Monday, March 10, 2008

The Wire: Series Finale

I didn't get around to watching any of "The Wire" until a few months ago, when I went on a wire binge, bought the first three seasons on DVD and watched the fourth On Demand in the time it takes for Tony Soprano to fall off the fidelity bandwagon. Safe to say it quickly became one of my favorite shows of all time, and even though I've only been a fan for a scant few months, I'm sad to see it depart. The writing in particular is arguably the best I've ever seen/heard on TV.

"The Wire" never ceased to amaze me with its incredibly large cast of characters, and how each of their lives intersected, but even more so than that each character was defined, had a true personality. With literally dozens of people to keep track of--from the lowest grade school pusher to the mayor of Baltimore--you could know each person just from their language and cadences. Baltimore in "The Wire" felt like a real world.

And in the end, as many expected, everything came full circle. The crap got recycled. Just to recap (I can't call these spoilers, since the show's run its course):

--McNulty gets booted, but redeems himself with Helene McCready (I mean Beadie Russell). Quits the booze, quits the broads, learns to play Sorry! with her kids. A little too neat, considering I wouldn't have been shocked if McNulty ate his own gun at the end of the show. But Beadie deserved happiness, so good for them.

--Lester retires to make his wooden chachkis, alongside D'Angelo Barksdale's stripper ex-girlfriend. Go figure.

--Kima and Bunk appear to be partners. There wasn't any real drama as to what was going to happen to either of these characters, but it was a nice scene at the end where Lester and McNulty absolve Kima for ratting them out.

--Daniels is out, Rhonda is up. I thought Daniels's arc was especially interesting, since in seaosn 1 he's installed as head of the Major Crimes Unit because he's a 'yes man', and ends up leaving his job because he refuses to be one. Though we never learn what dirt Nerise and Burrell had on Daniels. Call it a five season long McGuffin.

--Bubbles is finally allowed out of the basement. One of the more poignant--and pertinent--moments was when Bubbles was talking to Walon about the newspaper article, wondering why so much ink is spilled on a reformed addict when all he's doing now is what he should have been doing all along. People with integrity don't get press in Baltimore, just the people who screw up. (wait, is that just in Baltimore?)

--Carcetti proves that extramarital fling in season three wasn't an isolated incident; the guy's soul is corrupted. But now he's Governor, and if there's a "Wire" reunion in five years, he'll probably be president. And Norman laughing like a hyena when Carcetti learns Bitey McBiterton wasn't real--priceless. 

--No Clay Davis! Boo! Seriously, if Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (who plays Davis) doesn't get an Emmy nod, there's no justice in this world. His courtroom monologue was simply one of the greatest speeches in TV history. It was brilliant yet horrifying, because you knew everyone on the jury was eating it up. And when he turned his pockets out, and the camera showed Pearlman looking stunned, you knew all that work was for nothing.

--Carver is up at the BPD, Herc is up with Levy. Speaking of which, I never bought that Levy couldn't put 2 and 2 together and realize Herc was the "anonymous source" who turned over Marlo's cell number. How many other options were there? 

--Rawls is head of the Maryland State Police, Stan Valchek is the new commissioner, Nerise Davis is the new mayor. I still love the brief scene at the end of season two where Valchek is looking at the photo of Sobotka's purloined van, and realizes, too late, that it was a pretty good joke. And still we don't know why Rawls popped up in that gay bar in season three. Obviously it was meant to shock, but it never went anywhere. Since we never learn a thing about Rawls's personal life, it felt a little too manipulative looking back (SLEDGEHAMMER OF PLOT: Everyone has secrets!!!).

--Landsman is Landsman, and you're soulless if you didn't get a little emotional during his speech at McNulty's "funeral". Amidst all the bluster, you knew that when Landsman says he'd want McNulty to catch his case, it might have been the only sincere and heartfelt thing Landsman has said all series.

--Leander is the new McNulty, already leaning on judges. I never cared much for Leander; he was one of the few characters who felt underdeveloped. And his cracking of Marlo's code, talk about lucky...

--And at the Sun, Gus is down, Alma is out, Templeton is the golden boy even though even though everyone, his bosses included, know he's full of poop. This didn't sit right by me. I can't imagine anyone willfully ignoring Templeton's now proven B.S., especially when so many could easily blow the whistle. And if Clark Johnson doesn't get an Emmy nod for Gus...ugh, who are we kidding. This show will get Emmy nods right around the same time the media stops covering Paris Hilton blowing her nose.

--Chris is in prison for life. Snoop is dead. Cheez is dead. Slim Charles is the new Prop Joe. Michael is the new Omar (a nice surprise), Dukie is the new Bubbles (sigh), Namond is the new Cornel West, and Prez finally grows a pair (and a beard). 

--Marlo goes back to his roots, quickly and viciously. And man, that scene where Marlo scares off the two corner boys then laughs orgasmically at the sight of his own of the most chilling moments ever. And the game goes on...



Blogger Dave White said...

The Wire's over? Sheeeeeeeee-it.

3:40 PM  

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