The Wire 3:4 and 3:5

Now we’re getting back to the good stuff. We’re far enough into the season for things to start making sense and for the season’s theme to come through crystal clear: politics. I mean, Carcetti’s plot line was a big hint, but coupled with the political maneuvering that’s being shown in Burrell and Rawls’ grillings of lieutenants and Bunny’s plans to re-rig the system, and it all makes a lot more sense.

This is the season (coupled with next season) that really made me love the wire and vaulted it to the “Best TV Show I’ve Seen” status. Why? Because we’ve put in the time with the characters. We’ve seen the troubles the city is facing, and we naturally ask: “Why can’t people just fix this?”

Up until, the answer has always seemed to be the simple “The higher-ups won’t let them. They get in the way.” But this season, we get to spend some time with the higher ups, and the foundation is laid that will make everything crystal clear next season.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go on to the discussion:

Episode 3:4

It’s great when you’ve written characters that are on the same side but can still vehemently disagree about something. Because that’s life. McNulty vs. Lester? Intense stuff, because we know both characters, we like both characters, and we can see both sides of the argument. On the one hand, as an audience, we still are steamed that Stringer has been able to get off with his crimes without any penalties. This is the man who ordered Dee killed. He’s ruthless. We want McNulty to make him pay.

But at the same time, we see that life has moved on, and it appears McNulty is just being obstinate. After all, we know McNulty. We know what a jerk he can be about things, and so it’s hard to really be on his side of the argument, since Lester has always been right. And I love that the show doesn’t tie it all up in a bow for us. The two characters disagree and still disagree, even as Lester snoops a bit more into Stringer once McNulty is gone.

Meanwhile, the Cutty plot is rapidly going downhill for him. He seemed interested in turning his life around for a bit, until he discovered that it involved lots of yard work. And for a guy who hasn’t really done any real work in his life, it’s easy to see why he’d prefer the drug route. Compare him out there pulling on that lawn mower string to him at the party, being offered beautiful women. Taken at face value, one choice seems miles better than the other, even for a man who just spent over a decade in prison. But there’s always a price . . .

And on the Hamsterdam side of things, the pieces still don’t seem to line up. Is Bunny really serious? Does he really want to legalize drugs in his district? You can’t help but watching, wondering if there isn’t some greater scheme at play, even though Bunny says time and time again that he wants to think outside the box and come up with a new approach to handling this social ill. Don’t forget that brown bag speech he gave earlier. It’s key.

It’s a good episode, filled with good acting and interesting developments. 9/10 from me.

Episode 3:5

Talk about surreal. You’ve got the police working to actively shepherd drug dealers and drug users into the same area. You have Santangelo even pull a cameo as the driver. In most situations, it would seem clear that these cops are crooked. They’re encouraging drug use, after all. But we’ve seen the rest of the seasons. We know what a perpetual problem this is. Is it possible Bunny might be on to something?

Watch and find out.

Herc and Carv, on the other hand, reach a bit of a pivotal moment in this episode. Up until now, the two of them have been firmly in the “punchline” role of the show. They’re a joke. They like to rush in, fists flailing, knocking heads together, and forget about the big picture. But two things happen this time that begin to separate them. First off, Bunny comes to Carv to ask for the names of the mid-level drug dealers, and Carv is shocked that anyone would want them. He’s completely unprepared, and he has to endure the look of derision on Bunny’s face when the boss finds out.

You can tell Carv is confused. Why would he need that info? And maybe he gets to thinking.

Later on, you have Herc and Carv confront Marlo, and Herc is in full Herc mode. He’s being his typical brash self, oblivious to any danger that might be brewing. But Carv starts to see maybe this isn’t such a great idea. He’s aware of the danger they’re in, and he gets them out of it. It’s a subtle change, but compare that Carv to the one on top of the car at the beginning of the season. The one yelling out into the air that drug dealers “don’t get to win.”

Change is brewing.

And it’s brewing for the dealers as well, as they start an actual co-op to help them make money and avoid risk. Stringer is getting everyone to follow along with his Roberts Rules way of doing things. (Just don’t take minutes, mind.) Marlo doesn’t want to play nice, and he appears to be looking at this from a “They’re weak. I can take them” standpoint.

Avon, meanwhile, is back out of jail, and it’s amazing how much the rest of the drug world has moved on without him. Stringer’s got things all lined up for him, but you can tell he doesn’t really care. A lot of it comes down to the conversation he has with Stringer as they think back to days of yore. Stringer wanted to own grocery stores. Avon wanted an AK-47. People don’t change.

Anyway–out of time for today. Another 9/10 for this episode. Great writing. Great plot. Great characters. What’s not to love?

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