Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Wire - 5x09 "Late Editions"

I've waited this long to write about The Wire, not for lack of enthusiasm for the show that to me sits atop American arts (along with Gravity's Rainbow and Legally Blonde), but because the show was simultaneously too immense in its scope and too microscopic in its attention to individual lived details for my human brain to contain. This final season has mostly been a different matter, as the writers, who have never pandered to narrative predictability, proved their capacity to surprise in the worst way when they introduced the two most sensationalistic storylines ever to appear on The Wire.

But the penultimate episode ever of The Wire singlehandedly has changed the fortunes of this season and prompted me to move past my shame. Open spoilers after the picture.


Fatalism and inevitability have always underpinned The Wire especially as it pertains to any person who dared to confront institutions, but this season, McNulty's fabricated serial killer and its inbred cousin-arc at the Sun were from the start overdetermined towards doom, hardly worth investing any empathy into, especially since you could accurately map how the details would play out. Same with Omar -- the moment he set foot back in Baltimore, you knew that all those years of Spider-Man shit were going to catch up with him in a profoundly ugly, inglorious way. Even the kids we all love -- Duquan and Michael (don't forget Bug!) -- were gradually suffocating under the inertial weight of the Game.

But I suppose I didn't give much thought to what manifest doom would look like, and definitely not when all these potentialities exploded in "Late Editions." Michael's storyline -- multiple storylines now, actually, since Marlo and/or Chris put him into the middle of their bloodlusting thoughts -- completely upended half of the status quo on the Street plots, leaving anything possible, storytelling-wise (because he's been forced to abandon what few family and friends he has left now that he had to kill Snoop or be killed by her).

Indie rating: LSD Pond - "Yoru Kara Yorue"

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