Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Episode 4 - Old Cases

"Between Heaven and Here"

The opening scene provides just a little taste of how the members of the detail work with each other. They each think the desk should be pushed a certain way and end up pushing against one another. They'll never have a chance with Barksdale at this rate.

Bubbs: "Thin line between heaven and here."

This line brings the show into a different context. Bubbs reminds McNulty that suburban soccer and the projects occupy the same city. In fact, it's a thin line between life and death as well, a theme which manifests more in later episodes with Wallace, Kima, Brandon, and others finding out how quickly life comes and goes.

Also featuring the infamous "fuck" scene between McNulty and Bunk. I don't know if you credit Simon's writing or the acting more, but incredible nonetheless. It's also some damn fine po-lice work. I don't have a problem with profanity, but some of the show's critics didn't appreciate it. Whatever.

I particularly enjoyed re-watching another scene: Herc and Carver's raid of Bodie's grandma's place. She seems utterly unfazed by two of Baltimore's finest fighting a war on drugs- the "western" way. This scene impressed me in a few ways. At the beginning, it's a classic "CSI" raid, but then The Wire does things a little differently and the audience learns more about Preston 'Bodie' Broadus. He's always been an angry person. His mother was an addict. While Bodie is a criminal, Simon shows that his "game" is rigged. The raid also shows how the drug war effects those not specifically in the drug industry. A fact Simon wanted to get across.

Though we don't come away feeling pity for Bodie, Simon gives a glimpse into his humanity. In the context of Season 3 and 4, this little scene fills out Bodie's character and gives him a past. It also starts a love-hate relationship with Herc and Carver (well, continues it in a more personal way) that lasted 4 seasons and got progressively deeper and more complex as all 3 "grew up" in different ways.

The pace of the episode was quick with several important events: reviewing the old homocide cases, Polk and Mahone's shenanigans, the decision to clone pagers, Avon putting a bounty on Omar and his crew, and D's tale of murder to the low rise hoppers.

One final note on this tale. By juxtaposing Dee having to tell everyone that he's a hard gangsta with Bubble's intimate knowledge of Omar's nature (without Omar going around shouting his story from the rooftops), we get another theme that becomes very important in season 4 and 5. Your name and reputation. It's one of those things that if you gotta tell someone- you don't have it. Omar and Wee Bey got it. Dee doesn't (despite having murdered two people). In an environment of such economic poverty, reputation takes on an expanded importance (in the Cop Shop, Freamon's reputation did not precede him).

More tomorrow.

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