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'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.
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.