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Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



The next day, Herc and Carver are glaring directly ahead, absolutely fed up with the long, exhausting and unproductive wait for Nick's return home. Finally enough is enough and Carver is out the door followed by Herc, hammering on Louis' door until he finally answers and takes a barrage of threats from Carver - either Nick hands himself in or they will raid Louis' home twice a day for as long as it takes for Nick to turn himself in, goddammit! Louis is startled, confused and finally manages to get a surprisingly respectful word in edgewise - his son handed himself in last night at the Southeastern, in fact a detective was there at the time. He hands the detective's card to a shocked Carver, who angrily hands it to Herc, and then they burst off with (quite justified!) fury - they're going to have words with their superiors!



Nick, Aimee and Ashley are brought into the small motel room they'll be staying at for the next little while by an Agent who tells them not to use the phone and not to go anywhere without the Agent who is posted outside their door. He leaves, and Aimee looks around the lovely motel room, commenting that it is a dump. Nick, with that wonderful sense of Sobotka timing, points out that she always wanted them to get a place together.

At the Detail Office, Freamon is discussing the headless/handless corpses with Daniels and the news that the man responsible for the 14 dead women was killed in Philadelphia - this narrows things down slightly, it's unlikely that they took the bodies far from where they were murdered. Freamon asks Bunk if they kept any photos from the evidence taken from the Atlantic Light, and heads out to pick them up from the Evidence Control Unit. Bunk and Beadie are going to head up to Philadelphia, and as they leave they pass a furious and determined Herc and Carver, compounding their frustation by asking just where they've been?

At Butchie's, Omar is puzzling over the situation he has found himself in. Nothing makes sense, Brother Mouzone clearly had no idea what Omar was talking about when he brought up Brandon so he eased off... did Mouzone play him? Butchie doesn't think so though, if he can't tell lying eyes by now then he'd be a dead man. None of it makes any sense though, if Brother Mouzone had been called in to deal with Stringer last year, he wouldn't have stopped at Brandon, he would have kept coming till him or Omar were dead. So what is the explanation? Avon Barksdale's father was an evil man, according to Butchie, so is Avon, and so is Stringer now that he thinks about it - he should have never agreed to Proposition Joe's request for a meeting. Omar stresses that he's going to go hard at Stringer Bell for leading him into all of this, and Butchie knows there is no talking him out of it. Butchie blinks and stares at nothing, and Omar asks the blind man what he sees. "Too much," replies Butchie.

Daniels has hosed up and he knows it, there is no getting around it. A lot happened over the previous night is the only explanation he can give for not letting them know that Nick Sobotka was in custody, but Herc points out that not a lot happened with them. They're furious at being considered pack mules rather than people, forced to sit in place, to babysit one mope or pick up another. Daniels reminds them this is part of the job, and Herc doesn't do his justified anger any good by complaining that the job used to have more "rip and run" to it, allowing Daniels to remind them that they're doing something deeper than that in this unit. Herc takes that as an insult though, is he saying they're not smart enough to do that? Carver has been seething and finally he snaps, leaping up and telling Daniels that there is a posting for a Sergeant in Major Colvin's district, and the last time he checked, he has stripes on his shoulder. He storms out, whatever residual guilt over his betrayal of Daniels was left, whatever slowly dawning realization of the benefits of the Major Cases' approach to policework... it's all gone now, Carver is tired of being a second-class citizen, and he's going to go somewhere where he will get the respect he believes he deserves.

Greggs and McNulty are taking photos at the towers, unable to believe that they're really seeing East Side and West Side dealers working side by side peacefully - it's like cats and dogs. Greggs' beeper goes off and she complains that she has to be somewhere.

Bunk and Beadie arrive at the Port of Philadelphia, where the elderly and slightly confused desk officer struggles to understand their request for "anything unusual" that happened on one particular date. He looks through the entry log and doesn't find anything unusual, so Bunk (who is struggling to hold his temper) asks if they can have the name of the security guard on duty that evening. Eventually it comes out this was "Old Walt" who doesn't work on Tuesdays so they can't talk to him tonight.... besides, what do they want with him? Bunk shows shows of known Greek muscle including Sergei, and the Security Officer tells them that it wouldn't do much good - Old Walt isn't as up to speed as the rest of them. Bunk - who has a bad history with the Port of Philadelphia after his previous dealings with the Atlantic Light - has had enough and he and Beadie sigh and prepare to leave, at which point the Security Officer asks if they want to take a look at the extensive videotape coverage they have, including for the night in question.



Kima's appointment that she was so frustrated by is to join Cheryl in shopping for their upcoming baby. Cheryl is in heaven, laughing and joking as she looks around at the various items, while Greggs makes no effort whatsoever to hide her complete lack of interest. Cheryl finally picks up on it and her own good mood disappears, and she forces Greggs to face up to the reality of their situation - it doesn't matter how churlish and grumpy Kima acts, the baby IS coming, and will need both of them - forever. It might not be real to Kima yet, but it is real to Cheryl. She turns and storms away, leaving the normally mature and thoughtful Kima to face up to her own immaturity.

She's not the only one. At the motel, Aimee has showered and is preparing for bed while Nick and Ashley sit on the bed watching cartoons. Aimee has been holding it in as much as possible, but finally she can't any longer and she demands answers from Nick - what is going to happen to them? Where are they going? What will they do? Nick - as always - refuses to face these types of questions head on, and simply sits watching the cartoon silently with Ashley. Nick has never been able to accept the notion that he isn't "man" enough to look after his family, but rather than doing anything about it, he's either just ignored it as a problem or been involved in crime to keep up the pretense that he is in charge of his life.

The next day on the docks, Johnny 50 lets Horse know that a can has come in but no driver is there to pick it up. When Horse learns it is listed on the shipping manifest as coming from France, he knows it is one of The Greek's cans. Furious, he tells Johnny to make sure it is entered into the system. Freamon and Fitzhugh are watching it on the cloned computer system at the Detail Office and register that the can hasn't been "lost" in the system. Greggs and McNulty arrive and ask Freamon about the re-ups that seemed to be running through Pyramid before they lost that wiretap, and he tells them that at first it was 5-6kilos, and the last one they heard was for 12. Greggs and McNulty are intrigued, Prop Joe has people working the Towers in Barksdale territory, the quality of the product has gone through the roof and one of the buyers from Pyramid doubled their order one week? What is going on?

Prop Joe is joined on a park bench by Vondas, who as a courtesy has met with Joe in person to let him know that he is going to be out of town and will be out of contact. Joe will have to wait to hear from "new people" for his next re-up, and it will be at least a week. Joe only has enough product to just last through the week, and asks if Vondas has anything he's looking to unload before he goes, but in spite of his own misgivings Vondas doesn't bite - the last shipment is "lost". How so, asks Joe, and Vondas explains that police "might" be sitting on it, impressing Joe who is surprised but pleased by the show of discipline. He tells Vondas he looks forward to hearing from the new people and tells him to have a good trip... where is he going again? Vondas smiles and leaves, Prop Joe watching a girl go by on a bike, content with life. His suppliers have just been hit hard by a quality police investigation. The end result? There won't be any NEW drugs for a week. Consider that - a quality, well run police investigation that included assistance from the FBI only manages to prevent NEW drugs for a week, and the old drugs already in circulation is enough to last for that period anyway.

Daniels, Freamon and Fitzhugh and a couple of Port Authority police have opened the can and found what looks to be about 200kilos of raw drugs just left on the docks. They're not going to send it down to the Customs Shed though, they're going to seal it back up and hope that The Greek sends somebody to pick it up in a couple of days. The Port Authority officer asks if they're that lucky, and Daniels sighs that if The Greek hadn't realized they were onto them when they did, they could have made a hell of a case out of this. Fitzhugh, who at least suspects this is his fault, hangs his head - he knows what a huge deal this kind of bust could have been.



Stringer visits Avon in prison to let him know the situation with Brother Mouzone, and quite cleverly twists Brother's own words/demeanor to create a very negative impression in Avon's mind - Avon is furious at Mouzone's failure, doesn't care how Mouzone is doing and disgusted by his use of the word "absolved" in regards to their contract with him. Things are going very well for Stringer's plan until he fucks up by revealing that he asked Mouzone who came at him. Avon is horrified, he asked Mouzone THAT? Stringer is confused, why is this so bad? Avon snaps that with a professional like Mouzone, he'll either tell you or he'll handle it himself, you never ask him. Some of the shine has come off Stringer in Avon's mind for that mistake, and Stringer falls back to familiar territory in light of Avon's anger, telling him that they're just on a downward cycle like any other business. Avon shuts him up immediately, telling a clearly uncomprehending Stringer that this isn't about "that part of it, it's the other thing". Stringer's problem is that he has always believed that they can operate on the basis of money/profit alone, and that the violence is a mostly (or entirely) unnecessary aspect of it. But they're involved in a drug empire running mostly uneducated street-level drug dealers, and there is sadly an important role for violence and a dangerous reputation. So Stringer does about the best thing he could have done in this situation, and instead of trying to stay on top of everything he just tells Avon that he doesn't know what to do now. Avon swallows his pride and tells Stringer to go see Prop Joe and work out a deal to share the Towers after all... they'll run thing Stringer's way till Avon is back. Stringer has - of course - done this a long time earlier, but now he has Avon's "approval", they can run things out in the (comparative) open. Pleased, he presses his fist against the glass and says,"Us,", but Avon takes an uncomfortably long time before brusquely returning the gesture and then making a quick exit from the visiting room. Stringer got what he wanted, but Avon no longer trusts him completely as he once did.

Back at the Detail office, Bunk, Beadie, Freamon and Fitzhugh watch as a tech takes them through the security camera footage. It's running at an accelerated rate, a space-saving feature that allows the port to fit a great deal onto one tape. The tech is able to locate the night they wanted and then slow the footage down to regular speed, and they're bemused to see what is clearly Sergei arriving and flashing a badge while driving a Mercedes Benz. They spot the crewman jumping the Atlantic Light and getting chased down by Sergei and his men, and to their pleasure they also have camera footage from inside... including very clear footage of Sergei and his men putting a savage beating on the crewman. "My pants are wet!" gasps Bunk as he watches this unexpected treasure trove of information unfold before him.

Prop Joe arrives for an alleyway meeting with Stringer, who walks to the window and talks to him from the back of his car. Prop Joe informs him that there will be a one-week delay on the Re-Up as his people "adjust to some poo poo", but it will be no more than that. How did it go with Avon? Stringer has good news, and the two men bump fists, unaware that their unusual business arrangement - designed specifically to avoid police attention - has attracted police attention - they're photographed by Greggs and McNulty.



Nat enters the Union Hall looking for information on Frank, though Johnny 50 mistakes his interest in "what is going on" to the word going around about the can full of drugs that the police have left out as bait. The FBI arrives, much to everybody's displeasure, where they inform them that the Local will be decertified if changes aren't made and soon. They vote in new leaders or the US Attorney will padlock the door, and all decisions regarding the Union, its finances and support and seniority et al will be made by a Federal Magistrate from the Courthouse. They leave, satisfied they've made their point, and Ott comes to a firm decision. He tears down his poster campaigning for Union Treasurer-Secretary, leaving up Frank's own, and declares,"One man, one vote" before storming out. Nat is surprised, but like everybody else proud of Ott's decision. It will be a fatal one though, the FBI isn't kidding around, and the really depressing thing is that under the old rules of the Union, Frank would have been out no matter how much he was pushing for re-election anyway. But the important thing for the Union is maintaining their solidarity, it's the entire point of the Union in the first place - so they'll "die" Union rather than let somebody else step in and tell them how to run things.

Freamon and Bunk sit down for another interrogation with Sergei, but this time the Ukrainian's wall of silence is easily broken. They have audio of his declaration that he kills people by removing their head and hands. They have a headless/handless body with tattoos and DNA that matches those of a missing Atlantic Light crewman. They have video tape of what looks like Sergei physically assaulting that crewman. They have an enhanced (not in a ludicrous CSI type way) image of the license plate for a rental car that was rented by... Sergei. Bunk even gives fake credit to Walt Stokes for that one, claiming he's a good man who keeps meticulous records. Sergei's face slowly shifts from blank poker face to unease to near panic when Freamon hits him with the final killer blow - they can charge him with Aggravated Murder and Kidnapping, and in this State, that gets the Death Penalty. He stares at the image, his breathing is coming fast and finally he blurts it out,"I didn't kill him!"

He admits that he was there but he didn't do the killing, that was Vondas, he saw him slit his throat. Unbidden, he lets it all out, a lifetime of silence shattered as he explains exactly what happened - how the crewman was supposed to be the shepherd for the girls, how he tried to make money from them while the ship sailed, how one girl fought and so she was killed, and then the rest died to cover up the crime - he HAD to die, the idiot, there was no choice. He turns the papers over angrily, and Bunk can barely suppress his glee as he asks if Sergei would like something - coffee, a soda? Sergei, sweating, asks for vodka and has to settle for coffee, and Bunk heads out the door where he gleefully tells a surprised Daniels and Beadie that the 14 murders have been solved... with another John Doe thrown into the mix! Does Daniels want to tell Rawls? Daniels smiles, let him stew for a little bit.



Daniels does have some business to take care of though. He heads into the interrogation room and lays down the photo of The Greek, Vondas and Rados - who is the man above Vondas? Sergei doesn't hesitate, it's "The Greek", but he doesn't have a name for Daniels, even Sergei only knows him as The Greek. Daniels won't let up though, if he wants the Death Penalty off of the table, he wants to know where he can find them. Sergei suggests a hotel, not the one in the photo, another... and he can take them there.

Soon, Freamon, Bunk and Daniels join other officers in a raid of the hotel room where not so long ago we saw The Greek and Vondas discussing The Greek. They rush about the rooms, but they're empty, there is nobody there. Daniels looks down at the coffee table, a bottle of Ouzo and an ashtray full of cigarettes show him just how close he came to actually catching one of the genuine, legitimate big fish of the drugs world. At the airport, The Greek hands over his passport after Vondas, and smilingly tells the clerk,"Business. Always business," when asked if his flight is for the purposes of business or pleasure. He eyes up a nearby female clerk with what seems like Grandfatherly affection (consider his part in the sex slavery trade) and then heads for his plane, reaching into his pocket for his worry beads and discovering he doesn't have them. Vondas asks if he is missing something, but the ever pragmatic Greek says it was nothing important. At the hotel, Daniels picks up the worry beads with a pen and places them into a bag - this is as close as he will ever get.

Later that night at a bar, McNulty and Greggs arrive and spot the surprisingly morose members of the Detail drinking, some at the bar, others (like Herc and Carver) sitting at a table glaring sullenly at everybody. Bunk is in no mood to joke about with McNulty, and Freamon explains the case hit the wall - they cleared the murders, the smuggling and the drugs but they were late on Vondas and The Greek. Fitzhugh says they have interstate flight warrants out but from what Nick told them, The Greek and Vondas practically collect passports. They ask Daniels what he'll do with the drugs end of the case, and he suggests passing it on to Narcotics, but they have a better idea. McNulty shows Daniels the photo of Stringer Bell meeting with Proposition Joe, and they share a smile - a top West Side and East Side Dealer working together sounds like just the thing for the newly formed Major Cases Squad.

McNulty passes by Beadie and flirts with a grumpy Pearlman, and Fitzhugh finally gets up the courage to tell Daniels what has been eating him up - he found the leak, it was him. He explains he was using the FBI systems to get information on Daniels' targets and thought he was talking to another Field Agent in San Diego, and had no idea he was actually working in Counter-Terrorism out of Washington. He suspects (which is why he'll never bring this up to anybody else) that The Greek and Vondas were assets for Counter-Terrorism and this is how they stayed a step ahead of the investigation. Daniels takes it all in and then turns and walks away, Fitzhugh only able to offer a heartfelt apology - he knows he hosed up.

Herc and Carver continue their animated discussion about their futures, and Beadie notes to Freamon that the world just keeps on turning. The Squad will move on to another case, with the implication being that she will not be amongst them. Her involvement was for this case only, and though she had a taste for it, one would suspect that it was only because of her personal involvement - what next for Beadie Russell? Freamon offers to buy the next round and is surprised by the complete lack of interest - this case had a more concrete resolution than the Barksdale case did, but even so everybody can't help but feel that they've failed.

The next day, Nick wakes early and gets dressed, leaving Aimee and Ashley sleeping in the motel bed. Aimee wakes and asks where he is going, and Nick offers only a simple,"Work," before heading out the door.

Valchek collects his morning mail and is surprised to see a letter from Australia. Opening it, he discovers a photo of his surveillance van that has come all the way from Melbourne, and shakes his head with a wry smile,"Frank, you cocksucker," he laughs, and then in Polish tells his foe to rest in peace.

The FBI Agent has driven Nick close to the Union Hall but he decides to walk from there, assuring the Agent that nobody fucks with them on their own turf. He heads into the Hiring Hall where La La is reading the paper, surprised to see him. Nick comes over and shrugs, asking what the gently caress else he was going to do? It's a nice symbolic gesture of his solidarity, but La La informs him there isn't enough work today for Nick to get a spot, and they shake the old joke,"Seniority sucks... if you're not senior." He leaves the Hiring Hall, at a loss what to do now, unable to leave what he knows behind and too scared to go headlong into a future bereft of everything that has anchored his life in place to date. He walks along the fence by the harbor, shadowed by the Agent in his car, and stops to look through the fence much like Frank did in the previous episode, taking in sights of the only life he has ever known.

So the traditional end of season montage begins - a season that took us inside the ports, the slow death of one section of working class Baltimore, another look at the abandonment of a once integral part of society and the choices that people put into that situation make... as well as those they don't, can't or won't. Steve Earle's "Feel Alright" plays as US Marshals close down the Union Hall, the end result of the solidarity shown in the wake of Frank's death. The Port Authority police remain watching the abandoned shipping can full of drugs, an open secret on the docks - Johnny 50 pisses on the can and flips the bird to the confused Port Authority police. Horseface finds himself in court alongside Eton, the two tied together in the eyes of the law even if they never met and despite the fact that Horseface at least utterly detests Eton. The 14 red names dropped on Homicide by a vindictive McNulty turn black, much to Rawls and Landsman's delight, the rock around their neck has turned out to be made of gold, these clearances will do wonders for their clearance rate. Ziggy - presumably shifted to a County Jail thanks to Nick's cooperation - shuffles along with other prisoners, all his glee and zest for life gone. Andy Krawcyk makes an enthusiastic speech to a very small crowd as he announces The Grainery, the condominiums that Frank Sobotka most feared would replace his push to get more work for the docks now a reality - the usual suspects are there to make money though, including Clay Davis who happily took Frank's money before abandoning him. Beadie's premonition about the world continuing to turn comes true as - the investigation over - she returns to her old work patrolling the docks with the port police. I'd like to call attention to a wonderful observation made earlier in the thread:

Spoilers Below posted:

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

Freamon takes down the organizational charts assembled during the investigation, packing it away in a box marked,"Port Investigation 2003", leaving up the photo of The Greek - the one who got away. Meanwhile the drug trade continues unabated throughout Baltimore, no dip experienced whatsoever even in spite of the highly successful investigation. Frog and a Lieutenant mock an old woman trying to clear them off of her stoop, a sad note declaring her house is for sale in the window - the drugs remain so prevalent that she has had to move out of the place she has probably lived for decades, and good luck getting a good price considering the neighborhood. Poot and Puddin watch a police cruiser drive by, out of The Pit for good it seems and now selling on the corners again, either because The Pit has become too high profile or because they've realized there is more money to be made out on these corners than in a place where prospective customers might be too scared to approach. La La and Johnny 50 get drunk on the street, drinking from bottles in paper bags (Colvin will wax lyrical on the paper bag next season), their fates uncertain without a real Union behind them anymore. Vondas' new people have hooked up with Prop Joe, who watches from the back of a car as a sample of the drugs is tested and found to be good, and he collects his new shipment, nodding in approval. The drugs unloaded and Joe moved on, next out is the other "cargo", even more women smuggled in - as The Greek noted, there are always more women - these bewildered and bedragged women are lead out blinking against the headlights, stumbling from their long confinement, ready to be put to work as sex slaves - the 14 dead women don't even scratch the surface of the mostly ignored sex slavery trade, anymore than the loss of 200 kilos of drugs did anything to stop the flow of drugs in Baltimore. Finally, quick shots of the skeletons of what was once the industrial powerhouses of Baltimore flash by, and the montage concludes. Nick stands in the rain, staring out at the water, and finally pulls away, wiping the tears from his eyes and continuing on up the street. He doesn't know where he is going or what he is doing. He has no plan, he's turned his nose up at his one potential legitimate escape route, and the future looks grim for him, Aimee and Ashley.



Nick's story is a dramatic one from a work of fiction, but it represents a sad reality. Sure, most people aren't involved with International Smuggling Rings, but there are plenty of working class people struggling to find work, abandoned by society, turning to crime, destroying their families and looking at an empty, frustrating and uncaring future. Race plays a part, undoubtedly, but one lesson I think we should take from The Wire is that these things affect black, white, Hispanic, Asian etc - businesses lay off workers for short term gain, industries collapse, communities go with them, society suffers, crime rises, and all the time people are blaming the individual for not overcoming the massive hurdles in their way.

Next season, The Wire leaves the docks and returns to inner city drugs, and parallels strongly with the War in Iraq - 3Romeo is keen to write on this and I know escape artist (who is the OP after all!) wants to as well. I'm more than happy to sit back and see what they have to say, a lot of this is stuff I missed - but I'll be happy to jump in at any time to contribute or continue doing write-ups for season 3 as well. Elements introduced in season 2 and 1 continue on into season 3 - Stringer's growing love for running things against his love/dedication for Avon; Major Colvin's despair over the ineffectualness of his police force; McNulty's dissatisfaction with his life; Burrell and Rawls' love of statistics/politicking; Daniels attempt to build a real career out of real police work; and the introduction of a character who will have a huge impact on the rest of the show - Carcetti.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 10:38 on May 26, 2013

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Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



cletepurcel posted:

Do you have a link/can recall the reasoning for the Greek actually being a Cypriot? Sounds interesting, although I like to think he's actually from a country not even remotely resembling Greece and that the whole thing is a cover, even if that's a little far-fetched for The Wire.

Somebody posted it in one of the previous Wire threads, he speaks in a foreign language in one episode and somebody translated it as Cypriot.

Also, from The Wire wikia:

His background and ethnicity are never overtly identified, although his vodka drinking habits, accent, and the make-up of his organization strongly suggest an eastern European background. He seems fluent in English, Greek, and Turkish. Due to his implied dislike of Turks in 'The Old World' in the second episode of the second season, inference suggests that he may be Armenian or Greek Cypriot.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



There are guys like him out there - although you rarely if ever hear about them exactly because they keep such a low profile and aren't expected to be found in dirty cafes running gigantic criminal empires.

It's not quite the same thing, but Bernardo Provenzano spent 4 decades on the run from police, running the Sicilian Mafia from a series of rustic farmhouses, communicating only through handwritten notes and pushing a policy of as little violence as possible to avoid police attention. There have also been accusations that he was protected by members of law enforcement who he acted as an informant for, helping them catch more violent, headline grabbing criminals and leaving him to run his empire and make his millions in peace.

It's not quite the same since apparently he lived quite ostentatiously before going on the run and was apparently slightly addled - wearing Bishop's robes and constantly quoting the Bible in his orders - but the point is that people notice flash and dismiss people who look poor. Nobody believes a multi-millionaire smuggling kingpin would spend his days in a rundown dive of a cafe, so nobody looks for him there.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



There's a great moment in season 3 involving Bubbles (I think) being in Hamsterdam at night. He's just standing there staring around at everything going on around him, and the way it is lit/his facial expression/reactions etc leap out as showing the place for the hellish nightmare it actually is. At the end of the season Bubbles makes a nice comment to Colvin about how nice it was to be able to come down and cop drugs without the police getting in your face, but I always think of that image of him staring in horror at everything around him.

Hamsterdam was in no way a solution, it was just taking all the visible problems of the drug trade and pushing it off out of sight (putting it in a paper bag, as Colvin notes). Like the stevedores on the docks or the kids in the schools or dealers on the corner, Hamsterdam is just an abandonment of a section of the population that aren't "needed" any more by modern society, who just wants them to go away rather than dealing with them.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



RYYSZLA posted:

To reply to a couple of other posts, I see hamsterdam as less of a thing saying "look, legalisation is bad aswell!" I think it's more a case of "Look what happens if you just open the doors and let everything go at once...." - I think it's preaching moderation, or regulation at the least, saying "This is what happens if you dont at least try to control what you're unleashing on the world..."

To me, Hamsterdam makes the point quite clearly that there is NO easy solution to the problem, no cure-all or quick-fix. The solution to the drug problem is a gigantic overhaul of society itself, a radical and unflinching look at the inequalities inherent in the system that will take decades if not centuries to change. And that kind of solution isn't just highly unpopular, it's career suicide for any politician to approach it that way, and completely unacceptable to the vast majority of a complacent population who would rather complain loudly as things continue as they are as opposed to suffer the discomfort and instability of actually getting something done about it.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Great job, the parallels with the Iraq War/War on Terror went completely over my head the first time I saw it, which seems unbelievable to me now looking back at how obvious many of them are. Love the note about the boot treading on the "fallen soldiers" in the opening - is it reading too much into it to note that the focus on the dog-fighting is drawing a similar parallel? Loyal and obedient and dying for the profit of their "owners"?

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



chesh posted:

The only ONLY thing I think the review is missing is Rawls' line here - "I don't care how you do it" but get the stats down. Bunny takes that literally to heart, and while he knows he's treading a line, Rawls literally gave explicit permission.

Colvin's,"Maybe I'll legalize drugs," gets a big laugh from everybody else, but then he goes ahead and does just that.

Rawls as Burrell's attack dog is a hell of a thing, their partnership/combination works so well and kind of creates the impression that Rawls is the power behind the throne. So it's neat to see later on that Burrell didn't get to Commissioner by accident, with Rawls' attempted coup blowing up in his face. The politics of the police are a pretty horrible thing that screws with the city, but it's fascinating to watch the political machinations unfold.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



computer parts posted:

Concentrate them and ignore them.

Which is a pretty good metaphor for poverty in cities.

Now that's unfair!

Sometimes they dust them off so somebody like Carcetti can make a rousing, inspiring speech.... and then go back to ignoring them/not even thinking about them.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Will there be a write-up for episode 2 anytime soon? :shobon:

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Please do! It's always great to get a fresh perspective on the series from a first time viewer, and you WILL end up rewatching multiple times to pick up on things you missed the first time around.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I'm on it, chief! :)

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



The day that I find having to watch an episode of The Wire a chore is the day that.... I will be very depressed.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Season 3, Episode 2 - All Due Respect

Colvin posted:

There's never been a paper bag

Two Barksdale muscle shoot the poo poo on a stoop in Baltimore, only pausing to bristle at two passersby who linger a little too long near the stoop. Shamrock and Country arrive and are greeted happily, as Stringer noted last episode business is currently booming despite the loss of the best territory in Baltimore - the now destroyed towers. A nurse wheels up an old man to the stoop but they don't let their guard down, first trying to prevent them from entering and then making an invasive check of the trembling old man's body to make sure he isn't carrying any weapons. He is the brother of an old woman who lives on the bottom floor of the Barksdale property in the back room (the house is probably in her name), and they carry the wheelchair up the steps, separating so one enters the house with them and the other stays outside to maintain his vigil. Inside the muscle finally lets his guard down, stopping to flirt with the nurse, but his guard is up again when the old man speaks and he takes a close look at his face for the first time - it's not an old trembling man, it's a young, laughing Omar. The nurse - Kimmy - pulls a gun and Omar grabs the muscle's, and when Kimmy opens the door Tosha and Dante have already gotten the drop on the other muscle. A still laughing Shamrock and Country come down the stairs, spot the scene and make to run, but Omar stops them. Resigned, Country drops the bag of money from the re-up down to the ground, while one of the muscle with surprising politeness reminds Omar "with all due respect" that this is a Barksdale house. Avon's name still rings out on the street, but it has only ever attracted a predator like Omar, who seems bemused by the idea.

This scene is important for a couple of reasons. It shows that the union of Omar/Dante and Kimmy/Tosha is not only continuing but that they have become a well-oiled unit. It also shows that Omar is still gunning for revenge on the Barksdales. But more importantly than that for me is the conversation taking place between the two vigilant but none-too-bright muscle - one is telling a story before everything goes to hell, about how a tourist came looking for the "po' house" and seemed disappointed in him when he didn't know what he was talking about. The "Po' House" is of course the home of Edgar Allan Poe, an important cultural landmark of the city, but one that many of the residents in the poorer areas of Baltimore are completely ignorant of. He mistakes the comment as slang, thinking that the tourist is looking for the poor house and telling him to "Take his pick". It serves as a pretty good reminder of the stark differences in America and particularly in Baltimore - the poor people are mostly ignorant of the cultural riches of their city because they're too busy trying to survive, while richer people ignore the poor and their plight but happily go and explore the sites of culture to be found amongst them.

McNulty goes to see Doc Frazier at the morgue, having discovered D'Angelo's death. The discovery happened off-screen, and McNulty doesn't appear to be particularly distressed about it, but he's looking for an angle to continue on the Barksdale case so he's exploring further. Kids are present at the morgue, watching what should be the horrifying sight of a murdered dealer's autopsy. The cop shows them the shredded remains of the man's heart, trying to get through to them the danger of following that road, but the kids - while quiet - don't seem particularly upset. Frazier quips to McNulty that it's more "bored stiff" than "scared straight", and that in and of itself is pretty horrifying. McNulty gives over the notes on D'Angelo, explaining that he was hoping to see if D'Angelo was ready to flip after spending some time in jail only to discover he committed suicide. He wants to make sure it really WAS a suicide before moving on to another avenue of attack.

Stringer Bell visits Avon in prison, where he gives a more muted and conciliatory version of the speech he gave to the dealers in the last episode. Avon is pondering all the hard work that went into winning the towers, only to see them out on the streets with "the rest" again. Avon explains they're going to get out early to the corners and make their pitch, explain the benefits of working for them to the existing dealers and take peacefully what Avon considers his by right. He reminds Avon that murders are what ended up putting Avon into the prison in the first place, and Avon - somewhat warily - agrees to the plan, especially as Stringer is promising that they will do what needs to be done if anybody steps to them. He cheers right up when Stringer asks how his parole hearing is looking set to go though, a huge grin crossing his face, no doubt in his heart at all that he'll be getting an early release. Stringer can't quite hide his own disappointment at the notion though.

Elsewhere, feelers are already going out as Stringer sends out his most trusted men to smooth the way. Shamrock and Country visit different small-time kingpins alone, acting friendly and diplomatic, laying out the benefits of embracing the Barksdales onto the corner instead of trying to fight them off. One seems belligerent but calms right down when he realizes how much a bump in profits he stands to make, the other is open right from the get go. Having less luck is Bodie, a "lesser" light than Shamrock or Country, he's been sent after what Stringer perceives as a lesser kingpin, somebody called Marlo. Unfortunately for Bodie, Marlo isn't anywhere to be seen, and the plain white shirt wearing young men on his corner just stand and stare blankly into the distance, ignoring his frustrated questioning. Finally one of them speaks up,"Yeah yeah, he was here," he says, then simply stands and says nothing more as a confused Bodie glares at him, before finally adding on,"Now he ain't."



Carcetti kicks back his feet and basks in the glow of admiration coming from Valchek, who is laughing in disbelief at the big speech that Carcetti gave tearing Burrell a new one, which has made the news. Valchek can sniff politics and he knows that Carcetti is up to something, but the Councilman is savvy enough to say nothing, leaving Valchek to run through the possibilities and come up with his own conclusion. As police he's an ineffectual, petty-minded little creep, but as a politician he's smart, and Valchek quickly picks up that Carcetti has boxed Burrell into a corner. If he won't play nice with Carcetti, he'll be trashed in the media which will make Carcetti look good. If he makes nice with Carcetti, then the Councilman has earned himself a "snitch" in the Mayor's inner circle. Carcetti just smiles and Valchek asks what HIS part in all this should be, and Carcetti tells him he needs Valchek to set up another meeting between him and the Commissioner. Valchek jokes, should he warn Burrell to bring petroleum jelly? "His rear end, his choice," smiles Carcetti.

It might be win-win for Carcetti, but it's lose-lose for Bodie. His crew is supposed to be setting up on the corner currently occupied by Marlo's crew, but he hasn't been able to find Marlo to talk with him and lay out the terms of Stringer's proposed deal. If they head over to the corner then it will mean a fight and probably worse, and while Bodie has never been scared of this in the past he's been taught/warned that Stringer does NOT want this to happen. As he did in the towers with Cheese last season though, Bodie finds himself innovating to deal with the problem. So they can't set up on that corner but they HAVE to set up on that corner? Well in that case he'll set up on the other side of the street in the middle of the block - not the best territory but it will send a clear message and hopefully get Marlo to surface.

Cheese - who has been infuriating the police with his discipline and silence - arrives on the scene at a dog fight, laughing and loud, flashing lots of money and talking up big. His dog (whose name is the clever and witty "Dawg") is a killer, and he mocks his opponents' dog as "bait", lovingly scratching Dawg under the chin as his lieutenant Tree washes him down with milk (Dawg, not Cheese). Handing over his gun at the security table, he loudly proclaims he is putting 25k on Dawg to win. The dog fight, disgusting as it is, is gleefully participated in by the onlookers, it's even being filmed on camcorder - one wonders how Prop Joe would feel if he learned his burdensome nephew was flashing around lots of money on camera? Unfortunately for Cheese, when it comes time to fight, he watches in horror as Dawg suddenly turns cur, tail dropping and refusing to fight back as the opponents' (Dazz and his lieutenant Jelly) dog tears into him. The fight is called against Dawg and the trainers separate the dogs, Cheese quietly lifting Dawg up and carrying it out of the ring and out to the back of the van near the entrance, where a single shot rings out. Tree winces slightly, suspecting foul play on Dazz's behalf, while one of the spectators laughs,"THERE IT IS!" after hearing the shot. It's not a very nice scene, though maybe that's my own sensibilities more than anything else - after all, I have little trouble dealing with the narrative necessity of the many deaths of human beings we see, but one poor dog is shot (off-screen) and I find myself disgusted by these vile human beings - I don't think I even blinked in the previous episode when McNulty looked at the picture of dead Wallace. The show itself breaks up this scene with humorous interludes of Herc and Carver sitting watching the streets and discussing one of the asinine things that buddies do when they're bored and shooting the poo poo - Carver has asked Herc to name the one male he would have sex with if it meant he could have any woman he wanted. Herc is convinced Carver is trying to trick him into calling himself gay and, desperately insecure, keeps trying to change the rules of the purely hypothetical game. At one point, one of Marlo's crew - Justin - passes by and Herc calls him over, joking with him and asking where he buys the "sideways baseball caps", as he himself can only find ones with the bills facing forward. Justin - loyal but not too bright - replies that it's just a regular cap that he turned to the side and heads on his way. Herc and Carver laugh, but they've also taken note of Poot's presence on the street - with the towers down, he had to go somewhere, but isn't it odd that he's on another crew's corner now and no violence has broken out?



Marlo finally arrives at the corner, where his crew have held their own desire to just throw down with violence in check thanks to the restraint of a lieutenant named Fruit. He points out Bodie and his crew to Marlo and says he wanted to hold back till he had the word from Marlo on what he wanted them to do.... so what does he want them to do? Marlo looks the Barksdale crew over and tells Fruit to get back to work, and drives on up the street. He passes Bodie who clearly suspects he's just seen Marlo go by, spitting out between his teeth, still stuck in a limbo where he can't do anything.

That night, Burrell meets with Valchek at an open waterfront bar for a drink to complain about Carcetti's treatment of him. Valchek quite rightly points out that Burrell can't afford to keep take a pasting like that, especially as his role as Commissioner still isn't permanent. He tells Burrell to throw Carcetti a bone, and Burrell's instinct for self-preservation is clearly kicking in as he grunts that he will do what he can but he can't go against the Mayor, a man in his position can't backdoor the Mayor. Carcetti arrives, apologizing for being late due to his son's Little League game, and Burrell finds himself in an uncomfortable position. He's one of the most powerful black men in a predominantly black city, and yet here he is stuck between two white politicians. Valchek leaves with a joke and Burrell asks Carcetti if his son won. Carcetti - who clearly lies whenever it suits him - is confused, taking a moment to remember his excuse for being late, and laughs it off, saying who keeps score anymore? I like to think he was deliberately late as a power play, a reminder that Burrell has to wait for him, not the other way around.



Stringer has gathered his middle-management to see how things are going. Amusingly considering the hectic meeting that took place last episode, they're complaining about how the small organization corner boys don't listen, but otherwise everything is running smoothly. Bodie explains he hasn't been able to find Marlo and they've set up further up the block to avoid violence as ordered, and while Stringer seems pleased by this he isn't one to dole out praise to Bodie too easily, he likes to keep Bodie craving his kindness. So why isn't he looking for Marlo right now? Bodie complains he was ordered to this meeting and Stringer just stares, and Bodie gets the message and heads out truculently, looking like nothing so much as a pouty kid. With Bodie gone, Stringer turns to Shamrock for an explanation on what happened with Omar hitting the stashhouse. It's not just one, Slim Charles speaks up to remind them that this is the second stash house that Omar's crew has hit this month, and Shamrock voices a disturbing point - Omar has called out Stringer by name. The implication is clear - if Stringer doesn't go out after Omar, then it makes him look weak, and Stringer makes a fatal mistake in not recognizing this, instead he tells Slim to double the muscle on every stash house, saying that if Omar is coming, then they'll need to be ready.

Inside at the bar now, Carcetti assures Burrell that there is nothing personal in his attack on him - there is NEVER anything personal. This is truer than Burrell can know, and we'll see the truth of it over the next three seasons - Carcetti's actions are always designed with only one purpose in mind, to improve his own career. Anything positive or negative that occurs as a consequence is pure happenstance, none of it is intended as anything more than a stepping stone. He's tired of three years of relative obscurity and powerlessness, made worse by the fact that Baltimore is a predominantly black city and his own real chance for political advancement is if a seat opens up in the legislature. Burrell is agog, he's loving with him.... because he's bored? Maybe a little laughs Carcetti, but assures him that he can and will be a major asset to Burrell if he'll play ball. Burrell warns him there is no dirt on the Mayor which Carcetti scoffs at, there is ALWAYS dirt, but crime is always good politics and if Burrell will tell him what he wants, he can make life easier for him by working quietly behind the scenes, no press or television, to get what he wants. Burrell considers and decides to test the waters, can Carcetti get back the police cars that are sent in for repair and take weeks to return for use? He's asked the Mayor and gotten nothing... can Carcetti deliver?

At a rim shop, Marlo calmly asks the price of a set of rims which turn out to be worth $10,000 a set. Turning a surprised look on the proprietor, he comments that whoever would use these on their car is hanging a sign around their neck. The proprietor (Vinson) is more than a salesman though, he appears to be more like Butchie is to Omar, a mixture of mentor/banker/adviser. He reminds Marlo that if it is a terrace crew that has set up on his block, then they've come from Avon Barksdale. If it's Avon Barksdale, that means danger, especially as the word is that Avon will soon be out of prison (the street knows far before the police) and he can bring a lot of force down on Marlo. Marlo doesn't seem troubled by the prospect, if anything he seems intrigued by the idea of having the freight train that is Avon Barksdale bearing down on him.



McNulty and Bunk are at a bar (what a surprise!) where McNulty brings up D'Angelo, telling him how D committed suicide. Bunk is immediately skeptical, saying that men of color rarely go that way and joking that one needs only look at him - he's still there! There aren't any scene photos to examine, unfortunately, the State Police investigated the death and obviously were quick to take it on face value and rule it a suicide. They move on to more important things than some dead kid they dealt with a couple of times a year or so back, there's a pretty blond at the jukebox and McNulty wants Bunk to set things up between them. Bunk obliges, putting on that he's far drunker than he really is and slovenly trying to flirt with the blond, slurring,"IT'S ALL PINK! IT'S ALL PINK!" at her as McNulty rushes to the rescue and hauls Bunk away. Bunk slides his coat on and tells McNulty to knock it out, leaving the bar as the now heroic McNulty returns to see the girl.

On the street, Jelly is joking with a couple of lower-level dealers, telling them enthusiastically a story about "Bumpy Somebody" (Bumpy Johnson), the toughest guy there ever was who once scared an entire building of police officers into hiding from him. As he happily tells the story, Tree appears behind him in a hood and blows his brains out, stopping to glare at the two horrified dealers and letting out a single,"Woof!" before moving on. The dealers flee, the street already empty, and Jelly is left lying dead in the street, the only sound the barking of a dog cut off by a whine, bringing to mind the dog fights that lead to his death.

Cutty goes to see his parole officer, who recites with boredom the standard checks he must give - you haven't been doing drugs or associating with known criminals etc, then asks if Cutty is still unemployed. Cutty mistakes the question as interest and tries to engage with the PO, asking about possible laboring opportunities. Disgusted at the idea of actually having to spend any more time or effort with Cutty than necessary, he snaps that he doesn't know and he doesn't care, just go and get a job! I can't hold it against the PO too much, he's probably VERY overworked and extremely underpaid, and probably deals with some of the worst of the worst on a day to day basis. But it's also no surprise that prisoners released on parole would find little to encourage them in his attitude.

The dealers who witnessed Jelly's death have reported to Dazz, including Tree's enigmatic (to them),"Woof!" He knows what that means, of course, and heads inside.

McNulty meets with Frazier again who has gone over D'Angelo's case and come to the conclusion that it was "probably" a suicide. Nothing points to signs of a homicide, though he agrees with McNulty's suggestions that the double ligature mark COULD be a sign of being strangled beforehand and the large bruise in his back COULD be a sign of a knee in his back... but they could also be the sign of the body shifting when D'Angelo passed out, and the bruise could have been caused by anything in the previous few days including a slip in the shower. McNulty, desperately searching for anything he could use, jokes that there is nothing like a "definite maybe".

Freamon and Prez pick up a surprisingly interesting call over the wire, but the slang is so thick they need Massey to come in and translate for them. The person on the line is describing Tree shooting Jelly and the blowback that is sure to come from Dazz, getting irritated when his girlfriend (who has replied only,"Mmmmhmmm!") asks when he is coming around, complaining that she hasn't listened to a word he said. Massey hands over a note that cuts down the long conversation to four words that lay out everything, leaving the room without a word.

Poot calls a time-out as Herc and Carver arrive on the scene, Herc getting in his face and demanding he make another time-out sign right to his face. Slamming Poot on the corner and cuffing him, his crew are upset at the "unfair" treatment but are held off by Carver as Poot is loaded into the back of the car and driven away. The crew waits till the car is definitely gone before one brave soul yells out,"gently caress THE POLICE!" Herc and Carver don't go far though, pulling up at another corner and letting Poot out, demanding to know how he took the corner without kicking up a turf war? Poot insists that he and his friends are just hanging out. They warn him to be careful, the slingers on these corners are like the crack babies' crack babies, and Poot - who will abandon "the game" in a couple of years as things get too crazy for him - mocks them, saying that every year people complain about how this latest generation are the worst yet, like it's the end of the world. Carver yells at him to look around, it's hardly a brave new world they're in, and Poot demands to know if he can go now or they want to slap him around some more. Uncuffing him, they let him go, and Poot affects a disinterested swagger until the completely out of left-field,"How about a handjob?" comment from Herc to Carver gets his attention. Shaking his head at how crazy these police are, he leaves as Carver tells Herc he won't even get Weezy Jefferson for giving a guy a handjob.



The Detail is having better news that night, the wire has lit up as the previously unbreakable phone discipline of Cheese's crew has broken down. Listening to the same dealer and his girlfriend, they learn that Dazz has "come back" and hit Peanut. The girlfriend is upset, is he dead? Nah replies the dealer, he's fine other than his brains being all over the pavement, OF COURSE HE'S DEAD! I love these little touches in this show, they give so much humanity/life to the minor characters/world. To the Detail's shock and pleasure, Cheese himself FINALLY comes on the line where he openly and sadly talks about the murder he was forced to do because he thought it was right. As they gleefully record him, they listen as he talks about killing his dawg, he had much love for that dawg and he'll never find another dawg like him. Completely misreading the context (though the bloody result is very real), Freamon calls up Homicide to get more information on the murders, only to hear one actually take place on the wire. A dealer called Chris makes a call even as he's attacked, screaming that,"THEY'RE COMING BACK!" before gunfire blasts out and a laughing voice picks up the phone and asks who is on the other end before hanging up. Ecstatic at their case finally breaking wide open, Freamon acts with his typical aloof authority when an overworked Ed Norris answers the phone at Homicide, demanding to know how many bodies they've got on them. Furious at what he thinks is a waste of his time, Norris hangs up on Freamon.

Herc, Carver and Dozerman leave a movie they've just been to see with their girlfriends, Herc complaining he couldn't understand a word of the film and his girlfriend giggling that he needs to read the subtitles. To the intense discomfort of the police, they find themselves bumping into the corner boys who are also there to see a film with their girlfriends. Poot and Bodie are delighted, joking around with the police officers who must feel naked with their professional lives invading the turf of their private lives. Bodie laughs off their work as if they were colleagues with a friendly inter-office rivalry, noting that Herc and Carver are always up in their faces wanting to know where's the poo poo but they never find it. Poot tells them to have a good evening and Bodie - again showing that collegial atmosphere, tells his "workmates" he'll see them tomorrow. They leave, Dozerman and his intensely attractive girlfriend arriving late and Dozerman asking if there's any problem. Herc seems more interested in checking out Dozerman's girlfriend though.



Freamon arrives at a bustling Homicide, rushing to Norris who tells him he's too busy to chat. Holley is too, so Freamon just goes right to the files and looks over the crime scene photos, placing faces to the names and voices he's been hearing on the wire. Earlier, Kima had offered to go to Homicide in Freamon's place but he'd sent her home since she had the early shift tomorrow. Now we see why she was eager to do so, as she sits uncomfortably at home with Cheryl and the baby watching television. Clearly the birth of the child hasn't given her a Road to Damascus moment, she still finds the alien presence in the house unsettling, and can no longer comfortably chat with Cheryl who is also no longer able to hide her disdain for Kima's disinterest. Kima makes an awkward attempt at conversation, bringing up the baby's fontanelle (and getting the name wrong), but only makes things worse when she lamely offers that the fontanelle not closing for at least a couple of weeks is "good".

Looking for work, Cutty heads down to where the laborers are assembled. A man pulls up in a pickup and calls out in Spanish to the assembled, and Cutty motions to him to ask if he is welcome to join in. The driver eyes him up - older but powerfully built - and agrees, and Cutty eagerly clambers into the back with the others, happy to have work to do.

Freamon and Greggs play the tape of Cheese's phone-call to Daniels, who can't believe their luck but is curious WHY Cheese would suddenly break discipline. Freamon insists it is because all good things come to those who wait, and they look over the organizational chart they (probably Prez) has set up - Cheese is only one level below Prop Joe, this is huge. Kima laughs that she will rouse McNulty to let him know, while Freamon points out the obvious to Daniels - if bodies keep falling, they may have to give up their wire, which will help solve the cases, get them in good with the brass and possibly prevent more. McNulty - unaware that the case has both broken open AND is now more threatened than ever - is pursuing his own angle, having gone to see Donette who wants to know why he's just arrived out of nowhere after all this time. McNulty has made himself at home - an unwelcome display of his authority - by sitting in his chair, motioning to Tyrell (the little man) and noting how much he looks like D'Angelo. He asks what she thought when she heard D'Angelo had killed himself and notes that labwork has confirmed a hunch they had in regards to D's death. He picks up Tyrell only to instantly put him down when Donette makes it clear this is a step too far. Tyrell, for his part, is used to constantly being picked up and just continues playing with his toys, oblivious to all else going on around him. McNulty puts aside his beeper, uninterested in hearing from work, and apologizes if he has upset her, leaving his card and telling her to call him if she wants to talk - lying that he liked D'Angelo despite everything else and felt bad about his death.

Meanwhile in hell, Eastern District Commander Mayor Taylor is being roasted by Rawls. Taylor's District has made only 16 felony arrests last month despite having 278 men under his command, and they've picked up no handguns at all. Rawls shows a devastating familiarity with the facts (he knows and loves the stats game) and barks them out at Taylor who keeps having to return to his files. He brings up photographs of the four dead bodies from the previous night, and demands facts from Taylor - when were these men last arrested? Where did they sling? Who were their known associates? Taylor can't answer any of those questions and a disgusting Rawls tells him he has eight hours to get his poo poo together or he is done. Colvin - who the previous evening seemed less than pleased about the massaged stats he was handed in preparation - has watched all this, as has Daniels who is uncomfortably aware of the information he is sitting on in regards to those four murders.

Marlo arrives at his corner and actually gets out of his car, picking up his golf club and deliberately practicing his putting out in the open, making it clear he is there. Bodie spots him and with trepidation but some relief approaches to finally lay out Stringer's terms to him. Marlo pays him no mind at all though, continuing to practice his putt as Bodie tries to get his attention, dropping Avon and Stringers' names and asking if they can talk. Marlo finally deigns to reply, but he never once actually looks in Bodie's direction, and he doesn't enter into conversation or lay out terms, he simply tells it the way it is going to be. He needs Bodie to turn around and leave, pack up his crew and go. There will be no argument or discussion, he is being "a gentlemen" about things for now, but it is clear that he has said all he is going to say. Stretching his arms and swinging his club about his head, he's already dismissed Bodie from his mind, and Bodie knows it. Stringer's big mistake (and it's not really one you can blame him for) was that he sent Bodie as an equal to talk to Marlo, which to Marlo is a huge insult - he runs everything while Bodie works for others, he could never talk to somebody like Bodie, because it would be admitting they were on the same level. Bodie is forced to walk away, his own crew watching on.



Daniels, Pearlman, McNUlty, Greggs and Freamon are having lunch at the waterfront and discussing what to do with the information they're sitting on. McNulty is all for continuing to sit on, do nothing but take notes and build a case that takes them to Prop Joe and Stringer Bell. But to his great surprise everybody else - including Freamon and Greggs - are more concerned with the number of dead bodies and the possibility of more to come. McNulty simply doesn't care, his overriding desire is getting Stringer over all else, but Daniels makes things clear - the Detail doesn't exist purely for the purpose of catching drug-dealers, that's what Narcotics is for, they're there because of violence. Stringer was responsible for violence when they first started and it rankles Daniels that they had to leave him on the street, but right now Stringer/The Barksdales are quiet and the East Side is violent, so that is what they're sticking with. Pearlman offers the rather lame suggestion that if they hit Cheese hard with the 4 murders they might be able to flip him on Joe and Stringer, but McNulty knows that this will never happen, and to his great dismay sees that the rest of the Detail is ready to move on from his White Whale.

Cutty is raking leaves on the lawn when the lady of the house arrives to offer terrible Spanish to the other workers before leaving. Cutty stares at the Mexican workers who stare at each other, none of them knowing what the hell she just said, and they all just shrug and get back on with whatever they were doing.

At the Detail, everybody is gearing up for a raid after hearing on the wire that Cheese's crew are gathering at somebody named Neesey's house to prepare to go to war. McNulty is sulky but unlike in season one's raid, he is going to go along with this one. Is that a measure of maturity on his part? Or does he just know everybody well enough now that he is willing to go along with them even when he disagrees with what they're doing? They head to Neesey's where an officer prepares to smash down the door, only to be left flummoxed when the door opens and one of Cheese's crew - back turned - stands in the doorway calling out to Tree to see what food he wants. Hilariously, the officer decides to hide behind the door frame and Daniels has to motion angrily at him to get the hell in there, and soon they're all charging inside. This creates a logjam in the corridor which gives Cheese and Tree time to drop their guns and rush out the back, only to find themselves facing more police (including Freamon) who demand they put their hands up and surrender. As raids go, it was hardly a shining moment for the BPD.

In the Western District, Herc is continuing to bargain with Carver - he doesn't just want Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen in return for sex with a man, he wants them AND Mary Tyler Moore in her prime AND Dozerman's girlfriend as well. Carver agrees angrily but demands Herc just tell him which man he'd have sex with to get these four women (this was all supposed to be a quick fun joke, after all), and Herc finally tells him - he'd have sex with Gus Triandos because he felt sorry for him for having to catch Hoyt Wilhelm's knuckleball. With that finally out of the way, he tells Carver to go ahead and mock him, but Carver informs him that there is no mocking, he made a carefully thought out choice. They all head out, preparing for a number of hand-to-hand arrests of street-level dealers, Carver warning everybody not to embarrass themselves by not loading their cameras with film, and makes a point of staring at Herc when he says it.

Cheese sits in interrogation with Bunk and McNulty, where Bunk plays the old trick of making it seem like he knows everything all ready so there is no point in denying anything. Taunting Cheese, he asks him who his dawg is, and when Cheese doesn't get it ("Is this some psychology?") Bunk lays out photos of the four dead bodies and asks again who is dawg is? Cheese laughs it off, saying they're not sticking any bodies on him and calls out for a lawyer. Bunk hits a solid psychological blow though as he expertly mimicks Cheese's tearful phonecall about "Dawg", and Cheese's face slowly falls, and he actually sounds on the verge of tears as he complains that they're cold-hearted motherfuckers. Sensing they've hit a raw nerve even if they don't really understand why Cheese takes this killing so personally, they press him - why did he kill Dawg? What did Dawg do? Still fighting back tears, Cheese tells them that he thought Dawg had punked him so he had no choice, and openly admits shooting him. Daniels and Colonel Foerster are watching from the door, Foerster happy to see Cheese is talking at least, but inside things are starting to unravel as a confused Cheese finds himself being asked to give up Prop Joe so they can save him from the legal implications of killing his dog. Cheese starts to ask why he would give up Prop Joe.... then corrects himself, why he doesn't even know a Prop Joe! McNulty senses Cheese closing up and goes back to Dawg, asking for an identification. Cheese freely gives it up, the body is probably still in the warehouse he left it in... unless the SPCA picked it up. Now McNulty are Bunk are the confused ones, while outside Foerster thinks that Cheese has broken and a very pleased Rawls congratulates Daniels on "showing him something". He leaves, Major Taylor staying behind to offer his hand and telling Daniels that he owes him big time for pulling his rear end out of the fire. Daniels pleasure doesn't last long though, McNulty and Bunk emerge and say they're charging him with improper disposal of an animal, discharging a firearm within city limits and animal cruelty, but that's it. It sinks in too late for Daniels and Pearlman that "Dawg" was literally a dog.



When I first watched this season, I was concerned for Daniels when it came out that their evidence was all in relation to a dead dog. It was only as the show went on and on re-watches that I realized the simultaneously relieving and depressing truth - it doesn't matter. Daniels still comes out of this whole affair a hero to the Department, particularly the higher-ups. It doesn't matter that they don't have the damning evidence needed to convict Cheese, there is enough on the wiretap to at least get cases against a number of his underlings, which means the dead bodies can change from red to black, what's most important to the Department is that they go down in the statistics as cleared cases. The fact that Daniels gave them his wiretap information is a huge boost for him politically, because he sacrificed his own case to help out fellow officers, prevent a drug war and gained the gratitude of higher-ups. Cheese now knows that his phone is wiretapped and they're actively after Prop Joe and they have nothing to keep him from warning Joe - months of police work has gone down the tube... and Daniels' stock has never been higher.

Their street-level busts almost done for the night, Herc is still bothering Carver who he expects to mock him as a homosexual at any second. Carver acts confused but when Dozerman arrives and cracks a joke about Gus Triandos being a power hitter, Carver joins in roaring with laughter. Later as Dozerman prepares to make the hand-to-hand, he drives by a stationary Herc and Carver and mimics giving a blowjob, Herc flipping the bird grumpily while Carver makes a delighted :haw: face.

Daniels, Pearlman, McNulty and Bunk drown their sorrows at the bar. Pearlman throws McNulty a come hither look but he's too depressed and decides to head home for the night, cracking a "dawg" joke at Bunk as he goes. Pearlman turns to Daniels instead and offers him one hell of a consolation prize, telling him maybe he CAN have his cake and eat it too. When he doesn't get the come on, she drops subtlety and just grabs him by the upper thigh, and those honed detective skills finally come into focus.

Burrell joins Carcetti for a late night drink, pleased at the quick progress on his serviced radio cars. Carcetti asks him what else he needs and reminds a still wary Burrell that his radio car issue was solved without anybody getting hosed over or the Mayor getting backstabbed. So Burrell, emboldened, leans forward and tells him that 70 men are retiring at the end of the year (including Colvin) and he has no money for an academy class to replace them. Carcetti knows that money has been allocated for this which means the Mayor has hosed Burrell, but it's not that straightforward, Royce has actually been open with Burrell on why it is happening. By holding off till Summer, the city stands to save 2-3 million dollars... but it will mean 70 less officers amongst the ranks. Carcetti says he will see what he can do.

Kima returns home, irritated at the mess of children's paraphanelia lying about. She heads to the bedroom and sees Cheryl lying in bed with the baby, an invasion of her space in her mind. Heading back down the corridor, she checks her hair in the mirror and then leaves, not being remotely subtle about it.

Shot undramatically from a single stationary camera, we see Dozerman's car waiting as he prepares for his undercover hand-to-hand. The dealer however pulls a gun and fires into the car, we see nothing but a brief flash of light and hear nothing but a flat report of the gun going off. The dealers grab the money and run, and the camera holds for a brief time on the stationary car before cutting to Colvin's home where he is awoken in the middle of the night by a phone-call informing them they have an officer down.

Daniels takes Pearlman to his newly leased, still mostly unfurnished apartment. He awkwardly starts to explain that he just leased the place but Pearlman really doesn't care, grabbing him and kissing him as she pulls him inside and they close the door behind them. She knows what she wants.

Colvin arrives at the Western District where the other police are standing around drinking and muttering. Carver's fury is directed both at himself and the Department himself, hating that Dozerman was solo, hating that as Sergeant he allowed Dozerman to go in alone (think how often this will happen when those 70 men that Burrell mentioned retire). Herc is directed at the dealers themselves, demanding that when they catch them they beat the absolute poo poo out of them. Colvin tells the relieved men that Dozerman will live, and that they saved his life by getting him to the hospital as quickly as they did. It comes out that Dozerman actually grabbed his own gun to return fire but dropped it when he was shot, and one of the suspects grabbed it and ran with it - they have a vague description but no real clue who it was, but Herc loudly proclaims that they're "locking it down out there!". Colvin declines Carver's offer to take his empty can from him, crushing it up and tossing it onto the roof, not giving a poo poo about the regulations he himself had to warn the others about in the previous episode.

Kima spots a girl checking her out at the bar and turns her head away, but then thinks again and looks back. They exchange a long look - is Kima pissed off enough at Cheryl (for no good reason) to justify in her own head cheating on her?

The next morning, a shirtless Daniels (I believe the man has minus body fat somehow) tells Pearlman that the place will be nicer once he cleans it up a bit, but she laughs that she doesn't care about any of that. The unspoken statement by both is that the previous night was more than just a one night thing.

Colvin has been up all night and will soon go home to crash for the day, though he has a stop to make first. On the phone he insists he is in no mood to talk to reporters about Dozerman's shooting, and pulls up to see The Deacon (played by real life drug dealer Melvin Williams. They go inside where an exhausted Colvin tells the Deacon that things have gotten so bad for him and the city that "the absence of a negative" counts as a positive for him now - he was happy and considered it a good night because his shot officer didn't die. He's facing his mortality and his lack of significance, his 30 years are almost up and he's come to realize that he will be leaving the city a worse place than he found it, and soon all that will be left to mark his career is a photo on the wall in the Western District... and nothing else. The Deacon is having none of it though - he's fighting drugs and that's like sweeping leaves on a windy day, it doesn't matter who you are, you can stop that tide, all you can do is fight the good fight.



McNulty arrives to a quiet Detail, where they inform him that there hasn't been a single call since Cheese learned about the wire, and none of them are surprised. They took a gamble and it did not pay off at all, and now they've lost what tiny progress they had made.

At the Western District briefing room, Colvin arrives to report good news and bad news. Dozerman's condition has been upgraded to guarded, and from this point on all undercover hand-to-hand drug busts are suspended. The officers are horrified, even though those hand-to-hands really accomplish nothing they serve both as statistical fodder and a way to make them feel good as they shovel leaves on a windy day. Colvin isn't interested though, and places a bottle in a brown paperbag on the lectern and gives them a history lesson - a long time ago the City Council passed a law that prevented the consumption of alcohol on city streets. The trouble was that the street/the corners had been and always will be like a lounge for the poor man, a place they could stand in the heat of summer and enjoy the breeze and watch pretty women walk by. The law was the law, though, and the Western Police had no choice but to enforce it because otherwise the law would be flaunted... but it meant the police were doing nothing all day BUT arresting people for nothing more than drinking a beer. Then one day some nameless smokehound in a moment of genius bought a bottle of alcohol and slipped it into a brown paper bag before drinking it out on the street. That moment gave everybody the answer they had been looking for - the police could focus on real crime, the people could enjoy a drink. Colvin brings it back to Dozerman - Dozerman was shot over nothing, he was trying to go a hand-to-hand for THREE vials of drugs, a pathetically small amount, was that worth getting shot over. He notes there has never been a paper bag for drugs... until now, and drops all three vials into the bag in front of the mostly non-comprehending officers.

Shortly after, an angry Herc and a deeply troubled Carver sit in the car watching Bodie's crew pretending to just be hanging out. Herc snaps angrily that if they're not doing hand-to-hands then what the hell DO they do (this is the problem, of course), and what the hell did that stuff with the bag and the drugs mean anyway? They drive away and Bodie instantly gets his crew back to work, almost seeming to wave a goodbye to his "colleagues" Herc and Carver as they pass. At this point I think Herc is completely in the dark, but I suspect that Carver was smart enough to pick up on what Colvin was being very careful not to just come out and say.



He's going to legalize drugs.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 13:18 on Jun 13, 2013

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Anybody who wants to do a write-up could and should jump in at any time. The moment there is any delay though I'll be happy to jump in and keep on writing, I'll happily do all of them, every drat last one. :)

pigdog posted:

I just finished rewatching all 5 seasons and only just now noticed that McNulty is an rear end in a top hat. :downs:

Haha yep, once you get over the notion that he's the loose cannon hero cop and realize what an unbelievable rear end in a top hat he is, it gives you a neat take on the character. I know it tends to color my perceptions alot on rewatches, particularly in regards to his relationship with his Ex-Wife, which in turn colors my perception on things like Kima/Cheryl.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



escape artist posted:

Also, be on the lookout for the first appearance of Kenard this season. Yep, this season. Omar's death is foreshadowed long before we are properly introduced to Kenard.

Which throws Poot laughing off the,"This latest batch of kids are the worst!" mentality in a whole new light.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?




Haha, that's awesome. And holy poo poo, he really does look like a kid who got left at the bus stop by his parents.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Thaddius the Large posted:

It's funny, I never got the feeling that when Carcetti and Burrell were having their drink Carcetti was lying about his kid having a game. My take was that he really doesn't care about the score, or how anyone is doing at anything, unless it directly involves him; his is the only score that matters. Burrell's look is him recognizing this, and that not only does Carcetti not care about Burrell, he doesn't give a poo poo about his own kid unless it's furthering his own agenda.

That's certainly as equally a valid a reason, and the bolded line is the same in both cases for me - as much as he might love his wife and children, they're all very much secondary considerations to his own goals.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



The thing with Carcetti is that he KEEPS making decisions like that as the show goes on, and it quickly becomes painfully apparent that regardless of how genuine he is when he makes those promises, his true goal is seeing himself gain higher and higher positions of power and everything else that falls by the wayside is a "necessity" or something he genuinely believes he'll get to,"When I'm Mayor/Governor/Senator/President".

I always think about that beautiful and passionate speech he makes at the end of season 3... the one that means absolutely nothing, achieves nothing and goes nowhere. In that case it was more a conscious lie as he'd been shown Hamsterdam was a more nuanced and subtle situation than the immediate horrified reaction would suggest, but it goes to show how willing he is to use a situation to his own benefit. Just like he does with the police, the schools and eventually the homeless.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



cletepurcel posted:

I always love Bunny's reaction - at that point, I think, he doesn't even care about Hamsterdam, he's madder that the mayor (or more accurately, his staff) barely even looked at Hamsterdam Jr in season 4. If only he knew..

Absolutely. Remember, from Bunny's point of view the last dealing he had with Carcetti was supposed to be his last ditch effort to save their school program, which Carcetti's aide attends instead and summarily dismisses. At that time, Bunny was terrified that HIS presence was going to be a liability because of Hamsterdam, and if he's mad about anything it's about the Mayor's lack of interest in a program that was seeing real (if small) gains. But Carcetti is completely unaware of it, talking to Bunny about something he's probably stopped thinking about/bothering with, and if anything he's probably thinking,"This son of a bitch is nothing but an empty grin in a suit."

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Mahoning posted:

The one bad thing about the Wire is that any (or i should say most) police procedural you watch after you've seen it is about as hokie as an episode of Barney and Friends.

NYPD Blue and Law & Order used to be some of my favorite programs too :smith:

Elements of them are still enjoyable to watch, but compared to the Wire they actually seem so... I don't know.... lacking?

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



The big problem for me is that Simon didn't really get across that all of Gus' talents have been turned inward, and while he's slopping around in the muck of his chosen battlefield to preserve the "integrity" of the paper he's forgotten to actually, you know, investigate and report the news. It's admirable in a way that he makes what seems like a self-insert such a flawed character once you look deeper, but by keeping the focus so much on Gus' crusade and making only a couple references here and there to the stories going unreported it's easy to miss and perceive Gus as a badly written super-character who is totally awesome and right. It doesn't help that his superiors are written with seemingly no nuance or subtlety at all, they're gaping idiots with apparently not a journalistic bone in their bodies, and that terrible scene where Gus totally owns his editor right to his face is basically The Wire: poo poo That Didn't Happen.txt - probably one of the worst scenes in the entire history of the show.

I'll write up the next episode tonight or tomorrow if nobody else is going to do it, and I'll keep writing up a new episode every 3-4 days after that. If somebody wants to do a write-up of a particular episode, then do it before I can get around to it - no more waits of 2 weeks between episodes! /knocks back bottle of Jameson.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



There is a really interesting line early in that season that unfortunately never gets further addressed. Gus points out that the paper actually IS still profitable, and asks why they're effectively being punished and asked to do "more with less" when they're making the owners money.

The answer, of course, is that in a capitalist society a company isn't satisfied with just making money, especially a company that needs to show growth to shareholders. It's a really hosed up aspect of the world - it's not enough to be successful, you have to be MORE successful than you were last year, or else the shareholders decide you're a failure, sell their stocks, your company's value tumbles and suddenly the profitable company is dead in the water.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Great job, comes along bort, excellent write-up.

The 40 Degree Day scene really is incredible, and as you say is a reminder of just how good the Wire's comedy can be, which is a facet often overlooked.

Seriously, watch this and tell me it doesn't make you laugh.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



The only thing to be concerned of is that it's so warm and inviting in those tall weeds, reading something into everything :)

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



If I'm remembering correctly, this episode was the first time we see Bodie and his crew on the other side of a beating. Every time before this we've seen them either dominate and come out on top or at the very worst end up in a draw where nobody can claim victory but nobody was defeated either. When the "off-brand crew" were slinging superior product just outside the towers, it was that violence that enabled Bodie to hold the territory for the Barksdales despite the weak product, and for a brief time at least they took back the customers they lost despite selling poor quality drugs. Stringer takes the lesson from this that the violence will only take them so far and will create too much attention, but even from a marketing standpoint he surely must have understood the notion of brand protection. "My name is my name," as Marlo notes in season 5, by forcing Bodie to repress his violent tendencies, Stringer allows Marlo to run off a Barksdale crew, and that is a huge blow to their "brand", and perception is everything not just on the street but in the market (consider stock prices as an example).

In Season 2 we saw Bodie forced to adapt when he couldn't use violence, so he undercut Cheese's crew and outsold them by being a better salesman. That's great when your competition is a gleeful participant in the marketing war like Cheese was and it is to everybody's benefit to share the territory and reap the profits. But against Marlo's crew that just causes problems - Marlo "allows" Bodie to continue selling in his area while he considers his options, and Bodie makes the mistake of being a better salesman than Fruit, dominating that street and making all the sales, leaving Fruit's crew to get the leftovers once Bodie's crew have sold out. Fruit's response (once he has Marlo's go-ahead) isn't to laugh and up his game, it's to lead his crew in a violent ambush on Bodie's, and Bodie's crew don't have that same blessing from Stringer to fight back either. Having run off a Barksdale crew, Marlo must have been waiting eagerly to see how the highly respected organization would react, and Stringer's too-late decision to honor Marlo with his presence serves only to tell him that the Barksdale brand is weak and ripe for conquest.

The world is full of what-ifs, and one can only presume that Marlo would have been squashed like a bug long before this if Avon was still in charge, as he would have been once Avon finally get back on even footing if the police hadn't raided Avon just when they did. But Avon being away, the lack of reliable muscle (no Cutty, no Wee-Bey or Bird, and Slim Charles having to deal with a couple of idiots as his back-up) and Stringer's insistence on keeping things "boring" all served to give Marlo the green-light to go to war.

Basebf555 posted:

But because it happened in a neighborhood that the media and general public doesn't give a poo poo about, they are freed up to look for Dozerman's gun which the higher ups in the department care about much more than the 267th murder of the year in Baltimore.

And you see the same with Colvin looking for deserted, "unimportant" areas of Baltimore to shunt all the drug-trade into. Those are areas that, in a better world, should be homes to families and forming a community. Instead they're used as dumping grounds so that crimes can continue in a place where nobody can see them, therefore they somehow don't exist.

Kintel might be a small time player, but he's responsible for the death of human beings. They might be "scum", but they're still individual human beings who have had their lives taken away by this guy, and he gets a free pass because he isn't a big enough fish to stroke McNulty's ego when he reels him in.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



cletepurcel posted:

he's better than guys like Valchek and Burrell who clearly rose to their positions only out of politics and cunning, and who show no signs of actually being good at their jobs.

I've always been interested in Burrell's later complaint of,"If they wanted it to be about the work, I would have made it about the work. If they wanted it to be about the stats, I would have made it about that. But they could never make up their mind which way they wanted it."

Is it just an attempt to pass off responsibility (as he is complaining his political higher-ups are doing)? A genuine, heartfelt complaint? A bit of cynicism? A mixture of all of those? Like Daniels warned Carver, Burrell rose to the top by taking his cues from those above him, and it's a very real possibility he would never have made it anywhere near as high as he did if he wasn't a guy whose self-interest kept him following the party line of whoever HIS bosses were (remember how long it took for his Commissioner job to become permanent?). So you get a guy at the very top of the BPD who has no direction or personal stamp of authority to put on his organization beyond what the Mayor/the Council are telling him THEY want, and what "they" want changes frequently, sometimes on a daily basis. It's a ship without a (real) captain, going wherever the wind blows it, but is Burrell really to blame? After all, if he'd tried to set his own course like Daniels did, he would have ended up like Daniels - quietly taking "early retirement" to avoid being torn apart publicly by politicians.

Another interesting note is that eventually Burrell does fall, but after one brief petulant burst of,"I'm taking you fuckers down with me!" he ends up doing what he's always done and following the company line... and he's rewarded with a "consultancy" role that earns him six figures a year for doing nothing. That's a hell of a retirement package, the kind of thing that Frank Sobotka tries to get on a smaller scale for Louis. When Clay Davis is facing his own troubles, it's Burrell's name they invoke to remind him that the politicians look after the people who don't make waves and take the hits for them - sure you might face a little public humiliation, but in the end you're taken care of financially for life and included at the "adult's table". It must be hard for anybody with a measure of self-interest to turn down. Especially in Baltimore where options are limited.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Ainsley McTree posted:

That all comes out in one of my favorite Burrell scenes, the "they get elected, and they think they know police work" speech he gives Rawls at the end. I thought it was kind of humble of Simon to give such a sympathetic speech to a character that embodied everything he hated about the BPD.

"You will eat their poo poo. And so will Daniels when he gets here."

Very nice, and brings to mind this scene as well.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I've always been of the opinion that "the solution" is a huge upheaval of the basic underpinnings of our society. As a result, no politician is ever going to push for it and destroy their careers, because in general people are only upset and desirous for change so long as their own comforts aren't threatened. Far simpler to make a great speech that sounds good and pushes all the right buttons, then do nothing about it at all.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Nice write-up! I love the school gymnasium scene, all those dealers (many of whom would be rivals) just clowning around having a good time and enjoying the novelty of it all, and then all of them shutting the gently caress up when the lady yells, then ripping loose again when Colvin says (from memory),"I'm going to tell you how it's going to be from now on."

I imagine a lot of these kids don't have any stable male authority figure in their lives, but have mothers or grandmothers who have raised them, and they know that when a woman makes an order, they MUST always (or almost always) comply. A man trying to lay out the law though? gently caress that guy!

I do love how furious Lester gets at McNulty, but also how he can't help but go back to looking into Stringer's case. The way he effortlessly gets the same info that McNulty stretched himself to the limits of his ability to get always makes me laugh - McNulty is so sure he's the smartest guy in the room and he isn't a patch on Freamon.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



comes along bort posted:

I don't know if it's so much Lester is that much smarter than McNulty (though he definitely is smarter, and more importantly wiser) as it is he's aware of more resources to exploit. They pretty much came to the same conclusion about where to go next, but Lester knew an easier route to get the same info. That's the kind of thing which comes with being on the job for far longer.

That's the thing, Lester's obsessions are channeled into obsessive research to get a definitive answer/solution, while McNulty's are channeled into using his "street smarts" to get to the result he wants as fast as possible. The way he deals with those maps and charts in season 2 is one of the few times we see him actually using something beyond a mixture of an informant and his own instincts to get to the solution he wants, and that's ONLY because he had no other options. Part of that may be down to time and his exile teaching Freamon how to hone his skills, but I do think that Lester is just a better detective that McNulty, who - like Landsman points out - is too used to the idea that he is the smartest guy in the room when the other guys in the room aren't particularly bright. When he finds himself on the other side of being a booty-call with D’Agostino is probably one of the first times he faces up to not being as smart as he thinks he is, and he HATES it.

The SituAsian posted:

For all the progressive ideas Colvin has-and he has a lot of them no doubt-in that scene he definitely falls into the trap of believing that since he is who he is then these kids will automatically listen to him.

This reminds me, the scene with Colvin and the Johns Hopkins academic really stands out because you can see that Colvin's actions are really only taking place because he feels secure in his future. He's got a Major's pension coming up and a potential six figure job to go to when he retires - of course he's leaving all the guys underneath him behind to deal with the mess he is making, but HE is going to be okay. Of course, his planning ends up loving up both those things - he still gets his pension but at a reduced rank, and Johns Hopkins doesn't want anything to do with him anymore.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 03:13 on Jun 23, 2013

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Treme is a wonderful show for me as just a slice of American life. There ARE deeper thematic issues going on, but quite honestly for me the appeal is in just getting to see all these characters act, interact and react to life in New Orleans. Playing great music, making and eating incredible food, and just getting by day to day.

I always think of that early season conversation between DJ Davis and Kermit when I think of Treme.

Davis: Come on Kermit, you could make it big! Do you really want to spend the rest of your life playing these small clubs, eating some barbecue and getting high?
Kermit: .....that'll do! :haw:

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



ShaneMacGowansTeeth posted:

in season two, in the background of some scenes there's an old woman scrubbing her steps. That's all she does, scrub her steps. At the end of the season, we see her again, and she's put a for sale sign up in her house - can anyone watching this confirm it.

Isn't that the woman who Nick catches looking at him when he's lording it up over Frog?

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I know I mentioned her a couple of times in my write-ups, but I only noticed her watching Nick and later her dismay as drugs continue to be dealt on her stoop and she's forced to sell the house (good luck getting a good price, poor lady), but I certainly never noticed her appearing in other episodes making a futile effort to keep her place "clean". I love stuff like that.

Is anybody else looking to do episode 5? I'm keen but don't want to get in anybody else's way.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I'll do Episode 5 tomorrow, but in the meantime I love being reminded how funny this show can sometimes be:



Oh McNulty, you loveable barely-functional alcoholic negligent piece of poo poo you :allears:

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Season 3, Episode 5 - Straight and True

McNulty posted:

I had such fuckin' hopes for us.

Johnny and Bubbles are having a strangely philosophical discussion as they make their way through the streets of Baltimore. Johnny is opposed to the idea of snitching to the police for no reason other than to get paid. Normally eager to get his hands on cash for drugs any way he can, Johnny is taking a "moral" stand on this issue - you snitch if you get caught up by the police and need to get yourself clear, but you don't snitch for no reason at all just to get paid. Bubbles puts it another way, reminding Johnny that it's regular money from Kima to provide information they come across on a daily basis anyway, and means they don't have to run all around town trying dangerous schemes, surviving hand to mouth day to day. Johnny again bravely proclaims himself to be a soldier, this is the life he chose and he takes an odd pride in it. Bubbles - an older if not necessarily wiser head - tells him this is all well and good when you're a pup, but once you get to his age you start to look for an easier, less stressful and physically demanding way to get high. Now he shows some misplaced pride - you're only a snitch if you do it to get out of trouble, if you're doing it regularly for money then that makes you a professional. Unconvinced, Johnny spots an opportunity with his "soldier's eyes", a man is working on a second floor window, unharnessed on a ladder, and Johnny wants to play an old two-man con-job where he rushes out to threaten the man and Bubbles comes to the rescue and is handed over money by the grateful civilian. Bubbles reluctantly agrees, and then makes a point that is both hilarious and depressing - he'll have to play the bad guy, or else the white civilian will get confused. He rushes out and plays his part, threatening to knock the man from his ladder if he doesn't hand over his wallet, and Johnny then rushes out and chases him off. Grateful and obviously smart enough to realize that Johnny is down on his luck, he offers him some cash and Johnny gleefully heads up the same alleyway that Bubbles retreated into, enjoying the cash even if it is less than he would have earned from Kima. But when he turns the corner to share his good fortune with Bubbles, the junkie is nowhere to be seen.

Cutty's Grandmother wakes him up, asking if he means to go out and work today or not. He quickly and smoothly offers up a lie (old habits coming back fast) that he is working nights now on the door at a bar, at least until something better comes along. No fool, she clearly doesn't believe him, but does tell him that his "lady friend" called up to remind him of the appointment she set up for him, and that there could be a job in it for him.

Stringer and a fellow student joke together as they leave Community College together, parting ways at the bottom of the steps. McNulty watches, fascinated as if he is watching an alien or a peculiar kind of insect - this isn't the Stringer he thinks he knows. This is Stringer the friendly mature student, and things are even more confusing when he follows him to where construction is taking place on one of the downtown properties he purchased on the cheap sometime before or during season one.

Similarly revealing deeper facets of himself is Bubbles. Meeting with Kima in the back of her car, he is offering up whatever tidbits of information he has been able to pick up on while walking the streets, and frequently bugging Kima for what that information is worth. It seems at first that he is just jonesing for a fix and trying to get paid, but after revealing that Marlo's main muscle is a man called Chris Partlow (an incredibly, incredibly dangerous man), handing over one of Fruit's discarded burner's and revealing he knows the location of Marlo's stashed Benz... he promptly hands half the $40 she gives him back, asking her to bank it for him. Confused, Kima asks why and he explains he wants a little banked away for a rainy day, while he takes what she's given him and invests it in cheap white t-shirts. Why? Because that's why dealers on the corners are wearing nowadays to keep a low profile, and since Bubbles is going to be walking those streets getting info for Kima, why not sell shirts to them as he does it and "get my nut" both ways. Kima is impressed and amused, and a now visibly relaxed Bubbles settles back, pleased with how his new "professional" life is going.

Colvin should be so lucky, surrounded by his men at the Western District he listens as they commiserate with the failure of the "drug zone" plan, and agree happily that it would have made a really positive impact on the community. Colvin smiles and says they're all lying sacks of poo poo, and then tells Carver he guesses he has a new plan? Carver does, disappointing Colvin with the idea for a "modified zebra" plan. With words that sound good that basically mean nothing, he talks about energetically reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic - work different hours, form a flex squad, bust some heads and clear some corners. "More of the same?" notes Colvin, and Mello interjects with,"But better!" Colvin clearly disagrees, shaking his head and walking away.

McNulty is still stalkingtailing Stringer, but watching him from a distance as he goes about the boring motions of everyday life finally gets too much for him. Watching Stringer dealing with a delivery to his copy shop finally snaps McNulty who forgoes all subtlety and just heads right in the door to the counter. Spotting him, Stringer tells his assistant he'll deal with it, and greets McNulty politely, showing no concern whatsoever at his presence... because he has nothing to hide. McNulty notes he hasn't seen him "round the way" much and Stringer replies that he isn't round the way anymore, if anybody is ever looking for him they can find him in this copy shop... unless he's out dealing with some real estate he is developing. As warned in the previous episode, McNulty has to face the fact that Stringer is now the legitimate front of the Barksdale Organization, and all of his assets are now right out in the open for all to see - there is no secret about his day to day business. He goes so far as to even offer McNulty his card, telling him he can hook him up with some good downtown loft apartments in 8 months or so. McNulty only half-jokingly says right out loud that he's disappointed in Stringer,"I had such fuckin' hopes for us", and then he leaves, taking Stringer's card with him.



Carcetti and Tony Gray are reading the paper in their small office when Carcetti notes something disturbing - the eyewitness in a drug-related homicide has been found shot to death. He's less than pleased by Gray's reaction - "So?" - as it sums up the troubling mindset of Baltimore as a whole. The death of an eyewitness should be major news, but it doesn't make the front page and people don't seem to care anyway. Gray perks up slightly when he thinks Carcetti may have found an "issue" to exploit for political gain, but to his surprise Carcetti decides for once to hell with the politics, this is a genuine problem and it needs to be resolved. I don't doubt he is genuine in this regard, and it is rather depressing that, politics being what it is, he is actually actively mocked by Gray for wanting to go and find an actual solution instead of just using the issue to make political hay - idealism is dangerous in Carcetti's line of work. What is interesting is that this initially genuine desire by Carcetti to help DOES end up becoming a defining political issue for him - and his initial attempts to forgo politics ends up looking like a genius bit of political maneuvering (also nothing ever actually gets done about the whole "we must protect our witnesses!" thing either).

Cutty, Gerard and Sapper watch the dealer that Slim Charles suspects is stealing money, and Cutty's theory that there was a woman involved somewhere proves true. Greeting his high school girlfriend as she leaves school for the day, a pleased Cutty tells the squabbling Gerard and Sapper ("He started it!" is the response when Cutty snaps at them to stop horsing around, like they were kids and he was their Dad) to keep an eye on the girl, she'll lead them to what the money is being spent on. He leaves the car and they complain that he's supposed to stay with them, but he insists that he gave his word and made a date that must be kept. After he leaves, Gerard and Sapper mock his deliberate way of speaking and laugh that he's probably as pussy-whipped as the dealer they're following.

At the COMSTAT meeting (also known as Hell on Earth), Burrell and Rawls are hammering a Lieutenant in the Auto Theft Unit. The Lieutenant is trying nervously to talk up their effective crime prevention techniques during their shift hours, but first Burrell and then Rawls hammer home the unspoken point that if more auto theft is happening outside of those hours, then they need to change those hours. As the Lieutenant hangs in the wind, Colonel Foerster finds himself unexpectedly in the crosshairs too despite sitting on the "Judgement Desk" with the Commissioner and Deputy Ops - what progress has been made on Dozerman's missing weapon? Foerster is clearly unprepared but quickly improvises, making some nice sounding words about the progress they're making - he probably doesn't even know who Landsman has on the case. They return their attention to the Lieutenant, while Colvin quips to Mello that it's Fecal Gravity. Mello agrees - come down hard enough on the "right people" and poo poo will quickly roll downhill. Even though Colvin was the first to note it, Mello's elaboration sparks a unexpected connection in his head - he's been coming at the dealers on the corner level instead of the people they answer to.

Cutty goes to the meeting agreed to with his old flame Grace, and meets the Deacon who also provides spiritual comfort to Colvin. Clearly uncomfortable in the Church, he looks around for Grace, hoping that she was going to be there as well. The Deacon picks up his disappointment and understands that a beautiful woman like Grace might cause a man to say things he didn't really mean, and asks if Cutty is really looking for work. Cutty nods, but isn't pleased to hear the Deacon start talking about GED programs, and all he can offer in terms of a work history is that he worked in a warehouse for a couple of months back in 86. The Deacon tells him this isn't a matter of putting his name on a list and waiting for a job to come, they'll help him but it will be Cutty's sweat and hard work, and the first thing he needs to do is get enrolled in that GED program. Cutty cuts the Deacon off, this isn't what he was expecting, and he's sorry to waste his time but this clearly isn't for him. He gets up and leaves the Church, and with the prominence of the altar in the background as he leaves, I can't help but see it as Cutty turning his back on a rehabilitated civilian life.



Bunk is attempting to investigate Tosha's killing, talking with an elderly eyewitness he is pleased to hear that while the man didn't get a good look at the others or know if Tosha was involved or not, he did recognize Omar. Pleased to be making some progress at least, Bunk prepares to take the man down to get his statement when, to his horror, Landsman arrives on the scene in his car, calling out enthusiastically to Bunk, haunting him from outside of the confines of the Homicide office itself now - Bunk cannot escape Landsman, and Landsman is not going to let him get away from it. I imagine Foerster came out of COMSTAT with a bug up his rear end about getting Dozerman's gun back and, as Mello and Colvin noted, poo poo is rolling downhill fast. Landsman has brought Bunk messages from arrested dealers who he has passed his card out to, saying they have information on the gun, and he won't even let Bunk take his witness in to get his statement locked down - the gun trumps all, that is his priority, and this missed opportunity will come back to bite Bunk on the rear end.

Gerard and Sapper are snorting drugs as they wait outside Uniqua's home, and are caught by surprise by Cutty showing up. They laugh at being scared by his arrival, neither of them really seeing the danger of being so easily "snuck up" on, and offer Cutty a snort. He turns them down purely because he has to "drop urine" for his parole tomorrow, but they laugh at the idea and tell him that he's not the only one on parole and they have ways to get around that. Cutty - upset about Grace's absence and the Deacon's talk about GED programs etc - decides gently caress it and takes the baggie, snorting a couple of scoops before asking how Uniqua's day went. Here Gerard and Sapper show at least some competence, they followed her to a mall, and she went shopping at jewellery stores and emerges with bags. When she met with her boyfriend, she was wearing one necklace and gave the other to him - matching pairs.

McNulty returns to the Major Cases Detail where Freamon reminds him it has been a week - does he have anything on Stringer or not? Despondent, McNulty tells him that Stringer tried to sell him a condo, and hands over his business card. Freamon is amused, and Prez mistakes this to mean that Stringer has gone completely legitimate, but McNulty and Freamon correct him. Stringer has become "The Bank", he is now the legitimate face of the Barksdale Organization - a larger, more active (and far more respected) version of Orlando from season one. Money from the Corners is now filtered through Sringer's legitimate businesses, laundered so that when the money comes out there is no tracing its source. Stringer is untouchable, no working police will ever be able to make a case against him because he will never come down to street level, he'll never give an order over a phone or be seen to handle any drug money that hasn't already been processed and laundered. McNulty finally accepts that he has long since missed his shot, and accepts that it is time to take part in the Kintel Williamson case.

Dante is just as despondent about his current "assignment" as McNulty is with his. As Omar and Kimmy go through their weapons and ammunition in preparation, Dante is sulking in his chair, saying there is no point in helping them prepare if all he'll be doing is standing in the alleyway. Kimmy snaps that this is where he belongs, that way she doesn't have to be concerned about getting shot in the head when he gets scared - she's clearly rethought the shootout and come to the conclusion that Dante shot Tosha (she's right). Dante leaps up angrily and the two face off, only broken up by Omar shouting at them that this is enough, and they both need to learn to "live with it" or they're both out of the team.



At the Western, Colvin is excited about the notion of "poo poo rolling downhill" and pops in to see Carver, and asks him for a list of all the mid-level dealers running "his" corners. Carver's reaction is... well....



:laugh:

Colvin is surprised, Carver is his Drug Enforcement Unit Sergeant, surely he knows the names of the mid-level dealers in the Western District? Carver stares and then shrugs and suggests that maybe Narcotics might have a list somewhere, he doesn't know. Seeing the disbelief on Colvin's face, he explains that there job is to bust heads and clear corners, he didn't know he was supposed to be conducting a census. Colvin is dismayed but not surprised, this is the end result of the BPD chasing stats at the expense of all else.

At the State of Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, Cutty joins Gerard and Sapper and discovers that clean urine is not only being sold only a few feet away, but that it's such an open secret that simply asking a woman leaving the building where to find it gets them pointed in the right direction. An old man is selling bottles of clean piss for $5 a bottle, having upped the price from $2 recently because "you try getting clean piss in Baltimore!". Cutty pays but asks how he knows it is clean, and the old man tells him that he gets it from a pre-school. Cutty heads inside the crowded office where the receptionist is more concerned with yelling at her children over the phone than dealing with him, and distractedly tells him to scan his thumbprint and confirm his name, then instructs him to take a cup from the counter and fill it in the toilet around the corner. Cutty heads in and looks around, perhaps expecting to find security cameras watching him or at least some kind of independent confirmation that the urine is his, but there is nothing. The office is too overworked, the people underpaid and the politicians disinterested to actually do anything beyond going through the motions. So Cutty pulls the bottle out, stopping to look at himself in the mirror - here he is, no longer a young man and now sitting in a toilet in a parole office preparing to drop a pre-schooler's piss into a bottle - this is the life he has re-embraced.

Colvin is continuing his hopeless quest to find somebody in the BPD who knows what they're doing. At the CID Narcotics Unit, Major Smith gives him a small pile of folders on mid-level dealers that amounts to nothing more than a few sketchy rap sheets. Disgusted, Colvin demands to know why nobody knows who is actually selling drugs in Baltimore, and an agitated Smith complains that Burrell and Rawls have his people doing nothing but street rips for the quick stats turnover, and there is no time or people left to pursue high end drug cases. He suggests the Intelligence Division, but they're the ones who sent Colvin to Smith, and an infuriated Colvin is left no closer to getting at those middle management dealers.

Carcetti is engaged in another similar waste of time, as he meets with Mayor Royce and his Chief of Staff Coleman Parker. Taking the high road, he explains the dangerous state of Witness Protection in the city, and Royce and Parker commiserate with the disgraceful fact of the eyewitness' death - this is no way to treat a cooperator. Carcetti admits that he could have used this as political capital but this would have only put Royce on the defensive and nothing would have been done, so he's come to him in the hopes of achieving something real and meaningful. Royce plays Carcetti perfectly, agreeing with Carcetti and asking Parker what action they're currently taking. When Parker tells him he has a meeting penciled in with the State's Attorney next week, Royce shakes his head and says that Tommy is in the right on this one and they need to take immediate action. Having stroked Carcetti's ego, he stands up to indicate the meeting is over and promises Carcetti he'll light a fire under everybody's asses and get meaningful action taken, and escorts Tommy out, agreeing that he'll keep Tommy in the loop. The moment Carcetti - manipulated instead of manipulating for a change - is gone, Parker smirks and Royce raises an eyebrow, almost as if he was saying,"Can you believe this loving guy?"

So far this season we've seen Cutty floating in-between returning to "The Game" and trying to live a normal life. Bodie and Slim Charles laughed that he was back when he went to the house party and screwed the two women they set up for him, but for me this next scene is when we get our first look at the dangerous man Cutty was. Sitting in wait, he watches as Uniqua heads up the street with more shopping paid for by her boyfriend's stolen money. Gerard and Sapper get in her way and tell her they need to talk, and she cuts them down with a razor-sharp tongue and ignores their attempts to take control of the situation, continuing on up the road refusing to listen to them... and walks directly into a harsh slap from Cutty that shocked everybody on the street INCLUDING Gerard and Sapper. The two dim-witted muscle gape and even look uneasy, while Uniqua holds her hand to her face and stares with a mixture of shock and terror at Cutty.

"Now," he says in his slow, deliberate way,"We're gonna talk."



Colvin has finally found what he is looking for - at Major Cases' out of the way office he has a huge pile of folders on not only mid-level dealers but their bosses and their bosses' bosses too. It's a motherlode of information, and he can't believe that this runt of a unit has information beyond what entire other divisions do. McNulty arrives and Colvin's good mood soars through the roof, the two greeting each other as old friends in front of the surprised Daniels, Freamon and Greggs. Colvin explains that he "broke in" McNulty, he walked a foot post under Colvin's command, and while there were plenty of complaints levied against the stubborn McNulty, Colvin recognized he was drat good police - you just have to keep him close. He collects up the files (Marlo is included) and tells Daniels that he's going to gather up the mid-level dealers and give them a taste of COMSTAT, and then heads on out of the office with a final goodbye to "Bushy-Top".

That night at an Executive Inn, a surprising and terrifying collection of Baltimore's worst (or best) drug dealers gather together in one place, something unthinkable only a year or so earlier. Stringer is chairing the meeting of the so-called "New Day Co-Op", and has laid out a proposal near and dear to his and Prop Joe's hearts - he wants them all to come to an official peace, stop competing, divide up their territory and all go in together on a single New York package so they can get the best possible discount. The other dealers are tired of talking and ask for a vote to be called, and as they go around the table each puts their hands up... including Kintel Williamson - it seems he isn't quite the small-fry that McNulty thinks he is, at least not anymore. The motion is carried, the New Day Co-Op is born, and a beaming Prop Joe congratulates everybody on carrying this "like Republicans and poo poo", getting a good laugh from everybody. Stringer explains that from now on the best way to deal with any problems they have is as a group in one of these meetings, rather than through violence on the streets. The meeting breaks up, an innocuous beginning to something that will have huge repercussions on Baltimore - the various big time drug dealing operations in the city are now all working as one. As they break up, a pleased Stringer has his mood darkened somewhat when he spots that Shamrock - who has risen high since Bodie joined him on that mule operation in season 2 - has been writing on a legal pad. When he asks what Shamrock is doing, his underling happily notes that according to Robert's Rules of Order he is supposed to take minutes on a meeting, so that's what he has been doing. Stringer can't believe it,"Nigga, is you taking notes on a criminal loving conspiracy?" he demands, tearing the pad from Shamrock and crumpling up the page of notes. Shamrock has taken his lessons too much to heart.



McNulty watches his boys playing video games and tries with typical McNulty-subtleness to find out some more about Elena's "new friend", but the boys grumble that he's not new and then say they've been told not to talk about family stuff with him. They ask if he'll be coming to their prospective school's open day and he says he'll try but he is busy at work with a new case, and gets hit with the flipside of the "no family stuff", their mom has said that he HAS to come, all the other fathers are. McNulty kicks back on the lower bunk bed, faced with conflicting notions of wanting to be part of the family that doesn't need him anymore and not wanting to take part in familial obligations because he'd rather be doing his police work.

Stringer's caution against violence notwithstanding, Cutty watches as Gerard and Sapper beat the living poo poo out of Uniqua's boyfriend for stealing. To call the beating savage is an understatement, I don't think I'll see a worse beating till the previously mentioned Chris Partlow gets his hands on Michael's stepfather in season 4 (and that is a :stare: of a scene). Tearing the necklace from him, they try to get the ring from his finger too and when it won't come off they stomp on his hand to break his fingers to make it easier for them to get off. That marks enough for Cutty, who reminds them that if they beat him TOO bad he won't be able to work off the debt he now owes. That, perversely, is an old-school mentality, and Gerard shows this by standing over the dealer's (we are never given a name for him, interestingly, while his girlfriend does) beaten body as he tries to crawl away, pulling out a baseball bat and smashing him over the head with it. "Bitch has to pay," says Gerard, and then he and Sapper begin rifling through his pockets, arguing over who gets to keep what while Cutty walks away in, not quite disgust, but clearly disapproving.

But such an act of violence is meant to be a thing of the past now, as a "new day" is rising. Stringer has secured the cooperation of every major drug dealing group in the city and found a new way to deal with misunderstands and territorial disputes - one that does not involve attention grabbing violence. He probably feels quite content with the progress he has made since taking over day to day operations from Avon... which is why the "new day's" next day turns out to be sadly ironic - because it's also the second day of Avon's prison sentence. Firmly believing that you only serve two days in prison - the day you get in and the day you get out - Avon's body language is not that of a bowed and thoughtful Cutty as he struts to the front gate of the correctional facility he has served his "two days" in. Smiling, waving hands to Stringer and Shamrock waiting outside the fence, he looks more like a guy enjoying a stroll on a summer's day than a prisoner of the state. Leaving the prison after serving only 2 years and 2 months of an already ridiculously short 7 year sentence, he doesn't even look back, immediately launching into breaking balls with Shamrock, pretending to be pissed off at the car they chose to pick him up before laughing that he's just loving with him, then embracing Stringer. Shamrock - a nobody when Avon went in, now Stringer's right-hand man - brings him a change of clothes, much to Avon's delight. Avon has always worn the trappings of the correctional facility with disdain, wearing the shoes he wanted, shirt unbuttoned, his appearance showing his complete disdain for the institution and his so-called punishment. But it WAS something that was forced on him, and he is delighted to throw it aside, telling Stringer that the ONLY thing he will take away from his time in prison was the sign on the exit that said,"Never again." They pile into the car and Avon tosses his prison-issue clothes out of the window as they drive away.

Avon Barksdale is back.

Colvin hands out sheets on all the identified mid-level dealers in identified sections of the Western District and hands out his orders to his men - the dealers are to be approached and talked with calmly, and transported in the backs of cars instead of in wagons. Why will these guys listen when the low-level dealers didn't? Colvin jokes that as middle-management these "Lieutenants" have enough responsibility to listen when spoken to but not enough to be able to tell anybody to gently caress off. They set off using the information provided by the Major Cases Squad, which is mostly spot on apart from one MAJOR mistake - Marlo Stanfield is marked down as a Barksdale Lieutenant, as opposed to his own boss. So while other lieutenants are troubled but agree to go along when the police "ask" (including Bodie), when Herc and Carver head in to see Marlo they find themselves facing an unshakeable no. Marlo, who has committed no (provable) crime, refuses to go along with them, and Herc compounds the error by getting in Marlo's face, which immediately lifts the tension of his intensely loyal men. Carver notes with some alarm that they are completely surrounded by the hostile group, while an oblivious Herc continues to lay down unsubtle threats to Marlo. Marlo notes his men's tension too and slightly shakes his head, but I don't think he's calling the men off so much as shaking his head at Herc's stupidity for putting them all in this position. Watched from a window overlooking the scene, Kima can't believe what she is seeing and puts in a call to Prez in case Herc and Carver find themselves taking a beating, but Carver defuses the situation by calling Herc off, knowing how much danger they're in. He grabs a baseball bat from behind a fence that one of Marlo's men was clearly inching towards, unable to resist showing he was aware of the situation, while Herc makes the prophetic statement to Marlo to remember his face, because they will meet again.



He's right, but not in the way he thinks.

Carcetti and Tony Gray are playing squash and Carcetti shows what is both a positive and a negative facet of his personality - he HATES losing. Defeated by Tony, he demands another game, not caring that Tony points out it is "just" a game. Talk turns to Burrell, who has apparently been ducking Carcetti ever since the Academy Class leak didn't quite go the way that Burrell had hoped it would. Carcetti reveals how petty and vindictive he can be, saying that if Burrell continues to duck him, he has plans in place to gently caress him over good.

Meanwhile Colvin is trying to change the rules of "The Game", standing in the deserted section of town identified as a potential drug zone, he lays out how things will work to the drug lieutenants - he's offering a carrot and a stick. The carrot is if they work within this defined area then they will be left free to deal without any police interference - they can sell drugs, re-up their supplies, and make money hand over fist without fear of any legal repercussions. It's not a trick, they're free to investigate the area for cameras, and the only police they see will be far down the road on the perimeter, only to get involved if any violence breaks out. The "stick" is that if they continue to work their usual corners, then Colvin has 200 sworn officers who will be dedicated to nothing BUT swarming corners, arresting dealers on serious charges (no "loitering"), and all but flat out admits that every single dealer arrested will have the living poo poo kicked out of them on the way back to the station.... and meanwhile the "smart" dealers will be here in the Drug Zone making all that money. What does he get out of this? With brutal honesty he admits that he wants to salvage what can still be salvaged in his district, and that doesn't include the dealers or the junkies - he's abandoning them to their fates. He wants his world and their world to be two separate things from now on. His pitch made, he leaves the lieutenants to consider things, but his good mood fades when he spots an old woman wheeling her groceries up the steps to her home. Furious, he turns on Mello who told him the block was completely deserted, and Mello admits that he must have missed her somehow. "Just one more thing I have to take care of," sighs Colvin.

Bunk is following up on the leads that Landsman has been hounding him over, and they're all as useless as he predicted. Each of the prisoners is looking for some kind of deal, one of them wants him and two other prisoners to be freed so they can convince a girl with a vague connection to Dozerman's shooter (already arrested) to give up the gun. Another is convinced that "Dink" has the gun, but admits he isn't sure if it is Dink-Dink, Inky-Dink, Fat-Dink or maybe even Flatnose Dink (nah, that Dink is dead, he ponders). Another says he'll help out if Bunk makes the FOUR murders he has been charged with go away, and finally a slightly desperate prisoner tells Bunk that he can't get him Dozerman's gun, but if it is guns he wants then he can get him plenty of guns!

The whole thing works from a comedic standpoint of course, but also goes to show the poo poo that a Detective has to filter through when pursuing information (as Kima says, a police is only as good as their informant), and how much of their work is just dealing with massive wastes of time from people trying to get some kind of benefit or play some kind of angle.

Bodie meets Stringer outside the Museum of Industry (you could all of Baltimore has become little more than a museum of industry), commenting that he came here for a school trip back when he was still going to school. Stringer isn't in the mood for nostalgia though, he wants to know why Bodie has called for this meeting instead of going through proper channels. It actually goes to show that Stringer does hold Bodie in some esteem, because there is no way "The Bank" would agree to a meeting from a corner lieutenant normally, can you imagine Poot being able to call a similar meeting? Bodie explains that if he'd told anybody else what he had to tell Stringer, he'd think he was "riding the rock", and sheepishly admits that Stringer has no way of knowing if he is or isn't. He explains how he and a couple of their other lieutenants were picked up by the police today, and Stringer instantly shuts down, casting a look at Bodie's baggy clothing and declaring,"You shouldn't deal drugs." Realizing what Stringer means, Bodie quickly pulls up his shirt to show he is wearing no wire, and when Stringer seems unmoved he begins unbuckling his belt, willing to strip down to show he isn't part of some optimistic police sting. He lays out his own adorably filtered take on the events of the day (in his mind, Colvin is "the Police Chief"), Stringer pondering the odd turn of events/proposal over in his mind. Bodie brings up Marlo as well, and Stringer says he is on that too, dismissing Bodie to think on what exactly the police are up to now.



Kima is getting value for the money she has paid out to Bubbles, as she watches Marlo arrive to pick up the keys for his Mercedes from a young boy.

Carver, Herc and Colicchio stand on perimeter outside the Drug Zone, watching a small handful of dealers milling about in the empty block. Three more dealers show up, carefully asking if this is the spot? Is this Hamsterdam? Herc and Colicchio are confused but Carver understands and sends them on in, but another dealer is already preparing to leave, pointing out what Colvin still hasn't considered despite all his planning - there are no customers because none of the junkies know about "Hamsterdam". To Herc's horror, he realizes that Carver - who for all his faults is absolutely loyal to Colvin - intends for him to go and pick up junkies and bring them down to Hamsterdam to cop. Carver reminds him of his Sergeant's stripes and Herc leaves in disgust, joined by Colicchio who salutes sarcastically on his way out. The first corner they reach has Johnny as a paying customer, and he's outraged that Herc "screwed up" by arresting him before he copped, that's a rookie mistake! Santangelo arrives with a wagon and Herc shoves the money back in Johnny's pocket, telling the dealer to get down to Vincent Street, and Johnny is shoved into the back of the wagon.

Kima has followed Marlo's Mercedes, and it seems that the young dealer is looking to impress as the next car to pull up contains "The Bank" himself - Stringer Bell. Delighted to see Stringer coming down to a meeting with a known drug dealer, she puts through a cryptic call to McNulty, telling him to join her at her location.

Burrell and Rawls meets before the City Council to discuss the delayed Academy Class, with Burrell happy to report that there will now be a class after all. Before they can wrap up though, Carcetti is alarmed when Tony decides to speak up and hits an alarmed Burrell with the eyewitness murder. Feeling like his COMSTAT victims must, Burrell quickly turns to Rawls who throws out the same kind of helpful sounding gibberish that Foerster did earlier. Gray isn't to put off the scent though, he's loving how rattled he clearly has the unprepared Commissioner and Deputy Ops and wants to push further, but gets a hurried note from Carcetti telling him to lay off. Despite himself, Gray apologizes and tells Burrell it has been brought to his attention that he has a pressing engagement, and they'll discuss this at a later date. The Police get the hell out of there as fast as possible, while Gray gloats and tells a shocked Carcetti that it was his lead that convinced Tony to go for it... and now, of course, Carcetti knows that it looks like he went to Royce talking about cooperation and avoiding politics only to sic Tony on Burrell to avoid getting his own hands dirty.

Santangelo's wagon arrives at Vincent Street and he lets the confused junkies out onto the street, where they are IMMEDIATELY surrounded by dealers calling out the names of their products. "What the gently caress?" is all one junkie can say, while Johnny is left staring in a daze around him as dealers openly tout to junkies to cop right there in front of the police. Grinning, Santangelo tells Johnny that he hears,"WMD is the bomb", and like he was in some strange dream Johnny stumbles over and buys a couple of vials, then has to rush past insistent dealers trying to sell him more, finding himself on the other side of the usual junkie/dealer divide - supply and demand for today at least are completely backwards.

McNulty arrives and hops into Kima's car, grabbing binoculars and checking out the building she is watching - the only sign of anybody is a non-descript looking man in what looks by comparison to the normal urban apparel to be almost rural clothing. This is Chris Partlow, and his innocuous appearance belies his terrifying competence. Inside, Marlo is meeting with a man he considers himself to be the equal to - a leader talking to another leader - Stringer Bell. Stringer is impressed by the choice of location for the meeting, a rundown old place where the only bugs will have legs on them, but he's also spotted Marlo's only mistake - his Mercedes. He tells Marlo to forget his dealings with Bodie so far, and even the beating delivered to Bodie's crew, because he's here to make an entirely different kind of offer. He makes a casual but accurate prediction of Marlo's net-worth, he figures Marlo has about a million dollars to his name, but that money is so tied up in drugs that he can never use it for any legitimate purchase. Similarly, that Mercedes Benz is probably in somebody else's name but that won't protect him when the police come looking for him. Stringer talks up the New Day Co-Op ("yeah, I heard about that,") notes Marlo carefully, and points out that the Government doesn't want drug dealers organized, he wants them fighting amongst themselves and making visible trouble so they're easier to crack down on.

Stringer is laying out a proposal to Marlo, join him and make all kinds of money (and launder it for legitimate use) or stand alone and face inevitable arrest and the dissolution of his small empire. But Stringer's entirely reasonable proposal makes a HUGE mistake, and if he'd been paying attention he would have seen it. Watch Marlo during Stringer's proposal, look at what he reacts to and what leaves him cold. That slight nod when Stringer brings up the names of past "kings" in Baltimore. The dismissive,"I'm doing all right" when Stringer talks about money. The complete lack of interest when Stringer notes that his money can't buy him a legitimate home etc. Marlo doesn't care about accumulating wealth or possessions beyond being symbols of the power he wields and the respect he demands. Stringer offering to bring him into the New Day Co-Op may be reasonable and in everybody's best interests, but Marlo isn't interested in maximizing his profits and buying businesses, homes and possessions - and Stringer's offer appears to him as a sign of weakness, a sign that he isn't willing or able to fight. Even that Mercedes is there because he wanted to impress an impressive man - the legendary Stringer Bell - with a car known to be the possession of men of influence. Now that he has met Stringer, he has found him wanting, and that's a mentality that Stringer does not understand - it's as alien a concept to him as the reality of Hamsterdam was to Johnny.



McNulty is getting tired of watching the house, but that changes quickly when Kima points out that Stringer has just left the building... followed by Marlo Stanfield. Stringer drives away, and Marlo announces to Chris that they need to get "tooled up". Chris doesn't question the order, he just nods and says he's on it.

At Hamsterdam, word is getting around and now drivers are pulling up to Vincent Street to cop before driving away. Colvin and Mello have come down to see how things are progressing, and Carver, Herc and Collichio explain how easily everybody has taken to the bizarre idea - in fact they're even calling it "Hamsterdam" now. Colvin is delighted, he's seeing his insane idea come true - the drugs markets are moving away from the populated streets of the Western District.

McNulty attends the school's open day after all, arriving late as Elena is discussing maths with one of the teachers. He apologizes for being late (Elena rolls her eyes, she's used to it) and quickly grows bored as Elena goes on doing boring things like taking an active interest in the education of their children. He excuses himself to get something to drink, and heads over to a table of vegetable finger foods, and bumps into Theresa D'Agostino who - perhaps because she's bored - decides to flirt a little with the good looking dad. She remarks on the crudités, and McNulty - unsure what the word means but knowing a good pun when he sees it - quips that there's no need to call him crude just because he didn't have time to change before coming from work. He jokes that he's on the board at Leggs Mason then admits that maybe he's a city cop instead, and D'Agostino introduces herself, she's an alumni of the school and one of the fundraisers, and McNulty tells her he and his ex (note he doesn't refer to her as his wife when he's trying to score with a pretty lady!) are thinking of sending their boys here. As they flirt, Elena finds herself distracted from the math teacher's explanation of the maths integration as her estranged husband ignores his duties to try and get into a stranger's pants.

He succeeds, by the way. They hook up for the evening, but D'Agostino's happy flirting and laughter turns to disinterest the moment she has gotten what she wanted. When McNulty wakes up a little later he finds her working away busily on her laptop and completely indifferent to his charm, ignoring his question about what she does and telling him he should get dressed and leave. McNulty finds himself rejected by yet another woman, and also on the opposite side of one of those many one-night stands he and Bunk have made a game out of having when they go out drinking at the bar.

In an upmarket area of town, Avon Barksdale arrives at a party put on to welcome him home. Far more upscale than Orlandos' ever was, he's greeted by Slim Charles and others, and his sister Brianna as well. They hug and he tells her he wishes he wasn't the only one coming home, and she tells him that she knows... but enjoy himself tonight, they can talk about that later. He even happily greets old rival Prop Joe, who jokes that maybe he should go to jail himself and lose a little weight since Avon is looking so good. But as the party proceeds, Avon finds himself in two minds - Stringer is holding court with his inner circle, some of whom have never had any personal dealings with Avon, in the position that Avon thinks of himself as being - the Boss. His attempts to flirt with a willing woman are bypassed when Stringer redirects him to a meeting with Clay Davis and Andy Krawczyk (with Levy as the important, sometimes eye-rolling intermediary), the two stressing how much money he stands to make and how he needs to keep away from the streets and find another way. Like Marlo, Avon is left completely cold by the idea of getting away from the streets and making more money, distracted when he spots Gerard and Sapper entering the party clearly high as kites. He dismisses the men that many would lose a nut to have a meeting with a vague, slightly mocking,"It's all good. Just put it up on the calendar. We should meet."

He heads away, leaving behind Andy Krawcyzk and Clay Davis who are clearly disappointed that they haven't found another rich sheep to fleece. Avon heads straight to Slim and tells him in no uncertain terms that Gerard and Sapper are to be kicked out of the party for a lack of discipline, and seems to take some pleasure in seeing his orders followed without question. The pretty girl he saw earlier comes by again and this time he gets to speak with her, but before things can proceed further Stringer arrives again and tells him they need to talk. He takes him up the lift to an incredibly apartment, and then reveals that it isn't just Avon's place, it's legitimately Avon's place - everything is in his name. He tosses him a set of keys to a Navigator downstairs in the garage, a rental till he finds something he likes, and explains that they're now making so much legitimate money that they can own things out in the open now. Avon is impressed, while money means little to him, his best friend and the man he left in charge doing so well is a point of pride for him, and he tells Stringer as much, saying he's done good. Stringer settles in on the couch and talks fondly of when they were children, sitting on the roof of the Tower they lived in and dreaming of the future. Avon laughs that Stringer was big into Black Pride and was going to own TWO grocery stores and make niggas proud. Stringer laughs and remembers that Avon wanted to get his hands on an AK-47. Serious now, and utterly genuine, Stringer tells Avon that they're brothers, and Avon agrees, the two hugging, the strength of their bonds as strong now as they ever have been. Avon jokes that he feels churlish bringing this up after everything Stringer has done for him, but he HAS been "locked down" for a couple of years now (there are some things even a man as powerful as Avon can't smuggle into prison), but Stringer pretends to be occupied with a meeting he has to get to and heads out the door checking his watch, leaving a disappointed Avon behind. A knock at the door gets his attention and Stringer cries out from the other side that he forgot something, and when Avon opens the door.... the girl from the party is standing there, along with another. They both enter, Stringer nowhere to be seen, and a delighted Avon Barksdale realizes that he really is home now.



Enjoy their happiness, it won't last.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Yeah, McNulty wasn't actually chasing Stringer Bell - he was chasing the idea of "some criminal out there laughing at me, Jimmy McNulty, having defeated ME!"

When he goes to Stringer's apartment and looks around, he's realizes that he had no idea who Stringer was, he'd built him up in his mind as one thing and the reality simply didn't mesh with it. "Who the gently caress was I chasing?" he asks, because at that moment he genuinely doesn't know. It's not too much of a surprise that not long after this unsatisfying conclusion to his hunt for the white whale, he "drops out" and starts focusing on a happier personal life.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I'd disagree to some extent, though McNulty does allow things to get personal on his end it only goes so far. It's covered a bit in Simon's book Homicide - how a case can completely dominate a Detective's life.... while it is an ongoing active investigation. The moment it is solved or they move on to something else, it basically ceases to exist in their heads. There's a bit about one of the detectives going to prison to question somebody there, and the typical movie scene occurs where a prisoner is yelling the,"YO DETECTIVE <X> YOU LOCKED ME UP IMMA gently caress YOU UP I GET MY HANDS ON YOU!" type of thing, only the Detective has no idea who the guy is and has to wrack his brain to try and figure it out, eventually remembering it was a long finished case that he hasn't thought about since.

Think about how McNulty only finds out about D'Angelo's suicide purely by accident when he just so happens to look him up while in a bad mood about the Stringer case going nowhere. He (and everybody else) has no idea that Avon is out on parole despite Avon being the entire reason for the creation of the Major Cases Detail in the first place, and when they find out they're absolutely furious... but did any of them give Avon a second thought once he was arrested and behind bars?

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I'd say that Stringer just picked up from his body language/attitude etc that he was a cop - you have to be pretty good at spotting police if you want to survive in the drug game very long. Stringer might not have quite the street smarts of the likes of Avon, Wee-Bey etc, but he's no fool and he did grow up on the streets where he'd have at least observed plenty of police interactions. Some guys just scream "cop".

Unless you're that dumb kid who tried to sell Colvin drugs :laugh:

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Season 3, Episode 6: Homecoming

Avon Barksdale posted:

Just a gangster, I suppose.

Colvin and his men stand at the perimeter of Hamsterdam and watch the dealing taking place. Things are running smoothly now that the dealers have settled in and the junkies have gotten the word that this is where to score. Colvin admits it isn't pretty, but says it doesn't have to be - this isn't a drug enforcement strategy after all, his only interest is in clearing the dealers out of everywhere else and then essentially just pretending Hamsterdam exists (and by virtue of him being the one handling the statistics, it will be effectively invisible). So now he's given his police carte blanche to do everything they can to convince the holdouts to join the rest in Hamsterdam - he will back everything they do short of putting somebody into an emergency room that they can't walk out of under their own power. Beatings and abuse are tacitly approved, he's even gone so far as to detail the IID (Internal Investigations) rep for the next week, so any civilian complaints will go through to Lieutenant Mello, who smirks to show that they'll be ignored or dismissed. So off go the men of the Western District, gleefully taking the opportunity to ignore the rules they're supposed to be enforce - physically dominating young dealers, tossing sneakers into the sewers, macing the eyes of dealers packed into the back of a wagon, threatening to tow the car of another dealer etc. At one point one even complains that they have rights, this is America, and Santangelo happily replies,"Baltimore, Maryland!" Santangelo and a partner take a group of dealers out to the countryside and abandon them there in the middle of the night, repeating the refrain that has happened all over the Western District that day - "This doesn't happen in Hamsterdam." Mocking the confused young men, they give them rough directions back to Baltimore and tell them that next time they'll dump them in Virginia. They drive away, leaving behind the dealers in the dark, still plastic-cuffed with hands behind them (there is a slight continuity glitch here, as earlier they appeared to be uncuffed), literally lost in a rural wilderness now instead of figuratively in an urban one.

On former drug corners, the litter has been swept away, children play, a lemonade stand has been set up, people hang out clothes, people sit on stoops chatting and others work on trimming the trees outside their homes. By contrast, in Hamsterdam the dealers are everywhere, touts crying out their various product names ("GOT THAT WMD!") while junkies openly buy and rush into the vacant homes to shoot up. Colvin watches it all with, if not happiness, at least satisfaction, until he notices that the old woman he saw the other day is still there, horrified by the influx of drug-dealers into her neighborhood. Colvin should have known - there is always a victim.



Avon joins Stringer at one of the building sites where "they" are developing luxury condominiums. Andy Krawczyk and a contractor are explaining that cost overruns due to the rising price of steel and Stringer's requested design changes need to be covered, which means an input of more money. Avon heads outside and the contractor takes Stringer aside to remind him that Avon is supposed to be wearing a hard hat on-site, and then they all head outside to join him. Stringer wants to know more about the cost overruns, but Avon speaks up to make a suggestion that leaves Krawczyk and the contractor gaping - they're the experts, they didn't adequately warn Stringer, so it's their responsibility to cover the extra costs. Grumpy, Krawczyk replies that cost overruns are just the nature of the business they're in, then suggests they discuss this over lunch (which I'm sure he'll write off as a tax deduction) and is left further disgruntled when Avon turns him down immediately, then heads off up the street. Avon isn't a "real" businessman, he expects things done on time and doesn't have time to kick back and work out deals over lunch - he's the boss, you do what he says, now what's the next item on the agenda?

Kima and McNulty - to McNulty's credit - have gone to Daniels with the evidence of a meeting between Stringer Bell and Marlo Stanfeld. Still believing that Marlo is one of Stringer's lieutenants, McNulty tells Daniels that they had thought Stringer was clear of any contact with illegal activity but now they have proof he's still involved in the street level, day-to-day running of the Barksdale Organization. McNulty's old obsession is kicking in again, he knows that if they come back to Stringer in a few months he probably will be completely insulated, so they have to strike now while he's still having face-to-face meetings. Daniels looks over the photos and you can tell that he is sorely tempted, but finally he leans back and makes his own feelings on the matter clear - this Detail was put together to deal with bodies, and he doesn't care if a year from now Stringer Bell is on the Greater Baltimore Committee, so long as he isn't leaving dead bodies on the street. Just like Proposition Joe told Stringer, the police don't like boring, they focus on the people making noise. McNulty walks out (to his credit, he doesn't storm out) followed by Kima, leaving Daniels alone in his office with the photos.

Bunk heads into Landsman's office where the Sergeant is happily reading a pornographic magazine and hands over a 10 page report. What is it? Quiet and controlled, Bunk tells him it is a report on the heroic efforts undertaken to (unsuccessfully) retrieve Dozerman's service weapon. He tells Landsman to take it upstairs, it'll keep the top brass happy for awhile, and when Landsman asks if the contents of the report are true, Bunk quite truthfully points out that it doesn't matter if it is or isn't. After all, this is all a PR exercise and the report is something that will point towards "progress" appearing to be made, and appearances are everything. Bunk reminds Landsman that he is "murder police" and that he wants to work his double-murder, and Landsman - after all that cajoling and pushing and demanding that he did - nods his head in agreement. He has the report, his rear end is covered.

Avon and Stringer's next "meeting" is with Slim Charles, as Avon takes a tour of his territory to see the lay of the land. He's upset to see what should be one of HIS corners currently occupied by another crew, and gets irritated when all his questions to Slim Charles are answered by Stringer, who is trying to blow smoke up his rear end to prevent the kind of reaction that would excite the police. Avon shuts him down angrily, reminding Stringer that they hired Slim Charles to head up their muscle so he wants answers from him, and Stringer is forced to sit in the back of the car quietly while Slim Charles offers Avon open and ungilded answers instead of the carefully innocuous ones Stringer has prepared. So Avon learns that not only did they not take the corner by force from this other crew, but that the rival market they setup up the block was broken up and his crew run off by a young player called Marlo who isn't connected to any kind of organization. Avon is furious, and in the back Stringer is forced to look at his friend in a new light - could Avon (technically speaking his boss) ruin everything he has been setting up FOR him?



Bunk meets with Tosha's family, where he diplomatically lays out what he has picked up from his investigation so far - Tosha was a player, and not an innocent bystander who happened to be shot. He's looking for some kind of information from them, and offers up that he knows that she was running with a crew headed by Omar, promising that regardless of what Tosha's part was, if he can find the people responsible for her death he'll make sure they go to prison for a long time. He leaves his card and goes, and Tosha's mother (I assume) flicks the card away with contempt - no snitching, even if it is to get those responsible for Tosha's death.

McNulty and Greggs take the photos of D'Angelo's corpse to the Anne Arundel County Deputy State's Attorney, looking to make some headway into getting an investigation into the Barksdale Organization going again, even if they're not the ones investigating it. She's no fool though, McNulty's assurance that the Medical Examiner will change the cause of death if an investigation uncovers a credible scenario holds no water with her, and he doesn't even have a suspect to attach to the death. Her County doesn't need another murder, and she isn't going to take one on when the current cause of death is suicide.

Daniels attends an AIDS fundraiser in uniform to support Marla's political ambitions, the two of them putting on a good front as a happily married couple. As they schmooze, they've observed from afar by a very interested Odell Watkins, a State Delegate who wields considerable political power. He's with Senator Clay Davis and Councillor Tony Gray, and they share some jokes about the absence of Eunetta Perkins, whom Marla is hoping to replace but has the benefit of being on Mayor Royce's ticket. Clay is impressed with Royce, he's the very definition of an incumbent, and when he inevitably wins re-election he's likely to haul his entire ticket along with him. Royce mentioned earlier that he valued loyalty, and people like Eunetta Perkins are able to get away with frequent absences thanks to being pulled along in his wake. Watkins notes that a new internal poll by Royce shows his negatives are up though, a fact that catches Tony's attention, especially when Watkins praises him for his recent attack on Burrell and Rawls over the death of the eyewitness. Gray borrows a line from Carcetti and says he did it because it was the right thing to do, and Watkins tells him to keep it up. Gray beams, an "attaboy" from Odell Watkins is a hell of a thing in Baltimore politics, though Watkins still seems mostly focused on Marla Daniels - new blood may be just what the Council needs.



McNulty drowns his sorrows at the bar with Kima, and casts a hopeful look at a very pretty blond down the bar. Kima follows his gaze and bursts out laughing, telling him not to embarrass himself, and they commisserate on the hardest part of being police - trying to make the job matter. D'Angelo's murder is never going to be a murder in the eyes of anyone else (even McNulty is just playing a hunch there) and Daniels is focused on Kintel Williamson. McNulty is still taking things in stride, surprisingly, though he's upset about the Stringer case he's also somewhat distracted by his own personal problems, or perhaps lack of them. Telling Kima that his ex-wife has "her hooks" in another guy who he dismisses as "a money guy", he seems surprised himself when he agrees with Kima that he's moving on from Elena, and tells her all about the beautiful and intelligent woman he recently met. He talks her up as maybe being just what he needs, somebody who will rip him a new one when he needs it, and then creates a hilarious mental image by saying,"She's like Freamon with tits." Of course the woman in question has no say in McNulty's sudden decision, she made it pretty clear she thought this was a one night stand and he doesn't have her telephone number or know where she lives. But he laughs that he wouldn't be any kind of detective if he couldn't track down a white woman in Baltimore, and Kima too laughs at the idea of McNulty essentially stalking this woman.

Daniels and Marla stop to get a coffee on their way home from the fundraiser, where an impressed Marla tells him how well he did schmoozing tonight. He admits he feels like he is getting better at it, and apparently he is since Marla reaches out to take his hand, and timidly suggests that maybe they could....? He shuts that down fairly quickly though, she may have been the one that threw him out but he has clearly wrapped his head around the failure of their marriage. He tells her that for now he'll happily show up whenever she needs him to help along her political career, but any more than that? He doesn't know. McNulty has rather sulkily decided he didn't even want his stupid dumb ugly-as-a-butt shrew of an ex-wife who dumped him and moved on with her life anyway :colbert:, while Daniels is taking a more mature and thoughtful approach.... well, as mature as any relationship can get when both parties pretend to still be happily married to assist her political career.

Another "marriage" is straining too. Stringer and Avon settle in at the bar in the funeral parlor office where Avon at last asks Stringer for an explanation - why is prime territory being left to an unconnected nobody like Marlo? Stringer's strategy is a clever one, before he begins he lays it out in the open - Avon IS still the Boss and if Avon wants them to go to war, then they'll go to war, and Stringer will be there at his side like he has always been. With that said, he makes the same case he made to the members of the New Day Co-Op and that he made to Marlo - he explains the problems caused by violence and danger, points out that the days of needing to "own" territory are over, and that with the new arrangements they've made they can basically own the entire city regardless of who is running what corner. They've reached a point now that they can be above it all, leaving young'uns to worry about retail and wholesale while they just take their piece off the top of EVERYTHING. They could be like Little Willie, true powers in the city, making so much money with so many legitimate sources that the Government could come looking and be powerless to do anything to them.

He makes eloquent points, and for quite some time I felt that Avon was being pigheaded in his refusal to accept that the times had changed. The problem is, Stringer's reasoning was based on logic and the notion that everybody was - like himself - interested in legitimacy and acceptance in the "real" world. But people don't act in their own enlightened self-interest, and Stringer didn't understand the power that came from having somebody's name "ring out on the street". The foundation of the Barksdale Organization's power is Avon's reputation, and like Marlo, Avon doesn't care about legitimacy or acceptance or even the money, he cares about the "right" people knowing who he is and respecting/fearing him. Avon wants to be a presence on the streets of Baltimore, the man who everybody knows is in charge even if the legitimate side of Baltimore don't know he exists. He lays that out to Stringer who simply doesn't understand - he's not a suit-wearing businessman, he's just a gangster, and while everything that Stringer says makes perfect sense, he still wants HIS corners. He takes a drink, and Stringer follows suit a moment later. But the divide between the formerly inseparable friends is growing - Stringer has had a taste of being the top dog and has his own way he wants to run things, and has succeeded so far because the inertia of the Barksdale Organization's size and reputation has been backing up his decisions. But now the likes of Marlo are seeing the weakness of an Organization too concerned with avoiding trouble to fight, and mistaking Stringer's disdain for the old corner system as ceding territory. Avon has that much right at least - reputation is everything in their world, and Stringer isn't out of their world yet.



Omar is watching Oz with Dante when Kimmy arrives with news that a homicide detective went to see Tosha's people, and that Omar's name came up as well as a claim that he has witnesses to the scene. Omar is surprised to see Bunk's name on the card, and Kimmy notes with angry sarcasm as she looks at Dante that they should go talk to him and tell him who killed Tosha. Omar shuts this down before it can blow up again, and reinforces again that he has this under control. It seems Bunk's visit did do something though, as Tosha's family not only told Kimmy about it but have started to question exactly what did happen when Tosha was killed. Omar snaps at her to tell them that she caught one trying to take their attackers down and insists again that he has this, but she pffts at that and storms away.

In Hamsterdam, Colvin sits in the meticulously maintained home of the old woman still living in the block and has a cup of tea as she happily tells him her memories of the place - her husband and her saved up to buy the place, it was their pride and joy. Her story leaves unspoken the notion of a different time in Baltimore, when communities were still strong and people took pride in their work and their homes. A time before not only drugs but economic upheaval, "union-busting" and the desertion of the working man in favor of automation wreaked havoc. Colvin shows her a picture of a city-owned home, all taxes paid, and she likes the look of it but laughs that she could never afford a place like that. He explains that she needn't pay anything, the home is hers to have - a good neighborhood, on the #19 bus line and walking distance from her Church - it's all part of a program for people like her living in bad situations like the one right outside her door. That's all bullshit, of course, but Colvin has moved all the drug traffickers there and put her into the middle of this terrible situation, so he's doing what he can to get her out. Here he runs up against as implacable an opinion as Stringer did with Avon though - THIS is her home, the only one she has ever known, and she doesn't want to leave it. Colvin tries to explain, but she cuts him off to make a very good point - he has a so-called program for her, but why doesn't he have a program to deal with all the drug-dealing going on right out in the open outside her door?

Colvin leaves, troubled, while only a little further down the road an equally troubled Stringer is watching the insanity that is Hamsterdam. Bodie is outside the car, and tells him he's gone all around and checked the houses as asked and found no sign of police or surveillance, and he knows dealers who have been dealing in Hamsterdam for days and not been bothered. Stringer knows it is too good to be true, but he also can't pass up the open market on offer, so he tells Bodie to send in a small crew of young'uns with a tiny package and work it for a few days to see what happens. Bodie is to be Stringer's direct contact on this issue, an opportunity that Bodie is eager to take up.

At the funeral parlor, Stringer's other favorite - Shamrock - reports to Avon that Stringer will be late to the meeting, and Avon waves that off dismissively, he doesn't need Stringer around to make decisions. Shamrock, clearly unsure how to act around Avon and not used to not being the number 2 guy, slowly leaves the room, leaving behind Avon and Slim Charles (and Avon's MASSIVE bouncer). Slim is used to dealing with Stringer and tries to couch his replies to Avon's inquiries diplomatically, but Avon quickly puts a stop to that and tells Slim to just talk straight and answer him. The news isn't good - Avon wanted him to reach out and hire better enforcers so he could take the fight to Marlo with authority, but everybody that Avon was hoping for is either unwilling or unable to answer the call, or already contracted elsewhere. Most troubling is the news that some of them have turned down the request because word has gone around that Brother Mouzone has put a "hex" on them - that cuts them off from the bulk of the best enforcers that New York has to offer. Slim offers a poor review of the status of their own muscle - the best they have is Cutty, who Avon sent to them in the first place, but most of the rest aren't cut out for things. Avon was hoping for better news, but he isn't daunted - the implied "threat" of Marlo is just what he has been looking for since his homecoming - he doesn't understand or care about the direction Stringer has taken the Organization, but he understands fighting for a Corner and proving he is a force to be reckoned with. So he tells Slim to get Cutty, pick up the best of what they have available and go out and put a hurting on Marlo's people.

Stringer arrives at his condo development to find nobody is working, and Krawczyk and the contractor have bad news for him, infuriating Stringer. Either some of what Avon said sunk in or he's too used to dealing with people who say,"How high?" when he says,"Jump", because he snaps that every time he thinks they're good to get working he gets another call and another hand in his pocket. Construction is being held up by a lack of permits though, and Krawczyk carefully takes him aside and tells him that he needs to make a call to Clay Davis, his political consultant, to get him to grease the wheels and speed up the permits. Stringer's lack of real life "legit" business experience and lifetime of breaking the law are working against him here - he wants to be legitimate but believes that - much like the drug world - "legitimate" can be sped up by the lubrication that is money. Krawcyzk and Davis are scamming him as surely as if he was playing 3 Card Monte, and Stringer's arrogance and paranoia have been turned against the intelligent man - if he'd involved Levy as a middle-man in all of this he could have cut through all the bullshit (or at least ended up paying out less overall as Levy got his cut and then prevented Davis and Krawczyk from bleeding Stringer dry).

Cutty lays out his plan of attack with Slim, Gerard, Country and Chipper - and it's a sad state of affairs when Gerard is one of the top muscle that Slim could put together (Sapper is at least nowhere to be seen). Gerard tries to get involved, asking why Cutty is being so convoluted when they could just cut through on another road, and Slim angrily points out this would create a crossfire, and Cutty notes that it would also require them to shoot past the driver through his window. Cutty's plan is methodical, he and Slim will be providing a large distraction at which point Chipper will drive Gerard and Country through and they'll carefully pick their targets and drop them. They're to dump the guns and make sure any shell casings aren't left in the car, though Slim tells Country not to discard the gloves as "they'll have that DNA poo poo all over them". Chipper loudly and bravely tells Cutty not to kill too many before they arrive, he wants to be more than a decoy, and Gerard agrees while Cutty and Slim quietly fume.

Colvin goes to Colonel Foerster with a bullshit report on the old woman on Vincent Street that identifies her as a cooperating witness in a drugs case that won't go to trial without her. He insists that it's a cheap deal, they've already located the house which has been foreclosed on and she doesn't require surveillance, it's just a relocation request and it's the least they can do. Foerster is uncertain - top brass don't want to spend money if they can avoid it - so Colvin reminds him of the eyewitness that was recently killed. Foerster notes that she's 73 years old and declares she must be a brave old bird, and signs off on the relocation order before telling Colvin that if Rawls finds out he'll claim Colvin forged his signature. He has no idea just how far beyond something like that Colvin has already gone, and when he asks if Vincent Street is bad, Colvin tells him he wouldn't believe it.

Cutty and Slim are getting into position in the back alleys, but Chipper is getting anxious waiting in the car. Country - an older, wiser head - reminds him they're to wait for Cutty's call before heading in but he complains that they'll miss all the action, and more to the point how will it look to Avon if they sit back and wait rather than going in to fight? As they argue, a young man passes on his bike and, showing a remarkable poker face, heads down to the corner where Marlo's crew are dealing and greets them all casually while simultaneously letting them know three strapped guys in a car are up the road. Marlo's lieutenant Nay-Nay pulls up to talk with the guy running the corner and when Chipper spots him he decides they have to go now before Nay-Nay can escape. Gerard cocks his shotgun and they drive forward right into the waiting crew, who have all grabbed guns in preparation and use Nay-Nay's car as an initial shield, forcing Chipper to turn the corner and leave Country unable to get a shot off just as Cutty warned. Shots hit Chipper and he slumps over the wheel, crashing into a parked car, while in the alley Cutty hears the shooting and exchanges a startled look with Slim. They head up the alleyway in time to see Gerard scramble out of the car to the ground and somehow avoid being shot before hoofing it down the road at top speed. Country staggers out of the car as well, but two of Marlo's crew step forward and execute him, shooting him after he hits the ground as well to make sure. Cutty, disgusted, snaps that he told them to wait for his call and tosses his burner away, and he and Slim toss their guns over a fence into some bushes and take off down the alley, their attack a complete disaster because Chipper just couldn't wait.



Carcetti and Tony play squash and discuss the invitations they often have to decline because they get so many, and Tony mentions he had considered avoiding the AIDS fundraiser but is glad he didn't as he bumped into Odell Watkins. Carcetti is interested, Watkins is a "rainmaker" and that always interests a politician, but he is stunned when Tony reveals that Watkins openly spoke about being dissatisfied with the Mayor. Tony carefully puts out there that maybe somebody could take a run against the seemingly indestructible Royce, unaware that Carcetti is already several steps ahead of him and playing an entirely different game - they discard several possibilities (including the as yet unnamed Council President, who will play a large part later) and then Carcetti notes that whoever it is will need to be black, this being Baltimore. Tony is thrilled as they go back to playing squash, but Carcetti is playing chess - another viable black candidate to split the black vote could leave things open for him to swoop in and grab the mayoralty.

Somebody else is ready to make a play for power too. Meeting with his mentor/bank Vinson, Marlo is intrigued by how poorly the attack on his corner crew went, noting that it speaks to the quality of Barksdales' men. Vinson warns that Avon will have to come at Marlo harder now that his pre-emptive strike has failed so badly, but Marlo welcomes the problem, saying that he is confident in the quality of what he has while Barksdale is clearly now weak. Vinson agrees that Marlo has a "full clip" but raises another issue - once he's at the head of the table, what then? It isn't enough to take control, you have to keep control, but Marlo notes that this is a good problem to have. When Vinson reminds him that the graveyards are full of young boys who wore the crown, Marlo shows the mindset that Avon would understand but Stringer never could - "At least they wore it." He turns to the other two there, his top two enforcers, Chris Partlow and, surprisingly, a young woman named Snoop. Chris was mentioned/seen last episode and this is Snoop's first appearance, and she is one of the most fascinating characters you'll ever seen in any television program. Played by a real life murderer/gangster Felicia Pearson (the same name as her character), discovered by Michael Williams who plays Omar in the show - she's an androgynous monster with no morals and truly bizarre accent/way of speaking. The fact that both these dangerous people are so clearly devoted to Marlo goes to show how dangerous the shark-like man is. When Marlo asks if Chris is ready to go to war, he enthusiastically accepts, hugging Marlo - he respects and trusts and is devoted enough to Marlo that he'll happily go to war against the most powerful drug organization in Baltimore.



Kima meets with Bubbles who has a shopping cart filled with white t-shirts, telling her he is earning a dollar here and a dollar there. He called in to her to see if she wanted more information on Marlo, but she laughs that if he wants to get paid he needs to get up to Park Heights and see what he can find out about Kintel Williamson. That's a shame he tells her, since poo poo is about to jump off, and that does get her attention. He tells her that Marlo dropped two Barksdale soldiers earlier in the day, which confuses Kima who thought Marlo worked for Stringer Bell, why else did they meet? Bubbles shrugs, he doesn't know what she saw, but Marlo flies his own colors, and now the West Side is about to get like Baghdad. Kima rushes back to her car and Bubbles happily tosses in a bag of white shirts for her and the others in the detail, then heads on down the road with his shopping cart cheerfully calling out that he's selling whiteys, oblivious to the shitstorm he has just set in motion.

Colvin has had the news too - two dead bodies in the Western - and Rawls is on the line hammering home to him the point that Burrell has had to promise a hard limit on murders for the year. Colvin lets him know what he's done and asks what news Homicide has, but Rawls snaps at him that he isn't asking Homicide, he's asking HIM and all he can offer is that there were "rival gangs" involved. He hangs up on Colvin who turns to Carver (Sergeant of his Drug Enforcement Unit after all) and asks him what he DOES have, and all the deer-in-the-headlights Carver can offer is that it's like Colvin said, it was rival gangs. Which ones? demands Colvin, and all Carver can offer is a lame joke that they're assholes who don't like each other before his face falls and he apologizes, he just doesn't have any more information. Deeply disappointed (but what does he expect given the nature of the BPD), Colvin walks away.

Bruiser - the old man who identified Omar to Bunk - is playing cards with some buddies in an open garage when who should show up but Omar himself. Omar doesn't have to say anything, Bruiser slowly dropping to his chair, knowing that he's hosed up by speaking to the police.

Carcetti returns home and is barely through the door before he's asking his wife for dinner and wanting to watch a video tape of a recent Council meeting where he knocked down an attempt by another Councillor to block him on an issue. It says a lot about Tommy's narcissism that his first reaction upon getting home isn't to ask his wife how her day was but ask what food she has prepared for him, and then jump straight to watching himself on television. His young kids happily offer that they have "shared" with him and he finds a toasted cheese sandwich in the VCR (the technology really has aged on this show :laugh:), and this at least seems to puncture some of his ego as he laughs and asks his wife if he can have some chips and pickle with that too.

There's an odd scene that follows between Donette and Brianna that just fascinates me. They're in what I assume is Donette's bedroom, and Brianna is straightening Donette's hair as they chat about D'Angelo being gone and Donette's own needs. How did this come about? What is their relationship like? I never really had a sense that they were close, and while I can imagine Brianna wanting to latch on to her grandson I can't imagine Donette wanting to spend much time with Brianna. Yet here they are, Brianna doing Donette's hair and the two of them openly talking about relationships. Donette tries to subtly let out that she is interested in Stringer (without giving away that she's already in one), and Brianna tells her that there is no denying Stringer is fine, and if she wants to pursue him then she has no problem with that. Donette is surprised, she thought Brianna would be angry, but Brianna admits that D'Angelo has been dead for some time now. Donette, grateful, lets spill a little too much when she tells Brianna about the cop that came around to see her about D'Angelo's death, trying to suggest it wasn't a suicide, and Brianna immediately freezes, asking for more information, learning it was the same detective who tried to get D'Angelo to turn evidence against Avon. Not only that, Donette tells her that all she did in regards to this visit was to tell Stringer, and now Brianna is faced with the information that somebody thinks her son didn't commit suicide, but that Stringer was told as much.

Pearlman is getting unwelcome news too. Judging by their dress (or lack of it), Daniels has only told her about Marla's decision to run for City Council after they had sex. What does this mean? It means that until the election is over the next year, Daniels is going to continue to pretend to be happily married to her. Why? Pearlman points out that divorce is common nowadays but he says that this is something he owes her, she stood by him for years as he let her believe that his career was going places while he was only truly happy when he was doing real police work. She stood by him during his dark Eastern District days when he did "some poo poo", always thinking he was going to be a big deal, and now that she has her chance to be a big deal in her own right he feels he owes her whatever assistance he can offer. It all sounds very reasonable, but how many other men have told how many other women that,"I'm totally going to leave my wife ONE DAY, I swear!" Hell, didn't Pearlman already go through this with McNulty? She asks him what HE wants, and he says he just doesn't want to disappoint her - he'll do what he can to see she gets what she wants this time, and nothing more than that.



Cutty and Slim are facing the music for their part in the disastrous attack on Marlo's crew. Slim says the last he saw of Gerard was racing bullets up the street, and Cutty says until he surfaces they won't know what the hell happened to cause everything to turn to poo poo before they were set to go. Stringer is in attendance and points out that the police are going to be all over this so they should pull back, bide their time, rebuild their muscle and THEN deal to Marlo. Avon cuts that off immediately, shouting that he doesn't have any more time to waste, if he doesn't immediately come back on Marlo then he's going to look like a punk, and that is something he cannot tolerate. In fact, Avon goes so far as to declare he's going to head out and handle things himself but now it is Stringer's turn to puts a stop to that, Avon is just out of prison and if his name comes up in connection to a murder he'll be straight back in. Slim and Cutty say they'll handle things themselves so they can guarantee no gently caress-ups, and Avon tells them to make sure they don't. They head out together and Avon turns to Stringer, declaring that this is the way things are, the game IS the game! Stringer, less enthusiastic about a situation that is pretty much entirely of Avon's making, gives the standard,"Same as it ever was," reply, but his heart clearly isn't in it. The two men, who in the past were always on the same page, sit in the room alone with their own thoughts. Stringer speaks first, talking about his visit to Vincent Street and the bizarre scenes he saw down there - people dealing drugs in the open like it was candy, police ignoring everything, the whole thing just running like it was a... well... a business. He stops talking and the silence cues the thoughtful Avon in that Stringer has stopped speaking, but he hasn't been listening, his entire attention on the gun in his hand. Stringer has been infatuated by business, Avon infatuated by violence, and neither of them are hearing what the other is saying. Avon asks him what he was saying and Stringer says it was nothing, nothing at all.

McNulty and Kima bring the new evidence on the deaths of Chipper and Country to Daniels. Kima approaches things diplomatically, saying that she and McNulty got it wrong because they thought Marlo worked for Stringer but it seems they're rivals, and now that is becoming bloody. McNulty can't resist throwing it in Daniels face though, telling him that he claimed to be about the bodies and now Stringer/Marlo is causing bodies to drop. Daniels is livid, instead of investigating the Kintel Williamson case they've continued to pursue the case he told them not to, and he informs them this is no longer about Stringer Bell or Kintel Williamson. He demands Kima say what his rank is, then McNulty, who refuses to play along - respect for the chain of command has never flown with Jimmy. Daniels tells Kima if she can't remember that then she can return to Narcotics, and McNulty can go to whatever unit will still have him. They leave his office, McNulty furious, leaving Daniels behind with the photos of Chipper and Country.

This next scene is amazing, please watch it. If you've watched it before, watch it again. If you've never watched it before, watch it now. Bunk meets with Omar after getting a message to meet him, and the two trade jibes, Omar playing it cool and aloof and revealing how he has dismantled what Bunk has put together on the murders so far. Bunk gets angrier and angrier, till he lets rip and tears Omar a new one - he reminds Omar about the way things used to be before the destruction of the communities, the way even the "hard men" looked out for others. Now all there is are bodies and "predatory motherfuckers" like Omar, with children rushing around playing "Omar" like he was a superhero. "Makes me sick motherfucker, how far we done fell," he seethes, and walks away from Omar whose only reply is a massive loogie. But his pretense is clear, Omar has been wounded by Bunk's words, forced to face up to the truth behind his own legend - he's a blight on society.

Stringer meets with Clay Davis who openly milks Stringer for 25k, telling him that 20k will buy him the permits he needs, and 5k is the cost of Clay going to see the people who can make that happen (that's on top of the consultancy fee he's already getting). Clay knows he has Stringer hooked and goes back to his paperwork as Stringer considers the cost of the solution against the cost of waiting on the permits while construction stands still. He asks when the permits will arrive and Clay tells him Monday by the end of the day at the latest, and foolish Stringer takes a politician at his word.

Slim and Cutty drive up the street when to their great surprise they see Marlo's lieutenant Fruit hanging out openly on a corner chatting on the phone. Cutty points out that Fruit owes him money and they decide to make their strikeback now, and set up a quickly improvised move to have Slim open fire and then Cutty move into position to shoot down any survivor who tries to escape down the alley. As an oblivious Fruit chats on the phone, a young hopper named Boo pops by and nods hello to Fruit, then grabs his asthma inhaler from his pocket. Whether because he thinks he's going for a gun or just because he's there, Slim opens fire and Boo goes down, as a horrified Fruit immediately rushes for the alley only to see Cutty appear from nowhere, gun drawn and ready to fire. Fruit drops to his rear end, staring into his death, utterly terrified... and Cutty can't shoot. Turning to look at Boo's bleeding corpse, he turns back to the still terrified Fruit who finally gets his legs under him and makes it to his feet, turning and running down the alley and disappearing behind a corner. Slim arrives and looks around the corner, seeing an empty alleyway and immediately deciding that he must have attacked too early before Cutty could get into position, and that this allowed Fruit to escape. Cutty doesn't correct him, and the two men make a run for it, leaving Boo's dead body behind, inhaler lying alongside him.



Bodie brings some young'uns down to Hamsterdam, telling them to ignore the police hanging around and shouting at some small kids to get the gently caress off the stoop he's decided will be their spot now. He jokes with the dealers he has brought that they should have brought their toothbrushes in case they get locked up and taken to Boy's Village, but that if they DON'T get locked up they'll get an extra 20 for their efforts. Leaving them to deal, they glance about nervously as they take money from junkies while everybody else around them openly sells with impunity.

Carcetti visits Theresa D'Agostino to once again ask her to run his Mayoral Campaign. She wants nothing to do with a can't-win situation and asks him to lay out why she or anyone else would vote for him, and he lays out a pitch based on crime that immediately sets alarm bells ringing for her - a white guy standing up to tell a predominantly black city he's hear to save them from themselves? But he has more - he knows that there are people in Royce's camp that aren't happy with him; he has the Police Commissioner giving him inside info on Royce's mismanagement of law and order.... and more importantly of all he has Tony Gray strongly hinting he'll run for Mayor next year. Two black candidates means a split in the black vote, and that gives Tommy a chance. D'Agostino is intrigued by this, but Tommy is still white so they'd need a "safe" middle-class black person to make it clear to black voters that it would be alright to vote for the white guy. I always feel it's unspoken here that it would also give permission to white voters to feel good about voting for a white guy since "that one black guy likes him!". Tommy carefully makes a suggestion he knows she'll turn down and she counters with Odell Watkins, which is exactly what he was hoping to hear since he knows that Odell isn't happy with the Mayor. Her final objection is that he would need to raise a lot of money, but the moment she says this he leans back in satisfaction, because now he knows he has her hooked. If she's talking about raising money, then she's accepted his viability as a candidate.

McNulty sits in the Detail kitchen lamenting that Daniels KNOWS that by his own conditions he should be pushing to re-open the Stringer Bell case. Kima agrees, but points out what McNulty can't see - that some people can be as bullheaded and stubborn as he is. It isn't about being right at the moment, it isn't about Stringer, it's about respect. "gently caress respect!" snaps McNulty, but Kima correctly notes that pride is at stake, and at the moment Daniels would rather be wrong than right if it means capitulating to a subordinate - particularly McNulty. McNulty of course wants to keep bashing heads, but Kima is smarter (many people are smarter than "the smartest guy in the room") and points out Daniels respect for the chain of command. If word came down from on high that he was needed to pursue Stringer Bell and Marlo Stanfeld, then he would accept that even if he didn't like it. McNulty is intrigued, and a slow smile crosses his face as Kima notes that of course she knows that McNulty would never go behind somebody's back.

What neither knows is that there is very real pressure at the very top about the recent murders. Burrell has been summoned to see Mayor Royce and Chief of Staff Coleman Parker, and they're upset that after "promising" them no higher a number of murders than 275 for the year, they're already at 260 and it's not even October. Worst of all, one of the recent dead is a 14 year old (Boo), and Royce lays it out for Burrell - if the number hits 300 before year's end then he can no longer guarantee that Burrell will serve out a full term as Police Commissioner. Royce values loyalty, but not when his loyal subordinates are proving a liability to HIM personally.

McNulty meets with Colvin in the parking lot of the Western District Headquarters and lays out the deal with Stringer Bell and Marlo Stanfeld. Colvin knows that Daniels' Detail is supposed to be investigating Kintel Williamson and quickly guesses that McNulty has backdoored his Lieutenant by coming to him, and that he hasn't changed at all - it's still always about HIS case. McNulty can't even pretend to be embarrassed, he throws his empty can up onto the roof (nobody pays attention to that rule) and repeats a line he once gave to Judge Phelan - keep his name out of it.

Slim and Cutty arrive to see Avon, who at first affects disdain that they're strolling in walking tall after letting one of their targets get away. Slim tries to give a good account, talking about how they went in blazing but Avon quickly shuts him up, telling him that he's already heard the full story and he's not upset - there's one less of theirs breathing now then there was yesterday, and that's a good start. Obviously pleased that his Organization is showing some teeth again, he jokingly he tells Cutty he's surprised, back in the day he'd have never let anybody get away from him, and Slim quickly speaks up in his defense, saying it was his fault for opening fire too soon. Cutty shuts that down though, coming to a decision at last and letting it all out - he had Fruit dead to rights and he couldn't pull the trigger. Why not? He says that whatever is in Avon that lets him flow like he flows and "do that thing" is no longer in himself, and a disappointed Avon (Cutty was the last enforcer he had real confidence in) accepts this but says while he might be done as muscle, he's not done. They can use what he knows, put him on a corner or inside somewhere... but Cutty stops him again, he's saying that there is none of "the game" in him anymore. He's done, he simply can't be a part of this anymore. Then what will he do? Avon notes that he's never done anything else, and all Cutty can offer in reply is that whatever it is, it can't be this. To his great relief, Avon listens to this and then... accepts it. Respecting Cutty's honesty and recognizing the lack of killer instinct in him, he tells Cutty that they're still good and hugs him goodbye. Surprised, relieved, and maybe in a bit of disbelief, Cutty says his goodbyes to Slim as well and leaves the office, turning his back on the only thing he has ever known and walking away with his life - one of a very small minority who will ever manage to do so. Slim watches him go and says it's a shame, he was a man back in his time. Avon - a man who respects somebody who knows themselves - tells Slim that Cutty is a man today.



Daniels is waiting rather impatiently for a meeting with the Commissioner, having no idea why he has been summoned to see him. Burrell's secretary lets him know he can enter now and he walks into the office to a rather surprising scene. The Commissioner, Deputy Ops Rawls and Major Colvin of the Western District are all there, and Burrell happily declares about the man he once wanted out of the BPD that here he is - Cedric Daniels, the man of the hour. Colvin, acting the part of the desperate supplicant, bows his head almost in shame while Rawls and Burrell grin toothily - here is the answer to their prayers: Burrell needs the murders to stop; Rawls wants effective policework from the Lieutenants and Majors under his command; and Colvin needs information that his poorly informed DEU Sergeant can't give him. Cedric Daniels is the man who can do all those things for them, for once everybody is in agreement with Jimmy McNulty.... all except for Cedric Daniels himself.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 23:46 on Jul 2, 2013

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Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

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escape artist posted:

Well, think of what happened from Slim Charles perspective. He actually thought he stepped on Cutty's shot. He didn't know Fruit tripped because he didn't have the vantage point that Cutty did. He wasn't making an excuse for Cutty. He just wasn't fully cognizant of what happened.

The point is though that unlike so many others, Slim was willing to step up and admit his mistake. No excuses or justifications, he hosed up (or thinks he did) so he admits it.

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