The Wire: Waiting for the end
I’m preparing to head down to Philly tomorrow for the Society for Cinema & Media Studies conference. I’ll try to report a bit from the road, but definitely if you read JustTV and go to SCMS, be sure to say hi. A faithful reader came to my presentation at Pomona on Saturday, and it was nice to see the connection between the blog and face-to-face pay-off.
(Speaking of the blog, I always enjoy monitoring what incoming searches are bringing people here. And thus was quite amused to discover that Googling “hockassin” gives this post as the #1 result!)
I returned from Pomona on Sunday in time to catch the penultimate episode of The Wire. Inspired by Shaun Huston’s post, I’ve got some reactions and predictions for the finale beneath the fold.
As most of the blogs I’ve seen attest, this episode was simply perfect in its emotional ups and downs, delivering payoffs and undercutting them. For me, Bubbles’ little triumphs outweighed the uncertainty facing Dukie, as he is left amongst the A-rabs for a potential echo of Bubbs’ fate. But I hold onto some hope that he too might find his redemption, hopefully a bit earlier than Bubbs did.
I also buy Kima’s decision to turn in McNulty. She’s always had more professional than personal integrity (“sometimes things just have to play hard” from season 1), and letting Jimmy get away with his scam would have been a major sell-out for her. It’s ironic that the reason Jimmy told her was because of his own remaining shreds of integrity, not wanting to see good po-lice wasting her time on his bogus case. But his scheme was bound to fail, with no exit plan once the tap was turned on. Hmmm, starting a crusade on false pretenses at the cost of huge public resources and human lives with no plan to get out? Remind you of anything else going on in our world?
And seeing Bunny & Namond having risen above the fray was just a delight, along with Bunny offering a moment of moral humiliation to Carcetti. “Wow, Mr. C – you know the Mayor too?!”
As for what’s to come, here are some predictions for the record – The Wire‘s not a show tied to suspense, as it’s less about what will happen than how it’ll go down. But here’s how I can imagine things playing out:
– The dual corruptions of Daniels’s buried sins and Levy’s courthouse leaks will come together. And Daniels will suffer more than Levy – I could see Levy making a deal that lets the case against Marlo and his crew stand if they let Levy off the hook for his corruption. The show has always shown that the drug game is an extension of larger political forces, and ultimately Levy is a bigger player than Marlo, Avon, Stringer, or anyone on the streets. And it’s completely consistent with the show’s take on Baltimore that kids on the street take the heat for the machinations by the powers that be. And the Greeks and Levy will find a new pawn to head the street division of their business enterprise.
– McNulty will do what he can to spare Lester, Sydnor, Bunk, etc. from the stink of his shit. But he’s going down hard and probably not alone, and I don’t think he can live with himself after that. I see him wrapped around a telephone pole with a bottle of Jameson’s in his lap, and Beadie’s prediction of his wake will come to pass. Meanwhile, Kima will be an outcast among the police. Lester better get off the hook, though, as he’s earned a noble retirement.
– Fletcher will write a stellar profile of Bubbles that captures the dynamics of individuals relationships to social conditions and institutions, but it’ll be Templeton’s fabrications that will win the Pulitzer. Gus will be forced to take a buy-out after trying to nail Templeton. And critics like me will read this as an allegory for how The Wire was treated versus Emmy winning shows. Dickensian indeed!
– Prez will return for the last of the cameos, but won’t be able to save Dukie. The kid’s gotta do this on his own.
As for what song will frame the final montage? I have no idea. But I should be back from Philly in time to find out on Sunday!
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Tags: The Wire
random thoughts from media scholar Jason Mittell
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