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“The Wire” Diaries: Bars, bribes and bar exams

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WALT JABSCO, FLICKR

Episode three, “Hot Shots” and episode four, “Hard Cases”

The structure of season two of “The Wire” mirrors the beginning of season one. The first four episodes are heavy with exposition and introduction, making the audience aware of all parts of the story. To be honest, the lack of action makes it difficult for me to completely focus my attention on each episode.

I’ve been blowing through “Arrow,” I love “Supernatural,” and I would like to start “Sleepy Hollow.” I’m not sure if my reluctance to keep watching “The Wire” has more to do with my affinity for more sci-fi, horror/fantasy genres or if it speaks to the slowness of the show itself. Today, TV is saturated with action-packed, fast-paced episodes, so I’m not sure if “The Wire” would keep the attention it held in the early 2000’s. However, the “slow burn” of “The Wire” and the focus on its characters continues to make the show stand out.

Here’s what’s happening in Baltimore in episodes three and four:

Jimmy McNulty, Bunk Moreland, Lester Freamon and Beatrice Russell continue to investigate the shipping crate deaths, interviewing ship workers and discussing the medical records of the victims. Meanwhile, Major Stan Valchek demands to be given a better detail from Ervin Burrell for Valchek’s investigation of the Sobotka crew. Looks like the gang will be back together soon!

McNulty attempts to track down Omar Little, who is back in Baltimore. (aside: Yay, Omar’s back! And snarkier than ever.) Nick and Ziggy Sobotka sell cameras, as Nick deals with his family troubles. He and his girlfriend, Aimee (Kristin Proctor, “All My Children”) fight about how to care for their daughter. Aimee takes control by refusing to cut Nick’s hair, which desperately needs attention since it’s bordering on bouffant-level height.

Frank Sobotka deals with dockworkers who also have money problems, and attends a council meeting where Senator Clay Davis, among other political figures, are present. Stringer Bell visits D’Angelo Barksdale’s girlfriend, and the two have sex. In the prison where D’Angelo and Avon Barksdale reside, the heroin traffic begins to infiltrate the building. A bad shipment arrives and poisons several of the inmates.

Russell, Bunk and Freamon attempt to intimidate some of the dock workers into speaking with them about the shipping container deaths. McNulty and his wife, Elena, try to reconcile over a separation agreement, while I try to fight my growing annoyance and love for McNulty. Lieutenant Cedric Daniels takes on the Valchek detail, and recruits Kima Greggs, to the dismay of both of their wives. Daniels also reunites Roland “Prez” Pryzbyzlewski and Thomas “Herc” Hauk.

Later, McNulty finds Bubbles and Johnny Weeks shoplifting some walkmen (you know, those devices that used to play one CD at a time), so he blackmails them into getting information on Omar’s whereabouts. Due to Stringer Bell’s manipulation, Avon Barksdale’s parole date is reduced one year. Nick and Ziggy Sobotka spend the money gained from the stolen cameras in different ways, and both are reprimanded by Frank.

*Other thoughts, concerns, questions...*

*It's still jarring to me to see all of the older technology and fashion choices. I just caught up with “Arrow,” where everyone's outfits are pristine and the technology is almost unbelievable. So it's good that “The Wire” is grounding me.

*"Spread the word, darlin. Omar back!" I gasped so loudly when he said this line. I’m excited for Omar’s return.

*Jay Landsman telling Officer Russell to wear plain clothes while working with the homicide unit was a nice moment of humor.

*Does “The Wire” have a fandom? Besides TV critics and smart people?

*I love it when Stringer Bell talks economics.

*Sean Paul’s immortal “Get Busy” reminds me so much of middle school parties and Dance Dance Revolution.

*Shirtless Idris Elba. It happened.

*"This is that Catholic s***" - Bunk referring to McNulty's Catholic guilt.

*Words I haven't heard since 2003: Circuit City.

*McNulty was in his apartment, listening to messages on a home phone, with a real answering machine and a tape! If that doesn’t show you how dated this show makes 2003 seem, I don’t know what other miniscule detail will.

*"He quits or he drowns" - how McNulty will get off the Marine unit, according to Rawls.

*Great bonding moment as Kima and Daniels come together: "I'll tell my wife if you tell mine," on working on the Valchek detail.

*Never related to Stringer Bell more than when he said, "I've got a midterm. I gotta study."


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