The Wire 2:9 and 2:10

Nothing says “Holiday Spirit” like watching people you intensely dislike shoot other people you dislike almost as much in cold blood. Aren’t we happy we have The Wire rewatch to get us through this lovely time of year?

Episode 2:9

The season’s in full swing now, gearing up to the grand finale. I love the end of a Wire season. All the plots start to come together, and everything really makes sense.

But I hate it when they kill kids. Ugh. The opening of this episode is just so hard to watch as a parent. That said, it’s an excellent reminder that these characters on Avon’s side (Bodie, Poot, and the gang) might be funny to watch, and might be amusingly stupid at times, but that the actions they’re taking are deadly serious. And that they don’t even think about any of those consequences at all.

Of course, it’s made so much more tense by the cutaways to the mom at home, getting her kids ready for school. You know they’re not showing them for kicks and giggles, and you dread what might be coming. And of course it comes, just as you knew it would. So sad.

The police response is just pathetic. At this point, we know the game enough to realize what they’re doing: pounding the pavement, showing tax payers that “it matters” that a kid died, even while they all know that nothing they’re doing is going to amount to jack squat when it comes to preventing this from happening again in the future. The new police chief on the scene (Bunny! Keep an eye out for him in next season . . .) clearly is fed up with it, and this scene goes a long way toward laying the foundation for season 3.

Did you know that McNulty is played by a Brit (Dominic West)? So you’ve got a Brit doing a fake Baltimore accent of a guy who’s now trying to do a fake British accent. If that’s not comedy gold, I don’t know what is.

Another side comment, but if there’s anyone in this season who could steal the title of “Most Annoying Character” from Ziggy, it would be Valchek. And I get a kick out of the fact that everyone he comes in contact with sees him for what he is right off. And yet somehow he’s still in a position of power. Why? Because he knows how to play the game. He knows how to use influence to keep his position and get people to do what he wants. How sad is it that Valchek is better at the game than so many smarter people? Think about that for a bit. (Shudder.)

But enough about this great episode (9/10 for me). I want to go on and talk about the  even better episode.

Episode 2:10

And now we see the payoff of Ziggy’s plotline. Of why we kept seeing him getting beaten down again and again. I think the show pulled this off, and it was a risky move to do. But because we’ve seen what a joke Ziggy feels his life has become, we understand why he makes the idiotic decisions he makes. He just wants to be respected, and he thought this caper (that honestly was quite bright) was going to push him to the top. Of course, the sad truth is that Ziggy’s worst enemy in gaining respect was always . . . Ziggy. Even if he pulled the caper off flawlessly, we all know he’d go and do something idiotic the next day, and he’d be right back where he was.

Well, there’s no denying that he’s somewhere else at this point. And it’s nice to see him take responsibility for his actions. Ironically, I think it’s the insistence of everyone to shield Ziggy from consequences that made him end up where he ended up. Nick and his father did their best to keep him sheltered, probably because they knew he’d get creamed on his own. But that meant he always thought he’d be fine on his own. And in the end . . .

What a sad plot. Even if he’s still an annoying character, I can feel bad for the guy.

And speaking of feeling bad for someone, how about them police? At the end of the episode, they’re frantically typing up justifications for a search warrant, even as the Greek’s crew is erasing all the evidence at the place they’re trying to search. And to add insult to injury? The place the police are trying to get a warrant to search . . . is the crime scene of a murder. They don’t need a warrant! But do they know this? No, they don’t. Landsman doesn’t tell them. Not because he’s incompetent, but because he doesn’t know it’s important.

It’s one of the themes of the show: the good guys could do so much better, if they were only better at communicating with each other. But they’re all so focused on defending their turf and justifying their jobs that nothing ever gets done. They’re too bogged down in precedent and procedure. Watching all those drugs get washed down the drain . . . just so sad for their investigation.

Interestingly, we see the different sides of the conflict begin to move and adapt to changing technology. Cell phones getting tossed, and text messages stepping into play.

Other bits that stood out to me from the episode? I always liked the “Walk the Line” montage with Prez, and I forgot it happened in the same episode the he decks his father in law. (Again, true to theme, The Wire has characters whose plots mirror each other. Prez has been a joke in the police force off and on, and here he reaches a breaking point at the same time Ziggy does. It’s a good thing he didn’t have a gun on him . . .)

I also enjoyed watching the drug dealers try and finesse their way through the tangled mess that their business is in at the moment, with so many people talking to other people, but not to everyone. Who knows what, and who doesn’t know what, all becomes very important. Lack of communication hurts both sides of this conflict, it seems.

Anyway. I’m out of time for today. Great episode. 10/10, once again. What are your thoughts?

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