Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Wire Season 5 Episode 6- "The Dickensian Aspect" review

Much to discuss with this episode. Well, I have to focus a good portion of the review on the Omar/Marlo feud. And the episode explodes with Chris and his soldiers desperately scouting vacants, hospitals, sewers and every square inch for Omar after he disappeared in the previous episode. It seems that Detective Norris has been saddled with this case and we see one body being carted out (Donnie's)- although, we do not know the extent of O-Dog's injury. I would assume though that he's permanently fucked like Sterling in season one when Omar shot him during the stash robbery.

Snoop arrives at the hospital asking if her "brother Omar Little" was brought in. No one matching Omar's description has been brought in and Snoop is frustrated after the fruitless search of going to ever hospital.

Chris, in particular, knows how serious finding Omar is. He knows and respects Omar's "skill-set" (to borrow a line from Prop Joe), and if Omar's loose, then that does not bode well for the entire Stanfield organization. Also, I noticed that one of the Stanfield soldiers is Savino from season 1 (who was with the Barksdale crew- and went to jail for selling the dope to Orlando in the Kima shooting). So, I guess after serving his time, he became muscle for the main drug empire- the Stanfield crew. Like Poot said last year to Bodie, "One boss the same as the other." Chris realizes that they've botched their chance to get Omar as Marlo wants to meet him.

I got to give Jamie Hector credit for delivering the "That's some Spiderman shit right there" brilliantly. He was able to dart his eyes from the high rise to Chris and made it very comedic. Even Marlo can't believe how Omar survived. But he knows the consequences, Omar is going to come after them, and they are all fair game.

In the utility closet at the condo, after Chris and the muscle (and the police) have finished and left, we see Omar is still alive. However, he is wounded from the fall. Speaking of giving credit to actors, I have to applaud Michael K. Williams for his acting. I felt every moment of Omar's pain as he winces and cries from the pain of his injured ankle. I think this is the writers stripping away at the mythic nature of Omar and showing how truly vulnerable and human he is right now. There is no old familiar Omar swagger, he seems more violatile and desperate this time. He knows he's on his last leg, and is more vulnerable than ever. However, even though he's about to cry from the pain- he keeps moving forward. Omar constructs a crutch from a broomstick in the closet, and sneaks out of the high-rise when he sees that the coast is clear.

Later on, Marlo heads the Co-Op meet and lies the group, stating that Omar was behind the death of Prop Joe and Hungry Man. He then says that the bounty is going up on Omar, and admits he's taken care of the connect. After promoting Cheese (after Slim Charles declined Marlo's offer), Marlo informs the group that the price of the package will rise. And that he's disbanding the meetings.

I noticed a lot of things following this meet. First of all, the Co-Op members know something is up. As Fat-Face Rick stated, whoever is in charge of the connect, is the one that did Joe in. And Slim Charles wants nothing to do with Marlo out of respect for Joe, and also because he is one of the few old-school soldiers with a code left in the game. And thirdly, because he has shown disgust towards Marlo and the way he conducts business. There is an old-school code to Slim that I think died when the Barksdales fell in season 3. And no one in the Co-Op believes that Omar is behind the death of Joe (especially if Slim knows that Marlo was lying about him making a move on Omar with Joe's consent). However, they can't do shit but accept Marlo's demands now because if they cut Marlo off, they lose the good dope. So, in the name of business, their hands are tied. At least for now.

Omar then creeps up on Fat-Face Rick after the meet, and holds him up enough to steal his weapon. He then says:

"I'm calling Marlo a straight-bitch! I'm saying, it don't take much to shoot down a blind man"

This is striking because although Omar is speaking the truth in every word he says, we see Omar breaking down because he never has blatantly cursed before. But the loss of Butchie, his wounds, etc, are taking their toll on him. In the past, Omar would phrase his words differently, but now, he's lashing out. Fat-Face Rick then asks if Omar killed Joe and Hungry Man. Omar just laughs and Rick knows that Omar was innocent as he (and other Co-Op members) suspected.

Later on, Chris is livid while hiding out with Snoop. He is frustrated because he can't be around his family with Omar on the loose, fearing they would do something to his family- which I doubt Omar would do. The man does have some semblance of a code. Later on, Omar robs a Stanfield cash-pickup and shoots one of Marlo's men- so he can send the message to the kingpin directly. He torches the SUV and the cash inside, telling the man that it isn't about the money- it's about hurting his people and turning his world upside down. And he reiterates that he wants Marlo to know he's in the street and that he doesn't have the heart to step to Omar.

The Omar storyline is definitely heating up and I don't think it will end well for our favorite stickup artist. I just hope that Omar will be able to drop as much of Marlo's muscle before he meets his end. I think Omar is addicted to the game, and it's play or get played. And I think in the end, Omar will eventually fall. At this point, when I see how much pain Omar is in, maybe the death would be merciful for him.

Also, it was nice to see the stevedores from season 2 around at Carcetti's ribbon-cutting for the New Westport Project. Besides Nick Sobotka, I also spotted Little Big Roy, New Charles and Nat Coxson. And they all started cursing at Krawczyk for being responsible for gutting the ports. I wonder if Nick is still under witness protection. But, that was a nice bit of continuity.

McNulty's serial killer story continues to gain momentum and causes a shitstorm. More cops are on the scene so Oscar can't secure bodies for Jimmy and Freamon like he used to. And Freamon is able to pull Sydnor into the lie, and Syndor agrees because he's as obsessed in bringing in Marlo. But the secret lies in not what Marlo is saying but what he's sending, as Freamon finds out is pictures.

Now, he needs to find a way to be able to observe that those pics are for- and in a way that ties in with Jimmy's bullshit serial killer story. Jimmy spots a deranged homeless man and decides to fabricate a story with the serial killer pissed of the way Templeton portrayed him and will now abduct homeless men and send the pics of them via cell phones. This will allow the mayor to open the bank to allow them to track what is in the pictures. However, Freamon and McNulty will use it to pursue Marlo.

This episode ends on one of the most pathetic and sad endings with the homeless man Jimmy has sent to Richmond under a fake faded ID, barely being able to eat food by himself. McNulty's guilt consumes him and he has to leave.

However, Bunk might be able to bring in this case in, as he starts from scratch on the rowhouse murders and tries to tie in the death of Michael's Lee's mother's boyfriend from last year. His mother tells him (after being threatened with going to jail) to go talk to Michael who is now running around with Snoop and Chris. And she hints that he is the one who killed her ex boyfriend because he stated that he wasn't going home that night before anyone knew what happened to him. If Bunk is able to tie in Chris' DNA to the crime scene (cause he did spit on the body)- then, it could end badly for the Stanfield crew.

I've been reading a lot of bulletin boards and articles about the final season, and while most of the reviews are (as usual) positive- I do know a few newspapers are upset about the media angle. In particular, The Baltimore Sun is not too happy to have the show shine the light in a fictitious Baltimore Sun this season. David Simon spent a majority of his career as a journalist. There's no way he would screw up the accuracy of his own profession. That's why I love how the series has been able to tie in the media angle to the existing storylines.

Also, some fans are not too happy about the quickened pace this season as well. This is the final season and HBO only granted 10 episodes (I know David Simon wanted the usual 13 but was not allowed it)- we have spent four seasons beforehand with these characters. We should know them and their stories by now. Everything is being set for the final curtain call. I wish there were more episodes too- but things have to be resolved. And David Simon is going to wrap up all the existing storylines and he has carte blanche to do with whatever he chooses with the characters. Remember, these characters serve the story. The story never takes backseat for the popularity of a character. That's just lazy storytelling if that ever happens. And David Simon and his crew are way too smart to ever let that happen.

I think this season is not only on par with the others, but it is by far the funniest season with all the black humor thrown in there. If you get past the horror of McNulty's whole fabricated serial killer angle- there's a certain sense of hilarity in how far this lie is going. From Templeton making up shit which furthers McNulty's own bullshit story, to the reaction from the Hall, to the cops begging McNulty to do casework- it's pure genius. No wonder David Simon commented that this would be their "Dr. Strangelove" season.

And the one person who may benefit from this all the most is Carcetti. His possible run for governor seemed dismal at the beginning of this season. But these homeless "killings" have proved a boon to him and his campaign. He finally can jam the governor on his history with the homeless, and with the media coverage- this plays well into Carcetti's hands. They better just pray that McNulty doesn't get exposed, because that can blow up in Carcetti's face. And he may be eating more bowls of shit than he's already been forced to eat as mayor.

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