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October 9, 2015

The Wire: Transitions

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jan 27th 2008 10:30PM

Clarke Peters and Dominic West
(S05E04) "Buyer's market out there." - Templeton

Doing more with less. How many times have we heard that so far this season? You know what would be more accurate? Making something out of nothing. Just look at Colicchio in that opening scene. He saw Kenard with that brown bag and could have ignored it. For all he knew, it could have been a trout sandwich from one of those filthy carry-outs that everyone frequents. But Kenard was screwing around with Colicchio by filling that bag with leaves (and not some yellow-top vials) and Colicchio still hasn't figured out the simple fact that Michael and his hoppers are going to be back out there slinging again the next day. So why bother? Making something out of nothing is all that seems to be getting those Western officers through the day. Something tells me that a cop who's content with his job isn't going to be getting into any fist-fights with civilians.

If you think about it, this "more with less" mantra that the B.P.D. and The Sun have adopted is what's leading to all these instances of "making something out of nothing." On the police side, you've got McNulty and Freamon dealing with the end of Major Crimes and they've retaliated by creating a serial killer in the hope that someone with a higher pay-grade will give a rat's ass. At The Sun, you've got reporters like Scott Templeton fabricating people, stories, and quotes because the cutbacks have anyone without talent fearing for their jobs. It's the exact same scenario told in two wildly different settings. Kind of cool if you really think about it. In both cases (McNulty and Templeton), you've got two men so worried about the future of their careers, that they're willing to do anything to give themselves and their jobs meaning.

I'll get back to all that, but let's move on to the Clay Davis probe because I love the way this has progressed. Sydnor uncovered the smoking gun and the best part is that it's completely unrelated to Clay's other shady monetary exchanges. He borrowed cash from his mother-in-law to bulk up his own personal holdings so he could qualify for a loan on a summer home. Then he paid his mother-in-law back. Loan falsification. Plain and simple. Hilarious, huh?

The issue? This is big and Lester and Rhonda know it. It's a concrete, solid way to nail Clay for 30+ years regardless of all the other more serious crap he's pulled. Why else do you think Lester got so excited about it? It's a sure thing. However, to put this charge on paper, it needs to go federal. If that happens, Bond (the D.A.) loses the local media attention and the personal recognition for being the guy to take down Clay Davis. Hence, the staged perp-walk for the six o'clock news. Remember, Nerese said he had aspirations to run for mayor. So here we go, I'm calling it now. Clay Davis is going to walk because Bond will go ahead and try him on all those other charity theft charges and nothing will hold up in court. Sounds like a pretty likely outcome if you ask me. Clay Davis is a crafty man.

Moving on, how great was that scene with Vondas, Marlo, and The Greek?!? Awesome scene. Here's what I don't get though. Weren't The Greek's actions a little out of character? In season two, he was the most cautious guy ever. Barely said two words. Now he's making it clear that he's a figure of authority over Vondas and he's speaking directly to Marlo -- someone he doesn't even know or do business with. Just seemed odd to me.

Anyway, the second The Greek said Marlo is not Joe, you knew what was going to happen. Marlo can keep giving them suitcases of money but they won't work with him unless Joe is out of the picture. Rest in peace Proposition Joe Stewart, one of the best characters on this show. That last scene was something. Cheese sold out his own uncle and hopped in bed with Marlo instead. I suppose after Chris and Snoop handed over Hungry Man to Cheese, he figured this was the better team to be playing on. How creepy is Marlo though? "Close your eyes, breathe easy, this won't hurt..." The guy is insane.

Alright, back to Jimmy and Lester for a minute. Do you think they're going too far? One thing that's worth noting: Lester is only minimally involved. Have you noticed that? He's offering suggestions and helping to look for homeless bodies suitable for their means. That's it though. Jimmy is the one tampering with case files and making this serial killer "real." If this goes to shit, if Lester wanted to... he could wash his hands of the whole ordeal very easily. Lester is a good man, but I'm sure he also wants to retire with the proper pension and you know -- not go to jail. I'll be interested to see if he makes more of a mark on the "case."

As far as Jimmy goes, I'm glad Beadie finally confronted him. Honestly, I don't see why she hasn't kicked him out yet. He's screwing this up same as he did with Elena. The difference? The first time around he could claim it was because he was doing real police work.

This episode was jam packed with plot... more thoughts and questions running through my mind:

  • Are we ever going to find out if there is a connection between Cheese and Randy? They have the same last name: Wagstaff. Father and son? Cousins?
  • What happened to Nerese and the Fat Face Rick story? Now she has her hands tied up with Krawczyk, his new development, and the McCullough po' homes. How come she hasn't gotten any kind of reprimand? Is what she's doing actually legal but just borderline unethical? I'm starting to think so...
  • That scene where Joe and Herc discussed a young Ervin Burrell was priceless. "Stone stupid..."
  • Okay, so we know now that Daniels was on a drug team during his time in the Eastern and that team had been skimming off seizures, but... did Daniels himself actually partake? That's where it's been vague.
  • Omar is back. Omar has his shotgun. Enough said. We all know where this is going. My only thought? He said he was going to go after Marlo's crew before Marlo. I hope Michael doesn't get caught in any cross-hairs. I liked how Slim talked some sense into him though. Why would Joe give up Butchie if Butchie could give up Joe's involvement in the co-op robbery? Could Cheese have clued Marlo in on it I wonder?
  • Two stories have been a little slow for me: Carver and Kima. Carver I can understand. What happened to Randy really set him straight. Kima is dead weight right now though. She's no different than Norris or Crutchfield or Holley, but she's still getting screen time simply because I think it'd be weirder if we didn't see her at all.
  • As if I didn't hate Scott Templeton enough, he goes off on an interview for another job at The Washington Post while everyone else is working like crazy to verify the Burrell resignation. And he wonders why Gus is so suspicious of him or never tosses him a meaty headline to write up. (If you're looking for some insight as to where Scott's story may be headed, check out this Esquire article David Simon wrote recently: A Newspaper Can't Love You Back.)
  • Another priceless moment, Marlo to Herc: "You ever find that camera?"

This is really heating up now. Marlo has more real estate than anyone, he's the only connect Vondas and The Greek have, and he's taken out two major co-op players: Prop Joe and Hungry Man. I doubt very much the co-op will exist at all anymore and other than Omar, I don't see anyone else going after Marlo -- the B.P.D. included. If Jimmy and Lester really wanted to, they could still be focusing on Marlo and building a case. Instead, they're caught up in an illusion and I honestly see them getting nailed for it; at least Jimmy anyway. If we learned one thing from the first season, the war on drugs is a futile attempt to stop a fast moving locomotive. Marlo is the conductor now and I don't think he's going to lose.

What do you think will happen to Marlo by the end of the series?
Marlo will get nailed for the 22 bodies by the police.30 (9.3%)
Omar will get him.180 (55.9%)
Nothing. He wins.112 (34.8%)

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still pissed that they killed off bodie...

Damn, killing Prop Joe, I didn't think it would happen. Anyone else wonder where mcnulty bit the homeless guy with the fake teeth?

January 29 2008 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

and another thing ..... i don't think the guy at the restaurant is "the greek." he's too powerful to actually be working in a crappy restaurant. HBO's recap says the guy's name is Andreas.

January 28 2008 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to tony's comment

The guy working at the restaurant is not the Greek...he just works for the Greek. The Greek is the guy we saw at the end of season 2 ("I'm not even Greek!"), and this time we saw him sitting at the table drinking something who then turns around and talks to Marlo.

January 28 2008 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

ahhh i see. i stand corrected.

January 28 2008 at 9:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

ahahaha. the bag that Colicchio stuck his hand in, most definitely wasn't filled with leaves.

January 28 2008 at 7:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode and review, I almost like watching the episodes just so I can the review and what others thought.

It seems all bets are off this season. What does it say for a show that you can be saddened by the killing of a major drug dealer? Prop Joe and Butchie, if you had only read their bio's you'd almost say good riddance but having watched them for years and see the loyalty to Omar by Butchie and the masterpiece that is Prop Joe, it almost brings you to tears.

One thing keeps sticking out in my mind about Omar. It was when Omar was looking out at one the first meetings between Marlo and Michael, when asked about Michael, Omar said he was just a kid. That makes me believe Michael is going to kill Omar in the end.

January 28 2008 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another great episode.

I think Lester will take down what's left of there operation once Omar kills a few of them.

I would like to see Chris and Snoop get what's coming to them though.

January 28 2008 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another great episode!!

I think that Cheese-Method Man's character-is either headed for doom or infamy by taking out marlo or Omar. We only have six episodes left so whatever happens, it will have to be real soon.

January 28 2008 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Was Lester's old partner, Oscar Requer, played by Sesame Street's Gordon, aka Roscoe Orman? That voice SURE sounded familiar to me!

January 28 2008 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eric f

I suppose since this is the final season, they can freely kill off anyone they want. It sure makes the writing exciting... something that most shows don't have the freedom or guts to do.

January 28 2008 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good epi, things are heating up indeed. A few things i noticed...that definitely was not leaves in the bag Kenard hid...Dog $hit lol. Cheese and Randy are brothers, we found that out last season when Randy was caught by that cop who was messing with the boys. And i think the main reason McNulty is staging this serial killer thing is so major crimes can get back on Marlo...i just dont see how one leads to the other. I felt bad for Joe, and marlo is def cold as ice.

January 28 2008 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

Poor Prop Joe. He helped Marlo with his money and Marlo just had him plugged. That was cold.

January 28 2008 at 2:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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