The Wire 2:7 and 2:8

Okay. Time to take a break from taking pot shots at Donald Trump to review the latest two Wire episodes. Hard to believe we’re over half way into the second season, but even harder to believe is that somehow in those first 6 episodes, I started caring about the stevedores union people as much as I cared about the Barksdale crew in season one. It’s something I thought I’d be able to spot easier on the rewatch. I’ve been looking for the moment when suddenly I cared. But there wasn’t one. I think it happened as I understood more and more the struggles they were dealing with, and what exactly it is they were up to. It’s an organic growth, but well executed nonetheless. (Good thing, as the Barksdale crew is just about an afterthought in both of these episodes.)

Anyway–on to the episodes!

Episode 2:7

Ah, Fuzzy Dunlop. How I missed you. Herc and Carver sort of exist in the first two seasons for us to get a nice laugh now and then, and this is one of my favorite of their subplots. Watching them try and navigate Fuzzy through “the modern urban crime environment” is just too much fun, and the expression on their face when Fuzzy gets launched into the street . . .

Priceless. (And more on Fuzzy next episode.)

But the episode isn’t all about laughs. You’ve got Daniels conflicted between his desire to be a good person and a successful cop. (And as The Wire points out so often, those two goals don’t always go hand in hand.) When he tells his wife, we see the sort of toll this is taking on his personal life, as she seems for the first time to be much more interested in being married to a successful cop than a good man. (Though I think she’d argue why can’t he be both, and that’s another continuing question this show asks us time and time again.)

You’ve got McNulty as almost an afterthought, when we see him finally realize that there’s nothing he can do to make Elena trust him again. (Again–more on that in the next episode.)

Bigger than all of that, the detail finally makes big progress, tracking the can to the warehouse, and tying Proposition Joe into all of it. Again, it’s interesting that the police can know all the bad things going on, but until it ties into something noteworthy (like, say, drugs) they’re hands are tied. It’s interesting to see how the law sometimes gets in the way of doing “the right thing.” But then again, comparing The Wire with news stories about what cops have done makes you question whether the clear cut “right thing” is always so easy to identify. Maybe it’s a really good thing that there are so many limits placed on the police. After all, even The Wire shows what cops are willing to do to make things easier on themselves.

It’s a strong episode. 9/10

Episode 2:8

McNulty decides to show us just how low he can go, and just how quickly. With Elena having turned him out on his ear, he dives head first into a bottle, endangering his life and others. Him driving around so drunk that he feels the need to recreate his own accident to see if he can get it right the second time (symbolism, anyone?) was down right upsetting. And yet even a drunk McNulty is (apparently) an irresistible McNulty, as he’s able to sweet talk his way into a waitress’s bed without really trying. (Ladies, you’re going to have to explain this to me. I have no idea why Jimmy is apparently this attractive. Am I missing something?)

But it’s nice to see the detail stick up for him. For Bunk to realize that for all his flaws, McNulty deserves better than this. They recognize just who it is they’re dealing with, but they also know that he can be a real asset. And then of course Beadie can’t resist him either. But then McNulty goes and surprises us. He looks at Beadie and sees her as a person instead of just another conquest, and he leaves. And that’s the sort of action that makes me respect McNulty and root for him. He’s a good man who’s got a whole lot of problems, in the same vein as Bubs. (Bubs! Come back! We miss you!)

The Wire loves showing us people like this. No one’s completely villainous. Even Wee-Bey has his fish. (Though I guess we haven’t seen the worst the show has to offer us yet . . .)

So. About Fuzzy. Yes, this is funny. Yes, I liked seeing Herc and Carver up to these shenanigans, but take a step back for a moment and think about it. These are tax dollars at work. Sure, they could argue that they wouldn’t have to resort to this if they were properly funded, but Herc and Carver are essentially stealing money from Baltimore. Sure, it’s funny. But on my second watching of it, I also found it disappointing. Or am I just a stick in the mud?

Ziggy and the duck works in so many ways in this episode. You’ve got this character I loathe, who’s a joke to everyone he meets, showing that he recognizes what a joke he is, and embracing it by getting a joke of his own. Ironically, it even seems like the duck is more accepted than Ziggy is. How sad is that? Ziggy’s caught in this no-man’s land area where there just isn’t anything he seems to be able to do to break out of it.

Then again, why is that? Maybe it’s because he does idiotic things like throw money out of car windows, or burn $100 bills in front of people. He continually bites the hand that feeds, and just refuses to accept his own incompetence. (The first step to dealing with a problem is admitting you have a problem, folks.)

But speaking of people who can’t admit they have a problem, let’s talk about Nick for a moment. Nick the Wise. This episode is where I figured out he’s actually only wise in comparison to Ziggy. He told Ziggy not to do anything too flashy with the drug money. Ziggy naturally went out and bought a ridiculous jacket. But what has Nick done? He’s bought a house, and a sweet truck. And then he sits in the truck and preens just as much as White Mike was preening in the last episode.

Nick has gotten too big for his britches, it seems. The bigger they are . . .

There’s a ton more I could talk about, as there always is. Sobotka getting wise to the detail’s surveillance. The Greek figuring out how they might ditch the cops. It’s progressed to the chess game stage of the season, with both sides maneuvering, and both sides more or less equally matched.

In other words, great television. Another 9/10 for me. What did you think?

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