This is the stuff a Wire fan lives for. The groundwork is laid, and the season can really start to pop. Some great stuff in these episodes, so let’s dive right in!
Cutty is a character I really grew to love over the course of the show, and a lot of it is for this episode right here. When he has the chance to really dive back into the game and kill that kid, and he freezes, finding himself unable to do it. So many of the characters in the show care only about their standing in the game. They go along with the evil because that’s all they know. Cutty should be the same. He’s a convicted murderer.
But he can’t bring himself to kill that kid.
And instead of doing what all the other characters would do (drink and get high until he’s dead enough inside to not care anymore), he goes to Avon and tells him straight up: he’s out of the game. I thought it was all over for Cutty right then. I figured Avon would blow his top and have him killed. But I forgot that Avon was in prison with Cutty, and that he respected him enough in there to offer him a job on the outside. Maybe that played a part in his decision to spare him. I love the fact that he did, though. Go Cutty!
Omar and Bunk have a fantastic scene in this episode, as well. Bunk calls Omar on his shenanigans, placing more than a bit of blame at his feet for how things are right now. And while Omar has gotten off for the most part of the series, managing to play on his Robin Hood-esque mystique, Bunk cuts right through all that, pointing out the kids who idolize Omar, and what they’re growing into. Some long-reaching implications in that conversation. Great stuff.
I enjoy seeing Stringer try to navigate this “business” world he thinks he’s the master of. This show is excellent at throwing characters out of their comfort zones. Bubbs is easy and free on the streets, but put him at a kid’s soccer game, and he has no clue what to do. Stringer is a Force to Be Reckoned With when he’s with his drug dealers, but put him with a bunch of real estate types and politicians, and he’s just some guy with half a community college degree. And it shows. But because he chooses to try to play by these other rules, he’s stuck with what he can and can’t do. Even if he doesn’t see it.
Hamsterdam, meanwhile, appears to be doing some actual good. Letting other people in the city have normal lives, and if all it costs is an old woman having to move houses, what’s the harm in that? Right?
As always, life isn’t so easy in the Wire . . .
10/10 on this episode. Cutty’s scene and Bunk/Omar action is just too good to pass up.
Remember that bit about Hamsterdam solving all the problems except a few minor ones? Well . . . here we see the start of what some of the costs really can be. All the people actually living in Hamsterdam are gradually having their lives ruined. Johnny is just a small sample of that. The scene with Bubbs walking Hamsterdam at night is really impactful. It looks for all the world like he’s descended straight into hell, and I’m sure that’s on purpose.
But then again, these are the addicts and the dealers. They got themselves into this mess, didn’t they? Is it justifiable for them to pay the price of their own choices? Should they be the sacrificial scapegoats for the rest of society? I have my own opinion on that (I don’t think they should), but Carver points out a second casualty of Hamsterdam, as well. The kids. They’ve been cut free from their dealers, and they’re rapidly devolving into who knows what. So the people who pay the price of Hamsterdam aren’t just the current junkies. They’re the future ones as well.
Compare Avon to Marlo. Avon is pretty cold and cruel, but he still does nice things like watch out for his family and care about people. He let Cutty live, for example. Marlo? Marlo likes pigeons, but beyond that, he doesn’t seem to care about anything other than himself. He wants to be king, and he’ll take any route to the crown he needs to.
Avon led to Marlo, because of the way the drug scene has changed over the course of the show. If Hamsterdam continued, what would Marlo lead to? Just how low can we go?
And consider for a moment what exactly Hamsterdam is purchasing. Crime is down elsewhere, true. But it’s only a few percentage points. That might make Bunny happy because his business is all about shaving percentage points. But in the greater scheme of things, is a few percentage points really worth all this?
The show doesn’t give us any clean answers. It’s very good at presenting just how complex the problems are, though. Actions have consequences, and it all dominoes out of control faster than you think possible.
And what are the top brass doing all this while? Having a press conference about how proud they are that they recovered Dozerman’s gun. It’s an empty show. A puff piece that does 100% of nothing to actually solve anything. But it makes them look good, and makes the public think something is actually being done, so that’s all that really matters, right?
Sometimes this show can really make you depressed about our society. But I’m out of time for today, so that’s going to have to be it. This was a 9/10. Just a hair off a 10, but still great stuff. Catch you next week!