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April 16, 2014

Jane After Dark: The Wire, season three - Oh, Stringer!

by Jane Boursaw, posted Jul 12th 2009 10:03AM
The Wire - Middle Ground

Well, holy cow. I did not see that coming, although from what you've all said, I was prepared for just about anything to happen on The Wire. Except that!

I feel like season three ended on a high note. Well, sort of ... at least for McNulty, now walking the beat in the Western Division. Even though he's wearing a uniform, which is just weird for him, he's talking and laughing with the residents, and that's really what it's all about. And Rhonda and Cedric are together (oh, that chiseled butt of his!).

Even with all the busts, though, the drug business sails onward, with Marlo moving up in the hierarchy and Dennis' boxing gym virtually deserted, all the kids lured back into the streets. But mostly, season three was all about Episode 11, "Middle Ground"; in particular, a few penultimate scenes...

Scene one: The opening where Omar and Brother Mouzone meet in the dark, sepia-toned street with their guns poised. The cinematography and blocking in that scene was like something out of High Noon or a Sergio Leone movie. While listening to the commentary with writer George Pelacanos and director Joe Chapelle, they said that's the feeling they were after (and it worked, because that's the first thing I thought of while watching it). The train that went by at the beginning wasn't even planned, but perfect for the scene. You've got these two mythical characters -- very different, though also very similar -- facing off and discussing their guns of choice and the fate of Stringer Bell. Great scene.

Scene two: Stringer and his attorney Maurice Levy meet in a domed courtyard, with the city hall looming in the background. You can feel the noose starting to tighten around Stringer's neck, as his attorney tells him he's been the victim of rainmaking with the $250,000 he gave Senator Davis down the drain. "A guy says if you pay him, he can make it rain," says Levy. "You pay him. If and when it rains, he takes the credit. If and when it doesn't, he comes up with reasons for you to pay more. Clay Davis rainmade you." He leaves and Stringer sits down on the bench, and you just know it's not going to go well for him.

Scene three: And sure enough, it doesn't. Later in the episode, Omar and Mouzone meet up at Stringer's development site, kill his bodyguard, then chase Stringer up the stairs where he's gunned down in the condo he hoped to develop. And this, after McNulty and crew finally had things come together on the wire.

Still putting a few of the puzzle pieces together, but you can feel the tension mounting early in this episode when Stringer and Avon meet to reminisce. Stringer says, "We don't need to dream no more. We got real estate, man, real shit we can touch." And when Stringer says he has a meeting at their condo development site the next day, Avon asks, "What time you meetin'?" And Stringer says, "'Round noon." Oh boy. Definitely High Noon. But Stringer stood tall til the bitter end. No wonder George Pelacanos was nominated for an Emmy for this episode (he should have won).

Ok, on to season four! Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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slutty_whore

One of the few plot points left open was when Br. Mouzone's muscle was searching the gay clubs for Omar, there was a cut to Rawls enjoying himself and having a drink.... So, does that come to play in the last two seasons? Was Rawls openly gay? (Doubtful, although as I think about it, there was no mention of a wife, children, etc.) If that was throwaway, it wasn't necessary and since they don't flush out his character, kind of pointless. Almost, as much as Kima/Cheryl having a baby. It seemed just a way to throw an unnecessary wrench in their relationship, although I liked the way Kima has picked up many of McNulty's bad habits.

October 09 2009 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
levittation

Great summary. What a classic double-cross between Avon and Stringer. What amazing badasses Omar and Br. Mouzone are.

July 21 2009 at 2:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DeJuan

I have to echo what Usama and mculty28 said, Season 4 completely changed the way I looked at TV. There is no season greater than the 4th season of The Wire. This season will touch you in so many ways it's amazing. I know you will enjoy it.

July 13 2009 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Usama

The first scene was what I mentioned in your June 20 post on season 2, and mcnulty7 had commented on it too. It's one of my favorite from the entire series.

And mculty28 is right, season 4 is when I knew that there would never be a show greater than this right here.

July 12 2009 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mcnulty7

Oh man, I agree. One of the best scenes in TV or movies. How perfect was that dialogue.

Just a warning though. Season 4 ruined all other shows for me. TWithout question the best season of tv ever, and everything after that just doesnt measure up. Next season, in particular the last two episodes, just left me emotionally drained. Damn David Simon!

July 12 2009 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

The scene where Brother Mouzone confronts Omar is one of my favorite scenes ever. As you said, two mythic figures, face to face, but unlike in Season 2, on equal footing.

"Omar listenin'." I get goosebumps just typing the words. From that, to the credits? Easily one of the best cold-open scenes in the history of TV.

July 12 2009 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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