IT'S ALL ABOUT SELF-PRESERVATION, JIMMY. SOMETHING YOU NEVER LEARNED: Um, who replaced half the cast of season one of The Wire with all these douchebags? And why isn't the band back together?
Welcome back to Baltimore, and "Ebb Tide" (Sepinwall, Ariano) shows us the characters at one. McNulty is exactly where he doesn't want to be, Daniels is in the evidence room, Kima's behind a desk, Avon's behind bars, and the only folks who seem happy with their lot in life are the police higher-ups whose jobs are secure, and who don't understand why Prez keeps trying to be Real Police when he could quietly move up and have a protected career.
Meanwhile, who are all these new people, and why do they insist on showing off their penises? (Okay, one penis.) At least the presence of a lot of dead bodies gives us a clear path forward in the season, but I'm about as lost as Bodie is driving in a clearly fake "Philadelphia" (seriously, it doesn't cost that much to drive up I-95 and film here; that exit sign could not have been less authentic), trying to find the familiar stations on my radio.
(Oh, hi Amy Ryan! What are you doing here?)
Get on the party boat, gang, because we've got another season to watch, even if Bubbles, Lester, Dee, Omar, Rhonda, Maury, and so many of our friends seem missing. Veterans, we may need some hand-holding today while we wait for our meeting with Senator Mikulski ...