Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Wire Season 4 Episode 13- "Final Grades" review

"If animal trapped call 410-844-6286" -- Baltimore, traditional

It's the holiday season and Sgt. Jay Landsman arrives at the Homicide unit whistling Christmas carols, stopping short when he sees some unseasonable red-new names, including John Does, being added to the board. Det. Edward Norris informs him it's all from Det. Lester Freamon, up early, rooting through vacants. Furious about Freamon's crusade to "make murders," Landsman turns his attention to a new case: Norris has a "sack in the box" - a guy who turned himself in for a murder, a guy claiming to have killed a fellow IV drug shooter with a "hot shot." When Landsman joins Norris in the interrogation room, he finds Bubbles, sober but getting sick from withdrawal, begging to be locked up for poisoning Sherrod with cyanide. As they question him, Bubbles vomits all over both detectives. Landsman heads off to wipe the spew from his Christmas tie and shirt. When he and Norris return from cleaning up, they find Bubbles, hanging from his belt. They race to get him down; he's still alive.

In an alley outside of some vacants, a sign on the plywood door reads: "If animal trapped call 844-6286." But these empty rowhouses are now swarming with cops, crime scene investigators and public works crews. Det. Shakima "Kima" Greggs and Freamon wonder how far the mausoleums stretch. "Only one way to be sure," says Freamon, dialing his cell. He reaches the C.I.D. commander, Col. Cedric Daniels, who's with Deputy Commissioner for Operations. William A. Rawls, Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell and Assistant State's Attorney Rhonda Pearlman at the staging area for the body bags - a gymnasium of a nearby empty and unused middle school. Rawls moans that it will take the labs a year to sift through the vaccumed and bagged dirt in the vacants in a search for trace evidence. When Daniels reports the prevailing suspicion is that the deaths are all related to the rise of Westside drug trafficker Marlo Stanfield, Burrell wants to know what his police department has on the target. Looking pointedly at Rawls, Daniels notes that they had wiretaps on Stanfield earlier, but they came down on those. Now it it may be too late -- Marlo may have changed his pattern by now. Rawls quietly eats the implied criticism of his political interference in the Major Crimes Unit and its casework. Seeing his opportunity, Daniels asks for manpower to search the thousands of vacant rowhouses in the city. Getting the okay, Daniels sets off to phone word to Freamon. Rawls warns Burrell that they're going to look bad with this case, and Daniels will be closer to "the throne" if he brings in the case. But Burrell's seemingly not worried. "He's a long way from my chair. As are you, Bill." He chastises his deputy for making his showing his own ambition and disloyalty, noting that Rawls made his move too soon, warning, "Don't you ever cross me like that again."

Landsman questions Bubbles as the paramedics, satisfied that all vital signs are normal, leave. Through fits and starts, Bubs explains that the tainted vial was for a guy who'd been beating on him, but Sherrod was dipping, something he knew even if it was unspoken. He blames himself for trying to help the kid, for taking him in and pretending to play at parenting: "Like I ain't know who I am, right? Like I ain't been a dope fiend my whole life." He begs to be locked up, but Landsman, hearing how it went down, thinks it over, walks out into the squadroom, and tells Norris he wants to throw this one back. Norris warns Bubbles might go off a roof if they cut him loose, so Landsman suggests D-Ward at Bayview. "Something with soft walls."

A quorum from the New Day Co-op confronts Proposition Joe Stewart and Slim Charles, as Marlo Stanfield and Chris Paltrow also look on. They don't want to pay twice for the same package, and they've decided Joe - being responsible for handling the shipment from the Greeks - needs to make this right. Joe explains that's not the nature of a Co-op: "Share in the good, share in the bad." When the other dealers show their reluctance, Joe agrees to pay for the replacement shipment, but after that, he threatens, the drug connection will be his alone and they can find new suppliers if they won't stand together now. That wins the argument. Still, Marlo wants to "talk" to who was in charge of the stash, but Joe says it was his nephew - and he won't give up Cheese. Instead he offers his drug connection, whose people were also there when the shipment was stolen, so Marlo can hear from him directly how it went down. Marlo seems mollified by the offer.

Meanwhile, Omar Little and Renaldo have been dividing up the shipment they hijacked from the New Day Co-op, but even after splitting it with their accomplices, Kimmy and Mexican boys, they tell Butchie they have "26 raw" left. Omar's not a drug dealer, he points out; he's not set up to put this on the street. Butchie jokes that Omar can sell it back to Proposition Joe for 20 cents on the dollar, cracking himself up at the affront that would be. But Omar realizes it's not such a bad idea; in fact, the effrontery of it gives him some certain pleasure.

Sgt. Ellis Carver gets on the phone with the state Department of Social Services Department's child custody workers, trying to find a spot for Randy Wagstaff in foster care, as the boy waits nearby on his bench, slowly hiding some cash inside the binding of one of his schoolbooks. Social services tells him the boy's only option is a group home, since his foster mother's in the hospital indefinitely and there's a wait list for foster care.

Freamon sends Greggs to round up Sgt. Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk, who's suspended without pay. He was the one who found the nail gun in his search of Chris and Snoop's SUV, and they need his help on that point, as they try to recover the nail he fired during the car stop - as ballistics can match it to the others at the crime scenes, even if they don't recover the actual nail gun. But obsessed with his own problems, Herc won't stop talking, trying to figure why he's getting jammed up by I.I.D. when Daniels gave him a slap on the wrist earlier. He shows her and Det. William "Bunk" Moreland the spot where he pulled over Chris Paltrow and Felicia "Snoop" Pearson to search their car and fired the nail gun into the asphalt by Snoop's leg. As Herc keeps talking, not helping, Greggs and Bunk search the road hoping to find the nail. But all they find is an empty hole, the nail long gone. Finally, in response to Herc's rant, Bunk asks what he did, exactly. When Herc explains about the camera and the lies told in which probable cause was attributed to a made-up informant, Bunk and Greggs shake their heads in disbelief. "Son, they gonna beat on your white ass like it's a rented mule," Bunk tells him. Meanwhile, the patrol shifts in every Baltimore district mobilize to search every vacant displaying the kind of nails utilized by the bail gun, as the body count rises.

At the hospital, Dennis "Cutty" Wise is laid up with a fractured leg. The nurse, having looked at his past hospital records and knowing he has no insurance, assumes he's a gangster and - as a weary veteran of the drug wars herself - gives him hell for relying on the hospital to put him back together free of charge. Howard "Bunny" Colvin shows up and introduces himself -- Sgt. Carver suggested Cutty might be able to help him with Namond Brice. Cutty wants to know why Colvin cares, and Colvin admits that has come to care about the youth.

Back by the vacants, a crowd has gathered as L'il Kevin's body is pulled from one of them, Bodie and Poot among those watching. Bodie starts to lose it, yelling about how wrong Marlo is to do all these killings. Poot tries to calm him down, but Bodie throws a fit, kicking and punching in the windows on a parked radio car. Det. James "Jimmy" McNulty sees Bodie go off, trying to explain to his fellow cops, "His friend's in the bag." But Bodie's gone too far. He's cuffed and dragged toward a jail wagon.

Mayor Thomas "Tommy" Carcetti and mayoral aide Norman Wilson watch the national TV news reports of the bodies being found. The only good news is that it's knocked the disastrous school deficit off the front pages. Both problems should be on former Mayor Royce, Carcetti complains, but it's the new administration that is going to have to deal with the fallout. They review his options on the school problem with his new Chief of Staff: if he takes the money from the Governor, then the D.C. suburbs won't vote for him for governor in two years because he took money from suburban taxpayers to pay for city schools. But if he doesn't take the money and makes it to Annapolis, he could help Baltimore then, his Chief of Staff points out. Wilson says the schools can't afford to get any worse, even if they can't fix them, noting that Carcetti is the mayor of Baltimore right now. He urges Tommy: "Go back to Annapolis, eat his s**t."

Lonely for his friend, Duquan "Dukie" Weems walks by the dark shell of Miss Anna's row house, where there's no sign of life - including Randy.

At the appliance store, Proposition Joe, Slim Charles and Cheese review his handling of Marlo's suspicions. Cheese thinks he's putting their drug supply at risk by introducing the younger, volatile dealer to their connection, but Joe says he has no choice - he needs to reassure Marlo that Joe wasn't in on the heist. In the midst of their discussion, Omar shows up, surprising everyone with his nerve. He offers to sell them back their supply at 20 cents on the dollar. After his lieutenants threaten him, suggesting they might torture Omar and recover the drugs without paying any tribute, Omar replies by asking Joe whether he believes Omar will ever - even at the point of torture - give it up. Joe relents, realizing it's a better offer than having to replace the shipment at cost. As he's leaving, Omar remembers his repair slip, and Joe hands over his clock - ticking like new.

At home in front of the family Christmas tree, Carcetti reviews his options about the school deficit with his wife. "I think you'll do the right thing," she says, leaving Tommy to wonder what that is.

Dukie lets himself into Michael Lee's new crib with his key. Following the sounds of rhythmic music, he finds Michael in his room having sex. He backs away, the few remaining shards of his childhood stripped away, and takes refuge on his bottom bunk, after tucking Bug into the top bunk.

At the staging area of the gymnasium, as the body count builds to seventeen cases, McNulty wanders in, looking for Pearlman to put her A.S.A. signature on case he wants dropped - Bodie's vandalism of the radio car. He's unable to restrain his curiosity about the vacants, firing off questions as Bunk and Freamon taunt him. "If I was a police, I don't think I could hang back on it,".... Bunk says to Freamon, for McNulty's benefit.

Dukie arrives at his first day of Frederick Douglass High School, but as a group of bigger kids pushes by him aggressively, he loses his nerve, and turns back. Meanwhile back at Edward Tilghman Middle School, Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski presides over his class as they take the statewide test, with some students working away, others indifferent and a few angrily defeated. Ms. Duquette watches as the project class pores over their exams, exhibiting the same range of effort and ability.

Back at the gym, Daniels and Pearlman quiz Freamon, Bunk and Greggs on their progress. They've identified the model of the nail gun. They also report coming up empty on finding the nail Herc fired into the street weeks earlier, though they ordered up a metal detector and searched the block. Freamon is hopeful they'll get lucky in the trace work - hairs, fibers, maybe a blood sample - at the vacants, but all agree the next investigative move is to write search warrants and hope to catch Chris or Snoop with the offending nail gun, a murder weapon or some other evidence. Pearlman wants to know what probable cause she can use for the warrant application. The detectives cite Herc's previous discovery of the nail gun and other tools in their SUV. There is no law against owning power tools, Pearlman notes. Bunk argues that they have a witness that links Chris and Snoop to the murders - a reference to Randy Wagstaff's previous statements. But unwilling to cross Prez on this point, Freamon corrects him, saying they have a source, not a witness - a distinct that means they won't ask the boy to testify in court and therefore can't cite him as backing for the warrant. Frustrated, Bunk asks for an hour and leaves with Greggs behind him.

Colvin pays another visit to Cutty in the hospital, who tells him he was able to get word to Namond's father, who will talk to Colvin. On his way out, Colvin sets the nurse straight on Cutty - he's not a gangster, he got shot trying to pull a kid off a corner.

Greggs and Bunk pay a last visit to Lex's mother, who's distraught that she couldn't even see her son's body because it was so decayed. Bunk points out that they did the best they could with the information they had - a pointed criticism of her unwillingness to help the investigation earlier. Finally she tells them what she's heard that Snoop and Chris killed her boy.

At the D.S.S. child services offices, Carver pleads with a bureaucrat to find a solution for Randy that doesn't involve a group home. In frustration, he offers to become the boy's foster parent himself. But even that won't work - the screening process is three-to-four months and Randt can't be in Carver's custody in the meantime. Randy has to go back in the system, as per the court order that put him there in the first place.

Meanwhile, Spiros "Vondas" Vondopoulos sits between Marlo and Prop Joe, backing Joe and assuring Marlo that the rip off wasn't a set up. Marlo asks Vondas how he can be sure, and Vondas says he talked to his own people - "he looked into his soul," he says of his subordinate, indicating that he tortured the man to be sure. That settles Marlo, who accept Vondas's word, but tells his lieutenant Monk to put a tail on Vondas - not because the supplier is a problem, but to find out more about the man. Marlo tells Joe he'll get the $90,000 for his share to Joe in the morning and will hunt Omar once the heat from the investigation into the vacants calms down. Monk also tells him that Chris and Snoop have been popped on a gun charge and Marlo tells him to get the bail bondsman on it.

McNulty greets Bodie as he emerges from Central Booking, telling him he was the one who got him sprung and offering him lunch. They are glimpsed by Monk, arriving with the bondsman in tow. Vaguely curious, Bodie follows McNulty to his personal car. While Chris and Snoop are required to submit to blood and hair samples, per a court order obtained by Freamon and Greggs, along with the grand jury A.S.A.. Bodie and McNulty enjoy lunch in the garden's of Northwest Baltimore's Cylburn Arboretum. Bodie insists he's no snitch, but McNulty gives him room to vent about the current state of his business, and being tired of being "them little bitches on the chessboard." Bodie talks himself into stepping up to put an end to "Marlo an' his kind." McNulty hears him out and acknowledges Bodie's integrity: "You're a soldier." Able to serve up this level informant to Freamon, McNulty will be back in the game.

At the visiting room at Jessup, Colvin talks to Wee-Bey. After reminiscing about their old adversarial roles as corner boy and patrolman, Colvin gets to the point of his visit: he cares about Namond and thinks he has real potential, and he wants Wee-Bey to let him go so he can have the opportunity to go places and do things neither one of them could. The corners have changed; the old codes have fallen. Namond will not last on those corners nowadays. "You askin' too much," says Wee-Bey. "Yeah, but I'm asking," counters Colvin.

Monk tells Marlo and Chris that he saw Bodie getting into a car with a white guy when he got out of Central Booking. Assuming it's police, Marlo orders Chris to have his "pup" take care of it, "get him started." Chris objects that Michael worked for Bodie, "First time, best be someone he ain't know." Marlo agrees. He tells Chris that Omar, having stolen the shipment, is now selling it back to Proposition Joe at thirty cents on the dollar... indicating that, unknown to Marlo, Joe is making an additional ten cents on the dollar above Omar's price.

Colvin returns to Tilghman, where Miss Duquette and Professor David Parenti have been waiting with Namond. He sends Namond outside and tells his colleagues that he suspects Wee-Bey will refuse to let Namond go, but they'll know tomorrow. Parenti informs him that tomorrow is a big day all-around: State Delegate Odell Watkins got them a half hour at the Mayor's office.

On his corner, Bodie's having a slow night, along with Poot and Spider, who is now working the corner. When Poot alerts him to Chris approaching, Bodie refuses to leave. "This is my corner. I ain' runnin'." He fires at the cars Snoop and Chris are ducking behind, as Poot pleads with him to run. Unable to convince Bodie to flee, Poot finally runs for cover, passing a young hooded boy - O-Dog, one of Snoop and Chris's trainees - who creeps up to Bodie and shoots him in the head. Bodie falls to the ground and is finished with a second shot to the head. He lays there dead, as O-Dog jogs off to join his mentors.

Working late, Carver puts a jacket over Randy, who has fallen asleep on the bench reading a comic book.

At City Hall, Colvin gets nervous waiting, having second thoughts about being in the meeting with Parenti, given his involvement in the failed drug legalization project the previous year - a project that Carcetti condemned publicly to gain attention and position himself for his mayoral run. When Colvin offers to excuse himself from the meeting, the secretary informs him the Mayor won't be in their meeting anyway, he's in Annapolis - the first indication that they are already being marginalized.

Chris, Snoop and Marlo pay a visit to Michael in his new crib - which the Stanfield organization has clearly provided. Marlo suddenly recognizes the ring around Michael's neck - the one he last saw when he relinquished it to Omar during the robbery of the card game. Marlo asks where he got it. "Took it from a nigga," says Michael, asking if he wants it, but Marlo, amused and fascinated, tells him to keep it. Marlo informs Michael they're giving him Bodie's corner, and that there's one "other thing" they have for him to do. Seeing Dukie getting Bug ready for school, Snoop asks Michael who it was they dropped for him. "Bug's daddy," Michael says, coolly. Bug shows no reaction.

Carver spots McNulty in the hall at Western District, asking if he heard about Bodie - shot dead on his corner. McNulty rushes to confirm it on the 24-hour reports, as Carver gets called back into the drug enforcement unit offices by an angry Lt. Dennis Mello, the shift commander, who has discovered that despite his insistence, Randy has not yet been remanded to D.S.S. custody. Mello orders the sergeant to do so immediately, then stalks out. Citing the money he keeps in the schoolbook binding, Randy offers his $230 in cash to Carver, suggesting maybe they can pay someone for a foster spot. But Carver realizes they are out of options.

Back at the Mayor's office, Colvin and Parenti meet with the Mayor's Chief of Staff and mayoral aide Jerilee Bennett, who see their project as "tracking, plain and simple" and are concerned they aren't teaching the curriculum, thereby leaving some of the kids behind. "As it is, we leave 'em all behind. We just don't admit it," Colvin blurts out. When the meeting adjourns quickly - and it's cleared that the pilot program is now doomed - Colvin is despondent, concerned he proved himself a liability in the meeting. "Seems like every time I open my mouth in this town, I'm telling people what they don't wanna know." Parenti assures him it wasn't him, it's the process. And this time, they didn't listen. But he's still optimistic about the great research they did and the attention it will get from academics. "Academics? What, they gonna study your study?" Colvin asks incredulously. "When do the s**t change?"

At Jessup, Wee-Bey meets with De'Londa to tell her he wants her to let Namond go. She balks at first, but Wee-Bey reminds her of his own status and what he can have done to her, even from prison. He then says, with some pride: "Man came down here to say my son can be anything he damn want." "Except a soldier," she retorts. Wee-Bey, doing life without parole, asks her to look around at the Jessup visiting room: "Who the f**k would be that if they could be anything else?" he demands. He'll stick with her, he tells her, but she has to let go of the boy.

Omar meets Renaldo and Butchie in a garage with a duffel bag of cash, and pays some out to Butchie for his pains. Butchie asks if Omar was followed, but Omar tells him Joe had to play it clean - and agree to giving up the money before getting back his drugs. Joe had to admit that Omar's word was better than his own, Omar muses. They lock up the garage with the stolen drugs inside, in the back of a van, and Omar dials, leaving word with Joe of the address. As they all depart, leaving the shipment to be picked up, Butchie warns Omar that when you steal this much, "it ain't over."

Carcetti and Wilson burst into the office late night, back from Annapolis. Carcetti didn't take the money, he couldn't stand being made to beg for it - the Governor was going to call a press conference, showing Carcetti as a beggared supplicant. The Chief of Staff is pleased, but Wilson, thinking of the school system, is decidedly unhappy and leaves angrily.

McNulty grabs Poot on Bodie's corner, and making sure no one's watching, demands to know who killed Bodie. "Y'all did," Poot says. Word was he'd been seen talking to police. Not wanting the same fate, Poot tells McNulty to boot him off the corner and McNulty, feeling both guilty and angry, does.

Outside Tilghman Middle, Dukie waits for Prez before school, and presents him with a gift - a desk set. When Prez asks where his book bag is, Dukie lies that he's stopping home to get it before he goes to class. Sensing the lie, Prez tells the boy to stop by anytime, let him know how things are. In the project class, Miss Duquette informs her charges that the program is over and they'll be returning to regular class. Zenobia doesn't want to return, others are of mixed emotions. Colvin asks Namond how he feels. "This was alright...but maybe it's time," he says.

Beatrice "Beadie" Russell awakens to find McNulty up and thinking - even though he worked a late shift. He wants in on the investigation of the bodies in the vacants, he admits. He feels that he owes it someone. She asks who and he references a kid who got killed. One of those in the vacants? No, they shot him down in street. McNulty thinks he may be different this time, he's changed - no more drinking and whoring. "You are different," she confirms, as they make love.

Feeling like a failure, Carver delivers Randy to a group home. The boy assures Carver it's OK: "You tried." But as he walks Randy inside and up the stairs to a room with bunk beds and older, feral looking kids, Carver feels even worse. He returns to his car and throws a tantrum born of frustration.

McNulty assures Col. Daniels he can handle returning to Major Crimes: "I think I can do this and, I dunno, keep myself away from me, if that makes sense." Reversing the language of their first argument four years earlier, when the detail was forming to work the Barksdale case, Daniels tells him they aren't going to get Marlo Stanfield on street rips, it'll be "Either a wired C.I. or a Title Three." When McNulty starts to contradict him, Daniels shuts him down, throwing McNulty's words back at him. McNulty acquiesces: "Chain of command, Colonel."

Reviewing preliminary results from the state exam, Prez is in disbelief that his classes could have improved on math and reading, with a significant percentage showing themselves to be proficient with the material. Grace explains that "proficient" means at least two grades below their level, and "advanced" means at or a year below grade-level - that's how the scoring shows they've made progress. Prez is embarrassed at his naivete, but Grace assures him he's doing fine. In his class, he welcomes Zenobia, Albert and Namond back and when the returning Albert starts the day with a wisecrack, Zenobia and Namond ignore him, and Prez - with a look that no first-year teacher can manage - shames Albert into better behavior. Clearly, Prez is becoming a teacher.

At the gym, the body count is up to twenty two. Daniels and Freamon update Pearlman: there are no ballistics matches to link the weapons seized from Chris' truck to the murders, no prints on the weapons. They're in for the long haul, says Freamon, already worrying about how they can get back up on a wiretap or some other proactive means of investigating the Stanfield crew. Freamon asks Daniels why he chose to stage the body recovery operation out of the Lemel Middle School gym and Daniels replied that he knew the school was in the area and not being used, having been closed earlier. Daniels remarks that he went to school here. "Got a pretty good education, now that I think on it." He and Pearlman exit, leaving Freamon amid the bodies and a case that he will likely need months to bring home.

Having finally heard the news about Bubbles, Greggs brings Walon, Bubs' one-time N.A. sponsor, to Bayview Hospital to visit. He hasn't spoken to Bubs in a couple of years - since he was last on the wagon. "But s**t, if he's up in D-Ward, he's clean as a motherf**k right now," he notes. They head inside, but Greggs isn't up for a one-on-one visit. She watches through the window as Walon enters the ward and Bubbles, ashamed and in pain, collapses in tears in his sponsor's arms.

Over drinks with Coleman Parker, Wilson confides he can't believe Carcetti's political ambition wouldn't allow him to take the state money for the sake of the schools and the kids. Parker chastises him for being so naive: "They always disappoint," he says of politicians, before discussing what campaign he might sign up with next.

Walking up to a crowded drug corner, Michael takes down his first slinger with a gunshot straight to the forehead as Chris and Monk watch from the SUV. When he jumps in the car and they pull off, Chris knowingly tells him, "You can look 'em in the eye now. No matter who he is or what he done - you look 'em in the eye."

Wee Bey says goodbye to Namond in the visiting room and hands him off to Colvin. McNulty returns to Major Crimes and goes to the board to contemplate the photograph of Marlo Stanfield. Herc stoically attends his I.I.D. hearing and listens to the charges arrayed against him. Marlo and Chris stake out Vondas and Proposition Joe, beginning to learn whatever they can about the source of Baltimore's best heroin and cocaine. A weary and disgusted Colvin leaves Professor Parenti's well-attended research presentation early. Saddled with nearly two dozen open murders, Bunk reviews evidence with Det. Michael Crutchfield and Norris while Landsman observes the growing list of red names on the board. Ever closer to the seat of power, Pearlman and Daniels lunch with Carcetti as State Sen. Clayton "Clay" Davis and Burrell - now ever more the political outsiders - look on. Prez sits in his car, watching Dukie working a corner with Poot, as Michael - now the man in charge - drives off in an SUV. Prez himself is forced to drive away when he is offered drugs by Kenard - now also working the corner for Michael, and no doubt unlikely to cheat Michael as he did Namond, given the beating he received. At the group home, Randy returns to his room to find graffiti marking him as a snitch on his bunk, as well as the binding of his textbook ripped open, the money gone. The older boys stalk in and glare at him and Randy resolves to get in at least one good punch before being beaten. Cutty, on crutches, is back to coaching at his boxing gym - with the hospital nurse now fully charmed and by his side. Carcetti wearies of budget meetings, where - without the state bailout - the dollars do not add up. Carver lectures ever younger kids outside the abandoned factory hangout before running them off, then spots the graffiti on the wall as he leaves: Namond, Michael, Randy, Dukie, Donut, Kenard and others, with the mockingly false phrase: "Fayette Mafia Crew 4evah." In his new crib, Michael works on homework with Bug in a quiet, placid moment as, suddenly, we return to Michael being awakened from this dream-like reverie in the back of Chris's SUV - time to dump the gun. He hands if off to Monk, who opens the door and drops it into a storm drain before they drive off into night.

Early morning, on the Colvins' porch, Namond finishes both his breakfast and his homework assignment before school as Mrs. Colvin warns him he's going to be late. He goes inside and is told to go back out and retrieve his plate. As he does, an SUV rolls by, music blaring as the driver slows. Namond nods at Donut, who nods back before accelerating down the street, nearly getting broadsided as he runs a stop sign. Namond watches the SUV roll away, leaving behind a quiet Baltimore neighborhood that is his new home, in a new life.

First and foremost, RIP Preston "Bodie" Broadus. Bodie's death was possibly one of the most jarring deaths I've ever seen on the series. One of the reasons why is because we have basically watched Bodie grow up on this series. When we watched him in season 1, he was 16, and he was on his way up in the Barksdale organization. By season 2, he was either late 17 or 18. So, now, I am assuming that Bodie had to be 21 or 22 (around Marlo's age) when he died. Bodie's lamentation of the state of the game and his place in that world harkened back to Little Big Roy's line in the second season (I believe in "Ebb Tide") that "It's never gonna be what it was". His dialogue with McNulty was so good I have to quote what Bodie said:

"I feel old. I been out there since I was 13. I ain't never fucked up a count, never stole off a package, never did some shit that I wasn't told to do. I been straight up. But what come back?"
..Bodie Broadus..

Bodie's realization was the same of any worker in an industry that is either dying or is no longer what it was. The scene with Bodie and Poot watching Little Kevin's body pulled out of the vacant really brought this season to a head- with Bodie representing the voice of the audience. Bodie, being the old school soldier who adheres to the rules of the game used to be played- sees Marlo for what he truly is- an arrogant kingpin who kills because he has the ability to- not because he needs to. Marlo kills because he's coldhearted and like Bodie said, "it comes natural to him". I don't think Bodie would have flipped per se- but it seemed like he was getting all of his frustrations off his chest. And he knew that he and McNulty had a comaraderie. Also, in a way the two men were in the same boat- they're servants to an institution that constantly oppresses them. I have to post this scene and the death scene because they impacted me so much. The way Bodie sighed, "I feel old" broke my heart.

It's interesting how Bodie's death ties in to O-Dog's training by Snoop and Chris earlier in the season, and also it ties into the crack Bodie made when he accepted Marlo's offer ("I told Little Kevin to shoot ya'll both in the head twice- but since he ain't here...I'll guess I'll take your package"). Bodie's death is totally in character- he didn't live or die on his knees and he was the ONLY person who refused to just let Chris and Snoop walk into a vacant. He built that weak-ass strip into a thriving corner- and this after he was forced off the territory originally when Marlo wanted Fayette. But Bodie's hard work made the territory he had thriving- and his thanks for all his efforts is to be abandoned by the game he so dedicated his life to. All his servitude to the game he so believes in left him to die on the corner he built.

However, the game is extremely violent and Bodie has and always was a soldier. A "smart ass pawn" but inevitably a pawn. I thought that Bodie was going to make it into the very end of the show, but this show always defies expectations and if there was a place for Bodie to die, there was no place better than on his corner. Again, RIP Bodie. You were the last real representative of the old school dealer out there. Now, there is just two remaining Barksdales left on the street- Poot and Slim Charles.

Thankfully, Bodie's demise isn't going to be forgotten about McNulty who takes his death to heart. Especially after Poot's words that it was when they spotted Bodie with McNulty, that he was capped. Now, with a renewed determination and a sober lifestyle, McNulty is dedicated to bring down Marlo and his kind. Because, first of all, it's a good police work and also- McNulty knows that he owes it to Bodie. And now, Jimmy has the support of a good woman in Beadie, who allows him to do what he needs to do. Also, I loved the dialogue between Daniels and McNulty when they referenced the first episode when they were discussing how to catch Avon Barksdale. However, this time the dialogue was coming from the different person.

It was nice to see the Greeks being tied into the storyline once again and it seemed like a natural return. David Simon has said that Vondas returns for a reason and it apparently will be tied in towards season 5. I loved the way that Vondas addressed Marlo. He does not know Marlo and he has no reason to know Marlo. The only reason why he is there is because Prop Joe requested him- and Joe is a man who he has done business with for a long period of time. I think Marlo is really overstepping his bounds by trying to learn more about the Greeks. Marlo's got balls- that's definitely true but he's impulsive and the Greeks are far more lethal than Marlo's organization. Whereas, Marlo has a solid crew of hard hitters, the Greeks are twice as vicious and are global. I can't wait to see how this plays out.

It was great to see Wee Bey be the voice of reason about Namond's future. Wee Bey might be a stone cold killer but his time inside really has enlightened him to what a good future really is- and why would he condemn his only son to his life when Bunny convinced him of the other options. And nice to see him finally put De'Londa in check as well. I've always liked Wee Bey and now I know more than ever why I like his character. Yes, he has done some deplorable things but he showed enough love to his son- to give him up in order to ensure him a real shot at life. That is true love.

And the three other kids- Randy, Michael and Dukie- they're all steeped in hell right now. Randy's smile may never be the same ever again because of what he is going through in the group home- and I loved Carver's reaction when he went into the car. It's a human and a very powerful moment when Carver realized that his actions might have led to this boy's dilemma. But Carver really has made amazing strides as a character and he tried everything in his power to protect Randy but alas, it was a little too late. The look on his face when he saw the graffiti with Namond/Michael/Dukie and Randy's names on there was really gripping. Did anyone notice that the kids were wearing similar clothes to what Namond/Michael/Dukie/Randy were wearing in the 2nd episode this year when Carver spoke to them?

Now, more than ever before- Dukie is truly alone. Michael cares for him but Michael is no longer the same and no longer his peer. And out of shame, Dukie ignores school and slings on the corner instead for Michael. I thought it was interesting that Poot now works for Michael- Poot always compromised, thus that's why he's still out there. Although, when McNulty talked to him on the corner, did anyone notice the listless feeling in Poot's actions? He didn't even really seem to care because most likely he was still shaken by Bodie's death.

The beginning of the episode shocked me too and I was expecting Bubs to die. Thank God that he didn't. In my opinion, this was Andre Royo's finest performance on the show to date. The frank discussion between Bubbles and Landsman was a wonderful moment. Not able to properly articulate himself, Bubs loses it and laments about who he is and his addiction- and how it led to Sherrod's death. Landsman's usual cynicism was even washed away by the painful honesty of what Bubs said. The stats-obsessed Landsman even says to hell with the clearance after his talk with Bubs. And it was nice that Walon returned (played by the great Steve Earle) and his scene with Bubs- when Bubs lost it, is heartbreaking. I can only see Bubs going up- because right now he is at the bottom and is going to have to crawl through this bottom in order to escape.

I wonder what Omar will do next season. My roomie believes Omar will leave Baltimore but I doubt it. Baltimore is all Omar knows (like Wallace, Bodie and other characters have represented). However, he has a whole Co-Op wanting him now after stealing the shipment. And Marlo even told Joe that there is going to be a hunt put on Omar after the heat regarding the bodies die down. I know Omar isn't going to go quietly into that goodnight, he's going to still be around in the shadows, ripping and running as he sees fit. However, I wonder if next season, it will end with Omar (the anomaly to the game) finally dying. I hope not because Omar is truly the last of the independents- and is not beholden to anyone or any institution. I still worry that his promise (which Omar will uphold to) to Bunk will somehow end with his death. But, Omar has got stones- especially by showing up at Joe's store to sell the heroin back to him at 20 cents on the dollar. And the audacity of Joe to sell it back to everyone else in the Co-Op at 30 cents on the dollar is so perfect. Joe is the consummate businessman (or con-man, whichever you see fit). I do worry that the Co-Op is showing its first signs of unease and may be close to imploding.

I thought it was also worth noting that while the rest of the Co-Op members were huddled together, Chris and Marlo- were noticeably standing by themselves- away from everyone else. This was definitely intentional because Marlo and his kind are a new breed in the drug game.

And to Joe's credit he didn't give up his nephew, Cheese, to Marlo when Marlo began to air his suspicions. Then again, that could harken back to Joe's line in season 2 when he stated that he has "motherfuckin' in-laws and nephews fucking up my shit and it ain't like I can pop a cap in their ass and not hear about the shit on Thanksgiving."

I think Herc has not only had his stripes taken but has been shitcanned completely. During the montage, the lyrics "At the end of the rope" play during Herc's scene. Herc is done and sadly, he deserves whatever he gets because of all the lives that have destroyed and fuck-ups that have happened due to Herc's selfishness and inability to accept responsibility.

I liked the brief scene at the bar with Norman and Parker talking about the political environment and how in the end it's all set up to fail you and disappoint. Reminds me of Bodie's lamentation about the nature of the game and for all of the sacrifices he made, no one did shit to help him when the chips were down.

It was nice to see Chris and Snoop finally shook a bit during the scene when Bunk, Freamon and Greggs were searching their vehicle. And unlike Herc, Kima knew that there was no way that two coldblooded soldiers like Chris and Snoop would travel without a gun. And lo and behold, through patience and awareness, Kima was able to find their gun. Loved Bunk's line with Snoop:

SNOOP: You think you all that for hasslin' niggas?

BUNK: Oh, I know I'm all that. (smokes his cigar) I'm thinkin' about some pussy.

SNOOP: Yeah, me too.

BUNK: Mmmm-hmmm..

Now that Freamon has opened the tombs, the MCU now has a serious case and reason to chase Marlo. But the Stanfield organization are a tricky bunch- they are dumping their burners, they are having open meets and they are dropping people who they remotely suspect to be flipping. They don't need evidence. And how many more bodies will be unearthed? I think someone like Marlo will die at the hands of a gun instead of being imprisoned. I can't wait until season 5 begins and I must applaud David Simon and his crew on a fantastic season.

The Wire Season 4 Episode 12- "That's Got His Own" review

"That all there is to it?" -- Bubbles

Michael Lee runs down a back alley, looking over his shoulder, stumbling and regaining himself as he searches for an open door, somewhere to hide. Two shadowy figures chase him, pistols drawn, as he turns a corner, grabbing a rag so he can break a window, open a derelict warehouse door. The figures gain on him, and closer up they become clear - Felicia 'Snoop' Pearson and Chris Partlow. Inside the vacant and trashed warehouse, Michael tries to look for an exit on the other side. Trapped, he tries for a hiding spot instead. Chris and Snoop find the warehouse and catch up to him. Realizing there's only one place he can be, they corner him and take aim - firing several shots at the first sound. Michael ducks out and fires back, as Chris falls against a wall, holding his abdomen, red seeping out from his hand. Snoop screams a banshee wail as she drops to the ground next, also seemingly shot.

Michael steps over to Chris, who's drenched in sweat and bleeding red. "What's next?" Chris asks, breathing heavy. "One to the head. I keep it quick," his protege responds. "Not yet, motherf**ker," Snoop says, back up and smiling. "You shoot live rounds like paint, boy, you gon' be the shit," she tells him. Michael smiles back - he's earned his stripes.

In one of Marlo Stanfield's mausoleums, Det. Lester Freamon stares at a badly decomposed body of Lex as crime lab technicians work the scene. He steps outside and motions to Det. William "Bunk" Moreland to examine the plywood of the house next door, then starts pulling at it, explaining his detective work to the arriving Sgt. Jay Landsman: the nails on the mausoleum came from a nail gun; every other house on the block has the ordinary screws that Baltimore's housing department uses. They keep looking for the unique nails and they'll find more bodies. Landsman gets sarcastic. "Do you see a tool belt on me?... Three weeks left in the year, our unit clearance rate is under 50 percent. We do not go looking for bodies, especially moldering John Does. We don't put red up on the board voluntarily." Freamon explains the bodies are Marlo's. "Then they belong to him," Landsman responds, before pulling rank and giving him an order: "You will not pull down any more f**king wood." Landsman stalks off and Freamon shows his frustration.

At an informal budget meeting, Mayor Thomas "Tommy" Carcetti goes ballistic over the $54 million school deficit. City Council President Nerese Campbell shifts the blame to the school board, while the Mayor's new chief of staff reminds her that the Council has oversight. As they argue over who is to blame for the disaster, and whether the cause is waste or fraud or embezzlement, the School Superintendent steps in, conceding that her system's accounting practices are a problem, but "we're gonna find that most of the money was properly spent on programming." They debate their next move -- raising property taxes, cutting services, scaling back budgets, denying pay hikes to police and firefighters. "How?" Carcetti asks, his voice rising. "I just ran a clean-up-the-streets campaign...and I just got done promising the world to every cop in the city." Campbell has the inevitable answer: "Annapolis," she says, referring to the Governor's office and the possibility of a state bailout. "You go beg his Republican ass."

Omar Little and Renaldo are now following Cheese, one of Proposition Joe Stewart's lieutenants, having gotten onto him after the earlier confrontation at Prop Joe's second-hand electronics store. Cheese has led them to a meet with Marlo and Marlo's lieutenants at their outdoor lair. Renaldo wonders if this is their big drug drop. Omar hopes not, because they haven't called him yet with the tip-off -- as promised -- "and that would make me feel bad toward Prop Joe."

Marlo and his lieutenants greet Cheese as a runner hands him a book bag full of cash: 25 back to Joe for what they were short before - their claim to payment for their hired killings of the New York Boys having been denied -- and 150 to up their order to six, Marlo tells him. Cheese doesn't know if they'll have extra coming off the boat for six. "Short someone else then," Marlo says bluntly. Cheese throws him a disposable cellphone. Marlo affirms he no longer uses cellphones. Cheese tells him they don't either and that he should merely look for a call from an eastside exchange, toss the phone and go for the meet. Watching the transaction from the row house, Omar decides to continue to follow Cheese.

Freamon and his new unit, including Sgt. Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk, Det. Leander Sydnor, and Det. Kenneth Dozerman, watch smugly as Lt. Charles F. Marimow packs his things - a victim of the same petty and political machinations that Marimow so often employed. The second the door shuts behind him, they bust out laughing. "Sometimes," Freamon says, "life gives you a moment." "He's gonna do me and instead he gets done," Herc adds. "I'm dipped in s**t here. I'm the luckiest motherf**ker you know." Freamon gets down to business and delivers the plan: Marlo is still the target. The bosses might not let Freamon go after the murders but they can't stop him from chasing the drugs. He assigns the team their orders - Sydnor on surveillance, Dozerman on the paper trail, Herc on the paper work to get the wiretap back up. As for Freamon, he's off to the missing persons unit downtown. Herc pulls Freamon aside and asks that he give the orders; Herc, after all, is the sergeant. Freamon stares at him for a moment before walking off.

Namond Brice is getting his hair braided on a corner - his ponytail replaced by less conspicuous cornrows - when little Kenard pays a visit to tell him their package was taken from Kenard's basement when the police kicked in his door. Namond wants to know how they knew where his stash was. "Some snitch-ass bitch," Kenard tells him, claiming he's gonna find the informant.

Howard "Bunny" Colvin and the Deacon share a Polish sausage at one of Baltimore's last remaining Polack Johnny's restaurants, as Colvin unloads about the pilot program being denied approval to continue. They went all the way to the School Superintendent, who's too scared - given all the budget problems - to take any fresh complication to the Mayor. The Deacon mentions State Del. Odell Watkins. "I was hoping you'd say that name," Colvin says, acknowledging that Watkins, having supported Carcetti in the election, has the new mayor's ear.

Bubbles meets with some old-time street sages at an A-rabbers' stable on the westside and gets a few tips on ridding Fiend from his life. One of them eventually recommends he lace his drugs with sodium cyanide, easy enough to get hold of if you know where to look. They caution him not to go overboard - one vial could kill every horse in the stable. "That all there is to it?" Bubbles asks. "Ain't no thing to kill a nigger if he's already 'bout the business of killin' hisself," one of the men tells him. "Police, they ain't gonna pay no never mind. You're the one that's got to live with it, is all."

In the Missing Person Unit, Freamon sifts through photos, mug shots and family shots of all the young black males - more than he expected. He pulls out Lex's photo and Little Kevin's mugshot as well, as the M.P.U. detective explains why he hasn't done any street work on any of them: They cut his department down to one detective five years ago. "I barely keep up the paperwork." Freamon leaves with the photos and reports.

When Michael hears that Kenard's stash is gone, and asks a few follow-up questions, he realizes the scam and tells Namond the kid took it himself. "And now you gotta step to him, put somethin' real behind them words."

Omar pays a visit to Blind Butchie's bar, explaining that he's rounding up soldiers, and Butchie offers up his own confederates - the very players who saved Omar when he was alone in the city detention center on his murder charge. Omar acknowledges Big Donnie, remarking that his 2255 federal post-conviction appeal must have worked out. Donnie affirms that this is so. Omar says, however, that he's planning to go "subtle" in his approach, and as if on cue, he gets a visit from an old friend, Kimmy, who he has called back into town for a chance at a big score.

Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski stops by Randy Wagstaff's house to drop off his homework assignments - Randy is still not attending class for fear of being targeted and beaten as a snitch - and Miss Anna tells him she's thinking of moving the boy to another school for the next semester. Prez hopes it's not necessary. He leaves, but as he does, spots the plainclothes surveillance car on the way out, and realizes that if he can spot the protection detail, it's likely that the neighborhood can as well.

Carcetti and Wilson pay a visit to the State House, where they're made to wait an hour to meet with the Governor. An aide surfaces to say it will be longer, as the Mayor - humiliated - explains he has appointments. Wilson reads his boss a quote from the Washington Post, from the governor himself, about Baltimore's "latest fiscal emergency" calling into question not only the school system but "local oversight of the system." "Motherf**ker," Carcetti says. "He's playing to the D.C. suburbs. The governor sees Tommy running against him in two years and is going to use any school bailout to damage Carcetti politically with voters statewide. Wilson agrees with Carcetti's assessment, saying of the governor: "He ain't no fool."

At the Major Crimes Unit off-site office on Clinton Street, a confused Lieutenant Asher returns with his things, interrupting Herc and Freamon at work. The Lieutenant asks Freamon what the hell's going on, given that he's been transferred from Major Crimes to the Telephone Reporting Unit and back again - all in a few months time. Freamon just smiles and asks, "How's the beach house?" as the lieutenant heads to his office. Herc inquires as to Asher's identity and Freamon identifies the passive, do-nothing lieuenant as one of the department's most effective supervisors.

Prez makes an appeal to Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly on behalf of Duquan "Dukie" Weems. Dukie's mid-year promotion to the ninth-grade may be helping the school system juke its matriculation rates, but it is disruptive to the child. Dukie is finally thriving where he is. Donnelly acknowledges that she is aware of all the extra attention Prez has given the boy. She guesses that Prez and his wife don't have kids. "Have them," she advises him. "For better or worse, they'll be yours for life." There's plenty of other kids coming up behind Dukie who will also need his help, she adds knowingly.

In the project classroom, the teacher, Ms. Duquette, tries to get the kids to focus on the upcoming statewide tests - as the system demands of all classes, but they don't see the point. "You need to take the test so you can move on to the next level," Ms. Duquette explains. "I ain't movin' nowhere but out this motherf**ker," Darnell Tyson responds. Namond thinks they got schemed, because now their class is just like the ones down the hall. Colvin leans into Parenti and concedes that the boy is right. "The test material doesn't exactly speak to their world," Parenti affirms. "Don't speak too loud to mine, either," says Colvin.

As Prez tries to teach math and percentages, the kids press him about why he got married. "To build a life together," he says, " have intimacy." They razz him about "getting some," and he gets flustered. "Not just that. Intimacy can be a quiet conversation. Or fun. Like when you tickle your partner." "Yo, tickle my nuts," one boy responds. Prez turns to face the blackboard and manages to suppress a laugh. Even in their effrontery, these kids have charmed him.

Ignoring Landsman's order, Det. Freamon pays a visit to Col. Cedric Daniels and Assistant State's Attorney Rhonda Pearlman, the respective chiefs of the department's Criminal Investigation Division and the Violent Crimes Unit of the prosecutor's office. They are shocked to hear about the bodies - Freamon learns that Landsman has made no mention of the matter - and Daniels and Pearlman express further dismay at Freamon's estimate of how many they might find: a couple dozen, perhaps. Daniels questions whether they're likely to deploy half of Public Works to open thousands of vacant houses, only to raise the city's murder rate by 10 percent. Pearlman asks any direct links between these presumed bodies in vacant rowhouses and Marlo, and Freamon points to Lex as a known victim whose murder can be linked to the drug trafficker. Moreover, two missing persons can also be tied to Stanfield's organization through the earlier wiretaps that Freamon had up. Pearlman says the decision to begin opening up vacant houses is not for her office to make; prosecutors won't care until they see case files. Daniels agrees to run it upstairs and see what comes.

After an inordinate amount of time, Carcetti tells the Governor's aide he gets the point and leaves. "I'm the mayor of a major American city for chrissakes," he says to Wilson on the way out. "How much s**t do I have to eat from this guy?" He scoffs as he re-reads a Washington Post quote the man delivered, "'because those are my children in Baltimore too.' He's gonna bleed me for that money." On their way out of the State House, Carcetti gets the word from a state trooper at the security checkpoint - portrayed, notably, by Maryland's actual governor, Robert Ehrlich - that the governor is now ready to see him. Wilson takes a line from the Christmas carol playing through the halls to nudge Carcetti back up the stairs to the governor's suite: "We won't go until we get some..."

Bubbles is hard at work in his garage, a mad scientist dicing up powdery substances and loading three small vials, which he tucks in his coat's front pocket, same as always. When he catches up with Sherrod later, he sends the boy off into a different quadrant of the city with his own inventory for the first time, as he heads elsewhere to seek out the predatory dope fiend who has so tormented them.

Prez sits with a depressed Dukie by the computer, and tries to convince him he's ready for his promotion to Southwestern High School, adding that he can come back and use the computer and the showers and give him laundry any time. Dukie tries to show Prez how to use the computer, realizing he won't be back. After school, he catches up with Michael and Namond and tells them that Randy's foster mother is talking about taking their friend out of Tilghman, re-enrolling him elsewhere. When Dukie gets back to his own house, its contents are out on the street, an eviction notice on the door. Not again, Dukie says. Michael invites him to stay at his new home with Bug - the first suggestion that Michael and his brother are no longer living with their mother.

Daniels goes to Deputy Commissioner for Operations William A. Rawls with Freamon's theory about the bodies and the missing persons, and the suggestion that City Hall might look more kindly on the discovery if the bodies are brought in before the year's end - so that the bump in the murder rate will fall on Royce's watch, rather than in the first full year of Carcetti's new administration. "I see you've thought this through - politically, I mean," he says. "I'm learning as I go," Daniels responds. "I bet you f**king are..." says Rawls dryly, now conscious of Daniels' prospects for political advancement. Keep this conversation close, he orders Daniels. "That's a direct order."

When Namond tells his mother Kenard took the drug stash, De'Londa goes off on him, angry he didn't make the kid "feel pain." She belittles him for not measuring up to his father, and when Namond reminds her that the man is locked up, she smacks him. Shaken, he leaves the house, despite her protests.

Over beers, Freamon talks to Bunk and Off. James "Jimmy" McNulty about the bodies, how wrong it is to just let them lie there. McNulty suggests going over Landsman's head, and Bunk, not knowing Freamon already has, explains that his colleague "don't fancy boats," referring to McNulty's harbor re-assignment after he ignored the chain of command two years prior. With a few beers in him, Freamon eyes the nail he saved and bets them ten bucks they can go find bodies at any boarded-up rowhouse with a similar one. Bunk takes the bet, if only to play with Freamon.

Namond takes Michael along to confront Kenard on his lie - Kenard's front door showed no sign of having been kicked in by police, and Namond wants to know where the package is. "Package up my ass, Gump," the kid says. Namond hesitates a moment and Michael takes over, punching the little kid bloody with a fierceness Namond hadn't seen before. "Go 'head Namond, get your package off this bitch and let's go." Namond looks sickened by the site of the battered Kenard. "I ain't want it," he says, running off, leaving Michael with his victim.

In another vacant rowhouse, Freamon collects on his bet as he, Bunk and McNulty look over another decomposing body. They debate whether to call the crime lab, but Freamon says no bitterly; there are no bodies until the bosses say there are. There is talk that eventually, this will become a helluva case. McNulty warns that they should expect the inevitable: the brass will mess it up. "Maybe not this time," Freamon says. "Daniels is C.I.D. It's a new day downtown."

Having no luck scaring up his nemesis, the predatory fiend, Bubbles returns home to the garage. He sees Sherrod cocooned in his covers, and smiles proudly when he sees the cash the boy left for him.

When Sgt. Ellis Carver visits Randy Wagstaff at home, Miss Anna says they're going to wait a little longer before he returns to school. It'll blow over in a week or so, Carver assures them. Until then, he's got the plainclothes unit protecting the house, and Randy can call him any time. Randy now seems wary of Carver, but Miss Anna insists Carver stay for breakfast.

Bubbles awakes in the morning with a new idea - they made so much money hauling that felled aluminum lightpost two weeks ago that maybe they can go all Paul Bunyan and start knocking a few more streetlights down themselves - and he starts laying out a plan to Sherrod. When he gets no response, he finally looks around to see the boy's empty bedroll, then finds him lying on the floor, next to Bubbles' coat. Suddenly frantic, Bubbles kneels next to him and reaches for his hand, finding an empty vial. "No, no, no, what'd you do, Sherrod?" he pleads, shaking the boy and pumping his chest, tears pouring out of him.

In the Major Crimes Unit, the team is reporting to Freamon on their Marlo findings - no more cellphones; even the Stanfield organization lieutenants who were using burners months ago are now taking only face-to-face meets. Two Internal Investigation Division detectives interrupt, looking for a Sergeant Hauk and citing a missing surveillance camera - as well as some paperwork on a couple of informants. They also want to see Sydnor and Dozerman. "Paperwork is all mine," Herc tells them. "On the camera. On the informants. Me alone." Herc stands up manfully to take the weight for his mistakes. He departs with the I.I.D. men.

Rawls breaks the news to Carcetti about the bodies and recommends they pull them out now, so they're not on his watch, but can be credited instead to the previous mayor. "Thoughtful," Carcetti says, before getting pissed. "I don't want any more stat games from your department...If there are bodies in there, they need to come out!" Rawls looks chastened, until Carcetti puts a hand to his shoulder. "But do it now. I don't wanna be finding more bodies come January." Clearly, Carcetti, while staking out some moral high ground, sees the political logic as well.

After his meeting with the Governor, the Mayor heads into another meeting with city officials where Wilson lays out their latest predicament: they can take state money for the school deficit crisis and avoid teacher layoffs and program cuts, but the state wants more control which will mean messing with teachers' contracts and tenure, and turning the powerful city teachers' union against Carcetti. If they don't take the money, they'll look like they're shorting the kids. Politically astute, Council President Campbell points out that the Governor is setting up the Mayor for a fight in two years - the D.C. suburbs aren't going to like that he used their money to bail out his city schools. As for what she'd do? Don't look at me, Campbell insists: "If you take it, you're selling out the teachers, and that's my base. If you don't take it, you're selling out the kids. Either way, I'll probably rip you, and half the council will, too." She pauses for a beat. "Just glad I'm not the mayor." Carcetti is almost amused.

Col. Daniels summons Freamon to tell him word from down the chain is to open up the houses. They discuss adding manpower to the unit, and he offers Freamon any two bodies he wants from C.I.D.. If he gets the wire back up, Freamon can have additional manpower beyond that. On his way out, Freamon stops by to visit Det. Shakima "Kima" Greggs, who's got her feet up on the desk, talking about a hot woman at a bar and clearly enjoying her new digs. "How're you liking homicide?" he asks. "Love it. Why?" Freamon shrugs and walks off, one of his choices already made.

At the appliance store, Slim Charles enters to tell Prop Joe the delivery is on its way. Joe picks up a cell phone to make his promised call to Omar. Watching from his cab, already well aware that Cheese is now on the move, Omar puts in a call to his own people.

Over at Dennis "Cutty" Wise's gym, Namond tries to talk to Michael, who is working a bag, but gets ignored. Aware of his lowered standing, he makes a show of his bravado, taunting Dukie by calling him names, using one of the same insults that Kenard hurled at him: "Gump...dogs**t smellin' ass nigga." This gets Michael's attention: he turns and grabs Namond, throws him against a wall and begins smacking him. Cutty throws Michael out. Namond is left in tears. When the gym clears, Carver shows and he and Cutty both try to talk to Namond. "I can't go home," he tells Carver. His mother expects him to be his father, and, he concedes now, "that ain't in me." As for Michael, Namond references the brutal beating of Kenard and notes: "He 'ain't Mike no more." Cutty tells Carver privately that Namond certainly can't stay at the gym. Moreover, he regrets shutting Michael out at the very point when that boy might need help the most. He goes looking for Michael, leaving Carver to contemplate Namond.

By a row of industrial buildings, Omar and Renaldo suit up in armor and load their guns, as Kimmy, the woman from Butchie's bar, arrives in a torn housedress and imitation fur coat ready for action. Omar is amused at her get-up, though Kimmy is less so. Not far away, Cheese and his driver walk towards a small warehouse, and watch as a two-ton truck pulls in slowly. Kimmy appears, walking unsteadily and waving to the driver of the truck. As two warehouse security guards step out, Cheese and the driver standing alongside, Kimmy walks boldly up to them, looking high and singing, and plying her trade. "I'll suck your dick for fifteen," she says to one of the guards. They are dismissive and begin haggling with her, demanding that she leave.

Omar and Renaldo prepare their own side-winding approach as Kimmy keeps on it, and a van pulls in and parks - blocking the two-ton truck. Two Hispanic men get out, wearing coveralls and claiming they're painters, as Cheese and his people scream at them to leave. They play dumb and fumble with things behind the rear doors of the van. As Kimmy hikes her dress for the warehouse guards, Omar surprises one guard with a shotgun, Kimmy surprises the other with a holstered automatic from her thigh, and the Mexican painters emerge from the back of the with guns drawn, and Renaldo whistles from the roof, covering all of them with his weapon. Outmaneuvered, Cheese drops his pistol. When no one responds to Omar's request to open the truck, Kimmy shoots a guard in the ass. The Russian driver, cursing his confederates as "amateurs," opens the rear of the truck.

Back downtown, the Deacon pays a visit to Odell Watkins, asking him if he remembers Bunny Colvin. "Rogue police commander, tried to legalize drugs," Watkins says, as Colvin listens outside. Though Watkins seems reluctant to help such a man, The Deacon brings Colvin in to talk about "another bright idea," as Colvin himself puts it.

Cutty goes looking for Michael and finds only his mother, who tells him Michael left and got his "own spot," took his little brother with him, too. "You find that boy, you let him know I need some help around here," she says bitterly as Cutty leaves.

Namond is back in Carver's office, waiting for Colvin to pick him up. Carver pulls the former cop aside to tell him what the boy's mother said when he called her about her son's status: "'Put that bitch in baby booking...let him learn something.' She hung up before I could tell her there was no charge."

Up the block from Randy's house, a young thug from Tilghman calls 911 from a payphone and reports a cop being beaten and shot at a store elsewhere in West Baltimore. As the plainclothes car races off in response, two boys run by Randy's house and throw Molotov cocktails through the windows. Within seconds, the house fills with flames.

Prop Joe gets a visit from Cheese, who tells him about Omar's raid, his "commando squads" and how they cleaned them out, the entire shipment. Incredulous, Prop Joe asks about why no one fought back. Cheese insists it happened too quickly, noting that one of Omar's people pulled a weapon from her genitals. "S*** was unseemly," he remarks. Prop Joe acknowledges that while he was willing to let Omar take off that portion of the shipment destined for Marlo, he didn't see Omar's larger play coming. The two worry what they're going to tell the CO-OP -- everyone's screwed out of this one. "I say we go find this faggot," Cheese says. "First thing they're gonna wonder about is us," Prop Joe tells him, worrying about how they'll prove to the co-op as a whole that they weren't in on it.

Cutty finds Michael on a corner hanging with Marlo's boys, including Monk. He tries to address the boy, but Michael brushes him off. "This here ain't you," Cutty tells him. Monk warns the coach to step away, and Cutty regards him dismissively. Monk pulls a gun and shoots Cutty in the thigh, dropping him, then points it at Cutty's head. Michael steps in and gently pushes Monk's arm away, until Monk and the others step off. Michael tells Cutty he'll wait for the ambulance, as a Korean storeowner comes out. "Go with your people," Cutty tells him, realizing that Michael has made his decision already. Michael pauses for a moment, then walks off into the night, leaving Cutty in the street bleeding.

Carver visits the University of Maryland hospital, where he checks in on the status of Miss Anna on a Burn Unit board: critical/stable condition, with second/third degree burns. He finds Randy in a family counseling room, tear tracks down his face, covered in cuts and minor burns. "I'm sorry, son," Carver says. "I'm gonna talk to social services. We'll get you some help." Randy refuses to look at him. When Carver turns to leave to begin making calls, Randy yells after him. "You gonna help, huh? You gonna look out for me?" He repeats himself, yelling louder, tears streaming, as a tormented Carver keeps walking.

Okay, first things first. George Pelecanos is a freaking mad genius and I utterly despise the man. It has nothing to do with the man's writing ability and talent because the man is one of the greatest writers in fiction today. I just hate it when George writes the penultimate episode because you know someone's going to go- and George is going to make it utterly heartbreaking. George penned most of the series major demises like Wallace, Frank Sabotka and Stringer Bell. So, being comfortable with the way the opening quote in the penultimate episode was said by the character who met their maker, I feared for Bubs' life. I was glad Bubs did survive- however, the state that he is in right now makes me fear for his own well-being. RIP Sherrod. I knew the boy's demise was inevitable and that Bubs' hot shot was going to blow up in his face. The point is it was apparent to everyone BUT Bubs. And that is the important thing that they were trying to go for. Just when things were going good for the Bubs/Sherrod partnership.

Andre Royo truly broke my heart in this episode. The look on his face when he pieced together that Sherrod took the hot shot was piercing. And his eventual defeat when he realized that he lost Sherrod was just crushing. As painful as Sherrod's death was, this episode was more about the pain of people who survive tragedies (whether it be Randy or Bubs, etc). And that pain is so gripping- that is why I want to sometimes hate George Pelecanos. He did a masterful job spinning these various storylines together and the ending was one of the best the show has had yet. But let me review the episode more in detail:

I love how the episode opened with the para-military-esque training of Michael by Chris and Snoop. Also, even though Marlo initially noticed the potential in Michael, the person who really took Mike under his wing is Chris. Even now, Marlo references Mike as Chris' "pup". Big paws on a puppy indeed. And now, even Snoop has warmed up to Michael- the boy is officially knee deep in the game. The sacrifice he made to protect Bug may indeed cost him his own life.

I love the differences we see between Namond and Michael in this episode. Kenard knowing that he can get one over on Namond's weaknesses- tries to punk him until Michael unleashes his fury on the kid. I love looking at Namond's horrified face as he witnesses the brutality that is in Michael and also the severe consequences that come along with the game. Michael is all too ready and perfect for this world- Namond has been groomed to be a part of this world that he has no place in. "I don't want it...I don't want it" I'm sure Namond is talking about more than just the package. I think he's talking about the whole lifestyle he's being forced to adopt as well.

Even his home life, Namond is forced to live a counterfeit existence. I can't find any more of a deplorable example of a mother than De'Londa Brice? How the hell can she praise Wee-Bey's actions and encourage her son to be anything remotely like his father? And when Namond tries to reclaim some semblance of bravado by picking on Dukie (who is weaker than he is anyway) by using Kenard's early taunts ("gump")- there's a great brilliance in the scene. Even Dukie is ignoring Namond by just focusing on jumping the rope- and Namond is struggling so hard to get some of the balls he thinks he has back. But Michael just slapped his friend out of the disgust of Namond's act. Michael has an amazing ability of making people understand the reality of themselves.

I also was interested in how Michael did not acknowledge Namond's comments when he was in Cutty's gym. Probably, Michael viewed Namond is counterfeit that night when he beat up Kenard. The look on Michael's face when Namond walked away said it all. I also like the poster of Avon in Cutty's gym (from Avon's contribution to the gym in season 3)- which is a nice foreshadowing to Michael being iniated into the game.

And now, I must discuss Omar's amazing heist in this episode. I think Pelecanos really enjoys writing for Omar and he gives every Omar scene the proper gusto and greatness that you would expect. I like how Omar was able to not only steal the package but the entire shipment. I thought Omar was going to just steal everything that Marlo holds close to him but Omar thought this one out very well. He was able through close scrutiny and patience- able to figure out where the main shipment comes in for Joe and for the entire Co-Op. I also like that Omar brought Kimmy in for this special mission. Kimmy is one of my favorite members of Omar's crew and Kelli R. Brown and Michael K. Williams have terrific chemistry in their scenes together. Kimmy, being the master of disguises was able to distract the two guards with her crackhead routine while Omar, Reynaldo and the Mexicans were able to make their move.

Cheese's dialogue with Prop Joe was probably one of the greatest lines I've ever heard on the series (and it is pure Pelecanos here)- "Omar had one of them commando squads with him, man. He had this one ho- pulling guns out of her pussy, unc. The shit was unseemly, man."

The pulling guns out of her pussy line was hilarious in itself. But "The shit was unseemly, man" line? That sealed the greatness of that quick scene for me. Joe maintains his cool but is plotting how to explain this to the Co-Op who will be none to pleased if they know that he is the one who was going to give Omar the means to rob Marlo's package. And now everyone is going to be focusing in on Joe and his organization- wondering what they have to hide. Joe is a clever kingpin and knows what corners must be covered. And it was great to see the reintroduction of the Greeks again with the Russian driver there for the shipment delivery. Do the Greeks employ solely Russian drivers (Sergei from year 2 anyone?). Gotta love the driver's mumbling about "fucking amateurs" when he was criticizing Cheese and his ineffectual crew.

The repercussions for this is what I'm most interested in. Omar has not just robbed one dealer- he robbed an entire Co-Op's good dope and also robbed from The Greeks. If I was Omar, I would be getting on a bus as soon as possible but "Omar don't scare" and Baltimore is all that he knows. I want Omar to survive though but this heist was pretty impressive.

Cheese's meeting with Marlo was fun to watch as well- mainly for Cheese's attempt at humor that did not go over well with Marlo's crew. "Ya'll some Semper Fi mothafuckas ain't you? Where do Cheese go to enlist?" Genius line. And I liked the intentional coughing to get past the joke too. Marlo and his people are short on humor but long on murder.

The conversation about intimacy with Prez and the class was extremely important. Notice the intimacy issues that many of the characters have each other- when Cutty reaches out to Michael, Michael tells him not to touch him. Randy refuses to be touched by Carver, after the burning of his home and what happened to Miss Anna. Contrast that with Bunny touching Namond's shoulder when he comes for the boy. Namond is so starved for actual affection that he does not move and accepts Colvin's genorosity. Dukie accepts Prez's affection as well when Prez suggests that Dukie can come back to the school and he can steal wash the child's clothes.

And I honestly thought Cutty was going to meet his end if it wasn't for Michael's arm stopping Monk. And after Cutty was shot, Michael seemed to realize that Cutty generally cared for the child. But when Cutty looked at Michael- he knew that Michael already made his choice. It was too late. If he didn't stay with Marlo and his crew, they would put a bullet in Michael as retaliation.

It's about time that Herc stepped up and took responsibility but it's already well too late. If you think about it- consider how many lives that Herc has destroyed this season with his own selfishness. I need to actually sit down and brainstorm about all the characters that Herc has hurt because of his ineffectiveness and sheer ineptitude in some instances. I hope Herc has his stripes taken and is finally shitcanned. I love Herc as a person but he fucking deserves the steepest punishment.

Meanwhile, Freamon is putting all the pieces together and realizes how potentially far that Marlo's tombs can spread. But before he can test this theory the police brass (with Landsman providing interesting counterpoint) prevent him due to political numbers game. Carcetti seems to be genuine in his mission for change, however the scenes with him waiting for the Governor show the sad world of politics. I think the Carcetti's tenure as Mayor might be a case of- "Be careful what you wish for".

Loved Norman's line about losing one million at a time. Nice job at casting Reg E. Cathey.

And the final scene with Randy yelling at Carver was perfect. Those words about the protection that Carver did not provide were more lethal than a bullet. And Seth Gilliam does an expert job of showing his emotions as each word hits him. Carver really did try- and basically was cleaning up Herc's fuck up when Randy wasn't turned over to Bunk.

Poor Sherrod. I can't stop mourning for this child who was thrown into a world and had no one- no one who gave a shit about the kid. Except for Bubs- who for once, seemed greatly affected by the positive aspects that Sherrod brought. I remember Bubs referenced in season 1 that he had..a child who hasn't seen in a long time- so Sherrod was the closest thing Bubs has had to a son. And in the end, the cold world that has ignored Bubs and Sherrod- absorbed the child in a quick manner.

Jermaine Crawford is a fabulous actor and I love how he says so little but conveys so much with his facial expressions. An example of this is when he sees the eviction sign and everything thrown on the street. There's no personal items he wants- he just wants to move on.

"Mike ain't Mike no more". That's definitely true and Michael is really ready for the game. All season long we saw Michael as the enigma- ready to go either way. He definitely had leadership qualities but had enough positive traits to ensure he would not be engulfed in the drug world. His love for Bug sealed his fate however.

The thing I love about this show is the unrelenting realism and the way these characters all feel like three dimensional flesh and blood people you care for. My heart is broken knowing there is one episode left and that the four young stars we have focused on this season are all on different journeys. And each of them, are drifting further and further apart from one another.

The Wire Season 4 Episode 11- "A New Day" review

"You play in dirt, you get dirty."-- McNulty

At a Korean-run carryout joint, Namond Brice flashes his wad of cash as he treats Michael Lee, Duquan "Dukie" Weems and Randy Wagstaff. When Dukie orders "yakame with turkey grease" Namond and Michael crack up and a defensive Dukie wants to know what's so funny - it's what his mom always orders. Michael gently explains that turkey grease "makes the drunks, you know, throw up all that liquor they was drinkin' so they can get back to swilling that shit." As the boys, joined by Donut, chow down on Namond's largesse on some steps on the commercial strip, they discuss Little Kevin, and Randy is frightened to hear the word is he's dead, up in the vacants. Officer Eddie Walker walks by and runs the boys off of "his Avenue," telling them to get back to where they belong. Fed up, the kids brainstorm how to send Walker a message, and when Michael gets confirmation from Donut that Walker goes to the club on Stockton - the after-hours joint that the Western police favor - he assures him he's "got this one."

Concerned about Sgt. Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk's bad stop-and-search of the politically connected Minister, Reverend Frank Reid and the Minister himself pay a visit to Mayor Thomas "Tommy" Carcetti to lean on him about supporting a civilian review board for the police department - otherwise how can they trust any investigation of any complaint? Mayoral aide Norman Wilson points out to the men of the cloth that the Police Department has a black Commissioner and I.I.D. director, but Rev. Reid counters that they've heard Burrell's authority is being limited. Carcetti assures him he takes the problem seriously and asks them to trust the process. When they leave, Wilson and Carcetti ponder the rock and hard spot he's between: Even Royce - a black mayor - did not risk a rebellion among the rank-and-file by implementing civilian review. And on a smaller scale, if Carcetti moves overtly to have Sgt. Hauk fired, he pisses off the rank and file; if he doesn't, he pisses off the black political infrastructure.

At Edward Tilghman Middle School, Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski continues to fight the good fight, overseeing practical math problems as he struggles to explain the area of a circle to Charlene Young and watches as a boy, Perry, is knocked in the testicles by a comrade using the tape measure. In the project class, Ms. Duquette quizzes the group on what takes courage outside of being on a corner. To illustrate bravery, she asks Namond to stand on a box and do a trust fall, relying on his classmates to catch him. Namond balks, but Howard "Bunny" Colvin eyes him and he reluctantly climbs up, warning: "Y'all drop me, we gonna have more than words." He's exhilarated by the exercise, but when other volunteers are solicited, Albert bolts from the room with a string of profanity and a concerned Colvin follows on his heels. Later, in the lunchroom, Randy is shunned as he tries to ply his candy on the usually receptive kids. Word has even seeped to the lower grades of Tilghman is out that Randy's a snitch.

Parked at an intersection in a yellow cab, Omar and Renaldo debate whether they've lost Slim Charles' trail. It was at this same intersection where they lost the man on a previous run. Just as Renaldo is fed up with the tedium of their stake out, Slim's SUV drives by and they follow. They follow him back to Proposition Joe Stewart's appliance store, much to their surprise. Says Omar, "on this caper, the more we learn, the less we know." When Renaldo begs for a bathroom break, Omar just hands him a roll of toilet paper and orders him to squat in the alley.

Colvin and Mrs. Rennert, a new social worker - the previous one has left the project in the wake of her expressed doubts about its merit - talk to a crying Albert, urging him to unburden himself. Finally he comes clean: "I went home yesterday. My ma's on the couch, she dead." His grandmother made him come to school. Heartbroken, Colvin understands - the boy just wanted to be with his mother. The profound emotional neglect on some of these kids is stunning.

Assistant State's Attorney Rhonda Pearlman and Col. Cedric Daniels address the homicide unit in their new capacities as head of the courthouse Violent Crimes Unit and the department's Criminal Investigation Division, respectively. Emphasizing they have a mandate for change under the new administration, the pair asks for feedback on how to improve things. They're bombarded with suggestions, from "better witness protection" and "more proactive investigation" to "more scotch," "loose women" and above all, "pay hike." Laughing at the spirit of optimism, Det. Shakima "Kima" Greggs notes to Sgt. Jay Landsman, "Sounds like a new day, don't it? Department's finally gonna get what it needs. State's Attorney's office too." Landsman is non-committal, saying only that Daniels and Pearlman make a nice couple.

Meanwhile, Wilson hands over a decree from the Mayor to Deputy Commissioner for Operations William A. Rawls, ordering all police commanders to avoid mass arrests and emphasizing community-based and higher-end law enforcement. When Rawls asks hungrily why they don't just fire Commissioner Ervin Burrell, Wilson explains they don't have the political capital to do that just yet, using it as a segue to explain the delicate situation with Sgt. Hauk and the ministers. Rawls suggests that they let Col. Daniels handle it, since the sergeant is under his command now, and the ministers might be more inclined to accept the decision of a black commander.

The corner has taken its toll and Sherrod stumbles into Bubbles' garage late at night, admitting to having messed up the count on a package, and asking to be taken back in. Bubbles, pleased to have him, feeds him hotdogs and promises they'll find a way together to pay back the "cheddar" that Jo-Jo is claiming Sherrod owes.

Heading out on the payback caper that Michael has masterminded, Dukie, Namond and Randy are having second thoughts about taking on a police officer, but Michael is determined that they go through with the tasks they've drawn straws for. When Walker emerges from the club, Randy signals Dukie, who provokes Walker by keying his car. When Walker gives chase, Dukie leads him into an alley, where a masked Michael aims a gun at him: "You the police like to f**k with a nigga," he says, firing a warning shot to impress Walker as to the seriousness of the moment. Just as Namond's about to toss a can of yellow paint on the officer, Michael spots a ring on Walker's finger - the same ring that Walker took off of Omar and Omar stole from Marlo Stanfield, who, in turn, took it from Old Face Andre. Risking exposure should Walker turn around, Michael pulls down his mask for a better look as he orders the man to hand the ring over. Walker does, and Namond finally tosses the paint: "Payback," says Michael.

Daniels reviews the complaint against Sgt. Hauk, asking Rawls what's expected of him, given that he sees "a lot of smoke, but I'm not feeling much in the way of fire." With no witnesses and no indication of racial or religious undertones or serious brutality, his punishment options are limited. Rawls tells him City Hall just wants him to "do the right thing." Daniels - and even Rawls - are amused at the rarity of such a moment.

The next morning, Carcetti starts his day with a series of visits to city agencies. He reports an abandoned car that needs towing to Public Works, a leaking hydrant to Wastewater Management and a playground that needs cleaning up to Parks and Recreation - but gives no locations, forcing the agencies to spring into action citywide.

Meanwhile, as they enjoy a round of late fall golf, Commissioner Burrell and State Sen. R. Clayton "Clay" Davis discuss Daniels' decision on the Minister's complaint against Sgt. Hauk: sensitivity counseling and two weeks extra duty. Davis explains how and why the decision was put off onto Daniels, but tells Burrell it won't be enough for the ministers - something Burrell already knows. Burrell sees an opening for himself.

At Western District, Walker, in plainclothes, riles up some young cops with his report that he was attacked by three "Bloods" with shotguns: "the paint supposed to be some kind of declaration of's us against them." Ofc. James "Jimmy" McNulty, overhearing, gives Walker a doubtful glare: "Yellow paint, a declaration of war?"

At Tilghman, Colvin praises Namond's progress, suggesting he's doing so well he could go back to regular class. But this doesn't strike Namond as progress. "The s**t they be teaching be deadly." More notably, Namond teases Colvin about his nickname and Colvin, too, responds playfully. A bond is forming between the two.

The Mayor meets with Wilson and the Budget Director, insisting he needs to find the funds for a 5 percent police raise. The Budget Director warns against using the rainy day fund because the national bond houses want at least 5 percent of the budget in reserve, but Wilson and Carcetti think it looks like rain.

Outside of school, some thugs confront Randy, who's walking home with Michael and Dukie, and accuse him of talking to the police. Randy denies it and they challenge Michael for standing with a snitch. Michael throws the first punch and Prez has to break up a serious melee that leaves Randy stunned and bloody on the ground.

The reunited team of Bubbles and Sherrod are having a banner day with the Bubble Depo, making sales and coming across a toppled lamppost, which Bubs figures will get them an easy $100 for the scrap aluminum.

At a westside subshopt, McNulty spots Bodie, taking cover from the cops who are shaking down the corners hard. McNulty explains that the response is due to Walker getting jumped. Bodie is amused at what happened to Walker. "Walker's an asshole," McNulty admits, to Bodie's surprise. McNulty gets a call and has to rush out, but he leaves Bodie with a strange feeling of camaraderie between himself and this police.

As Prez attends to Randy's wounds, with Michael and Dukie standing by, Randy swears he only told the police what everybody knows that Lex went to the playground behind Fulton and everyone says he got killed, and that he heard about it from Lil Kevin. He asks Michael if he's a snitch for doing that much, and Michael responds that because Randy didn't give up any of his friends, he is not. But, Michael cautions, you shouldn't talk to police in general. Dukie reports that now people say Kevin's in the vacants with Lex. Prez tells Randy that Michael is right: If anyone tries to talk to him again, he's to say nothing.

At Police Headquarters, Deputy Commissioner Rawls hands out Carcetti's memo ordering quality police work over making stats to the department heads, including Daniels and Maj. Stanislaus Valchek. When the Chief of Patrol moans about how difficult it will be ("Our people were raised on stats."), Rawls suggests he can replace him if he can't bend Patrol to the mission. As the meeting breaks, Daniels asks Rawls for permission to reconstitute Major Crimes, bring it under the Homicide umbrella, and shake up the personnel - as that unit was all about the high-end. Rawls tells him to go for it. When Daniels leaves, Valchek, who's heard the exchange, commends Rawls for approving an idea from the "anointed fella." Seeing the look on Rawls' face, Valchek realizes with shock that this is the first time Rawls has been tipped to the idea that Daniel -- not Rawls -- is being seriously groomed for Commissioner. Now the delay in firing Burrell makes sense to Rawls. "Jesus, Bill, it's Baltimore. You ain't one of the natives, are ya?" Valchek reminds him.

Staking out the Holiday Inn, Renaldo reports that Slim Charles went in a big room with a sign that said New Day Co-op with Joe, Fat Face Rick and eight or nine others - at least one of whom Omar and Renaldo have robbed. Just then they spy Marlo arriving as well. Omar is excited: "If it's what I think it is, our little clutch of chickens might be putting all their eggs up in one basket." Omar has, through much surveillance, figured out the connection between Proposition Joe, Marlo and many other Baltimore narcotics traffickers. He sees the outline of the Co-op.

As Michael and Namond check out gold chains, Namond warns his friend against wearing Walker's ring around his neck where the officer can spot it. He asks what's up with Michael, taking risks like that, especially pulling off the mask in Walker's presence, and starting the fight to defend Randy. Michael asks him back: Wouldn't you have stood tall for a friend? "It's not that you do s**t, it's how you do it," worries Namond.

Daniels reports the good news about Major Crimes to Det. Lester Freamon, giving him carte blanche to pick his squad and supervisor. "It's morning in Baltimore, Lester. Wake up and smell the coffee."

Prez intercepts Sgt. Ellis Carver on the Western District backlot, in a rage over how he handled Randy: "I trusted you, trusted Daniels. My f**kin' mistake, huh?" Carver gets him to explain what happened and angers when he hears Randy was beaten - he put the kid onto Det. William "Bunk" Moreland and Herc. He offers to put a plainclothes unit on Randy's house. Prez thinks that will only make things worse, but Carver assures him they'll be discreet and convinces Prez to accompany him while he gets to the bottom of what happened.

Late night, Freamon lets himself into the wiretap room at the Clinton Street detail office, frustrated by the signs that there's been no progress since he left - that the machines themselves have been removed or shut down. Curious, he goes into Lt. Charles Marimow's office and finds a box marked "Barksdale Subpoena Returns." He goes through the folders, spotting Ed Bowers, Andrew Krawcyk, and Maurice Webber. Meanwhile, Mayor Carcetti attends a fundraiser for the Ella Thompson Fund, a part of the Parks and People Foundation of Baltimore that helps sponsor inner-city recreation programming, where he meets and greets these very men - who are rushing to ingratiate themselves to the new city administration. Freamon's pursuit of the Barksdale money has been renewed, and Marimow's days as commander of the MCU are numbered.

At home, Namond contemplates cutting off his ponytail, as De'Londa warns him she'll do it for him. It's why the police can target him so easily. But he's not yet willing to make the sacrifice.

As Freamon packs up his desk in the Homicide Unit, Bunk and Greggs heckle him about leaving so soon to return to the wiretap unit. Carver interrupts, looking for Bunk, asking what happened with Randy. But Bunk doesn't know anything about any kid witness in Lex's case. Carver, frustrated and embarrassed, tells him Herc was supposed to bring the kid to Bunk. Freamon can see something's wrong and asks what happened to the boy.

Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly delivers the good news to five eighth graders, including Dukie, that they'll be promoted to ninth grade at the end of the marking period - an upward promotion of at-risk kids that helps the system's matriculation rates even if it dislocates students in the middle of an academic year. Dukie clearly doesn't view this as good news. Next she delivers a blow to Colvin: "They pulled the pin on your program."

Mayor Carcetti addresses the Western District roll call, announcing the five percent salary bump he's scraped together, and his mandate to abandon quotas and stats in favor of quality police work. McNulty challenges him that they've heard empty promises before, and without educating the community and the bosses, who's to say they won't be back to juking stats as soon as the neighborhoods start complaining. "If the old dogs can't handle the job, I'll find new ones who can," Carcetti vows. A good many of the troops are won over, but McNulty's not so sure. The FOP President warns Carcetti that his new popularity may be short lived if he doesn't handle the Sgt. Hauk situation just right.

Bunk and Freamon interrogate Herc in the wiretap room, as Bunk - playing the bad cop - lets him have it for not bringing Randy directly to him - and putting his paws in a murder case. He storms out, leaving Freamon to play good cop. Herc lays out his story from the beginning, including his search of Chris Partlow's and Snoop's Chevy Tahoe, and the nail gun he found which meant nothing to Herc, but is taken down - as all details are - by Freamon.

The Mayor grudgingly agrees to see Commissioner Burrell, who admits that overall policing strategies may not be his strong suit. But he does know that Col. Daniels' recommendation on how to handle Sgt. Hauk will not fly with the ministers, while conceding that Carcetti can't fire a white cop for stopping a black minister without losing the rank and file. His solution: Herc worked narcotics for six years, "and in narcotics, there are no virgins." He hands over a hefty binder that contains the department's General Orders; there's sure to be grounds for firing a saint in there. Carcetti begins to see why Burrell has survived and thrived for so long.

Bubbles and Sherrod get attacked once again by the predatory fiend and their renewed teamwork doesn't help the situation and they both end up beaten and defeated.

Omar and Renaldo pay a visit to the appliance store, beating the outside lookout down, then holding a semi-automatic and a .50 caliber on Proposition Joe and his lieutenants, Cheese and Slim Charles. Omar reveals he knows about the New Day Co-op and Marlo's involvement, then makes his demand: he wants Marlo: Not to kill him, but to take what's his. Joe agrees to have his nephew Cheese make the drop on Marlo's next package and they'll alert Omar to the spot in advance. Omar agrees, but warns that if Prop Joe tries to put a twist in the plan, he'll make sure to tell Marlo he's the one who put Omar up to the card game heist. Before leaving, Omar asks for a service ticket for the antique clock he's dropping off for repair. In disbelief, Joe writes one up and they leave. Cheese can't believe Joe's really going to do this, but Proposition tells him it's the only way out. Omar knows too much and will only keep his secrets if he gets what he wants. Outside, while Slim Charles berates the beaten lookout in the background, Omar tells Renaldo he trusts Proposition Joe's fear, but now they're going to follow Cheese day and night.

Bunk and Freamon pay a visit to Prez's class to complain that Randy's foster mother won't let him talk, per his math teacher's advice. "I'm siding with my kids," Prez insists when they press him. Lester sees the ethic involved andagrees to back off, but as they're leaving, Bunk asks for just a "little something." Prez gives in, telling him only the address of the playground where Randy told Lex to meet a girl. "That's all he did," Prez insists.

On the corner, Michael's mother approaches, asking for a price break on a fix and indicating that she is short the money. Namond relents and gives her drugs at a discount, knowing that in doing so there will be more money in Michael and Bug's house and that she is sure to cop somewhere in any event. Namond authorizes the charity, only to have little Kenard chastises him for his weakness. He doesn't see Michael's mother; he sees only a dope fiend.

Running late to an update from city bureaucrats, Carcetti is pleased with the reports: vehicles have been towed, new playground equipment installed, all hydrants fully capped, and 32 tons of waste pulled from alleys. But when the Budget Director remains to give his update, the news isn't so cheery: a $54 million deficit for the school system. Carcetti can't believe there's been no warning of this mess Royce left. "How the f**k do we deal with that?" asks the Mayor. So far, no one has any ideas. This could wreck their agenda.

Colvin, Professor David Parenti and Donnelly make an appeal for the project class before the Superintendent and Area Superintendents. Attendance is excellent and there have been no suspensions, plus they've helped the other classes function better by pulling the troublemakers and they hope to expand and cover the whole eighth grade in January. The Superintendent can see the benefits, but with the new administration and the sudden budget deficit, they're under too much scrutiny. "If City Hall were to sign off on this, we could go forward," says the Area Superintendent. "But now is not the time to rock any boats."

Back at his lair, Marlo remarks that he heard Chris took care of his puppy Michael's problem. But Marlo mentions that Michael stood tall for a snitching boy. Chris takes this in.

At the abandoned playground that Prez mentioned, Bunk and Lester look for clues. Using soft eyes, Freamon sees the large number of vacant houses that surround the playground on three sides. Freamon heads toward the rear of one vacant, examines the plywood that boards it up, so loosely affixed that he can pry it off with his hands. Bunk questions what he's doing but Lester plows on, down the row, noting that another plywood door is secured with machine-driven nails that will require a crowbar. "This a tomb. Lex is in there," he explains to a dumbfounded Bunk, who steps back and finally sees it as well.

One of the reasons I love this series so much is because they offer so much material that needs to be viewed repeatedly in subsequential repeat viewings. And another reason I love this show is the major payoffs each episode provides. And the end with Freamon piecing together that Marlo is hiding the bodies in the rowhouses was superbly done. There was sparse (if any) dialogue. It was just Freamon- the natural sleuth- figuring out that something was admist with the way the houses were boarded up. And by sheer instinct and deduction, he knew that Lex's body was inside there. I love his line, "This is a tomb." Wait until he finds out how true his words are. With all the bodies that Snoop and Chris have dropped at Marlo's behest, it's going to be a hell of a case for the newly revamped major crimes squad.

This episode had a lot to offer- but in my opinion, Freamon really stole the show. The quiet meticulous detective cannot turn down Daniels offer to have carte blanche of the major crimes unit. And even picking his supervisor? I guess it may be early to suspect, but I expect Marimow's ass is going to get the much-needed heave-ho.

"It's morning in Baltimore. Wake up and smell the coffee." I love Daniels line because this episode truly does have inspiring moments- and shows the evolution of each character and the changes that are occuring.

And Freamon is finally getting his chance to follow the money. This is what he wanted to do back in season 1 because if you follow the money there is no telling how far that will go. And I like that all the files Freamon has goes back to those involved with the Barksdale case of the first three seasons. Even if they are not the stated target, Avon and Stringer are still relevant by the money trail. I also liked how Lester was the voice of reason when Bunk snapped on Herc's fuck-up with not sending Randy to him for questioning. The "simple fuck" line from Bunk to Herc was very appropriate considering every fuck up Herc has done this season.

I also like that Burrell is still wily enough to know that Daniels' decision will not be enough to appease the ministers and that he understands what needs to be done to help Carcetti to save political face. Burrell is slimy and a complete corrupt bureacrat, however, he is ever the alert opportunist- and his idea will work. If you can't bury Herc one way- you can always bury him another way in order to make all sides happy and to make sure that it doesn't come across as deliberate. Say what you want, but Burrell has the awareness to survive the political game. Now, Rawls on the other hand- as Valchek said, "You ain't one of the natives". The look on Rawls face as Valchek delivers that line is crushing. Even I felt a little sorry for him in that scene. It's the laugh that Valchek gave him that really was devastating. It reminded me of Levy laughing at Stringer when he realized that Clay Davis took him for all that money.

And Officer Walker got his just desserts- and the changes continue in this episode with Michael using the gun (most likely given to him by Chris) to subdue Walker. And the ring continues to be passed around from person to person with Michael wearing it now. Knowing the bad luck that happens to everyone who wears that ring, maybe Michael's future is not going to be so bright. And the differences between Namond and Michael continue. Michael stood tall with Randy (since the words was out from Marlo to just have everyone know that Randy is a snitch) and proved what a valuable prospect that he is going to be for the Stanfield crew.

Also, the McNulty/Bodie scene was an instant classic- albeit a very brief scene. This season shows that McNulty has found a warm spot for Bodie- whom he pats on the back for his resourcefulness in getting out of the whole Hamsterdam incident by crying entrapment. The two are able to have a very civil conversation and be fine with each other (like Bodie is also cool with Carver). I loved Bodie's laugh when McNulty said that Walker was doused with yellow paint. And McNulty can't contain his smile either and calls Walker an asshole. And the parting line between the two was great.

Don't go making any furtive moves." - McNulty

Bodie: "No doubt. Don't go breakin' a pencil point."

There is a certain dialogue that old-school soldiers like Bodie can have with police. They both realize that everything is just a job- and McNulty is good police. Probably one of the best police and he could care less whether or not Bodie is a dealer, he likes Bodie as a person. It's scenes like this that distinguishes THE WIRE from any other series. And I like the twisted but yet respectful comardarie that the Barksdale soldiers like Bodie and Poot have with cops they came up with. And McNulty cannot deny that Bodie has a great deal of intelligence and resourcefulness. The "pawn" dialogue between the two in episode 13 will be a classic scene rest assured.

Poor Randy- the kid cannot catch a break. He's such an innocent child and so naive. I love his question if keeping quiet will make everything okay. Nothing is going to be okay for this kid and just him being a normal kid, has thrown him into his circumstances. I worried that Michael wouldn't hang tall for him- but I was pleasantly shocked that he did. I liked how you can also see Michael's metamorphosis into a hardened thug. The scene with him and Namond (basically night and day itself) was very beautiful- we see the drastic differences between the two and I love Namond's reaction- he seems to understand the glaring differences as well. Namond is being prepped for a world he is not really a part of.

And the payoff with Omar finally confronting Prop Joe was sublime. He was able in just a few weeks with his patience, able to piece together all the players involved in the New Day Co-Op and that Marlo and Prop Joe are working together. Loved Omar's brazen nature when he asked for Joe to give him a ticket for the clock so he can tip on out. And how cool was it that Omar is bilingual when Reynaldo said that he had to take a moment to take a shit. Omar being Omar came prepared, and had toilet paper ready for his boyfriend. Now, Joe is a scheming bastard, but even he knows with Marlo and Omar- each one is likely to destroy the other and there is no reason to try to intefere. However, Omar just wants to take everything that Marlo owns. Killing him is too easy. And now, Omar is planning on staying with Cheese. Exactly what is Omar thinking of doing? That's one of the many reasons why I love Omar. He is his own personal detail. Omar is the wild card and the sole independent- not beholden to anyone. I'm looking forward to Omar bring down Marlo and his empire and seek his own form of retribution.

The reunion between Sherrod and Bubs was also really touching. Bubs truly loves that kid and it's been heartbreaking watching him try to find a way to reach out and save him. Sherrod was born into nothing and was found homeless by Bubs- and the two of them are basically in the same boat. And it's devastating that their reunion ended in defeat with the addict still attacking both of them. And scenes like that infuriate me even more about Herc's fuck up. One of the reasons I love this show is because it gives voices to the forgotten and ignored voices of our world- the Sherrod's and Bubbles of the world. And the pain of these two trying to find their way in life, hustling to survive- while the rest of the world ignores them or shuns them- truly breaks my heart. And in the next two episodes, I will say proudly that I think are Andre Royo's finest performances.

I also enjoyed the scene with Marlo talking to Snoop and Chris about Michael's situation. I gotta love Snoop's delivery and the authentic Bawlmer accent when she says that the problem was taken care of. Even Snoop was thrown for a loop over the violent nature of the death of Bug's daddy. And Marlo puts the word to Chris that Michael stood tall with Randy which makes Chris think. And that scene is excellent foreshadowing for what you THINK might happen in episode 12 (which will answer that question quickly).

The tombs have been unearthed. Now, begins the first domino that will fall and hopefully it will eventually end with Marlo's empire being destroyed. I remembered a scene in season 3 with Marlo talking to his mentor, Vinson (owner of the rim shop) and Vinson warning Marlo that wearing the crown means that he will either be in prison or dead. Marlo ignores the warning because he's too concerned about the here and now. It shows us Marlo's impulsiveness. And it also could show us Marlo's potential fate. I can't wait to see how this plays out.