Wednesday, June 20, 2012

LAMBS GO TO SLAUGHTER. A MAN, HE LEARNS WHEN TO WALK AWAY:  We learn some surprising things in "Port in a Storm," which ends season two of The Wire, and since some folks are still catching up, let's go below the fold.

The Greek isn't really Greek, and Vondas isn't really Vondas. Seemingly corrupt FBI agent Kourtis isn't corrupt -- more like just selfish (and, again, the feds only seem to care about terrorism, not drugs.) And the case that wasn't ever supposed to be cleared -- the dead girls in the shipping canister -- got cleared after all.  Good Police may be a step too late to knock off these kingpins on the big crimes (just as they were last season), but at least a few knights and bishops will be suffering. For now.

One of the things this episode stresses, of course, is that nothing really changes. The Greek's drug supply might be delayed for a week, but there will always be more men to move the product, sell the product, and buy the product.  Neither Greggs nor Daniels has found a balance between work life and home, and I fear for both their relationships.  And the three Sobotka men (who I referred to as "knuckleheads" in my first reaction to the season) are locked into their tragic fates -- dead, condemned, and wholly unmoored, respectively.

Still, Good Police gets to stick around after this case is over, as part of Daniels' new Major Crimes Unit, and the Stringer-Prop Joe distribution network seems as vulnerable as ever. We'll presumably return to them next week, and the sheer awesomeness of Lester and Bunk, but for now, I'm still haunted by that shot of Nick Sobotka talking to the police, as his head blurs and we see his father's face staring over his shoulder.  What a great season of television.


  1. I noticed that shot of Nick/Frank too - and also noticed that they returned to that framing more than once, even if they didn't push the focus to Frank's picture again.

    And you may be worried about Daniels' current relationship, but I do not worry about his prospects for another one - Lord have mercy, Lance Hendricks clad only in boxer shorts was quite the sight to behold. (Sue me; I can be shallow. But it's not like the director didn't give me exactly that shot for the duration of the phone call.)

    I was struck by exactly how stupid Valchek is - it surprised me that for someone that's risen to where he has in that organization that he doesn't realize what a bad, bad move it is to inflict the punishment he does on Prez. Making Prez write a letter of apology to each person who witnessed the punch? If I got one of those letters I would laminate it and keep it around for whenever I need a laugh. I mean, really, in a setting that can be as macho as I imagine a police force being, Valchek handled that situation completely wrong. He's only going to be elevating Prez's status and weakening his own authority. If I thought any of his men had even a shred of respect left for him, it would certainly be entirely gone after that boneheaded reaction. Did I miss or am I not remembering the backstory as to how Valchek got to where he is?

    My thought on the season as a whole: normally I watch mystery/detective/procedural stories for those tiny moments when everything comes together. What I really enjoyed about this season was that it was the exact opposite - you're watching for the split seconds, the near misses, the bits that add up to the case falling apart in the most mundane ways possible.

  2. Marsha11:36 AM

    I'm not sure it's worth being worried about Daniels's relationship anymore - he's sleeping in another room, and it's unclear that there's anything left there to salvage. It wouldn't surprise em to open season 3 with them officially separated. Kima's relationship, on the other hand, is saveable, and they're having a kid, so she really needs to get her head straight and figure out if she's in or she's out.

    Completely agree with Watts on the final paragraph (though the "like" was for Daniels in boxers). The Wire creates such interesting messes. As I've said before, I love that we know so much more than they do, such that we can see the consequences of their actions and they can't. It's so interesting to watch them be felled by things that not only are out of their control, but out of their knowledge - one fed protecting a CI brings down big pieces of their investigation, and they don't even really know what's going on, just that the crooks are one step ahead of them. Fascinating.

    The image of Nick with Frank over his shoulder haunts me, but to me, an even bigger tragedy is seeing Beadie go back to her transport police job. She showed so much natural talent, and so much love for the work, and here she is back at the docks with her slow patrol and her headphones on. Nothing ever changes for police, too. Sigh.

  3. When Fitz told Daniels that the leak wasn't one of Daniels's men, I loved the reaction shot from Hendricks, showing that that information was cold, cold comfort.

  4. Adam C.4:27 PM

    Not to get all librarian on you, but it's Lance Reddick, not Hendricks.

  5. Watts5:17 PM

    Is there a Lance Hendricks? How have I consistently gotten the man's name wrong?  I looked up the character name and completely ignored the actor's.  Thanks for the correction.

  6. Watts5:21 PM

    Also: I claim fuzzy-headedness as a result of prolonged exposure to sculpted masculine torso.

    Talk to me after I see "Magic Mike" and I probably won't know MY OWN name.

  7. Adam C.6:47 PM

    There's a Lance Henriksen, of Aliens and Millennium and Pumpkinhead fame, so maybe that's who you were thinking of?