Wednesday, April 4, 2012

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 ...


  1. Maret9:07 AM

    Bodie's reaction to hearing Garrison Keillor on the radio makes me laugh just thinking about it.

  2. Anonymous9:54 AM

    Deep breath, be calm.  Simon knows what he's doing.  I read an interview (which you should absolutely not seek out if you don't want a whole lot spoiled) with Michael Kenneth Williams after the show's run had finished, in which he talks about having the same reaction when season 2 started, then looking back on it realized what the story they were trying to tell was, and why this was integral to it.  Baltimore's more than a couple high rises.  We're getting there.

  3. Jordan9:55 AM

    That was me

  4. It will be OK.

    But now is when you start to get what the show is really about.

  5. Season 2 starts off r-e-a-l-l-y slow, but it picks up.

  6. isaac_spaceman10:58 AM

    I imagine it would be quite a bit harder to watch this season if you had already seen Frank Sobotka (Sobodka?) as the sheriff's deputy on True Blood.  I never ended up caring about the docks like I cared about the central institutions of Seasons 1, 3, and 4, but something about Season 2 improved for me when I watched it the second time.

  7. Each season starts this way, throwing you into a brand new world with new characters and expecting you to catch up.
    When it happens at the start of Season 2, it's devastating because you're not expecting it.
    When it happens at the start of Season 3, it's annoying, but you're used to it.
    When it happens at the start of Season 4, it's fantastic, and you're excited for it.
    When it happens at the start of Season 5, it's annoying again, because you want to spend more time in Season 4.

    Everything will be okay. Think how excited you were for a new location on Game of Thrones' intro. Same idea here.
    Actually, someone needs to put together a GoT intro for The Wire- zooming to different parts of Balitmore.

  8. I loved season 2.  It's my second favorite season of the 5, actually.  I think the blue-collar nature of the Sobotka storyline spoke more to me, since it's a bit closer to my own personal background - but it's also because (as Jordan quoted MKW) this is where the full scope of Simon and Burns' vision starts to come together.  It's not just about a police department and some drug dealers - it's about how ALL the systems interact.

  9. Alan Sepinwall11:27 AM

    "<span>Actually, someone needs to put together a GoT intro for The Wire- zooming to different parts of Balitmore."</span>

    Oh, God. Now there is nothing more I want to see in all the world. Internet, get on it!

  10. When I first watched the series, I had heard that each season was separate, so I wasn't expecting so many of the familiar 1st season folks to return in the story. Finding out they do/did was a relief.

    That said, season 2 having such a different locale and community of people at its core was disconcerting to me the first time, and after just once through the series, my memory was that it was my least favorite season. But having recently watched it again, knowing the big arcs of people and themes ahead, and reading Alan's veteran version with each episode, I have to say that 2 has become one of my favorites. 

    So much fun and genius ahead! I can't believe how much more one can get from multiple re-watchings -- and I thank these weekly ALOTT5A posts for giving me the reason to do it!

  11. Wow, this show knows how to dump you in the deep end and see if you can swim.  I had heard that each season of The Wire had a different focus, so I was prepared to go somewhere else - but not necessarily for being tossed into that many new characters and union politics at once. 

    First thoughts on seeing Amy Ryan:
    1. Wow, is that Amy Ryan?
    2. That's Amy Ryan! She's awesome, I hope she sticks around all season.

    My husband and I have a tradition of watching each episode and then reading Alan's "newbies" recap right after, which is so helpful, especially in the early episodes of the season.   

  12. Andrew12:37 PM

    This first episode of season 2 is definitely a bit jarring in introducing all of these new characters on the docks who have a very different and distinct world from the police and the street that we're already familiar with. The rhythms of speech are different, the culture is different. It is a jarring transition. But don't worry, we haven't abandonded anyone from the first season, well, except for Det. Sydnor, who doesn't eppear in season 2.

  13. I like season 2 a lot, too, though it took me to the final episode to realize it.  While the series as a whole often is described as like Dickens or Tolstoy, I think of 2 as more Shakespearean. 

  14. Marsha2:25 PM

    I dont' even feel qualified to comment on anything yet, as I have almost no idea of what was going on in that episode. I am sure it will all become clear, but man, this one was tough. There was a lot of discussion here at the beginning of season 1 about how disoriented we were supposed to be then, but I feel much, much more confused by this episode than I was at the beginning of season 1.

    What has changed, of course, is that now I have faitht hat it will be worth it and that all will be revealed.

    And I have broken down and bought the box set of DVDs because I'm having trouble reliably getting from the library, and I can't stand watching them without captions on my computer.

  15. Definitely true.  On first viewing Season 2 feels out of place, but since seeing the whole show and having rewatched the whole show once already, this season improves immensely.

  16. One thing I remember really liking about season 2, and you see it here in the very first episode, is how truly integrated the docks seem to be. The different crews all have black people and white people working together intimately (hanging out in that converted container, for instance). In the bar, even half of the realy old guys are black.

  17. I love season 2, also -- and at times it is my favorite of the seasons.  Chris Bauer (Frank Sobotka) is one of the best actors in the series, and as has been said, this is when you realize just how many layers there will be.

  18. At this time Amy Ryan was a relative unknown -- it's actually jarring for me to see her on other shows now.  Ryan speaks about being a fan of the show and how amazing it was for her to be on the set for the first time shooting, like walking right into a story you love.

  19. isaac_spaceman9:04 PM

    And also you're not going to watch the series just once.

  20. I watched Ep 1 and Ep 2 back to back and that helped a lot.

  21. Marsha2:16 PM

    I expect I'll be exhausted at the end of all this and it'll take me a while to revisit them, but no, not just once.