The Wire 5:6 and 5:7

Yup. I only managed two episodes again this week. It was busier than I expected, with Denisa finishing her teaching, and since I wait and watch with her, it’ll just have to be two. I’ll really try for all three next week, though. I’m also tempted to do an overarching “All the Wire Episodes from Worst to Best” post. Why? Because a friend noted last week that my ratings each week were pretty lame, and I realized he was right.

Rating a Wire episode can be tricky. Do I rate it against the other episodes, or against all television in general? Season 5 has some weak Wire episodes, but it’s still a great show, with great characters. I’ve generally tried to rate them compared to TV as a whole, but I don’t think I’ve been consistent. It would be a fun exercise to rank the entire series, and since I just finished watching them all, I think I could pull it off. There are only 60 episodes, after all . . .

But on to today’s reviews.

Episode 5:6

The homeless “murder” plot is well and truly under way, and it’s to the point that critiquing how it started is no longer relevant in my book. For whatever insane reason, McNulty and Lester got themselves into this mess, and now they’ve roped Sydnor into it as well. With that taken for granted now, let’s look at how things are going for them.


And this, at least, is very believable. Bit by bit, the lie they started to tell is growing. Changing. First it was just rigging a single scene to make it look like a murder, then tweaking a few old cases to make them match. Then there were more bodies. Then desecrating the bodies. Now it’s graduated to full on kidnappings. It’s terrible that McNulty is doing these awful things, and Larry the Homeless Guy doesn’t deserve it at all. To make matters worse, the police work that McNulty’s supposedly helping with this stunt is only getting hurt. Bunk isn’t able to work his cases how he needs to, and Kima is sent off investigating bogus “leads.”

But that’s kind of the point of the season. Lies are easier to believe than the truth, and lies get more money and attention than the truth. The bigger the lie, the more people want to believe it.

In other news, Nick is back for a brief cameo, reminding us all that the construction projects Carcetti is boasting about are coming at the cost of the old way of living represented back in season two. And we’ve got Randy popping up again as well, no longer the innocent boy with dreams of running a store. He’s put on muscle and experience, and he seems just as much a hardened corner boy as any of the other random characters we see.

Carcetti continues to bug me, mainly because he knows just what to say and how to say it to make things look like he actually cares about something. And the thing is, maybe he really does believe it when he’s saying it. But as soon as he’s not in front of a microphone anymore, he’s mainly interested in how he can rig this to make it work out the best for him personally. Maybe I’m too idealized in my view of what politicians could do. Too much West Wing, I suppose.

Omar is back, and we find out that he was injured really badly in his jump (though I’m still skeptical anyone would be able to survive that jump. Then again, this is Omar. If anyone could do it, it would be him.) But this Omar is very different from the old one we knew. It’s like he can tell he’s on a one way journey. Hard to picture him getting out of all of this alive, especially with how injured he is, and how careful Marlo’s crew has been.

And has it ruffled Marlo’s feathers? Not really. Not enough to stop him from taking over the co-op and disbanding it. He’s sailing through life without a care in the world, it seems.

I don’t have much to say about the newspaper crew this time. They’re doing what they’re doing, and they’re new enough to me that I don’t care too much other than to continue to dislike Scott and the chiefs.

It’s a 3/5 for this one. Better than two episodes ago, but still not a return to greatness.

Episode 5:7

Clay. Davis. I hated seeing him get off without so much as a scratch the first time I watched this episode, and I still hate it. Not that I think it’s unrealistic. I hate it because it makes so much sense. Really, I’m stunned at how the writers were able to pull this off. We’ve been watching Davis for years, and we know what a weasel he is. We saw how careful the lawyers were being as they prepped for the trial. I honestly couldn’t envision a scenario where he was able to escape.

And then somehow, they present one in one fell swoop, and it makes sense.

This is what caused me to write my post yesterday on how stories matter, not necessarily the truth. Davis and his lawyer were able to come up with a believable story that explained what the prosecution was attacking him for, and the jury listened. And so he slinks off yet again to be able to ooze his way through Baltimore, bribing and extorting everywhere he goes. And what’s worse is knowing how many of the other Powers That Be in the city know who he is and what he does, and yet they put up with him because of what he can do for them and to their opponents.

Like I said: maybe a bit too true to life.

And why was he able to talk his way out of this? Because the city prosecutor didn’t want the case to go federal. He wanted the glory for himself. Remember: Lester had the “head shot” on Davis. The sure thing that would send him to prison no matter what. But the prosecutor declined to use it because he thought he’d have an easier time grandstanding and making a name for himself.


Lester and McNulty, meanwhile, continue to assume they’re going to have an easier time with Marlo than they actually are having. The clock pictures have them scratching their heads, and now they need a ton of serious back up to get what they want. Sure, they’ve turned on the money by lying about a case, but now all that money is being spent on the bogus case, and it’s difficult to spend any on the case they want to actually do. Especially when there are so many other cops trying to get case work done, and McNulty can’t say no. It’s a microcosm, where McNulty is finding out just how hard it is to spend limited resources on the massive amount of work that needs doing.

Of course, then we’re also forced to see Kima talking to various family members of the deceased McNulty’s been lying about. When he started this “game,” it was easy to think of the homeless men as objects. People who were already dead, and so who cared what happened to them. But they were just homeless, not without families, and these lies hurt families deeply. This is definitely¬†not a victimless crime.

I loved the scenes with Kima putting together the IKEA furniture, and how it calls back to McNulty doing the same thing back in the first season. Very funny, and very well done.

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Omar, though. He’s completely lost his larger-than-life cool factor. He’s out of control, with no friends and no support, and not even full use of his body. So sad to see him hobbling around.

On the other hand, how great was it to see Bubs looking so good? Not caring about making money or angles. Just doing good for other people. He looks a ton better, and it gives me hope for him yet.

Much more I wish I could talk about, but I just don’t have the time. I really like this episode, and it’s the start of the end of the series, which (from what I remember) is some really great stuff. Here’s hoping my memory’s right. 4/5

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