The Wire: Refugees
Another strong episode, one that balances out the intensity of last week's ending. City hall and police bureaucracy wins, busting up the major case unit, shutting down the wiretaps on Marlo's crew. Now Kima and Lester both land in Homicide, in the same office the McNulty was in when he started all this four years ago. All that work down the drain, but that's the game.
Man, does Bunk (Wendell Pierce) miss McNulty. Seems Bunk's the only one who's not obsessed with his job, and he longs for the old days of drinking and whoring all night with his old partner. McNutly (Dominic West) looks so damn happy still. Maybe that's the only way for him to be happy -- stay away from the politics, and the desire to do good -- or even to make good.
The brass has a brilliant idea (that's bound to backfire) to make sure the investigation of the murdered witness doesn't go forward before the election to further embarrass the incumbent: put that female detective that just came over from major cases, but is still inexperienced in homicide, on the case. Evidently Burrell hasn't been paying enough attention the past three seasons, as I'm sure Kima will surprise him. Deputy Police Commissioner Rawls delivers the news to the homicide unit's commander, acts sympathetic (which he may be, in part) then smirks as he walks off. Rawls enjoys giving someone the shaft more than just about anything.
At Tillman Middle Scool, Prez tries to talk to the kids about the violent attack in the classroom last week, but the kids have found out that he used to be "a police" and that is what they really want to hear about. He doesn't yet know how to connect, and keeps struggling on, trying to make his preconceived notions of teaching work not matter what. He hasn't developed the "soft eyes" that a fellow teacher told him he needed last week, and watching him struggle week after week, is rather painful. The same trouble he had when he was on the force.
Of the four middle-school protagonists, the focus is mostly on Michael this episode. We've already seen him care for his little brother, but now we get a glimpse inside their house, and that gives us a big understanding of what's going on inside him. His home situation is just as wretched as Dukey's. He's been holding himself together by sheer force of will, it seems. His reluctance to trust Dennis (the boxing coach) or any adult, is made clear. It could be a general mistrust of adults, but I get the chilling feeling that Michael may have been abused at one time.
There are parallel poker games. The mayor holds a rigged one to lean on the business community and get around the campaign finance laws, to which is supporters glumly submit to. On the street, Marlo Stansfield plays poker with some older high-rollers to learn patience, and just as he's finally about to take down the old pro that has been beating him at the table, Omar jacks the game, on a tip from Proposition Joe. Does Joe have another agenda beyond his 25% take? He may be quietly planting the seeds for Marlo's demise, setting Omar and Marlo against each other.
Omar's not afraid of anyone. But he hasn't been up against anyone as quite as cold and calculated as Marlo before either. Stringer was in part undone by his own arrogance. If Marlo has any similar weaknesses that can be exploited he hasn't shown them yet. "Wear it in health," Marlo says when Omar forces him to turn over the ring he's wearing -- but it is only a temporary surrender. This is the same ring that Marlo took off the dealer whom Omar robbed last week, as partial restitution. Everybody has to knuckle under to somebody, it seems. Bodie has no choice but to accept that he's working for Marlo now. As Slim Charles tells him, "The thing about the 'old days' is, they're the old days." Not to mention what Marlo told the doomed security guard who committed to sin o "talking back" to him: "You want it to be one way. But it's the other way."