Monday, December 11, 2006


The Wire No. 50: Final Grades

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. I REALLY MEAN IT THIS WEEK. DON'T WHINE LATER.

By Edward Copeland
Calling him all sorts of names including a Visigoth, Sgt. Landsman insists that Lester is vandalizing the homicide unit’s board of cases as the names in red grow as more and more of Lex and Snoop’s victims are uncovered from their tombs inside abandoned rowhouses. Detective Norris offers Landsman what appears to be good news — he has someone confessing to a murder. Unfortunately, the person in question is a devastated Bubbles, still reeling from inadvertently causing Sherrod’s death. He wants to go to jail — so much so that he’s making himself sick and proceeds to vomit all over Norris and Landsman.

After they return to the interrogation room after cleaning up, they find that Bubbles has attempted to hang himself — though he is saved. Landsman is in a way as well — he takes pity on Bubbles and chooses helping him over his department’s clearance rate. A closed school, where Daniels once attended, has been transformed into a makeshift morgue as the bodies pile up. Burrell and Rawls arrive, pledging to give him any help he needs and Daniels pointedly alludes to Rawls that if MCU hadn’t been decimated, perhaps they could have stopped Marlo sooner.

When Burrell and Rawls are alone, Burrell subtly lambastes his deputy for making his move too soon and warns him not to betray him again. "Politics doesn't suit you,” Burrell tells Rawls, “Stick to operations." Kima and Lester pick up Chris and Snoop but are disappointed to see that the nail gun as well as any weapon they can link to any of the crimes have been disposed of. They get court-ordered blood and hair samples from the pair and hope for the best. McNulty starts to feel the lure of getting off the street beat and back into the detective business as he sees Marlo’s victims mount.

He also again reaches out to Bodie, who has finally had about enough of Marlo’s tactics as he sees the recovery of Little Kevin’s body and rants in public, even to the point of kicking out a squad car window and being taken into custody. McNulty gets Bodie released the next day and the two share a lunch, though Bodie insists he won’t be a snitch, though he insists that Marlo has to fall. "This game is rigged. We're like the little bitches on the chessboard," Bodie tells McNulty. Bodie says he’s been on the streets since he was 13 and he feels old. Alas, Marlo’s people have eyes everywhere and they saw Bodie with McNulty. Bodie know what’s coming and tries to make a last stand on his corner, despite Poot’s best efforts to get him out of there, but Bodie falls for good with a shot to the head. When McNulty learns of Bodie’s murder, it’s too much for him and he goes to Daniels and asks to be returned to MCU. "I think I can do this and keep myself away from myself," McNulty insists.

Following Omar’s takedown, Prop Joe is facing recriminations from his co-op compadres, but the slick operator is able to keep them at bay, though Marlo insists on meeting Prop Joe’s supplier who turns out to be none other than Spiros “Vondas” Vondopoulous (Paul Ben-Victor), who has returned to Baltimore at some point following the heat on him and The Greek at the end of Season 2 following Frank Sobotka’s murder. Marlo is satisfied and once he meets with a bailed-out Chris and Snoop, he tells them to wait until the heat dies down to give Omar what’s coming to him.

What Omar’s got coming to him at the moment is about $400,000 in drugs, which he spreads out among Butchie and his other friends before showing up at Prop Joe’s shop to offer to sell his package back to him at a profit — and to retrieve his now repaired clock. Colvin and Parenti get their meeting with Carcetti’s people, but the mayor’s staff show no interest whatsoever, arguing that the program sounds more like tracking than socialization. Colvin argues that they are “leavin’ em all behind anyway” but it falls on deaf ears. Colvin suspects that he’s a liability due to his failed drug legalization effort. Parenti doesn’t seem that upset, saying he can still produce a solid study for other academics to examine. Colvin is disappointed — he thought they were actually out to help these kids. “When does this shit change?” Bunny asks Parenti. Carcetti still has his own school-related problems, since he’s going to have to “eat shit” since the governor is still insisting on making him beg. Later, Norman meets Royce’s former chief of staff Coleman Parker (Cleo Reginald Pizana) for a drink and they watch a news report of Carcetti’s cowardice. They always disappoint you in the end, Parker tells Norman.

Colvin is determined to try to save at least one kid’s life and asks Cutty to see if Wee-Bey will meet with him where he asks Namond’s father to let him raise him. Wee-Bey seems reluctant in his meeting with Bunny, but later when De'Londa visits, he gives her the dressing down that she’s had coming for a long time and orders her to let Namond go. The dreaded test results arrive at Tilghman Middle School, where Prez learns more of the statistical games played with the test results. “Proficient” equals a student who is only two grades behind where he or she should be. “Advanced” means they are at their own grade level. Carver’s guilt continues to lead him to try to help Randy, but the system doesn’t allow for compassion or reason, telling him it would take four months to even approve Carver as a potential foster parent and Randy heads back to a group home — where he again gets beaten for being a snitch.

Prez goes out on the streets to look for Dukie, who he realizes has not ever shown up at his new school and is devastated to see that he’s landed on the corner as well, dealing for Michael. The only student who seems to be in a better place at the end of Season 4 than he was at the beginning is Namond, who has moved in with the Colvins and gets a honk and a wave from Donut, his finger healed and back to his car thieving ways. Under the Colvins' supervision, perhaps Namond has a chance to chart a different course for his life.

NOTE: Tomorrow I will post an analysis of Season 4 as a whole, so come back for that and let’s discuss what I think has turned out to be The Wire’s best season yet.

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