The Wire 2:5 and 2:6

Sorry for skipping a week. Pesky national holidays and eating turkey. But I’m back this week, locked and loaded with another two episodes’ worth of analysis, including another favorite episode. Some big juicy stuff to discuss, so let’s go right into it.

Episode 2:5

Some of the most painful pieces of this rewatch so far have been having to suffer through Ziggy one more time. I mean, I feel sorry for him in some respects. He’s clearly a person who’s not suited to the hand that life dealt him at all. He’s incompetent in so many ways, from his silly jacket to his insistence that he can maneuver these streets with ease. But some people just need to have a clue, and Ziggy’s a prime example of this. He’s like a slow moving train headed straight for a cliff, and you know there’s going to be explosions and agony, and there’s just not a blessed thing you can do to stop it. Ziggy’s fate was wound up long before this seasons started, and all we can do is watch as he bumbles his way into agony, dragging others along with him.


But he’s also there to illustrate a point. Zig is to Nick as Avon is to The Greek. Zig can’t manage his drug contacts at all, and he’s steamrolled by people he needs to stand up to, if he could. It’s clear to us, after having seen Avon’s people handle it last season. But compare Avon’s crew to The Greek’s. Stringer likes to go to his college economics classes and come up with new ways of approaching the drug business, but The Greek is miles ahead of him. He’s got connections all over the place, and his fingers are in so many different pies, you lose count. And yet he continues to remain under the radar. Last season, people knew who Avon was on the streets, even if the cops didn’t know him. This season, The Greek takes that to the next level.

I love in the Wire how side characters become main characters, and how plot lines can go on from episode to episode, always remaining in the background. If you pay attention, you see it unfold. But you need to watch carefully. Cheese pops up for the first time here, and he seems like a throwaway character. But then he just keeps on popping up and evolves over the course of time.

It’s something that rewards repeat viewings, even if you have to put up with Zig to do it.

There’s not a whole ton of good that comes out of this episode. You’ve got the cops finally beginning to figure out what they need to do to tune into whatever’s going on at the docks. Beadie continues to show she’s a whole lot smarter than her pay grade. I loved seeing the cops investigate the white drug dealers, constrasting them to the ones they faced last season. And any time you have Omar in an episode, you’re almost guaranteed some good stuff. Great acting there.

This episode finally feels like the second season has its feet under it and is progressing nicely. 9/10

Episode 2:6

Man. This episode. D’Angelo has some of the best scenes in the show, since his character is the one to constantly question and try to find his way through this life he’s found himself in. So hard to see him finally piece things together, only to die because Stringer’s overly suspicious. Not quite as hard for me as Wallace’s death last season, but still rough. Then again, we never saw D’Angelo before season one began. Remember: that D’Angelo shot a man dead before we ever laid eyes on him. He’s a murderer who got off for his crime, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

Interestingly, D’Angelo himself points that out to us in this episode when he discusses the Great Gatsby. The past shapes us. You can’t escape it, no matter what your present may be. D’Angelo might have reformed a good deal since those early days, but it’s still part of who he is, and that inevitably comes back to get him in the end. (See any parallels between Greek tragedy and Greeks all of a sudden showing up in the series? Coincidence? I doubt it.) This is another plot that will be revisted time and time again throughout the show. The past is the present.

Poor D’Angelo.

And poor McNulty, for that matter. It seems like for a moment, he actually wanted to get his life back on track. Do the right thing. Give up on always having to push the envelope. It was very surprising when he tore up the picture of the prostitute. He was really putting this behind him. And then when he tries to do that, his ex-wife still doesn’t want him back. She pities him, but she knows better than to get together with him again. It’s another example of us only seeing a slice of his life. She’d seen the whole thing, and she’d probably seen this phase of McNulty before. So she stays away.

I loved seeing Sharlene show up in this episode, showing us that Lester’s private life is doing just fine and dandy. He’s a closed person on the show. We rarely see glimpses of what he does when he’s not at work. Apparently all is well.

Omar’s scenes were fantastic in this episode. Those court theatrics, and his way of convicting a man he knows is guilty, even if that man didn’t happen to commit this particular crime. Omar is Omar, and he gets his revenge.

Kima’s girlfriend Cheryl, however, has become nothing but annoying. I get that she doesn’t approve of Kima, but by not approving of that part of Kima, she’s tryng to force her girlfriend to be a different person. It’s an unrealistic expectation, and an unfair one at that. A sad, true-to-life depiction of a couple slowly falling out of love.

I could go on and on about this episode. It’s just flat out fantastic, but I don’t have the time, alas. Still it’s episodes like this that make the whole series hum. I just loved it. 10/10

And Ziggy burning the $100 bill after Nick went through all that trouble to get it for him? I don’t recall me loathing a character in quite the same way as I loathe Ziggy. I think some of it’s due to the things he ends up doing to Nick. How much better off would Nick be without Ziggy? But we get Prop Joe talking about how you’re stuck with family. Interesting that everyone recognizes this, regardless of what side of The Game they play on. Prez’s uncle, Prez himself, McNulty trying to get back with his family. It’s what makes Stringer’s betrayal of D’Angelo that much worse. Sure, he’s not family, but he represents family. Stringer is clearly breaking the rules with that kill.


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