Wednesday, May 16, 2012

YOU WANT THE ARRANGEMENT TO LOOK LIKE A HIGH-RISE HOUSING PROJECT? Just when I thought the dark comedy of The Wire couldn't get any darker, it went there.

"Backwash" (Sepinwall, Ariano) generally feels like more of the same: everyone's stuck in the game they're playing, with little** way out.  Frank Sobotka increasingly desperate in trying to preserve a dangerous way of life that he knows is already gone; Stringer Bell making business decisions devoid of emotion (and without or despite Avon's advice); the police doing their best to figure out what's going on in the port, but they're not going to be able to clear the big case in this modern urban crime environment. Oh, and Prop Joe has a proposition for you. (What's new? Almost no McNulty.)

But yet again, it's Desperate Frank Sobotka with the best moment:

SOBOTKA: All summer long, that shit was all the Hare kids drank, Tang with breakfast, Tang with lunch, Tang when they woke up scared in the middle of the night. What do you think they grew up to be? Stevedores. What the fuck you think? Something tells me Jason DiBiagio will grow up and squeeze a buck the way his old man did.

DIBIAGIO: You're outta line, Frank. My great-grandfather was a knife sharpener. Yeah. Pushed a grinding stone up Preston Street to Alice-Ann, one leg shorter than the other from pumping the wheel. And since he didn't want his sons to push the goddamn thing, he made sure my grandfather finished high school and my old man went to any college that would take him.

SOBOTKA: You're talking history, right? I'm talking now. Because down here, it's still "Who's your old man?" 'Til you got kids of your own and then it's, "Who's your son?" But after the horror movie I seen today... Robots! Piers full of robots! My kid'll be lucky if he's even punchin' numbers five years from now. And while it don't mean shit to me that I can't take my steak knives to DiBiagio and Sons, it breaks my fucking heart that there's no future for the Sobotkas on the waterfront! Here, Brucie. [Pulls out the shoebox filled with cash.] I think they're your size. 
I'm operating under the assumption that because of your relentless diligence, the funding for the grain pier is gonna pass the Assembly. But I'm also talking about the canal, so you're gonna talk about the canal, so the Muldoons who run the Old Line State, they're gonna talk about he canal 'til someday, someway, that motherfucker gets dredged and we get some ships in here.
Those ships, of course, will never come.

** Not none. That's what makes Shardene stand out.


  1. isaac_spaceman11:16 AM

    I don't really want to think about what the thesis is if the only person who gets out of the game does it by being a beautiful younger woman who hooks up with an older man who is not in the game.  That is not a particularly positive message either. 

  2. isaac_spaceman11:19 AM

    By the way, I am saying that from the perspective of this exact moment in the series, and I am not saying (a) that nobody else gets out; (b) that anybody else gets out, whether in the same or in a different way than Shardene; or (c) that Shardene's story is or is not finished. 

  3. I choose to think of it not as "Shardene got out" but that Cool Lester Smooth is just that awesome.

  4. Marsha12:36 PM

    Keeping my eyes closed here - just wanted to say that I'm now two weeks behind on The Wire, and will catch up as soon as my life lets up a bit... sorry...

  5. Fine, I'll say it:  Tyrion beheads Shardeen in season/book 4, "A Smattering of Schoolkids."

  6. isaac_spaceman3:29 PM

    You can't like that, Alan -- it's both book and future.  You are setting a bad example for your own commenters. 

  7. Randy4:41 PM

    Some women just like brash, tweedy impertinence.