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    :gatorpee: jim's Avatar
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    Goodfella watches The Wire

    Ok so I decided to give it a fresh watch for the first time in a while and thought why not log some thoughts for the nhc. I'm not good at reviewing or whatever but lets see how this goes...

    Episode 1

    The Wire - The Target
    Original Airdate - June 2nd 2002



    The one theme throughout the series will be the fast paced, non stop dialogue that gives its audience very little time to catch for breath. We are bombarded with information (names, places, job titles, etc) and expected to keep up and hold the information for when it next becomes relevant. It's something that makes reviewing this show very hard at times, but I'm going to try my best to try and give a decent run down of the events of the show, and my thoughts.


    The opening scene dumps us out on some dirty porch in West Baltimore. We see a character whom we learn quickly is known as Detective McNulty, talk openly to a normal member of public about a street shooting which has just happened. Its amazing how much we learn in this short scene. This guy is a witness, and happy enough to talk about it with Detective McNulty as if they are best friends. McNulty is charismatic, able to charm a bird out of the trees. He humanizes the victim in ways other detectives (As we later learn) don't do, at least on the street with this guy, insisting "snot" is a terrible nickname. McNulty will be our shining light throughout a journey through the murky and muddled Baltimore underworld, taking us on a guided tour through the city, leading us through cracked and bloody streets, the narcotics and homicide divisions, the contested harbor waters and a hundreds of bars and other favored haunts of his in the city.


    The episode shows us the now famous opening credit scene, as well as the episodic tagline that always features as a line of dialogue. This time it's "When it's not your turn".
    Our hero? McNulty arrives on the scene of a court hearing, defendant D'Angelo Barksdale is the accused, and we are briefly acquainted with McNulty's best buddy, Bunk. They must know each other well, judging by their casual dialogue (which is a strong theme throughout the episode)
    I don't remember exactly when he are formally introduced to Stringer Bell, but here we see him calculating on the benches, obviously on the side of the defendant and looking supremely menacing. Again, it's amazing how much we are told in very simple, small touches throughout this pilot episode.


    Jimmy (as we know him now) is watching on, in a curious fascination that becomes a theme of his character throughout the show. Jimmy is not meant to be here, and his being here will cause trouble further down the line. *Sigh* - a maverick cop. But he isn't just any maverick, as we will learn. Soon after the case, the judge calls him up to his office to discuss the case, and one D'Angelo Barksdale. McNulty knows a fair deal about the figures that operate out of the notorious "Barksdale Crew" and is happy (as it appears) to divulge this information to the Judge.


    So far we have been introduced the Jimmy, his colleague bunk, A Judge who will feature more later on in the show and the Barksdale crew. But after this scene the episode catapults us into the chaotic workings of the Narcotics unit, featuring Herc, Kima and Carv. This trio are another constant in the series and we will watch them grow, make mistakes and learn throughout the series run. First impressions are that Kima is clearly competent, thoughtful and wise, as she is eager to point out that Herc and Carv missed two guns during searching the vehicle.
    Herc appears to be the street enforcer, the guy who lays down the law and takes a leading role in arrests and searches. Carv seems to be in the middle, and perhaps in awe of his friend, during what appears to be a realistic drugs bust on the streets of Baltimore.


    At this stage in the pilot, we are gathering an idea of just what this show is about. It's not about McNulty, it's not about the Barksdale crew and it's not about the Narcotics team. It is clearly about the city as a whole and it's muddled workings and dalliances with clear structure and moral code. It's a lot to take in but I'm trying to view this as a first timer to the series.


    The courtroom scene then concludes with the not guilty verdict and that scene where McNulty spills the tea with the Judge. This is when we first hear about Stringer Bell, firstly his name and then his active role in the Barksdale crew. "His fingerprints are all over this". The verdict is of course courtesy of an intimidation tactic from Stringer Bell, who appears as the most menacing force in this episode, taking a back seat, talking to McNulty as if they are friends and acting in a cool and dignified manner. We know he does not need to get his hands dirty to make his presence felt.


    Back in narcotics and the team are joking and exchanging banter regarding their case. Hurc and Carv act like excitable teens, fist bumping and bird flipping casually. They are just ordinary guys doing a not so ordinary job.


    Another new introduction is Lieutenent Daniels. This guy is cool, quiet, and composed. Its easy to respect him immediately. He puts the feelers out on Barksdale, and commissions a report from Kima.


    Now another swift change of scene in Homicide. McNulty's boss, (later known as Sgt. Landsman) is a big, sweary guy. But he's nothing compared to Major Ralls - this guy is a terrifying, racist, mumbly fucker. His obvious contempt for the victims of homicide is chilling, McNulty tries to play off the Major's interrogation coolly but has trouble. More Bird flipping ensues (is this really how Major's react) and of course McNulty learns also has to write a report on the Barksdales.


    Back on the streets with D'Angelo. We know he isn't the ultimate bad force in Baltimore already, learning of Stringer's all powerful gaze and finger. This point is further rammed home when D'Angelo (or D) is chided by his fellow Homie about talking in the car. D seems to be a victim of circumstance, pressures on him now mounting when Avon also lectures D on jail, and not shooting without good reason. It's fascinating to watch String and Avon as they stand atop a nightclub balcony. They are the kings of the city, and peer down on all below them, plotting and sharing together. The politics of the Barksdale crew are all together as confusing and interesting as they are in the Police. This parallel will continue throughout the series. Poor D gets moved of the towers (a supposedly lucrative dealing point) onto the pit. What's interesting here is that its Stringer not Avon that gives him this news. Avon gives the conciliatory arm around the shoulders and much needed advice. But the real power comes from suit and tie man Stringer Bell. This brush with justice has moved a costly mistake for D and its easy to see him as a good guy amongst the scum of Baltimore. His hands are tied.


    Much like McNulty who confides with Bunk, about that Judge and how he's cost McNulty. Even Seargeant Landmann joins in the pile on now, and we get another insight into the much fabled (and disregarded it appears) chain of command. All of this within the first 32 minutes!


    Its short scene structure keeps things moving fast and sometimes its a bit too fast for me. My attention wonders when Ralls has a short discussion with some other suit and then we're in the pit with D. So soon again (gasps for breath) and we see Lieutenant Daniels getting told off on Narcotics brief report by a Major. Homicide (and our hero? McNulty has compiled a superior report, and this point is a major (ha) issue for Daniels. "Fucking Shitstorm" rages the major.


    Fuck - yet more characters and we are now on some shithole street with some dishevelled looking junkies (they are Bubbs and Weeks) That shithole street is revealed to be out on the pit. D is making himself at home, teaching his underlings how and when to take money. Brodie (another key character) sits and learns too. Its good to see D show his authority in the pit, his ways are more gentle and understanding when dealing with his mentors, as Brodie notices.


    Bubbs and Weeks are sat in some squalid apartment cooking up a scam to use out in the pit. I don't know who I fear for most - them or D! Daniels is now sat with another suit (I'll be honest, I don't know who this guy is - damn this show moves fast) and he learns of McNulty, a treacherous cop who has a special interest in the Barksdale case. Word sure does travel fast in Baltimore - but I love how the show builds a world so fast in just one pilot episode.


    Mcnulty soon learns of a wire and video surveillance team, underseen by agent Fitzhugh. McNulty seems inspired, and of course seeing a this ourselves is exciting too. Everything is coming together nicely. We learnt this is the last drug case to be overseen by the FBI before attentions fully turn to terrorism. The case must be cleared by the end of the month.
    And so the stakes are raised....


    Back out on the pit and it looks like our favourite reprobates Bubbs and Weeks are gonna excercise this scam. We know that D has changed their money taking tactics and of course it will inevitable fail. As much as I fear for Weeks I'm happy that D's methods have caught them - he finally gets a break and earns some respect. It's a victory for the lowly Pit boys but mainly a victory for D. What I love here is the sympathy in D's eyes when he looks up at battered Weeks. He could throw him off Franklin towers but settles for a beating. He is a kindly gangster.


    Now Daniels is sat with his team and McNulty, setting out plans. We have the gang together at last! And our hero? sets out plans for surveillance. I love watching Daniels and McNulty face off - Daniels reminds McNulty once again - CHAIN OF COMMAND. And now the cliched bit - our hero? Is a divorcee, and has a drinking problem it seems as he drowns his sorrows with Bunk. Its a nice scene, watching McNulty and Bunk get shitfaced together will be a happy sign of enduring friendship in episodes (and seasons) to come. Sat on near the train yard exchanging stories and shooting mice, its a welcome change of pace from the rest of the episode. "I wanna do this case" announces drunk Jimmy. Oh he will alright.


    Ah shit - back in the club and poor D is now getting told by String. He was too kind to the scamming junkie. What should be a victory is now another defeat for D. Its sad to watch but we're on his side. He sadly turns down the advance from a performer, sat in quiet contemplation. How has he ended up here?


    A first glimpse into the home life of a detective now with Kima and her girlfriend? I'm not sure if a non white lesbian coupling was considered brave or edgy in 2002 but it probably was. Life moves fast in the wire and she gets buzzed by work. Its Bubbs with Weeks in hospital. Its a great way of showing us the relationship between junkie and cop. One of inevitable disappointment as junkie goes back to the needle. Bubbs has something for us - is he gonna tattle?


    The episode ends as it began. Murder on the streets. This time no witnesses or suspects. *Cough* sure. And who is this poor victim? The witness in D's case. He (D) appears shellshocked at this revelation and trundles off in a disconsolate manner. The credits roll..


    And there was episode 1. A journey through the city, the beginning of the Barksdale case and everything that ensues. My head hurts trying to remember each and every snippet of information but what an hour of television, that sets up everything for episode 2 in fantastic style. How will McNulty tackle working with Narcotics and under Daniels? Will D patch things up with String and earn his respect - how will he deal with an innocent life on his conscience? And what did Bubbs have for Kima?


    Until next time...
    Last edited by jim; 06-16-2019 at 03:10 AM.
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    Dinner at 80 mph lionelhutz123's Avatar
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    I've read before that creator David Simon's one regret of the pilot is how they used that callback device to remind the viewer who the murder victim was at the end of the episode (suggested by HBO). That's something you will never see again on this show, but many can argue it was completely necessary in this first episode, because as you have pointed out, there's a ton of characters to keep track of from the get-go.

    Nice write-up!

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    The Wire Episode 2 - The Detail
    Original Airdate: 9th June 2002



    Episode 2 starts exploring the fallout from the witness murder in the pilot episode. There were many questions left from episode 1 to be answered here, and many of them will be. I’m still on the lookout for several characters that will become vital in the episodes to come, and when and where they will first be introduced.


    Predictably, our maverick has a hunch that the witness was in fact murdered by Barksdales people, and Bunk is cynical. We are expected to side with Jimmy here, because we know exactly who D looked when he recognised that body, and D knows who he’s dealing with better than us.

    On from the witness murder and Daniels is setting about getting his crack team set up and ready to persue the target, one Avon Barksdale. One problem though - ok about fifty problems but firstly, their office is a shithole. An amusing moment when santangello picks up a phone ringing in their abandoned, desolate quarters and hangs it up, “It’s for McNulty” cue laughter from the gang. The team are dumbfounded when an unwitting addition, in the form of Prez (one of my favourite characters later on in the show) is introduced. I forgot how absolutely weird, and, un coplike he appears in the first couple of episodes. Daniels is understandably aggrieved that he has been left with the rejects and runts of the litter, and attempts to take the matter upstairs.

    What’s interesting here is the chain of command he follows to beef up his team. Instead of going straight to the Major or Burrell, he talks it over with his girlfriend Rhonda , who also happens to be Assistant State’s Attorney. After that he tracks down Lieutenant Cantrell, and after hard persuading adds his best man to his crack team, detective Sidner.
    What I love about this scene, looking back retrospectively is that we know Prez is Valchek’s brother in law (a piece of shit iirc), we get information we do not need yet, but it’s interesting to hear it now, so soon in the series arc. The creators had a very fully formed universe set out very early on in the shows history.

    The hush that befalls the crack team when McNulty finally arrives is quite good, not to mention McNulty’s realisation when Daniels has been left with shit. “You asked for these guys”. He knows that Ralls and Burrell have no faith in this operation and just want it to go away.

    McNulty still hasn’t learnt his lesson from last week and is still continuing his ill fated relationship with the Judge. You have to laugh and wait until Ralls gets wind of this and throws another expletive laden rant Jimmy’s way.

    The narcotics team are up in the terraces logging each and every member of Barksdale’s crew, with aid from local junkie Bubbs. Ok, so Bubb’s big plan from episode 1 was to...go around the terraces with red hats and stick them on active members? That’ll show ‘em! Yeah I don’t really see how helpful this was, you’d think the narcos would have files on most of these cats already, otherwise what the hell are they doing? Herc and Carv provide some comic relief as they loudly stumble around and act ignorant of the situation. Why didn’t Kima brief them on this before they headed up 20 floors with massive cameras? They should have worked it out but sheesh. Herc feels insecure about Kima’s supposed superiority over him and Carv, whether this is because of his fragile masculinity or maybe cuz he has a genuine gripe I don’t know. Carv is less interested in getting involved in these petty politics.

    Last time out D was getting it from everyone, and this time out it only gets worse. First, Bunk and Jimmy press on him about the witness killing, Brodie shoots his mouth off in quite unsympathetic fashion. “Do I know you” McNulty asks, oh you will. (his first scene with Jimmy, the first seeds of a blossoming...acquantaincy, are planted. Secondly, they decide to pull him in for questioning.
    Jimmy’s casual approach to dealing with the pit kids is both endearing and amusing, he doesn’t give a fuck about the drugs, he’s murder police!
    Not too long before Stringer arrives, looking mean in his big SUV. That damn white cop causing problems for him again…
    What’s very interesting about String is that he doesn’t really look or act like a gangster, and he has no familial links to Avon, so why and how did he become such a force in this gang? Soon hopefully all will be revealed.

    Back in homicide and bunk and Jimmy are about to start questioning D when Daniels comes in about to shoot him down for talking to the Judge again. McNulty is clever enough to use the Deputy’s poor choice of officers to stir resentment against him and remind Daniels that they’re on the same team. McNulty seems impressed by Kima’s case work and heads in to give D a grilling. What we see now is the longest scene of the episode, and of the entire show so far. Bunk and Jimmy have honed their skills when it comes to dealing with street dealers and show off their bullshit artistry here, lying about the victim, his family and getting D to write a letter to the victim’s family.

    Honestly, D is his own worst enemy here and makes several huge mistakes in showing signs of empathy and expressing sorrow at our witness’ death. Jimmy and Bunk knows D isn’t like the others, and seeing D tear up and start to write is genuinely sad. Our sympathies quickly shift over to D when they joke about their little scam afterwards with Kima. D’s ordeal isn’t over yet, his lawyer comes in, belittles him and smacks his head for speaking to homicide. Jimmy smiles, but I’m wincing.

    Later on, Daniels briefs his crack team on their roles and partnerships on the case, and us too. Lester and Prez will become an interesting partnership and the season progresses. McNulty gets very excited about the letter D wrote and brightly suggests next steps for the case, mentioning the famous “wire tap” that the series is named after. Daniels has other ideas though, knowing the deputy wants the case shut as quickly as possible. It won’t be easy to manage expectations with someone like Jimmy McNulty on the team with his big ideas.

    Eventually D, does get some downtime, meeting up with Avon and String (watch his terrified face when Idris Elba greets him at the lunch table) , but Avon has to provide a much needed pep talk after D’s terrible performance down at the station earlier. D knows Avon and co are behind the witness death, and almost steps way out of line when taking the matter to Avon here. “You don’t know, and you don’t want to know.'' You have to feel sorry for D here, his growing sense of morality will serve to make things very difficult you feel.

    Herc has been angry all day about Kima’s promotion under Daniels, and sets out to prove himself with a post beer raid on the terraces with Carv and Prez (oh dear). I think we know how well this will go, and if not then the juddery camera angles and close ups as they drive up to the tower gives you the impression that some drama is about to go down. Here we see exactly why the local population hates the cops so much “Take your pants down” orders Carv, and Prez, eager to impress, beats a child, first with his fist, then his pistol. I didn’t remember Prez being such a dick before, obviously with Valchek up in senior office he can get away with a lot, but what a dick move.
    The drama is not over here - not by a long shot, and soon debris rains from up in the towers down onto our mischievous threesome, the smashing objects growing in size each time. The slow dawning realisation that they are cornered and in real jeopardy is a picture, and soon gunshots fire into the windscreen. They get what they deserve, but the drama steps up elsewhere, as we see the headline for front page features the witness murder. Jimmy is in the shit AGAIN. Oh no. What mess will Daniels try to clear up first?
    We won’t worry about Daniels yet though, as that monster Ralls blows at Landsmann, the usually jovial detective’s look of fear is soon wiped away as he gleefully recites the mess Jimmy is in to another colleague.

    Daniels’ main concerns are with the riot the narcos and prez have incited last night. His anger is completely justified, it just gets harder and harder to him to manage this shitstorm. My respect for him slightly diminishes when he advises Prez to provide a false story about his beating. The moral corruption in the police is not below Daniels’ level it seems.
    My favourite revelation during the episode was when the Judge whom Jimmy confused in several times tells him that he did not break the story of the dead witness to the media. But that means - did Deputy Burrell do it? Why? It’s a question for another day, but Jim knows that everyone hears everything in Baltimore and once a story is out it is out. It’s a mad jumble and the politics of the game seem to get more and more confusing each week - it’s great!

    A mysterious figure approaches the sleeping pit kids in the dark of night, but it cuts away and we’re left wondering who this figure could be? The same time, McNulty drunkenly attempts to stop a car theft, and falls flat in the mud. Oh that maverick of ours!

    Things end on a sour note when the hospital calls him up and lets him now the boy Prez beat has lost sight in one eye. It’s a dark ending to the episode, but what a ride it’s been in episode 2. There are more questions for our next installment, namely who was that figure in the night? Will D patch things up with Avon and String, and how will he deal with the guilt? What is Ralls gonna do about McNulty’s insubordination? Why did Burrell leak the story to the media? And does Jimmy prefer Jamesons or Bushmills?
    Until Next Time….


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    The Wire Episode 3
    The Buys
    Original Airdate: 16 June 2002

    The terraces of West Baltimore are unforgiving, dangerous place, where the rules are not written by breaking them can be fatal. So it’s nice to see our third installment of the show starts with D asking why things are so tough for the local dope fiends. His experiences of our last adventure have clearly not knocked the idealism and naivety out of him, as he tries to reason with Brodie et al to lay off the customers and violence and keep the 5-0 away. It’s a great opening, and we see Bubbs is still exulting his blatant and ridiculous hat method. I just don’t see Brodie is a bright red hat Bubbs, learn your market my friend.





    The fallout from last outings *ahem* little incident at the towers is a grand jury date for Prez. "Necessary Evil" Burrell wryly beams to Daniels as Valcheck bribes his way out of trouble, providing extra backup for our crack team. Valcheck is such an openly greasy, disagreeable man that I can't help but respect him at this point. There doesn't seem to be any hypocrisy there, the man will do and say exactly what he has to, and is existence is something we'll all just have to learn to live with.




    Santangello crying to Ralls about working McNulty and the "Lezzer" - he is one of Ralls men alright, and he had to reel in sleek operator McNulty from completing any more maverick moves. It's nice to hear the thought processes echoing in Santangello's little mind, because before this point, he was the one on the crew we knew very little about. Now we know to keep an eye on him - anyone working against our hero must be treated with utmost suspicion!




    Talking of our motley crew, a most unsettling thing is beginning to happen - why they're actually doing some good PO-LICE work, or good case work at this point. Lester is going down to Avon's boxing club after following on a lead from Kima, and strikes gold with a huge poster. McNulty's managed to commandeer some rare 20th century surveillance equipment from his good friend in the FBI. But more importantly, the bonding sessions underground with our crack team are most enjoyable, considering the back stabbing, dog eat dog culture of the BPD, it's refreshing to see friendships that will last the rest of the series being born. Kima and Jimmy make a good team, and already Lester is proving his worth. It will be up to the rest of the team to catch up with them, or trail long behind.




    Last time out, the mystery man of the series was one Stringer Bell, but to any first time viewer in episode 3, prowling tiger Omar Little swiftly overtakes him, does a wheelie, and speeds off without looking. Was this our dark silhouette in episode 2? I'm not sure but I forgot just how incredibly cool he is. Omar bides his time, and collects evidence faster than our crack team, and does it without any FBI acquired equipment, or anything for that matter. Our friend Omar has skin in the game, it's obvious, but how and why?




    This installment of The Wire is without doubt the most satisfying so far, gone are the fast, tightly interspersed scenes where characters, locations and motives are raced our screens and before we have time to catch up another scene begins. We've got our feet under the table, and it seems our characters have time to settle down and ponder. Finally, we actually get to have look behind the scenes at this mysterious Barksdale operation. String has things set up like an accountancy firm, window blinds, desk lights, company ledgers, suit and tie. This man is so damn...refined. It's not surprising that String shares the pit kids contempt for the dope fiends, disclosing that business is better when the dope is shit. D's not entirely satisfied, but he's taken the matter as high as it can get, where can he go from here?




    "The King stay the King" is a brilliant little scene, finally D is earning Brodie's respect, that realization across his face when it occurs to him that chess has parallels with dope hustling is heartwarming. In the game of hustling, we know who the king is, the queen and all the pawns. But in the BPD, almost everyone is a pawn under the forces of Burrell and Ralls. Even Daniels is powerless to do anything about their apathetic attitude to getting Avon Barksdale. That gameboard looks quite differrent, but I think our new mystery man could makes things more interesting for both parties.....




    And just as I finished typing - here is now! His little gang of guerilla fighters now the drill, and take the stash comfortably, completing their stakeout much better than Kima and Jim earlier today, one minor - no - one CATASTROPHIC error - one of his minors accidentally breaks protocol and uses his first name. I'm just glad our boy D was out for food to avoid the gunfire. But there is a trail to lead the Barksdale boys to Omar, and another distraction for them while the crack team are on their ass. Episode 3 was starting to be kind to D, but no surprise this one is on him - thank fuck Brodie heard Omar's name.




    Say...it's been a while since our maverick cop has done anything...maverick, don't you suppose? *Jimmy McNulty knocks on Rhonda's door to discuss case*




    Ok, he's got a drinking problem and bemoans his ex wife's strangehold on visitation, but *Rhonda asks is that it, eyes lock* oh - here we goooo!




    Daniels will SHIT if he ever hears about this - which is weird because I count 45 minutes on this time out before he or Ralls barks at McNulty - a new record! When he does though, it's McNulty's office based subordination, rather than the bedroom variety. Daniels just about beats Omar for the coolest Wire cat so far, looking damn fierce in that bulletproof vest. As our team get ready for battle, Prez has to stay at his desk, like a schoolboy who can't come out to play. Nah sorry, no sympathy for you, Valchek's pet.




    Another glorious ending for this installment, Jimmy's FBI pal tail's his car and gives the lowdown on Lietenant Daniels. The verdict is he's "Dirty", and Borrell covered it up. It's no surprise that the department is corrupt, it's not something we don't know already but squeaky clean, chain of command, do it by the book Daniels? Things just get more and more fucked up in Baltimore, the question is, what will Jimmy do with this information. Being the maverick he is, I don't think a little blackmail later down the line for leverage is out of the question. He just needs n opportunity to use it, and I don't think Jim wants to wait to long to use it!




    Highlights




    I do love a real action to TV shot fade, and McNulty and Kima watching Bunk's performance with Ralls was a great little moment. "Shame on you Lad".





    Highlight of the episode - Polk holding a cigarette to wiped out Mahon's mouth after being beaten to the ground. Brilliant.

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    The Wire episode 4


    Old Cases


    Original Airdate : June 23 2002




    Trying desperately hard to think of an underlying theme at the heart of this fourth installment of the series and the first season, my mind focuses on that amazing cold open where Herc is trying to pull in a cabinet into the office, and the rest of our gang are clearly acting on the idea that the cabinet needs to be pulled out. In fact, to think of it, this is the perfect analogy for the series as a whole. The city of Baltimore works against each other to clean the streets and get the cities underfunded public services in order. Maybe a little on the nose, but its there and I honestly can't think of any other reason for this scene to exist, other than provide a good laugh and help introduce viewers into the episode without slamming another grisly murder at them or a Post-mortem like in episode 3.




    This episode is probably my favourite so far (not the first time I've said that) , in the way it continues the build the stories as well as fill in certain gaps and provide us with some longer, more cinematic scenes that give the series some richer, textured narrative.




    We see several instances of one on one scenes featuring between two characters, Body (I realize I've been mistakenly calling him Brody up until now) and D, Jimmy & Kima, Jimmy & Bubbs, Burrell & The Judge, Landsmann & Ralls, Herc and Body's mum - and my favourite, Jimmy & Bunk. We'll get onto the scenes later but firstly a look at the storyline in the towers and the pit. Body manages to stumble an escape outside of the juvenile detention center's medical wing and reunite with his homies. It's still very early in Body's narrative arc and at this stage, such an escape is the stuff of legend and a source of pride. D laughs it off and lays down a huge smackdown of reality, and regales him (and us) with a tale of revenge based murder, which happens to be the old case of the episode title. D managed to pull off a delicately executed killing, using patience and cunning. D doesn't want to talk about it, but feels this little story will give Body some humility.

    The case is somehow still open, with no real evidence found and the trail cold. The only sliver of hope is that a witness described the killer as a "D", which is of little consolation to Jimmy and Bunk who inherit the case from Kima.




    This installment branches out the history of Baltimore's underworld when Bubbs gives Jimmy and Kima a lesson about the Little family. Bubbs is a terribly convincing character at this point, his self deprecating nature and awkward feeling of self consciousness when in the presence of normal civilians is both amusing and sad. He really knows of no other world besides the Westside of Baltimore, and the scene at the soccer pitch where Jimmy meets his ex was the finest illustration. Bubbs has absolutely no ego and a mere whisper of self esteem. "I am personally ashamed to be your snitch" he quips as Kima proves her knowledge of Westside legend to be sub-par.




    A new story that saw its seeds planted last week was that of the Robin Hoodesque Omar and his band of merry thieves. I love the little zooms in onto their partner in crime every time they are intimate with each other. His discomfort is genuinely amusing to see, and I'm not sure, but could be his undoing in the end. Omar was such a unique character, probably the most popular in the show, a homosexual, shotgun toting, bandanna wearing badass. There was nothing like him before, and unless I'm mistaken, nothing since. His tenderness when dealing with a woman on the porch was brilliant to see, and leaves us in no doubt as to who to support between Avon's crew and his band of outlaws.




    Talking of Avon, last time out, I proposed that String was the real leader of the Barksdale crew, but it's Avon who is the guy placing the stakes on the heads of enemy hoodlums. Avon seems the angrier, bolder and more emotional front-man to String's discreet, cunning "advisor".


    Herc actually coming across as tactful and likable after the raid on Body's house, showing some remorse for their tactics and her situation. He seems confused that real people live behind those doors, and real lives are affected. Somehow, the real victims of Baltimore's drug wars are still alive.

    Talking of tactful, Landsman's deference of McNulty was brilliant, and makes me warm to him a bit more. The department has such an overbearingly macho and ribald atmosphere that the only acceptable way for Landsman to get Ralls on side was by introducing the story via his solo night in and a box of tissues. We're not supposed to like Ralls, that much is clear, but Landsman seems like he understands how to deal with the demands of keeping him happy, and getting the best out of Jimmy. It was actually nice to hear some praise for our maverick cop for once, as he's been bombarded with the bureaucratic oppression and rancour throughout the series so far.




    The Wire Tap seems inevitable at this stage (well, judging by the title of the series, I don't think I'm going out on a limb here) and Daniels is coolly keeping the pressure on Burrell instead of banging at his door making demands. For the time being though, our team are focusing their efforts on monitoring the pagers used by the Barksdale boys. Lester Freeman (a key player in the future seasons) is finally earning Jimmy's respect, his methodical approach and unassuming nature was, weirdly, something Daniel's also seemed to resent in episode 2 when he approached for reinforcements. Men like Lester don't win friends easy in the Baltimore Police Department, but in the end, we know that hell prove himself and we're seeing the first signs of that famous McNulty/Lester partnership. McNulty actually listens to Lester, and I was watching their bar scene it occurred to me that this was the longest I saw McNulty without hearing him. Quite incredible!




    But - for this time at least, only one true partnership exists. Only one partnership where two equals work together in perfect harmony, taking an equal role and letting each other go about their business to get the right results. Jimmy and Bunk's "Fuck" scene in the apartment of the lady D murdered is one that lives on in Wire folklore, and for some reason it must have never made an impression on me before because it felt new to me this time. They make it look so easy, barely talking and sharing the "fucks" equally, they make a huge breakthrough and recover the bullet and the shell. I Now, I don't who why the crime scene was never visited before and how this wasn't already discovered but the scene showed us a lot. Jimmy and Bunk have years of experience

    together, so much so that communication is performed in a series of brief glances, nods & exchanges of obscenity.




    We've been shown glimpses of Kima's home life earlier on, but in episode 4 there were several instances, including Jimmy's drunken visit. I can't quite work out why we keep being shown inside her home, other than to remind us that she is a lesbian, and yes, she shares her work problems with her spouse. Well no shit! Maybe it was more effective back in 2002 but I don't find it that interesting now - is work getting in the way of her personal life way back in season one? Maybe that's what we're supposed to see but I'm not sure if it really matters.




    Overall though, a tremendous 50 minute installment, and our wire tap gets closer!




    Golden Moments




    Kima and Jimmy walking through Downtown together - primarily because we get to see the city outside of the confines of the grimy towers and barricaded red bricks, as well as countless interiors.




    Polk's aborted attempt at taking a fall down the stairs - amazing! Stuff like that really lifts the show.




    "Thirteen years"?


    "And four months". It's all in the detail for Lester!

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    The Wire Episode 5
    The Pager
    Original Airdate: 30th June 2002




    I've been loving the ride so far, this re-watch has been an interesting trip down memory lane, but mostly what struck me is seeing things for the first time, everything is different upon further inspection. So far I've been reacquainting myself with the characters, like meeting old friends and seeing as them as different people as I remember them being when I last left them. When people praise The Wire, they praise David Simon's world creating and the down to earth level of dialogue and expertly woven storylines that don't hold your hand along the way, but are always looking for you to catch up, and just when you get there - WHHHOOOSSSHHH it's off again and where you thought we were heading, we ain't!




    In Episode 3 we saw the first appearance of screen legend, Omar Little. Episode 4 was the first real forray into his arc. This installment branches things out a bit more - fuck - a LOAD more. Is there a more enduring image of Omar than his chirpy approach to the dealing spot, as he whistles his signature tune (more on that later) carefree and breezy, dealers scattering, leaving their hard earned corners as the flee for their life? Its cool as fuck, honestly can you think of a better Anti Hero of all time? Although, come to think of it, he strikes me more as an Anti Villain, his intentions are good, but for bad reasons? Maybe I haven't fully thought this through, nonetheless, every scene with him on screen is a treat, and when he AND McNulty are on screen at the very same time during the finale of the episode - pure magic!




    Watching the clashing styles of leadership down in the pit between Body and D is great fun - D is probably the closest thing to a good person down in that pit at the moment, the look of affection in that kid's eyes before Body launches the bottle is genuinely touching. String's visit opens up the main story for our boys this time out, as he believes a rat exists - and the one way to flush it out is to see who ain't sweating when payday is cancelled. It's a brilliant tactic and one I really can't wait to see executed, as I genuinely don't remember who the rat was after all these years.




    "Spy shit - very cool". Prez has been the ultimate deadwood in the team, and it really is about time he makes himself useful. Thankfully, our writers agree and give him a huge victory when he (quite ingeniously) stumbles upon the corner kids' coding system. I'm really happy for him as he soaks up the love from Jimmy and Kima, but have to remind myself this was the piece for shit that brutally assaulted a defenseless kid in episode 3 and left him blind in one eye. Its amazing that the show has you rooting for a guy like Prez, someone who will abuse power and gets by in life very well without necessarily having the skills to do it. It's intentional, I feel that we're supposed to feel this moral quandary is a comment on the policing system the world over, some violence is easier to forget because it's institutional and justified by a gold badge. But I have to go easy on Prez because I feel he doesn't know his place, he's been moved around from department to department, each move a desperate attempt to find his skill, find his special talent. Maybe this wire team will be where he finds it after all...




    Herc and Carv are still guileless as usual this week. Their good cop bad cop routine with Body is fucking gold. "You remind me of me" Carv says, offering a hand of friendship to our wise young hustler. As if that would ever work - honestly I do not remember them being this stupid last time I went through this series. I did enjoy their pool scene where they finally bond with Body. It's difficult to not respect the way he deals with his beating and is still brave as ever, waging against Carv, pool cue in hand.




    One thing that really offers a huge insight into D is his insecurity in the restaurant. "Do they know what I'm about"? He worries. It's this insecurity that sets D apart from other hustlers like Body and Poo - even Avon. He wants respect on the pit and on the corners like anyone else, but also from the buttoned up, legitimate members of white collar society. It's difficult not to see this, and further empathize with him. He isn't totally comfortable with his life choices, or maybe they weren't his? Their seems to be a belief that he could do better, make something of himself and be seen for someone who isn't another stereotypical corner kid. But he still wants to prove himself to String and Avon. This time out, Avon instructs "Stink'em" to go and take a corner in disputed territory, in a brave move to expand to new horizons. D's insecurity strikes again, hurt at not being chosen. Personally, I believe he wasn't picked because he was judged as not being expendable, but D wants that corner, in a case of Michael Corleone syndrome, he doesn't want to be smart and clean cut younger relation to Avon's wise old hand. This side of his insecurity could make life very difficult for him later on down the line.




    What I enjoyed seeing this time out in "The Pager" was Avon's more human side. "He scares you don't he? He scares me" he admits to D in the hospital. The face of a once powerful man, lying in bed, weak, powerless, alone. Its something Avon doesn't ever want to become, is it the body in the bed that scares him, or is it the idea of facing that very same fate? I believe we're supposed to think the latter.




    McNulty has two weeks (two weeks!) to wrap up the Barksdale detail with Narcos and then he's back on night work in Homicide with Jay. Jimmy seems annoyed that he won't be allowed to do some real policework - this Barksdale thing is something he can really get stuck into, but thats of no interest for Landsman and Ralls. Luckily the "Old Case" from last week still lies tantalizingly open for him. As much as I'm enjoying Bunk and Jimmy team up here, I don't want them to find the evidence to convict D. Anyway Deadra's friend has information about D and discloses the business premises of the Barksdale operation (Orlando's It seems insane to me that at this point nobody in the Baltimore Police Department knew about Orlando's.






    One storyline branch I have less time for is Bubbs and his stricken junkie pal Jonny Weeks. It's evident that Bubbs feels responsible for how things have ended up for poor Jonny, not just the attack in the pits following their failed scam, but his addiction. I never really felt the show benefited from showing the even grimier, more depressing side of the drug trade. It gets hard to watch as the series goes on, but here it still feels fresh. "It's all part of the game - YOU taught me that" is a great line that shows the discomfort Weeks has when finding out his pal is informing. It's an understandable difficulty for him, but he seems to forget it quickly.






    Talking of "The Game", Omar cites the unwritten rules to Jimmy as they face off in the cemetery. Omar, like Jonny, doesn't believe in snitching. Bubbs of course, had his mind changed when Jonny was beaten half to death in the pits, watching someone he loved suffer like that was too much for him to take. Bubbs felt powerless, and the only way to get that power back was the seek out his friend Kima, and share what a life on the streets has taught him. It strikes me as interesting that Omar made reference to Bubbs knowing Bird, and thereby knowing Bubbs is an informant. How a man like Bubbs survives with his status being known so widely on the street is interesting. The final 5 minutes of Episode 5 are probably the most well crafted, beautiful done 5 minutes in the whole show so far (Yes, even better than the "Fuck" scene with Bunk and Jim. When the two pit boys notice Omar's associate at the arcade, they tip off D, which in turn sets off a complex line of pager connections, all tracked on computers back at our crack team's hideout. It's brilliant because the tension builds without any shouting, any confrontation with the target, or any visible sign of anger or distress. The word is out, and it spreads fast, eventually making its way up all the way to String and co. String pulls up to the arcade with Weebey himself - no underlings are trusted, and lo and behold - "it's done". D knows what that means, and what it means for him. His hesitancy as he places the phone back on the receiver is telling. He's played a part in a murder, or so we're led to believe, as we haven't actually seen anything at all, which ranks up that tension for next time out. All in all, it's a brilliant finale to episode 5, and as we make our way further through this season, and more bodies fall, everything gets heavier for our man down in the pit.




    Until next time..






    Weird Bits -






    "Quite a message they're sending", the judge remarks as he inspects our crack team's dingy working quarters. Yeah uhh- maybe tell Borrell and co to bump our team up a bit, after all you are kinda responsible for this? I dunno, maybe I misread it.




    Golden Moments-




    Polk still rumbling around the office, bottle in hand, acting nonchalant as fuck. I have no idea why he's hanging around and what he's actually doing - but I find it hilarious.


    "I know how serious you are about climbing that career ladder" Lester warns Daniels, with an air of judgement. Daniels listens.




    Minor Grievance




    How the hell do Police Detectives and Narcotics officers get away with sitting on West Baltimore streets without being spotted? Jimmy and Kima watch Omar's van undisturbed, and tail it without being spotted. I have trouble buying this, and it isn't the first time. Herc and co were also plotted up in a previous episode making notes and talking to Bubbs, and Lester spied on D and watched them using the pagers.


    How do they get away with it? Hell, even later in Episode 5 D stumbles outside Orlando's, plays with his pager right in front of 3 Police Detectives, and then goes about his business.

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    The Wire Episode 6
    The Wire
    Original Airdate: 7th July 2002




    We've reached a groundbreaking Milestone in the events of the critically acclaimed tv series, The Wire, its episode 6, the episode is actually named after the eagerly awaited wire, of which our crack team has fort tooth over nail to get installed. The finale to episode 5 was probably my favourite so far, an ending that had me running for the next disc in my boxset with that eagerness and glee that I had not experienced watching a tv show for some time. Its weird really, that rewatching a show you've seen before can make you feel like you're experiencing that journey all over again, but for the first time. That feeling of discovery is like walking a long corridor, with a series of doors peeking open along each side, the wonder of what lies behind each one keeping you guessing, what is coming up next, and how and when?




    What great tv shows like The Wire do so well, (and I can think of few more, at least not many that were doing it long ago as this show) is herald a new hour long chapter of the series with a minor character going about their daily routine, and in doing so giving us such an insight into their life and motivations. This time out, young Barksdale dealer-in-training, Wallace (that kid that Body threw a bottle at) is waking up who I assume are his younger brothers (and fellow dealer, Poot) and getting them ready for the day's enterprises, whether it be school, or a day out on the pit.




    Wallace has, at least until now, been viewed as the baby of D'Angelo's little posse, a daydreamer more interested in playing with toys that sitting down and learning something from our aforementioned street soldier, or guarding the alleys with more alertness like his older ally Body. Here we see the different side, the stronger, assertive, paternal side. But there is another reason why we're being shown this glimpse into the Wallace household, it's the show the disheveled living conditions out in the Westside, in what appears to be a foreclosed, or abandoned house? It strikes you as sad, and perhaps frightening too that Wallace is the closest thing to a patriarch with household has, with no paternal presence in those conditions life would be hella tough. Of course events this week will revolve around the brutal, and I mean brutal slaying of Omar's partner in crime and love, Brandon.




    The killing of Brandon, and the grizzly nature in which it was done, is turning Wallace inside out. D urges him to let it go, he clearly feels the same and doesn't want to hear about it. It's great that D has a likeminded soul with him on the pit, instead of the empty shells and ruthless players he's accustomed to. We can only hope their more tame, and forgiving inclinations will rub off on those around them - but we can dream!




    "And all the pieces matter", the tagline of the episode, and indelible words uttered by office professor Lester Freeman. Well he is Mr 11 years - and 4 months. As I mentioned earlier, our guys have finally got their wire tap installed, but they can only listen to calls which relate to illegal activity, which means there is gonna be a LOT of sitting, waiting around, the sort of activity Lester seems to relish.




    Our main man McNulty is in the middle of a violent tug of war between Daniels and Ralls, the stress of the job, and his hectic private life would be enough to send most of us over the edge. Daniels has been on of my favorites so far, he's carefully maneuvered his team into a workable position, and this week he takes the fight to Ralls as he convinces Burrell to delay the charges. But mostly, it's the speech he delivers to Polk that earned my respect this time out. He gives out the inspiring teacher seeing the potential in the F student speech, insisting he does not give up on anyone, and with that, Polk is gone, and I assume that is the last of him as he takes himself to rehab. That attitude is what seals it when he fights Ralls later on, and that look of admiration in Jimmy's eyes when Daniels gives him the good news was a great moment. Jimmy can finally stop acting disenfranchised by the whole damn Department and get on with delivering some fine PO-LICE work.




    In this installment I notice the human cost of Baltimore's drug trade more obviously that last week, not just the murder of Brandon but in the more subtle notes. Take Body's mother in court, looking proudly upon her son as his lawyer reels off the good virtues of her boy, amidst his acceptance onto some college course. Does she know what "Preston" is really about? Does she know his involvement with Stringer Bell and his gang of savage comrades? The look in her eye tells me no, and that is heartbreaking. Perhaps more damaging in the short term is Johnny Weeks appearance at Bubb's fruit and veg stand. It seems our little rat is living a good clean life, he seems happy, full of pep and proud of an honest days work. It doesn't take much persuading to get him back out on the scam, and it goes exceedingly well. Well, until Johnny gets arrested after they both score some more dope. These characters seem linked in a downward spiral, out of control, the gravity of the hazardous cycle their locked into pulling them back as soon as they threaten to break free.




    The Omar story has only just begun, but this is the episode where it really got going. The loss of Brandon is his sole motivation throughout the series, the candle that never goes out. It's a chilling portrait of loss, not just his scream as it echoed down the hospital wing, audible to those two McNulty boys (they will need therapy in recent years). But it's the rage, this man is shell, he has nothing to lose, and no-one to protect. He will do everything to wreak his vengeance, and its to his credit that he turned up at McNulty's car (kids in the back - WTF? you maverick you Jimmy!) instead of blowing down the doors of Orlando's with a shottie. But there will still be time for that, as Jimmy alludes to: "Whatever you're gonna do". It's frightening that they don't try to talk Omar out of whatever it is he will end up doing, but that's what I love about this team. They know THE GAME, they know how it's played, and they aren't gonna argue with it. The streets have rules, and if Bird, Wee-Bey and whoever else have floundered, then justice needs to be served. And that's the cold hard world David Simon wanted to portray in this show, and that's what we're seeing, now more-so in episode 6. This is the quintessential hour of the show, it doesn't seem to be a coincidence it's simply named after the series, as this is when the game really begins. Runners - take your mark!


    Random Thoughts


    It says a lot about a guy that they would allow so much flagrant, ardent ass-kissing to be bestowed upon themselves. Ralls is a dirty little swine.


    "When it comes to pussy, nothing free" D says, his girlfriend seems visibly offended as soon as those words leave his lips. Oh dear D, so wise, yet so naive and untactful.
    "The Game" - hell, even D knows the laws of that "Game" we hear so much about.


    D dealing with things tactfully - how he handled those dealers who were stealing produce. Ok it could backfire, and they could take out their frustration on him later on, or worse yet, Avon could find out that D let them off relatively easily. But right now, it seems an admirable decision.


    As if Stringer Bell could be more of an unnerving and Machiavellian (I'm using a synonym generator for these reviews) villain, his call to D that Body is coming home shortly before, yes, Body is acquitted with the help of his duplicitous (it's great) little lawyer is a foreboding signal of his power and influence over the city. I' not sure if we're supposed to believe that the call was made before the actual trial or not, but it still seems sinister as we only hear Stringer in these opening scenes, without seeing him. The sign of a true mastermind!


    Herc and Carv, yet again, being absolute idiots, this time attacking Body, dismayed over his escape from justice. At this point, I feel for Body. Herc and Carv seem to relish their authority over him a bit too much. I know they like bullying (Cast your mind to the end of episode 3) but I had to laugh at their astonishment when Body's acquittal is made evident.


    Losing Polk was a hard pill to swallow - but we'll always have the almost stairwell trip. We'll remember a legend.


    That little musical intro when String and Avon march onto the pit. I'll forgive the quite hideously dated garb adorned by Avon in this scene, they still look FUCKING COOL.


    It's the little details - the sight of waking feet going past our gang's basement office window, I'm not sure but I believe its the first episode we've seen this? Either way I like the impression it gives off life going on undisturbed upstairs, a world where people want things done, so get them done, free of roadblocking, power struggles and bureaucracy of the Baltimore PD. People of the ground level, walking on a different plane.

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    :gatorpee: jim's Avatar
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    ok to anyone still reading these (?) I finally got around to episode 7

    The Wire Episode 7
    One Arrest
    Original Airdate: 21st July 2002


    Coming off the back of last week's episode, in which Daniels beat Ralls and delayed the arrests, this week feels like our team can finally make some goddamn progress in getting the Barksdale crew to justice. Omar has been pushed by the Barksdales into the arms of the ever grateful BPD informant team (along with our beloved transient, Bubbs) and Avon is riddled with paranoia and confusion as he suspects a rat whom doesn't exist. Like I said, our team are on a roll right now, and this episodes cold opening suggests more of the same is on the way, humps Prez and Lester have clearly been making progress on breaking the dope runners codes and slang. "We're building a case here" Lester advised to Prez last week, and those words were clearly heeded. They are building something, and crossword puzzle enthusiast Prez is clearly suited to laying back in the office, away from street duty where he can do harm.

    This winning streak continues when they pull in a drug running kid and get Stinkum recorded on the wire tap moaning about the 5-0 to String. The trapped totally worked, and things seem to be going from strength to strength. Until that is, when Prez realises that kid they brought in is the kid he assaulted brutally at the end of episode 3. It seems so wild to me that the mild mannered crossword fan was the same person who pistol whipped a 14 year old child.

    Now, I think we've firmly established Ralls is an asshole. He has no redeeming features - as a character I love him - but as a person, what a gruesome prick. He's even made me feel sorry for that weasel Santangello. "It's not my job to fuck another cop", he whines to the Sgt. He gets lumbered with some dead cases, and class clown Landsmann (who has been a star of the series so far) gives him a tip off to the gypsie woman "Madam Laroux". What follows is an enjoyable little subplot, where our unlucky friend Sanny totally channels his inner Paulie Walnuts as he mentally succumbs to the strange and unnatural spirit world. It somehow seems to work for him, hell - even I started to fall for that "Saint Angelo" bullshit she was spinning, an amazing performance from the Madam, great thinking on her feet. Somehow, Jimmy and Bunk hand Sanny a massive lifeline in establishing the guilty party in his case, and Ralls little weasel learns who the good guys are. He may be suspicious of a maverick like Det. McNulty, but he has to respect him ahead of a man like Ralls who seems to live life without a code.

    Jimmy's tense meeting with the Judge (accompanied with Ronda) was icy cold. Jimmy's "friend" the judge caused Jimmy some real pain and humiliation when he said Ronda was smarter than him. As Landsmann said, Jimmy thinks he's the smartest man in the room, and he won't forget those words anytime soon. But at last - AT LAST the judge actually suggests he can get in Ralls ear and tell him to ease up on him. "You got a friend here" the judge reminds Jim. Yeah, some friend. I love that line from Jimmy where he says he worries more about the people who claim to love him than those that don't. He'd be unwise to trust that Judge again. Our man McNulty has never been good at politics, but out working a case with his big friend Bunk, that's his natural calling. He actually got some old lady to talk to them about a murder - this strikes me as a really dangerous thing for her to do, hopefully nothing happens to her.

    Daniels trying to play the kind word in the right ear game at the party was a joy to watch, I'm not totally sure exactly what I was supposed to be seeing when he was in the kitchen talking sports to Damian Price. Burrell and him certainly seemed to be on better terms than last time we saw them together as Daniels pleaded to Borrell for understanding in his office. The political side of The Wire is something I had trouble getting into and understanding until we see a certain Mayoral battle in season 4. For the time being, I'm not going to be writing about it much because a whole lot of it is going over my head!

    My favourite storyline strand at the moment is out on the pit, and up in Orlando's bar following the travails of the Barksdale boys as they come to terms with defeat after defeat, whether at the hands of Omar, the BPD or the apparent rat. It seemed strange to me that such an intelligent man such as String Bell hasn't worked out the wire tap situation yet, him and the rest of the boys seem sure its a simple case of a rat. D has to be strong, and defend his boys - he doesn't want to play errand boy to his uncle and String all his life. D's got a contact at Orlando's who knows some people up in DC who are offering some really good shit. This could be it for D - he could pull off a move with this guy and really put his name up in lights and move up the ranking! I know how things go with him in the end, but right now I can't help but root for him and hope this deal works out. When String and Weebey meet up with our boys on the pit - it slowly dawns on him that its the phones - just when I was doubting this guy he actually nails it! I'm a bit disappointed in a way as I wanted our team to continue their winning form, but I remember how The Wire goes, and I know why it lasted for another 4 seasons.

    Then again, this winning streak isn't quite over as Bird is pulled into interrogation. Ok, he doesn't give them anything but what a brilliant scene it is with him and Kima. He really is the biggest piece of shit we've seen so far in the series, making a series of vile and graphics threats, meanwhile he's looking at a long long sentence - or even death?! This scene is only bettered by Omar and Bunk reminiscing on old times - it's exciting to see Omar bond so well with cops and sharing the tagline that I'll talk about shortly. You can't help but love Omar, and respect and fear him in equal measure, he's got some mild revenge his foes, but you know he feels a long way off from exacting what he really wants to do just yet.

    We learn from Poot that Wallace has been holed up in his room for days since feeling the weight of a dead body on his conscience. It's another reminded of the lives that are still being ruined as life in Baltimore goes on as per normal, on the streets its the dead who are the lucky ones sometimes. It's a credit to the huge and talented array of great characters and cast members that the person who was the focus of a lot of episode 6 hardly appears this time out and doesn't even have a speaking role. In fact if anything I did feel Wallace's appearance seemed to be a bit of a shoehorn job, I took Poot's word for it but I guess the "shock value" of seeing a thirteen year old kid smoking dope in some ugly, bare room by himself to forget past traumas and his building guilt was worth it. A reminder that no-one really has a child's life in the pit, not forgetting the bottle he took to the head courtesy of Body when he was playing with his toy. I hope he comes back better soon, and learns to distance himself from some of the grim realities of Baltimore life the same way D has seemed to. D still takes me as an older version of Wallace. Sensitive, mature, but ultimately a bit more cynical and hard bitten.

    Stink'em and co riding in a big ass SUV, holding on to thousands of dollars worth of dope, and not noticing the two cop cars sitting out waiting for them? Man Avon and String really have their work cut out with these idiots almost inviting arrests.

    The episode tagline is probably the most telling, and all encompassing of all the season so far. "Every man must have a code". What I like most about it is the selective interpretation of the what a "code" is. In Baltimore, you can play the game by your rules, or by the rules that are decided by the bigger players, the Avon Barksdales, the Borrells, etc. But you have to abide by a code, whether you do good or whether you do bad you must have a code and you must adhere to it. There are times when you can break the rules, as long as you follow the code. It's that dual cognizance between Omar and Bunk that I like the most, whether you live your life behind a badge or a shotgun, it doesn't matter. Don't fuck with those that do not deserve to be fucked with or you will become unstuck.

    Extra Musings

    Prez is a rolling stones fan - I never took him as a rockist. @Egg

    The look in Week's eyes when Kima says he can walk if he pleads guilty to drug court was one of intense relief and excitement. Leo Fitzpatrick is a brilliant actor.




    I'm trying to work out why Bubbs went up and got a 1 day keychain and hug - was it about the desire to live thing? Or does he want someone to applaud for him? I'm not sure but it seems heartbreaking as he clutches the keychain tightly in his hands with a pained look in his face.

    Daniels' talking to the kid about "The Game". It's not going away any time soon, everyone knows the game, and everyone knows the rules.

    Jimmy and Bunk together at the bar. Jimmy and Bunk together full stop. Drunk Jimmy: "Take it allll off". No-one can act drunk better than Dominic West. In fact I can't say for sure if it is acting. Oh hold on a minute - Lester's just beaten him to it. Amazing stuff on the street corner. I see Dom is taking notes right there.


    Waylon at the addict meeting - will we see him again? I don't remember, but I hope so!

    Daniels ripping up Bird's picture. Ice cold - cool as fuck. Let's see some rough justice!

    "I'm Batman" - "Batmans's white"! "And Robin's black"? Herc and Carv seeing the big picture as usual.

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    The Wire Episode 8
    Lessons
    Original Airdate: 28/07/2002

    Back by popular demand - ok no-one demanded it, here is episode 8, for all you bots out there that love checking this thread.

    Well I've seen some amazing things since starting this season 1 rewatch, none more exciting than the cold open for this weeks installment! So far we have learnt very little about Jimmy McNulty's two boys, they seem your average 8 and 10 year olds, sporting and fans of nintendo handhold consoles (I assume it was a Gameboy Advance they were playing in the hospital as their dad showed Brandon's body to Omar in hospital) - but this time out we learn they are budding little detectives, as they tail Stringer Bell through the market. I can't quite decide for sure what I think of Jimmy's fathering techniques here, one the one hand it is extremely dangerous and irresponsible to set your two children to follow one of, if not THE most dangerous man in Baltimore, on the other - well, no, that's pretty much it. But the other way to look at it is Jimmy is such a loving, nurturing father that he has taught his two kids how to tail a target, and keep their wits about them in high pressure situations. It's a great way for the kids to play, and bond with their father. It's surprising that even after Jimmy's miscalculated judgement in allowing them to come in close contact with a grieving murderer (the aforementioned hospital scene included) that this scene comes across as even more ludicrous, but in a good way. At least in this instance the kids don't really know who this man they're following is, and have no exposure to the sordid lifestyle that he leads. To them, it's a fun, innocent little game, although the older kid seems to know the truth deep down, as he intuitively takes down the licence plate of the car String enters. The scene does so much in such a short amount of time, reminding the viewer too that this is the real world of Baltimore, and scary men like String exist in banal surroundings as well as bloody soaked Westside alleys and upstairs offices of strip clubs. This sets up an episode which gives us the most immersive Baltimore viewing experience so far. Within this hour we see D, Stink'em and Weebey go out for a celebratory meal and house party, Daniels come into contact with his kitchen buddy at the party, and the interior of "Mister Omar's" former home.


    It's an explorative episode too because we spend so much time in the heads of fringe characters as well as Jimmy or Daniels. In fact its what makes The Wire so great, we spend time with Weebey, Wallace, Herc, Poot and various other characters, while no other big players are on the screen at the same time. The writers of the show had faith that if they showed us minor characters whom we don't have the full picture on, we will learn to catch up and follow their thoughts and feelings in time. The episode title 'Lessons' could well point at several themes throughout this installment. It may be a reach, but it's fairly obvious that several characters learn lessons inside the episode's runtime. The biggest lesson is without doubt the one D learns regarding Orlando's connect in New Orleans, and how not to mix business with homelife. It's quite telling that even Weebey and co seem very clearly concerned by D's plans with Orlando, they know not to shit where you eat, D is still learning the family trade and seems to be surprisingly innocent and naive for a man who has done time for murder and runs the pit so cleanly and efficiently. Orlando learns this lesson too, but the methods are more severe and will most probably cause a rift in the friendship he shares with D'Angelo, judging by the glare he fired D's way at the house party. The house party provides us with another stark image of the brutal, cold nature of this lifestyle that the Barksdale boys inhibit. An overdosed woman, lying limply, naked on the couch. It's D's look of astonishment and fear, as he backs out and confronts a nonplussed Weebey that show us that only one person in that house has any humanity whatsoever. These men and cold, calculating, and heartless. For all D's lecturing to Wallace in episode 6, he still needs to wake up and smell the coffee. He will end up in a very bad place if he doesn't get out soon. If he turns into another savage killer like Weebey or Bird, that would be an almost worst fate altogether. Not an episode can pass without my heart breaking for this guy, the ultimate victim in this mess so far, even more than Wallace or Brandon. He is high enough to see the destruction for what it is, the clearest lens to see what the Barksdale crew do, the destruction they leave behind. Unlike Wallace, he can't retire to his bedroom like a sulky teen, he has to work for his uncle, he has to hold the family name, that's something you can't run away from.




    Wallace, like Orlando, String, & D, is teaching little lessons to his fellow younglings in their abandoned terrace that the group are using as a makeshift home. But it's still the lesson from episode 6, where Brandon's bloodied and tortured corpse lay stricken in the middle of the pit for the whole neighborhood to see, that is still ruminating in Wallace's mind. Right now he doesn't seem to give a damn about anything, he still wants to hide away and pretend that it ain't real. Daniels too, takes a crash course in the murky world of upstairs politics in the Baltimore City Council. The guy he met in the kitchen at the party in episode 7 who drives for one of the politicians. He's caught with $20k of dirty money on his person, and it looks like our crack team have caught a fish that they'll have to throw back in the lake. "Civil Forfeiture". Borrell seems incensed. "Give it back", he orders, it's almost a snarl. And now he wants to shut down the whole wire tap? "You shit all over yourself, me, and this whole department". It's quite amazing really, that Daniels of all people needed to learn this lesson. Politically, he still seems naive, despite his cool and wise demeanor. It's certainly an intriguing storyline because I can't recall how exactly this driver (for Clay Davis) gets on for the rest of the season, but it's yet another lesson for ourselves, the viewers, about what sort of chaotic fugazi Baltimore is, was, and still may be.




    My favourite lesson of the week, is without doubt the ultimate "line of command" in action at the city courthouse, where Jimmy & Kima break the bad news to the Judge. In a frank 30 second phone call with Borrell, our powerful ally to the cause lays down the law (quite literally) , dropping an accusation of contempt of court, then concludes his business with a frightening wish of the best to "Arlene and the kids". "Who's your daddy now"? Jimmy seems uneasy, he has really fucked things up now. He does not need Borrell as an enemy, and boy howdy was that ever a lesson to Jimmy and Kima, and for us. Sometimes, good things happen. But should they happen - like that? "This time the Judge" Kima affirms to Daniels. Fucking excellent scene, the reactions the characters display the weight of the situation. Something we the viewers may not entirely comprehend now, but you know that the shit is gonna hit soon enough. The Wire tap lives! But...for twenty days...




    Mr McNulty himself plays the spy game on his old target at the market, Stringer Bell. He follows him to Baltimore Community College, "Introduction to Macroeconomics" is the course, where it appears Mr Bell is head pupil. Jimmy tries to stifle a smug smile, and it's from that where we travel back to Cop College where Herc and Carv navigate their way through a written test. Is their any hope for these boys? Longtime viewers will know, but at this stage they really do appear to be lost causes. Herc in particular seems like a hormonal adolescent boy, with a badge and a gun. If he passes this test then it ain't right!


    Just when I was beginning to think the title of the episode was a bit on the nose, here comes Stink & Weebey, tooled up and ready for action, when a cleverly hidden Omar calls out to Bey before blowing his friend away. BANG. And just like that, a character that we were beginning to learn so much about is dead, right before our eyes. Our beloved anti hero whistles his iconic tune, and Bey writhes in agony and fear behind the car, like a fly caught in a trap. I believe the tune Omar whistles is "A hunting we will go", a hunting song, quite literally - and you can't argue it's not absolutely perfect for the purpose. Haunting, sinister, slow, playful. Christ the writers knew what they were doing when they created Omar Little. "You come at the king - you better not miss", Omar warns a shit scared Bey. The spider lets the fly off with a warning. Surely the sign that you are dealing with one fucked up muthafucker. He plays games, and we as an audience love him for it. Business savvy String knows this has gotten too personal. The conditions for revenge are not right, they need to back off and play the waiting game. Fiery and emotional Avon doesn't like it, but credit to him for asking String how he should play it. He values his opinion, even if he doesn't share it.




    While Omar protests his innocence to the gang, we (and they) have to admire is brevity and straight talking nature. "It's either play, or get played". There's a real sincerity and earnestness in the way Omar communicates, even to cops. You know where you stand with Omar, he lives his life off the grid, on his own morals, his own code. But he understands the way of the world, and he genuinely seems obliging in the way he deals with Jimmy and co. I'd feel a bit weird coining (or reusing) the term 'Street Professor", maybe that's Stringer anyway. 'Street Philosopher' seems about right. And while everybody else is learning lessons, Omar is dishing them out to all and sundry. He seems to have the game wrapped up, everybody who comes into contact with him but a simple pawn.




    Getting back to D, I can't help but find his lying about the whereabouts of the O D'd woman to his girlfriend, and then the moaning about his way of life and then admonishing "cutting people up" and shit and think WTF are you saying? If his girlfriend could put 2 and 2 together here, she'd know D knows something. But it's good to see D actually coming to terms with the fact that this life isn't for him, but has he come to this conclusion too late? Stink is already dead, that's two bodies on his conscience in 24 hours.




    Waiting for a dark conclusion, the screen zooms in on Orlando's club at closing time. But who's watching? Is it the big spider? Is it Jimmy? Of course it's the spider - he's hunting his prey again, not so inconspicuously. (Surely Orlando can see the smoke billowing from behind the street light) But what a menacing ending to probably (I keep saying this) the finest episode yet. There is so much happening here, and so much yet to explore. When I started this rewatch I didn't remember a great deal about Season 1 but it's every bit as good as anything we're yet to see.




    In this city, you never stop learning, sometimes it's the same lesson, time and time again.




    Golden Moments




    Weebey's face eating the hot food - its great. Even killers have gentle palettes.


    Bunk's pink shirt and his "Jesus...family McNulty" line were great moments. He is so right.


    Drunk Bunk. Cheating Bunk. Trouser burning Bunk. It's all good. "You're no good for people", he manages to stammer, lying drunk in bed. Man, I guess even drunk Bunk speaks a whole lot of sense.


    Poot's bravado as D makes him kingpin of the pit while he's out with the guys. "Look at me" he marvels, stood atop the dirty couch. The true winner's podium in Baltimore.


    Lester and Kima sharing some onscreen time together, really nice to see the two more competent members of the crack team bonding.

  13. #10
    Perfectly cromulent korusan's Avatar
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    The Wire is the single greatest television series ever made and I'm glad you're getting into it. Season 2 and 4 are my personal favourites.
    please watch my duck cartoon:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFA9fBhIeR8



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