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October 13, 2015

Jane After Dark: The Wire, season 3 - Stringer wears a suit, Omar gets rash

by Jane Boursaw, posted Jul 5th 2009 2:05PM
The Wire, season 3 - Omar and Bunk
After a brief break to watch season four of Weeds last week, Jane After Dark is back with The Wire. I'm half-way into season three, and while there are definitely parts of this show that put me to sleep (ducking and running for cover), it's still a brilliant drama. My teenage son popped in for part of an episode, decided it was too "real," and promptly lost interest.

To help me organize my thoughts, let's take a look at a few characters:

Stringer Bell.
I'm really digging Idris Elba dressed up in his fancy suit, running the real estate company, working with government officials, and holding drug meetings using Robert's Rules of Order. It's fascinating that there's this whole hierarchy within the gangs that most of them respect and follow.

I had to laugh, though, when one of his minions starts taking notes at a meeting -- because that's what Robert's Rules says to do -- and Stringer snatches the paper up and says something to the effect of, "Are you out of your mind? Taking notes on a meeting about illegal business?" Maybe Stringer realizes that you can't always have it both ways. You can run a drug business like a business, but there are limitations.

Omar Little. Omar seems like the anti-Stringer to me. He's more impulsive, rash, ordering strikes on the Barksdale houses without fully thinking through the consequences. I could be totally off-base, but Omar is more old-school to me. I mean, he definitely has a plan, but the way he carries out that plan isn't always the smartest. He doesn't mind dropping a few bodies along the way. It will be interesting to see how things play out between Omar and Stringer heading into the end of season three.

Dennis "Cutty" Wise. This guy is really interesting to me. He's caught between two worlds and doesn't really fit in either one. I loved the scene where he's supposed to be taking back Barksdale corners from Marlo, and freezes up when faced with the idea of shooting someone in cold blood. I was sort of cheering for him at that point, hoping that he'd now realize he doesn't fit in with that life and needs to do something better, both for himself and the greater good. I love the idea of a boxing gym; give those street thugs a way to channel their energy! Well, we'll see how that goes.

The Cops. I'm going to lump all of them in together, because they just seem like they're grasping at straws on how to deal with the street violence. They've got officers stationed on the streets and they're trying to establish a connection with the drug people -- whether it's Greggs and McNulty recruiting Bubbles to wire up or Bunk reaching out to Omar -- but it's not really getting the job done. People are still dying. Maybe their personal lives are getting in the way: Daniels trying to do right by his estranged wife while sleeping with Pearlman, Greggs imploding over the addition of the baby to her life, McNulty just plain imploding -- he makes a pass at Greggs, for cripes sakes.

Ok, I guess that's it for now. I know this is just a tiny tip of the massive iceberg, so I welcome your thoughts, explanations, and insight on season three of The Wire.

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Hey Jane, just tripped over your blog and I love reading about someone's first experience with 'The Wire' series. You should mention what exact last episode you last saw so no one spoils anything for you.

Anyway, for now I just wanted to make a few comments about season 3. I just finished watching it the third run through, and appreciating it is much like appreciating the maturation of a fine wine. At first I was along the thinking of ScottR who relegated it as a holdover season to the incredible season 4 however there are some powerful dynamics at work that make season 3 in retrospect the most underrated season of the wire. 3 things I think you should keep in mind when entering the back end S3:

1. Stringer and Avon's relationship. It is readily apparent that Stringer is the mind while Avon is the heart for their mutual foray into this drug game. I think the most significant theme is the evolution and degradation of this once great friendship as it becomes just another drug lord gone bad story of the larger 'Drug Game' that they fall victim too. Also Marlo's emergence as the next-in-line for the throne is well executed.

2.Carcetti- While he plays a bigger role in Season 4, I feel his storyline in season 3 illustrates a lot more clearly the fight between idealism and the eventual compromises that it takes to land the spots that give the ability to make change happen.

3. Reality vs. Perceived Reality- The Carcetti point leads me into this last thought. I think Season 3's main accomplishment is to fully illustrate the deepening chasm that develops between actual societal reality versus the perceived reality that is constructed from the institutions that were first built to deal with actual reality. 3 main levels of it emerge from the invention of Hamsterdam; the political, the policing, and drug dealing level.

I definitely could go on and on, but I hope you enjoy the last few episodes. Looking forward in hearing what you have to say next about them.

July 10 2009 at 3:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fear not, you're almost near the end of the season, which the last few episodes are absolutely breathtaking. It's like every other season: the first few episodes are just winding up various plotlines, the middle is tightening the taut, the penultimate episode hurtles them towards each other, and the last episode just calmly reflects upon the aftermath.

But, how about that Bunk and Omar meet-up? The speech Bunk makes and Omar's guilt-ridden reactionary shot was such a body slam.

July 06 2009 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott R

When going through the Wire the 2nd and 3rd time, I always felt that season 3 was just something to get through to the more acclaimed season 4. I remembered liking Cuddy and Carcetti, but Colvin's story feeling a bit off.

After both times though I appreciated the emphasis on reform and how people struggle with their own urges to do things they know aren't the best for them or for others, and the struggles with convincing others of the same.

One of my favourite season finales too. You are in for a good finish! Oh, indeed! (in my best Omar impersonation)

July 05 2009 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hope you stick with it. Seasons four and five are my favorites after season 1.

July 05 2009 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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