Okay as much as I'm enjoying this season, something needs to happen. They are spending far too much time wandering about talking about things and building. That said? There are some really good moments. Bunk/Omar and Avon/Cutty stand out.
I am admittedly more than a little annoyed with Lt. Daniels at the moment who is acting like a doormat to the politicians and his higher ups while treating his underlings like well...nothing but his underlings. Buddy? Nothing is happening on the Kittle case, nothing has happened for weeks, it's boring. Even the snitches on the street know that's a dead end deal. Your unit is bored. And you're treading water. Granted it may make it easier to be playing the good politico hubby to Marlo while dancing between the sheets with Rhonda, but...dude, get some balls, pronto.
Right now the only guy in the hierarchy who appears to have balls and not be catering to the brass or rank and file, is Bunny Colvin. Bunny is actually trying to make a difference and doing anything possible to make it happen. All the murders are happening around his division.
I seriously do not understand why Daniels or anyone is pursuing Kittle. The problem is the pov is more focused around McNulty, so we don't really see what Lester has come up with on Kittle or anyone else has.
At any rate - I found that my sympathy was with Greggs and McNulty not Daniels. Also Greggs is interesting, she keeps pulling McNulty back into the Stringer/Marlo case as opposed to the other way around. And it is Greggs who suggests a way that McNulty can push Daniels to take up the case again. McNulty doesn't come up with it, Greggs does. As to why? Well she explains that in the bar scene and I totally get it. She said the problem with police work - was trying to find a way to make it feel like you were making a difference. And not getting ground down by red tape, bureaucracy and the brass playing political games.
Both Greggs and McNulty just like to work cases. Be police. Neither care about advancement or accolades. Their job is largely thankless. If they do great on a case - they don't get the credit - Daniels does. That's how it works.
When they come to Daniels to beg him to switch back to Stringer and Marlo and give him more info on both, including a recent spat of dead bodies, Daniels spits back at them that it's not about Kittel or Stringer, it's about respect. He's the boss, he decides what case they do. Or they'll get kicked out.
So...Greggs suggests to McNulty that he talk to his old buddy, Bunny Colvin, and see if Colvin can convince the brass to give him the Wire. Which would be back dooring Daniels. Bunny tells McNulty that he hasn't changed...Bushy-top, he's the same. It's all about his case, he cares about nothing else. Which I suppose should bug me, but McNulty is a homicide detective, and damn it, it should be all about solving the case and nothing else. I'm sorry - my tax payer dollars aren't paying for McNulty to stroke Daniels' or Rawls or whatever fancy Lt or Sgt or Major is sitting behind a desk's fancy ass. It's to solve the murder and clean up my community. Not play politics. So from my perspective? McNulty is a bit of a hero - he reminds me a little of that gumshoe sheriff who doggedly tries to solve the crime that no one else wants to, and everyone keeps trying to push off to one side. People need to leave their egos at the door. (I didn't like Daniels that much in this episode. And I liked his wife, Marla even less, although I understood both of them ...both have the flaw of pride. Daniels feels he owes Marla and Marla has pride..ambition. Daniels likes police work - but he wants to feel pride in it. And struggles with the politics. It's far from simple and the dilemma they show - involving Greggs, McNulty, Colvin and Daniels is a realistic one. I've seen it all the time, and I've been in Greggs position. It is also about power. Who has it and who doesn't. McNulty and Greggs don't really want power...or just enough to solve the case and make a difference, Daniels and Marla want more than that, although Daniels doesn't want as much as Marla does...or Tommy Carchietti for that matter. And all of their motives are both selfish and selfless...at the same time.)
William Faulkner once said the most important writing, the only thing worth writing about, was conflicts within the human heart, inside us. The Wire plays with those emotional and mental conflicts quite well and in depth.
What do you pick? Loyalty to your commander or loyalty to solving the case? Do you try to make a difference no matter the cost or sit back and let things play out? Hard to know. Neither route is guaranteed to be safe. And both have consequences.
Enter Bunk. Who has a similar dilemma, but handles it differently. Tasked with the thankless and increasingly pointless task of tracking down Dozerman's missing gun - he can't work the murder case that he desperately wants to work. A double homicide. This homicide sticks in his craw for two reasons, 1) he knows the guy involved - they go way back, and 2) he saw a bunch of kids trying to reinact it and all wanting to be Omar. So finally fed up - he writes up a 20-50 page report of everything he did regarding the gun and hands it to Landsman. Here's my report. It's long enough and thorough enough that it should satisfy the higher ups. Landsman asks if he actually did all this? And he makes a crack..that it was close enough. I'm murder police he tells Landsman, and I got a double murder, let me work it. So Landsman does.
Contrast with McNulty and Greggs who completely ignore the Kittle case, and work solely on Stringer, regardless of what Daniels tells them. They do flirt with Kittle a bit, but it's still Stringer on their brains. Then they gather enough info and go to Daniels with Stringer again. Begging to do it. Unlike Bunk - they didn't show they'd tried to do the other case or that the other case they had been assigned didn't have legs, no, they ignore the case they were assigned and push the Stringer case. Which is of course insubordination and if everyone did that it would be chaos. It is chaos. Hence the reason - I think some people see McNulty as a chaos bringer character. Unlike Bunk - McNulty doesn't work through channels - he's a loose cannon, he does his own thing. Greggs is following suite. It's why Freamon gets furious with him. It's why his wife gets furious with him. And it's why Rawls hates him. It's also what Landsman and Colvin both warned Daniels about - McNulty is a great cop, but a horrible subordinate - he will make you crazy, because he's such a loose cannon and can't follow orders or chain of command. McNulty reminds me a little of my grandfather and brother - neither could work for an organization or boss. Both hated authority - constantly bucked it. And both ended up running their own businesses and doing it successfully. People like McNulty shouldn't work in places like the military with a chain of command or for other people.
Greggs isn't a McNulty really, but she's frustrated and bored. And wants more. She wants to come to the party and dance.
As Prop Joe states - what kills police is the boredom, they can't handle it. And it's what shows like Bones, Castle, NCIS, CIS, etc fail to accurately show - 70-80% of police work is mundane routine.
Sitting around waiting for something to happen. Having no leads. Driving in your squad car watching people. Or standing against a wall of a subway terminal watching people for hours on end. Or checking everyone's bag for hours on end.
Stringer is trying hard to keep police work boring, but Avon had other ideas. Avon is all about the game. Being a businessman is boring to Avon, it's not about power or control, and he doesn't quite understand it. Stringer is the businessman, the strategist. Avon's not. So Avon wants to do something about the corners that Marlo is running. Stringer is actually more interested in what is happening in Hamsterdam - which he agrees with Bodie is odd. Bodie can't quite figure out how to deal with it. It is ironically the drug dealing paradise that both Wallace and D wished for. No violence. Just business. It's also the paradise that Stringer wishes for. Stringer wants to change how they do things - but much like McNulty and Greggs - he's butting heads with Avon (his leader).
Stringer has another problem with Marlo, who thinks it is his turn to be king and wear the crown. Avon wants to drive Marlo off the corners. This real estate stuff is boring, he doesn't understand it, and it seems to cost them money. I'm being disrespected by Marlo, people will know, we have to end this.
So Avon tries - goes around Stringer - and sends in the muscle. But his main muscle's heart just isn't in it any more. In rather good scene, Cutty tells Avon that it's not just the killing, it's all of it. He can't do this any more. He can't deal drugs, kill, any of it. The game has left him. He copts to fouling up the hit and run, he couldn't kill the kid, he just couldn't. He impresses Avon, who in a surprising turn of face, tells Cutty's co-worker, that Cutty was a man today. Definitely a Man. It took guts for Cutty to say what he did and to choose to find something to do that he has no experience in. Avon respects it and feels perhaps a little ashamed for not being able to do it too. Cutty's tale is evidence that prison can reform some people.
Then we have the Bunk/Omar scene - which is classic. Omar copts an attitude with Bunk. Mr. tough guy, not tell you nothing. And Bunk loses it - he tells Omar that they both came from the same neighborhood and even though he was a couple years ahead of Omar, he knows that Omar remembers what it was life. That as bad as some of the tough guys were, they had a community. There's none here. Omar's a predator. And he's aiding others. Kids want to be Omar, how sickening is that. A girl died working with him. It's a scene that is both beautifully shot and written. Ending with a close-up of Omar who looks just a little bit sick, sitting alone on the bench where Bunk left him.
Finally Tommy Carchietti who is manipulating his fellow councilman to run - so that his fellow councilman would help split the black vote. Carchietti has a plan for winning the next mayoral election. We watch him manipulate people - Royce is out of his depth. Burrell has met his match. Not sure what to make of him...yet.