"Late Editions" (5x09; HBO, 3/2/08)
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The previous 48 episodes -- covering nearly five seasons -- of the best show to ever air on television all lead up to this. ("-30-" is the denouement and coda.) "Late Editions" manages a tremendous narrative feat, taking what should be, in hindsight, events so utterly overdetermined -- Lester and McNulty, the would-be heroes with their romantically desperate, ill-fated, and naive plan to make a difference unraveling, crash headlong into ignominy, while Michael and Duquan, the innocents, pass the point of no return, unmistakably headed toward lives inseparable
from the drug trade -- and miraculously make the viewers wonder what will happen next without feeling like they have the slightest clue. A devastating sociological critique of how the margins cities are manhandled, forgotten, and swept away,
swept away, shepherded by storytellers compassionate enough to let the
unforgettable voices of the city speak through.