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Review/Meta of The Wire S4 Episodes 1-3 (God is not a First Rate Novelist) - Written by Richard Price & David Simon

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* Favorite new character hands down is .....

NORMAN!!

That guy rules. I love his by-play with Tommy C.

Tommy C: What do you mean you're not voting for me? I'm paying you to run my campaign and you aren't voting for me.
Norman laughs stating...I'm voting for one of the brothers.
Tommy C: You said that blacks would vote for whites.
Norman: Some.

He reminds me of Morgan Freeman.

* Felicia "Snoop" Pearson or the girl killer who works for Marlo is truly frightening. Her opening scene with the guy in the Home Depot about buying a nail gun that blew me away - you forget she's female. This show does a great job with female roles, actually, even though it is a male world.

It's a perfect example of a mislead. One character believes he knows more than another character does. The hardware store guy thinks he knows more about guns and shooting guns, and sees Snoop as just a kid doing construction work. He's taken aback when she states she understands the kickback. So we the audience know what Snoop is going to use the nail gun for, but the hardware sales guy doesn't. He has no idea who he is dealing with. Brilliant. And done with very little set up or dialogue.

Per beer good foamy (who responded to my original journal post):

That's Felicia "Snoop" Pearson. One of the best minor villains in TV history, if you ask me. (Played, incidentally, by Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, who's served time for murder 2. She's basically playing herself, which doesn't make the character any less scary.) And that home depot scene is both hilarious and chilling - with a bit of s2-style industry death thrown in:

"Man said if we wanna shoot nails, this here's the Cadillac. He mean Lexus, but he ain't know it."

It is such a perfect scene, because Snoop and the audience know more than the nail guy. The nail guy salesman thinks he knows everything about the uses of that nail gun and what Snoop will use it for. It never occurs to him that she's using it to kill people. Why would it? Although at one point, you can tell that he's not sure - when she compares it to an actual gun. But he shrugs it off. Also the look on his face when she hands him 800 dollars for a $100 or so gun, is priceless.

In the commentary they state that this scene is capsule of the theme for all of S4. They summarize it in that scene - where we have the teacher and the student, and both are doing their jobs, really teaching and really learning, just not quite the way we expect.

* Aiden Gillen is brilliant in the role of Tommy C - the politician. Carrying off that difficult role.
There's this great scene of him trying to raise money in a nasty room, no windows, alone, with a phone. No glitz, no glam. Which is so real, you can feel the grit of it in your teeth and chew on it.
Also, he's playing a similar role to the one in Game of Thrones - half wonder if the producers saw him in The Wire - and thought, yes, that guy! Perfect for Little Finger.

* Rawls...OMG...he totally screws the Wire and shuts it down, and he does it beautifully. Marimolow, my Trojan horse.

Rawls: Any chance of you continuing the wire under Marimolow?
Lester: The man is a virus.
Rawls - How about Homicide?

* Poor Greggs....Daniels begs to put her in Homicide. And Rawls owes Daniels so does.

* My man, McNulty, is finally in domestic bliss with Beadie Russell...which I adore. (I have two romantic ships in this show - McNulty/Beadie and Rhonda/Daniels and both go well! Although something tells me the McNulty/Beadie one isn't going to last forever...)

There's a great exchange between The Bunk and Beadie's kids in the third episode, when he visits for dinner.

Bunk (noticing the police binders): nice binders.
Kids: McNulty gave them to us.
Bunk: McNulty? Not Jim, Not Jimmy, or Uncle Jim.
Kids: No, McNulty.
Bunk: Not Pops, Daddy...McNulty???
Kids: Yep. McNulty.

* Pryz is a school teacher now...and out of his depth. Again. This poor guy really belongs in a room alone doing puzzles. But by about the 3rd episode he appears to making some progress before one of the girls slashes the face of another one, who did deserve it. After PRyz asks if there is way they can get the kids to stop chewing gum, one old teacher tells him he needs to get "soft eyes."

It's hilarious that the female teachers are better at putting the kids in their place than the ex-cop. Reminiscent of S3 when Bunny was in the school auditorium and the female principal got the kids to shut up, but Bunny couldn't. It's all about attitude - letting them know you will kick their little asses (even if you won't) - I could actually do that. I do do that. Look of death - useful skill. Don't need to say one word. Comes from having an annoying younger brother. You learn all sorts of tricks when you have a little brother...

* I'm starting to really like Bodie - the only survivor of the kids in S1. He's now a seasoned dealer, knows the streets, and is tough. Clever even. There's two great scenes with Bodie and Carver, and Bodie and McNulty. What I love about the Wire is all the characters change, they grow, they don't stay the same - which is the problem I have with most television series, particularly crime shows or law shows - the characters stay the same, they never really grow, evolve or change. They do the same thing all the way through. That's not real. Life doesn't work like that - as the Wire depicts so well.

* Bunny is back! And he's in the school district finally. Knew he got there (from that damn HBO site) but not exactly how - apparently the same deacon who helped Cutty, helped Bunny find his way - so he goes through a social work study. The Social Work Study - is rather funny and such a great lampoon of academia. Who thinks --- oh we'll just go and question people and they won't mind, nor will they mind if we write about them in our journals or use them as guinea pigs in our study. Sigh. There's a hilarious bit between the professor/researcher of social work, Carver, Bunny, and an 18 year old convicted felon - where the 18 year old almost grabs the professor's pen and shoves it in his throat, until Bunny restrains him. Scared shitless - the researcher admits, okay, you are right...let's go younger. Carver suggests they try schools. Which is where they end up.

The theme of schools and kids is used throughout here - even McNulty discussing grabbing the binders for Beadie's kids - since they'll need it for school. He's breaking the rules for the kids now, and not getting that involved in police work.

Before I ever watched a season of the Wire, while it was still airing, I'd heard about S4 - actually it is the season that is talked about the most and considered by many critics to be the best season of a tv series ever. From what I've read - it shined a light on the problems in our public school system in a way that hasn't been done in a fictionalized television series before. This is true.
Few tv shows focusing on high school or school in general show the reality, what they show is how the writers remember it. Buffy oddly enough was a romanticized version of high school. Pure fantasy. There isn't anything realistic about those first three years. The show didn't really get gritty and realistic oddly enough until it's latter seasons. Veronica Mars was closer to reality, but it also is no where near the realism of the Wire. And what it is truly like to be in an inner city school. This is trope that fascinates me - but usually you only see it on film or in books - such as Up The Down Stair Case, the original film - FAME, and The Blackboard Jungle.

*Omar is with another guy. My favorite of his relationships was during the 2nd and 3rd Seasons with the two henchwomen and the boy, whose name I forget, but who got beat up by Lamar. Hilarious how afraid everyone is of Omar - when he leaves his apartment in nothing but a silken robe and pjs, no gun, because he can't quite carry one in pjs, to get cereal across the street...because they ran out, people yell out - Omar's coming, and hide. When he returns with the cereal - a bunch of drugs lands on his doorstop - free of charge. Omar isn't enjoying this - this is to easy, it's like playing with Puppies instead of Wolves.

*Lester finally gets to do what he has been wanting to do since S1, - which by the way was what shut down the Wire at the end of S1 and got McNulty thrown on a boat - going after the politicians, the people who got paid off by the Barksdale organization. Lester figures he can do this now...that an election is under way, that they can't do anything about it. He doesn't know Royce...Royce goes after Burrell and Burrell tells Rawls, and Rawls shuts them down. Poor Lester. Although as Rawls states - I'm doing you a favor here - putting you back on Homicide, and getting you out of there. He's right - going after the politicians is just going to hurt Lester.

As the writers of the Wire stated in the commentary - the real gangsters are the politicians, they aren't completely wrong. And this may be where the Wire gets a little preachy. It did in S3 as well.
The Wire is social criticism at its best or a social critique of our system. And I'm guessing required viewing for most sociology majors.

There's a great scene between Rhonda and Daniels regarding Lester and his attempt to go after the politicians again.

Rhonda: He's playing me. If I do this - I could end up screwed either way.
Daniels: Did he look over his glasses at you and act as if he were the father you never knew and he'd be incredibly disappointed in you if you let him down?
Rhonda: It's not funny. But yes. (she hits him)
Daniels laughing: I know it's not funny, but I'm just happy to see him doing it someone other than me.

*Herc and Carver...what an arc. Herc manages to catch Royce getting a blow job - and freaks out.
He's afraid his career is over. Carver tells him this is above his pay-grade and takes him to Valcheck, who reassures him and says, boy, you are in the best position for advancement. I'd give anything to be in your shoes right now. The Mayor will bring you into his office, neither of you will mention the incident, it will lie there like a bad peorgie that you are both ignoring, and
then he'll make you a Sergeant, and on your way to Major, just like that.

Carver meanwhile has become a savvy cop of the streets. He knows the dealers, he clearly listened to Bunny Colvin as McNulty clearly listened to Lester and Bunny.

*Daniels tries to convince McNulty to move up, to get into ops, out of the squad car, but McNulty refuses. Daniels tells his chief - the real life Landsman, that McNulty is too good to be in squad car and while it would be better for them if he got involved in ops, it's better for McNulty to do what he is doing. He has a good life with Beadie...she trusts him. He doesn't want to ruin that.

Meanwhile...there's Marlo...and what Marlo is doing. Several characters are on the verge of figuring it out. Lex killed Fruit, Marlo's people killed Lex but hid the body. There are bodies, but Marlo's been hiding them. Bunk who is hunting Lex for Fruit's murder, smells something is off but not sure what. Tries to brush it by McNulty - but McNulty don't want to play - he's staying away from that. Guess who is about to join Bunk in Homicide...Lester and possibly Greggs - both of whom have been following Marlo's gang and trying to figure out what they've been doing.