Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Wire Season 4 Episode 2- "Soft Eyes" review

I suspected from the previous episode that Royce and his secretary were a little too friendly and my suspicion was indeed founded. And the look on Royce's face when Herc caught him in the midst of the blowjob was hilarious. And following this event, Herc is terrified that his new career will be jeopardized because of what he has seen.

I still wake up white in a city that ain't." - Carcetti

The episode opens after the credits with Pearlman meeting with Freamon and Sydnor about the Barksdale money trail subpoenas to politically-affiliated targets. Pearlman is completely petrified about doing this now because at the eve of the election for mayor- if things go wrong, it could spell doom for Pearlman professionally. Sydnor also shows a great deal of trepidation about doing this because he knows this could blow up all in of their faces. Freamon, however, is adament that now is the perfect time to do this. A year ago, if they had pursued these individuals, there would have been a shitstorm showered on the Detail. And if they do it after the election, the same thing will occur. But at this moment, where they are vulnerable, now is the time to seize this opportunity. Pearlman hears this- and recalls what Freamon said earlier (that they would have pursued these individuals if there weren't other cases holding them up). Freamon says nothing and Pearlman realizes that Freamon lied to her. Everything has been planned out carefully and patiently. Freamon is not only a good police but he is very methodical and thought out.

At Carcetti's residence, Norman Wilson (the great Reg E Cathey) is growing impatient on waiting for Tommy Carcetti. However, Carcetti seems to have all but given up on the futile campaign and the only thing he cares about right now is spending some quality time with his children (an example is playing Battleship with his daughter).

Prez meanwhile is preparing for the first day as a teacher at Edward J. Tilghman middle school. Cool that they remember Prez's love for Johnny Cash again (in season 2, Prez listened to "Walk the Line" as he put the pieces of that giant puzzle together). Nice that he was listening to "Lake of Fire". Is that indicative of what he will be falling into as a teacher? And we also see Prez making sure that his classroom is clean- even going through the hassle of hacking the gum off the back of the chairs.

At the Jessup penitentiary (what has been referred to as the Cut), Namond and his mother, De'Londa, meet with Namond's incarcerated father, Wee-Bey. He askes De'Londa if Brianna Barksdale is still keeping them close and giving them the money promised. She said that they are. Apparently, Brianna is still keeping everyone happy and since she's the one last member of the Barksdale empire still standing and free (and since she was responsible for the money end of the business since the beginning)- she now handles distributing the money for the families of the loyal Barksdale soldiers.

Namond and Wee-Bey talk briefly about shaving, and then Wee-Bey asks his son how things are going. Namond states that school is going to start soon, and uninterested, Wee-Bey asks how things are going with Bodie and his crew. De'Londa reveals to her husband that Namond hasn't been working hard for Bodie. Wee-Bey tells him that he is going to have to start somewhere even if it as a runner. He also advises Namond to cut his ponytail to avoid being spotted by the police.

The scene also was special to me because Wee-Bey was inquiring about his fish. The guy is a cold-blooded killer but you have to smile at his passion and love for his fish.

Marlo is apparently buying the loyalty of the young neighborhood children- by giving them money for back-to-school supplies. It reminds me of the scene in New Jack City with Nino Brown giving food to the neighborhood for Thanksgiving. Marlo's lieutenant, Monk, assures Marlo that his name will "ring out" because of what he is giving back. In the suburbs, Cutty is still working on lawns part-time but has other obligations- because of the blossoming boxing program he has started in the community.

On Bodie's corner, Namond is trying to convince Bodie to hire Michael. Bodie's response to this is classic- "Fuck this look like, a social services office?!" But Namond offers Michael his job until Michael makes enough money for him and his brother for school supplies. Bodie agrees and tells them to step off as Carver approaches (with Bunk in the car as well). They ask where Lex is, and Bodie reports that he has no idea. He does agree that if he spots Lex he will call Carver.

The hilarity of the Royce/Herc scene in the teaser continues because Herc spots Royce looking at him as he drives him- and Herc is convinced that his career is now over because of this fact.

One of my favorite characters, Bubbles, is now back with his young protege, Sherrod (the boy Bubbles started schooling from Hamsterdam at the end of season 3) now are doing business around the Westside of Baltimore with a "Bubbles Depo". ;) However, when Bubbles sees that Sherrod miscalculated the price of sale, Bubbles stresses Sherrod to go back to school to strengthen his math skills because he needs them for their business.

Bunk tries to get information about Lex's location from Lex's mother but she is completely uncooperative. We also see that Carcetti's campaign seems fruitless and Carcetti has all but given hope on becoming mayor because he is the wrong color in this town.

We see Cutty is quite the ladies man at his gym, various mothers are making food for him and making advances on him- but Cutty's mind is elsewhere. He spots Michael and sees the raw talent in the kid.

We see that Daniels and Pearlman's relationship has evolved into a stable loving one- and we see the playful side of Daniels as he can do nothing but laugh when Pearlman complains about what Freamon has done. Daniels knows how committed Freamon is and is laughing that at least Lester's not doing it to him this time.

Marlo's buying of the neighborhood continues- when Monk offers Randy, Michael, Namond and their friends money for back to school clothing. Everyone accepts the money except for Michael. When Marlo spots this he questions Michael why he didn't take the money and chastises him. Michael merely looks hard into Marlo's eyes and Marlo relents and assures Michael that everything is cool. Apparently, Marlo sees a lot of potential in Michael and knows that this kid possesses greatness.

Herc asks Carver who he can go to about his situation with the mayor and Carver suggests a person who is tied to the political scene- Major Stan Valchek (Al Brown has the best delivery as this character).

Michael tells Namond the reason why he didn't take the money was because he is not about owing anyone anything. Namond states that he will "take any motherfucker's money who's giving it away". The kids' friend, Donut then rolls up in a stolen Cadillac Escalade that he stole and is trying to drive. Carver spots them (with Herc in tow) and considers chasing them but realizes he knows where these kids are at and there is no point in pursuing them- much to Herc's dismay.

The detail then hands out the subpoenas- and two of the people being issued papers are Andy Krawczyk, the developer tied to Stringer Bell from season 3 and State Senator Clay Davis- who has been tied to the Barksdale drug money since Season 1. Isiah Whitlock who plays Clay Davis has such an amazing delivery and his line here is so priceless it has to be seen in it's entirety:


While Marlo, Snoop, Chris and Monk oversee target practice for some young apprentices, Monk gets a call from "Old-Face Andre" who is impatient for a re-up. Marlo then takes the cell and puts Andre in check and tells him to be patient.

Sherrod assures Bubs that he will go back to school while Valchek assures Herc to just let it play- and to keep quiet and see if the Mayor promotes him or if he fires him, use the information as ammunition. Carver then tells Randy, Donut, Michael, Dukie and Namond that if he sees them smiling at an auto again, his people will be setting up in the alleys to fuck with the kids. And he also assures the kids he knows who they are and where they live and where they hang out. Donut can only smile at Carver's "sweet ride"- itching to steal it eventually.

Freamon, Kima and Caroline Massey break down the call from Old-Face Andre and recognize him as a mid-level dealer in the Stansfield organization and then recognize Marlo's voice. He is less cautious and more young than their previous targets- and Freamon can only laugh at the bold arrogance of their new target.

At the end, Sgt. Landsman is apparently tied to Valchek because he reports the story of a dead witness to Valchek- who in turn gives it to Carcetti. And at the mayoral debate, Carcetti drops a bomb that a witness has again been murdered without any protection (which ties to an issue Carcetti pleaded with the Mayor to handle in season 3). Now, Carcetti's campaign doesn't seem to hopeless. What I found interesting was the different people watching the debate- such as Cutty and Namond- who have no interest in what is being discussed and just focus on other things (Cutty watching football on TV, Namond playing his Xbox).

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