Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I WOULDN'T WIPE MY ASS WITH A BALTIMORE LAWYER. NO OFFENSE:  So that's what it looks like -- for better and for worse -- when Baltimore police leadership gets engaged.  In this week's Wire, "The Hunt" (Sepinwall, Ariano), we see the aftermath of Kima's shooting from both sides -- mostly from the police trying to (a) find the shooters and (b) at least get some "dope on the table" to show the Barksdale organization that they're fighting back. Lester and the team show off just how far their surveillance has taken them, and it's a really satisfying moment when Lester gets to introduce himself to leadership and explain where he had been assigned.

But, of course, Avon and Stringer are at least a half-step ahead, and they've got plans for Savino, Little Man, and Wee-Bey ... and, of course, Wee-Bey has plans for his fish, in a scene where we're not quite sure why Dee has the dread that he does, but he does.

The one detail which police missed, sadly, was Bubbs. Both in terms of Detective Holley assuming ill motives when he saw Bubbs paging Kima with a 911, and then with McNulty in no way recognizing why Bubbs hadn't been down in the projects for awhile when he dispatches him there for some truly quality observational work. This does not bode well for his new-found sobriety.


  1. isaac_spaceman10:44 AM

    Every episode this season has one of my favorite scenes, I think, but I do love the scene in the hospital with Rawls and McNulty.  And I'm a complete sucker for the post-shooting knock-on-the-door scenes, whether in cop shows or war movies.

    Poor Bubbles.  It's not just McNulty failing to recognize his sobriety that is sad.  I think part of what lays him so low is that that McNulty fails to recognize Bubbles's grief at Kima's shooting, which means that McNulty doesn't think of him either as part of his team or even as a whole person. 

  2. Chin Music1:13 PM

    I haven't been paying attention to the Grantland tournament of Wire characters because I don't want to be spoiled as to what characters are coming or who might become important, but to this point I would say that Bubbles would win my bracket.  Even if McNulty didn't think of him as a whole person, he is one of the most whole characters on a show (or 3/4 of a season) full of them.

  3. Maggie2:29 PM

    I thought that Wee Bey and D were on their way to kill Little Man, which is why D was freaking out.  I didn't dawn on me until seeing the look of relief on D's face when Wee Bey flipped on the lights that D thought he was about to be killed.  And nothing broke my heart more than finding out that Wallace was missing the Pit so much...

  4. I absolutely love the two Rawls/McNulty scenes in this episode - the one at the shooting scene and the one at the hospital.  They really round out Rawls as a character.  The way he gets everybody in line and organized at the scene shows how he rose to where he is, and the way he talks to McNulty - well,  you know he still doesn't like the guy and never will, but he's also not going to let a good police sit there and feel all the guilt about this situation.  I didn't come out of this episode liking Rawls more, but I did admire him a bit after that.

    And the bit with Bubbs was heartbreaking - the way Jimmy can't see that he's been trying to get clean, and the way you just know that $20 Jimmy hands over is going to drugs.  In the run of this series, it's one of my greatest hopes to see Bubbs get and stay clean.  Somehow I just don't see it happening, though.

  5. Carmichael Harold2:56 PM

    I agree with all of this.  I think it's an interesting parallel that (as you mention) our hero is so myopic as to be unable to recognize the humanity in Bubbles, while Rawls, who, to date has come across as almost a villain, is able to set aside his personal issues with McNulty in order recognize his basic humanity.

  6. isaac_spaceman3:27 PM

    I don't see Rawls's exchange with McN as recognizing his humanity.  I think that Rawls's principal loyalty (after loyalty to himself) is to the police force as an institution.  It is important to him to punish McN for failing the institution with his insubordinance (etc.), but McN is still part of the institution, and therefore still part of what R wants to protect against the outside world.  Add to that the more important goal of retaliating against the outside world (the gangs) for what they did to an insider. 

  7. Carmichael Harold3:57 PM

    While I would broadly agree with what you wrote about Rawls's loyalty, and would imagine that Rawls would defend McNulty's actions in that circumstance to people outside of the force, I'm not sure I understand why it would drive him to make that speech to McNulty.  In other words, I'm not sure why loyalty to the force would make Rawls try to prevent McNulty from beating himself up for this.  

    I guess another potential reading of the scene that doesn't require Rawls to see humanity in McNulty, is that Rawls has come to be so irritated with McNulty's egocentrism, to find it so anathema to what is required of someone on the force, that he's not willing to put up with it even if it would serve to punish McNulty.

    In any event, I hadn't considered the loyalty angle before, and definitely will next time I watch it.

  8. isaac_spaceman9:16 PM

    Maybe loyalty is the wrong word, but I think Rawls's world view requires that when a criminal kills a cop, the cops close ranks, support each other completely, and use all of their energy to get the people who did it.  To Rawls, McNulty is a disgrace as a cop, but no cop, shitty or otherwise, is going to carry the weight for a criminal shooting a copy. 

  9. isaac_spaceman9:17 PM

    [last word:  cop]

  10. Carmichael Harold9:39 PM

    I think that's right. I think there's also more to say on this subject that can be held to further to a little further along in the series for fear of spoiling.

  11. Marsha11:02 PM

    For me, we pretty much have a tie between Bubbles and Freamon. That line reading on "pawn shop division" (or whatever he said) was frickin' fantastic.

  12. Marsha11:03 PM

    But there's that little glimmer of hope - at the end of the episode, he's still got the $20.

  13. A few thoughts:
    1. I really liked how Rawls turned the sign around at the scene. There hasn't been much or anything to like about him to date, but we see him doing good police work there, noticing the small things that were a key to how the disaster went down. It's a good example of the show "showing" us something about him rather than "telling" us about him, namely that he's good at his job which is at least part of why he's where he is.
    2. There are lots of good management lessons here (one of my keys to the show). Certainly Rawls and McN (whether he's doing it bc he cares for McN or the institution, even if it isn't intentional, he knows that McN is really good police and that the force needs him on the case, not losing himself in his grief or the bottle), but also Stringer and Avon as always -- there's a problem, it needs to be fixed, without regard to personal feelings. String owns up to his mistake right away, doesn't beat around the bush or try to excuse himself; that's what engenders loyalty and gets you promoted.
    3. I think De doesn't know why it's going on, but he knows that walking into a dark house with Bey is NOT a good position to be in. It doesn't matter why. Remember earlier in the car when Bey says something like, "I just do what I'm told; it's not for me to figure what they're thinking about."