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 4, Episodes 6 and 7.
Emily: Carcetti at the black church is one of my favorite images. The clapping alone filled me with so much glee. So stiff. So off beat.
Sam: It was not particularly smooth, in the best way. I liked the line the reverend gave him when Carcetti was leaving, when Carcetti was all “Moses, huh?” and then took Jesus’ name in vain (in front of a man of the cloth… oops). The reverend was super smooth and was just like “Moses will do for now, we’ll save Jesus for your second term.” It’s the kind of normal corny line that exists in real life. I love this show.
Emily: It was also a nice way of showing that the minister could tell that there was a real possibility that Carcetti was going to win and that they were going to have to be able to work together once he took office.
Sam: I love Carcetti a lot. I may have looked in to the purchase of a Carcetti Mayor hoodie, because that’s exactly the kind of nerdy, obscure reference to a thing that I roll with. So, unrelatedly, I have long hated the fake quotes at the beginning of the show. Because they’re dumb. But I did really like this week’s quote: “Don’t try this shit at home.” It works in basically every circumstance ever, at least on this show.
Emily: Especially since most of the audience doesn’t live in Baltimore. What works there won’t in most other places, at least when you’re talking about industrialized nations.
Sam: I really love his campaign manager. I liked the part immediately following when Carcetti was like “You know, there might be a job for you in my administration” as they’re walking out the door, and the campaign manager so heartily rolled his eyes and was like just get in the car, god.
Emily: The campaign manager has certainly warmed to Carcetti over time but he’s only willing to put up with his bullshit for as long as he has to. The campaign manager is so perfect at telling Tommy what he needs to hear. Carcetti would be lucky if he were to agree to join his administration.
Sam: On the flip side, sometimes you’re not always so lucky with who you get to work for you. There was a lot of Wee-Bey’s family in this episode, in ways that interested me. I really liked that they started off with getting dressed up nice to go see Brianna. That really drove home again how big and important the higher-level Barksdales were in their prime.
Emily: Brianna owned that scene. It points out that the kid probably didn’t need to be selling as much as his mama was pushing him to do but she was keeping all of the money for herself/Wee-Bey’s fish. She cut them off with no thought at all.
Sam: Brianna’s always been an interesting character in that regard. She’s one hell of a stone cold bitch a lot of the time, which is why that one breakdown was so significant. I do kind of love how pushy Namond’s mom is. It’s certainly a special kind of parenting (though not unlike parenting on the non-drug side of the law) when you get your son into the car to go see the drug dealer so he can get a job. (also, this is the appropriate time for my weekly declaration of affection for Bodie).
Emily: I definitely prefer Bodie when he’s interacting with Carver but he’s still grown on me so much since season 1. At least we get to see one of my other favorite cop and criminal pairs with McNulty and Omar. He knows that Omar’s a killer but he also knows that he wouldn’t just kill a citizen.
Sam: McNulty definitely knew something was up when it was a civilian. I loved two parts about that briefing before the arrest itself; first, the guy reading the announcement had such a pronounced accent that I swear he said Ermar Little, and second, when he asked if everyone knew him, and every single person in the room nodded and was all yeah, Omar, yep. I was glad that McNulty was there at his arrest, because that’s a real person you can reach out to and be like McNulty, what the fuck, and get as real an answer as possible.
Emily: Of course, we find out exactly why Omar was framed for that murder as soon as he’s in jail. Marlo’s organization clearly wants him dead, or at least seriously injured. Fortunately, he has protection.
Sam: And thank god, because I love Omar and I want him protected. Speaking of Marlo, vaguely, quick bone to pick: you can only actually get about 30% of speech from lipreading, so I call bullshit on the magical, exact lipreading in the van on Marlo. It’s convenient and it serves its purpose, but for a show that is so painstakingly literal most of the time, it annoyed me. Pet peeve. While we’re still on the street note, ish, is it just me or does Kima have terrible Nice Hair? The clothes feel awkward too, but not nearly as bad as the hair. This show and this actress have me so believing she should be in a tshirt and jeans with her hair pulled back and doing Real Policework that I’m still thrown off seeing her with a desk in homicide.
Emily: I think that the clothes that she’s wearing are right but that she looks awkward in them. The hair did seem bad in this episode in particular. It’s a good character choice, really. She’s good police but this isn’t her kind of policing, at least not yet.
Sam: Agree completely. While we’re on characters I like, I like Randy’s foster mom Miss Anne. I like that it’s a representation of an actual healthy, concerned foster relationship. Which brings us to the last big thing of this episode, and the culmination of not just these six episodes, but basically everything Carcetti’s worked for since we met him. My favorite little tidbit was that in the shouts of this week’s drug dealers, they were offering an election day special. I like that little twist of the knife.
Emily: To be fair, it did seem like election day was a public holiday in Baltimore since the kids weren’t in school. Maybe it was seen the same as having a President’s Day special.
Sam: Probably about right. So Clay Davis is one slimy son of a bitch, huh? I actually wrote that in my notes, but that he was straightforward, when he met with Carcetti and the campaign manager and offered to be bribed. I just added a “x2” when it turned out they’d been double crossed, because the only thing more Clay Davis than asking for 20k for vague support is to take 20k and do the opposite anyway. They probably should have seen it coming.
Emily: It’s not like the campaign manager was unfamiliar with Clay Davis. His impression showed that. Nothing makes me happier than getting to hear “shiiiiit” at least once an episode.
Sam: It was excellently rendered. So my last note for this episode, transcribed from my handwritten notebook, reads simply “Carcetti!!!!!” I was and am so happy for him. I honestly found myself concerned, even when the show was not playing in front of me, whether this guy was going to win this fictional election that already happened years ago. In fictional Baltimore.
Emily: Me too! It was all I could do to keep myself from going to Carcetti’s Wikipedia page to find out if he won. I was really pulling for him. I’m also pulling for his marriage because his wife obviously puts up with a lot.
Sam: They did it in such a classic Wire way, sucking us in slowly when it looks like he’s not going to win so that by the time he’s really in the running, we’re super invested. I’m glad he was able to rebuff his advisor, especially after that terrible face-eating kind of kissing. It was hella awkward on a couple levels.
Emily: Yes. I definitely didn’t want to watch that play all of the way out mostly because I just didn’t want it in front of my eyeballs, on top of not wanting Carcetti to cheat on his wife. The advisor did seem to imply that he’s cheated on her in the past but he’s growing up.
Emily: Now that the primary is over, Carcetti is going around town getting ready to be mayor while slyly reminding people that he still has to win the general election, as if a Republican has a chance of winning in a Baltimore election.
Sam: I liked his line in his brief acceptance speech asking if Baltimore even has a Republican candidate for mayor. When he showed up at the fancy police meeting we’ve grown so accustomed to and Daniels was giving a report, it was so perfect. Carcetti and Daniels are a match made in heaven, honestly. At least one, maybe both of them needs to be doodling the other’s name in a notebook with little hearts. They’re so perfect for each other.
Emily: They are. They even talk the same when speechifying, about how it’s all about the system as a whole and not just their individual contributions to the system. They would work so well together. Of course, it would be easy to work better with anyone who isn’t Burrell. Every politician clearly hates him.
Sam: As do we. I look forward to seeing this potential relationship develop. In more problematic relationships, Omar got almost-shanked (hooray for protection!). I had to transcribe his actual line to Bunk about why Old Face Andre might have set up him, given that Andre is running a package out of the store: “Folks like that tend to bear certain resentment against folk like me.” I just love the way Omar talks so much.
Emily: A not-so-intimidating thief has been targeting Bubbles and I hate him so, so much. You do not hurt Bubbles!
Sam: For realz! It’s so hard to watch him getting shaken down over and over. Bubbles is a good guy. Upon reflection, actually, might be the best good guy in the series. He’s movin’ on up, in the selling random crap on the street game. He’s got a double-long shopping cart setup now and everything. And a last name! That’s not directly related, but I did have to rewind and listen again when the vice principal called him Mr. Cousins. Did you know Bubbles has a last name? Who knew!
Emily: Poor Bubbles. Obviously walking around with Sharrod helped protect him and his business to some degree but he’s also just missing the companionship. Poor Bubbles.
Sam: And Sharrod’s not even benefiting from school, where things are going much better. I’m pleased to know that the hella awkward New Teacher schtick is over already. Prez is still new, and the kids are still often out of control, but they’re not running roughshod over him anymore and that’s good enough for me. So allow me to list for you the things that bother me in this show: #458293120398: the drug dealing. #3: Learning all these new names and faces all the damn time. #2: Seeing those same people get killed. #1. TAKING ALL THE DICE OUT OF ALL THE GAMES. My OCD will not stand for that. Those poor board games. The disorder! They’re not getting put back, you know it.
Emily: It’s not like the board games were being used anyways. They were down there with the new computers and the books that are two editions newer than the ones that Prez was given to use for his classes.
Sam: While I wholly support the use of the dice, I still can’t condone their harvesting. flail of OCD rage. Speaking of Prez, is he a full 8 feet taller than the vice principal? I know that he’s reasonably tall and she’s reasonably short, but wow. Also, Hamsterdam: School Edition seems to not be going maybe as well as you might hope.
Emily: Actually, it’s going better than I would have thought that it would and it’s probably a big part of why Prez’s class is finally working. Even when he would make progress, one of the disruptive students would destroy the nice classroom atmosphere he had momentarily achieved.
Sam: That’s true, I hadn’t even thought of that. I think he was still doing better even with Namond et al left in class, but their absence certainly helps. To wrap things up, this week’s shouted drug names/flavors were big yellow bird and dark horse. At least, I think it was dark horse. I swear I heard duck horse the first couple times, and that seems to be verging into a kind of surrealism we haven’t seen in this show. Yet, anyway. We never know what’s coming next… see you next week?
Emily: See you next week!