The Wire Watchalong: Season 3, Episodes 1 and 2


Welcome to the Inanimate Blog watchalong for The Wire. Every week 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 3, Episodes 1 and 2.

Sam: Second Third season, same as the first! That’s how that goes, right? It sure feels more like season 1 than season 2, since the goal is the same. At least, the goal at the beginning of season 3 is the goal at the end of season 1, which leads me to believe maybe the goal will shift in season 3. Anyway, new characters! I feel like if this were any other show, you’d be concerned you missed an episode with how new characters are just there. They’re not even introduced in the episode, you’re just supposed to roll with it. Which is par for the course, as we know…

Emily: But it’s not that weird. Sure, you might get a little exposition on what their names are and maybe what their titles are on another show but it’s not at all weird to take advantage of a hiatus between seasons to just suddenly drop in new characters with little to no explanation.

Sam: New characters, sure. But in other shows I’ve watched, I’d assume that they’d get introduced eventually. Or you’d get, as you say, some line of “Oh, that’s so and so from such and such department.” Basically anything at all. Here, I still don’t know half the people’s names who’ve been around since season 1, since the show could care less whether I remember them or not. I kind of like that about it, as frustrating as it is.

Emily: I have to remind myself who Sydnor is all of the time and he’s even considered to be decent at his job. He’s been on the detail since season 1.

Sam: Yep, not a clue who that one is. Speaking of new characters, we have a new guy on the Barksdale side, who Wikipedia informs me is called Cutty. He gets released from prison in this episode. He was a good man for the Barksdales before he went in, it sounds like, and while he hasn’t done much, I get the impression he’s going to be important. No one gets that much solo screen time without meaning something eventually.

Emily: Was he allied with the Barksdales before or was he just a big deal in the drug trade before he went down and now they’re trying to make sure that he’s on their side when he gets out? Because the Barksdale gang wasn’t always a big deal and it sounded like he was in for a long time.

Sam: I think you’re right. I think he was just big time before and now they’re trying to recruit him. They’re doing it the right way, it seems like. Getting free drugs to sell is pretty enticing. I liked that he clearly has old-school principles, as evidenced when he came to collect from the foot soldier he had doing the actual selling for him.

Emily: The other significant new person we got in this episode was City Councilman Carcetti. Dude is small time now but he means serious business.

Sam: I like him. He’s an asshole, but he’s a straightforward (so far) kind of deliberate asshole. Valchek’s a dick, but he’s petty and obnoxious about it. Carcetti’s got that great kind of smarm. Want to work with me? No? Well then I’m going to rake you over the coals. Simple and tidy assholery.

Emily: Also, he clearly sees the bigger picture. He’s not going to be hanging out on the city council forever. We might get to see him be a successful asshole for multiple seasons.

Sam: I’m not getting my hopes up. Everyone I like dies. Except Nick, I guess, but he ended up being a dick too. Anyway, not all of my favorite characters are dead! What is possibly my favorite moment in the entire series so far happened in this episode, which was Stringer Bell using Robert’s Rules of Order for his drug meeting.

Emily: I didn’t think I could like him any more than I already did and then he becomes a parliamentary nerd. Delightful!

Sam: I’m going to use “The chair don’t recognize your ass” and variations thereon all the time now.

Emily: If we ever make this blog a more serious thing, I demand that we start holding meetings using Robert’s Rules of Orders just so that we can bust that line out every once in awhile. I love a joke with a thorough setup. I also love that this episode gave us so many wonderful things. Bubbles getting up to antics with Johnny! Pantsless antics, no less.

Sam: The withering/embarassed look that Bubbles gives when the guy asks them “Y’all know ya ain’t go pants?” was so great. I love Bubbles. This episode had two thirds of the awesome trifecta with Bubbles and Stringer, we just needed Omar. So close! Unfortunately, things are not nearly so cheery in the rest of the drug world. The towers have been taken down… for better or worse.

Emily: And everyone who lived there was so happy about it until they got a face full of dust.

Sam: It’s almost like it’s a metaphor for life. HUH.

Emily: Oh, because they think that tearing down the towers means that they’re practically destroying the Baltimore drug trade when all they’re really doing is stirring it up and causing uncontrollable chaos? Huh, imagine that.

Sam: Yes, I do believe it’s something remarkable like that scenario indeed. We get a bit more of that new drug trade world in…

S0302 **
: …episode 2. So one of the primary differences this season is that Herc and Carver aren’t on the detail with everyone else like in the past two seasons. Largely, this makes me sad. When left to their own devices, they’re dicks. They’re stereotypical macho cops that do dumb shit and talk trash to the drug dealers, and I wish they were better people. Daniels and co. made them be better people.

Emily: Even before they were on the detail, they still had Daniels and Kima around to keep them in check. Their new major is a little too totalitarian on his force, at least when we first meet him, so they don’t take him seriously at all. They do provide us with a look at what the regular police force is up to, though.

Sam: Yeah, though I’m not sure I like it. In fact, I’m sure I don’t. Oh well. Kima could keep anyone in line, rank be damned. I love her. I don’t love her so much in her reluctance to be a mom. I can understand her perspective- it must be really weird when your partner gives birth and you weren’t actually involved in the procreation. We skipped over that part at the time and I thought it was neat, but now I kind of wish we’d seen more of that conversation, since Kima seems so unwilling.

Emily: Right, like was she ever OK with this? Maybe her wife was like “Well, if you’re doubling down on the dangerous police work instead of focusing on law school because it’s what you think you should do, then I think that I’m supposed to be a mom so we’re having a baby.” But we don’t know.

Sam: It’s interesting that because of the nature of their very anatomy, there’s a degree of free agency you don’t always get in other couples. Even if Kima didn’t want it from the start, her partner can kind of just go ahead and do it anyway. I’d like to think that Kima was nominally on board and just got cold feet– made obviously worse by the fact that you can’t just ignore the kid now that it’s here, and it’s always going to be there– but she doesn’t seem to be making an effort to get over those feelings at all.

Emily: And I want to like Kima always. I’m totally OK with the fact that babies are more fun once they can hold their heads up and interact with you but she wasn’t even interested in the basic development of her child. That does not bode well for the future.

Sam: Yeah, the degree of “Well, can’t go to bed cause that damn baby’s there again” that I felt when she went out drinking and flirting is not optimistic. Everyone gets to go out occasionally, but maybe you shouldn’t be going out behind your wife’s back while she’s caring for your mutual child. You know who can go out, though? Herc and Carver and Bodie and Poot. Oh, did that delight me.

Emily: I will say that if most of Herc and Carver’s interactions with the kids on the street are like that until they play into the larger storyline, they can continue being general police force assholes all they’d like for awhile. You can be an asshole if you entertain me.

Sam: I mean, hell, we’re on season 3 of love-hating McNulty, right? I enjoyed Bodie and Poot’s “Yeah, these guys try to get us every day. Hasn’t really worked yet… huh…” kind of line. Okay, let’s talk about the stupid dog thing real quick. No one likes dead dogs. Dog fighting makes me, and you, and every right-minded individual sad. Stupid killing dogs. Hmph.

Emily: Cheese (played by Method Man) was tricked into killing his dog but that was probably the best thing that could have happened to that poor dog. I hope we don’t have to watch too much dog fighting this season.

Sam: As you know, I have a great fondness for analyzing the use of violence onscreen in TV and movies. In that capacity, I was clinically fascinated to note how they conveyed a dog fight without showing anything that would actually disturb people. But that didn’t make it better, emotionally. I hope it doesn’t happen again. Boo.

Emily: In other things, that are much better…Omar!! In a dress.

Sam: It happens. I do want to take a moment to note, beyond this particular scene and Omar’s reintroduction to the season, that on the list of reasons why he’s the best should be his use of female accomplices. Not only is he openly gay and living by his own specific moral code, as established, he’s about the only male on the show that actually treats women like people. Using them as his accomplices repeatedly makes it much easier to get what he needs, and because everyone else dismisses them as crack whores or whatever else, it always works.

Emily: Omar rejects your heteronormativity.

Sam: I’ll bet he does. I just love him so much. I feel like he probably knew that the stash house he was raiding was a Barksdale joint, since he usually plans very well, but whether he even did or not, I love all aspects of his droll “Do tell” when made aware of that fact. In the process of robbing it. Oh, I love Omar. I hope he gets up to many hijinks and shenanigans this season indeed. More episodes, please! See you next week?

Emily: See you next week!

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