enjoying a relaxing day fishing on the City's dime. McNulty clearly can't understand the way Bunk has taken to the water, but then they're into action as Freamon puts through a call to let them know Eton is coming. They watch as he meets with Vondas, thinking they're on the Boss Man at last, and take photos, no idea the case is about to crash down around them. Eton is filling in Vondas on what has happened to Glekas, who can't understand why all this nonsense would happen over a few cars - of course that biggest crack seizure in history thing happened because the Colombians did the same thing that Glekas tried to do to Ziggy, but he isn't to know the particulars. Confirming that the police aren't in the store anymore, Vondas tells Eton to go there and clear it out of anything the police missed, and the same goes for the warehouse, EVERYTHING is to be cleared out now, absolutely everything - and no more phones. Before McNulty and Bunk's startled eyes, Vondas and Eton toss their phones into the water, though McNulty notices Vondas do something with his stylus on a different phone. He notes the time and asks what that was about, and Diggins informs him he was probably sending a text message, his kids are crazy about doing that.

That night outside the diner, Herc and Carver are surprised to see Nick Sobotka arrive. Nick heads inside and asks Stephanos where Vondas is, and Stephanos' answer is,"Who is that?" When Nick asks for Spiros, Stephanos tells him he knows no Spiros, and a horrified Nick realizes he has been cut off.

Back at the Detail building, McNulty and Bunk are laughing with Freamon and Fitzhugh over the story of Prez clocking Valchek. Daniels apparently had everybody write an account of how they say it go down, including the FBI Agents. Bunk is appreciative of the move, noting that Daniels is sharp, but Freamon says that he thinks Prez is probably done with the Detail now. Bunk jokes that he might have some psychological bullshit in his jacket that makes him immune, but McNulty quite correctly notes that Prez's immunity was Valchek, and he's lost that now. Just as Prez was coming into his own it's all been hosed up for him, perversely because he finally stood up to the one guy who kept him going when he was genuinely loving up. There has been no activity on the wiretaps for quite some time and McNulty says they've definitely dumped their phones, but he's curious about the text message he saw Spiros send, and asks Freamon what happens to those calls? Freamon, intrigued, notes that they'e sent to a tower and then the phone company's computer, and it is possible to find one... so long as you have the correct variables. They know the exact time of the call, and the location was the Fort Howard Seawall, which isn't exactly a hive of activity... but Fitzhugh notes that they don't know the provider, it could have been any number of companies.

At the Towers, Brother Mouzone is calmly reading his magazines on a park bench, flanked by Lamar and another quiet, calm man. Mouzone's calm breaks when he realizes that Lamar didn't pick up Harpers amongst the magazines he requested. Lamar insists Brother Mouzone didn't ask, Mouzone insists he did, and tells him in no uncertain terms that he will get him Harpers tomorrow, along with The Nation which he also forgot. "What's the most dangerous thing in America?" he asks, answering his own question,"A nigga with a library card." He laughs at his own joke, Lamar rolling his eyes at the other man, presumably he has heard this joke many times before. They're used to Brother Mouzone though, others aren't, and Bodie and one of his Muscle are watching rapt from a distance, enthralled by the fact that Mouzone isn't doing anything but sitting and reading and yet he's kept the "East Side Bitches" away all day - that's REAL muscle. The rep is impressive, but Bodie has been picking up on what Stringer has been teaching, and he's realized that keeping East Side away is fine while they have product, but they're going to run out soon enough and then what do they do? His Muscle has a more troubling question, one that the smarter but more dedicated Bodie never considered - if Stringer wants East Side dealers in the towers, then why does Avon have Brother Mouzone there to scare them off?

Cops and Feds alike in The Detail are pursuing McNulty's phone company idea but they've had no success at all. McNulty has returned to Fort Howard and gone to the exact location of where Vondas was standing when he made the text, and gives Freamon a precise latitude/longitude reading. This does the trick, Bunk and Fitzhugh go to the phone company that apparently handled the call, where an enthusiastic representative tells them how they managed to track down the text using just the time and geographic information. Bunk hands over the subpeona and prepares to look through the folder, but the rep stops him, not out of malice but necessity - a subpeona only gives him account information, he needs a search warrant to let them see the contents... but with a search warrant, they get access to TWO MONTHS worth of text messages - a police man's dream and a criminal's nightmare (or that of anybody interested in civil liberties!). Excited, Bunk tells the rep that they'll be back tomorrow with the search warrant, but can they please please please just have a peek now? The rep, completely breaking the law, gives a grin and deliberately turns his back so he can't see them, and they open the file and look at the top text message in anticipation....

"Nothing's easy," sighs Bunk.

Greggs arrives at the Office and gets filled in what is happening, they've gotten the text message but it's Greek, so Fitzhugh is giving a description over the phone to another Agent using translation software. They all watch as the message is input and translated, and the result comes back....

"Sssssshit!" hisses Daniels.

At a kid's playground, Nick is drinking liquor alone and is joined by Prissy, an old girlfriend of Ziggy's and childhood friend of them both. Both crying, they sit down and reminisce about old times, Ziggy always getting into trouble like the time they forged an Age of Majority card and drove over to Brooklyn Park in Prissy's mother's chevy to buy booze. They sent in Ziggy to buy the drinks and he came back with Boone's Farm, claiming it was what the College Kids drink. They came to this very playground and got blasted, and Ziggy stood up with a bottle in each hand and screamed loud enough to wake the nuns,"COLLEGE KIDS AIN'T poo poo!" Nick does the same thing now, and breaks down again, tossing his drink away and dropping to his knees to cry - Ziggy is still alive but he's treating him like he is dead, and in many ways he is, his life is completely ruined and he's been utterly removed from theirs.

Beadie is woken by the phone, Kima has called to let her know they're raiding the warehouse tonight, can she join them? She insists she can, her conversation with Kima probably fresh in her mind, telling her that she'll drop the kids off at her parents' place. She thanks Kima for letting her know and rushes to dress, wanting to be in on this action now that she's become so involved in the case - the question is whether or not this is a one-time thing or something that is an intrinsic part of her, like Kima believes it is. At the Officer, Pearlman waits anxiously, not liking keeping the Judge waiting as the police and feds rush through their paperwork.

Not held back by such things, Sergei leads his men through Glekas' store as they tear out everything left untouched by the police... which is nearly everything, they were investigating a homicide, nothing else. At Pyramid Inc, huge bags of drugs are cut up and dumped into a shower by mask wearing men, knowing it is at best useless to them and at worse a gigantic liability that will put them in prison. As the police rush to get permission to raid the places they know crimes are being committed, the criminals clear those places out, not realizing how close they are cutting it. The episode ends as their stockpiled drugs - and the Detail's case - is washed down the drain.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 12:15 on May 18, 2013

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I'm really interested in what people think of Agent Koutris, whether they feel he is corrupt or not. I tend to WANT to think of him as corrupt, but I keep thinking back to all the things that the police let people slide on in this show - Bubbles is a junkie thief who steals and scavenges to get high, and not only do the police turn a blind eye, they give him money to go out and get high with in return for information. When looking for information on Homicides, you get detectives coming down and telling corner boys,"You think I give a gently caress about drugs?" and offering them deals in return for giving them something on some bigger, "more important" crime.

Koutris is protecting a slaver, smuggler, killer, drug-supplier but is this acceptable given the fruits that cooperation bears? I'd argue it doesn't, but I'm not so sure the system would agree. That massive Colombian shipment being caught won't have even made a dent in the market, but it would be considered a pretty massive win for the FBI and Koutris in particular, who probably consider "Narco-Terrorists" far more important.

I do think that Koutris is dancing around the thin edge of legal with his dealings with The Greek (if not going right over it), but I also think it's something that his superiors would consider a necessary or acceptable way to operate. There's a reason that Fitzhugh doesn't pursue things when he figures out that Koutris was protecting The Greek as a CI, he knows that the investigation would be shut down/ignored, especially since the FBI gets what they wanted out of the case anyway - shutting down a Union.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

comes along bort posted:

Also the opening song is I Walk the Line, not Ring of Fire.


Although nobody noticed what a huge racist I was by mistaking Chess for Ott for two full episodes, so there's that :shobon:

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

cletepurcel posted:

What I wrote here about Koutris had already basically been said but I think we can assume that whatever "terrorism" tips he's feeding Koutris are largely bullshit. At least that's the way I've always seen it; it's ironic that we only see him tip Koutris off about a big drug bust, since that's supposed to be the war the FBI doesn't care about anymore. I guess dope on the table is dope on the table.

The Greek makes a point of joking that "they're all terrorists over there" and on the news item, it's reported as a massive blow for a known "Narco-Terrorist Group" so the FBI is spinning it as a win on the "War on Terror", which is as as dumb a "war" as the "War on Drugs".

escape artist posted:

Koutris is always in Washington when we see him. The first time he's called by Fitz, Fitz is automatically patched through to Koutris. The second time Fitz calls the San Diego office, he finds out Koutris has been in D.C. for a year or two.

Yep, McNulty looks at Fitzhugh's ability to put through calls through the computer wistfully, but if Fitzhugh had done things the old fashioned way he would have learned immediately that Koutris was in Counter-Terrorism. There is a chance, however improbable, that he'd question why a search for a low level Baltimore fence would link him directly to the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Unit and they'd have at least suspected there was a deeper relationship there.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Spoilers Below posted:

It seems like this is one and the same. Is bribing someone with one of the biggest drug busts in FBI history any less a bribe than handing a man $1,000,000 cash?

Sadly, one is illegal and the other is considered a legitimate necessity/trade-off. It all goes towards the hypocrisy of the system that will rant and rave about the evils of one immoral thing but justify another equally disgusting thing.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

You can see it in the way Landsman's face falls when Ziggy asks if he can make a change to his confession, thinking he's getting second thoughts and is going to start making justifications, and from there it's only a short skip to bringing in his lawyer and then things get complicated and more time and energy has to be "wasted" on the investigation.

Landsman does have a rare moment of sympathy with a suspect in a later season though, which is also one of the more deeply depressing scenes of the series.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Yeah there are no spoiler tags here, everybody is free to talk about absolutely everything that has happened/will happen in the show. In my write-ups I try to be careful about my knowledge of future events color descriptions of what is happening in the episode too much, though I will digress at length about things that happen in the future at different points. That said, I do think - for write-ups at least - it pays to try and think about these things from the point of view of only the information presented in the show to that point.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2, Episode 11: Bad Dreams

Sobotka posted:

I need to get clean.

6am in the morning and Nick is sleeping in bed with Prissy, their commiseration over Ziggy's fate the previous night apparently having ended up getting physical. At various places in Baltimore, police and FBI burst in the doors to make their belated raids and arrests, lead by the Detail. Daniels and Greggs are at the Pyramid Warehouse; Bunk, Freamon and other police burst into Glekas' store with no idea that the man they're looking for is dead; and a confused and upset Aimee is woken from Nick's bed at Louis Sobotka's house. The Pyramid and the store both turn up the same thing - nothing - and Daniels realizes they've missed their shot. Greggs spots the residue around the drain and collects some, showing it to Daniels and the FBI Agent, all of them understand the drugs have been flushed. In the store, Freamon can't believe how thoroughly the place has been cleaned out, while Bunk has found a large blood stain, no idea that Landsman and the Homicide Department have the answers to his questions. Things aren't a complete loss, however. White Mike McArdle is arrested in his home, taken away in cuffs protesting that they have nothing on him; Beadie finds weapons in Eton's home and he is taken away in cuffs too; McNulty and Fitzhugh dive on Sergei in his bedroom and force the struggling Ukrainian to the ground; and in Louis' home Carver is delighted to show off the huge roll of cash he's found in the air duct... and then Herc finds a bag filled with gel caps of heroin. They present the drugs and money to Louis, Joan and Aimee in their lounge, Louis' face falling as he realizes what his son has been doing, Aimee exposed to a truth she may have suspected in her subconscious. Nick himself wakes up hungover but unaware that his life has just collapsed from under him, spotting Prissy next to him and grimacing - he thinks that this is the worst thing that will happen to him today.

Frank Sobotka is blissfully unaware of what is going on, though he's not in bliss. Leaving his house, he checks the newspaper and finds that Ziggy's arrest has made the front page... of the B Section. Depressed, he heads out the gate and down the hill, watched from a parked car by two FBI Agents who decide not to arrest him there because there is "not enough profile". This gets a laugh from their backseat passenger - Major Valchek is in full dress uniform, looking forward to getting his "revenge" on Frank at last.

Back at the Detail Office, Beadie is getting a lesson from Daniels. She doesn't understand why Spiros wasn't arrested, and he explains that the text message instructing Spiros to shut everything down showed them that they were wrong about him being the "Boss Man". There is somebody else above him, somebody they don't know yet, and they want to find out who that is. Freamon and Greggs arrive with the newspaper, they've finally discovered that Glekas was killed, showing the article on Chester Karol Sobotka being arrested for the double shooting. They explain that after the store was a bust they went to Glekas' house to serve the warrant and found it filled with tearful relatives who, quite justifiably, couldn't believe the stupidity of the two detectives here to arrest a dead man. Often in television shows and movies, police are intimately aware at all times of what is going on with their targets, the first to be informed upon a death or arrest or release. Here we see a far more realistic take on things (as we will with Avon's release in season 3), nobody informed them about Glekas' death because nobody knew they were investigating him. It would have come out eventually, and might have come up sooner if Ziggy had run away or tried to justify his killing. But because Ziggy confessed, because the city is so beholden to the stats game, because Landsman just wanted to get the clearance and move his men on to the next case.... Glekas was just a name on a sheet of paper to him. A furious Daniels phones up to find out what is going on, his eyes widening dangerously as he hears that Landsman caught the case, and he storms out of the building snapping at Freamon to start the interrogations. Outside, he passes a returning McNulty, Fitzhugh, Herc and Carver without a word, driving away to tear a large chunk out of Landsman's ample rear end. Confused by Daniels' obvious bad mood, the three detectives continuously look back after Daniels' departing vehicle as they compare notes on who was picked up. McNulty explains that the Feds are waiting on picking up Frank Sobotka, and tells them they don't want to know the reason why.

At the Union Hall, a weary Frank is on the phone to his lawyer asking to get access to a criminal lawyer for Ziggy, trying to keep things together. He hasn't been allowed to see Ziggy yet, he has to wait till visiting hours, so far he knows absolutely nothing about what Ziggy has done or why he did it. His own troubles are about to pile on though, the FBI dramatically skids to a stop outside the Hall and Agents spill out. The door is burst open and they rush inside amongst bewildered stevedores, Valchek following in their wake and looking about for Frank, guessing that he's in the office and heading straight for him. In the office, Frank looks up as the Agents arrive, and shows remarkable calm as he tells his lawyer he has to go, but the leading Agent grabs the phone from him and slams it down. Horseface shares a confused look with Frank as they're cuffed, Valchek applying them to Frank himself, gleefully taunting him - the big man on the docks? He doesn't look so big now!

Remember, ALL of this is because Valchek got pissed off over Frank unknowingly providing a stained glass window to the Church before Valchek could "surprise" the priest with one of his own.

But Valchek isn't the only petty one there. FBI Supervisor Amanda Reese looks out the window as Valchek escorts Frank from his office, frowning because no press has arrived yet. The FBI's part in this is very much politically minded - they want the PR Coup of being seen to strike a blow against Union Corruption.

Nick arrives home and is confused by the neighbors standing out on the street, all of them staring at him. The front door is open and he heads carefully inside, sensing something is wrong, and finds his weeping mother cleaning up after the mess caused by the raid. She doesn't react to his voice at all, even to get angry, she just keeps cleaning up. He goes downstairs and finds his father - still in his dressing gown - attempting to clean up as well, both parents attempting to pick up the pieces. His father doesn't react to him either, but it doesn't seem deliberate, he's lost in his own grief, confusion and anger towards his son to notice him at first. When Nick finally gets his attention, he looks first at him and then back at the air vent, and grunts angrily that "it" is all gone, and the money as well. The police told them that Nick had to hand himself in at the Southeastern Police District. Then he turns his head away, shaking it in disgust.

Back at the Union Hall, the press has finally arrived and Reese gives the go ahead at last to leave. Frank and Horseface have been forced to sit and wait in uncomfortable silence with Valchek, but the Major is practically skipping as he pushes Frank out the door. Eager for a juicy corruption story, hordes of press have arrived from the Press and Television, amongst them Wire co-creator David Simon representing his old newspaper The Baltimore Sun. Valchek grabs Frank by the chin and forces him to face the cameras, exalting in his "revenge", this is the justice he has been looking for all this time. Frank did something he didn't like, and then insulted him when Valchek tried to bully him before even telling him what was bothering him. What an rear end in a top hat that Frank Sobotka is!

Landsman is for once at a loss for words, staring shamefaced up at Daniels who has confronted him in his office. Daniels reminds him that he took the 14 murders on to HELP the Homicide Department and now they've potentially hosed him on a huge part of his case because they couldn't put 2 and 2 together and phone him up and say that they had Ziggy Sobotka in custody for the murder of George "Double G" Glekas - even for a supremely hosed up Police Department, Daniels growls, this takes the cake. Having let out some of his pent-up fury, he asks what the police took from the scene, and Landsman - on safer ground now - lists off the photographs, latents and shell-casings... and then winces as he realizes what must have happened - Glekas' people came back after the police left and cleared the whole place out. Trying to make the best of a terrible situation, Daniels looks for information, how did Ziggy play it? It was an argument over a couple of stolen cars, according to Ziggy, and Landsman didn't probe any deeper than that. The trouble for Daniels now is that Ziggy has already been processed by the BPD, so if Daniels wants to talk to him now, he has to do it through Ziggy's lawyer. Daniels leaves, having gotten nothing but bad news, and a despondent Landsman makes the understatement of the century, apologizing to Daniels and saying this is "my bad".

Herc is becoming frustrated as he and Carver attempt to interrogate Eton. He won't speak, he doesn't even change his expression, just staring a hole through Herc. Carver lights up a cigarette, which does seem to get Eton's attention, he appears to find Carver smoking offensive. Ilona is similarly stonefaced in interrogation with Greggs and Beadie, the only speaking she does to insult Greggs as lesbian. How does she know, you might ask? As with Bird, it strikes me that this is just a generic insult to throw at a tough woman detective as opposed to some amazing insight into human sexuality. Finally, Sergei is doing the same blank-faced look to McNulty and Fitzhugh, until McNulty decides that if he won't give a name they'll just call him Bors.

"Boris," sighs Sergei, shaking his head,"Why always Boris?"

Frank is also being interrogated, a smug Agent Reese listing off they charges they have against him, and they don't make for a pretty picture. Frank has colored his actions as necessary for the greater good, the restoration of the glory days of the Baltimore Docks. But all that seems a pathetic justification as he's hit with racketeering, wire fraud, conspiracy to import heroin, conspiracy to violate Federal customs statutes and finally, the cherry on top, white slavery. They're only going to charge him with the customs violations, but a Grand Jury Indictment will eventually expose him to a lot more. If he names names and comes clean, it will help him and his Union. That gets his attention, the beaten and broken Frank Sobotka sits up straighter, steel in his spine and his voice as he takes grim solace in his obsession. Help his Union? In a wonderful bit of acting from Chris Bauer, Frank rants about the slow death of the Union, drydocks rusting, pier standing empty, feeling like his friends and their families have "the cancer". In all that time, no lifeline has been thrown, nobody has offered to help them. The unspoken justification, of course, is that Frank was FORCED to do what he did to save his way of life, that they had to get help from the likes of The Greek and from themselves. There is truth to what he says, of course, the automation of the workforce cost tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people their jobs, and it isn't as simple as just saying,"Why didn't they just go and get jobs elsewhere?" These people are the end result of generations of labor that came about because it worked to make money for management and owners up until the moment that they could make more money by throwing them on the scrapheap. These are people who worked hard on the notion that they were integral, important and proud part of an industry that only cared about for as long as it was profitable to do so. So the rage and the confusion can be understood, even if Frank's actions cannot be excused.

Meanwhile, the Detail is having a little more success now that they've moved on from The Greek's men and onto those who they wholesale too. Greggs and McNulty have hit White Mike McArdle has been hit with an avalanche of evidence against him - they have audio of him discussing a drug buy with Sergei, they have photos linking him to his stash houses, they have everything they need for a conviction... so what can he offer THEM to alleviate some of the weight on him?

Frank is taken to Court and uncuffed to attend a Detention Hearing, and his lawyers assure him that barring anything unforeseen they should have him out on the street in an hour - he's in no way a flight risk (he's about as tied to Baltimore as you can get), and he didn't give the "suits" anything. White Mike can't say the same. He's almost casually giving up evidence on everybody he knows in the Greek's Organization - though to be fair he doesn't know much beyond the fact that Eton handles the dope and is "Jew from that Jew country they got"; and that Sergei is straight muscle. Trying to act relaxed and cool, he complains he is hungry and asks for a couple of hot dogs and a strawberry shake, and Greggs is irritated when McNulty foists the duty off on her. White Mike - nowhere near as impressive as Wee-Bey - asks her to "hook a brother up".

Omar arrives at Butchie, having surprisingly agreed to meet with Stringer Bell there. Butchie's muscular nephew Heywood is providing the security as promised, though Stringer has the hulking Perry there as his own muscle. Perry wants to pat down Omar, who laughs that this doesn't work for him. Stringer - who NEEDS Omar - agrees to let it pass, and the two unlikely associates come face to face again. Omar needles Stringer, saying he's been looking forward to setting eyes on him again and get revenge, but Stringer - to his great credit - plays the usually alert Omar like a fiddle. Pointing out that Omar has already achieved a massive amount of revenge - Bird in prison, Wee-Bey gone "forever and a day", Stinkum dead at Omar's hands and Avon out of pocket "for the time being". Omar insists that there is no "getting even", not unless Brandon can climb out of the grave and walk in to join them here. Stringer notes the legitimacy of Omar's rage, but stresses that their actions were legitimate too, they had to put a bounty on him. Omar has to admit it was in "the game" to mark he, Brandon and Bailey for death after they robbed Avon's stash (interesting, Stringer refers to it as HIS stash, not Avon's), but stresses that Brandon's torture went beyond that. Stringer agrees, but claims that he wasn't responsible for that, those were the actions of a man trying to build a legend/reputation, a small bow-tie wearing motherfucker from NYC. Stringer wasn't there, the other muscle was but only to watch, it was this other man who performed the torture. He lists the things done to Brandon, Omar's face betraying the pain of knowing what his lover went through, and then when the time is right he hits Omar with the name - Brother Mouzone. Omar has clearly heard of him before, and his desire for revenge has been masterfully fired up by Stringer, but he's smart and wary enough to want to know WHY Stringer is giving him this information. Stringer's explanation is feasible, Omar is a thorn in Stringer's side and giving him Mouzone makes them even. Omar can accept this, he has no idea that he's just been expertly played into doing Stringer's dirty work... what's worse, he's doing the dirty work of the man who oversaw the torture of his lover.

His Detention Hearing over, Frank is in a rush to get out of the Court, ignoring his lawyers pleas to stop and have a coffee so they can talk about the case. Frank refuses, he has to see Ziggy, and he needs to get clean.

White Mike is coming clean. With a heavy sigh, he reveals that Sergei "and them" killed Mau Mau Wills for "welshing on the Jew". But McNulty and Greggs are really more interested in who Eton and Sergei report to. Unfortunately for them, White Mike doesn't know, and he's not blowing smoke up their asses either, he legitimately doesn't know anybody higher than Eton and he didn't want to know - he was smart enough to realize that the less he knew, the less danger he was putting himself into.

Frank gets to see Ziggy at last, and when he spots the bruise on Ziggy's face his first thought is that the cops did it. No such luck for Ziggy, as Frank turns and sees a group of large prisoners peering gleefully through the window at Ziggy. Small and skinny, Ziggy is a born target, they'll eat him alive in prison and Frank clearly knows it. He tells Ziggy he's trying to organize bail, clearly concerned that Ziggy understand that at least, he IS trying. Ziggy nods and smiles, and Frank finally gets down to it - WHY did Ziggy do it? The answer is depressingly honest. Ziggy simply got tired of being everybody's joke. He lowers his eyes, shamefaced at admitting this, and Frank swallows his grief and asks why Ziggy didn't come to him with his problems, he was always there, and Ziggy's hurt reply is that Frank was NEVER there. He was always busy dredging the canal or getting the right person elected or buying a round for the house. Ziggy smiles, he always thought Frank was working when he wasn't around, and Frank insists that it WAS work... even when it wasn't. Ziggy, crying openly, tells Frank that the same blood doesn't flow for them, he wishes he could be like Frank but he isn't, and Frank insists that they're more alike than he knows. Taking solace in his pride, he proclaims that Ziggy is a Sobotka, but Ziggy's reply is that what he is, is hosed. The sad thing is, they're both saying the same thing. In amongst this remarkable scene (great acting from both Chris Bauer and James Ransone), an absent figure is discussed for what I think is the first time in this entire season. Ziggy has a other, Frank has a wife, as unseen as Frank's other son/Ziggy's ACTUAL brother. In just a couple of lines they paint the picture of an unhappy woman, deadened to the world by prescription drug abuse, and perhaps one facet/explanation of why Ziggy lashes out for attention and Frank puts so much of himself into his work. Ziggy dries his eyes and steps up, putting on the act of the old carefree Ziggy who died that day when he saw what he did to the kid who worked there, throwing his arms wide and asking Frank with a sad grin what the gently caress can he do? He's let out of the visiting room and passes through the group of large prisoners who turn to watch his passing with avid, unwelcome interest. Frank walks open-mouthed to the window and watches his son disappear into the mass, never to see him again.

That night, McNulty, Greggs and Beadie are catching Daniels up on their progress through the day, Fitzhugh napping in the background. They think they can push White Mike for more, and will bring in Pearlman tomorrow to have another shot at him. They still haven't been able to find Nick Sobotka, but Daniels is more concerned by the lack of progress towards Spiros, they know next to nothing about him and the people they do have only take them as high as Eton and Sergei. Bunk cracks a joke about Greek names and McNulty tells him to lay off, they invented civilization after all. "Yeah?" notes Bunk,"That and rear end-loving."

Daniels asks Fitzhugh if they can borrow any more FBI people to get an eye on Spiros, but he notes what should be immediately visibly obvious - the FBI has gotten what they wanted out of the deal and already moved on. Their interest was in a Union case, they've gotten it, and now only Fitzhugh is left to represent the FBI in what is left of the rest of the case. Knowing they have to do something, Daniels shrugs and says they'll just have to use their own people for surveillance.

Frank and Louis share a drink at Louis' house, where Louis offers his commiserations to both of them over their sons' actions. Their amiable evening doesn't last though, as it quickly becomes apparent that Frank is still in the dark over what happened with the raids today. He still thinks that they raided Louis' as part of their investigation into the smuggling, and an angry Louis shows him the search warrant, saying it's a "receipt" for what was found, and that includes heroin. HEROIN! Frank is horrified and refuses to believe that Nick would be involved in such a thng, and lets out that he was aware that Nick and Ziggy stole a can of digital cameras. Louis had no idea about this, and accuses Frank of giving them a taste of easy money, of course they stayed involved after that, why would they turn straight after being rewarded for being crooked? Louis complains that Nick took too much of a lead from "Uncle Frank and his big shoulders", "Uncle Frank will fix things if they're broken". Frank has seemingly told Louis about The Greek and his part in smuggling for him, and it seems that Louis somewhat commiserates with Frank's cause, but he demands that Frank not let "that excuse this!" - for him, the drugs are a far worse crime, one that cannot be justified. He storms up the stairs, leaving behind Frank, completely isolated now.

In a cheap motel courtyard, hookers pass through and Lamar returns from a shopping trip, throwing treats to a stray (presumably) dog before making a specific knock on the door of the motel room on the balcony level. Brother Mouzone lets him in and asks if he's picked up Harpers yet, and Lamar casually jokes that the local place only has titty mags "if he has the need", but he promises he will get him what he needs. He heads back outside, throwing treats to the dog again. The entire time from the opposite side of the courtyard, behind a dumpster in the shadows, Omar stands unmoving, watching. He knows where Brother Mouzone is, but he's not going to make his move until the right moment. In the past, people have gone up in strength and mass against the deceptively small Brother, and all have died for their recklessness. Brother Mouzone is not Ziggy Sobotka, but Omar is a different kind of predator.

The next day, Frank returns to the Hiring Hall where he is eyed up with surprise by stevedores waiting around outside on the possibility of work. Inside, Frank sees on the whiteboard that three ships are in, and heads over to Nat Coxson and tells him it's a good day for a ship. Nat - reading The Baltimore Sun which has Frank and Horseface's faces on the front page - deliberately refuses to look at Frank, telling him that this is the Hiring Hall and only for actual working stevedores. Frank - who told his lawyers he needed to get clean - turns to Big Roy and demands he hand over his card, and a tiny stevedore asks why he wants his card. "Not you," says Frank, turning to the much larger man beside him, whose name is also Roy - "Little Big Roy" to be exact. Little Big Roy was going to work the Cape Saint George today, but Frank insists, he'll work it for him. Little Big Roy has no idea what he means, and Frank explains that he'll work the ship, Little Big Roy can work a bar stool, and at the end of the week, Little Big Roy will get paid. Seeing the logic in this, Little Big Roy hands over the card and Frank heads over to sign on, telling the clerk who notes the photograph discrepancy that "we're both bald and we're both Polacks, what's the difference?" Everybody chuckles at this, even Nat Coxson, and Frank takes the receipt and hands Little Big Roy his card back, then heads outside. Frank wants to get clean, and so for the first time in a long time he's going to do the thing that generations of stevedores took pride in over the decades at the Baltimore Docks - he's going to spend a day in hard, physical labor. On the docks, two of the stevedores note Frank unloading a can, bemused and slightly contemptuous at seeing work from a checker.

Bunk and McNulty watch Spiros leave his house, expensively dressed for a change, his home small but elegant - tasteful and understated. McNulty takes a guess at the designer and Bunk takes pleasure in educating the "just rolled out of bed looking motherfucker", leading to the wonderful exchange of,"You know what they call a guy who pays that much attention to his clothes, don't you?" "Mmhmmm, a grown-up." As Spiros leaves, they put through the call to Greggs and Beadie in the other car, and the two women head out after Spiros. He drives to into Central Baltimore, Bunk and McNulty pulling up outside and taking photos as Spiros leaves the parking garage. Beadie follows him on foot, having been given advice by Greggs to make use of the city so as not to be so obvious about following him. Despite her lack of experience, Beadie does an admirable job, using a security mirror to watch Spiros from around a corner and catching him pausing momentarily, which allows her to avoid turning the corner and walking right into him. She follows him to the Hyatt hotel (far nicer than where Brother Mouzone is staying), watched by Bunk and McNulty who comment on how much she has improved as police since coming onto the case. She pauses in the lobby when she sees him entering the lift, but decides to run the risk and rushes in before the doors can close, offering a,"Thank you!" while facing forward so she doesn't have to look at him. It's common elevator behavior, nothing that would raise suspicion, but her heart is probably racing a mile a minute as she stands there. Vondas stands back, but any chance he mist be suspicious are rather hilariously dispelled when instead of acting paranoid or uncertain, he actually takes advantage of the way she is standing to check out her rear end.

Beadie is in a bit of a bind now though, she can't push a higher floor button or else she won't be able to leave the lift when he does, but as she's standing in front of him she'll have to get out before him so how can she follow him? She finds an admirable solution, distractedly rummaging through her purse and making no move to exit when the lift doors open. Vondas stays back to allow her to leave, and when he realizes she's lost in her own little world he stifles his frustration and moves past her. She waits a moment and then steps out, passing behind Vondas but continuing down the other corridor without a second look at him, able to see him from the mirror on the wall. He stops and looks back, confused at seeing the woman from the lift so close behind him, but she's already gone and clearly not somebody to be concerned about, so he continues on. Waiting for him to be out of sight of the mirror, she heads back and pops her head around the corner, spotting him entering a room. She puts through the call to Greggs, Vondas is on the 5th floor, but rather than returning to the lobby she continues down the corridor and past the room, getting the number and continuing on with a satisfied smile on her face - the thrill of actual policework.

Frank finishes the last item in one can and quickly moves to the other, but is offered no assistance when he tries to pass down a box to another stevedore. Accepting the alienation, he clambers down, watched with some fascination by Nat Coxson.

In the parking garage, Greggs gets the word from Beadie that Vondas and another man are leaving the hotel, who then lets McNulty and Bunk know. They watch as Beadie leaves first, and then takes a photo of Vondas and a white haired man with a briefcase chatting amicably on the threshold. They're excited, they think they've got a shot of The Boss Man at last, and they're right... kind of. Vondas is talking to somebody we've never seen before - possibly a lawyer, maybe another connection or potential customer, but as they chat, The Greek passes by behind them, lighting a cigarette, neither Detective any the wiser that one of the actual true Kingpins of the Baltimore drug trade is right in front of them. Spiros and the other man head to the parking garage but Vondas gets into a different car to the one he took, a driver already waiting. They leave, and Greggs realizes that he's not coming back for the Benz. She leaves, and as she collects her parking receipt The Greek casually passes by, once again neither of them any the wiser of the presence/identity of the other.

This is how it is with The Greek, he's hidden in plain sight.

On the Cape Saint George, Nat Coxson actually speaks directly to Frank and looks him in the eye... and more importantly, he's friendly. This is not to say he's forgiven Frank, but he obviously appreciates Frank's attempts to "get clean". He notes that is isn't as easy as it looks, and Frank retorts that nothing is. Nat even makes friendly banter, asking if he knows how the stevedore "Moonsot" got his name, and laughs happily at Frank's,"Yeah, and I could give a gently caress!" answer.

At the Detail Office, Pearlman looks over the results of their surveillance of Spiros and asks who the hotel room was registered too. It's a Stephen Rados from Northwest DC, and Beadie wonders if that was the man in the well-tailored suit. The others aren't quite as optimistic, presumably thinking it was a fake name, and Daniels moves on to White Mike, who is their only tangible progress on the raids so far. For once Pearlman is able to offer quite a bit, if White Mike rolls on the higher-ups, he can walk with nothing but a VERY long probation, and if things go high enough they can get him witness protection. Beadie, on a high from her active involvement in actual policework, is all over that - White Mike walks? A drug-dealer walks? The others don't see the problem or are amused, but this is a smaller scale recreation of exactly the same scene from season one, when McNulty, Freamon and Daniels were aghast at the notion of letting Avon and Stringer walk in exchange for getting at the likes of Clay Davis. Beadie isn't done though, what about Frank Sobotka? Pearlman says that the Feds took a crack at him and got nothing, and Beadie suggests that SHE have a go, they know that he knows more and she thinks she might be able to convince him to turn. Daniels seems bemused at her piss and vinegar, so does McNulty but in a far more encouraging way - she's probably the only one of them that would have a chance, and Frank - sidelined in the Detail's eyes for quite some time now - could be the key to breaking open the case. Pearlman gives Beadie the go-ahead on the proviso she make no offer, only Pearlman can legally do that. Beadie is straight up, ready to head out the door, and McNulty asks if she'll go to his home. She corrects him - she'll go to the Union Hall, THAT is his home.

At Frank's "home", a nervous Bruce DiBiago has been waiting for Frank and wants to get the hell out of there - Frank is poison now, and as a lobbyist he can't allow himself to be tied to a scandal for any longer than absolutely necessary. An eager Frank says he just wants to settle up their business and grabs for more money from his shoebox (presumably the police's search warrant was for Frank alone, and didn't include the right to search the office). But Bruce stops him, telling him with unusual directness for a lobbyist that the grain pier is dead - the dream is over. Frank is horrified, he understands that he is dirty and untouchable, but none of the politicians they bought are voting for HIM, they're voting for the cause, for the grain pier, for the Union! Bruce lays it out on the line though, now that the Feds are involved, the politicians and legislators are terrified that they could be next in the firing line. The only "solace" that Bruce can offer is that if Frank can beat the Feds and get them off his back, they could come back during the next legislative session and there would be people down there who would owe him "a vote or 2". Frank's face is fixed with cold fury, masking his deep despair - EVERYTHING he has done, every compromise of his moral values, everything he has smuggled through, those dead women in the can (if he even remembers them at this point)... it means nothing. It was all for nothing. As Bruce leaves, Frank stops him with a horribly accurate observation,"You know what the trouble is, Brucie? We used to make poo poo in this country, build poo poo. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket."

While Frank's world falls apart, The Greek's seems surprisingly stable. At a Greek Restaurant, The Greek has dinner with a troubled Vondas, pleasantly dismissing the waitress and asking for assurances that their people are strong. Vondas agrees, they could try to get them out before the trial but if they don't, they will all remain quiet. The Greek is satisfied, but on one issue he is quite adamant - the Sobotkas. They've caused too many problems and he wants to make sure they will cause no more - the implication clear. On this, Spiros disagrees, and yet it is here that he becomes his most relaxed, perhaps because he knows what works with The Greek and what does not. He sees disposing of Frank (and Nick) as causing more problems than it would solve, and asks The Greek if they can be spared if he guarantees their silence. Conversationally, The Greek notes that Spiros can NOT guarantee this, but Spiros has a solution - Frank's son "the idiot" who shot Glekas is going to trial, and the prosecutor wants to use the young clerk who was shot as a witness. Spiros knows the family and they will keep the clerk quiet, and thus Frank will save his son from life in prison... and if they are the ones to save his son, then Frank would never speak out against them. What of Nick though? Spiros assures The Greek that Nick is "the idiot's" cousin and wants nothing more than Ziggy's freedom too, and The Greek finally sees the cause for Spiros' hesitation to kill them - he has grown fond of Nick. Spiros admits it is true, as we've seen ourselves, he's always had a kind of bemused approval of Nick, perhaps for his loyalty, perhaps for being mostly level-headed, maybe even because he saw him as somebody to groom. The Greek chides him playfully, he should have had a son, and laughs happily when Spiros admits that to do so, he would have also had to have a wife.

Herc and Carver are waiting outside Louis Sobotka's home, tired and fed up of long stake-outs and nothing else on the Detail. Herc complains he will take it personally if Nick hasn't posted by midnight, and Carver quips that the shitbird lives in his parent's basement... where the gently caress is he going to run? They both burst out laughing, but there they are, waiting in that car.

At the cheap motel, Lamar spots two women arrive, but what really interests him is the small dog they have with them. They come up the stairs laughing, confused about where "Darnell" is, and ask Lamar if he's a friend? Is this where the party is? They wanna get their smoke on? Lamar tells them they've got the wrong place, but his guard is down thanks to the dog, who he happily chats to, kneeling down to pet it.... and Omar comes up behind him and cold-cocks him, knocking him clean out. The women are Kimmy and Tosha, the dog is Butchie's from the bar, and Omar has used his surveillance well, using the regular sight of hookers and Lamar's love of dogs to get in under his guard. With Lamar out, Omar steps up to the motel door and gives Lamar's knock, and Brother Mouzone comes straight to the door, his guard down for once... and pays for it. Omar kicks the door in as it is opened, knocking Mouzone off-balance, and immediately fires into Mouzone's side, knocking him flat on his back. Closing the door behind him to make this long-sought for revenge private, Omar places one hand up to shield from blood and prepares to kill Brother Mouzone... but first he wants him to know WHY he is doing it. But Mouzone makes no pleas, no cries for help, simply lays on his back and stares in pain but otherwise unmoved by Omar's presence. Omar asks if he wants to know why, and Mouzone is uninterested, more concerned for Lamar's well-being. Omar tells him about Brandon, and makes a very interesting statement in response to Mouzone's comment that "the game is the game" - Brandon was beautiful. That, more than anything else, seems to be the central point of Omar's rage - he had something beautiful in a life filled mostly with cruelty and despair, and it horrified him to see that beauty so wantonly destroyed. Mouzone takes this all in and then laughs, a year ago? Then it couldn't have been him, he had nothing to do with Brandon's death. Omar angrily claims Mouzone is lying to live, but Mouzone calmly states he is at peace with God, so if Omar is going to kill him, just kill him. He lays there, quietly mouthing words that may be a prayer, and Omar prepares to shoot... and he can't do it. This isn't what he was after, Mouzone's words ring true, and Omar realizes that he has been played by Stringer. Observing that the bullet went right through Mouzone, he makes amends for his mistake by picking up the phone and dialing 911, reporting the shot and giving the motel name and room number. With that, he's gone, disappearing into the night and leaving the legendary Brother Mouzone bleeding on a cheap hotel floor. Stringer's strategy was sound, it was the only way to conceivably rid himself of Mouzone's interfering presence, but now Omar's desire for revenge against him has been rejuvenated - he's traded one legendary killer for another... and Brother Mouzone is still alive too.

At the Union Hall, Frank sits at his desk drinking and considering the loss of everything he has ever worked for, the loss of his son, the loss of his family, his self-respect. Beadie arrives and he puts his game-face back on, throwing his wrists together and asking if she has come to cuff him and take him in again. Beadie doesn't come at him as a police officer though, she comes at him as a friend, perhaps the one thing he needs most in the world right now. She asks him just to talk to her, telling him she knows all this didn't happen overnight, and seats herself across for him to hear his confession. Frank laughed off the need for a confession in the first episode, but now he NEEDS to be clean, and Beadie knows it. Tearful (but truthfully so) she tells him she'd like him to come in, not in cuffs, but because HE wants to - she's opening a door for him. She hands over Pearlman's card and explains she can't promise him anything, but please just come in and they'll start from there. Frank fights back tears, so does she, and she tells him the one thing he's probably wanted to hear for quite some time now - he's better than those he got into bed with.

The next morning, a tired McNulty and Bunk sit outside of Vondas' home, but there has been no sign of him all night. McNulty jokes that Vondas may have gotten lucky, and Bunk grunts that maybe THEY didn't. Where is Vondas? At a park meeting with Nick Sobotka watching kids play hockey. Friendly, fatherly, Vondas settles down on the park bench beside him and tells him that everything is going to be all right. Nick is despondent and resigned to his fate, knowing he never would have found Vondas again if he hadn't reached out to him to meet, complaining he should never have gotten involved with them. Vondas smiles and assures him there is nothing wrong with trying to make something of yourself, and it's not all over yet, but Nick reminds him that while he's currently freely moving about, technically he has been busted, as is his uncle and whole Union... and Ziggy too. Vondas remains supremely confident, acting as if none of this worries him, wanting to put across to Nick that same confidence, and assures him that they can take care of Ziggy too. Nick knows there are limits, though, Ziggy is gone and there is nothing that can be done about it... till Vondas calmly hands him a passport. Nick opens it and discovers it is Vondas'... but in a different name. "Many names, many passports," smiles Vondas, taking it back,"We can do many things." Nick feels a horrible glimmer of hope, a disbelieving belief that maybe there is a way out after all, a way to avoid the consequences of their actions. What can they do for Ziggy? Vondas smiles and places his hand on the side of Nick's face, telling him that they reward loyalty.

Look at the pathetic gratitude on his face. This is how they get you - notwithstanding Nick's own culpability, it's Vondas who got Nick into all this trouble, and yet now Vondas tells him he'll get him out of the mess and all Nick can do is be grateful that he knows a guy like Vondas who can help him.

But while Vondas is working on securing Nick's loyalty, Frank is finally getting clean. He's arrived at the Detail Office, and sits at the table with Daniels, Pearlman, Fitzhugh, Beadie and Freamon, directly in front of the notice-board with his own face on it, wanting to know what they can do for him. Pearlman tells him she wants to know what HE wants first, so there are no illusions on either side, and he lays it out straight - what can they do for Ziggy and what can they do for Nick? Ziggy HAS to go to prison, there is no doubt of that, but Pearlman agrees she'll get him moved to a county facility, a far more agreeable place than where he currently is. As for Nick? If he and Frank both cooperate, they will only serve straight probation, no jailtime at all. Frank nods, this was the best he could hope for, but Daniels reminds him that what they can or can't do depends on what he gives them. What can he give them? EVERYTHING. He has dirt on everybody and he's willing to dish it out, including on himself, so long as Ziggy and Nick are taken care of. It's an act of martyrdom to help him feel better, but regardless of the reason he's given them the 14 murders, he's giving them The Greek, he's giving them everything... except the Union, he won't say anything against the Union.

And here is where it all goes wrong.

Remember last episode when the police were frantically typing up paperwork for their raids while The Greek's men removed every piece of evidence from their Warehouse and Glekas' store? Now Pearlman stops Frank before he can spill the beans because Frank MUST have a lawyer present before they can take his statement. Frank is surprised, he was ready to let it all out right then and there, but Pearlman tells him the lawyer has to be present, so he can get one and they'll do this all tomorrow. It's a real necessity, of course, any statement he made without a lawyer could (and would) be thrown out as evidence in a trial, and Frank could be killed or change his mind (or be made to change it) in the meantime - but you can see how people get frustrated at the slow-moving mechanism of the legal system.

Frank gets up to leave, and Freamon asks him one last question - why did he stop using his cellphone? Frank, bemused, says that they flagged it, did they think he didn't know? He leaves, and they all exchange amused glances.

To the tune of a Greek love song (εφυγε εφυγε), a brief montage plays showing The Greek, Vondas and Rados eat at the restaurant and toast each other happily; Horseface cleans up the shipping can office and takes a call from Nick, handing it over to Frank; Vondas tears up his passport and accepts a new one from The Greek; Fitzhugh faxes his notes on the investigation to the FBI; and finally Frank meets with Nick. Nick has been given a piece of paper with the meeting place - The Key Bridge - and Nick presumes it is because it is an open area, impossible to bug. He tries to explain to Frank the scope of The Greek's organization, which none of them have really understood up to this point, but Frank isn't impressed. He accuses Nick of dealing in heroin, demanding to know what he was thinking but then blaming himself - he's the one who got Nick involved, and he should be old enough to know better - he's flushed away his family for nothing. He points out a building out on the docks and asks Frank if he knows what is? The answer? It's a condominium. Frank has bitterly accepted the truth, the grain pier is done, this whole area is going to be developed for rich people and the workers and residents are going to lose their jobs and be priced out of the place that has been their home for generations. So Frank is going to get what revenge he can, and he's going to get it on The Greek - he's going to work with the police and give up everything he knows. But Nick hits Frank in the one place Frank can be got - the meeting is about Ziggy, they can convince the kid who was shot to testify that Glekas was the one with the gun, that Ziggy killed in self-defense... Ziggy could walk away free and clear. Frank allows himself a brief moment of hope but then his natural suspicions kick in, what do they want in return? Loyalty is the answer, and as the music starts up again Frank lets out his rage, kicking and clasping at the chain-link fence (Nick will echo this in the next episode) as he rages against the unfairness of being offered this irresistible thing so soon after deciding to get clean. Like an addict, Frank is already justifying it in his own head, bargaining, making the decision that gives him immediate satisfaction. Like the compromise he made after the dead women were discovered in the shipping can, he's already capitulating in his own self-interest. He tells Nick he will meet them to "hear them out" even though he's clearly already made the decision to go along with them. But on one thing he won't be swayed, Nick will NOT come with him, he doesn't want Nick involved with The Greeks anymore, and is furious when Nick starts bringing up Spiros. Maybe he understands now the frustration that Louis felt with Nick's idolizing of "Uncle Frank with the big shoulders".

The montage continues with The Greek, Spiros and the muscle arriving at the bridge; Fitzhugh's report arrives at the FBI; Frank drives towards the meeting smoking a cigarette; Fitzhugh's report is handed out to be transcribed; and Frank arrives at the bridge, the Greek in the distance as the transcript is sent out... and triggers the Confidential Source Monitor in Agent Koutris' office... and there he sees a name he never expected to see - "The Greek", linked directly to the dead women. The Greek receives an urgent phonecall and listens in to the unheard Koutris, then hangs up and calmly tells Spiros that his plan will not work. Spiros closes his eyes briefly, then shrugs, he tried.

The episode ends with an image that has haunted me ever since I first saw it, one of the most powerful and deeply depressing things I have ever seen/felt from a television program: Frank Sobotka walking unknowingly to his death.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I really wish I could better articulate my feelings on the abandonment of the working man (and woman!), because holy God does it come through strong in The Wire, particularly in this season. Other seasons show us the cost of the War on Drugs, the nightmare that is the school system, the "game" of politics etc but the overall theme for me is in how a gigantic section of the population has been abandoned/let-down in modern day America. Season 2 just brings it into a tighter focus.

The "bootstraps" mentality, the idea that people just need to get over it and make something of themselves is such bullshit because it assumes everything is in isolation. The upper class reaped the benefits of generations of hardworking working-class people before wholesale abandoning them the moment that automation became a cheaper option. Yes that lead to increased efficiencies, less workplace injuries and cut down on (some forms of) corruption... but you can't just expect a massive group of people who have spent their whole lives immersed in a particular culture/with a set of beliefs to just accept change overnight and move on. Look back across the season - McNulty and Diggins both point out factories where their fathers worked, part of the glorified working man culture of Baltimore, and both were laid off decades before this season began. For McNulty and Diggins, there is still pride associated with what their fathers used to be, but the plants and their owners have long since moved on, for them it was only ever about the bottom line. Spiros notes "They used to make steel?" to Frank, pointing out a long closed-down factory, making the point that Frank can't find the absolution/salvation he seeks through honest work and labor anymore. Frank himself lays it out to Bruce DiBiago,"We used to make poo poo in this country."

David Simon's "we weren't born to be niggers" bit in The Corner is a hell of a gut-punch to read, and I think it applies equally to the poor white working class we see in season 2. These are guys with pride in their work and even more pride in their history of work, but it's a thing of the past, something that no longer exists. What happens when you abandon a huge chunk of the population who have never known anything but one way of life, and leave them to sink or swim on their own? You get people turning to drugs, people turning their rage and confusion inward or outward (domestic abuse, crime, violence, alcoholism etc) and then people cluck and shake their heads and say,"These people are scum, why don't they get a real job?"

This is not to excuse the actions of the likes of Nick Sobotka, but it does go a long way towards explaining them. Aimee doesn't care about Nick's family past on the docks, she cares about the present and future of them and their child, their current family. Nick can't let go of the past, in his efforts to hold onto what was, he's missing out on what is (McNulty faces a similar predicament). As an aside, something I neglected to mention it in the write-up - how horrible is it that the first time we see Aimee in the same room as Louis and Joan, it's when the police have raided the house and FORCED them into the same room together?

This kind of rambled, as I noted I struggle to articulate this notion adequately, but the theme of abandonment comes across strongly and is a pretty huge deal to me, and I'd love to see some discussion on it.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I don't think it would have added anything really to have him appear again, we know all we really need to know about his fate. Nick's cameo in season 5 works, as does Randy's, because we see the end result of the environment they chose and were forced to stay in respectively, but I don't really see what would be gained from showing Ziggy. We know life is going to be hell for him in prison, do we really need any more?

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

3Romeo posted:

I'm working on that write-up for S3E01 if you guys are still down with that.

Absolutely, I'm looking forward to seeing it, especially in relation to the Iraq War stuff. I still can't believe I didn't notice until this watch-through Bodie's line about their (inferior) "WMDs" being just as good as the (genuine) "Bin Ladens" that the previous crew were selling on the same corner. I can't wait to see other things I might have missed.

Last episode write-up for this season will go up sometime on Saturday (maybe Sunday if there is a delay).

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Orange Devil posted:

The ones who don't fit the models anymore and are thus assumed for the sake of the models not to exist. But models are simplifications of reality, and the reality is, they still exist, and nobody cares.

Thanks, this articulates things really nicely for me. It's deeply depressing, and your comments about Marx hit home for me since the entire time I was making that inarticulate rant, I was trying to resist saying things that people would pigeonhole as communism/Marxism and then just dismiss because "Marx is bad".


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 2, Episode 12: Port in a Storm

The Greek posted:

Business. Always Business.

Early morning in Baltimore, and Ott appears out of the Shipping Can Office, perhaps looking for Frank, maybe just wanting to get a read on the weather. A couple of passing stevedores ask about the lateness of a ship due in and he tells them it's been delayed by a squall. Nick Sobotka goes to Frank's house to see him and find out what happened with the meeting with The Greek, but there is no answer at the door (Frank's wife probably in a drug-induced sleep) so he leaves - where could Frank be? Ott is joined by Johnny 50, La-La, Horseface and others, watching as a Marine unit (piloted by Claude Diggins) pulls in something out of the water. Nick arrives at Key Bridge and finds Frank's truck is still there, but there is no sign of his uncle. He heads down to the docks, arriving in time to see stevedores rushing down to see what the Marine Unit has brought in, all of them rubbernecking as a dead body is lifted out of the water by crane and settled down on the ground - who is it? A suicide? Somebody they know? The cloth covering the body is parted to reveal... Frank Sobotka, neck slit (by Vondas?). They check for signs of life as a formality, but Frank is dead, and Diggins puts in the call for Homicide, while the assembled stevedores (including Nick) stare down at their dead friend/associate/uncle.

So ends Frank Sobotka, and all his dreams for the Union.

At the Detail office, Daniels is getting up to speed on their progress with Vondas - none. He ditched the car with the GPS tracker on it at the parking garage, he hasn't returned to his home, he isn't using his cellphone, he's in the wind. There is nothing on Rados either other than a driver's license. Its upsetting, but Greggs is optimistic, when Frank Sobotka pops in later today he might be able to give them everything on every single one of them. Beadie lets Freamon know he has a call from homicide, where Landsman has just received faxes of 13 headless/handless corpses found in the mid-Atlantic region, the result of Freamon's intuitive leap from earlier in the season. Landsman lets Freamon know there are over four dozen bodies if he wants to go nationwide, and laughs that they're policing in a culture of moral decline. Freamon asks him to run the faxes over to Southeast and he'll pick them up.

Stringer Bell arrives at the hospital, where a bandaged Lamar is rather sheepishly standing guard over Brother Mouzone's hospital room. Stringer takes a breath and heads inside, where Mouzone is calmly reading a magazine. Stringer declines to sit, he has business to take care of, but he wanted to come and see how Mouzone is doing, and pass on assurances that they have his back to take down whoever did this to him. Mouzone declines that, informing Stringer that he can pass on to Avon that he has no obligation to Mouzone... who in turn now has no obligation to him, their business arrangement is currently over. Stringer, a little off-balance, tries to stay on the script he's prepared in his head, but Mouzone doesn't act or react like the people he is used to, and Stringer makes a huge mistake. Mouzone tells him that he will handle tracking "them" down himself, and Stringer shows genuine surprise, he knows it was just Omar who was after Stringer, and asks Mouzone who came at him. Mouzone, picking up on the surprise, maintains his poker face, but the seed has been planted now - Stringer knows more than he is letting on about the ambush.

At the shipping can office, Nick is seething over Frank's death and finally cracks. Roaring that he's going to kill him, he leaps to his feet and is physically restrained by Horseface, Nat Coxson and La La. He shouts that Frank was always there for them and now he's dead they're not there for him, but they talk sense into him - what exactly is he going to do? Get a gun and play gangster like Ziggy did? Infuriating, frustrated, feeling impotent, Nick can only sit there, wanting to do something but knowing how powerless he really is. The door slams open and his father walks in, Louis Sobotka has lost a brother but he at least knows what must be done - nothing so petty and self-serving as revenge, Nick MUST go to the police and finally face up to the consequences of his actions.

Santangelo is clearing traffic around the site of an OD, many people gathered around as the paramedics work to keep her alive. Bubbles and Johnny are amongst the onlookers, Johnny clearly blasted out of his mind, laughing that "the bomb was the bomb!" when he finds out she OD'ed on a product called "Dirty Bomb". They shuffle away past the ambulance and Bubbles has an idea, he'll jump in and grab supplies form the ambulance - pills, needles, the works. Telling Johnny to keep a lookout, he leaps in and grabs what he can, then leaps out... right into Santangelo, who slams him against the side of ambulance and cuffs him. Bubbles turns and sees Johnny is basically passed out on the side, and grunts,"Good looking-out, Johnny", to which his junkie friend barely manages to nod agreement.

At the docks, Daniels, Bunk and Beadie arrive to meet Landsman and Holley, where Landsman offers a self-deprecating observation that at least this time he thought to call them. Frank's death was not a good one, he was stabbed multiple times before his throat was slit "to make sure", and one can imagine the sudden violent attack as a completely unaware Frank tried to talk about the prospects of saving his son. He did fight back though, sadly dying as he lived - struggling with angry bewilderment against an inevitable and uncaring end. Beadie, who has been enjoying her time as a real police, now finds herself face to face with cold, cruel reality of this kind of work.

Herc and Carver are STILL posted outside Louis Sobotka's house, infuriating that they still haven't seen Nick. Herc wants to just give it up, there is a warrant on Nick so if they don't grab him up, somebody else will or he'll eventually turn himself in. Carver is a little more far-sighted for a change, pointing out that if they grab Nick then they can haul him in and put him in an interrogation room and maybe crack him. If he turns himself in, he'll show up with a lawyer and it'll be harder to get anything from him. Disgusted, Herc tells him he's starting to sound like McNulty, and points out something that is sadly somewhat true - if they stick with the Major Cases Squad that Daniels is setting up, they're ALWAYS going to be the guys sitting stake-outs or surveillance, they'll never get any respect. Once this Detail is over, he's going to go back to Narcotics, try to get into a different squad and find himself a "new rabbi" - somebody to serve under who will help him and assist him in his career. Carver is unsure, though, almost in spite of himself his exposure to actual policework has started to get through to him, and he points out that for all his faults, Daniels is somebody who looks out for his men (remember he saved their asses on the debacle when they went up to the Towers drunk late one night). Herc clearly doesn't believe it, even though he's been saved by Daniels in the past - for Herc, it's all about what have you done for me lately/right now/in the immediate future.

But Daniels is doing just as Carver said right that second. Meeting with Valchek in the Major's office (he's been playing solitaire on his computer :3:), he's come to plead Prez's case and prevent Valchek from ruining a surprisingly promising career. To smooth things over before he brings anything up, he lets Valchek know that they've just come from the docks where Frank Sobotka was found dead. Valchek is surprised, but then declares that if you lay down with gangsters this type of thing will happen, before quietly noting that he "almost" feels sorry for the son of a bitch. Continuing to stroke Valchek's ego, Daniels points out that he was totally right about Sobotka all along, and that the case had strong enough legs that Burrell is making them into a permanent Major Cases Detail. With all these wonderful things noted about Valchek's "intuition" about Frank Sobotka, he finally brings up Prez... after everything Valchek has gained, is he really going to hammer down hard on his son-in-law? drat straight the petty, vindictive little bastard is! Daniels smoothly brings up that after the incident he has everybody write up what they saw, and that they all agree that Prez threw the punch... but that they also all witnessed Valchek's verbal harassment of an inferior officer (calling Prez a shitbird). Now sure, Daniels could get his own men to cheat it, but he can't do anything about those tight-rear end FBI Agents. Valchek is a terrible policeman and a pretty awful human being as well, but one thing he knows well is trade-offs, and he recognizes what Daniels is offering here - the implication of both a threat and a bargain, with the opportunity to save face and look like the bigger man. So with great magnamity, Valchek declares that Prez will spend the next two months working the midnight shift on the desk in the Southeastern. During that time, he will write a letter to every police and FBI witness in which he apologizes for attacking his superior officer and admits that it was a sucker punch and the only reason Valchek didn't kick his rear end was out of respect for his daughter. Then Prez can come to Valchek's office and make the same apology face-to-face, and THEN if he still wants to "piss away his career" he can go to work for Daniels in the Major Cases Detail that has been set up by the Commissioner of Police! During this little speech, Daniels (Valchek is behind him) makes the most amazing expressions with his face as he tries to bite back a smile/laughter, and Valchek has to snap him back to reality after he has finished speaking to let him know it's time for him to leave. Daniels is delighted, Prez was saddled on him in season 1 and proved an early liability, but since then he has shown a knack for paperwork, research and collecting/organizing and laying out the myriad information gathered by the other detectives - he is an asset, and Daniels has just secured him for himself.

At the Southeastern desk where Prez will soon be working the next two months of midnight shifts, an overworked Sergeant is trying to deal with somebody on the phone, hand over Freamon's faxes and deal with the angry elderly polish gentleman who has come over with his son to turn the latter in on a warrant. Lester opens the envelope and leafs through the pictures of dead bodies when he overhears the weary Sergeant finally get to the man trying to turn himself in - Nicholas Sobotka.

Elsewhere, Johnny is still half-passed out and Bubbles is getting frantic as they wait in interrogation when Kima and McNulty arrive. She's bemused and disgusted with Bubbles, he stole morphine from an ambulance? He should feel embarrassed to call her in on that.

Vondas arrives at a motel room guarded by a huge Ukrainian (WWE's Vladimir Kozlov) where the Greek is waiting. Frank's body has surfaced despite being weighted down, but The Greek is untroubled, what has happened has happened and cannot be changed. Vondas admits that Sergei would have done a better job than he did, but points out that Frank's body being found earlier than expected means that Nick will now know what has happened, which makes him a dangerous liability. They have had men watching and waiting for Nick, but the police (Herc and Carver) have also been there constantly, and there has been no sign. In this moment we see the difference between The Greek and Avon Barksdale, and the type of man that Stringer Bell may have dreamed of becoming - he weighs up and the pros and cons of having Nick killed and decides that in the end, it is more trouble than it is worth. Just like that, he gives up any plans to have Nick killed despite everything he knows - The Greek is dangerously pragmatic - he won't kill for no reason, but he also has no issue with killing when he deems it necessary. For him, as Vondas noted in an earlier episode, everything is business. Vondas, who genuinely liked Nick, agrees and notes that though Nick knows his name.... his name is not his name. As for The Greek? All Nick knows about him is that he is called The Greek, and an amused Greek points out that he is not even Greek (somebody posted in a previous thread that he appears to be a Cypriot). Vondas is just as pragmatic, now that the decision has been made, he accepts it and moves on with no objections. So they have to move on? Very well, though there is just a little outstanding business first - a shipment of 150kilos is waiting to be picked up from the docks, but they have nobody to bring it through for them. Vondas admits that he doesn't only miss Sergei, he misses Frank as well - the unspoken implication is that he longs for the happier days of their business arrangement before that small, trifling matter of 14 dead women got in the way. Still, if they can't disappear the cans from the system, maybe they can just have somebody pick up the can and take it out legitimately? The Greek, however, is understandably wary. Everywhere they go nowadays they bump into police, and a disbelieving Vondas asks if he really means to just abandon FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS worth of drugs on the Baltimore Docks. Displaying the cold steel that belies his pleasant old man exterior, The Greek tells him that lambs go to the slaughter, a man knows when to walk away.

Remember that shot of Frank walking to his death at the end of the last episode? :smith:

Near Nick's house, the Muscle that have been waiting with loaded guns to blow him away get the call from Vondas, it's off. They drive away through the rain, right past Herc and Carver who had actually fallen asleep. The headlights wake Herc, who has no idea that potential death was so near.

Daniels, Pearlman, Reese, Fitzhugh and Rawls meet with Commissioner Burrell to bring him up to date on the case, including the now dead Frank's status as a cooperator. So what is left of the case? Nearly everybody caught on the wiretaps have been brought in outside of a couple of people, and they left the Number Two out on the street in the hopes he would lead them to the Number One... but he's currently "out of pocket". What about the Union? Reese notes that without Frank they've only got enough for a couple of subordinates, but for the important thing was always the Union itself - they can now force a change of leadership or the Union will face decertification - the FBI is content with the current situation. Rawls, however, is not - what about his 14 murders? Daniels gets word that Freamon insisted on being put through, so as Daniels takes the call Pearlman reveals to Rawls that Frank was likely to have given them relevant information on the murders as well. Rawls isn't pleased, but he spots a smile on Daniels' face - he's just received news that Nick Sobotka has handed himself in and is willing to flip.

Bubbles is willing too, but he has little to offer Greggs and McNulty to get off the charge he's currently facing. McNulty asks if Bubbles has anything on any murders, and seems almost disappointed to hear that things have been "quiet" on that front lately. Unable to offer any serious information to them, Greggs is fed up and tells Bubbles that this time he's going to jail, horrifying the junkie who starts babbling quickly about all their history - even bringing up how sad he was when she was in hospital and how he was always asking McNulty how she was doing. A bemused McNulty nods at Greggs, and then Johnny finally lifts himself out of his stupor to remind Bubbles of the East Side boy who got shot in the Towers. Bubbles dismisses that, it was just a rat shot, but McNulty is intrigued - what was an East Side dealer doing in the Towers? Bubbles explains that some East Side dealers moved in and there was no violence between them until "this bowtie friend of the family" came in and ran the East Side boys off, telling them this was Avon's turf. So what happened then? Well the "bowtie friend of the family" never came back, the East Side dealers moved back in and everybody is just working side by side without any show of tension - they seem to be sharing the Towers. Now THAT is intriguing.

Nick - with a public defender, the Detail aren't taking any chances - sits in the same place Frank was sitting just a day earlier looking over the chart the Detail put together of The Greek, the dealers, and the dock. He's amazed at how much they already know, and shuts down Pearlman when she tells him he can ask his lawyer if he doesn't understand anything - the only thing he cares about is getting back at The Greek for the death of his Uncle. Pearlman, Daniels, Bunk and Freamon are in attendance, and their first question is just how he knows that it was The Greek's organization that killed Frank, and Nick struggles to admit that he was the one who set up their meeting. Spiros got in touch after people started being arrested, and told him that if Frank kept his mouth shut they would get the kid who was shot by Ziggy to say that Ziggy acted in self-defense, and that Glekas was the one who pulled the gun in the first place. Pearlman tells him that if they killed Frank they probably mean to kill him to, but Nick already knew that - in fact he was SUPPOSED to go with Frank to the meeting, he knows that he should be dead right now too. As he talks, the camera shifts focus from him in the foreground to the image of Frank on the board behind him - Frank was always looking out for Nick. Pearlman moves on to the smuggling and Nick explains that they had no idea it was girls being shipped in - they didn't know what was in there at all. Freamon points out that Nick DID sell drugs that he got from Vondas, however, and Nick takes that in silence, that part of things doesn't fit in to his mindset that The Greek used them. Bunk returns to the table and hands Nick Ziggy's signed statement and the bill of sale from the pawn ship, and Freamon explains that it wouldn't have mattered what the second shooting victim said - Ziggy was going down. Hit by that whammy, Daniels shifts in for the kill - Frank was sitting right where Nick is now ready to give up everything if it would help Ziggy, and Pearlman agrees they're willing to make the same deal with Nick now. He nods and everybody prepares to take notes as he begins speaking - Spiros was the main guy who told Nick and Frank which cans to disappear, and he was the one who supplied Nick with the drugs he was selling. Eton ("The Israeli") handled the drugs and Nick got his re-ups from him until he was passed over to White Mike, and he notes Mike's presence on the board as well. Glekas handled stolen goods, anything they stole from the docks they took to him but he's dead so why waste time on that. He spots Ilona but he has no idea who she is, he moves on to Frank and notes they already know all about him, but when he spots Horse's picture he adamantly declares that he has no idea why Horse is up there - he knew nothing at all and Nick will testify in court on that. Even now, Union loyalty trumps all else. They ask about Sergei and Nick explains he was the driver, he was the one who took things off the dock... but Sergei always got the feeling he was involved in the "hurting" side of things as well. Why? He carried himself that way, but also he once told Nick that the person responsible for the 14 dead girls had been taken care of, a statement which gets everybody's attention, can he elaborate? All Nick can remember is that he was told the one responsible was a "dead end" in Philly, and then Freamon takes a gamble and hands over the picture of Vondas and Rados - who is the suit? Nick looks and shrugs, he has no idea, and Bunk is confused, is he sure he doesn't know? They know that Vondas reported to somebody above him. Sure, Nick knows that, it was "The Greek", but that's not him. Daniels sighs, this was their best lead on the Boss Man and it turned out to be nothing... but then Nick takes a closer look at the photo and points at the old man passing by in front of Vondas and Rodas, lighting a cigarette - THAT is The Greek. Shocked, everybody gathers around (the silent, probably slightly overwhelmed public defender is completely obscured) and looks at the man that Nick is pointing out - they through they had a photo of the Boss Man, and they did... they were just looking at the wrong person.

Greggs and McNulty have gotten a report on Cheese Flagstaff (his name will be changed to Wagstaff in the future), and it makes for interesting reading - Cheese works for Prop Joe, one of the major players on the East Side... so what is Cheese doing working in the heart of Barksdale territory? Santangelo isn't too pleased to hear that Greggs and McNulty want him to let Bubbles go, and McNulty tells him he'll owe him. They go back into the interrogation room and Bubbles is delighted to be uncuffed, he's been saved again. Santangelo releases Johnny too ("he's his valet") who pushes things too far by asking if he can use the bathroom, and Santangelo snaps,"gently caress NO!" at him. Greggs has one more pertinent question for Bubbles - what's the quality of the product in the Towers right now? The answer is very interesting - it was poo poo, now it's right.

Fitzhugh arrives at the Detail office with interesting news for Freamon - he's found Rados' identity, and he really is "just a suit", he's a lawyer. But the manhours put in by the FBI back when they were actively involved in the case have also paid off - a shipping can coming in tomorrow matches the data from the other fake manifests for previous suspected smuggled cans. Freamon is pleased (Fitzhugh notes it represents around $300,000 worth of manhours) and Fitzhugh asks what is to be done with Nick, who is sitting at one of the lunch tables with his upper body spread out over the surface, not quite napping but completely spent of rage and energy, mentally exhausted. Freamon tells Fitzhugh he needs to get onto the US Attorney to arrange Witness Protection for Nick, and they're currently picking up Aimee and Ashley - he asks Fitzhugh to keep it as quiet as possible, they don't want to lose another cooperating witness.

Daniels is watching the news - Frank's death - in his underwear when Marla knocks at the door, the phone is for him. He answers while Marla goes back into her now separate bedroom and turns off the lights - Daniels is finally achieving professional happiness, but at the expense of his personal life. Sadly it's not a unique or even uncommon situation for police.

Freamon called to let Daniels know that Fitzhugh was arranging Witness Protection. The Agent is making use of technology to do so, preparing to send his fax with the information when a last second instinct causes him to tear the paper out before it can feed in. Freamon asked him to keep it as quiet as possible, and something about Frank's death is clearly eating at him, so he puts through a call in person to Agent Koutris. Why Agent Koutris? Has he been keeping him in the loop as a professional courtesy? Does he suspect Koutris as the only potential outside source that might explain Frank's death? Whatever the reason, he calls the San Diego Field Office and discovers that Koutris no longer works there - he's been working in Counter-Terrorism in Washington DC for well over a year now. Though he can't know for certain, Fitzhugh knows - he's hosed up big time.

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