Hamsterdam: As good as the show has been to this point, I was not prepared the show to be this brutal in showing the failings of Bunny Colvin's noble experiment. Yes, it cleaned up the corners he wanted to clean up, with demonstrable (and therefore suspicious) results at the COMSTAT meetings, but at what human cost? We saw the powerful scene of the hell of Hamsterdam at night, and it took Carver, the Deacon, and Clarence Clemons to make him realize the ways in which Hamsterdam made the toll worse in ways, and how much more needed to be, and could be done to alleviate the problems of crime and drug addiction.
Barksdale Organization: String's just trading one game for another, isn't he? Again, brutal honesty on how corruptly the federal grant and minority contractor laws can be implemented, as Clay Davis teaches him about his new reality. Avon, as he said, remains a gangster at heart and isn't into the New Day Co-Op or any of the nonviolent means of accumulating wealth; he wants his corners back, period. Sepinwall has stressed how much of the Avon-Marlo plot is intended as an Iraq War allegory regarding underestimating how to deal with insurgencies (this aired in fall 2004), and I think that's all we can say about that.
Obviously, Stringer's admission that he ordered D'Angelo's murder will have consequences. I would not want to be on Brianna's wrong side. Way to go, McNulty -- and that scene with the two of them was devastating. (Also, hello Snoop Pearson. I understand we'll see more of you.)
Major Crimes Unit: Man, it's fun seeing Prez be so damn competent. I am enjoying the investigation tracing back the burner phones, but lack confidence into its leading anywhere productive.
Cutty: Stop giving me hope, David Simon. It's The Wire. Don't make me believe this can end well.
Carcetti: I've never seen a politician enjoying looking at his face quite this much before. What a swirl of ego and good intentions.