Monday, November 27, 2006


The Wire No. 48: A New Day

BLOGGER'S NOTE: As always, know that spoilers lie below, so don't venture further unless you've seen the episode or don't care if you know what happens.

By Edward Copeland
A sense of optimism has washed over the Baltimore Police Department in the wake of Tommy Carcetti's victory as mayor, a sense that perhaps it's "a new day in Baltimore" where the days of juking the stats are over and officers can anticipate a return to real police work. This is The Wire — what are the odds that is really going to happen, do you think?

As newly minted Col. Cedric Daniels and his now-public significant other Assistant State's Attorney Rhonda Pearlman give a pep talk to the detectives about what changes lie ahead, the detectives beam with hope at a new day dawning. Daniels even asks Lester if he's willing to go back to the Major Crimes Unit, though Freamon hesitates, since Lt. Marimow still runs the squad. Daniels even dangles the chance for Lester to select his own boss. Still languishing at MCU and worrying about his missing camera problem, Herc faces more problems thanks to Bubs' tricking him into taking down a well-connected minister — and the ripple effects have reached Carcetti, who is torn between letting a true internal investigation occur or firing Herc to please the ministers and risk alienating the rank-and-file officers. The buck is passed down the line as Rawls, who finally has been clued into Daniels' golden boy status by Valchek, dumps the problem at Daniels' desk and urges him to "do the right thing." Daniels expresses surprise, since the right thing isn't usually recommended. "I know. It doesn't happen often," Rawls responds.

Burrell and state Sen. Davis still plot how to get Burrell into Carcetti's good graces and see an opportunity presenting itself thanks to Carcetti's Herc problem. "Am I the only one who knows how to play this game?" Burrell asks Clay while sinking a putt on a golf course. Soon, Burrell has shown up in Carcetti's office with a large book of department regulations, offering Carcetti other options for getting rid of his Herc problem with a lower risk of alienating constituents or city employees. "I know what a mayor needs," Burrell says. While Carcetti rushes around trying to get city workers to start solving various municipal problems, he's hit with an unwelcome surprise: The school district is running a $54 million deficit and with few good options for solving it, when advisers pooh-pooh the idea of using the city's Rainy Day Fund. "Feels like a rainy day to me," Carcetti comments. "Cloudy like a motherfucker," Norman adds.

For the students at Tilghman Middle School, most of the outlook is for storms as well. It starts optimistically enough with Namond, flush with cash from his corner gig, showing off by buying dinner for his friends. Though he's also facing other problems from the continued overbearance of his mom, who insists he cut his hair, and his disappointment at learning that Bunny's class is being discontinued when he'd rather stay in there than be sent back to a normal classroom. He even faces a slight twinge of conscience when Michael's junkie mom comes to him on the street for a fix, which he reluctantly supplies. Namond and his friends also are outraged when they learn of what the sadistic Officer Walker did to Donut, so they make plans for revenge — a relatively nonviolent variety which ends up with Michael taking possession of the ring that must have passed through more Baltimore hands than any in its history having started with Old Face Andre, gone to Marlo, been taken by Omar and then purloined by Walker before Michael takes it for himself.

The kids aren't the only ones contemplating revenge as Bubbles makes plans to concoct some tainted drugs to give to his tormenter — and welcomes the return of Sherrod as well. Back at school, Michael chooses to stand up for Randy at school when his snitch reputation leads to a beatdown — and the failure of his once-lucrative candy business. Randy also learns about the fate of Little Kevin and fears for his own life. Dukie gets what should be good news — he's being promoted to ninth grade, but the quiet teen seems reluctant at leaving his friends and his school for an uncertain place, though Prez reassures him he'd still help him if he needs his clothes washed or access to a shower. Prez isn't pleased when he sees what has happened to Randy, feeling he betrayed the boy by trusting Carver and Daniels before he and Carver realize that, once again, Herc has let someone down by not delivering the news about Randy's information about Lex's disappearance to Bunk, prompting Bunk to read Herc the riot act as Lester is getting settled back in at MCU. Omar, still trying to figure out who is working with whom and who set him up for the convenience store murder, learns that Slim Charles now works for Prop Joe and, suspecting that Joe set him up with the poker game now that he knows who Marlo is, takes it straight to Joe — demanding his help in taking down Marlo's stash and asking him to repair a clock for him at the same time.

Meanwhile, a re-energized Lester and a determined Bunk return to the Lex hunt, searching the area near where he was told to go by Randy. Suddenly, Lester spots something out of the corner of his eye — the line of abandoned rowhouses. Upon further inspection, Lester's keen eye notices that the boards sealing the buildings sometimes contain different screws and recalls that when Herc pulled Chris and Snoop over, he mentioned a nail gun. At long last, Lester and Bunk have found Lex — and the whereabouts of many other victims of Marlo's reign whose bodies had seemed to have vanished.

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