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July 28, 2014

Jane After Dark: The Wire, season 4 - The kids are not alright

by Jane Boursaw, posted Jul 19th 2009 1:01PM
The Wire - Season 4
I'm well into season four of The Wire (just finished "Margin of Error"; read my other Jane After Dark installments), and getting into the guts of the Baltimore political scene and how it's all interwoven with the cops and drug business.

Oh, those kids! It really makes you see how they've gotta be extremely driven to get out of that life, because a lot of the adults are just priming them to continue the drug business into the next generation. Not only their parents -- which is really sad -- but people like Marlo, who has his minions handing out back-to-school cash to build goodwill with the kids. At that rate, those kids don't have a shot of clawing their way out of a life of crime.

It will take me another run-through or two to really fit all the pieces together, but I'm digging how all of the characters have evolved ... or not ...

I'm trying to decide if Tommy Carcetti is smart or stupid. My first instinct is that he's really stupid and green, but thanks to his handlers -- and the fact that certain influential people want Mayor Royce out -- he's back in the race after being counted out. It's funny to see Carcetti and his wife awkwardly trying to fit into the black community, a fish out of water clapping along with the choir in an all-black church.

And once again, the drug guys seem to have it a lot more together than the guys who are supposed to be in charge. I mean, really, the mayor getting a blow job from his secretary in the halls of justice? Didn't he even think to lock the door? That's just dumb. But it's working out well for Herc, who caught them in the act. Whatever happens, it's all dirty politics.

So, McNulty and Beadie are together now? Interesting. He seems to be behaving himself pretty well right now. We'll see how that goes. Love it when he and Bunk go out drinking together in the dark of night.

What to say about Omar and Avon and Marlo, et al ... things continue to heat up. I have to say, I'm feeling for Omar right now. He's being framed! It almost -- almost -- makes me forget how he gunned down my man Stringer in cold blood. I miss Stringer. And have we seen the last of Brother Mouzone? I don't think so.

Let's talk about Prez. He's got his work cut out for him with kids wielding razors in the classroom and kids like Namond, who has a long journey ahead of him. I mean, good grief, his mother, De'Londa, and his incarcerated dad, Wee-Bey, have got him working as a runner for Bodie. At least he's still keeping his pony-tail, even though Wee-Bay tells him, "Even the white police lookin' out from three blocks away gonna be able to spot you from every nigga out there." That pony-tail just might do Namond in, even though it's the one thing of "his" that he refuses to give up.

I like Prez, though. He seems to really want to help the kids, like working it out so a kid can shower at school and get clean clothes. Prez belongs in a movie about a do-gooder teacher with a class full of troubled kids. Only I have a feeling this story won't have a happy ending.

There's a lot more to say, but I'll end it here. Season four is definitely my favorite so far. In some ways, I feel like I'm really just starting to get into the series.

I look forward to your thoughts.

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KasparH

I just finished watching the final episode of season 4 and I feel gutted.

This show takes its time in sketching out the different environments and characters portrayed in each season, which is what made this one of the most depressing things I've ever seen. You can't help but become emotionally involved with these kids as you see them cycle between hope and despair, trying to make sense of their world and looking for a way out.

But they're all tragic characters set up to fall. Namond is the only kid that gets a decent break but the temptations of the street will be a constant distraction. Michael's childhood abuse led him to distrust others, most importantly Cutty, and his responsibilities force him to join Marlo's crew. Randy and Dukie get the worst of it, the former having to live with his reputation as a snitch and the latter too meek to survive in a public school (let alone as a dealer on the corner). You know both these kids will probably get murdered unjustly and forgotten.

By the time you reach the finale, you're praying for a happy ending. You don't want to believe that they're going to be let down and left behind to fall through the cracks in the system but that's what this season was building towards. Great end to a great season and I can't wait to start season 5 (though I hear it's not very good).

September 04 2009 at 10:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
levittation

I'm just about to watch the Season 4 Finale for the first time. It's so nice to see conversation about this great show years after its final episode. I feel like this show is so alive when I see such recent comments.

@Jane Carcetti has a great combination of sincere (I believe) love for his city, political ambition (and the accompanying sliminess), and naiveté as a green politician He surrounds himself with smart people, but I suppose you can't always avoid getting taking advantage of in the political world. I can't stand Senator Gray Davis.

@Jane I'm surprised to hear you'll miss Stinger. Sure, he was charming, intelligent, admirably business-minded, and usually non-violent, but he as no angel. Think back on what he did to D'Angelo. Think back on how he had Bodie and Poot handle Wallace (I loved his character) in Season 1.

@Colin The character development of the four boys (Mike, Randy, Dookie, and Namond) is so good, as it is for most of this series. I'd love to know how the creators got into the inner city middle school mindset.

July 21 2009 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daize

Season 4 my all time favorite season of any media experience. Jane I hope you enjoy the rest of the season.

July 20 2009 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CParis

Season 4 was my favorite. The stories behind the ""Stoop Kids vs. "Corner Kids" is very powerful.

July 19 2009 at 11:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mb

Jane, you'll probably want to watch the kids' personalities carefully because it'll come into play at the end of the series. That's all I'll say for now.

Again, I found how the different characters reacted and adapted to changes in life as the story went along most interesting. And most tragic at the end.

I'll have to admit that if a Hollywood movie based on these characters ever came out, I'd be first in line at the theater. But I doubt that a Hollywood screenwriter could adapt the original storylines faithfully without making it cheesy (e.g. sticking in a "Hollywood"/happy ending).

This was one of the greatest shows on television, and it never got the awards it deserved.

July 19 2009 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CParis

Season 4 was my favorite - the Stoop kids versus the Corner kids.

July 19 2009 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Usama

I'm so tired (from school) so all I can say right now is I hope your coverage of The Wire is able to get new people into the show.

July 19 2009 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
theoneadd2

I never came to like Namond Brice I wanted him to get so bad. Duquan "Dukie" Weems if there is a god I hope he/she is with children like him. Randy Wagstaff gave me hope then they took it all away. Michael Lee all I will say is wow. These four young men put in work to tell the story they need to tell.

July 19 2009 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to theoneadd2's comment
vincent

(In my best Lester Freamon impression) Hey, hey, let's not spoil it for The Wire virgin.

July 20 2009 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Borat

Just thinking about this season makes me emotional. Amazing, amazing. It definitely starts off slow...but the last few episodes totally make it worth it.

July 19 2009 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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