Wednesday, March 7, 2012


You can't say we didn't see it coming in this week's episode of The Wire, "The Cost." In retrospect, all they had to do was claim that [are we beyond spoiler protection here?] was several days short of retirement/promotion to complete the cliche grand slam of Foreshadowing That An Officer Will Die, but, still damn.

Three main plots this week -- the pieces coming together for the police through its informants and surveillance work, the Omar detente (via Prop Joe, claiming he never met Omar before), and Bubbles' struggles for sobriety -- and there's still room for so much more: the politics of Baltimore, both in judicial elections and that snippet of a Clay Davis rally; D'Angelo's home improvement; McNulty's visitation schedule; and Maury Levy, the most no-bullshit lawyer in Baltimore. "Is that what you want me to tell him? That I asked you to sign and you wouldn't?"

This episode made me truly appreciate just how deep and rich this show's universe is. Just, wow. And, of course, damn. That was inevitable in a show this real, but it doesn't make it not hurt.

Let's parley in the comments.


  1. Marsha10:28 AM

    Is it pathetic that I'm holding out hope that she's not actually dead? I mean, we're still calling for medics when the episode ends, right? RIGHT?!?!?!

    You know, when she was telling that story in the bar, I knew something bad was coming, but I gasped just the same. This show is going to take its toll on me.

    I have more to say later, but the bit with Wallace and Daniels at the farmhouse ("Cricket?" "Crickets.") was so on the nose, and yet managed to make me cry anyway, such is my investment in Wallace.

  2. I know that 10 weeks or so ago all the vets commented about how jealous we were of foilks getting to see this for the first time, but I want to say also that it's such a pleasure to see new fans fall in love with, and appreciate, the show.

  3. isaac_spaceman10:56 AM

    It doesn't do it all that often, but this episode depicts confusion -- fog-of-war-type stuff, compounding-errors-type stuff -- better than anything else.  All of the "where are we"/"where is she" stuff built and built, and supplied all the tension that another show would try to do synthetically with soundtrack.  I don't mean to denigrate soundtrack music, because a nice deep bass hum can do amazing things (like in that episode of West Wing where Zoe Bartlet gets kidnapped, where the bass-drum loop starts as ambient music in the club and turns ominous just through sheer repetition), but it can also be pushy and manipulative.  Here, it was just great work by the actors and a career performance by a film editor whose name we don't even know.       

  4. I just couldn't believe that Kima would end up being shot, that I refused to believe the warning signs.  As a plot point, it makes sense, just as it could have happened in real life, but in most TV shows, someone like Kima would be "safe," because she's a great character.

  5. Andrew11:24 AM

    Kate Sanford edited this episode (she won an Eddie Award for her work on the first episode of season 4 of The Wire, and most recently has been an editor for Boardwalk Empire). Brad Anderson directed it. His other credits include the film Transsiberian, a regular work directing Fringe, as well as episodes of The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, Homicide, Treme and The Killing.

  6. isaac_spaceman11:53 AM

    I said we don't know -- I didn't say you didn't know.  Anyway, now I know. 

  7. I think I forgot to breathe during those moments of desperate confusion as to where is she, what's happening, etc. It is rare for a show to birng the viewer in so closely where you feel almost a synergy with the characters and the emotions they are experiencing -- as if you're giong through it with them, and this episode did it.

    The balance of hope you feel when Wallace is brought out to the country and you can see that he has an out, with the devestation of seeing Kima shot and possibly dead at the end is just brilliant.

  8. This episode and next week are when the show "really" clicked for me.  After these 2, if you aren't hooked you might as well give it up.

    Not that I can understand how anyone wouldn't be hooked by this point.

  9. This was the episode that finally got me hooked.  I was interested up until then, but this was the first one where I absolutely had to watch the next episode right away.  Not just because it was a cliffhanger ending, but because I'd come to like Kima so much.  And I agree with Isaac, the confusion was done perfectly - a slow building of tension as we realize that things are not going how they're supposed to go, that something is wrong...and then the reveal that street signs get turned around in that area all the time just for that very purpose.  Chilling.

  10. Andrew12:40 PM

    I didn't know until looking it up. Now I know. Now we know. And knowing is half the battle. 

  11. Marsha12:44 PM

    The only thing that kept me from immediatley watching the next episode was pure exhaustion - I can't watch this show when I'm too tired, because I miss stuff. I'll probably finish the season in one sitting after this.

  12. Anonymous1:34 PM

    I love every little scene in this episode, including Bubbs enjoying the little things in life (including a fresh clean shirt), and his talks with Walon and Kima; the garbage collection. I love learning that the goal of putting a wire on Omar for the parley was for him to try to get Stringer to name Barksdale -- and that they taught me that through Kima's and Jimmy's two sentence exchange after the fact, rather than showing them setting Omar up with those instructions beforehand.

    I've seen this (and all the other) episode at least 3 times since the beginning of this year and I'm amazed at how much more I learn and understand each time.

  13. janet1:35 PM

    My browser remembered my avatar but not my name.

  14. Maggie1:44 PM

    I watched Season 1 a few years ago and stalled out in the middle of Season 2, so I've been meaning to get back in by rewatching Season 1 along with ya'll.  I finally started last night and it took all of my will power not to stay home from work today to watch 9 episodes of Season 1 to get caught up with these discussions. 

    Everyone's comments about these episodes have been so interesting...

  15. I think they do the ex post explanation frequently.  For the last 18 months or so I've been introducing the series to a friend (she must not like it that much, since she didn't want to devour all of it at once.  But it's our regular get together).  If something's confusing, I will try to explain it, only to watch as it is clarified within the same scene or so. 

  16. Deanna9:36 PM

    Yep. I ended up watching the next few after this one. I have only one left in season 1, dang it.

    I am now that person who asks everyone I know if they've seen The Wire. (They haven't.)

  17. There was a similar "undercover gets shot after follow car gets lost" scene in Blue Bloods last week. 

    It just made me appreciate the artistry of The Wire so much more.