Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Wire Season 5 Episode 10- "30" review (SERIES FINALE- SPOILERS)

I am copying and pasting the full synopsis of this episode directly from the website:


Directed by: Clark Johnson
Story by: David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by: David Simon

At his city hall office, Mayor Thomas "Tommy" Carcetti and his staff learn about the fabrication behind Baltimore's serial killer from Deputy Commissioner for Operations Cedric Daniels, Assistant State's Attorney Rhonda Pearlman and Acting Commissioner William A. Rawls. Momentarily speechless, Carcetti pieces together the lie's effects: Essentially negating every political victory he's scored during the election. The mayor warns Rawls and State's Attorney Rupert Bond that they'll have to take the hit if the fiasco goes public. Chief of Staff Michael Steintorf underscores the importance of keeping the situation secret until they can decide the best way to handle it; going public the wrong way could destroy careers, he says, looking pointedly at Pearlman.

Det. Lester Freamon pays a visit to a Grand Jury Prosecutor Gary DiPasquale at the courthouse — he's found the leak who's selling sealed indictments. Holding evidence that the prosecutor dumped three times his salary in Atlantic City over the past two years, Freamon advises him to come clean and trust in the mercy of a courthouse full of friends. When the prosecutor agrees to cooperate, Freamon pulls a tape recorder from his bag and tells his new informant to make a call.

Outside City hall, Daniels fumes over Carcetti's desire to cover up the scandal, telling Pearlman he's tempted to call Annapolis and blow the whistle. She blanches, saying that it would destroy her career and undo years of working her way up in the courthouse.

Baltimore Sun reporter Mike Fletcher stands at a downtown intersection, selling copies of the paper for Bubbles while the recovered addict reads the unpublished story Fletcher has written about him. Questioning whether the details about his sister and Sherrod are necessary — and not sure why anyone would want to read it — Bubbles can't decide whether he wants Fletcher to run the piece.

Carcetti and Steintorf meet with Bond and Rawls at City Hall, trying to figure out a way to deal with Freamon and McNulty through back channels. Bond sees the merits of the approach, but when Rawls remains tepid, Steintorf walks the acting commissioner into the hall for a chat. Losing the fa├žade, Steintorf admits that Rawls has some political leverage with the mayor — Carcetti can't publicly blame Rawls without tarnishing Daniels, who the mayor has repeatedly endorsed — so Rawls figures he might barter for an extension to his 'acting' term. Steintorf sees the play coming, and suggests that Rawls come to Annapolis with Carcetti to work as the state police superintendent, a position more suited to his complexion. Rawls returns to the conference room, agreeing that they should keep the problem quiet.

Freamon catches Pearlman in the hall at the courthouse, and the detective explains that DiPasquale has been leaking records to high-powered defense attorneys. He hands her a cassette tape holding the corrupt prosecutor's call to Maurice Levy. Pearlman is glad to have the evidence, but she also eyeballs Freamon, dropping a pointed allusion that she knows the truth about his investigation.

Duquan "Dukie" Weems, looking ragged in dirty clothes, returns to his old middle school looking for Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski. Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly barely recognizes the young man, but she agrees to let him wait outside for Prez. When the teacher emerges, Dukie asks for a few hundred dollars, selling a suspicious story that he's trying to find a place to live and get his GED. Prez can tell the boy is lying, but promises to meet him in the parking lot to find a bank machine.

At the homicide unit, Sgt. Jay Landsman lays into Det. James "Jimmy" McNulty for letting the serial killer case go cold. McNulty, trying to unload the department resources he's been wasting, tells Landsman there just haven't been any new leads. As the conversation ends, Freamon arrives and pulls McNulty into an interview room. Nervous, Freamon tells his accomplice that Pearlman and Daniels have figured them out. But the two detectives wonder: Why haven't they been arrested yet?

City Editor Gus Haynes settles into his desk at the Baltimore Sun, and Regional Affairs Editor Rebecca Corbett points out one of Scott Templeton's stories about the Sun's homeless coverage causing a policy reversal. But she and Haynes recognize it as self-congratulatory hype for the public service Pulitzer. Fletcher comes over to get Haynes' take on his story about Bubbles, and after keeping the young reporter in suspense for a moment, Haynes dishes out compliments. But Fletcher still wants to wait for the go-ahead from his source.

Sitting at the bar, McNulty and Freamon nail down the mayor's motivation for keeping their manufactured killer under wraps. With the election and the highly publicized case against Marlo Stanfield complicating the situation, the two rogue detectives realize they have plenty to hold over their bosses' heads.

As Haynes edits copy, London Bureau Chief Robert Ruby walks up to deliver the research he's done on Scott Templeton's work. Exaggerations, fabricated quotes and sources — if someone re-reports the stories, they'll find all the holes. Haynes takes Ruby's file and places it in a drawer, unsure how to proceed.

Levy meets with Marlo Stanfield at the Baltimore City Jail to tell his client that the judge won't allow bail. More importantly, Levy says, they need to determine how the police cracked the clock code Marlo and his crew used. Knowing the police couldn't have deciphered the puzzle so quickly, Levy smells a wire tap — but it still doesn't add up. As Marlo leaves the meeting, he crosses paths with Cheese and tells him to hunt down Michael Lee once he gets out on bail.

McNulty, at home with Beatrice "Beadie" Russell and her kids, catches a call from Landsman about a man in a gray van who tried to abduct a homeless man. He arrives on the scene to find Templeton, who claims to have seen it happen outside the Sun offices. When Templeton leaves to check in with his desk, another homeless man wants to speak to McNulty. It turns out the man is an undercover detective, and he tells McNulty that Templeton's story is bogus — no man, no gray van. McNulty thanks him and goes home.

Bubbles, trying to decide whether he'll let Fletcher run his story, talks it over with Walon, who brings his friend some crabs from work. Walon suggests that Bubs may be afraid that people will find out he's a good person. Still conflicted, Bubs heads home to his sister's and gives her the crabs.

At the Sun, Haynes demands that Managing Editor Thomas Klebanow pull Templeton's story about the gray van. Templeton loses his temper and yells at Haynes, and Klebanow accuses the editor of letting his personal feelings cloud his judgment. As Haynes stalks out, telling Klebanow that he may win a Pulitzer with Templeton and then have to give it back, the accused reporter shouts at Haynes from across the office, swearing that all the facts are in his notes.

At the courthouse, Levy waits for Pearlman to discuss the Stanfield case. He suspects the police of running an illegal wiretap, and he promises Pearlman that he sees the weakness in her case and won't hesitate to exploit it in court. Leaving, he suggests they meet and talk.

In South Baltimore, Det. Shakima "Kima" Greggs and Det. William "Bunk" Moreland get a call for the serial killer — except this is a real murder. A copycat has picked up in the place of McNulty's lie. When McNulty arrives on the scene, Bunk guesses that the bosses will put him on the case, but McNulty surprises both of them when he says that Daniels and Pearlman know he invented the serial killer. Bunk, aghast that McNulty isn't in jail yet, lays the blame for this murder at his friend's feet. Across town in his office, Carcetti watches the news coverage of the murder, furious.

McNulty returns to the homicide unit, where Rawls and Daniels corner him in an interview room. McNulty admits to his conspiracy but swears he had nothing to do with the latest body. Rawls tells him that the mayor knows the whole story and advises him to solve this murder quickly and make the whole story go away — the longer it takes, the worse the payback will be. In the squad room, McNulty finds Bunk and Kima poring over the victim's possessions. When McNulty notices a handful of business cards, he rushes out, thinking he's solved the case. Tracking down a deranged homeless man he remembered seeing with a box full of business cards, McNulty also finds a spool of ribbon that matches the latest victim. Surrounded by police and reporters, McNulty has solved his own manufactured case.

At the Sun, Metro Editor Steven Luxenburg looks over Haynes' evidence against Templeton and warns the editor that making more noise could cost him his job. When Haynes steps back into the newsroom, Alma Gutierrez pulls him aside and hands him Templeton's notebook, which is completely empty. Haynes, taking a deep breath, accepts the notebook, grabs the research on Templeton's stories from his desk and walks into Executive Editor James C. Whiting III's office. As Whiting's reaction fades from collegiality to guardedness, Klebanow joins the discussion.

Pearlman meets Levy in his office, cutting to the chase by playing the damning tape of his conversation with the grand jury prosecutor. Both violating the law, they horse-trade their way to an agreement that Pearlman will shelve the case against him in exchange for guilty pleas from Chris Partlow and both Marlo's lieutenants. Marlo will get to walk, but if he shows up on the street again after the elections, Pearlman promises to reopen the case against him. Levy never finds out exactly why she can't bring her evidence to open court, but the deal proves Pearlman has something major to hide.

Bunk and McNulty interview their homeless suspect, who rambles on, confessing to killing every victim. When McNulty leaves the room, Landsman tells the detective that Templeton is waiting for him in the sergeant's office. McNulty walks in and closes the door behind him before losing his temper and telling Templeton that he knows about the lies because he started the whole charade himself. With that, he sends Templeton — shocked and confused — back to the Sun, knowing the reporter can't breathe a word of it to anyone. He returns to the interview room to work the homeless man, and when Daniels and Rawls show up to check on the progress, McNulty refuses to manipulate the mentally ill man into admitting to all six murders. Rawls is furious, but Bunk finally nods in approval.

Levy, after meeting with Marlo to explain the conditions of his release, tells Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk that the former detective has become a goldmine. Squeezing Herc on the cheek, Levy invites him to dinner at his house.

Carcetti calls a press conference to announce the homeless killer's arrest, and Rawls explains that he's been charged with the last two murders, though he's suspected of the rest. Because the suspect is mentally incapacitated and bound for a psychiatric facility, the redundant charges wouldn't matter. As the conference ends, Carcetti credits Daniels for the arrest as well as the Stanfield case and announces that he's promoting Daniels to commissioner.

At the homicide unit, Pearlman delivers the verdict to Freamon and McNulty: The bosses can't fire them without drawing unwanted attention, but she won't allow either of them near any police work that would end up in a courtroom. The detectives lament that Marlo and Levy both escaped prosecution, but they have no one to blame but themselves.

Steintorf visits Daniels in his office to congratulate him on his handling of the homeless debacle, but he also tells the soon-to-be commissioner that city hall needs to see a 10-percent drop in the crime stats. Daniels replies that the stats are clean and will stay clean — before and after the election. Steintorf leaves but makes his next stop at Council President Nerese Campbell's office. Explaining that Daniels won't play ball, Steintorf tells Campbell to find a solution if she wants Carcetti's office.

At the Baltimore City Jail, the remaining members of the Co-op — Fatface Rick, Slim Charles and Clinton "Shorty" Buise — discuss business with Marlo, who's auctioning off his drug connection. When Buise asks what Marlo will do next, he replies: "Businessman."

At the Sun, Gutierrez walks out with Haynes after his meeting with the top editors. His speaking out has earned him a demotion to the copy desk, while Alma finds herself booted to a bureau office in Carroll County. Haynes assures her she'll write herself out of the setback in no time, but wonders why they demoted her when he never told Klebanow about the notebook, she replies that she brought it up herself, trying to back Haynes up.

A crowd of police gathers at Kavanaugh's bar for McNulty and Freamon's going-away party. With Landsman offering one of his inspired eulogies, McNulty lays on the pool table, smirking and listening. Freamon arrives, telling the crowd he's officially retired, and Landsman continues his speech, calling out McNulty's record for stirring up trouble, ignoring orders and generally bringing misery to the homicide unit. But he ends with a high compliment: "If I was laying there dead on some Baltimore street corner, I'd want it to be you standing over me, catching the case. Because, brother, when you were good, you were the best we had."

Daniels' ex-wife, Marla, shows up at his office holding the file on his service — and apparent corruption — in the Eastern District, which Campbell delivered to her as a power play to buy Steintorf's cooked crime stats. Daniels says that caving to the pressure now means working under Campbell's thumb for the rest of his career. Marla asks him to resign for personal reasons, rather than taking both their careers down with him if the file emerges during his confirmation hearings.

McNulty and Freamon stand outside Kavanaugh's, and Greggs approaches, not sure if she's welcome at the party. Both detectives assure her they're not angry that she blew the whistle, and Freamon invites her inside for a drink. As they step inside, Freamon asks whether McNulty is coming, but he declines, telling them that he's going home.

In East Baltimore, Fatface Rick, Buise, Cheese, Slim Charles and a few others meet to talk over the finances of buying Marlo's connection. They're just a few hundred-thousand short of Marlo's $10 million asking price, and Cheese jumps in to add his money to the venture. Fatface Rick chastises Cheese for putting them in this position to begin with by moving on his uncle, Prop Joe, and when Cheese protests, Slim Charles pulls out a 9mm. "You've done enough," Slim tells Cheese before shooting him in the head. "For Joe."

Bubbles, sitting on a curb, reads a clipped copy of Fletcher's published story from the Baltimore Sun. When he finishes, he carefully folds it and puts it in his pocket.

As his final official act as police commissioner, Daniels promotes a handful of officers — including Sgt. Ellis Carver to lieutenant. Carver tells his mentor that he heard about the resignation on the radio and tells Daniels he wishes he could serve under him. Stepping down into the crowd, Carver finds Herc waiting to congratulate him.

McNulty drives down to the Richmond shelter where he left the serial killer's "disappeared" victim, Mr. Bobbles. The man has left the shelter, but McNulty asks the social worker where the homeless congregate.

At a downtown office party, Levy introduces Marlo to the real-estate elite of Baltimore, and developer Andrew Krawczyk, among others, pitches the upstart "businessman" with a bevy of investment opportunities. Pulling Marlo away, Levy explains the developers' power but warns the young man against dealing with them alone. "Guys like that will bleed you," Levy tells him.

Later, on his way home through West Baltimore, a group of hoppers try to jump Marlo, but he fights them off easily, grinning when he catches a slash on the arm... At Vinson's rim shop, a handful of drug dealers handle their cash. Michael steps out of the darkness holding a shotgun and, blasting Vinson in the leg, grabs a bag full of cash and leaves... Det. Leandor Sydnor visits Judge Daniel Phelan in his chambers to apply back-channel pressure to an investigation, asking the judge to look into things but keep his name out of it... Freamon works at home on his miniatures... Herc buys rounds for a bar full of police... Templeton wins a Pulitzer... Dukie shoots up in a back alley with the Arabber... Carcetti wins the gubernatorial race... Fletcher takes over the Sun's city desk... Stanislaus Valchek takes over as commissioner... Daniels puts his law degree to use... Chris meets Wee-Bey in a prison yard... Rawls heads the state police... Fatface Rick and Slim Charles meet with the Greeks... Bubbles sits down to dinner with his sister...

McNulty drives up I-95 from Richmond with Mr. Bobbles in tow, looking to the Baltimore skyline. "Let's go home," says the ex-police.

It's hard for me to accept that this will be the final episode of THE WIRE. Like a great novel, you don't want to put down, this episode leaves you with closure, but you want more. And perhaps, that's the best time to end the story. Everything has come full circle and I feel that David Simon and his writers have concluded every storyline. However, the characters are so rich, the storylines are so sublime, you are completely invested with the world he is writing about. But this was a visual novel that I was invested in for five years (longer actually considering the hiatus in between seasons) and this was the final chapter. I can put this book down, but rest assured, the end of this episode makes me want to watch everything from season 1 from the beginning.

There is plenty to discuss- I will start with McNulty and Freamon. Both men are exposed for their fabricated serial killer angle which allowed them to have the means to bring down Marlo Stanfield and crew. While, Daniels wants to do everything in his power to punish the two (and those affiliated with their plan)- Carcetti, fearing this will hurt his run for governor- wants to hide the dirt. And to protect Pearlman from losing her job, Daniels sacrifices his personal integrity and keeps his mouth shut. This will be the first of two times in the episode where Daniels sacrifices himself for a woman that he loves (the other being his ex wife, Marla later in the episode). And although Jimmy is slammed for his fabrication, we see that McNulty is done with the lying. How ironic that he is chastised by Rawls for lying about the murders- and is further chastised for telling the truth and not lying in blaming this homeless man for all the murders.

Although, McNulty maintains his integrity by not accusing this man of the murders- Rawls proves his worth to Carcetti by trying to blame this man for all the murders. All of this sickens Daniels. To watch Carcetti and Rawls put on a press conference and kissing each other's asses under a lie- it revolts Daniels. I have to commend Daniels here. This is a man who did one horrible thing- with the money he pocketed during his career early on. And since then, the man has been trying to atone for his past sin. And to watch his rise in rank throughout the series is tremendous. However, the man has too much character and pride to play the political games. He's too honorable to juke the stats, to bury good police.

Speaking of Daniels, I loved his silent ride in the elevator with McNulty- with the shot (directed by Clark Johnson who also handled the pilot) that mirrored the one in the pilot of Daniels and Foerester.

And when Daniels refused to play the stat game, he was faced with either retirement or bending to Nerese and Carcetti. And to protect his ex-wife's career, Daniels decides to retire and pursue his law degree. He may not be the next police commissioner, but Daniels has his peace of mind. And his integrity. Not to mention, Marla and Rhonda are both safe from harm. And in the long run, it's a fair trade.

I went off on a tangent about Daniels and need to refocus on McNulty/Freamon. I'm glad the two were able to retire quietly and both be okay. McNulty was at his happiest when he was just a beat cop in season 4- everything was fine with his relationship with Beadie, and life in general was good for him. I think pursuing the target in this investigative cases is what drives Jimmy and what makes him such damn good police. But it is also what causes him to self-destruct. Jimmy has a good heart and he has needed to find that balance. Will Jimmy be okay now that he is now longer a cop? That is to be determined. But from all outward appearances, he seems perfectly content in just having a life with Beadie Russell and her kids- and no longer worrying about the case making him whole. It can't. It never will.

I'm glad that McNulty was able to have some happy ending with Beadie because this season it seemed that he was engineering to self-destruct that relationship. I'm thrilled that Jimmy was able to salvage and save that relationship at the last minute because Beadie is worth it. And she is the best woman for Jimmy. Not to mention that I'm a huge Beadie Russell fan since season 2 (and not to even mention a huge Amy Ryan fan).

"The job will not save you."- Freamon to McNulty in season 3. And now Jimmy truly understands that. All that is left now is life. I really hope that Jimmy is able to be happy again- and maintain his relationship with Beadie.

And, how about that "funeral" for McNulty with Jimmy very much alive- sprawled out on the table while Landsman waxed some pure obscenity-laden poetry to one of the best natural police there ever has been. That scene was just beautiful. It was poignant and celebrative, yet didn't reek of sentimentality. It was full of ball-busting at Jimmy and Freamon- yet, underneath, the drunken humor- there is much love towards these days. And watch Landsman nearly break down in tears as he talks about Jimmy before following up, "But what an asshole!"

As the Pogues, "Body of an American" started to play during this scene, I almost was overcome with emotion. Even when they played the line, "Play the fucking song, Hugh!" (which was said in "Dead Soldiers" during the Ray Cole wake), I was moved. And it was good to see Freamon show up with Shardene? Remember, Shardene? Well, she was the stripper at Orlando's in season 1 who Freamon romanced and eventually snared. We saw her in "All Prologue" in season 2 very briefly, but I'm glad she was tied into the finale. And she absolutely adores Lester.

What made the wake scene so great, was that outside, Kima, McNulty and Freamon were still cool with each other- even after Kima admits that she was the one who told Daniels on them. They were all content and just wanted to drink together. After all, like McNulty said, if Kima thought it needed doing, then it needed doing. No hard feelings.

There's a nice image of Jimmy handing money to a homeless man as he walks down the street from Kavanaugh as well.

Freamon, has his pension and seems content with his life- building dollhouse miniatures and his life with Shardene. The case against Marlo may not have happened the way he wanted- but at least, he's got his life. And it looks like life will be great for the (in my mind) best investigative mind on this series. In many ways, Freamon was the Sherlock Holmes of THE WIRE. The master sleuth who put all the pieces together.

What we have seen all season is the comparisons between McNulty and Templeton- two men furthering themselves on a shared lie. However, McNulty was lying for a greater good. But what was Scott lying for? And after, Templeton creates another false story (this time about an abduction of a homeless man), the audience and McNulty have had enough. McNulty's admission to Templeton- along with ripping that guy a new asshole- may be one of the best scenes I've seen all season. I wish I could get the whole transcript of that scene because, it made me want to stand up and applaud him.

Some people claim that the ending with Templeton getting the Pulitzer and Alma being transferred (and Gus being demoted) is too cynical and dark- but what else would you expect? It's not just Templeton, it's Klebanow and Whiting, as well- trying to further their own careers on the lying shoulders of a hack. And you know what? It's something you would see in ANY profession. But at the end of the day, how far can Templeton go on his lies? He got the award but he knows that he has to live with that shit for the rest of his life. And as Butchie once said, "Conscience do cost."

And some detractors are pissed too that Marlo got away. Why? I'm pleasantly shocked but if you think about it, Marlo received the worst punishment imaginable. I figured he would end up in jail or dead. He survives Omar's revenge. He survives Major Crimes investigation. But where is he now? He has to be forced to retire from the game he loves so much. His true passion. With Chris locked up (and Monk as well- with Snoop and Cheese dead), Marlo has no muscle anymore. And he has to withdraw from his "royal addiction". Dressing up in a suit and going to business functions with developers is the worst hell you could put someone like Marlo through. It may have been Stringer's dream but it's Marlo's nightmare. That's why he fled that function to approach those corner boys on the street.

Speaking of that scene, the legend of Omar's death continues to spread and get more mythic. Now, the corner boys claim that Omar was gunned down by an army of New York boys. Hearing the kids continue to talk about Omar pisses Marlo off and he confronts them. But, they don't know or care who he is. He has no name. And we know Marlo cares about nothing but his name. He wants to get his name and status back- and after watching him taste his own blood when the corner boys run off (one stabbed him in the arm)- we can only conclude, he still has a taste for the street. Whether or not, Marlo will return to the game, is speculative. But he is addicted to the streets. Omar will be legend in the streets forever. And Barksdale had his legacy. But Marlo? A brief chapter that sadly won't be remembered. What a great resolution to the Stanfield dynasty.

And continuing with the game, The Co-Op finally gets their turn with Fat-Face Rick and Slim Charles dealing with the Greeks directly. They had to buy the connect from Marlo for ten million, but it will in the long run, pay off for them.

The theme of no good deed going unpunished (or in this case heinous deed going unpunished) happens when the Co-Op meets on the money they have raised. And Cheese, disrespectful as ever pulls a gun on Fat-Face Rick and gives a beautifully-written speech about how there is no nostalgia. No honor in the game. Basically, he is pissing on the honor code that was put into the game and praises the cutthroat tactics that he adheres to.

And upon Cheese talking about how he was with his uncle until Omar ended (which is a lie of course, which makes the theme of going far on a lie even greater) that, and how he was with Marlo until he retired- Slim Charles could take no more. He shoots Cheese in the head and pays his debt to Prop Joe. That was purely some samurai shit because Slim is still beholden to his slain master/mentor. I can't think of a character's death more deserving than Cheese's. There is still an honor code to the game and Slim is a very deserving and honorable gangster. He will do some dirt but the man has a set code to him which is why I've always found him fascinating.

I have to love Clinton "Shorty" Buise's line after Cheese fell, "What the fuck you do that for?! Now, we short the 900."

To which Slim replies, "That was for Joe."

And Buise responds, "This sentimental motherfucker just cost us money."

They could care less about Cheese dying, it's all about the finances to them. However, Slim paid Prop Joe back and honored him by slaying his traitorous nephew. And by the way, folks, David Simon confirmed that Cheese is indeed Randy's father (they both share the last name Wagstaff- remember?).

Things come around full circle as Kima and Bunk are at the scene where William Gant was slain in the pilot (notice how Clark Johnson made a point to show the statue that was at the scene in the pilot). And Bunk arrives and tells Kima, "See, you're giving a fuck when it ain't your turn to give a fuck." That mirrors his line to McNulty in season one as well. And in the dialogue the murder victim is a murder witness- much like William Gant was. Things have truly come full circle.

And now, Sydnor is playing the same games McNulty did with Judge Phelan (their dialogue mirrors the one McNulty had with Phelan in the pilot). I guess getting a taste of an illegal wiretap, has made Sydnor a bit more rebellious. And he's a good police but he is going down Jimmy's path apparently.

Carcetti, has truly become like every other politician. The whole "new day" promise he made the last year after becoming mayor was all for not. He had good intentions, but within every institution, these good intentions turn to shit. And Carcetti's own greed has allowed him to piss away every promise he made. His lust for the state house has made him care less about the city. And in the end, Carcetti does become governor, and Nerese becomes mayor. Everyone gets what they want.

And the city suffers because of their power plays.

Michael, is now the new Omar. How fitting that the boy Marlo recruited is now mirroring his own arch-nemesis? Michael has his own mind and is too independent to belong to any crew. And after robbing Vinson (with a shotgun no less), the evolution of Michael is complete.

Meanwhile, Dukie's downfall is complete. Separated from Mike, and with no family of his own, Dukie has succumbed to the world of drug addiction. The scene of Prez, knowing that Dukie was playing him- but desperately wanted to save the boy he remembered, was heartbreaking. And Dukie almost seemed torn between giving the money to the Arabber, or just leaving with Prez. In the end, Dukie is too gone right now. It pains me because I remember the boy from season 4. So full of hope, so full of promise, and now to watch his descent is quite painful. Which is why this show is so powerful. I just hope that Dukie may have a moment of redemption like Bubs. However, I think he may not have that type of outcome. He may just end up like Johnny, dead from slamming that shit too hard.

The redemption of Bubbles was such a huge arc to this season and I am so glad he finally earned it. With his story in the paper, and by finally accepting the grief and being able to deal with it, Bubs can truly be whole. And I almost feel like I should call him Reginald now. That is his name and he earned it. That man has gone through hell and I am so glad that David Simon allowed him that redemption.

That final shot of Reginald walking up the basement steps to have breakfast with his sister was just one of those symbolic moments you have been waiting for. I can't help but cry at that moment. We have gone a journey with this character. The man has such a good heart but was saddled with his addiction. Now, that he has been clean and is forgiving himself, that moment was so crucial. He has earned his sister's trust and love again. And a moment like that, just breaks your heart from joy.

I will miss this character a lot. And fuck the Emmy's for never nominating Andre Royo (and all this cast) for a single goddamn nomination.

And in the end, the series had these characters were they should have ended. I feel such closure and it shows life goes on. Chris and Wee-Bey- the two biggest enforcers for their respective crews, talk while doing life at Jessup.

Daniels is content in his new career after putting his law degree to good use, while Pearlman wears the judge's robes finally.

Watching Dukie shooting up at the end was just heartbreaking. The kid tried all season to stay on the straight and narrow and to find work- but in the end, he just surrendered.

Carcetti wins the gubernatorial bid, and rewards Rawls for his service by making him head of the state police.

Kenard (Omar's killer), is busted and will probably be out by his 22, making him even more hard and sociopathic.

The final sequence shows the real star of THE WIRE. The star is and always has been the city of Baltimore. It pulsates with life and yet when you see the montage, you know through all the tragedy, there's such beauty in this city. There's so much worth saving. So much life worth loving. This show may not have been the nicest love letter to a city- but it's an honest look at it. And David Simon really loves his home.

Things will go on. Life will continue in Baltimore. That's the final message in THE WIRE. However, I will never forget these characters and the stories of their lives. My friend, Jason, once told me that this show is a blueprint of America.

And I could never put it better.

Why should these characters be allowed to tell their stories? As the boy told McNulty after the slaying of Snotboogie in the pilot:

"Got to. This is America, man."

This is the greatest landmark in the history of television. There will never be a perfect show like this ever again.


Anonymous said...

Well, it's finally over. It was cool reading all the entries you made throughout the seasons, made me appreciate this show even more. Cheers, man!

James said...

I just finished the last episode tonight. Took me about 10 months to finsih all five seasons but the time spent was well worth it. There were a few minor items I didn't pick up on during the finale but your review filled in the blanks. Excelent write up of the last episode. Thanks