Welcome 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 5 and 6.
Emily: I officially hate a character more than I hate Jimmy McNulty. I am absolutely done with Ziggy.
Sam: I am more neutral, I think. He’s a worthless piece of crap and I wish that Nick didn’t care so much about him, but I haven’t worked up anything approaching hatred yet. However, when he was threatened at the beginning of the episode to set up his two-episode arc and given a week to pay back the money or perish, I fail(ed) to see a real problem with the option where he doesn’t pay back the money after all.
Emily: Yes, he just takes time away from characters that I do like and he’s totally going to be the reason why something bad happens to Nick, the only stevedore I actually care about.
Sam: I like Frank, not in a redeeming way, but he’s at least compelling. I’m in to whatever he’s doing and his big blustery speeches. All in all, I’m decidedly less invested in the side characters this season. So far no one’s grabbed me like D’Angelo and Wallace (WALLLLAAAACE) did last season. Maybe that’s because I already have established people I have feelings about. Nick has a lot of the same character beats, strangely, as Wallace did, as someone who’s trying to get by and provide for people dependent on him, as a largely innocent in an increasingly corrupt business, but Nick doesn’t have the same sympathy at all.
Emily: He’s probably somewhere in between Wallace and Dee for me. A little more innocent than Dee but with a little more agency than Wallace.
Sam: I think that’s right. While we’re checking in on the new kids from last season, I thought it was adorable in a drug-dealery way that Poot and Bodie are now running things themselves. They grow up so fast.
Emily: It brings a tear to my eye to watch the criminal element succeed in their field. Aww.
Sam: Tying up what might be the last significant thing from season 1, McNulty finally has his eyeball witness back. He might be a son of a bitch, but I love his smirk when the lawyer first interviewed Omar. Omar is so straightforward and delightful no matter who he’s talking to.
Emily: I love anytime someone in authority encounters Omar for the first time. They instantly underestimate him and they spend most of their conversation just being perplexed by this creature that they’ve encountered.
Sam: Perplexed is a great word for it. Omar is a little perplexing, just generally, to say the least. Perplexed, to get more mileage out of a word ought to use more often, is also Valchek and the on-going saga of Valcheck’s Van, which if we’d been thinking, we would have a whole segment on these writeups devoted to. Something like Where in the World is Carmen San Diego, only, Where In the World is Valchek’s Van Now? And how many more people have signed it/stickered it/otherwise indicated a big ol’ FU to him? I love that van.
Emily: There’s no way we could have predicted that the saga of Valcheck’s Van would have gone on for this long or brought us this much entertainment. It brings an unexpected level of hijinks to the proceedings.
Sam: Not unlike the delightful levity brought by Stringer Bell’s Economics 101, which is a class I would attend every day of the week and twice on Sundays. While I’m fantasizing, I will also gladly stay after class to get some special tutoring from the teacher, if you know what I mean. And what I mean is that only once in 18 episodes to date has he taken off his shirt, and that should be a crime. In actual character news, I love how he stayed after to ask his teacher about the right economic move to make in his situation. I love that he takes it seriously. Obviously, it’s a matter of life and death, generally, but I love that he has a knowledge of and respect for the economic principles in play and is eager to apply them.
Emily: Meanwhile, his teacher just thinks that he’s the most dedicated student instead of actually having a micro economy to which to apply the economic principles he learns in class.
Sam: They’re not mutually exclusive- he is the most dedicated student. I mean, how many of his classmates go home and do that stuff for a living? I love this show.
Emily: And I love Kima. I wish I could be as amazing at my job as Kima is at hers.
Sam: I loved that Daniels wanted Carver back, but specifically noted that Kima’s still in charge. Because of course she is. If you want things done, and you want them done right, Kima runs your detail whether you’ve got stripes on your sleeve or not.
Emily: What Carver did during season 1 was super shitty. I get my revenge by remembering that after The Wire he ended up being a veterinarian on Teen Wolf. Yes, I know that it’s the same actor but not the same character but it amuses me.
Sam: Hahahahahaha, I’m completely on board. Speaking of humorous things…
Sam: We got some really high highs and a really low low this episode. For starters, the back to back sequences of Omar testifying in court and McNulty assaulting the mannequin in his not-officially-ex-wife’s realty office had me laughing harder and longer than anything so far in this show (which is officially a drama).
Emily: Omar was even more perfect than usual, if such a thing is possible. The prosecutor was really stupid to give the instruction of “Something with a tie” as her only guideline for court clothes.
Sam: When she said that, I was giddy with anticipation of what he might end up in. He didn’t disappoint. I particularly loved that he wasn’t even wearing it knotted like an actual tie.
Emily: And then when he was all, “Sure I’m amoral, well-paid lawyer for a drug gang.” during cross-examination, I laughed more than I thought was possible.
Sam: He makes some excellent miscellaneous points, like how Bird is a dumbass for waving his gun around generally, and really drives it home at the end. Also, I would watch Omar tell stories about things like shooting a man in his hindparts for an hour a week for the rest of my life.
Emily: I suppose we can’t talk about Omar and just ignore the rest of the episode, can we? Because I’d rather just keep talking about Omar. And maybe McNulty abusing that poor mannequin.
Sam: Yes, please, can we? Forever? Also, the real genius of the McNulty scene was how it escalated. It was amusing to start with, but by the time he’s committing something like felony sexual assault on the poor thing I was dying. Okay… fine. One quick other note on this episode to stave off the inevitable is that Cheese is a terrible name for a drug dealer. I think even Poot has the better end of that deal. And, for serious, I couldn’t actually diagram for you what happened with Ziggy’s money and Prop Joe, but I’m glad it’s settled. Even if I did want to throttle Ziggy for lighting a cigarette with $100 bill afterward. It’s like the word “subtly” has no meaning at all for him.
Emily: I wanted Frank to slap him upside the head multiple times for that and for every other stupid thing that he does. Also, idiot, you no longer have a car. Maybe you could use that $2,400 to buy a new one.
Sam: Right?? He’s straight into “When I’m flush, I’m flush.” Having money doesn’t mean you’re supposed to automatically spend it, jackass.
…okay… sigh… D’Angelo. So, for a quick trip behind the curtain, we’re writing this in 2014. As you may have noticed. Which means that there are already summaries on the internet for all of these things. I’ve been very careful not to read ahead, but I read the Wikipedia pages for the episodes I’m about to write about so I can remember what points I wanted to hit. When Kima got shot, I assumed it was fatal because I knew this by reputation that this was a show that killed off people. The Wikipedia article didn’t contradict that, just saying she got shot. And then look, she’s fine! This time, I assumed he was just unconscious or something, and Wikipedia tells me, casually, no, he was strangled to death by someone or other. And now I’m super sad.
Emily: I thought he was safe, that being Avon’s nephew protected him. Of course, that’s why Stringer Bell spent the whole episode dealing with people from DC. He knew that Avon couldn’t do it and that he couldn’t let anyone know that he set it up.
Sam: Ohhhh you’re right, that’s what that was. You readers will assume I’m super dumb, and I assure you, you’re not always wrong. Oh, String. I get why you had do it, but now everyone I loved in the Barksdale crew from season 1 is gone but you.
Emily: He was jealous. He wanted all of your Barksdale Gang-related love to himself.
Sam: Well, he wins. Good job. I hate this stupid poopyheaded show and its killing everyone I like and I’m not watching it anymore. I said I wasn’t going to watch season 2, and that has already proved to be a mistake. Hmph. Hmph, I say!
Emily: I think we should go deal with our D’Angelo grief in our own ways. See you next week?
Sam: See you next week. See, I’m not even using an exclamation point. That’s how you can tell I have feelings.