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September 1, 2015

The Wire: React Quotes

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Feb 3rd 2008 10:01PM

Tom McCarthy as Scott Templeton on 'The Wire.'
(S05E05) "Just 'cause they're in the street doesn't mean that they lack opinions." - Haynes

I hate Scott Templeton. Or should I say M. Scott Templeton? Did you see that on the newspaper article he co-wrote with Alma? He added a pointless first initial to his name! Nowhere in his bio on The Wire website does it say anything about a first name that starts with M. This very well could be a pointless detail, but on this show those types of things rarely occur. It's just another reason that Templeton is a giant ass. He's really no better a man than McNulty when you consider what he's doing. The difference is that Scott has this air of arrogance about him, as if he feels as though he's meant for great things. Yeah right. He's lazy and has no work ethic whatsoever. And he wonders why Gus continually passes him over and gives him tons of grunt work. Imagine how Gus will look at him when the truth does come out. That being said, I loved how this episode played out. One bullshitter versus another. That always leads to a good story.

It's probably one of the best scenes in the five season run of this show. Scott lies. McNulty's eyes bulge. Then McNulty lies. Scott's eyes bulge. They both know (or at least think) the other guy is full of it (sort of... I'll get to that) but can't say a thing about it. It was brilliant watching the two of them react, realizing that their lies are growing into something far bigger than imagined. Obviously, neither of them got a call from the "serial killer" but only they know that individually.

Here's where it gets interesting though. McNulty knows without a doubt that Scott is lying. On the other hand, Scott doesn't know for sure that McNulty is lying. Everyone except Bunk, McNulty, and Lester think this "serial killer" is real. When McNulty said he got a call too, Scott was worried that the "real killer" would discredit his "fake killer." (Honestly, typing this up right now is comical. I feel the need to put parentheses around everything I write because nothing is "real" here.)

So Scott spins his story, McNulty confirms all of it and voila - Jimmy spins it into the wire-tap that he and Lester need. You didn't think the final season of The Wire would go without one of those, did you? Anyway, I'll come back to this. More to talk about first.

Let's start with Dukie. He's got smarts, just not street smarts. Remember how addicted he was to the computer in Prez's classroom? While I took great pleasure in seeing Dukie beat tiny Kenard into the sidewalk, seeing Spider take out Dukie was hard to watch. He's a nice kid and clearly has a bright future if he plays his cards right. I'm not sure what to think though. First he makes the effort to train a little with Cutty and get some life advice (Sidebar: The moment when Cutty and Michael locked eyes was great. Michael could never trust Cutty personally, but by bringing Dukie to him, it was definitely a sign of respect and Cutty recognized that.) and the next day he was getting gun lessons from Michael. I really don't know what sort of outcome is in store for Dukie yet. I'd like to think that he'll actually get out, but I'm not sure he's strong enough to make such a commitment.

My one worry for Dukie? Omar knows who Michael is now. He knows he rolls with Chris and Snoop and I hope he doesn't go after Michael's corner when Dukie is around. That'd be a shame. Speaking of Omar...umm, what the hell?!? He jumped off a third or fourth floor balcony during that ambush/shoot-out. This show is about as real as it gets, but c'mon...Omar probably should have been plastered on the sidewalk after a jump like that. Unless his black duster turns into wings or something, I don't see how he lands that and walks away. He better have some broken bones in next week's episode.

Moving on to Clay Davis. Maybe it's a stupid question to ask, but is there anyone he wasn't in bed with? Those two scenes where first Nerese and then Royce each told Clay to buck up and take the hit were great because it just shows you how connected he is in Baltimore's political scene. He opens his mouth and plenty of others will go down with him. I think the one thing I found troubling was Clay's radio appearance and the subsequent rally. I suppose it's unavoidable, but I hated the way all the people at the rally were depicted as being so naïve. Read the papers, watch the news--Clay is not a good guy. But politics can be just like a religion and supporters can quickly become rabid in their beliefs to the point that even the most blatant evidence won't sway their opinions. Honestly, I think it would have been just as realistic to see only two or three people show up at the rally as Royce says the same things to Clay: take the hit, or you're done in this city...and everyone knows it.

I also wanted to mention the appearances by Elena and Beadie. Two really great moments. Elena tried to set Jimmy straight, telling him to not screw things up with Beadie. How often do you actually hear a woman tell her ex-husband that she likes his girlfriend? That's got to count for something. At the same time, you have Beadie going to Bunk asking if Jimmy will ever change. It put Bunk in an odd position and you could tell he hated himself for using Jimmy's "serial killer" as an excuse, but at least Beadie saw through it. I'd like that think that if she does go through with kicking Jimmy out, it will make a difference. But now that he and Lester have their wire-tap, I don't think anything is going to slow him down. Even if it means the end of Jimmy and Beadie.

So, about that wire-tap. How exactly does it work this time? Jimmy filed it based on the pay-phone call that Scott "received." However, he made sure The Sun didn't report where the call came from. Jimmy plans on keeping that secret. Why? Because he filed the tap clearance using Marlo's cell phone number as the number that came in. (Herc has officially redeemed himself by snagging that # from Levy's Rolodex.) So while homicide is monitoring a dead line leading to nowhere, Lester is actually up on a wire at the Major Crimes office.

So all of this warrants an obvious question that was born in the first few minutes of this episode: knowing what he knows, why the hell would Marlo ever use a cell phone? Vondas gave it it to him and there was obviously something about it that convinced Marlo it was safe. We found out at the end. After Lester flipped on the wire-tap, a call came through almost immediately. The problem? Static. Buzz. Sounded like a dial-up modem. So the phone has some kind of jamming device built into it. So now what? Coincidentally, this relates directly to what I wondered about last week. Lester is officially involved in this whole mess now since he's maintaining an illegal wire-tap. He and Jimmy are screwed if they can't fix this.

More thoughts...

  • I loved when Zorzi gave Rhonda hell at the Bond press conference for not calling The Sun about Clay's perp walk.
  • Seeing Chris say good-bye to his girlfriend and then play with her daughter and some dolls was just weird. Who could ever love that guy?
  • Bubbles isn't HIV+. That's great! I'm looking forward to the moment when he stops punishing himself for Sherrod.
  • I loved the scene when Lester went to Cedric for money to take down Marlo with the new phone number and a fresh wire-tap. Cedric had just returned from eating his first "bowl of shit" from Mayor Carcetti and when he said "no," Lester gave him a look that said, "you're part of the problem now."
  • Scott made up a homeless family of four! He'd kill his own mother if it got him on the front page.
  • I think the funniest part of the episode was when Jay was looking at a lingerie ad instead of porn and Bunk asked what it was. Jay's response? "Change of pace. They look good with clothes on too."
  • Saddest line of the episode definitely goes to Beadie: "I don't like givin' up."
  • Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, you know what was funnier than Jay's line? When Scott asked where he was going to find homeless people. Gus: "Not at home I imagine." Priceless.
  • Now that the "serial killer" has turned into a true red ball, there's going to be a lot more eyes on it and I really don't think Jimmy considered that. The idea is for everything to go unnoticed until they have what they need for Marlo.
  • Even though Lester plans to attribute anything he gets from the wire-tap to an informant in court, I still don't see how he can't get caught. Sooner or later, someone has to realize how he got from A to Z, right?

Well, we're at the half-way point of the season and I will say this definitely felt like a peak because it's all downhill from here. Jimmy and Lester have gotten what they wanted, so it can only unravel from here. Omar has presumably had enough since he went over the edge (literally) and I wonder if he'll just start gunning for only Marlo. Dukie's relations with the rest of the corner boys are only going to get worse unless he makes a change. And Clay Davis is getting ready for his day in court. In the meantime, one great thing to look forward to is the return of Randy next week. Looks like Bunk is back up on the Lex murder. In the words of Omar, "Indeed."

Despite the fact that it will ultimately lead to the same outcome, who do you think will go down first?
McNulty51 (29.0%)
Templeton125 (71.0%)

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Where are the Emmy Nominations for the last season. What a disgrace to the award ceremomnies that this series hasn't been mentioned. This may be the best seaosn of a series of best seasons.

February 10 2008 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

omar walked into the ambush because Marlo and crew are a lot smarter than he gives them credit for. Remeber earlier in the ep when Omar and his man went to stake out the old spot Marlo and crew used to hold court... and it was said "They switchin' up". Omar, for as rough and tumble, and robin hood as he is - is still old school - he expected Marlo to be doing the same thing, the same way he did before and everyone else does. But Marlo has rewritten evry rule of the Game - hell, it's nto even the same sport it was.

That's why Omar walked into that ambush.

February 06 2008 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I haven't seen the next episode yet, but it looks to me (after rewinding) that Omar leaps off the side of the balcony and not the front. This may have allowed him to make the 10 (or so) foot jump to the neighboring balcony. My problem with the writing is this: Obviously Marlo and crew want Omar dead. They knew he'd been sitting out there staking the building out, why didn't they just walk up on him then?

For some reason (imho) all of the HBO series have poor writing during the last season (ref. Oz, Sopranos). It's almost as if they're rushing to wrap things up. The Omar character would have never walked into such an ambush.

February 05 2008 at 5:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i've been a devotee of the wire since season 1, ep 1 back in the day. There was something so wonderful and subtle in this past episode - and I think i may have been the only one to notice it. Not even my other wire-brothers-in-arms caught and had to go back to the TiVo to hear it.

Let me set the stage...
Do you remember when we first met Gus at the Sun, and in the middle of the night, right before deadline he pieced together that Nerese was creating a huge windfal for Fat-Face Rick - the strip club owner and co-op member? He knew the man's real name straight off and it immedietly hit him...

What about Mr. Stewart?
In this past episode , when Alma was reading to gus the list of the previous night's murders- she mentions "a Joe Stewart, shot in his living room". And Gus didn't even flinch. A bad newsman? No. A brillant criminal? YES! As big as Prop Joe was in the underworld - creating the hook-up and the coo-op, pulling all the strings there were to pull. He was still a total shadow and unknown in the real world. Much respect to Prop Joe. Avon, Stringer, Marlo - all headline grabbers - with basic ego interests in mind. But Prop Joe - the mystery man, just wanted to make his dough, and "do what he do".

As you said in your post, this show is most notable for it's subtle, always-for-a-reason details. And in 5 seasons - this might have been the most subtle and the most impactful for me.

Respect da' Prop Joe - he really was the man.

February 05 2008 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chris's comment

Amazing that i didn't even catch that at all.

February 06 2008 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that next week we'll find out Omar just hopped to the patio next door of something, no way he jumped down 3 stories.

I think that when the smoke clears, Slim will be behind Marlo going down. Slim knows Cheese is no good and that Omar would not take out Prop Joe. He's been around JOe long enough to sit back in the cut and wait for his chance.

BTW did you notice how Joes death only merited one line in the metro section? This is the best show on tv.

February 05 2008 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nando Noriega

Just FYI: On HBO OnDemand they have Episode 6 "The Dickensian Aspect" up alreay.

February 04 2008 at 7:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Before you consider Davis's continuing popularity to be unreasonable, don't forget the real life case of William Jefferson. He was re-elected after a bribery probe found $90K in bribe money (cash) in his freezer. In my mind at least, I've had Jefferson in mind since I first saw Clay Davis in the show.


February 04 2008 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great review as always, but weird you barely mentioned the final scene, which is a cliffhanger if there ever was one.

February 04 2008 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cuttie type

great review as always. hope the number of responses don't reflect the love we all have for the wire, if so, the best show on tv next to soprano's has been greatly overlooked. i don't think this series is going to end very well for most characters, other than bubbles. most of them have lots of dirt on each other and just like clay davis they are all going to rat out each other in the end. shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!

February 04 2008 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

spyder is a very totally jerk for beating dukie like that. it is totally disrespectful and cruel that he hit dukie like he's a peice of meat. it was sad and careless that the boys on the corner did not give dukie the respect that he supposly deserves. i was irritated and angry that another human being was treatad in a mean way; and i wish that the other boys in the corner stop being cruel to dukie as like he's a retard including spyder. michael got dukie respect ;that is a good thing. dukie got micheal's respect all the time. duckie is a very nice careing man and a smart bright young man. and im very sorry that he got beatin up by ignorant people like spyder.

February 04 2008 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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