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 7 and 8.
Emily: For an episode that contained a funeral on a show that deals with major crimes, this episode had a lot of comic relief.
Sam: Both of these episodes do, to a surprising degree. I really enjoyed the sad-funny-sad-funny dynamic of Bodie going to buy a flower arrangement for D’Angelo’s funeral. I liked that he cared, because he clearly did, but he didn’t really know what to do for what was basically a work acquaintance’s funeral. But then… the tower! So perfect.
Emily: Even better than the secret wall of floral arrangements for gangbanger funerals. He really personalized it.
Sam: “You want it to look like one of the high rises? …okay…” Also, I want a floral arrangement of a giant gun at my funeral. You can take your pick what kind. No girly colors, though.
Emily: I’ll arrange it. Strong colors – red, black, whatever.
Sam: You know me so well. So aside from the strangely amusing funeral proceedings, your favorite boy is starting to go down a road even you don’t want him to go down. Ziggy’s getting fucked with, and even I was chanting to him to not listen to the guys telling him he can take on Maui. He can’t. They don’t have your best interests at heart, Zig! Don’t listen!
Emily: Nick is definitely starting to get into the criminal enterprise a little too deep. And he’s taking himself down that path. He doesn’t have an uncle and a mom telling him that that’s what he should do. He’s worse than D’Angelo and is starting to become irredeemable because the person he seems to care about the most is the obnoxious Ziggy. Even though I think Zig is annoying and stupid, I agree that I didn’t want him to listen to the other stevedores when they were egging him on to go after Maui.
Sam: Nick’s getting real full of himself, that’s for sure. I’m conflicted; I didn’t like when he cared so much about Ziggy that he was getting into stuff himself to get Ziggy out, but I don’t like it now either when he’s too cool for school and Ziggy’s still a fuckup who does need help.
Emily: And the detail is cluing in on them. Nick isn’t nearly as good at being a criminal as he thinks he is. Of course, he also doesn’t know that he probably would have a pretty easy time of getting away with it if he didn’t share a last name with someone that the Baltimore Police Department has under surveillance.
Sam: Yeah, he’s unlucky in that way. You know who else is unlucky? Our two favorite zany police detectives. I can’t help it, Herc and Carver crack me up. I love them as a team, and I love them doing dumb shit like trying to basically rent a bug and then it getting crushed, because of course it was always going to.
Emily: This does show how poorly funded the BPD is. They had to procure their own bug.
Sam: Yeah, that’s an annoying fact. My last note for this episode is equally annoying and true: Poor Daniels. He just can’t win. He plays the game, and then he’s getting the big sad eyes from Freamon telling him he’s morally wrong. He takes the murders, but then his wife gets (justifiably) mad for him getting further involved when he was getting out. He so badly wants to both succeed and do the right thing, and those are not just incompatible in the police department, they might actually be mutually exclusive.
Emily: Daniels now has fourteen murders to solve in addition to the smuggling problem, but at least he gets McNulty back?
Sam: Who would have thought that getting McNulty back would be a good thing, lolz. So when I watched episode 7, I noticed the general lack of McNulty and just before episode 8 started, I commented that we hadn’t seen him be an asshole lately. So then episode 8 starts with him trying to drunk dial his ex-wife from the bar. Oh, McNulty, it’s good to have you back. Or something.
Emily: Dominic West’s face plays drunk really well.
Sam: I swear, he plays drunk at least as often as not in this show. It was a great moment, though, when he got released back to this particular detail and walked in right as they were coming up empty-handed on who they could send as a john to investigate the trafficked sex workers. Well, wouldn’t you know it! We do have the perfect man for the job!
Emily: He reads perfectly as sleezebag. And yet he’s probably still not the biggest screw up on the detail. Herc and Carver may be entertaining to watch but they’re also still mildly corrupt. Hey, we need money fast to pay for the expensive bug we let get smashed. Let’s set Herc’s cousin up as a fake confidential informant and pocket his payment.
Sam: Here is my whole comment on that: hahahahaha! Fuzzy Dunlop! hahahahaha. Okay, fine, I have one other bit- I had my problem with them being mildly corrupt when they pocketed the cash in season 1. Now I’m just happy to roll with them and their hijinks. Because… Fuzzy Dunlop. Hahahahahahahahahaha!
Emily: Having a CI who isn’t actually a CI could come back to bite the detail but they’ve got a bigger problem on their hands now. Frank, who must not be taking in all that much extra cash himself these days if he’s 90 days behind on his cell phone bill, clues into the fact that he’s being watched.
Sam: I liked that that happened around the same time as he asks after Beadie as an almost-friend and her cover gets blown there. It’s like it’s good writing or something, to start seeing some cracks in the characters’ plans in a way that raises the stakes for everyone.
Emily: Yes. Just the cell phone account being flagged on its own might not have raised Frank’s suspicions too much but to find that Beadie lied to him about who she’s working with around the same time was enough for him to start putting things together. They’ve already established that the stevedores aren’t an organization like the Barksdale gang. They’re not as smart about how the undertake their criminal activity and they’re not constantly under the assumption that the police will be investigating them so it’s going to take more than one thing for any of them to notice that something is going on.
Sam: Either one of those would be weird, but together it’s a veritable clue by four. Of course, Frank wouldn’t have reason to be suspicious if he weren’t involved in illegal activities in the first place, but there are so many things more worth judging on this show than a guy making some extra cash on the side in a painfully floundering industry. While that was characteristically good writing, I noticed some uncharacteristically bad writing this episode. The bit with Poot and Bodie seemed weirdly tacked on at the end and the part where apparently Poot’s a horndog went nowhere. It could mean something later, and I’d be more surprised if it doesn’t than if it does, but it felt weird. I’m not used to this show feeling clunky.
Emily: Maybe they just thought we would be distracted by the duck and wouldn’t notice that they slipped in an unrelated piece of Barksdale business so heavy-handedly.
Sam: Maybe. I’m totally willing to be distracted by the duck, though. It’s dumb and the bleeding heart animal activist in me is bothered that they’re even simulating a duck drinking alcohol, but I was amused anyway. Who wouldn’t like a duck on a bar?
Emily: Ziggy is less annoying when he’s just around for entertainment. He can stay if he keeps doing things like bringing a duck into a bar and pretending that its his service animal.
Sam: A drink, my good lady, for my fine feathered friend! I’m happy to stay with this show too. See you next week?
Emily: See you next week!