The Wire 4:11 and 4:12

I had hoped to be able to finish the season for this week’s post, but it’s been a crazy few days, so it’s just the normal 2 episodes this time. Sorry about that. But they’re great episodes. (Well, they don’t make you feel great, but they are great as far as compelling television goes.)

Episode 4:11

I’ve always loved the fourth season the most, but it’s got a whole lot of storylines in it that really hurt. I think some of this is because I just love the characters in this season so much. The teen actors do such a great job at making them all come alive and be really believable, and they go through so much . . .

This episode does have one big highlight, and that’s Lester finally finding the bodies. It’s a great payoff to a plot that’s been going on since the opening scene of the season (with Snoop buying the nail gun), and in true Wire fashion, it doesn’t lead exactly where we’d expect (more on that in the next episode.) Still, it was fun to watch, and even more fun because of the details.

We know how capable Lester is. How dogged he can be. But we also remember him in season one, content to sit there and work on his dollhouse furniture. And lately in homicide? He’d been working on a lot of furniture. So to see him back out and about, in the thick of things again, was a great change and a sign of hope. But other than that pay off?

It’s a hard episode to watch, just because of what’s happening on the screen. From Bubs and Sherrod getting beaten to Bunny’s class getting shut down to everything in between. There’s not a whole lot of brightness in this episode.

The biggest thing for me was actually the huge deficit the schools turn out to be running. $54 million that Carcetti is suddenly saddled with, just as he committed the rainy day money to the police department. You can have all the good intentions in the world, but being $54 million in the hole will bring an end to those soon enough.

Depressing.

But hey. At least Omar seems to be around to make life difficult for the drug dealers. Right?

It’s a 4/5 for me on this episode. But wait until the next one . . .

Episode 4:12

As hard as 11 was to watch? 12 is even harder. It reminds me of the first season, when Wallace was killed. Except this time, we’ve got terrible, awful things happening every way we look.

Randy’s foster mom is badly burned and he’s headed back into the system again. But this time, he’s been labeled a snitch, and those labels don’t tend to go away. If he thought life was hard before? I don’t have a good feeling for him in the future. And the sad part is that he was surrounded by people who really wanted to do what was best for him, from Carver to Prez to Miss Anna. Just one exception.

Herc.

I could throttle that guy sometimes. (And after all he’s done, he still has the nerve to remind Lester that he (Herc) is the Sergeant, not Lester. As if witnessing the Mayor having sex somehow gave Herc not just the stripes, but the knowledge of how to lead other effectively. Argh!)

So Randy’s in deep trouble. But look at Dukie. He’s being “promoted” out of his support system. Congrats, son. You’ve done so well, we’re going to mess your life up. Oh, and also evict you from your home. Good job!

And then there’s Namond, who’s literally left in tears after realizing he just wants nothing to do with the corner life, even if his mom wants him to. He’s been pretending as long as he could, but he just doesn’t have it in him anymore.

As opposed to Michael, who is embracing the corner life completely. Yes, he offers to stay with Cutty until the ambulance comes, but Cutty realizes there’s nothing that can be done for him at this point. He made his decision when he chose to go to Marlo for help and not Cutty or Prez. And Michael might be frustrated that Cutty tells him to get going, but what else was the man supposed to do?

Compare each of these characters to the boys they were at the start of the season, and it just breaks your heart. (Especially when you’ve got a son approaching that age . . .)

But all of that pales in comparison to Bubs. Sherrod’s death is just brutal. Bubs had been building his life back up as best as he could, and it looked like he was going to be able to help Sherrod do the same. To get some redemption. But instead, his efforts to get rid of the man who was tormenting him backfire, and Sherrod dies instead. Bubs was always a character that you thought couldn’t get any worse off. But then he does. So sad.

And the bodies that were finally discovered last week? It takes the whole episode to decide what to do with them. Because it’s not about doing the right thing. It’s about doing the politically expedient thing. Solving murders doesn’t matter as much as not having the murders counted in the first place. And true, Carcetti tells them to get the bodies out and do the right thing, but he’s also sure to add that there better not be any bodies undiscovered until later.

But maybe I’m just grumpy from everything else that happened in the episode.

It’s an easy 5/5 for compelling TV, even if you feel like you’ve been steamrolled after watching it.

One episode to go this season . . .

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