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September 23, 2014

The Wire: Late Editions

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Mar 2nd 2008 10:02PM

Gbenga Akinnagbe as Chris Partlow on 'The Wire.'
(S05E09) "Deserve got nuthin' to do with it." - Snoop

One down and one to go. The penultimate episode. Talk about depressing. After next Sunday, there won't be any more new episodes of The Wire. I don't think I've been this bummed out about a show ending since Six Feet Under went off the air and let's be honest -- The Wire is way better than Six Feet Under, or anything else... ever. With the finale so close, this episode set a lot of stuff up as you'd expect. Everything that's been percolating all season started to boil over and now all that's left to find out is who gets burned and who doesn't. Quoting Stringer Bell's last words, "get on with it motherf*ckers!"

Let's get Scott Templeton out of the way first. I love the direction this is heading in. He's still schmoozing with Whiting and Klebanow, making nice because his homeless articles are being folded into The Sun's Pulitzer submissions. I love how idiotic Whiting is. He sounded like such a fool when he made that "big bucks" comment. For those that are interested, check out this article David Simon wrote for the March issue of Esquire. He describes the crap that happened while he wrote for The Sun and the plot here mirrors it exactly, right down to the nonsense of Scott being instructed to write stories covering the change created by previous stories. All in an effort to prove that The Sun has sway in making things happen. "Covering your own coverage" as Simon puts it.

Anyway, while Scott is brown-nosing, Gus is "scratching an itch." First he enlisted the help of Robert, the ex-bureau chief from London, to dig into all of Scott's past articles. Then Gus interviewed a friend of Terry Hanning and had lunch with Nerese Campbell later that day. Everything he heard followed one consistent trend -- Scott's a liar. He makes up quotes; he makes up sources; he makes up just about anything. More than anything else this season, I can't wait for the moment when Gus confronts Scott with all the ammo. It's gonna be a great scene. The horrible thing about it is that he's probably going to get away with it in some regard and I'm just as excited to see how he pulls that off as well.

Moving on to Lester and the detail. Everything came together. With the clock code cracked, all it took was time as they waited for a meeting location down by the ports. It happened, probably sent by Vondas even though we didn't see him. Sydnor, Truck, Otto and everyone else watched the whole thing go down as Cheese and Monk came and went, their Escalades jam packed with heroin. It was at that point that Lester decided it was time to fess up. Couldn't have come at a better moment either, since Lester approached Daniels with his plan right after Steintorf gave Cedric and Rawls the OK to "be creative" with the stats. Warrants signed and everyone got jacked. Cheese. Monk. Chris. All of Vondas' Greek goons. Lester personally watched Marlo get his police bracelets. They got the drugs. They got the cell phones. They even got Marlo's clock. If I can make one tiny complaint, it was a little anti-climactic. That being said, it really couldn't have gone any other way. The real highlight was seeing Michael and Snoop watch it on the evening news, dumbfounded.

What it set up though was great. Marlo isn't stupid. Levy showed him the affidavit. True to his plan, Lester said someone talked. A source had been developed. A total lie of course, but it made Chris and Marlo worry enough that they put out a hit on Michael since they knew he had spent a day with Bunk. They trust him, but at the same time... you never know. The resulting scenes with Michael and Snoop were some of the best of the season in my opinion. She was playing him and he was playing her. It was brilliant. "You look good girl." Pop. How calm was she though? I don't think anyone on this show has even been that cool, knowing they're about to die.

I think the one thing that surprised me is that I sort of thought Snoop was reasonable, but the more I thought about it, this is what I came up with. She had always been Chris' sidekick. Then Michael came along and Marlo and Chris both loved him. He sort of took away some of Snoop's spotlight. Even though Marlo and Chris both felt obligated to put out the hit on him, neither really thought he talked. He was one of them, but not in Snoop's eyes and she even said so. For Snoop, the hit on Michael was more about her standing in Marlo's organization. Chris didn't seem to care that Michael had been talking shit about Marlo and how he didn't step to Omar, mainly because Chris knew Marlo would have done just that if he had known Omar was calling him out. Which Marlo was pissed about naturally. He could have cared less that he was in jail. He just wanted to let all the other corner boys and hoppers out there know that he wasn't afraid. It'll be interesting to see if there's any punishment for Chris since he kept his mouth shut on that.

It was sad the way it forced Michael to leave Bug and Dukie though. Bug, at least he's got an aunt to live with. And a box of money. Dukie pretty much got thrown out on the street with squat, while Michael claimed to recall nothing of summers past in an effort to alienate Dukie. To keep him away. Fortunately it looks like Prez finally makes an appearance in the finale, so hopefully Dukie's story ends well. One note on the four boys though. Namond finally made an appearance in this episode (as part of the debate team), much like Randy did a few weeks ago (when Bunk came with questions). At the beginning of the season, I had wondered if we'd see them at all since season four pretty much wrapped it all up for those two. Namond with the best possible outcome and Randy the worst. Only Michael and Dukie really had stories left to tell as we've seen. That being said, neither Randy's appearance nor Namond's really furthered the plot all that much. If you think about, both their scenes could have been cut and it wouldn't have really changed anything. Then again, that could have been the point -- to show how inconsequential they've become in the grand scheme of things. Just a thought.

McNulty. Why the hell isn't he happy? He got want he wanted. Marlo fell! It looks like the guilt from making good cops work on a bum (no pun intended) case finally got to him. Then again, he is a ginormous narcissist and probably hates the fact that Marlo is in jail and his plan doesn't allow him any of the credit. I'm surprised that even Lester seems to think that the whole mess will just wrap itself up though. He's the smart one! But he was right. Jimmy should have never told Kima. That one scene with her and Carver was great too. She told him to get ready for an IAD probe and then asked about turning in another cop. After she spilled it all to Cedric, it led right to that scene with him and Rhonda in the evidence locker watching Marlo's phone ring. Everything is just so well done. The best part about it is that you knew exactly what was going to happen and my jaw was still on the floor.

More ramblings...

  • Bubbles. I'm not sure about him. Fletcher is certainly bringing out the good in ol' Reginald but that speech Bubs gave about resisting the temptation a while back has me worried. Felt a little like foreshadowing to me. I don't really expect this show to have the happiest of endings and Bubbles falling off the wagon after all this time clean certainly wouldn't surprise me.
  • Dukie had better not have decided to shoot-up with the junk man and all his buddies. That would really be disappointing because he's smarter than that.
  • "I hope Chardene is up when I get home, because Lester Freamon is in the mood for love!" Fantastic line! For those that don't remember, Chardene is the stripper who briefly dated D'Angelo in season one and then became one of Lester's informants. I feel like we knew they were dating though but I can't remember what episode or scene. Anyone?
  • I know this is nothing new, but I just noticed it. The homcide unit no longer has typewriters. They've got Panasonic Tough Book laptops now.
  • Landsman called Jimmy a "genital wart." Priceless.
  • Anyone else notice Augie Polk working the evidence control locker when Cedric and Rhonda came in? I didn't recognize him at first since he shaved his moustache. If you remember, when the detail was first formed in season one, Polk and Mahone were the dead weight on the team. Drunks. Mahone got the crap kicked out of him by Bodie and went on permanent medical leave. Polk considered throwing himself down the stairs to achieve the same goal, but never went through with it. What other show on TV would bring back such a miniscule character for two or three lines? This is why I'll miss The Wire.
  • During the press conference after the Marlo bust, I couldn't help but think of Burrell with all those drugs: "Dope on the table." And how great was Zorzi? Listening to Tommy's speech, he knew what words were coming next as if he'd seen the same dog and pony show a dozen times. "Don't forget the community..." Great stuff.
  • I wish we had gotten a little more from Bunny and that he wasn't tied to Namond's near pointless scene. Although it was great to see him snub Carcetti's handshake. Bunny made a good point too. If Hamsterdam wasn't acceptable, what can be done then?
  • Herc is a sleaze! Using Carver for info and then helping to cover Snoop on the gun charge that he originally jacked her for! I can't wait for Ellis to find out that it's Levy who Herc is working under. I will say that his speculations worry me. He's right about Lester and the illegal tap, but how can Levy prove that? Even if he does, Lester still has the dirt on Levy from Clay. I've gone over everyone and can't figure out who his courthouse mole is. It has to be someone we haven't met before. (Sidebar: Lester was like the Omar of the BPD in that scene with Clay. Documents, his shotgun and knowledge, his payout.)
  • Showtime shout-out on HBO! Dukie was watching Dexter! Perhaps a bit of an inside joke with the writers? Passing the torch? I'd argue that Dexter probably is the best show on in The Wire's absence.
  • I loved Jimmy's "evacuated" comment. Nice toss back to Spry from the season premiere. Ironically, I think Jimmy got the word usage right... didn't he?

Next week is going to be messy. Jimmy wants this to just all go away but that can't happen now because Cedric and Rhonda know which means Tommy and Rawls will know. But what if the killings continue despite Jimmy? Someone else could conceivably take on the cause. Lord knows Templeton put enough detail in his articles. How would you break that to the public? The killer was fake... but now he's real?

It seems to me that this is all going to rely on Lester. With everything he's got, from the wiretape to the dirt on Levy, there has to be some way for him to spin this. I don't see how he couldn't have a contingency plan in place should it all go south. He's not that naïve, right? Granted, I think everyone will still be pissed at him (especially Daniels) but if he can figure out a way to save face then maybe his punishment won't be so bad.

In closing, some showdowns I'm looking forward to in the series finale. How about you? Which one are you looking forward to?

The showdown in The Wire series finale I'm most looking forward to is...
Dukie vs. The Streets37 (5.4%)
Michael vs. Marlo264 (38.3%)
McNulty vs. Templeton25 (3.6%)
Lester vs. Levy72 (10.4%)
Bubbles vs. Himself23 (3.3%)
Gus vs. Templeton108 (15.7%)
Lester vs. Daniels and Rhonda32 (4.6%)
McNulty vs. Daniels and Rhonda80 (11.6%)
McNulty vs. Kima48 (7.0%)

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22 Comments

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wirefan

Nice post. I enjoyed the wire so much I'm creating a blog about it for all the wire fans. Since the show is going off the air the blog will always be here for those of us that really enjoyed the series and like to discuss what they learned from viewing it. From what I've learned most folks who tuned in faithfully found it very interesting. As negative as it may seem, I believe a lot of positivity will come from it. I didn't know white people felt that way tho. Yes, I am *&(^%. Anyone interested here's my wire fan blog.
http://www.thewirefans.wordpress.com

March 09 2008 at 10:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nikki

I read another interesting wire blog today. www.epiphanyblog.wordpress.com
I didn't realize how many people love this show, and hate to see it all end. I hate that Kima has to be the one to bring McNulty down.

March 06 2008 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ben

There sure are a lot of happy endings being proposed. In the New Yorker article, Simon hinted at redemption for one character alone, and I think it's going to be Bubbles. Dukie seems like the next Bubbles. Maybe leading Dukie to the right path is his redemption. Other than that possibility, I don't see any happy outcomes. I am betting Marlo walks free because of McNulty and Freamons' indiscretions. Even if Freamon can turn some evidence against Levy, the fact remains that all those wiretaps were illegal. Won't hold up in court. The cat's out of the bag, and even though Carcetti and the department would love to make it go away, can they really cover it up? I don't see a positive ending for Michael (he seems to be expecting his own death), McNulty or Freamon. I see Templeton getting away scott free and Gus left out in the cold.

March 06 2008 at 10:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ben's comment
Nikki

Poor Michael. He was so resistant to being down with Marlo, but it's like he had no choice if he wanted to protect his little brother!

March 06 2008 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JD

Even though the previews for the finale had Marlo free, I seriously doubt the greeks will want to continue working with him. Remember how much they value remaining under the radar. I think that when all of the smoke clears Slim, Prop Joes former lieutenant, will be the man in charge.

March 04 2008 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
phace

It's possible that Herc having his prior law enforcement connections is the snitch in the courthouse. He seems to be playing both sides to his benefit. Giving up Marlo's cell phone number will only bring him and Levy business with the case and all. He also relay's information back to Levy that he got from Herc etc.

March 04 2008 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pjd

I'm betting the leak is this Gary DiPasquale guy: http://www.hbo.com/thewire/cast/characters/gary_dipasquale.shtml

I don't remember him playing a big part in any episode, but he has a character bio on the HBO site? To me that says he plays a part in the final episode.

March 03 2008 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
khal

i think jimmy wasnt happy because he wasnt the hero. at the end of the day, it will look like lester was the one who did all of the work. i read something a while back, where they said that mcnulty was the kind of cop who did great work to get people noticing them, not so much to just do good police work. he isnt in the spotlight, when he techincally should be, and that added to the grief is just killing him.

March 03 2008 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Solsbury

HELLO! Nothing on Kima putting Marlo and his crew back on the street?!

March 03 2008 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Quito

In a sense I'd agree that the Marlo bust seemed anticlimactic. It did seem rushed and kind of like a blip after all the case work that went into him over 2 seasons. At the same time this show's main plot has never been the case. If the show had been all about the case we never would have kept watching after the chain of command screw job from the first season.

This is also the point of McNulty's depression. For McNulty the show has always been about him. He's always been the one f***ing with people to get the job done and when he's not satisfied he puts it on himself to get it all done. He has the meetings with the judge, he has the meetings with the feds, he took it upon himself to study current charts for 3 hours in order to screw over BCPD with the dead floater - and after watching for a few moments, he then makes each and every case he comes across his own personal crusade. I mean look how hard he focused on Barquesdale. And why? Because his crew beat one-too-many murder charges.

So now we get to another career case. And he does what he does best, screwing people and doing his lone wolf act to try and get things done. And he succeeds, except this time, like Anna said above, he's not the one making all the secret meetings, he's not the on writing the warrants, he's not making the busts, he's not even on the real wire tap. He gets stuck in the lie and that keeps him out of the real work. And on top of that he facilitated the real work, but gets seen as a total failure because he was given all the resources in the world and the great Jimmy McNulty can't bring down 1 guy who likes to murder the homeless.

As for Snoop - reasonable is an interesting read on her character. Mostly she just scares the poop out of me. I saw her as the most loyal and obedient soldier who could be as cold as necessary to do any job. I got the feeling that the reason Snoop never saw Michael as part of their crew was because Michael thought too much. He had a question about everything and they seemed to always ask him if he was ok to do any task, like they had to make sure. Maybe she never saw him as cut out to be a soldier. Maybe he isn't a soldier. Maybe he's destined for more.

Also I feel like Snoop took her inevitable fate so well because she is that cold calculated soldier. She knew it would happen eventually and accepted it as an inevitability, so I feel like she would never have been surprised when it finally happened.

I have a bad feeling about the Templeton storyline. I really want Gus to be vindicated, but I feel like the bosses are so ok with sensationalizing stories that they are going to do all the wiggling for Scott and Gus will end up walking out.

And I can't tell yet if Herc is a scum bag, or if he's just an idiot. He just likes having inside information and loves to show it off to impress people. He's been trying to impress people forever, trying to put himself in the spotlight to try and get noticed like McNulty, but it never worked. I just can't tell if he's actively trying to dick over Carver and the rest, or if he's just a naive idiot, like he more often tends to be.

I cannot wait to see the finale! It sucked that I couldn't watch it On Demand last night, but it will all be worth it. I'm really going to miss the best show on TV when its gone and eagerly look forward to the eventual DVD box set of the series in some really kick-ass packaging. Maybe they'll come in a brick of heroin like the puffy packaging of Northern Exposure, or in a attache case like West Wing filled with warrants and wire tap orders and case files. Either way that will be a definite must buy.

And a great shoutout to Dexter! As soon as The Wire is over, the wait begins!

March 03 2008 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Duggie

I think that the Bubbs storyline will be a happy ending, only because every other storyline will end so badly.

Most of the original Detail could end being impicated in McNulty's mess (including unfortunately the Bunk).
Carcetti has turned into Royce.
Marlo will probably get off.
Omar dead.
Prop joe Dead.
etc.

Surely Bubbs surviving isn't too much to ask?

March 03 2008 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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