Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Blog Every Episode of The Wire 06

Each entry opens some general notes if I have them before I launch into spoilers that might either be for that specific episode or span the entire series. In other words, readers who have not reached the end are urged to return to these posts only when they have.

"The Wire" (1x06)


Read more after the jump.

A major theme in "The Wire" is how a set of characters react and carry on from certain developments, some particularly traumatic: Bodie gets out of juvenile hall, Johnny Weeks hits the streets again, Omar mourns for Brandon and looks to begin to pay back the Barksdales.

After Bodie is released from custody, Herc and Carver roll up on him thinking he skipped out on juvie again. A smack or two later, Bodie explains that the judge let him go because, in the hopper's own words, "He saw my potential. He expects big things from me." While he's clearly mouthing empty platitudes -- though he is perceptive enough to criticize the failure of a city institution: "the juvenile system in this city is fucked up, it's a big-ass fucking joke" -- the show's explicitly balancing the liberal audience's belief in criminal rehabilitation against what Bodie ultimately does to Wallace, and it's a cold, cruel joke that feeds into the paranoia that liberalism is being gamed by thugs.

In terms of his character, though, Bodie's skating that fine line between the life of a taxpayer and the life of drug dealing, or at least paying lip service to a reformed life: "I don't know, college, law school, medical school, all that good shit." However, he only reached a position at which he could say that through the means enabled by Barksdale's dirt-playing, i.e. having Maurice Levy smooth-talk Bodie out of the courts and back onto the street, so in that respect, he's made his decision.

Being a junkie without the wiles and wisdom of Bubbles, Johnny jumps straight back into the same old when he finds out that he's HIV-positive. That death sentence is so monolithic and incomprehensible that it's hardly any wonder that he goes back to the squalor of a fiend's life, in which he comes up with the plan to steal some copper pipes. Thinking that he and Bubbles have outmaneuvered the system, they're brought back down to earth when they get shortchanged on the pipes, and to top things off (bad choice of words), Johnny gets arrested when he goes back out to score. He's caught in a karmic circle of hell without caring that he's headed for a sad end.

Only Omar decides to go outside of his immediate world, if only briefly, by going to the police. However, his path to the McNulty and Kima and vengeance first has to go through the morgue to identify Brandon's brutally murdered body. Once he gets through that tribulation, Omar sets in motion the events that will later undermine the whole Barksdale operation, though, individual that he is, he fails to upset the system, which of course he doesn't want to do away with in any case (since he profits by it), and which will inevitably do him in.


D'Angelo echoes his uncle's paranoia from the previous episode.


Take a good look at Polk (about 9 in the morning), the last of the drunk humps in the proto-MCU.

Indie rating: Russ Gabriel - "Mutations"

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