The Wire Watchalong: Season 2, Episodes 1 and 2

The_Wire_Season_2Welcome to the Inanimate Blog watchalong for The Wire. Every week all summer we’ll be watching two episodes and posting our thoughts. We’re not recapping each episode in detail; that’s what Wikipedia is for. This week is Season 2, Episodes 1 and 2.

S02E01

Emily: So. Boats.

Sam: Kind of. Some boats, mostly just to reinforce McNulty being miserable (and cold! It feels so cold in winter in Baltimore on my TV screen!). A lot of shipping containers too. A lot of our now old familiar faces, but, in the fashion to which we’ve already become accustomed, a bunch of new people to figure out too.

Emily: At least the stevedores all seem to hang out with each other all of the time. That helps a little.

Sam: It’s nice to see that some of the people we knew from before have taken their previous case together to heart. Kima is, sadly, a desk jockey, though she seems committed to it, and Prez actually wants to do good.

Emily: He really does, but his father-in-law is only concerned about Prez rising up the ranks as quickly as possible so that he can provide for his daughter. Herc is also still enthusiastic after the last case. Of course, it helps when the white drug dealers make themselves so easy to bust.

Sam: That whole interaction was great. I love that he’s been spoiled by the smooth coordination of the Barksdale operation and now these lame wannabes just walk up and say “I have the drugs! Do you have the money??” That was great. On the other side of the equation are characters we already knew who have not changed one whit, and there McNulty shines front and center. Oh, man, does he McNulty up this episode. His war with Rawls is going to be epic.

Emily: It’s just going to be one giant pissing contest where McNulty proves that he’s a self-righteous bastard who’s a good cop but really only when it benefits his personal vendettas. I can’t wait.

Sam: So far, his motives seem pretty evenly split. We know from season 1 that he is really, truly dedicated to the police work. He wants to get the bad guys. I’m sure he does actually care, vaguely, about the dead girl in the water. But if he can also use it to shaft Rawls, how can he possibly pass that up? A lesser man with more humility might let it slide, but that’s not our McNulty. As for all the new people, well, it took me most of the episode to recognize half of them. We’ll have to wait to see how things develop.

S02E02

Emily: We thought that McNulty was being McNulty in the season premiere, but he really steps it up in this episode. Three hours of work just to stick it to Rawls wasn’t enough. Nope, he had to take advantage of poor Ronnie, too.

Sam: I’m surprised the verb McNultying hasn’t entered the popular lexicon. Just one more sign of how this show never got the recognition it deserved, I suppose. McNulty McNulties so hard in this one. I kind of felt bad for Bunk and Freamon for getting stuck with the 14 bodies, but you know what they say, the reward for good work is more work. I do wish that McNulty would stop jerking Ronnie around, though. It’s fine if he’s going to show up and be an ass, but he shouldn’t show up, be an ass, and also refuse to even define their relationship as fuck buddies in favor of getting back together with his wife.

Emily: Still, no matter what McNulty does, the major is worse. He’s jerking the stevedores union around not because they run a big smuggling operation but because he’s mad that they put up a stained glass window in a church before he could.

Sam: I appreciated Frank’s response when Valchek brought up the other window on the second floor, something like “That’s good for you, huh?” I like that he’s not backing down. I can’t imagine it’ll go well for him, but Valchek’s such a dick. So, between the feud with the window, and the smuggling, and the now-homicides of the women, and Frank’s son trying to get something started, and the Russian beating people up, and then everything happening in jail, this season feels a lot more disjointed than season 1. In season 1, we had a ton of characters, but it was all on one side or the other. You were either in the Barksdale crew or the police. Or, I guess, Omar. But that was it. Here you’ve got about five different main areas of plot development.

Emily: Especially since we’re still keeping in touch with the Barksdale guys in prison. Oh, Dee.

Sam: I’m upset for him doing drugs. But I’m not upset in a “You’re better than this!” kind of way, I’m frustrated in a “No, I get it, your life sucks. I actually support you doing drugs. I wish your life weren’t shit” kind of way.

Emily: And Avon is an asshole. Oh no, can’t find a way to see your nephew but you can get the guards to sneak Wee Bey, a guy in maximum security on multiple homicide charges, into your cell for a visit.

Sam: Couple comments: First, I enjoyed when the guard told Avon “No, motherfucker.” You get the impression that Avon does not get told “No, motherfucker” very often. Secondly, I felt really bad for Wee Bey’s fish. The man just loves his fish. He was right, the guard didn’t have to do that. Poor fish. I believe I felt more for the fish than for the guy who got his throat slit. At least the fish didn’t kill a prostitute.

Emily: The fish also don’t drop a raw egg in a glass of beer and drink it for breakfast. That has to be a crime.

Sam: AGREED. 100%. We can only hope that nothing so gross happens in future episodes. See you next week?

Emily: See you next week.

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