The Wire 2:3 and 2:4

The Wire rewatch rolls ever forward. It can’t be stopped!

Episode 2:3

Season two is still in full on set up mode, with the different elements of the story still maneuvering their way into place for the real story to actually begin. Then again, we saw the same thing happen back in the first season, so it’s not surprising by this point. After I’d finally accepted that I was saddled with the stevedores, the show thankfully started to make them more interesting so that I wasn’t so resentful.

And when you think about it, there’s a clear parallel between this season and the last one. Nick is D’Angelo. Both of them are young up and comers. Both have uncles who are well connected. Both have demanding girlfriends with kids. Both have to try and figure out how they’re going to navigate the modern world. I didn’t notice that on the first time through, but I’m definitely seeing it now. A whole paper could be written about that . . .

Just like a whole paper could be written about how much I dislike Ziggy. Even more next episode, but he’s one character who just irritates me the longer he’s on the screen. He and Nick are both in a tight jam, but at least Nick makes sensible decisions. (And doesn’t feel compelled to yank down his pants every five minutes.)

I appreciated that this episode redeems McNulty a bit. He cares about these cases, often in spite of himself. He wants to help people, but sometimes he McNulties it up. I liked seeing him waltz in to save the day for Bunk and Lester, only to have them prove that he’s not, in fact, the only person with a brain.

Then you’ve got Stringer decide to not let a lonely girlfriend go to waste. It’s the first we’ve seen him make a decision that isn’t cooly calculated, although maybe even this is still consistent. All about supply and demand, right?

Meanwhile, Avon proves just what a coldhearted person he is, when he casually sits back as multiple people die so that he can take care of a bit of business. Him reading his book at the end of the episode? Quite the image to end with.

The season still isn’t fully up to speed, but we begin to get hints of where it might be going, and that’s enough to keep me happy. I think it was harder for the show this season, since it first had to lay the foundation of what exactly stevedores do and who they are, where in season one, most people are familiar with drug dealing (having been informed from other shows.) In the end, I became a big fan of the dock workers plot line, mainly because it was a bold one to explore, and because it tied the show even tighter to its setting of Baltimore.

8/10 for the episode.

Episode 2:4

Ziggy and that leather coat. What an idiot. Why in the world Nick puts up with him is beyond me. Then again, we often make excuses for people who grow up with or for family members. Though anyone who’d take Ziggy with him on anything important shows that person isn’t quite as competent and with it as he’d like to think.

I like in this episode how other characters tell Nick that he should go somewhere else. Make money another way. And yet he can’t see that he has any other (legal) options. You could debate how true that is. He has no schooling. No experience doing anything else. Where would he go? What would he do? And yet I can’t help but think that if he’d just give something else a try, then things could work out better for him. Then again, it’s easy to forget how hard it can be to picture living a different life if you’ve only ever been exposed to one thing.

D’Angelo, meanwhile, can see Avon for the murdering slimeball he is, and enough is enough. Dee seems ready to wash his hands of Avon and just live out the rest of his life in prison. (But does he really think he can do that, knowing what he knows, and almost turning on his family once already? Dee might be family to Avon, but he definitely isn’t family to Stringer, as Stringer reminded us last episode when he slept with D’Angelo’s girlfriend.)

McNulty, on the other hand, seems to think he can get back in with his wife. And true to McNulty form, he decides to prove that faith with a grandiose gesture: signing the forms without really looking at them too closely. He thinks he’s the smartest man in the room. How many times does he have to be proven wrong?

But look! The band’s back together, and it only took 4 episodes. Sure, they’re not investigating what I assumed they’d be investigating, but there’s a chance for something permanent if they do well this time though, and that’s enough to give us hope. Prove themselves on this case, and then maybe they can get another shot at Barksdale. A shot that won’t be messed up by other police.

Anyway. Out of time for this week, so I’ll have to leave it at that. Another 8/10 for me on this episode. Solid stuff, but not quite to the next level yet.

What have you been thinking about the season?

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