THE WIRE Project: Season 1, Disc 4 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE WIRE Project: Season 1, Disc 4

July 21, 2010 by  

The finish line is approaching quickly. After this week, The Wire Project winds down with the final two episodes of the show’s inaugural season. As promised, the discussion threads for each week will be maintained all summer, so you are welcome to jump in at your convenience!

Quick note for DirecTV subscribers: Channel 101 just started broadcasting THE WIRE’s full 60 episode run, so feel free to jump onboard with a simple click of your remote control. The show can also be obtained on DVD via Netflix or through the iTunes Store. Summer’s not over yet, and there is plenty of time to join the conversation!

Here is the layman’s perspective on “Game Day,” “The Cost,” and “The Hunt.” As always, the less than keen analysis is offered by yours truly and my friend Heather, a skilled attorney by day and adult spelling bee virtuouso by night.

Erik:  So, the first episode on this disc was based around a pickup basketball game.  It was bizarre seeing the projects empty

Heather: Yes, it was, but I found it charming that each dealer fielded a team.

E:  I welcomed the introduction of Proposition Joe, a new character who dared to dress like a professional against a backdrop of warmup suits

H:  A man who has the guts to swindle money out of Avon is a bold man, indeed. When you are handily winning at half-time and the other coach offers to double the bet, maybe it’s time to wonder what’s really going on.

E:  It’s surprising that no one threatened the ringers. Must be part of the code…There was some police work being done at the game, as Avon Barksdale was physically identified for the first time.

H:  Lester Freamon’s old boxing picture of him finally paid off.  That “chase” of Avon really made the cops look rather pathetic, even before he shook his finger at Daniels.

E:  The Baltimore PD could have used some GPS assistance, in a number of situations.  On the other hand, Avon’s steely exterior was shaken, as he recognized that the cops were getting closer

H:  Stringer pointed out something interesting, which is that the cops know Avon doesn’t have a license, but they don’t bother to bust him for driving without one.  And yet they chased him around town for no real reason.

E:  It reminded me of the botched attempt to keep the wiretaps going by letting Stinkum escape. The cops are underestimating the criminals’ intelligence.

H:  Absolutely. The police are the underdogs in this story – always a step behind, underestimating the opposition and with a much smaller budget.

E:  And yet, when the “real police” find the smallest of clues, they unearth buckets of information. For instance, Det. Lester Freamon and the inquiries into campaign donations…

H:  Again I get the feeling that we are just scratching the surface of what’s really going on, leading to the question of where Avon and Stringer’s money really comes from…Or where it really goes.

E:  First, a State Senator’s driver was found with $50,000 in his car, and now McNulty’s favorite judge has fallen out of favor with the party brass.

H: I can’t help but admire Avon and Stringer – they are astoundingly good at their jobs. Can we tap them to run GM?

E:  Production schedules would never fall behind, that’s for sure.  I’d love to read corporate memos written in drug dealer code

H:  It might be hard to run an organization that big with just beepers and pay phones, but if anyone could do it, it’s these two guys.

E:  They would stimulate the 1994 economy overnight

H:  Speaking of beepers, can we talk about my boy Omar totally squandering a very valuable opportunity?

E:  Omar goes to Prop Joe, trades drugs for Avon’s pager number, then has him dead to rights outside Orlando’s…An easier shot than the 3rd shooter behind the grassy knoll on JFK

H:  And blows it!! Dude! What happened there?  I knew intellectually that Avon probably doesn’t get killed in Season One, but I was so upset when Omar waited too long to strike – getting all Hamlet about it. Ugh.

E:  There was too much showmanship, and not enough marksmanship

H:  Exactly!

E:  I also figured Avon survived, but his empire has suffered some cracks. Can we talk about Wallace’s journey in these episodes?

H:  Contrary to my natural personality, I am totally spoiler-free for this series, so I say this with no authority whatsoever: Wallace is a dead man.

E:  So, you think he said a little too much…Both to D’ Angelo and to the cops

H:  Oh yes. Poor thing. He’s just a kid and he’s messed-up from Brandon’s death and lonely at Grandma’s and calling down to the pit every day, twice a day. You’d think Daniels would have said, “Hey, don’t call anyone you plan to testify against later.”

E:  Despite Daniels’ personal plea to Wallace, which I think was genuine, I do not think the cops did right by him. A poor kid, asked to provide sensitive information against a huge crime ring, is simply a pawn.

H: And the half-hearted way they said they’d put him in witness protection? So sad.

E:  I think D’ Angelo understood that Wallace was too smart and (sadly) too sensitive to play the game, so he wanted to arrange an exit.

H:  D’Angelo showed his softer side from early in the season, but Wallace seemingly took D’s cash and bought drugs.

E:  Wallace’s statements to the police also echoed D’ Angelo’s reaction when the cops asked him to write a letter to the murdered witness’ family earlier in the season

H:  …And Wallace refused to tell them about D’Angelo confessing/bragging about that girl’s murder, saying only that D’Angelo had been good to him.

E:  Just like D’Angelo protected the two young kids who had been stealing from him in the yard.

H:  In sharp contrast to Wallace, I did not feel remotely sorry for Orlando in these episodes. He was totally asking for trouble and I did not mind when he found it. What an idiot.

E:  Clayton LeBouef did a decent job as Orlando, but Avon was right. You can’t be the clean front man if you’re messing around with things that could get you a rap sheet .  Unfortunately, Orlando’s attempts to cooperate in the investigation had grave consequences, leading to the shooting of Detective Kima Griggs

H:  That scene with Griggs and Orlando in the car was so tense, I could barely stand it. The show really “ominous-ed” it up, leaving no room to doubt that something horrible was about to happen.

E:  I watched it a second time after that episode was over, and I think it helped that it played out without background noise. We understood what Kima was saying about it not “feeling” right

H:  I read somewhere that there is never background music in The Wire.  I cannot believe how tense and scared they made me feel without using the canned musical cues…Then listening to the tape later, at the hospital? I can see why McNulty threw up.

E:  The gathering at the hospital really felt authentic to me. Even Major Rawls showed some loyalty to McNulty, despite their differences. It was a chilling reminder of the dangers of their jobs, and Kima’s reputation among her peers

H: Both this sequence and the last scene of episode ten, where you can’t hear what anyone is saying because of the sounds of the helicopter, and McNulty is holding Kima and the other cops are freaking out, were both very well done, very powerful.

E: Intangibles are the X factor of great dramas. Even a well-written program or procedural can seem bland or dispassionate without endearing characters. Kima going down was the perfect vehicle to get the cops moving and the audience crying

H: It was interesting to see the various reactions to her shooting – Stringer and Avon angry because Little Man got carried away and shot a cop; McNulty coming apart at the seams; the higher-ups demanding immediate arrests and “dope on the table”; Herc and Carver stealing…

E: You hit on the big picture, which is how the stakes were raised once a police officer was shot. It backed up D’ Angelo’s theory that the cops don’t care about drugs, just casualties.

H: Especially if the casualty is one of their own. Wee Bey having to leave town as a consequence led to one of the most interesting moments, to me, when D’Angelo goes to Wee Bey’s house and you can tell that he is thinking he is about to get killed, when really, he’s just there to fish-sit.

E: Very Godfather-ish

H: Yes. Except in the Godfather, he really would have been killed. Probably garroted in the passenger seat of a car.

E: Last topic: Kima gets shot, the world turns upside down for cops and criminals alike. However, the course of action that is taken by the Powers That Be is too knock down every drug door in sight, get “dope on the table” and wrap things up…as if sending a message was more important than prosecuting real cases

H: I loved that Daniels’ response to the senseless posturing of , “We have to show them who we are” was, “Who the hell ARE we?”

E: Daniels has proven to be a bigger bad ass than I anticipated, the product of a savvy story arc and Lance Reddick’s considerable talents

H: I keep remembering that that FBI agent warned McNulty that Daniels is on the take and I just cannot believe it.

E: He doesn’t fit the profile, and I’m wondering who would benefit from spreading that kind of information

H: Ooh! Good call! I didn’t even think of that! I thought the money could be his wife’s and the FBI just doesn’t know it. Your theory is even better.

E: I honestly don’t know who to pin the blame on, but as a rising African American star who seems to respect the rule of law, Daniels’ has superiors who don’t seem inclined to assist his climb up the ladder…and if the money were Mrs. Daniels’, they’d be stealing a plot line from Lethal Weapon 4.

H: Very true. They gave Daniels’ the wiretaps and it’s a definite Catch-22 position.

E: Right, as if to say, “Get us what we want, but don’t push your luck”

H: Yes. Please arrest some people, very quickly, using no money, and then get back to your “real” job.

E: Next week, the final 2 episodes of Season 1, along with more discussion of our favorite junkie, Bubbles

H: Hopefully he remains our favorite EX-junkie.

E: Quick question: What would you like to discover in the final 2 episodes?

H: The most obvious is to see Kima wake up. I’m most worried about Wallace; I almost don’t want to see how that resolves. And you?

E: Those two are the most important for me, too. I’m also curious how David Simon provides a plausible way for Daniels’ crew to “stand down” yet continue this war into a 2nd season.

What themes are becoming most important to you as the season evolves? Are you surprised by the behavior of any particular characters? Were you startled by the events surrounding Kima’s shooting? What stories would you like to see wrapped up in the final two episodes?

THE WIRE Project: Start Over With GMMR
THE WIRE Project: Season 1, Disc 1
THE WIRE Project: Season 1, Disc 2
THE WIRE Project: Season 1, Disc 3

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